Minutes of Town Council Meeting 11 January 2021

19th January 2021

 

HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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DRAFT MINUTES OF TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
Monday 11 January 2021 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   Apologies
Councillor P Caulfield   Present
Councillor P Claydon   Apologies
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   Apologies

Also in attendance: Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)                             

187.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  Cllr Smith and Cllr Claydon sent their apologies due to work commitments, Cllr Dingle as she had technical problems, and Cllr Warren due to a bereavement. Cllr Hume and Cllr Atkinson sent their apologies as they were unwell.

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

Cllr Munday asked that the condolences of the Council be sent to Cllr Warren

188.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS:  Cllr  Pell  declared NPI  item 5,  20/02052/HH agent and owner known, 20/01923/HH and 20/02182/HH agent known, 7e, 7b as member of CSGMC, 7d as member of H4C, 8 as member of BDC, 9 as member of H4C, 13 as member of BDC cycling group, and Public Questions as a member of the HiB partnership.  Cllr Munday declared NPI  item 5, as he is a member of BDC planning committee,  and item 8 as a BDC councillor. Cllr Gronland  declared NPI item 5 20/02182/HH as the applicants are friends. Cllr Radley declared NPI item  7b and 8 as a member of BDC.                 ..

189.  PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

a)  Fenella Hardie of the Holdfast Credit Union gave a presentation. She explained that the Union is a financial co-operative run by members for the community. Members are not only customers – they own the company. Interest rates are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority on behalf of the Government.. An application will always be considered by the Credit Committee who are experienced volunteers and they will take into account personal circumstances before deciding whether or not to approve your loan. If they think that you are asking to borrow more than you can afford to repay they will advise you to reconsider the amount you have applied for. They are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Savings are protected by the Government. 

The credit Union is looking for support from HTC, possibly a desk to talk to clients once a week, advertising and signing up to the loan shark charter.

Councillors welcomed the presentation, and agreed that the question of supporting the Holdfast Credit Union should be put formally to Council in February.

b)  There were 2 public questions

1.  From Julia Smith Secretary HiB

Good day Councillors.  I would like to ask about the proposed revamp of Halstead Town Centre and in particular about street furniture.

The current planters outside W H Smith and Age Concern shops and those at Market Hill are made of metal and are very rusty in places.  We have painted them several times but now some of the metal is getting very thin.  We would ask that these containers be considered for replacement and if this can be done we would ask that the replacements be of the water retaining type to assist with maintenance.  The circular planters outside the former Post Office, on the raised forecourt, are also metal and although this area is, I believe, owned by Essex County Council the planters were installed by BDC as part of the previous town Centre upgrade.  They too would benefit from replacement and we would hope that water retaining planters could also be used at that location     As all of the High Street planters are at present growing winter / spring plants and we have ordered summer bedding to suit what is currently in situ we would appreciate advance knowledge of any replacements so that we can plan our designs accordingly.

We would also like to suggest that the seating at Market Hill and near to W H Smith be fashioned of recycled materials – there are some attractive and hardwearing benches on the market. We would be happy to make suggestions about replacement planters and benches if required.

Thank you for your attention and thank you for working to keep us safe. Julia Smith, Secretary, Halstead in Bloom

Councillors were in support of the request from HiB. HiB will be a consultee for the Town Centre improvements, and the HTC working group will also raise these points with the wider group in Braintree.

It was agreed that the Town Clerk should forward the statement from HiB to Cllr Tom Cunningham and should also respond to Julia Smith, saying that the Council has taken on board her requests and will work with Braintree to try to secure their implementation.

2.  From Grahame McCoyd

Has the council considered allowing members of the public to join the meetings virtually? If not the whole of the meetings, then perhaps the public question time.

HTC has continued to hold its meetings in line with the annual schedule of meetings. No meetings have been cancelled due to the Convid-19 restrictions. Councillor attendance has not deteriorated in fact if anything it is higher than at regular meeting held in Queens Hall in previous times.

