Minutes of PC zoom meeting held September 22nd 2020


                                              Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at Remotely by Zoom

                                                             on Tuesday 22nd September 2020 at 7.30pm.                                          

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

Also Present: Clerk D Williams, Essex County Council (ECC) Cllr Beavis. No members of the public attended after usual advertising.

Braintree District Council (BDC) Cllr Courtauld, BDC Cllr Spray. 


Cllr Bond declared an interest in the planning application for 15 Colneford Hill in Minute 230 as he is a neighbour.

The minutes of the last parish council meeting of 28th January 2020 which had been previously circulated, were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman.


The actions recorded in the summary of items agreed by email from 17th-31st March 2020 which had been previously circulated, were approved. This summary will be included in the minutes of this meeting.


The actions recorded in the summary of items agreed by email from 22nd-28th May 2020 which had been previously circulated, were approved. This summary will be included in the minutes of this meeting.


The actions recorded in the summary of items agreed by email from 28th July 2020 which had been previously circulated, were approved. This summary will be included in the minutes of this meeting.




ECC Cllr Beavis said that she attended a remote meeting with our parish council chairman and ECC members. They are committed to finding a solution to the situation regarding the land at the rear of the village hall. The highways scheme for the village green will be left by ECC until this can be discussed with the parish council. We are to have a new ECC Highways Officer. ECC Cllr Beavis said that she is collecting the details of the 50 worst potholes in the area for ECC Highways, and will include the footpath on Colneford Hill. An ECC grant scheme has £1,000 to £1,500 allocation available and this is left with the parish council to decide and then apply. The main concern of ECC at present is around the economy and the wish to support local jobs in the county.

Cllr Taylor referred to the grant scheme of up to £1,500 and said that ECC will cover all our professional fees regarding the land at the rear of the village hall. However she had previously proposed that a footpath or pavement from Chalkney Garage to Cammacks, and also a footpath or pavement from Cammacks to Wakes Colne are considered, the latter enabling parishioners to walk to the village shop at Chappel. ECC Cllr Beavis asked for precise locations and the clerk was asked to email details accordingly.



(a) Applications

20/01296/HH –        56 Colchester Road  – first-floor extension over the existing dwelling and two-storey rear extension – No comment subject to neighbours’ views: 

20/01196/OUT –       Land To The South Of 100 Colchester Road – Outline planning application with all matters reserved for the erection of 1no. Dwelling – We object to this development as it is outside the village envelope. There is no detail about where on the land the building will be positioned so we suggest that it could also be considered to be back land development as it would still be behind Mill Field. It would have a detrimental effect on the visual amenity of the ancient Chalkney Mill which is Grade 2 listed. Building on this land will not enhance the landscape and will give an urban feel to an historic single horse cart lane whichis also used extensively as a public footpath.

20/00227/TPOCON – 1 Colne Park Road – Tree works – The parish tree warden has reviewed these proposed works with the owner who is in agreement with his report. This recommends that an approximate one third reduction in the blue spruce, reducing or removing the three tallest firs, but nothing other than cosmetic tidying up of the front fir on the right hand side as viewed from the road. This work should be done after a good amount of rain.

20/01241/COUPA – Broome Farm, Colne Park Road – Prior approval for the change of use of agricultural building to a dwellinghouse (Class C3), and for associated operational development – Change of use to 1no. residential dwelling – No comment

20/01244/COUPA – Broome Farm, Colne Park Road – Prior approval for the change of use of agricultural building to a dwellinghouse (Class C3), and for associated operational development – Change of use to 1no. residential dwelling – No comment

20/01538/HH    –  15 Colneford Hill – part single part two storey rear and side extension – No comment subject to neighbours’views.

(b) Applications approved by Braintree District Council – None


Cllr Taylor said that she has attended two meetings with ECC members, one remote and one at the village hall. The parish council had required a bond to cover the road construction down the side of the hall. ECC said that they will enter into a legal agreement but then we will have to wait until the sale of the land at the rear of the hall is completed before the Community Transfer of the hall ownership to the parish council is completed. If no legal agreement is completed then the Community Transfer can be completed now. Cllr Taylor said that we have a concern that the proposed developers wanted to use the narrow strip of land leading to the abutment for a garden after we had a verbal agreement that this narrow strip of land would not be used. This was because we wanted the strip pf land to be used as a cycle path, as there is funding for cycle paths.


Cllr Taylor said that a memorial service when the bench is installed on the green will be delayed, and probably not to be held this year. We will probably not be able to hold the carols on the green at Christmas time, but will wait for a while. Cllr Taylor commended the community support shown by our parishioners during the pandemic.


