Minutes of Parish Council Meeting 21st September 2021

WHITE COLNE PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at White Colne Village Hall on Tuesday September 21st 2021 at 7.30pm

Present: Cllr Batchford, Cllr Bond, Cllr Paxton, Cllr Saggers, Cllr Taylor (Chairman), Cllr Wada, Cllr Watt. Also present: Clerk P Palfreyman, Essex County Council (ECC) Cllr Siddall, Braintree District Council (BDC), Cllr Spray and 6 members of the public

329.    APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Cllr G Courtauld (BDC).

330.    DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS ON ITEMS SHOWN ON THIS AGENDA.

Cllr Taylor declared an interest in planning application 21/02421. Cllrs Batchford and Wada declared an interest in item 16 Allotment discussions, as they are both allotment holders 

331.    CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES OF LAST MEETING

The minutes of the last parish council meeting on 20 July 2021 which had previously been circulated, were agreed as a true record.  

332.    MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES NOT DEALT WITH ELSEWHERE

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

333.    TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILLOR AND BRAINTREE DISTRICT COUNCILLORS

Cllr Siddall

Reports from John Spence, the government member for Health states that COVID 19 has risen slightly, and hospital admissions are stable which seems to show that the vaccines are working.  The Earls Colne to Coggeshall bicycle route has good support from landowners, with some land being donated.  The cabinet member from ECC rode the route and the plans appear to be going ahead and fits in well with the BDC and Central Government strategy. The Kelvedon route will also be considered although there are still some issues to overcome, such as the path will not be lit.  The next step is to commission a full study of the whole route. The verges will be cut in September and October following the trial to leave areas to rewild. It is agreed that some bell mouths and junctions were dangerous left uncut, and this will be considered next year. Cllr Taylor will forward details of the bus stop that had been suspended due to roadworks at Fox & Pheasant corner.

Cllr Spray

Cllr Spray advised that ECC have some consultations on polices. Section two of the draft Local Plan public examination was carried out virtually by 2 inspectors.  There is now a 6-week mandatory public consultation and should then be signed off and passed to the full Council for approval.  This could be by Christmas/January 2022.  Both the Climate Change and Cycling Strategy has been approved.  The Earls Colne to Coggeshall/Kelvedon route seems achievable.  The cycle route to Coggeshall will not use existing roads as the landowners on that route have allowed the use of their land. Planning enforcement has been very busy over the summer with complaints.  They are dealing with 2 serious and complex enforcement cases, one of which is the traveller’s site on Colchester Rd, which is due in court on 12 October.  The case will go before a judge who may confirm that the field will have to be reinstated to its original state. Colne Commercials have appealed an enforcement notice which was served. The Planning Inspectorate have 6 -8 month back log but cannot act until an appeal is heard.

334.    PUBLIC QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS

The meeting was suspended for public questions and statements

The Council were asked if pigs will be used to grub out the Heritage Woods and advised they will if it is viable.  The Council were also asked if telescopic posts or bird mouth fencing will be used at the allotments and advised that in the first instance, the gate to The Chase will be reinstated.

Colchester Rd travellers’ site – It was questioned why are there two entrances?  It is believed that the original entrance is where entry was gained but has not been used since. The 2nd entrance has not been shut off as it is part of the legal challenge.  Cllr Spray advised that the court injunction has been served and the occupants cannot do anything else until 12 October.  There are suggestions that more fencing has been put in and horses are on the site and the planning officers will make a recommendation about what happens next.

The meeting was resumed

335.    PLANNING MATTERS

(a)Applications:

21/02371/LBC         4-6 Colchester Road White Colne Essex CO6 2PN

Repair existing roof.  Repair/replace render to east elevation.  Replacement of lead box gutter.  Addition of insulation to loft. Demolition of internal bathroom wall and installation of new bathroom.  No comments

21/02421/FUL Land SW of Fox and Pheasant Farm 

Cllr Taylor left the room and Cllr Bond took the Chair.

Proposed change of use of land for creation of 4 no. Gypsy/traveller pitches. The Council object to the application as the policy is not to support any development outside the village envelope.  The area is on a flood plain and a busy main road.

Cllr Taylor returned to the Chair.

