Council Update  – Agenda No. 8

Council Meeting 16th July 2020

Mayors Announcements (Councillor Steady)

Various conversations had with members concerning schemes around the town, we now need  projected costs for each scheme and they need to be put into our town plan. To facilitate this process the following meetings have been arranged 21/7  Myself as Town Mayor, Deputy Mayor J. Chapman Chairman Finance J. Carr. Myself as Town Mayor, Deputy Mayor J. Chapman Chairman of Planning Ben Smith  recommendations  to be referred to appropriate committee’s and full council.

Return to the Parish Hall is provisionally booked for the 3/8 ,this is subject to guidelines at the time.

Harbour Report (Councillor Carr)

  1. Large 3 foot x 4 foot no crabbing signs designed by Cllr Chasney have been placed on  the council causeway. It is envisaged that the no crabbing  directive will be for the rest of the season, this is due in the main to distancing from both members of the public and harbour staff.
  1. I sent an email, copied to BHC, to St Osyth asking if they would sign up to a lobbying group to help control the jet ski issue the harbour has suffered in the last few weeks.  (e mail follows;  E mail to Clerk for St Osyth – Neil Williams

“Dear Neil,

It was good to speak with you earlier today.

I discussed the issue that we are currently having with jet skis in the inner harbour of Brightlingsea, and asked if you could kindly ask your St Osyth Councillors if they would agree with a lobbying process to the owners of Point clear spit, that being Bourne Leisure.

Before joining  Brightlingsea council I was a Brightlingsea Harbour commissioner.  Our Harbour Master at that time Mr Steve Chick had a desire to educate stakeholders using the harbour in high powered craft. Steve and I devised a programme of signage, leaflets and the creation of a training facility for members of the public that wished to launch high powered vessels from both Brightlingsea and Point Clear. Sadly Steve passed away before his time, but the programme was retained by the harbour commission.  With an active police presence and the inclusion of commission vessels on the water we had some success in curtailing high speed and other anti-social behaviour suffered previously.

The current Harbour  Master, Mr James Thomas, is happy to bring back a programme that would help to contain anti-social activity  using assets and personnel from the harbour, and is very keen to see  a police presence whilst on patrol.

Looking at the launch activity of these vessels we have launch areas of Point Clear and Brightlingsea.  When launching from Brightlingsea the vehicles launching need to find a car park space, after launching. Not always an easy task in busy and good weather periods. The majority of persons launching from Brightlingsea are in general good in their behaviour and have usually been through an RYA training programme in handling high speed vessels.

The main area for launching at point clear is from the spit opposite Brightlingsea harbour. This area is owned by Bourne Leisure and I understand to be a designated village green. Vehicles that launch here are able to park on the foreshore and have a relatively easy launch.

During  the last 7 to 10 days a very large amount of vehicles, 20 plus, which include many vans and 4×4’s are parking there and launching.

Brightlingsea Town Council and the harbour have received many complaints from members of the public including swimmers, paddle boarders beach hut owners, canoeists and others with regard to the high speed antics within the harbour that has a by law enforcing a speed limit of 4 knots and 8 knots.

On two occasions the Police vessel Alert has visited and I understand that there are 3 prosecutions being processed for high speed. Unfortunately, the police vessel is not always able to attend due to other operational commitments.

In order to raise another enforcement programme to these users, I feel that we could have a better chance if we could control the launching site at point clear.  I fully understand that the Orchards and other parks have tourists that book with the knowledge that they are able to use the harbour to enjoy their asset. I would like to ask that your councillors in conjunction with Brightlingsea Town Council to lobby Bourne Leisure to install a substantial security gate that would help to encourage a no parking policy on the sand spit.  I understand that Orchards have an agreement with a tractor driver for the launching of these vessels. In the last programme, we were introduced to this person. Consequently, he was bought on board by the local manager of Orchards and in fact went out of his way to distribute leaflets and to point out the speed limit areas to users. With a substantial gate in place and more responsibility towards launching the tractor driver, operating what I understand to be a concession, we could go some way in bringing about control of these high speed craft.

 I would be grateful if you could bring this communication forward to your councillors and if they feel it to be a good thing to do I will draft a letter to Mr Gareth Brown who is the operations director at Bourne Leisure in Hemel Hempstead. I will at the same time ask both the Harbour commission and Marine Police unit to add their support of the discouragement of parking vehicles on the spit.

We also spoke briefly about an update on our desire to create a partnership with St Osyth to create a Web Cam facility to St Osyth and Brightlingsea residents and tourists.  I am pleased to inform your members that two of our councillors have been tasked to promote this desire. Graham Chasney and Jean Howard will be in touch with your members quite shortly with their plans and ideas.”

