Minutes of Town Council Meeting 15 June 2020

24th June 2020



15 June 2020 at  19:15
Held at
Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 2BY 

This meeting was conducted by Zoom


Councillor M Radley Chairman   Present
Councillor D Gronland Vice Chairman Present 
Councillor Miss J Atkinson   Apologies
Councillor P Caulfield   Present
Councillor P Claydon   Present
Councillor Mrs S Dingle   Unable to connect
Councillor M Fincken   Present
Councillor D Hume   Present
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       

027.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE Cllr Warren sent his apologies due to family commitments. Cllr Miss Smith gave her apologies due to work commitments. Cllr Atkinson sent her apologies as she was unwell.

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

028.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Mrs Pell declared NPI for item 5, 20/00854/HH as a friend lives opposite the Chase, item 7 as a member of CSGMC and item 8 as a member of H4C. Cllr Hume declared Item 5 NPI 20/00854/HH as next door neighbour of applicant is a friend, 20/00854/HH as property opposite own house, and will leave the meeting, Item 7a as Secretary to PCC and to CSGMC, and item 7h as Secretary to CSGMC. Cllr Fincken declared NPI in Agenda item 5, Planning application 20/00743/FUL, as the property is visible from his house. Cllr Claydon declared item 7h, as a member of CSGMC. Cllr Radley declared NPI  item 5, 20/00718/HH as a person commenting on the application is known to him. Cllr Munday declared NPI in all planning as a member of BDC, and said he would leave the meeting for all planning. Also a PI for item 7f.          

a) . A request had been received from Helen Wolf of the 21st Century Group to state that her statement in Public questions on 16/3/20 was wrongly recorded in the Minutes of that meeting. She had asked that the wording be changed to “c) Public questions : Ms Helen Wolf spoke as member of the 21st Century Group concerning the Heritage Open Day with 5 events planned in the District and hoped that more can be added to this Open Day” (to replace “… and hoped that the air-raid shelters in Halstead can be added to this Open Day“ )

Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the changed wording, seconded by Cllr Claydon, and this was carried unanimously.

b) Grahame McCoyd had submitted a question concerning the fact that another month had passed without a report on the footbridge. He realised that the restrictions of the pandemic would have had some effect but thought that some progress could have been made. He requested that a report be prepared for the July meeting outlining the issues.

Cllr Munday, chairman of the Riverside bridge working group, responded that he had felt unable to request that a builder do work free of charge during the pandemic, so had not yet approached the developer who had earlier suggested that he would complete the bridge repair. He stated that he will approach the builder after 1/07/20, and will prepare a report for the July meeting.

b) A resident had submitted a question relating to the riding of motor cycles in the evenings around the town, in particular using Parsonage Street as a rat run. It was agreed that the 2 police champions Cllr Warren and Cllr Claydon would liaise with PC Wheeler and with the resident on this matter.

030.  MINUTES a) To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 18 May 2020.   Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes was put forward by Cllr Radley and seconded by Cllr Gronland, carried unanimously.

b) To approve the minutes of the public and private sessions of the Staff Advisory Committee meetings on 2 June 2020. Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes was put forward by Cllr Radley and seconded by Cllr Pell. There were 7 votes in favour and 1 abstention.

Cllr Hume took the Chair for this part of the meeting.
Cllr Munday left the meeting at this point.

20/00718/HH – 5 Ashlong Grove, Halstead, Essex – Erection of a single storey rear extension and loft conversion comprising of rear and side dormers.
Plans have been amended, and the removal of the balcony was welcomed. Neighbours are now happy with the plans. Councillors have previously requested that obscured glass be used in all windows at the rear and would like to repeat this request.
Cllr Pell proposed no objection to this application, this was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and carried unanimously.

20/00743/FUL – 61 Kings Road, Halstead, Essex – Conversion of Brands Direct Head Office (B1) into an 8 unit Apart-hotel (C1) and associated works
This application had been previously approved, and there have been only minor amendments.
Cllr Fincken proposed no objection to this application, seconded by Cllr Caulfield, and carried unanimously.

20/00789/HH – 6 Nether Court, Halstead, Essex – First floor side extension and alteration to fenestration. 
Cllr Pell proposed no objection to this application, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and carried unanimously.

Cllr Hume left the meeting, and Cllr Pell took the chair.

20/00854/HH – The Chase, Pretoria Road, Halstead – Alterations and conversion of roof space to habitable accommodation, single storey side extension, and alterations to fenestration
Cllr Pell proposed no objection to this application, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and carried unanimously.

Cllr Munday and Cllr Hume returned to the meeting

Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Radley                           

There was no report on the Mayor’s appointments as none have been possible, due to the virus.

Cllr Radley raised the matter of the Mayor’s Charity 20/21, and considered the difficulty of raising funds during the pandemic. That aside, he asked members to make suggestions on suitable Halstead charities, and asked the Clerk to do the same with the staff.

033.  FINANCE. Cllr Radley Chair of Finance for 19/20 presented Finance Reports 7a – d, as these relate to the Financial year 19/20.

a) 2019/20 Financial accounts and current assets
Cllr Radley presented a summary of the keypoints from the End of year accounts 19/20. The year had  produced a surplus of £38,658, which was £10,243 more than had been expected, and exceptionally good performance for the year. As the Holy Trinity Wall repair is imminent, Cllr Radley suggested a reallocation of the Earmarked reserves, to provide enough to pay for the repair. Cllr Munday asked for reassurance that those areas which had been allocated funds previously would not be neglected, after the current year. Cllr Radley agreed that those funds should be returned to the other projects, although it is possible in the current climate that the full planned surplus will not arise in 20/21.

