Minutes of Town Council Meeting 12 October 2020

22nd October 2020

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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

This meeting was conducted Virtually 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   Present
Councillor D Hume   Apologies
Councillor A Munday   Present
Councillor Mrs J A Pell   Present
Councillor Miss L Smith   Apologies
Councillor G Warren   Present

 

Also in attendance:     Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)                             

125.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  Cllr Smith sent her apologies due to work commitments, Cllr Dingle sent her apologies due to a previous engagement, and Cllr Hume sent his apologies, as he was unable to connect.

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

126.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Pell  declared NPI Item 5, 20/01440/FUL as a member of BDC, and as a member of H4C (regarding contamination), 20/01381/HH as in her own road, a PI for  20/01483/FUL as developer is a fellow trustee, 19/00899 /FUL as objector is known to her, 20/01211/FUL as applicant is known to her, item 7b and 7b(a) as member of CSGMC and Halstead Hospital League of Friends, 7e as one of the builders is known to her, item 8 as a member of H4C.

Cllr Gronland declared NPI Item 5, 20/01483/FUL as developer is known to him.  Cllr Munday declared NPI  item 5, as he is a member of BDC planning committee, and item 7b as a member of BDC. Cllr Radley declared NPI item 20/01483/FUL as the applicant is known to him, and 7b as a member of BDC. Cllr  Warren declared NPI items 7b and 7b(a) as a member of CSGMC and 20/01493/OUT as the site is behind his house. . Cllr Caulfield declared NPI item 5, 20/01483/FUL as he has himself objected, and also on behalf of Hands Off Chapel Hill. Cllr Claydon declared NPI items 7b and 7b(a as a member of CSGMC.

127.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

No statements had been submitted by the public.

Cllr Gronland made a statement as a member of the public, concerning planning. He wanted to make a statement relating to the number of houses being built in the town at present, and planned for the future. Council can object only on technical issues, but he felt that councillors should be able to speak out, as they would otherwise be accused of rubberstamping applications. He stated that his LHP duties were overwhelming because of parking issues. New houses are not provided with enough parking, and for these reasons Cllr Gronland said that he was considering abstaining from voting. There is no point in looking at applications which will get through whatever the Council says.

Cllr Gronland stated that he will request a motion to be presented at the November meeting to debate HTC’s concerns with the overall impact of excessive housing growth upon the town’s infrastructure.

Cllr Atkinson referred to BDC’s Core Strategic Policy of 2011. The growth potential of Halstead is limited by its isolated location and high quality landscape setting. The services and infrastructure are of a lower quality than in Witham and Braintree.

Cllr Radley thanked Cllrs Atkinson and Gronland for their comments.

128.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 14 September 2020,.  Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes was put forward by Cllr Radley and seconded by Cllr Claydon  and agreed unanimously.

To approve the Minutes of the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 1 October 2020. Cllr Radley proposed approving the Minutes, seconded by Cllr Caulfield with 8 in favour and 1 abstention.

129.  PLANNING COMMITTEE

Cllr Pell took the Chair for this part of the meeting, as  Vice Chair of planning. Cllr Munday left the meeting.

20/01440/FUL – Land Adjacent Pitchards, Trinity Street, Halstead, Essex – Erection of 1 no. two storey dwelling, ancillary out-building and associated works (utilising existing vehicular access).
Cllr Atkinson proposed no objection to this application, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and this was agreed unanimously. Concern was raised over noise and disruption to the residents at the care home at Gladys Malpass house.

Cllr Pell left the meeting, and Cllr Radley took the Chair

20/01381/HH – 46 Highfields, Halstead, Essex – Erection of single-storey garage attached to existing dwelling
Cllr Atkinson proposed objection to this application, on grounds of the tight access on the corner, the fact that access is onto a footpath, and the lack of visibility. This was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and unanimously agreed.

Cllrs Radley and Gronland left the meeting. Cllr Claydon was proposed by Cllr Fincken, and seconded by Cllr Warren as Chair for this part of the meeting.

20/01483/FUL – 83 Chapel Hill, Halstead, Essex – Erection of 5 no. dwellings with associated parking and garaging and alterations to previously approved and part implemented scheme for the erection of a replacement dwelling.
Cllr Fincken proposed objection to the application, on grounds of the effect the development would have on surrounding areas, loss of countryside and access to it, and the visual impact on the town. This was seconded by Cllr Warren, and agreed unanimously.

