Draft Minutes of Town Council Meeting 14 September 2020

24th September 2020

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

arms.jpg

DRAFT MINUTES OF TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
14 September  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   Present
Councillor M Fincken   Present
Councillor D Hume   Present
Councillor A Munday   Present
Councillor Mrs J A Pell   Present
Councillor Miss L Smith   Present
Councillor G Warren   Present

Also in attendance:     Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)                             

087.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  There were none

088.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Pell  declared NPI Item 5 20/01286/HH as the agent is known to her, 20/01115/LBC as a member of BDC as the property is part-owned by BDC, the Consultation on the Local Plan, as a Member of BDC, item 7b and 7b(a) as a member of CSGMC, item 15, as BDC own the park and the playing field, and Item 10 Tourism, as immediate family member works in the East of England co-op Head Office.     

Cllr Gronland declared NPI Item 7b as the contractor being paid is known to him. Cllr Munday declared NPI  item 7b and 7b(a) as the contractor being paid is known to him, item 7d and item 19 as a member of the Empire Theatre Trust Committee, Item 15 as a member of BDC and BDC own the playing field, and item 5 he would leave the meeting as he sits on the Planning Committee at BDC. Cllr Radley declared NPI item 5 20/01115/LBC as a member of BDC and the land is part-owned by BDC, Consultation on Local Plan as a member of BDC, and Item 15 as the playing field is owned by BDC. Cllr Atkinson declared NPI item 7b as Helen Wolff is known to her. Cllrs Claydon and Warren declared NPI items 7b and 7b(a) as members of CSGMC. Cllr Hume declared NPI item 5 20/01394/FUL as agent is known to him, 20/01115/LBC as a member of BDC and the land is part-owned by BDC, Consultation on Local Plan as a member of BDC, and Item 15 as the playing field is owned by BDC, 7a as partner is a member of the Bowls club at Courtaulds, and 7b(a) as secretary of CSGMC..

089.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME 

a) Dr Kreis from the Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery was expected to give an update on the surgery but did not attend the meeting.

b) A Public question had been received from Rupesh Harding of King’s Road, concerning parking in King’s Road.

It was agreed that the Town Clerk should respond on the points made by Mr Harding and sympathise with the difficulties experienced by those who live in King’s Road. HTC must point out that it raised no objection to the site when it came up for discussion in January and June 2020, but did comment that the access and egress should be rethought. Mr Harding’s letter is already on the portal. HTC should suggest that Mr Harding can attend the BDC meeting by contacting BDC. HTC will also add, when contacting him, any comments which come out of the planned meeting on parking issues with Cllr Beavis on 23 September 2020.

090.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 10 August 2020, Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes was put forward by Cllr Fincken and seconded by Cllr Atkinson with 9 in favour and 3 abstentions.

091.  PLANNING APPLICATIONS

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

20/01133/LBC – 10 Weavers Row, Halstead, Essex – Removal of internal wall, consisting of 3 wooden beams from floor to ceiling and exposed brick work that is half height to the beams to open the downstairs space and removal of panelled wall that covers the staircase. 

Cllr Fincken proposed no objection to this application, although he said that he would support the observations made by the historic buildings consultant. This was seconded by Cllr Pell and agreed unanimously.

All the remaining applications were passed under a single vote, as they did not present any problems:

20/01115/LBC – Symonds Court, St Andrews Road, Halstead – Repairs to boundary wall adjacent to Symonds Court and The Parsonage, Halstead

20/01327/HH – 54 Trinity Road, Halstead, Essex – Erection of a single storey rear extension

20/01335/HH – 15 Vicarage Meadow, Halstead, Essex – Replacement of flat roof to mono pitch roof.

20/01394/FUL – Unit 9-11 Fourth Avenue, Bluebridge Industrial Estate, Halstead – First floor extension to existing single storey offices (unit 9 & 11) and associated alterations to the existing.

20/01455/FUL & 20/01359/LBC – 36 High Street, Halstead, Essex – Proposed second storey rear extension and internal alterations to the rear of 36 High Street

20/01286/HH – 62 Nether Court, Halstead, CO9 2HF – Erection of a first floor extension over the existing single storey side elevation.

Cllr Pell proposed no objection to these 6 applications en bloc, seconded by Cllr Atkinson, and agreed unanimously.

