Minutes of the Town Council Meeting 14 February 2022

22nd February 2022

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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MINUTES OF TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

PUBLIC SESSION MINUTES

14 February 2022: at  19:15
Held at
Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 2BY 

 Membership:

Councillor M Radley Chairman   Present
Councillor D Gronland Vice Chairman Present 
Councillor Miss J Atkinson   Present
Councillor P Caulfield   Apologies
Councillor P Claydon   Present
Councillor Mrs S Dingle   Apologies
Councillor M Fincken   Present
Councillor D Hume   Present
Councillor A Munday   Apologies
Councillor Mrs J A Pell   Present
Councillor Miss L Smith   Apologies
Councillor G Warren   Present

Also in attendance: Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)                             

  Cllr Chris Siddall, Kevin Pryke, Heather Pryke, Janet Caton, Colin Millbank, Ian Tinton, Julia Smith, Joan Gibson

193.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  Cllr Dingle sent her apologies due to ill health. Cllr Munday and Cllr Caulfield sent their apologies for personal reasons, and Cllr Smith sent her apologies due to work commitments.

Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of these apologies, seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously agreed.

194.  DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS:

 All councillors declared NPI 22/00161?LBC as the property is adjacent to Queens Hall. Cllr  Pell declared NPI  item 5 22/00191 as H4C own land nearby, 7b and 7b(a)   as a member of BDC and CSGMC. Cllrs Warren and Claydon declared NPI item 7b and 7b(a) as a member of CSGMC. Cllr Radley declared NPI item 7b and 7b(a) as a member of BDC. Cllr Hume declared NPI item 5, 22/0171 as applicant is known to him, 22/00043 as objector is known to him, 7e and 12, as president of HiB, 7a and 7b(a) as Secretary of CSGMC, 7b as past patron of the Choral Society and 13 as secretary of St Andrews PCC.

195.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

a) Public questions

Kevin Pryke made a presentation on Men’s sheds. On behalf of the Halstead Community Shed Trust in Halstead, he stated that the purpose behind Men’s sheds was the wellbeing and mental health of retired men, who are at greater risk of isolation and mental health problems than women of a similar age. It enables them to meet like-minded people and share skills and knowledge. The idea has received the support of the Essex Shed network and equipment has been donated. The group are seeking the support of Halstead Town Council in their attempt to use the former St John’s Ambulance training centre, which may be sold for commercial use. He also asked if anyone knew of any other building which might be available. Cllr Pell and Cllr Siddall both said that they would try to put Kevin in touch with people who could help.

Robert Richmond had sent in a written question which was read out by the Clerk. He suggested that the Town Council should not stint on expense and should buy a bench fitting for the Queen’s platinum Jubilee. He suggested looking into what the Cast Iron Company had to offer. The Clerk was asked to explore this.

Julia Smith spoke once again about Halstead in Bloom, which would be discussed in item 12. She explained that the partnership had been set up in 2003, and that ECC, BDC and HTC had all been part of the updated partnership agreement in 2012, and that the duties of each party had been clearly laid out. Since that time the duties of HiB had grown exponentially – for example 1837 hours of work had been carried out between January and June 2019. There are tasks such as weeding and watering which the volunteers can no longer carry out. HiB needs to work more closely in partnership with HTC.

b) Cllr Chris Siddall

Cllr Siddall reported on the budget at ECC which had been agreed on 10/2/22. Apparently ECC is one of the most efficient councils in the country. Council tax will go up by 4.59% or £60.21 for a Band D property. The extra income this will produce will be divided between social care, infrastructure, climate change and children’s social care. The councillor grant will remain at £10k, and the LHP can carry over £200k. £2m has been set aside for potholes.

196.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 10 January 2022  Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes of 10 January 2022 was put forward by Cllr Warren,  and seconded by Cllr Fincken, with 6  in favour and 2 abstentions.

197.  PLANNING  APPLICATIONS

Cllr Pell led discussions for this part of the meeting.

21/03669/OUT – Land Opposite 17, Fourth Avenue, Bluebridge Industrial Estate, Halstead, Essex – Outline application for erection of a building for use classes E, B2, B8 with permission sought for Access, Appearance, Layout, and Scale, with Landscaping reserved.

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed

(Cllr Atkinson had had to leave the room and did not vote on this)

21/03723/FUL & 21/03724/LBC – The Griffin, Parsonage Street, Halstead – The restoration and conversion of The Griffin Public House to create 2 no. two bedroom residential cottages, including the demolition of the single storey later addition to the front and side of the property and the erection of 2 no. two bedroom semi detached cottages with associated operational development and landscaping works.

Cllr Gronland felt that there was inadequate visitor parking, and councillors had also noticed inaccuracies in the report concerning the age of the building, and felt that these should be corrected.

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Fincken, with 5 in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention. The motion was carried.

22/00003/LBC – 89 Head Street, Halstead, Essex – Repairs to existing roof

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

22/00171/FUL & 22/00009/LBC – 3 High Street, Halstead, Essex – Formation of 1 No. self-contained flat on the second floor, including addition of internal fire escape, Addition of internal insulated wall.  Removal of external concrete hard-standing.