Cllrs Radley, Gronland and Pell returned to the meeting, and Cllr Pell once again took the chair of the planning meeting.

19/00899/FUL (Revised plan) – Land at East Mill, Halstead, Essex – Reduction from 5 dwellings to 4 (omission of Plot 1) and some minor re-positioning / re-designing.
Cllr Atkinson proposed objection to the application on the grounds that the site remained too cramped, and there was no room for parking for 4 more houses, that this could be classed as overdevelopment on an unadopted track and would be detrimental to the area. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

20/01474/FUL – Units 1,2 & 3 Sixth Avenue, Bluebridge Ind Estate, Halstead, Essex – Erection of B1 & B8 commercial units
Cllr Pell proposed no objection to this application and welcomed the jobs it would bring to Halstead. This was seconded by Cllr Radley and unanimously agreed.

20/01493/OUT – Land at Mount Hill, Halstead, Essex – Outline application with all matters reserved except access for up to 130 dwellings with new landscaping, open space, access and associated infrastructure
Cllr Atkinson proposed objection to this application on the following grounds:

  • It lies within the boundary of Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural, which would mean there would be no council tax income for Halstead, but the development would be dependent on the Halstead infrastructure of schools, doctors’ surgery and transport, which is already inadequate for the size of the town
  • The applicant refers to the boundary of Halstead at the Oak Road development. All of Oak Road is within the Halstead boundary
  • The area is not suitable for a development of this size and the density is too great
  • It is susceptible to flooding at the junction with Blamsters, and any connection for surface water onto the A131 would exacerbate this problem
  • This junction is also an accident blackspot
  • There is already queuing of traffic at peak times when entering Halstead. Introducing a roundabout or traffic lights would increase congestion
  • Some bus stops indicated on plans do not exist and it would not be safe to locate them in these positions
  • The parking planned would be inadequate
  • This area is not designated for development in the Local Development framework core strategy of 2011. The growth potential of Halstead is limited by its isolated location and high quality landscape setting. The services and infrastructure are of a lower quality than in Witham and Braintree
  • There would be a loss of fauna and flora on a greenfield site
  • This development represents a loss of valuable countryside as visitors enter the town
  • It would have no identity of its own, being tagged onto Halstead, but not close enough to be part of its parish of Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural
  • Error on p.32. The highway is A131 not A133 (transport assessment)

    The objection was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

20/01499/HH – 63 New Street, Halstead, Essex – Garage conversion/extension and first floor Juliet balcony
Cllr Pell proposed no objection to this application, subject to it being tied to the main property. This was seconded by Cllr Caulfield, and unanimously agreed.

20/01211/FUL – 45 High Street, Halstead, Essex – Demolition of warehouse and erection of two semi detached cottages with parking. Cllr Radley proposed objection to this application as it was felt that this would be overdevelopment to build 2 cottages in the designated space. This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously agreed.

20/00975/FUL (Amendment) – 1 Windmill Road, Halstead, Essex – Erection of an end of terrace 3 bedroom dwelling and new vehicular access
Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application, as the amended design was an improvement and the windows more in keeping with the area. This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously agreed.   

Cllr Radley took back the Chair of the meeting, and Cllr Munday returned to the meeting.  Cllr Munday commented that BDC was now able to admit members of the public or councillors to attend its planning meetings via zoom.                        

130.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS

Cllr Radley stated that he had attended the Halstead & District Photographic Society (virtual) Twin Towns International Photography Competition, which had been very successful and had been attended by 64 people, internationally.
He also mentioned that the lights switch-on will be a closed event., and that HTC is planning a free raffle for the over 60s, with prizes, to keep in contact with them, and a snowman naming competition for children.

Cllr Radley handed the chair to Cllr Claydon

131.  FINANCE COMMITTEE. Cllr Claydon took the chair as Chair of Finance.

a)  To approve the Monthly finance report
Cllr Gronland commented that the Council’s finances were in good shape in spite of the impact of the virus.
Cllr Claydon proposed acceptance of the report. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and agreed unanimously.

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

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

d)  To approve a minor change to the Annual Governance statement
Cllr Radley proposed that the change is accepted. This was seconded by Cllr Warren and agreed unanimously.

e)  To approve urgent repairs to the back wall of the Empire Theatre
Cllr Radley proposed that Quote B for the repairs be approved and funded from Earmarked Reserves. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and agreed unanimously.

