Minutes of Town Council Meeting 10 August 2020

13th August 2020

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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MINUTES OF TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
10 August 2020 at  19:15
Held at
Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 2BY 

This meeting was conducted by Zoom

 Membership:

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

Also in attendance Mrs S Greatorex – Town Clerk       

062.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE Cllr Fincken sent his apologies as he was on holiday. Cllr Miss Smith gave her apologies due to work commitments. Cllr Hume sent his apologies as he was unwell. Cllr Dingle sent her apologies due to a previous engagement. Cllr Warren sent his apologies due to family reasons.

Cllr  Pell  proposed acceptance of the apologies, seconded by Cllr Munday, carried unanimously.         

063.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Pell  declared NPI Item 5

20/01089/FUL. 17 Weavers Court,  NPI as member of the Coop who own the site 20/01176/ELD, 14 Firwoods NPI as owner known to her,  20/01168/HH 3 Wellfield NPI as owner known to her, 7b (a) as member of CSGMC, NPI 7e as member of BDC. NPI

8 as member of H4C Cllr Gronland declared NPI Item 7d as an allotment holder. Cllr Munday declared NPI 7e as member of BDC, item 5 he would leave the meeting as he sits on the Planning Committee at BDC. Cllr Radley declared NPI 7e as member of BDC.

064.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME 
Dr Kreis from the Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery had been invited to speak at the meeting, but was unable to attend. She will be invited to speak at the next meeting.

There was one public question concerning “Why are monthly council meetings still being held virtually?”
Council Response,
Council meetings are currently being held virtually under “The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) Regulations 2020.” These regulations allow councils to work in this way until May 2021. Halstead Town Council continues to operate under these regulations under the advice and direction of NALC and Braintree District Council, who are operating in the same way.

Members of the public have the opportunity to send written questions and statements to be heard at the council meetings in Public Question time.

 Well managed live online public question time and live streaming of meetings requires management by facilitators and IT staff to ensure compliance and smooth running of the meetings. HTC does not have those skills or resources and additionally it would inevitably lead to considerable expense to the Council for what is a temporary situation.

If council meetings were held in Queens Hall then the council would also have to open the meeting to members of the public with no restriction on the number of people attending. Under these conditions the council could not guarantee to comply with the social distancing guidance.

The re opening of Queens Hall has been agreed under very specific conditions. It is only available for hirers who can comply with the government social distancing guidance and, in addition, it is their decision as to whether they feel comfortable to hire the venue. Similarly it is the individual councillors’ decision as to whether they as community volunteers feel comfortable meeting in that environment.

It is therefore currently the council’s decision to continue holding meetings virtually with pre submitted written public questions until further notice.

065.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 13 July 2020, and private session minutes of 13 July 2020.   Both sets of minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes was put forward by Cllr Pell and seconded by Cllr Gronland with 5 in favour and 2 abstentions.

066.  PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Cllr Pell took the Chair for this part of the meeting, as Vicechair of planning, standing in for Cllr Hume.

20/01020/HH – 2 Riverside, High Street, Halstead – Single-storey rear extension to replace existing conservatory.
Cllr Gronland proposed no objection to this application, seconded by Cllr Pell, and agreed unanimously.

20/01033/FUL – Bucher (Agricultural) Ltd, 1 Fourth Avenue, Bluebridge Ind Est – Raising of the roof level to single storey building and alterations to fenestration. 
Cllr Radley proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Atkinson, and unanimously agreed.

20/01139/HH – 1 Osprey Road, Halstead, Essex – Erection of a rear orangery.
Cllr Atkinson proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Claydon, and agreed unanimously.

20/01168/HH –  3 Well Field, Halstead, Essex – Extension to existing Porch.
Cllr Caulfield proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and agreed unanimously

20/01089/FUL – 17 Weavers Court, Halstead, Essex – Alteration to shop window.
Cllr Atkinson proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Claydon, and agreed unanimously.

20/01170/FUL  – Parkfields Baptist Church, White Horse Avenue, Halstead, Essex – Demolition of Baptist Church and construction of two pairs of semi-detached dwellings = REVISED APPLICATION.
Cllr Radley proposed an objection to this application, on the grounds of over development, and poor access from the properties to the street, too close to the junction. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed

20/01176/ELD – 14 Firwoods Road, Halstead, CO9 1NF – Application for a Lawful Development Certificate for an existing use – Use of an outbuilding as a bedroom to the main house and not a separate dwelling.
Cllr Claydon proposed no objection, on the understanding that this bedroom was tied to the main house and not used as a separate dwelling. This was seconded by Cllr Caulfield, and unanimously agreed.

Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Radley

067.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS
The Mayor had 1 appointment to formally accept the Oak Road allotments from Barratt David Wilson Homes on 19 August at 13.30. He will also attend by zoom the AGM of Halstead Choral Society on 8 September.

Cllr Radley handed the chair to Cllr Claydon

068.  FINANCE. Cllr Claydon took the chair as Chair of Finance.

a)  To approve the Monthly finance report
Cllr Caulfield proposed acceptance of the report, and that the Empire Theatre should be charged rent from September onwards, when they are starting to run events once again. This was seconded by Cllr Radley and agreed unanimously.

b)  To approve the List of payments
Cllr Pell proposed approval of the List of payments. This was seconded by Cllr Munday and unanimously agreed.

c)  To approve the Bank Reconciliation
Cllr Munday proposed approval of Bank reconciliation.  This was seconded by Cllr Pell and carried by unanimous vote.

d)  To approve repairs to the fence at Parsonage St/Riverside walk
 Cllr  Pell proposed approval of these repairs.  This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson and carried by unanimous vote

e)  To consider offering Chapel Street permits to Oak Yard residents
It was proposed by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Gronland, that 5 additional permits in Chapel Street car park should be offered. These will be offered under exactly the same conditions as for all other permit holders, and those on the waiting list will have precedence. Residents of Oak Yard are welcome to join the waiting list, or to take up one of these permits, if there is no waiting list. This was unanimously agreed.

Cllr Claydon handed the Chair back to Cllr Radley.

069.  COMMUNITY HALL.
Cllr Pell of H4C had nothing to report. Cllr Radley stated that the working group were waiting for further information from H4C.

070.  DISTRICT COUNCILLORS.
Cllr Radley had sent a written report.

Cllr Munday said he had attended Full Council on 27 July and Member development on 29 July, and 2 planning meetings, where no Halstead applications were discussed.

Cllr Pell noted the statement on the 6 month rule, and said she had been working on household projections with members of all parties. Cabinet had recommended funding for Fusion, to allow them to continue in business. She reported that BDC finances were looking  better than previously thought. The Horizon 120 Business park will offer a big boost to jobs in Halstead.
Reports were noted

071.  To receive reports from Champions

  • There was no report on the surgery as Dr Kreis had been unable to join the meeting.
  • The Open Spaces Champions had an on-site meeting with Nicola Murphy of Braintree District Council to discuss extending the Riverwalk. They found that the current footpath had stopped near the football ground. Further work was required by BDC to ascertain land ownership before path could be extended. Maintenance work was identified for the current footpath near the sculptures. They also commented on the lack of improvement in the state of the river, as the Environment Agency has done nothing due to Covid-19 resource constraints.

Cllr Atkinson proposed that the Town Clerk should write to the Environment Agency appealing to them on behalf of Halstead Town Council to make urgent improvements to the river – copying in the local MP, Cllr Wendy Schmitt and the Minister at Westminster. Cllr Munday seconded this and this was unanimously agreed.

  • The Policing champions reported that there are 2 more specials in the pipeline, and that the motorcycles of 2 nuisance riders have been confiscated.

072.  FOOTBRIDGE UPDATE. 

Cllr. Munday gave a detailed feedback of the work he had been doing with the structural engineer and a local contractor regarding repair of the steel railings. Excellent progress has been made to define the extent of the work to be done. Further meetings will be held soon to finalise the details.

In support of this Cllr Munday asked the Town Clerk to search for a suitably licensed and qualified on-site welder to assist with the work and to ascertain the cost.

The working group will need to understand if a permit is required from the Environment Agency to do this work.

The working group will meet again soon to review all aspects of the work.

Following the excellent progress being made the Council now feels sufficiently confident to proceed with purchase of the bridge from the Crown Estates. The Town Clerk was asked to seek approval from the Crown Estates to undertake work on the bridge prior to purchase should there be any delay in the legal process.

Cllr Munday proposed that the Town Clerk should now initiate the process of purchasing the bridge and request approval to start work before ownership process is actually finished. This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson, and agreed unanimously.

073.  ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING.         
There was no report as HTC is still waiting for Land Registry documents

074.  TO REVIEW HTC’S POLICIES
Cllr Claydon proposed acceptance of the Policy Review schedule, seconded by Cllr Atkinson and agreed unanimously.

075.  TO REVIEW THE POLICY ON INTANGIBLE RISK   
Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the amendments to the policy on intangible risk, provided that a section on data being stored offsite to protect HTC from business interruption was added. The new version to be circulated by email.  This was seconded by Cllr Munday and agreed unanimously.

076.  TO REVIEW THE POLICY ON RISK MANAGEMENT
Cllr Munday proposed,  seconded by Cllr Gronland that the amendments to the Policy on Risk management be accepted. This was carried unanimously.

077.  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’ 

There was no further business.  Meeting closed at 21.03

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