Parish Council Minutes – January 2016

 

                                WHITE COLNE PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at

The Village Hall, Bures Road, White Colne on Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 7.30 pm.

Present: Cllr Bond, Cllr Brace, Cllr Paxton, Cllr Taylor (Chairman), Cllr Watt.

Also Present: Clerk D Williams and 5 members of the public attended.

 

  1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – Cllr C Pearcey, Cllr R Pearcey, District Cllr Spray.

 

  1. 793. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS – Cllr Watt declared an interest in Minute 797(A) as he knows the applicant of the planning application for Morelands Farm.

 

  1. CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES OF LAST MEETING – The minutes of the last parish council meetings of 17th November 2015 and 15th December 2015 which had been previously circulated, were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

 

  1. MATTERS ARISING

Cllr Bond said that he had contacted the relevant officer at Braintree District Council (BDC) regarding the correct naming of Bures Road and in the absence of any progress contacted District Cllr Spray. She said that the correct naming of the road can be done but not at speed.

 

PUBLIC QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS

The meeting was suspended for public questions and statements.

(i). A parishioner said that she had posted a response on the village web site concerning the possible amendments to the village envelope. She said that the parish council should reconsider a review of the village boundary and considers that the natural boundary is along the Colchester Road to Colne Commercials, and this seems a logical extension. She is to make a planning application for her own house. It is important the White Colne does not consider itself in isolation but together with Earls Colne and that starter homes should be built.

(ii).A parishioner said that a development of houses has been approved in Station Road, Earls Colne.

The meeting was resumed.

 

  1. VILLAGE HALL

The clerk read a report saying that the management committee are meeting on 26th January and minutes will be circulated afterwards.

Cllr Taylor said that if the parish council are to take over ownership of the village hall then should we have a structural survey. Cllr Bond said that we should have a valuation and a full structural survey. Cllr Brace proposed this, and Cllr Watt seconded and all members agreed.

Cllr Bond proposed that an internet connection is installed in the village hall. All members agreed and he said that he would investigate the costs involved.

 

  1. PLANNING MATTERS

(A) APPLICATIONS

15/01429/FUL  Morelands Farm Bures Road – Conversion of barn to a dwelling. Cllr Taylor said that this application was discussed in December, but that members realised since then that the Village Design Statement covers the conversion of redundant agricultural buildings. Members agreed therefore that the comments discussed at the meeting on 15th December 2015 were not to be submitted, and revised comments on this application are as follows:- As this ancient barn was granted planning permission for a holiday let in 2005 it was obviously thought suitable for a conversion for habitation, although only in part. Whilst appreciating that the change of use has never been implemented, we understand that the building has not been used agriculturally for many years. We were also interested to read the archaeologists report on the importance of this historical building. Our Village Design Statement resists development in the open countryside, but allows conversion of redundant agricultural buildings. We therefore support this application but would ask for conditions to:- 1. Preserve the character and integrity of the building, even though it is not listed. 2. Retain the gravel driveway, as this permeable surface will restrict run off. 3. Control exterior lighting, as it is development in the open countryside.

16/00060/FUL  2 Bart Hall Cottages Bures Road – Erection of two storey side extension, one and two storey rear extension – No comment.
(B) advice of planning applications approved by braintree district council (BDC)

15/01276/LBC  Fox And Pheasant Farm Colchester Road – replacement of three first storey casement windows.

(C) ANY OTHER PLANNING MATTERS

Cllr Taylor said that the parish council had been approached regarding a possible development on land at Colne Park Road, whereby land adjoining the Meadows would be donated to the council as part of the proposal. No comment has been made and it was suggested that this approach should be made to the District Council if any further contact is made with the parish council.

Cllr Taylor said that following an approach from a parishioner, the parish council had asked BDC planning enforcement to look at the removal of the lleylandi trees at Vine Cottage 27 Colchester Road. They advised that where the trees serve as a hedge line, no prior notification is required before removal. They also advised that use of the outbuilding as a utility room is considered incidental to the use of the main home and planning permission would not be required unless it is used as a separate residence.

Cllr Taylor asked the clerk to follow up on the unanswered enquiry to planning enforcement regarding the containers on land adjacent to 30 Colne Park Road as they are not within the scope of any planning approval, and the material used on the access road into the field as it is unsightly.

 

  1. BRAINTREE DISTRICT LOCAL PLAN

Cllr Taylor said that the consultation on extending the village development boundary had been posted on the village web site, and comments have been received. The clerk was asked to write to BDC stating that the parish council are considering options to revise the village envelope and ask for professional advice in the appropriate areas that could be considered to extend the village envelope, to enable us to meet the housing needs as outlined in the White Colne Village Design Statement, suggesting a site visit. Also to ask for clarification of the timescale when our proposals have to be submitted as we are consulting further with parishioners and wish to make proposals in March.