(b)Applications approved by Braintree District Council – none

(c)Any other planning matters raised by Members – none

336.    CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED

Cllr Taylor proposed that the Council should declare its own climate emergency and support the ECC/BDC climate emergency project.  The next step would be to plan and consult with BDC, ECC and other agencies and write an action plan.  It was agreed that it is important that this is acted upon and is not just a statement and that it should not stop the Council moving forward but should inform their decision making.

337.    COMMUNITY LIASON

(a) To receive an update on the results of the village survey and to agree the next steps. 

The results of the village survey showed that new play equipment was the most desired, followed by a blossom tree avenue at The Meadows and a canopy outside the village hall, to allow extra space for functions.

Four grants were suggested to support provision of the different choices. 

Awards for All for playground equipment 

RCCE for the hall canopy and other Covid safe strategies

ECCC Climate change grant for solar panels and possibly EV points.

Enovert landfill environmental grant for the blossom avenue and improvements on the Meadows.

These projects will deliver 12 out of the 15 projects.  There may be other grants available for the bandstand, music and marquee for the platinum jubilee.

There are 22 volunteers for Friends of The Meadows, 16 for the Jubilee celebrations and 10 to help run the coffee morning.

Following discussion, it was agreed to apply for all the grants proposed.

(b) Any other matters raised by members

The village market at the village hall was very well received and attended and BBC Essex will attend the next one.

338.    WHITE COLNE MEADOWS

(a) To discuss the ideas and quotes for the new play equipment

The quotes have not been received for the play equipment.

Nineteen trees for the blossom avenue would cost £4180 including irrigation, ties and supports.  The cost to flail the Heritage Orchard is £300.  A biodiversity report and management plan will be requested from Essex Wildlife Trust for The Meadows.

(b) Any other matters raised by members

The next Friends of The Meadows group meeting is on 10 October 2021.

339.    FINANCIAL MATTERS

(a)Payment of accounts since the last meeting

1. PAYMENTS
The Clerk advised that since the last report, the following payments had been or are to be made:
UNITY TRUST ACCOUNT££
METHODPAYEEVAT
DDScottish Power – Village Hall electricity July 2820.00
DDScottish Power – Village Hall gas July 2850.30
DDGoCardless – County Broadband Wi-Fi at hall – August 1229.00
DDScottish Power – Village Hall electricity Aug 3120.00
DD Scottish Power – Village Hall gas Aug 3150.30
DD Anglian Water – Sept 1138.21
DD Go Cardless – County Broadband Sept 1029.00
TOTAL UNITY TRUST DIRECT DEBITS336.81
 UNITY TRUST BANK ACCOUNT (ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS)
P Palfreyman – reimbursement for payment to WordPress.com for website (PAID)36.09
J Heathcote – Village Hall bookings and cleaning June & July (PAID)509.69
Mortimer Contracts – grounds maintenance (PAID)612.00
Samantha Mason – Village Hall cleaning (PAID)17.50
J Bond – reimbursement for logs for Village Hall car park (PAID)168.00102.00
P Palfreyman – clerks salary August and reimbursement of postage stamps (PAID)503.79
Mortimer Contracts – grounds maintenance (PAID)408.00
Gary Allen – VH window cleaner (PAID)14.00
Ben the Plumber – allotment water meter (PAID)180.0068.00
P Palfreyman – reimbursement for payment to Sum Up card payments (PAID)34.80
CJO Plumbing – Village Hall boiler repairs (PAID)231.84
J Heathcote – Village Hall bookings and cleaning August (PAID)284.17
P Palfreyman – clerks salary September 499.83
Braintree Association of Local Council subscription40.00
Julia Heathcote – public liability insurance (NOT PAID/AGREED) 91.00
TOTAL UNITY TRUST ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS3630.71
TOTAL DIRECT DEBITS AND PAYMENTS FROM UNITY TRUST3836.52
NAT WEST ACCOUNT£
Account closed 4 August 2021 and balance transferred to Unity Trust Bank5350.61
2.FUNDS RECEIVED
Since the last report, the following funds have been received in to:
NAT WEST0.00
No payments received TOTAL NAT WEST RECEIPTS0.00
UNITY BANK
T V licence refund342.25
Village Hall hire July (regular hire – First Aid)220.00
Village Hall hire (03/21)38.50
Village Hall hire (05/21)38.50
Village Hall occasional hire August150.00
Village Hall occasional hire August75.00
Nat West bank closing balance5350.61
Pilates (04/21)261.00
Pilates (06/21)198.00
Pilates (07/21)99.00
Village Hall hire – village market70.00
Sum Up credit0.98
TOTAL UNITY BANK RECEIPTS6843.84
3. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND BANK RECONCILIATION
Following the above transactions, the credit balances on the bank accounts are:
NAT WEST as of 20 September 20210.00
UNITY TRUST as of 20 September 202145610.89
TOTAL BANK BALANCES45610.89
Balance held in reserve 1260.73
Village projects from White Colne 50 Club14000.00
Village Hall reserves (£11000 prev VH roof fund)32.00
AllotmentsTotal of allocated fund 15292.7315292.73
Balance of unallocated fund30318.16
NAT WEST BANKUNITY BANK 
Balance 0.00Balance 43099.31
Add Receipts0.00Add Receipts6843.84
Sub Total0.00Sub Total49943.15
Less Total Payments0.00Less Total Payments3967.52
TOTAL BALANCES 0.00TOTAL BALANCES 45975.63