There was concern that there was no parking at all planned for this flat.

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Fincken, with 6 in favour, 1 against and 1 abstention. The motion was carried

Cllr Pell left the room.

22/00191/VAR – Land West of Rosemary Lane, Halstead – Removal of Condition 13 (Use Class Restriction) of permission 21/01479/FUL granted 15.10.21 for: Erection of 2 no. buildings comprising 7 no. commercial units (B2) with associated access road, paths, bin stores and electrical substation.

Cllr Atkinson proposed objection stating that Condition 13 should remain. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken, with 5 in favour of the objection, 1 abstention and 1 against.

Cllr Pell returned.

22/00161/LBC – Broomhill House, Colchester Road, Halstead – Installation of Electric Charging Point

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Atkinson, and unanimously agreed.

22/00043/FUL – Land at, East Mill, Halstead – Erection of 2 No. semi-detached single storey dwellings

Cllr Atkinson proposed objection on grounds of access to the property. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

21/02449/FUL – Halstead Hall, Braintree Road, Greenstead Green, CO9 1SL – Demolish outbuildings, extend and refurbish existing redundant building to form 25 bed dementia unit and erect bin and cycle stores, erect 20 bungalows and layout associated car parking, drainage and landscaping | Halstead Hall Braintree Road Greenstead Green Essex CO9 1SL

Cllr Pell proposed a strong objection to this development apart from the dementia unit, for the following reasons:

  • that this application was not within Halstead area but was within the boundaries of Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural Parish
  • Concerns were raised about visibility on egress of the site and it was noted that a previous fatal road traffic accident close to the site of egress was not mentioned
  • the 20 dwellings were not within the Draft Local Plan. and were outside the village envelope and were not needed for BDC’s 5-year supply which had already been reached
  • Concerns were raised about Halstead being unable to cope with further residents who, although they were outside the development boundary, would still depend on Halstead’s infrastructure, in particular the already overloaded doctors’ surgery
  • This development is planned in the open countryside as a separate settlement not linked to the town
  • The dementia unit might well be needed, but it should not be linked in any way to the commercial development of 20 residential properties
  • Possible bus stops are not well sited

This was seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

22/00257/LBC – 35 Head Street, Halstead, Essex – Removal and replacement of existing flat roofs, external door and kitchen window.  Upgrading of insulation to flat roof, and the introduction of roof lantern to single-storey extension (circa 1970) to the rear of the building.  Rationalisation of external pipework (guttering and above ground waste), and relocation of Gas Boiler flue (through flat roof).

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

198.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS

Cllr Radley reported that there had been a meeting that morning where he and a number of representatives of the Halstead Hospital League of Friends had met with James Cleverly MP and his PA to discuss the future of the superb facilities at Halstead Hospital. Mr Cleverly had pledged his support to ensure better use of the hospital and a commitment to talk at government level on how the facilities could be used.

199.  FINANCE Cllr Claydon led the discussions for this part of the meeting

a) To receive the income and expenditure report for the month of January

Cllr Claydon proposed, seconded by Cllr Gronland that the income and expenditure report be approved, and this was unanimously agreed.

b) and b (a) To approve the List of Payments to be made in February

Cllr Claydon proposed, seconded by Cllr Warren that the lists of payments be approved, and this was unanimously agreed.

c) To approve the Reconciliation of bank and petty cash accounts

Cllr Claydon proposed, seconded by Cllr Warren that the Reconciliation be approved and this was unanimously agreed.

d) To consider reconciliation intervals

Cllr Claydon proposed, seconded by Cllr Gronland that the bank accounts should from 1 April 2022 be reconciled at quarterly intervals, and this was unanimously agreed.

e) To consider a request from Halstead in Bloom for payment for the plants in the hanging baskets for summer 2022

Cllr Pell proposed, seconded by Cllr Fincken, that HTC should fund the plants in the hanging baskets for summer 2022. This was unanimously agreed.

f) To enable easy purchases online

Cllr Claydon proposed, seconded by Cllr Warren that Council approves the setting up of an additional current account with a debit card. The controls around that account should be documented and added to Financial Regulations.

  • The account should be opened in the name of the Town Council with the Clerk as the user
  • Council must approve the initial sum to be transferred from the HTC current account into the second current account.
  • Any additional amounts to be added to the account must be approved by council in advance
  • Any expenditure using the card to be recorded on the income and expenditure report each month
  • Petty cash withdrawals of up to £200

This was unanimously agreed.

g) To consider the renewal of the 3-year insurance policy

Cllr Fincken proposed, seconded by Cllr Atkinson, that Council accepts Quote A for the insurance renewal. This was unanimously agreed.

h) To approve payment for the parking order

Cllr Fincken proposed, seconded by Cllr Atkinson that payment should be made for the Parking Order. This was unanimously agreed.

i) To decide on a commemorative bench for the jubilee

Julia and Graham Smith were thanked for their offer of the refurbished bench, but councillors felt that a monumental bench was needed to mark such an important occasion as the platinum jubilee.

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Atkinson, that the Town Clerk research the sourcing of a monumental bench fitting to the occasion. This was unanimously agreed.