HTC is currently operating under the government regulations put in place last year which allow council meetings to be held virtually and with submitted questions from members of the public.

During this period questions have been received from members of the public which have been discussed and responded to and this has worked well.

All agendas, reports and minutes are recorded and published in the normal way.

These regulations are in place until May 2021 when they will be reviewed and may be extended depending upon the situation at that time.

This policy was formally adopted by Council at it’s meeting on 14th September 2020.

Councillors agreed that the current policy of virtual meetings with written questions submitted to the clerk should continue, and that the Town Clerk should inform Grahame McCoyd through a formal response to his question

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

191.  PLANNING  APPLICATIONS

Cllr Pell took the Chair for this part of the meeting, as Vice in charge of planning.

Cllr Munday made a statement concerning the outcome of the decision made by BDC to adopt the new Scheme of Delegation. He explained that any applications made before 1 January 2021 would still go through the part B process, if necessary and that this would continue until the backlog had been cleared. From 1 January all applications will go through the new Scheme of Delegation.

Cllr Munday left the meeting.

Cllr Pell left the meeting ad Cllr Radley took the first application.

20/02052/HH – 6 South Close, Halstead, Essex – Demolition of garage – erection of single storey rear/side extension and canopy. Alteration to change render to cladding on front elevation. 

Cllr Fincken proposed no objection, provided that it was ensured that the extension remained part of the main building. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and agreed unanimously.

Cllr Pell returned to the meeting.

20/01923/HH – 35 Godwin Close, Halstead, Essex – Erection of a two storey side extension and front porch

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Fincken, and agreed unanimously.

20/01875/HH (Revised) – North Hill, Howe Chase, Hedingham Road, Halstead – Revised floor plan

Cllr Radley proposed no objection, provided that there is no overlooking of the neighbour’s property. He suggested leaving the matter in officers’ hands. This was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and agreed unanimously.

Cllr Gronland left the meeting

20/02182/HH – 117 Hedingham Road, Halstead, CO9 2DW – Erection of single storey rear extension. 

Cllr Pell proposed no objection, seconded by Cllr Radley and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Gronland returned to the meeting.                          

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

192.  MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS

Cllr Radley reported that he had been unable to present a cheque to the Braintree Foodbank, as had been planned for 21 December 2020. The funds had been transferred, and the ceremony had been delayed due to Tier 4 restrictions.

Cllr Munday reported that he had finally been able to present the cheque for £2490 to the Halstead Day Centre, which was the last of his duties as former mayor.

Cllr Radley handed the chair to Cllr Gronland

193.  FINANCE Cllr Gronland took over the meeting as Vice in charge of Finance.

a) To receive the income and expenditure report for the month of November

Cllr Gronland reported that all the figures hang together in the report, but that he was concerned about the loss of income, and felt that for that reason the Council should put a temporary halt on expenditure. There were likely to be more months of uncertainty ahead. Although the budget had been agreed, there was no certainty that it could be adhered to later. It was agreed that the Town Clerk should seek furlough and grants wherever possible.

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 January

Cllr Munday proposed approval of the List of payments. This was seconded by Cllr Radley and unanimously agreed.

c) To approve the Bank Reconciliation

There was no bank reconciliation for this month due to technical errors with SAGE.

d) To approve the Budget and Precept

Cllr Munday proposed, seconded by Cllr Fincken, that the budget be accepted and the precept be recommended to Full council for approval. This was unanimously agreed.

e) To approve the purchase of a line marker

Cllr Munday proposed, seconded by Cllr  Radley, that the purchase of the line marker be deferred to August 2021, for reconsideration at that time. This was unanimously agreed.

f)  To approve the purchase of Rivercare equipment in April 21

Cllrs Pell and Radley both offered to donate the remaining £500 of their BDC councillor grants to this cause.