(b)Financial statement

The clerk advised that the finance report had been previously circulated and there were no questions

(c)Any other financial matters

The clerk advised the budget report had been previously circulated and there were no questions. The Council discussed paying public liability insurance for the bookings secretary and agreed that this was not needed as the Parish Council insurance would cover this liability if needed.

340.    VILLAGE HALL

(a) To discuss funding available for village hall improvements – A permanent canopy to go outside the hall would cost in the region of £10000. Surfacing to go around the Village Hall is in the region of £9500.  A Pure Air filter will also be considered

(b) To discuss the village hall coffee mornings and confirm funding – The first coffee morning will be next Friday. The Council agreed the £200 funding needed to set the event up to buy stock and some equipment.  

(c) To discuss a shelving area in the village hall to hold papers of historical interest – The quote for new shelving is £300.  It was agreed that shelving in the alcove in the entrance hall would be a suitable location and there are two volunteers to look through the papers held and sort out a display.  It was agreed the papers should be sorted out to see what space is needed.

(d) Any other matters raised by members – The Chairman confirmed there were several new bookings to use the hall which was good news.

341.    WHITE COLNE VILLAGE GREEN

(a) To receive a report on funding the Village Green Christmas lights.

It was agreed to spend £1500 for the Christmas lights.

342.    HIGHWAYS

(a) To discuss the Highways Devolution project and consider taking part.

The Council agreed the financial incentive was not enough for the work involved or needed and the scheme will not be pursued. 

(b) To discuss a response to the BDC Grass Verge trial cutting survey.

The Council agreed this was a good initiative but areas that quickly become unsafe on corners or junctions should be identified in advance and excluded from the project. The Council concluded that the trial is supported in principle but there were concerns with safety issues. Also, that the process for reporting areas on concern is onerous.

(c) Any other matters raised by members

Cllr Bond advised that SID data is available

343.    TO CONSIDER ANY OTHR MATTERS RECEIVED SINCE THE PREPARATION OF THE AGENDA AND WHICH THE CHAIRMAN CONSIDERS URGENT.

Cllr Bond recently attended a briefing about Police Specials.  The Council will ask the residents if they would like to consider paying for Police Special (via the precept) in the next village leaflet. It is noted that Colne Engaine and Earls Colne have Police Specials.

344.    TO CONSIDER ANY MATTERS RECEIVED SINCE THE PREPARATION OF THE AGENDA WHICH THE CHAIRMAN CONSIDERS URGENT

  • Chairman to MOVE that the press and public be excluded during the transaction of the following items on the grounds that publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted

346.    ALLOTMENTS

(a) To discuss and agree a new allotment contract – the amendments which had been previously circulated to the Council, were agreed.

(b)To agree an increase in allotment subscriptions from 1 October 2022 – the Council agreed an increase of 25% to £3 per square meter.  This has been compared with other Parish Council allotments in the Borough and is still the cheapest rate.

(c) To discuss commercial use of the allotments – the Council have been advised some of the allotments are being used on a commercial basis and agreed the clerk should contact the tenants and advise them allotments are for personal use only.

(d) to discuss non-residents, hire of the allotments – due to the local demand of the allotments it was agreed that non residents with more than one plot should be asked to surrender one plot, giving 12 months’ notice.  Non residents on the current waiting list should also be advised that the Council will no longer be leasing allotments to non-residents of White Colne.

There being no further business the parish council meeting closed at 22.05pm.

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