Draft Minutes of Town Council Meeting 21 September 2021

29th September 2021

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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DRAFT MINUTES OF TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
 21 September 2021 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   Apologies
Councillor P Caulfield   Apologies
Councillor P Claydon   Apologies
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   Present
Councillor G Warren   Apologies

 

Also in attendance: Ian Tinton, Dave Pleasance, Cllr Chris Siddall, Anne Thrussell, Rosie Day

Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)

086.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  Cllr Dingle sent her apologies due to ill health and Cllrs Munday and Caulfield sent their apologies, for personal reasons. Cllrs Atkinson, Claydon and Warren sent their apologies due to work commitments.

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

087.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS:

Cllr  Pell  declared NPI item 5, 21/02017,VAR as friend owns property nearby, 21/02658/106A  due to Eastlight /BDC connection, 21/02611/HH as agent is known to her, 21/02498 as owner of next door house is known to her, 21/02526/FUL as owner is known to her, 7b, 7b(a) as member of BDC/CSGMC, 8 as member of H4C, 19 as member of Halstead Hospital League of Friends. Cllr Hume declared NPI item 5, 21/02543/HH  as it relates to a near neighbour, 21/02182, 21/02017/VAR, 21/02611 as agent is known to him, 21/02658 as member of BDC, 7a, 7b, 7ba as member of BDC/CSGMC.  Cllr Smith declared item 7ba, 7e as organiser of Christmas Fayre. Cllr Radley  declared NPI item 7b as a BDC councillor and 21/02658/106A as the property is owned by Eastlight/BDC. Cllr Gronland declared item 5 21/02182/HH as it is near his son’s house.

088.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

a)Public questions

Dave Pleasance spoke about the applications to change the tenure of the Mount Hill development by Eastlight. Eastlight is a charity recently formed through merging several similar housing charities, with little experience of managing developments. What is now being suggested is a radical change to the original 106 pledges, and he suggested that what they are trying to do is not legal, and said that 106 contributions must be necessary, relevant and reasonable, and fair in terms of scope. He said that it is now proposed to change the development from mixed housing to only houses with shared ownership or affordable housing. He says that there are already many shared ownership houses in Halstead which are difficult to sell. It appears that Birketts, lawyers for the development, have presented the case as a fait accompli and there is no way of discussing or disputing, even though they are not complying with section 106 law. The development was pushed through by inspectors as a mixed development, and the radical changes suggested should not be allowed through without comment. In addition, the matter of the SUDS has not yet been approved by Highways, and the development cannot move forward until that happens.

Ian Tinton had asked questions of the BDC representatives who had attended the previous meeting, and had since received useful advice from their senior officer, Julie O’Hara. He emphasised the need to report all flooding on the ECC website. He had learn a huge amount, and is still working on flooding issues. He will be able to report further in a few weeks.

b) Report from HAPPY

Rosie Day reported that the Summer holiday activities had been organised in 2021 by HAPPY. There had been a lot of children attending from different schools, and backgrounds. Cllr Radley thanked Hannah Birch for all her efforts in organising the activities.

089.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on 16 August 2021,.  Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes of 16 August 2021 was put forward by Cllr Fincken,  seconded by Cllr Hume, with 5 in favour and 1 abstention.

090.  PLANNING  APPLICATIONS

Cllr Hume led discussions for this part of the meeting.

The following Planning Applications, which were received and circulated electronically, were to be considered at the Council meeting.

21/02182/HH – 32 Trinity Road, Halstead, Essex – Erection of a replacement porch

21/02017/VAR – 7A High Street, Halstead, Essex – Variation of Condition 2 (Approved Plans) of permission 17/01418/FUL granted 22/11/2017 for: Change of use of the first floor to residential and renovation of the second floor to provide two residential units.  Variation would allow second floor layout change.

21/02582/HH – 13 Vicarage Meadow, Halstead, Essex – Two storey side extension with two conservation type roof windows.

21/02611/HH & 21/02612/LBC – 55-59 Head Street, Halstead, Essex – Removal of later addition dormer windows and replacement with heritage type roof lights,  Replacement side window & revision of side elevation from cement render to part timber clad.

21/02543/HH – 62 Pretoria Road, Halstead, Essex – Proposed two storey side and rear single storey extensions.

21/02498/HH – Ariella, Tidings Hill, Halstead – Single storey side extension

21/02526/FUL & 21/02774/LBC – Crowbridge Farm, Chapel Hill, Halstead – Conversion of barns into 1 No. dwelling with associated rebuild of outbuilding as a garage/carport, boundary treatments and ancillary works.

The above 7 applications were handled en bloc, Cllr Pell proposed no objection to all 7 applications, seconded by Cllr Hume, and unanimously agreed.

21/02416/FUL – Cedars Place, Sudbury Road, Halstead, Essex – Construction of additional parking spaces

Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application, seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed. Attention was drawn to the fact that there would be more light and noise pollution due to the extra parking, and to the fact that the wall between the Cedars and the adjoining property may not now be high enough to provide enough segregation.

21/02658/106A – Land West of, Mount Hill, Halstead – Application made under Section 106a of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 (as amended0 and the Town and Country Planning (Modification and Discharge of Planning Obligations) Regulations 1992 (as amended) – Application to modify schedule 2.

This application came before Council on 15 February 2021.