Cllr Bond said that the pavilion had been painted and the decking is complete. Two new benches are in place and the third is being installed tomorrow. Cllr Bond said that we need a cut of the wildflower area, and the clerk was instructed to ask Mr Hadley to top the Meadows as before and collect the grass. Members agreed that the clerk asks Mortimers to quote for a cut of the side only of the hedge on the left hand side, that is the Colne Park Road side. Cllr Batchford said the picnic tables are broken and need removing.


(a) Payments.

The clerk reported that since the last meeting, the following payments had been or are to be made:-

From Nat West account:-

Cheque        Payee Details                                                                                       Amount  £        VAT inc  

D/D    GoCardless Ltd – County Broadband WiFi at hall monthly charge 2x£29     £   58.00  

D/D    Scottish Power – village hall electricity2x£20                                                 £    40.00

D/D    Scottish Power – village hall gas 2x £78.00                                                   £ 156.00

                                                  TOTAL NAT WEST PAYMENTS                £ 254.00  

By electronic payments from Unity Bank account:-

          G Allen – hall window cleaning 12.08 PAID                                                     £    14.00

         Mortimer Contracts-grasscuts-Meadows£130Green £132, &Hall £72 PAID   £ 400.80         £ 66.80

          N Powell Davies – internal auditor fee PAID                                                     £  190.00

         Apogee Print –signs- no kite, no disposable BBQ,clean bags – Meadows       £    39.60          £   6.60         
          J Bond – reimbursement – decking for pavilion – Meadows                              £    87.50            

          J Bond – reimbursement for Zoom virtual meeting                                           £    14.39

          Mortimer Contracts-grasscuts-Meadows£135Green £132, &Hall £72            £ 406.80         £ 67.80

        H M Revenue & Customs – PAYE for clerk salary September                   £ 194.40 

          D Williams-clerk sal Aug/Sept £972.66 less PAYE £ 388.80,home/office£26  £   609.86

        H M Revenue & Customs – PAYE for clerk salary October                         £ 194.40          

                                                 TOTAL UNITY BANK PAYMENTS              £ 2,151.75 

Funds Received Since the last report, the following funds have been received into Nat West :-                                 

                                                    TOTAL NAT WEST RECEIPTS                       £   NIL

Into Unity Bank 

        Braintree District Council – grant for memorial bench on village green           £    580.00  

                                                  TOTAL UNITY BANK RECEIPTS                   £   580.00

(b) Financial statement & Bank Reconciliation                               

Following the above transactions- There is a credit balance on Nat West account     £ 6,063.37                                                                                                                  

There is a credit balance on Unity Bank account                                                 £24,367.87

                                               TOTAL BANK BALANCES                                 £30,431.24 

Balance held in reserve – Village projects from White Colne 50 Club £   2,185.73

Balance held in reserve – Village Hall Roofing Fund is                      £11,000.00

Balance held in reserve – allotments                                                     £       32.00

                                                                                  Total of allocated funds is      £13,217.73

                                                    Thus the balance of unallocated funds is     £17,213.51

NAT WEST BANK                                                  ​UNITY BANK

Bank Balances 28.07.20                  £ 6,317.37     Bank Balances 28.07.20           £ 25,939.62

Add Receipts                               £     0.00     Add Receipts                           £   580.00  

Sub Total                                     £ 6,317.37      Sub Total                                 £ 26,519.62

Less Total Payments                     £  254.00     Less Total Payments                 £   2,151.75

TOTAL BALANCES 22.09.20   £ 6,063.37     TOTAL BALANCES 22.09.20   £ 24.367.87

(c) The clerk advised that the internal audit for the Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2020 had been completed and the report dated 10th August 2020 from the internal auditor had been circulated to all members. The opinion of the report was that:- The financial affairs of the council are well maintained. The Council should continue to work with the Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer to address the issues raised. The recommendations of the report were that:-

1. Care should be taken to cover all the items listed in section 5j of Standing Orders at future annual meetings. Alternatively, Standing Orders may be revised to allow for a timetable to be agreed for when some of the items, eg review of policies, may be deferred to. 
2. When setting next year’s budget and precept the Council may wish to consider planning to reduce the level of general reserves.

Members agreed that the Standing Orders will be revised, and that the level of general reserves will probably be reduced with the reduction in village hall income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The clerk reported that the internal auditor had said that she would not be available to audit the accounts should she be invited todo so. He said that Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC) has a bank of internal auditors and members agreed that the clerkapproaches EALC regarding this in January.