Cllr Munday proposed, seconded by Cllr Gronland, that purchase of the Rivercare equipment be deferred to August 2021, for reconsideration at that time. This was unanimously agreed.

g)  To approve the expenditure on the replacement of the Empire roof in the new financial year

The Clerk has made an application for a grant to cover the cost of the work. It was agreed that Cllr Munday and the Town Clerk would work together on the precise specifications for the roof repair.

Cllr Munday proposed, seconded by Cllr Caulfield that this project be deferred until August 21, or earlier if finance or grants allow. This was unanimously agreed.

h)  to consider a further rent holiday for the Empire Theatre

It was stated that the Empire Theatre should look for grants.

Cllr Munday proposed a further rent holiday for the Empire theatre for the duration of Tier 4 restrictions. This was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and unanimously agreed.

i) To approve retrospectively the decision to give the Empire carwash a rent holiday from 21 December for the duration of the Tier 4 restrictions

Cllr Caulfield proposed, seconded by Cllr Munday, that a further rent holiday be granted to the Empire carwash for the duration of the Tier 4 restrictions. This was unanimously agreed.

Cllr Gronland handed the Chair back to Cllr Radley.

194.  To approve the Precept for 2021/22

Cllr Radley proposed approval of a precept of £199,907 for 2021/22 , seconded by Cllr Munday and unanimously agreed.

195.  To receive Community Centre reports. 

Cllr Pell clarified that H4C continues to be in dialogue with the donor and their solicitors although this work has been hampered and delayed by Covid-19 restrictions. Cllr. Pell stated that H4C is fully committed to this project but it is likely to be until May 2021 before H4C can next report to HTC and as such requested that this item be suspended from the agenda until that date.

Cllr. Radley proposed that the item should remain on the agenda but read “next report from H4C expected in May 2021”. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland with 5 in favour and 1 abstention.

There was no further update from the HTC working group.

196.  DISTRICT  COUNCILLORS.

Cllr Radley reported that he had attended a meeting on Developing democracy, which was looking at the constitution. He would be attending his second meeting as chair of the Performance management board on 3 February 2021, when there would be further scrutiny of the budget.

Cllr Munday reported that he had attended one planning meeting.

Cllr Pell reported that she had been pursuing the matter of the flooding on Sloe Hill, and had involved Cllr Butland. Some action had now been taken to unblock drains. She had been working to try to get a vaccination centre for Halstead, rather than asking elderly residents to go to Earls Colne. Leaders’ meetings have been continuing, and she also attended the Developing democracy meeting. She had attended a member development session on the Charterplus exam. The picnic site within the public Gardens had been nominated to remain a community asset for the next 5 years. She attended a meeting of the BDC cycling group. She also said that there would be a boundary review for parliamentary seats. She warned that there will be an extra BDC meeting in March which may clash with the HTC meeting.

Reports were noted

197.  To receive reports from Champions

Police – no report

Surgery – nothing to report due to current Covid-19 workload at Surgery

Open spaces and environment

Cllr Fincken reported that the Open Spaces champions had been working on the Open Spaces Action Plan, and had joined the group working on a cycle route from Halstead to Kelvedon. They also noted the new football pitch to be installed at the Leisure Centre, which would be using some of the S106 monies. Town clerk to forward details to members.

Education – nothing to report

Tourism – nothing to report.

Champions’ reports were noted

198.  FOOTBRIDGE  UPDATE.

Cllr Munday reported that slow progress is being made on the repairs to the bridge. The contractor had apparently misunderstood the entombing requirements, but this will be remedied. Painting cannot be done until the weather improves. Ownership should be complete very shortly.

The report was noted.

199.  To approve the update to the Open Spaces Action Plan

The update to the OSAP was reviewed and a few minor alterations were agreed to be carried out before signing by the chairman.

Cllr Radley proposed extending Standing Orders until the completion of business. This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and unanimously agreed.

Cllr Radley proposed that subject to the amendments discussed he be given delegated authority to sign the OSAP so that it could be submitted. This was seconded by Cllr Munday and unanimously agreed

200.  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 none.

There was no further business.  Meeting closed at 21.19

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