Councillors made very strong objection for the following reasons:

  • The SUDs scheme is inadequate to cope with the existing runoff let alone what will be caused after the building
  • The flood water running off will damage the existing houses at Greenbanks and Monklands
  • The new houses will overlook Greenbanks
  • A meeting had been called with the residents but the developer called it off
  • The houses are to be built over a sewer, which is illegal
  • There is no screening between the houses on several plots
  • The materials and appearance of the new buildings are inappropriate when adjacent to the historic building at Blamsters Farm, as mentioned by the Historic Adviser
  • A more detailed landscape plan is needed to take into account the historic buildings report
  • These plans will destroy all existing trees and hedges whereas attempts should be made to preserve them
  • The planned ponds appear to be on the wrong side of the development
  • Ecology condition to be applied as per objection letter
  • Traffic incidents including fatal on the A131 since approval was given.  

Councillors draw attention to these previous objections and in addition to the artefacts recently found, and to the fact that SUDS matters are still not resolved.

Cllr Pell proposed no objection to the current changes but re-expressed previous concerns. This was seconded by Cllr Fincken with 5 in favour and 1 against.

091.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS

Report was noted.

092.  FINANCE Cllr Gronland took this part of the meeting

He reported that the finances were looking very good, with expenditure kept low and bookings at Queens Hall going up, along with car park income.

a) To approve the income and expenditure report for August 2021.

Cllr Gronland proposed approval of the income and expenditure report, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

b) To approve the List of payments to be made in September

Cllr Gronland proposed approval of the list of payments, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

b(a)  To approve the supplementary List of payments to be made in September

Cllr Gronland proposed approval of the list of payments, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed

c) To approve the Bank reconciliation

Cllr  Gronland proposed approval of the bank reconciliation for August, seconded by Cllr Hume, and unanimously agreed.

d) To approve plans for modernisation of car parks

Cllr Gronland proposed approval of the proposals, seconded by Cllr Fincken, and unanimously agreed.

e) To offer support for the Christmas Fayre

Cllr  Smith proposed That HTC allows the organisers of the Christmas Fayre to use funds from the Town Team Fund account, on the understanding that the funds raised from the stallholders are paid into the Town Team Fund account once the Fayre has been held, and also that the Fayre should come under the aegis of HTC, to be managed by councillors.  This was seconded by Cllr Gronland, and unanimously agreed.

093.  H4C

Cllr Pell reported that the trust had met to reconfirm their commitment, but were still waiting for legal advice.

094.  To receive reports from District Councillors

Cllr Radley reported that he had attended the Extraordinary meeting of BDC on 20 September, where the Climate change strategy and the Cycling strategy had been approved.

Cllr Pell reported that she had attended the Cycling strategy group, and Cabinet. She had also been in communication with residents concerning Sloe Hill. Highways had visited and suggested that they may build a wall to help with the flooding issue. She reported that BDC is giving away trees and bulbs and that a tree should be planted somewhere in Halstead for the Queen. There have been a lot of staff changes at BDC

Cllr Hume reported that he had attended the Local Plan Subcommittee, but that the Plan is still with the inspectors

Reports were noted

Cllr Fincken proposed the suspension of Standing Orders, seconded by Cllr Pell, and unanimously agreed.

ECC Cllr Siddall reported that ECC has assessed the current rate of hospitalisation as stable, although cases have risen slightly. Vaccination is recommended.

He said that he had cycled the middle section of the EC to Coggeshall route, and felt that that section was achievable.

He said that he had joined HiB for a litter pick, and committed himself to getting the very large and unsuitable trees removed from the pots in the High St and replanted elsewhere.

Cllr Radley proposed the reinstatement of Standing Orders, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

095.  To receive reports from Champions

Surgery – Cllr Gronland reported that the application by the surgery had been paused due to contractual issues.

Open spaces and environment – Cllr Fincken reported that nothing had progressed. Cllr Radley said that he would write to Cllr Butland, and Andy Wright  to request action on the River walk, the High St and Ramsey playing field.

Education –. Cllr Hume reported that it was not yet the time to go into schools.

Police – Cllr Warren had produced a good article for the Gazette. The Town Clerk reported that a young man had been abusing the toilets, and that she is working with the police to stop the activity.

Champions’ reports were noted

096.  REVIEW OF CODE OF CONDUCT.

It was proposed by Cllr Pell, seconded by Cllr Gronland, and unanimously agreed  that HTC adopt the new model Code of conduct developed by NALC.

097.  REVIEW OF DISCIPLINARY AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Gronland that the minor amendments to the procedures be adopted. This was unanimously agreed.

098.  REVIEW OF PUBLICATION SCHEME

Cllr Radley proposed, seconded by Cllr Hume, that the publication scheme should remain unchanged. This was unanimously agreed.

099.  REVIEW OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY

Cllr Smith proposed approval of the updated version of the policy, subject to the substitution of Staff Advisory Committee, for Staff Review Group, in paragraph 2. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

100.  INVITATION TO JOIN HIGHWAYS DEVOLUTION SCHEME

Cllr Fincken proposed that HTC reject the offer of devolution of Highways powers to HTC, due to insufficient funding offered, although in general HTC would approve of devolution. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

101.  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, seconded by Cllr Pell, that the public and press be temporarily excluded from the meeting, and this was unanimously agreed.

PRIVATE SESSION

102.  RECOGNITION OF VOLUNTEERS

It was agreed to hold an event to thank volunteers for the fridge and those who help with prescriptions and shopping.

103.  APPROVAL OF STAFF ADVISORY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

Cllr Radley proposed that HTC approve the recommendations made by SAC  at the meeting on 7 September 21.

104.  QUEENS HALL WORKING HOURS

Action on working hours was agreed.

105.  APPROVAL OF CONTRACTS FOR CAR PARKS MANAGEMENT FACILITIES

Decisions were agreed on commercial contracts relating to the car parks..

There being no further business the meeting closed at 21.26

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