Minutes of the January 2014 Parish Council Meeting

Held in the John Lampon Hall on 22nd January 2014 at 7.30p.m.

ChairJohn Gili-Ross
Parish Councillors PresentJenny Church, Rachel Howard, Rosemary James, Andrew Savage, Chris Stevenson, Bob Tyrrell, Phil Walby
Parish ClerkVal Walsom
Borough CouncillorsCouncillor Harrington

Part I – Public

1.   Receive Apologies

Apologies were received from Murray Harlow, David Short, Harry Stone and Councillor Willetts.

2.   Questions from registered electors

No questions were received.

3.   Receive items for information not on the agenda, which in the opinion of the Chairman should be brought to the attention of the Council

No items received.

4.   Declarations of Interest

Chris Stevenson declared an interest in Item 8 relating to Highways.

5.   Minutes

Minutes of the Council meeting held on Wednesday 27th November 2013 were approved and signed.

6.   Report for Colchester Borough Councillors

Councillor Brown has assured Councillor Harrington that works on the Traffic Safety Plan are moving forward.

Colchester Borough Council’s budget will be announced on 19th February 2014.

The planning application for High Trees, with some conditions, will be approved by CBC so it will not have to be ‘called in’ by the Planning Department.

There is a maximum of £2,000 available to the Parish Council from the Locality Budget.  MH needs to see a proposal by the end of February.  It was agreed to put together a proposal to purchase chairs with storage trolleys for the Halls.  This will need to include match funding and AS will advise how much is available.

7.   Finance

(a)  Statement of Accounts for November/December 2013

The accounts for November/December 2013 were presented as follows:

The General Account showed 95% income, 48% general expenditure, 68% environment expenditure and 55% expenditure overall.

The Hall Account showed 73% income and 72% expenditure.

(b)  Draw cheques

It was proposed by CS and seconded by RH to make the following payments:

Payment DetailsExpense PurposeAmount
General Account
Mail Boxes EtcVillage Bulletin549.00
CountrywideGrass cutting220.00
S CookRemoval of waste30.00
Colchester Skip HireSkip for Allotments168.00
TCVPond work648.00
Norhurst LandscapesRemoval of waste120.00
G Dolden AssociatesProject manage car park2045.52
V WalsomPhone/Broadband205.94
Inland RevenuePAYE221.00
C StevensonMUGA item8.99
D ShortHamerite and brushes21.88
Collier and CatchpoleDrain cover36.33
T 4 SeasonsAllotments work175.17
T&LC LtdTree work864.00
Kent BlaxillInsulation board for notice board10.34
CountrywideGrass cutting220.00
Dennis Brown SolicitorScout Hut licence765.60
Inland RevenuePAYE220.80
WB Methodist ChurchBus shelter rent105.00
D KingabyWebsite including  Neighbourhood Plan296.50
ZurichMembership renewal174.00
Orpen Hall Account
Mike’s CleaningCleaning525.00
Anglian Fire & SecurityAlarm systems2547.00
S J AndrewsElectrical work52.80
AtoZ SuppliesCleaning materials49.50
G WallsItems for hall6.94
GW Commercial HeatingHeating repairs236.40
Roberts CleaningWindow cleaning30.00
AtoZ SuppliesCleaning materials22.32
Anglian Fire & SecurityAlarm systems2547.00
Richard J JoslinPiano tuner50.00
D ShortPost box/tap fitting33.97
Mike’s CleaningCleaning December650.00
GW Commercial HeatingHeating repairs50.40
Mike’s CleaningCleaning January/resurface hall1050.00
AtoZ SuppliesToilet rolls47.82
PRSPerforming  Rights Licence782.57
V Beckwith-ColeInk Cartridge30.99

Salary payments were made to Val Walsom, Gary Walls and Stephen Cook from the General Account and Vicky Beckwith-Cole from the Hall Account.

[Click to view Summary Accounts – Summary Accounts November – December 2013.]

(c)  To approve 2014/2015 Precept and Budgets

AS presented his proposal for the 2014/2015 Precept.  This represented an increase on the previous year of 2.45%.  It was proposed by AS, seconded by CS and approved by all to accept the Precept as presented and the budgets for the Parish Council and Orpen Memorial Hall as discussed in November’s meeting.

(d)  Financial review for car park project

The fixed cost of the project is £52,500.  A 2.5% discount will be available for payment within 14 days.  We will ask for 3% if payment is made within 10 days.  Project management will be 10% of the total cost giving an overall cost of approximately £55,000.  CBC has been contacted for an extension to the grant period.  (Post meeting – confirmation has been received that the grant has been moved to the 2014/2015 financial year.)

(e)  Scout Hut Licence and rent update

Martin Hopkins has advised that the Scouts are awaiting information from the Charity Commission which they believed the PC was going to acquire.  However, they have already been advised that it is up to the Scouts to seek this information.  The PC is still awaiting a response from the Scouts insurance about liability with regards to sub letting.  RH advised that the Scouts’ trustees are holding a meeting next week during which it is hoped the situation will be discussed.  Displaying the sign advising hirers of insurance risks with regard to sub letting will be dependent on the outcome of this meeting.

(f)  End of year donations

As no requests for donations have been received this year it was agreed that, because of the expense of the car park project, not donations will be made.

(g)  End of year expenses

Expense claims for ink cartridges to be received by the Clerk before next month’s meeting. 

8.   Traffic Safety Plan

CS declared an interest in this item as it relates to Highways issues.