Cllr Bond said that Earls Colne doctors’ surgery considers itself under pressure with the proposed development in Station Road Earls Colne, and so any increase in White Colne will increase this pressure.

Cllr Taylor proposed a village leaflet drop detailing the options available and the results of this can be considered at the special planning meeting in February before recommendations are made to BDC at the March meeting.

Cllr Bond asked if this is an opportunity to discuss issues with other local parish councils. Cllr Taylor said that she would write accordingly to Earls Colne and Colne Engaine chairs.

 

  1. 799. consideration of A REPORT ON THE HEADS OF AGREEMENT FOR THE TRANSFER OF WCPC LAND TO ESSEX CC IN RETURN FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE VILLAGE HALL AND LAND TO WCPC.

Cllr Taylor said that together with Cllr Brace they met with Essex County Council (ECC) representatives who advised that it had been agreed at ECC Cabinet level to offer the village hall to the parish council and have asked for a clawback scheme if the hall is sold within a certain time. The details on that clawback scheme are being discussed together with the removal of any community use clause. ECC will meet with other landowners and if no agreement is reached the site will be auctioned.

 

  1. COMMUNITY LIAISON

Cllr Taylor referred to the parish council’s agreement to fund repairs to the war memorial to a maximum of £500 and said that there is no update regarding quotations for repairs.

Cllr Bond said that the handyman expects to complete shortly the painting and refurbishment of the telephone box to house the defibrillator, and asked the clerk to resend the leaflet from BT giving guidance on refurbishing the box. Cllr Bond said that together with Cllr Taylor they met with an ambulance service contact who advised that the defibrillators that the service funded would be removed if they did not meet usage targets. Free training on the use of the defibrillator is offered by the ambulance service and will be utilised when our defibrillator is in place. The clerk was asked to contact both Bures and Pebmarsh Parish Councils regarding the detail for the electricity supply required for the telephone box.

Cllr Taylor said that the parish council had been made aware of several instances of dogs being out of control on The Meadows and attacking other dogs. The BDC dog warden has said that the parish council could consider a Public Space Protection Order, and the clerk was asked to obtain further information from BDC regarding this. He was also asked to obtain further stickers that are placed onto signs reminding dog walkers to clean up after their dog.An article is to be put on the website and in the newsletter.

Cllr Taylor asked if the parish should light the beacon on the Meadows to commemorate The Queen’s 90th Birthday on 21st April. Cllr Brace proposed this and that the sum of £100 is allocated to cover the costs of an event. This was agreed.

Cllr Brace asked if the parish council could arrange for the renovation of the milestone on Colchester Road. Cllr Bond said that if there were funds remaining in the Heritage Fund after forthcoming expenditure, then both milestones should be renovated, and all members agreed.

The clerk read a report saying that over 70 people enjoyed the Live Music Pub Night on 28th November.. This event is non profit making and is sponsored by the 50 Club to thank the supporters of Stationmaster’s Arms events. Forthcoming events are the Wine Tasting on 23rd January which is fully booked and a Curry Pub Night on 19th March.

 

  1. WHITE COLNE MEADOWS

Cllr Paxton said that together with Cllr Brace and after consultation, they had drawn up a schedule for maintenance required for the Meadows, and this schedule had been circulated to members prior to the meeting. This was discussed and part of the funding required was proposed for inclusion in the budget. Cllr Taylor said that the sum of £2,682.36 will be due to the parish under S106 arrangements for the development at Morelands Farm, and this can be earmarked for Meadows maintenance. This was agreed and it was further agreed that a sub committee be formed to run the Meadows, and authorised to allocate the S106 monies and the parish council budgeted funds for the Meadows to the costs. The sub committee is Cllrs Brace, Paxton, Taylor and Watt. Cllr Taylor said that the parish council may seek support from the 50 Club for Meadows costs in future. Cllr Taylor proposed that an event for the 10th anniversary of the establishment of The Meadows is arranged, and further proposed that a grant from Awards for All is sought to help with costs for renovating the orchard, (land drainage, equipment, daffodil bulbs) and the anniversary event. This was agreed.

  1. FINANCIAL MATTERS

(a).The clerk reported that since the last meeting, the following payments are to be made. These were authorised :-

Cheque         Payee Details                                                                                             Amount  £           VAT incl

1625   Braintree District Council – copying charges for planning application               £     10.88

1626   H M Revenue & Customs – PAYE for clerk salary January                               £    183.20

1627   D Williams-clerk salary Dec. & Jan. £916.66 less PAYE £366.40                     £    550.26

1628   Leo Print Limited – Carol songsheets                                                                  £      30.00

1629   Rita Pearcey – expenses for Carols on the Green                                                 £     16.40

1630   H M Revenue & Customs-PAYE for clerk salary Feb (released 16/2)                £   183.20

D/D    Anglian Water – village hall chargeback £216.14, allotments water £30            £   246.14