200.  To receive reports from District Councillors

Cllr Pell reported that she had attended a leaders’ meeting, and that preparations were being made to return to the Council chamber. Vulnerable members would be able to attend via zoom, but would not be able to vote. She had also attended the Performance management scrutiny committee, skills training, the cycling group, a budget meeting and Cabinet, and the funeral of past chairman John Finbow. The petition to allow remote meetings to be held has now reached 10,000 signatures.

Cllr Pell raised the matter of the next scheduled Full Council meeting due on 14 March, as there is a Cabinet meeting scheduled for the same day. Queens Hall is available on Wednesday 16 March.

Cllr Hume reported that he had attended the Performance management scrutiny committee and that he had had enormous support from the governance team at BDC.

Cllr Radley reported that he had chaired the Performance management scrutiny committee on 2 February. It had been confirmed that there would be no Collection Fund rebate in the 22/23 financial year. Council tax is rising by 2.68% . Cllr grants will be at £1250. The Council will continue to have a shortfall of £1.1m over the next 3 years. He has proposed that the scrutiny committee look at the slow expenditure of S106 monies.

Reports were noted

201.  To receive reports from Champions

Surgery – Cllr Gronland had chased his NHS contact but had had no reply.

Education – Cllr Hume reported that it remains difficult to get access to schools.

Police – Cllr Warren said that there are more police patrolling in Halstead than imagined. There is trouble at present with very young teenagers.

Open Spaces – There have been consultations with Neil Jones and Nicola Murphy over the siting of the tennis courts planned at CSG. It has to be decided whether the contract to construct the courts will be managed by BDC or by HTC/CSGMC.

Reports were noted

202.  To review the Risk Management policy

Cllr Pell proposed approval of the updated Risk Management policy, seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously approved.

203.  The Minutes of the Events group meeting of 17 January 2022 were noted.

Cllr Radley proposed that Halstead should invest in plastic poppies for Remembrance, seconded by Cllr Hume and unanimously agreed. The Clerk was asked to investigate costs, how many and for how long.

Cllr Radley proposed approval of the events planned for the Jubilee weekend,  seconded by Cllr Atkinson, and unanimously agreed. He asked the Clerk to explore possibilities for a commemorative clock.

Cllr Radley proposed the extension of Standing Orders until close of business, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

204.  Halstead in Bloom

Cllr Hume said that he felt that the Partnership had changed from what was last stated in an agreement. He was not sure in what capacity he chaired the Partnership meetings. He said that most organisations sent 1 representative, whereas HiB had 4 or 5. In addition the Rotary Club was now also attending meetings. At the meetings any problems raised are shared out between BDC and HTC to solve and attend to. Cllr Atkinson said that engaging contractors was not something which would be easy for HiB volunteers. Cllr Fincken said that 2 HTC councillors are already engaged.

Cllr Radley proposed the suspension of Standing Orders to allow Julia Smith to speak, seconded by Cllr Fincken, and unanimously agreed.

Julia Smith said that the problem is that the volunteers can no longer do the pavement weeding and watering. She said that BDC cooperate very quickly when asked. She felt there should be further consultations with Paul Partridge, who wrote the 2012 agreement.

Cllr Radley proposed a return to Standing Orders, seconded by Cllr Pell, and unanimously agreed

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and unanimously agreed that HTC:            

1. elects a lead councillor to attend Partnership meetings at the AGM in May 22.

2. asks the 2 current team members on behalf of HTC to review the agreement with others. Cllrs Gronland and Atkinson volunteered to do this.

3. undertakes further discussion and budget support    

205.  Update on St Andrews churchyard wall.

Cllr Radley proposed that the report be noted, seconded by Cllr Claydon and unanimously agreed.

206.  To receive the internal audit report

Cllr Fincken said that the internal auditor’s report was generally positive, but noted a contravention in the use of a Barclaycard over which Cllr Warren and Cllr Atkinson expressed concern as it had not been approved by HTC.

It was recommended in the report that council reviews the operational aspect of this matter. This was reviewed in agenda item 7f and recommended action was approved.

Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the internal audit report, and this was seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously approved.

207.  To receive the internal control report

Cllr Warren said that he and Cllr Atkinson had found the internal control experience extremely useful as a way of reaching a better understanding of the finances at HTC, and felt that other councillors should have the same opportunity, and more training in order to better understand the finances.  Wendy Ogilvie is managing the accounts with great efficiency.

Cllr Radley proposed that Cllrs Claydon and Gronland and the Town Clerk should try to involve other councillors more in understanding financial matters at HTC, and that it should be established where it is stated that additional internal control should be carried out by councillors. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Siddall left the meeting.

208.  EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

To give consideration to adopting the following resolution: – “That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted and pursuant to the provisions of section 1(2)-of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, as amended, the public and the press be temporarily excluded from the meeting”.

Cllr Radley proposed the exclusion of the public and press, seconded by Cllr Pell and unanimously agreed.

209.  Civic award

Cllr Gronland proposed that a civic award be presented, seconded by Cllr Warren and unanimously agreed.

There being no further business, the meeting closed at  21:57

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