Cllr Radley also explained that there were 3 invoices outstanding with Sainsburys which the Town Clerk is pursuing. There is difficulty in following payments as Sainsburys never link payments to an invoice number. He also explained that the Courtaulds Sports ground was an asset of HTC which should be added to the assets at a value of £1, as it had been gifted to HTC many years ago.
Cllr  Radley proposed acceptance of the Year-end accounts, seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried unanimously..

b) To approve the Internal Auditor’s report
Town Clerk and all HTC staff were congratulated on a successful internal audit.
Cllr  Munday proposed approval of the Internal auditor’s report. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed..

c) To approve the Annual Governance statement
Cllr Munday proposed approval of the Annual Governance statement.
This was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and carried by unanimous vote.

d) To approve the Accounting statements for audit
Cllr  Munday proposed that the Accounting statements be accepted.  This was seconded by Cllr Gronland  and carried by unanimous vote

Cllr Munday thanked Cllr Radley for his work as Chair of Finance.

Cllr Radley handed the Chair to Cllr Peter Claydon, newly elected Chair of Finance.

e) To approve the monthly finance report.
Cllr Claydon pointed out to members that quite a lot of the income from coach outings, parking permits, Queens Hall and Tenancies will need to be paid back due to cancellations caused by the Covid-19 restrictions.
Cllr Fincken proposed approval of the monthly finance report. 
This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote

f) and f(a) To approve the list of payments
Cllr Pell proposed approval of the list of payments. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken, and carried unanimously, with 1 abstention.

g) To approve the Bank reconciliation
Cllr Pell proposed acceptance of the Bank reconciliation, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and carried unanimously.

h) to consider the purchase of a mower for the bowls club green, as already budgeted from Capital reserves
Cllr Munday proposed that the mower be purchased, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and carried unanimously.

i) to consider the replacement of the ramp at Courtaulds Close allotments
Cllr Fincken proposed that Quote C for the replacement of the allotment ramp be accepted. Purchase of materials should be carried out by HTC if possible in order to save the VAT payment. This was to be explored with the supplier. Cllr Munday seconded this proposal, which was carried unanimously.

j) to consider aspects of carparks
Cllr Radley explained that the Town Clerk is continuing to do research over the various ways of achieving contactless payment, and which would be the less costly of the options to install and run. It is hoped that the results of that further research will be available in July in order that a decision can be made. In the meantime, the car park attendant will be wiping the machine down on an hourly basis, and the council will provide hand sanitiser.
Cllr Fincken proposed and Cllr Gronland seconded that the free parking which had been made available to key workers during the pandemic should cease from 4 July 2020. This was carried unanimously.

Cllr Claydon handed the Chair back to Cllr Radley.

There were no reports for this month. H4C is awaiting the outcome of its planning application for the hoarding around the site to allow decontamination to start. Cllr Radley confirmed that a meeting of the HTC working group for H4C could be planned during lockdown if required.

Verbal reports were received from the BDC councillors. Cllr Munday reported that he had attended 3 planning meetings and member development sessions on Covid-19 developments.   

Cllr Hume reported that he will be attending the next Local Plan meeting, and that there was a Strategic Development meeting coming up.

Cllr Pell said that she had attended the weekly meeting with other group leaders and Directors and the Chief Executive. HTC had been congratulated on what it had achieved. It had been mentioned that the new Horizon 120 development would provide local employment, and that a new crossparty cycling strategy was being developed. She also mentioned that a homeless man Bob had been so grateful to Halstead for helping him during the pandemic that he had bagged up all the rubbish left by the travellers. BDC had taken it away as a one-off, and it is hoped that they might find him employment.
Cllr Radley reported that he had attended a performance management meeting, and that HTC had held a meeting with Nicola Murphy of BDC.
Report was noted

036.  To receive reports from Champions
Cllr Warren had sent a written report on policing, and the increases in the numbers of regular police officers and specials in Halstead. He will be issuing a press release.
Cllr Fincken reported that the meeting with Nicola Murphy had discussed the already available S106 monies, and the tennis courts planned at Courtaulds, the extension to the River walk, and the lack of progress on the Ramsey recreation ground.
Cllr Munday proposed that these reports be noted, seconded by Cllr Pell, and unanimously agreed.

There was no report on the footbridge

All plans are ready for the repair work to the Holy Trinity churchyard wall. Essex Highways, the diocese, the school and the residents at Pitchards have all been contacted, and 2 quotes have been received for the repair work.
Cllr Munday proposed that HTC should wait for the third quote until 26 June, should seek clarification of the difference between the 2 quotes already received, and then make a decision by email. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken, and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Munday moved Standing Orders for 15 minutes, seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

There was no report as HTC is waiting for Land Registry documents

It was proposed by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Caulfield that  the remaining 2 outings, and the Beavers concert on 16/8/20 should be cancelled. This was carried unanimously.
It was proposed by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Gronland that Queens Hall should remain closed until government guidance indicated that it was safe to open. This was agreed unanimously.

041.  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 21.36