The Traffic Safety Plan is now available for viewing on the Co op notice board and on the website.  HS is trying to ascertain the programme for the implementation of parking restrictions.  JGR has sent all details of the scheme to the North Essex Parking Partnership.  A speed restriction survey is underway in New Church Road. 

9.   Clerk’s Items to Note

(a)  Review of Standing Orders

The Clerk distributed a copy of NALC’s model Standing Orders together with a list of possible amendments.  Councillors are asked to advise the Clerk of their preferences for the amendments.  The Standing Orders will be agreed at the next PC meeting.

(b)  EALC Calendar of Events

Councillors are asked to contact the Clerk if they would like to attend any courses. 

(c)  Visit Essex Tourism and Leisure Show – 20th February 2014
(d)  Essex Highways – various roads, temporary prohibition of traffic

10.  Village Communications

(a)  Website report
i)     To review annual payment to webmaster

Dave Kingaby has requested a review of his annual charges.  It was agreed to increase the webmaster’s fees in line with his indicated increase of time spent working on the website.

ii) To discuss outstanding issues from the website report

There was no report due to the absence of Murray Harlow.

(b)  Receive update from Village Communications Officer

There was no report due to the absence of Murray Harlow. 

A photo of the winner of the Neighbourhood Plan Survey hamper will appear in the Bulletin.

11.  Planning

(a)  To approve comments and decisions for Planning Applications (Reports from the Planning Committee’s meetings on 18th December 2013 and 15th January 2014 were received):

132758 – 2 Bourne Road – Observations – The Parish Council has a preference for option two, but with an additional window to avoid a large expanse of brickwork between windows as shown on current proposals.

132770 – St Clair, Bourne Road – Support with no comments.

136218 – 11 Colchester Road – Object – The existing property is in a prominent position on the main road through the village.  It is unclear how much of the existing building is to be retained, and it appears to be a new build.  With this in mind the PC is very concerned at the design, the featureless elevations, proportions and style of the windows and the large dormers.  These are all out of keeping and contrary to the adopted Village Design Statement and the Essex Design Guide.

140028 – 66 Lexden Road – Object – the PC is disappointed that the latest plans for the property have departed from the ideas that were approved only last year.  Although the original character frontage of the dwelling remains, the latest plans suffer from the drawbacks on a previous application which was refused planning permission.  The issues are the bulk and size of the proposed extension.  We would contend that extensions to properties should be designed such that they remain subservient to the original house.

CS advised that CBC do not always take the Village Design Statement into account when making planning decisions.  MH requested a copy of the VDS which CS will forward to him.  Residents are encouraged to approach the PC in advance of making a planning application.

(b)  Project plan for resurfacing car park

A meeting was held with the contractor and project manager to discuss specifications.  Detailed implementation plans will be drawn up by the project manager.  Users of the hall will be invited to look at the plans.  The work will be undertaken in two halves to avoid too much disruption and it is hoped most of it will be completed during the Easter holiday period.

(c)  Neighbourhood Plan

The Steering Group are finishing off surveys to schools and the young people of the village.  The surveys should be completed by Easter.  The group is now targeting professional help to assist with statutory planning and grants will be applied for.

12.  Environment and Highways

(a)  War Memorial refurbishment

The PC is currently awaiting a response from the owners of the memorial to find out if they would be willing to move it to another location.  Names on other memorials in the village churches have been cross referenced.  JGR proposed setting up a small working party to look into the best way forward.  JGR and HS will form the working party with, hopefully, one or two other interested parties from outside the PC.

(b)  AllotmentsTo discuss payment for use of the rotovator

Allotment holders will be able to have their plots rotovated for a small charge.  The cost and who will carry out the work will be discussed by the Allotment committee.

(c)  Reinstatement of Poors Land and footpath

The area for reinstatement needs to be flattened out and rubble removed.  The entrance posts are inferior to what they replaced and this needs to be addressed.  CS will chase ECC and ask them to correspond with PW.

Other issues
  • It would appear that the weight restriction on Newbridge is environmental.  Therefore this would not exclude buses from using it.
  • The village handyman will be asked to complete a monthly worksheet.  This will allow the MUGA, Hall and Allotments to be charged for his time. 

13.  Premises and Recreation

(a)  To discuss proposals for additional storage space

Requests for additional storage from some users have been received.  They will be advised that there is currently no available space.

(b)  Orpen Players – to discuss the installation of tracking for stage lighting and proposal for meeting to discuss other issues

The Orpen Players have various issues to discuss and a meeting will be arranged in February.  Health and safety issues regarding stage lighting needs to be ascertained.  The Orpen Players should not erect anything without permission from the PC.

Other issues
  • The Fish and Chip van will be allowed to continue to use the car park.  A formal agreement is to be drawn up and reviewed annually.
  • Scotech Cabling have been asked to look at the faulty hearing loop system. 

Items to Note

(a)  RCCE – Village Halls and Community Buildings Update – December 2013

(b)  EALC – County Update

(c)  Clerks and Councils Direct – January 2014

(d)  Local Council Review – Winter 2013

Part II – In Committee

Matters taken in the absence of Press and Public (Public (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960) as the item contains exempt information as defined by the Local Government Act 1972 Sch. 12a Pt (1).

There were no matters to discuss.

Date of Next Meeting

Wednesday 26th February 2014 at 7.30p.m.

The meeting closed at 9:35p.m.