Consultation on the 2017 draft Local Plan, specifically on the Proposed

Main Modifications and associated documents-

Councillors agreed that they would like to hold an Extraordinary meeting before the deadline of 9 October, and that they would be pleased if Emma Goodings could address the meeting.

Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Radley, and Cllr Munday returned to the meeting.                           

092.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS

Cllr Radley reported that the handover of the Oak Road allotments had gone well. Halstead Choral are very much hampered by current restrictions but may try to do something with a school around Christmas. They expressed their thanks for the HTC grant.

Cllr Radley handed the chair to Cllr Claydon

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

a) To approve the Monthly finance report
Cllr  Claydon proposed acceptance of the report, This was seconded by Cllr Warren      and agreed unanimously.

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

c) To approve the Bank Reconciliation
Cllr Claydon proposed approval of Bank reconciliation.

This was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.

d) To approve repainting of the Empire steps
Cllr Caulfield proposed that Quote A is accepted, subject to their using warrantied materials, and the decision is delegated to the Chairman and Town Clerk if they cannot guarantee their materials. This was seconded by Cllr Atkinson and agreed unanimously.

Cllr Claydon handed the Chair back to Cllr Radley.

094.  COMMUNITY HALL.

There was nothing to report from either H4C or the working group of HTC.

095.  DISTRICT COUNCILLORS.

Cllr Munday reported that he had attended 2 Planning Committee meetings on 18 August and 1 September, during which he had seen 1 planning application for Halstead, in a change to the Oak Road development application, where the planned convenience store had been lost to 5 additional houses. On 17 August he had attended a Halstead Town Centre regeneration update meeting. He had donated his Community grant as BDC councillor to the replacement side entry doors at the Empire Theatre, and this had been approved by BDC.

Cllr Hume had attended a Corporate Governance meeting, and also a briefing on the Town Centre development in Halstead, which he had found disappointing as there was little real progress. He would be attending a meeting of the Local Plan subcommittee on 17 September.  He reported that a grant had been given to 5th Halstead Girl Guides for camping equipment.

Cllr Pell had attended Cabinet, which had focused mainly on finance. She is still attending leaders’ meetings, but these are now less frequent. She had had a meeting with Cllr Tom Cunningham to talk about markets. She had received complaints about flooding to the shops in Bridge Street and had pointed out that this is the responsibility of Essex Highways. She had attended the Oak Road allotment handover in her capacity as a BDC councillor. She had attended 2 licensing committee meetings, and reported that the problems in Blamsters Crescent are related to the width of the road, which needs widening. She had given part of her Community grant to the Empire towards their dementia-friendly cinema.

Cllr Radley had attended a performance management meeting, and would be attending a members’ development meeting. He reported that BDC had been given £30m by central government in business grants, which had been distributed to 2600 local firms. BDC had also suspended £18m worth of business rates over 864 local businesses. He would be attending with Cllr Gronland on 29 September a ceremony with the surveyor and building firm to mark the making of Holy Trinity wall safe.

Reports were noted

096.  To receive reports from Champions

Open spaces and environment
Cllr Atkinson reported that the support of the Town Council had assisted in the improvement of the river, and the collaboration with the Environment Agency. Her report summarised everything that had been done. She and Cllr Fincken are currently researching the 129 historic buildings in Halstead.

Police
Cllr Warren reported that Halstead now has 3 specials, 1 of whom is fully independent. Speed checks are being carried out around the town. He asked members to let him or Cllr Claydon know if they are planning to request speed checks.

Education champions will report in October.

Tourism
Cllr Smith reported that she is waiting for a date for a meeting on the market. Cllr Smith has a big contact list. There are 27 interested stallholders, and they would like to extend the market area around the solar supermarket. It is hoped that there could be a monthly market including this area, if it can be accepted under the market charter and carried out within the Covid-19 guidelines. There are 2 new businesses, Fox and Herb delicatessen and café, and Dough & Co pizza restaurant.

Champions reports were noted

097.  FOOTBRIDGE UPDATE.

Town Clerk had received the following statement from the solicitors acting for the Crown Estate. “The Crown Estate cannot consent to repairs or remedial works being carried out to the Property whilst legal proceedings are ongoing.  However, we would also point out that it is highly unlikely that The Crown Estate would seek to interfere with any works carried out by an appropriate body that has the requisite power and ability to remedy the issues.  Please note that any such works would be carried out entirely at the risk and expense of those executing them.”