(d) The clerk presented a six month update of income and expenditure. This estimated that if there is no income to the village hall for the rest of the financial year and we continue to pay village hall running costs, then income will be £15,000 and expenditure £19,500, a shortfall of £4,500. This can be met from reserves for this financial year, but next year’s budget will have to be done in the light of the pandemic restrictions in place then. The clerk was asked to obtain an update from the village hall manager regarding present hirers, and dependent on that members can consider whether or not to stop the wi fi service, turn down the heating and take electricity and gas readings.

(e) The clerk’s annual salary was reviewed. At the meeting in January the annual review of the clerk’s salary was agreed to increase the salary by the amount of the national salary increase to be advised by EALC, the amount expected was 2%. The national agreement has now been advised by EALC and set at 2.75%. This means an increase in the budgeted salary from £5,952 to £5,998 with effect from 1 April 2020 and is top of scale for the job in view of his years of service. Members agreed to this.


Cllr Taylor said that the hall booking secretary had tendered her resignation because of other commitments. Members thanked her for her involvement at a time when the hall bookings had increased substantially. Members agreed to extend the job of the cleaner to include the booking secretary responsibilities. She has agreed and will continue on a self employed basis at a rate of £10 perhour with effect from 1st October. The hours as required to complete her duties. The clerk was asked to confirm this in writing and to ask her to arrange public liability insurance for which the parish council will cover the cost.

Cllr Bond asked members whether we should purchase a Christmas tree for the front of the village hall. Cllr Taylor said that it may be in the way of the proposed development at the rear of the village hall. Cllr Saggars said that there was no need for a Christmas tree as there will probably be no carols on the green or at the hall. Cllr Bond said that he would obtain a quotation to illuminate three trees on the village green.

Cllr Taylor referred to the proposed ECC grant of £1,500 and suggested that the parish council applies for this to fund a solar light and a front picket fence. The fence will cost £600 and the quote for the solar light has been previously received, and when details are to hand an application is to be made to ECC Cllr Beavis.

Cllr Paxton said that new toilet hinges are required, and members agreed to this, and that the handyman is asked to fit them.

Cllr Bond said that he had installed a QR code at the hall front door in line with the coronavirus regulations.


Cllr Bond said that a quotation had been received for the installation of a base for the memorial bench for the village green, and that a second quotation is required. The handyman has offered to provide a quotation, and will contact the clerk for details required.


Cllr Bond referred to the arrangements with other local parish councils for a joint application to ECC for an average speed camera on A1124. The Speed Indicator Device (SID) is to be loaned to each parish council for two weeks so that additional data can be included in the application. He said that the SID is being kept within our village at present as he is not happy to travel, but will do so when circumstances  improve, and so the situation is on hold. There is a problem with the SD card in addition.

Cllr Saggars said that the handrail on the permissive path from Colne Park Road along the line of the old railway. Members agreed that the clerk asks Flitch Rangers and ECC Highways to arrange repair.

Cllr Batchford said that he had received complaints from parishioners regarding unauthorised parking on Colchester Road near number 102 which impinges the sight lines to properties. He will give details to the clerk who has been asked to report this to ourcommunity police officer Craig Wheeler.


Cllr Bond said that he has asked a local plumber to give a quotation for the installation of a water meter for the allotments.

Cllr Bond said that he has obtained a quotation for the fencing around the allotments, as there will come a time when it will have to be replaced. Cllr Taylor said that we cannot consider this at present.

The clerk said that invoices for plot rentals will be sent out next month.


Cllr Taylor said that she had received the resignation of Cllr Bolton. He was thanked for his contribution to the parish councilactivities during his period of tenure. The clerk was asked to advise BDC to arrange the relevant advertisement and if there is no candidate then the parish council can co opt.


Cllr Taylor said that the clerk has offered his resignation as he wishes to retire after 16 years in post. He stated that he will remain until a replacement is appointed. He was asked to arrange an advertisement for the vacancy with Essex Association of Local Councils, which will then be circulated to all the parish councils in the county.


The clerk reported that requests for donations have been received and members said that due to budgetary constraints these couldnot be considered.


Cllr Bond said that replacement defibrillator pads were needed, and members agreed that these should be purchased.

Cllr Bond said that a leaflet for new entrants to the village had been prepared.

The clerk was asked to follow up the tree works which had previously been authorised.

There being no further business the parish council meeting was closed at 9.40 pm.

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