D/D    Scottish Power – village hall chargeback gas                                                       £     19.19

D/D    Scottish Power – village hall chargeback – electricity                                          £       7.00

D/D    Scottish Power – village hall chargeback gas                                                       £     19.19

D/D    Scottish Power – village hall chargeback – electricity                                          £       7.00

TOTAL PAYMENTS                                                £ 1,272.46

Funds Received

Since the last financial report, the following funds have been received:-

Allotment rentals                                                                                                 £     164.00

Newsletter adverts                                                                                               £     112.50

Wayleave                                                                                                             £       55.17

                                                     TOTAL RECEIPTS                                                   £     331.67

(b).Financial statement & Bank Reconciliation

Following the above transactions there is a credit balance on current account of          £  5,062.40

on reserve account of         £10,194.29

Total                                   £15,256.69

Of which the balance held in reserve for the Heritage Fund is                     £ 693.74

And the balance held in reserve for Village Hall maintenance & works is  £  Nil

Total of allocated funds is        £      693.74

Thus the balance of unallocated funds is        £ 14,562.95

Bank Balances 17.11.15      £ 16,197.48

Add Receipts                       £      331.67

Sub Total                             £ 16,529.15

Less Total Payments            £   1,272.46

Bank Balances 19.01.16      £ 15,256.69

(c) The clerk referred to the proposed arrangements for electronic banking facilities for the Village Hall bank account, and advised that he had written to the bank advising that the Council is proposing to make changes to the title of the village hall account, to change the signing instructions, and to request electronic banking facilities for that account. The bank has verbally agreed to this and requested an authority signed by all the present signatories to the hall bank account. This has been done and a reply has not been received and is being chased.

(d) The clerk’s annual salary was reviewed. It was agreed to increase his salary by 1% to £5,555 pa. as 1% is the anticipated national agreement. The clerk is to advise members when the national rate is announced later in the year.

(e) The budget for the financial year from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 was discussed, and draft figures were considered in detail. Income figures agreed included £250 for allotment rentals, and £230 for newsletter adverts. The parish support grant now includes the Localised Council Tax Support Grant and is reduced by £413. Total income including the grants but excluding the precept is estimated at £2,663. Total expenditure is estimated at £15,835 and included Meadows maintenance of £2,000 and village hall maintenance of £1,000.

Cllr Taylor proposed that the precept is increased to £9,740 which is an increase of £224. This is an increase of 2.6% in the council tax for each band D property charge from £46.44 to £47.64. Members agreed the precept of £9,740 unanimously.

Cllr Taylor said that the parish council should discuss the reserve for the village hall, and this will be a future agenda item.

(f)The clerk advised that the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 allows smaller authorities with an annual turnover of less than £25,000 to be exempt from external audit. These authorities will now be subject to requirements set out in the Transparency Code where specific information needs to be published on a website. The Government believes that publication of the items set out in the code will provide the electorate with a clear picture of Parish Council activities. We should publish on our web site:- all items of expenditure above £100, end of year accounts, annual governance statement, internal audit report, a list of councillor or member responsibilities, the details of public land and building assets, minutes, agendas and meeting papers of formal meetings. We should also publish information regarding the location of each councillor’s Register of Interests. If the annual turnover is more than £25,000 in an accounting year, then an external auditor is appointed by a new body called Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Limited. Members agreed to these new arrangements and the clerk was asked to put these in place. A grant may be available to fund costs associated with these arrangements and the clerk was asked to seek funding for web site training and the installation of internet access at the village hall.

(g) Mr C Mortimer presented his proposed increased prices for grass cutting for 2016. Members agreed these prices and that it was not necessary to seek alternative prices from another contractor.

 

  1. HIGHWAYS

In response to a request from ECC Highways that the parish council considers potential schemes for the Local Highways Panel, Cllr Bond proposed that a request is made to resurface the footpath from Colneford House up to the junction with Colchester Road at 2 Colchester Road. This was agreed and the clerk was asked to forward this.

The clerk was asked to recirculate to members for the completion of a Local Highways Panel proposal form regarding the proposal that Boley Road is designated as a Quiet Lane.

  1. PLAY AREA

Cllr Taylor said that the recent ROSPA report had highlighted some deficiencies and she will ask the handyman to attend to these. She asked if the football goal should be moved to the Meadows, and Cllr Bond suggested that we wait to see how the sale of the land at the rear of the village hall develops. She also asked if the fence should be removed, and this will be considered further.

 

  1. CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED

Letter received from the Local Responders who attend medical emergencies with defibrillators, asking six local parish councils to donate £100 each year to fund equipment such as batteries, pads, and volunteers’ jackets. Cllr Taylor said that she would pass this request to the 50 Club for consideration.

 

There being no further business the parish council meeting was closed at 10.04 pm.

 

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