Cllr Gronland proposed that HTC agrees to start repair work on the bridge, accepting the points in the above statement, seconded by Cllr Fincken and agreed unanimously.

Cllr Gronland proposed that HTC carries on with the work to reopen the bridge, as outlined in the report from the working group, This was seconded by Cllr Warren and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Munday asked the Town Clerk to work with Cllr Atkinson on the permits required to complete the work. Cllr Radley thanked Cllr Munday and the working group for the progress being made.

098.  ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING.         

There was no report as HTC is still waiting for Land Registry documents which had been promised in the next few weeks.

099.  TO APPROVE THE POLICY ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Cllr Radley reported that the performance management policy had been reviewed and overhauled by the Staff Advisory Committee, using best practice from other councils. The policy had been unanimously agreed by the Staff Advisory Committee on 8 September 2020.

Cllr Radley proposed that the policy be accepted as presented, seconded by Cllr Claydon and unanimously agreed.

100.  TO REVIEW HTC’S POSITION ON THE HOLDING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS

Cllr Pell proposed that HTC should continue to hold its meetings virtually as per the policy outlined in the report, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and unanimously agreed.

101.  TO NOTE BEHAVIOUR AT KING GEORGE V PLAYING FIELD

Cllr Fincken stated that the bad behaviour in the field this summer had been worse than anything he had experienced in 43 years. A bench had also been destroyed in the playing field- BDC were aware of the suspect but would not press charges. Cllr Warren had attended a meeting with the police along with other residents, and the vandalism had reduced since that meeting. The police had written to the families of 12 teenagers who had been causing trouble, and this had had some effect.

Cllr Gronland proposed that the Town Clerk write to BDC stating what has happened, and to the Gazette explaining what HTC is doing. Cllr Atkinson seconded this, and it was unanimously agreed.

102.  TO CONSIDER JOINING THE RURAL/MARKET TOWNS GROUP

Cllr Warren proposed that HTC should join his group on a trial basis for a year, seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously agreed.

103.  TO APPROVE DATES FOR FORTHCOMING SAC MEETINGS

Cllr Fincken proposed and Cllr Atkinson seconded adoption of the dates put forward for SAC meetings in 2020/21. This was unanimously agreed.

104.  TO ADDRESS PARKING ISSUES IN HALSTEAD

A number of issues related to parking had been brought to the Council’s attention over recent months. Cllr Gronland felt that there were 3 main causes:

  • The increase in car ownership per household
  • The increase in housebuilding
  • There are commercial vehicles parking in almost every road

Planning needs to address parking issues when planning applications are received for new housing. The issue of parking on verges should be included in any discussions, especially as it is not always clear whether a verge is owned by BDC or ECC. Cllr Caulfield commented that the verge is always the responsibility of Highways, therefore ECC.

A meeting is already planned with Cllr Beavis to discuss current Highways issues, to include Jasmine Wiles and a colleague from Highways, Cllr Radley, Cllr Gronland, and the Town Clerk.

Cllr Gronland suggested that the Town Clerk arrange meetings, with NEPP, with the community specials and the Champions, and with BDC, in addition to the meeting already planned.

Cllr Radley proposed that Standing Orders should be extended for 30 minutes, seconded by Cllr Warren and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Gronland proposed that HTC engages with the agencies involved with parking with the aim of addressing the parking issues in Halstead. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

105.  TO RECEIVE A REPORT ON MINOR STRUCTURAL CHANGE AT THE EMPIRE THEATRE

Cllr Warren proposed that HTC approves the plan to replace the screen at the Empire Theatre, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Munday suggested that HTC should give the Empire another month’s rent holiday. It was agreed that this should be decided through a separate vote by email with the Town Clerk.

106.  TO RECEIVE MINUTES OF THE EVENTS WORKING GROUP HELD ON 11 AUGUST 2020

Cllr Pell proposed that the minutes of the Events working group be noted, seconded by Cllr Atkinson and unanimously agreed.

107.  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 Atkinson proposed, seconded by Cllr Pell, that Public and Press should be excluded.

IN PRIVATE SESSION

108.  STAFF ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT

The receipt of the Minutes of the public session of the Staff Advisory Committee of 8 September 2020 was noted.

109, 110, 111, 112 the meeting continued in private session to discuss staff matters.

There was no further business.  Meeting closed at 22.00

X