It was agreed to ask Cllr Munday to talk to the Empire about whether the second part of the repairs would be classified as internal or external repairs under the lease.

f)  To approve the cancellation of rent for the Empire Theatre for October 2020.
Cllr Munday proposed a further rent holiday for October for the Empire, to be reviewed again in November. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken and agreed unanimously

Cllr Munday left the meeting.

Cllr Claydon handed the Chair back to Cllr Radley.

132.  COMMUNITY HALL.

There was nothing to report from either H4C or the working group of HTC, except that further advice is being taken on the land contamination.

133.  DISTRICT COUNCILLORS.

Cllr Pell reported that she had attended Full council, Members’ briefings on planning, housing and Charterplus assessment, and also a Partners’ development meeting on Community safety. She also reported that at the Full Council meeting on 5 October Cllr Radley had been asked to take on the role of Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. She has split her grant between the Empire, and the Salvation Army who are planning this year to deliver frozen Christmas dinners to those in need.

Cllr Radley reported that he had also attended Full council, the Members’ briefings on housing and planning. He was honoured by the new role he had been given, but recognised that it would be a challenge. A new report on town centre redevelopment in Halstead is due for release soon.

Reports were noted

134.   TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM CHAMPIONS

Surgery
Cllrs Gronland and Radley are arranging an update in a small meeting with the surgery.

Police
Cllr Warren reported that there was no news on the Specials, but that a speedwatch for Halstead had been suggested by the police, on Colchester Road, Sudbury Road, Mount Hill and Hedingham Road. The equipment would be supplied by the police and the training given by the Fire Brigade. This is a project which will be tackled in 2021, and a working group consisting of Cllrs Warren, Claydon and Gronland with the Town Clerk will be set up to investigate further and report back to council. There are volunteers available who would like to be involved.

Open spaces and environment
Cllr Fincken had sent the current Open Spaces Action Plan to all Councillors for them to suggest any appropriate changes.

Some progress is being made on the Riverwalk with BDC. The Environment Agency will be working to improve the look of the river along the Causeway, but some cooperation is needed from the owner of the land on the north side of the river in order to improve its appearance.

Cllr Fincken urged HTC to consider the best way it can make a contribution to part II of the Local Plan and work together with BDC to achieve the best for Halstead.

Cllr Radley proposed extending Standing orders to complete the agenda business, seconded by Cllr Warren, and unanimously agreed.

Education champions had not been in touch with schools during the time of the pandemic, as schools have enough to cope with, but are planning to write to the schools to remind them that the champions are there to help.

Tourism
Cllr Pell reported that nothing can be done currently on the tourism front.

Champions reports were noted

135.  FOOTBRIDGE UPDATE.

Cllr Munday had provided a comprehensive report on progress in the repairs to the Riverside bridge. It was recognised that good progress is being made.

The report was noted.

136.  TO APPROVE THE SCHEDULE OF DATES FOR COUNCIL AND SAC MEETINGS FOR 2021/22

Cllr Radley proposed that the dates be approved, seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously agreed.

137.  TO RECONSIDER HTC’S ACTIONS TO OFFSET CLIMATE CHANGE

Cllr Gronland proposed that the Town Clerk should conduct further research into electricity generation through the installation of solar panels on the Queens Hall roof, looking at the investment and return, This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson, with 7 in favour and 1 abstention.

138.  TO NOTE REORTS ON PARKING AND HIGHWAYS

Cllr Pell stated that Essex Highways were not fit for purpose, in their management of the roads in Halstead, with constant unnecessary road closures causing lengthy diversions

Cllr Pell proposed that the Town Clerk write to Cllr Kevin Bentley on behalf of HTC and request a meeting relating to Highways issues. Cllr Atkinson seconded this, and it was unanimously agreed.

The reports were noted

139.  TO REVIEW THE HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY IN LINE WITH THE POLICY REVIEW SCHEDULE

Cllr Pell proposed that HTC should approve this policy, seconded by Cllr Warren and unanimously agreed.

140.  TO NOTE RECEIPT OF THE APPROVED PUBLIC MINUTES OF EXTRAORDINARY STAFF ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING 24 SEPTEMBER 2020

The report was noted

There was no further business.  Meeting closed at 21.37

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