  1. An initiative born from  BHC for a roped off  zone within the harbour and Batemans area has been discussed.  (See attached diagram) The Harbour requested me to facilitate with Tendring to ascertain if they had any budget to pay for the boom, this led in turn to a telephone conversation with Mike Carran, (Assistant Director Economic Growth and Leisure, Tendring District Council) I was able to  let Mike know about the problems that we have had with PWc’s and other high speed vessels in the harbour, Mike  invited me to attend  a Microsoft teams meeting on a forum of coastal agency’s that had previous experience. Apart from significant Tendring officers this forum was attended by Essex Police marine unit, Essex fire brigade, Dover Coast guard, RNLI , coastal watch unit. Talking to the agencies proved very satisfying. Mike Carren confirmed that Tendring would be happy to sign up to our lobbying letter to Bourne Leisure ( see above).
  1. I asked Tracey to send an email to Brightlingsea Bloomers advising that it was our desire to place the recently donated Buoy on the grass area by All Saints Church.

Lido (Councillor Barry

Just to confirm the Lido will not be opening this year.  Currently the flood damaged changing rooms have been stripped out and are awaiting refurbishment; the plant room still requires major repairs to pumps, electrical systems, and technical equipment. Trustees understand the frustration caused by the continuing closure but the impact of two massive and unprecedented incidents in quick succession has unfortunately left us with no alternative.

The Lido will open and return in 2021; work will take place to make it safe and as future proof as possible, with appropriate risk assessments and flood resilience measures.

Return to volunteering

We have to be careful that we manage our volunteers in a safe and proper manner. We are looking to have small groups of volunteers back on site in one or two regular ‘bubbles’ so that we share and understand cleaning and protective procedures. We will undertake risk assessments and formulate protocols regarding cleaning, distancing, contact tracing and other essential tasks to enable us to enjoy volunteering again as safely as possible. We will be providing sanitizing stations and protective equipment as well as operational procedures.

Lido café

Trustees are considering options in respect of the café, which will obviously be subject to Covid 19 risk assessment and operating procedures. Once again it is not a straightforward exercise to produce a business plan for running the café under the new requirements, as many operators with business experience are finding out. Without Lido users to provide income, the viability of the café is difficult to predict. The Lido manager is currently furloughed so the whole issue of staffing is currently under discussion and needs to be resolved before we can make any definite decisions over opening and on what basis trading might take place.

Flood Footage

Dramatic CCTV footage of the flooding as it happened on February 10th has been salvaged from the office equipment and is currently available on you tube. It shows the ferocity of the tidal flow up the creek and the rising waters which swamped the pool in just twenty minutes or so. Unfortunately the footage stops when the power goes off before it gets to its final depth but is interesting all the same.

Insurance Work

The Lido was insured on two fronts, buildings and contents and there have been separate negotiations with two different companies. After months of negotiations we have reached a settlement figure with one company to replace all flood damaged equipment in the office, café and changing rooms. There has been agreement to repair the changing rooms with TDC insurers, and we expect we will be able to restore the plant room and pool surrounds to their former glory in due course.

Finally looking ahead to next year we will have to create a different business model altogether for the pool in terms of numbers and access, queuing and so on. It will be a very different experience for users, staff, and volunteers.

Open Spaces (Councillor Steady)

Gravel Field  – Community clear up planned  for  25/7 10 am till 12 noon all welcome.

Discussion with the owners of an adjacent field for joint activity.

Regeneration – Town Centre (Councillor Chapman)

It is nice to see the town beginning to get busier and the shops all opening.  One shop has closed due to the shut down and as a council we must urge residents to continue to support the shops to help keep them open.

The hedges and plants are due to be removed from the War Memorial Gardens and new turf will be laid with small trees and shrubs planted.

Tourism (Councillor Chasney)

Town Guides

We have started a slow distribution of the Town Guide, being handled by Julie. Some garden centres are cautious about receiving cartons and some TICs still haven’t opened their doors. Tracey is concerned over the potential cost of returns, thus Julie is checking as she goes along. Concentration is therefore initially on Brightlingsea shops and visitor businesses.

Signage

BHC no crabbing signs have been placed on the Town Jetty with directions to the Prom where it is permitted.

Mike Carran at Tendring has agreed to fabricate and place no cycling or skateboarding signs at entry points to the Prom.

I will be contacting Mr Carran to take forward Cllr Carr’s safe bathing initiative.

Other Activities

Coupled with Cllr Howard and Carr on Western Prom and Harbour.

Welfare (Councillor Chapman)

  • We still have about 15 volunteers out working with residents and have had just over £200 in donations, which will go towards the new benches in Victoria Place.
  • We have found that many residents have required further help and I have been working closely with Community Agents to put in some sort of care package or equipment.
  • Lots of meetings either on Zoom or Skype.
  • I will update on Local Plan as I have a meeting on Wednesday.
  • Please find attached details on TDC’s housing list, as at 1st May 2020.

Western Promenade (Councillor Howard

  • Most of the Beach huts displaced in the recent surge have now been repositioned.  Social Distancing signs are now in place around the Western Promenade.
  • We now have a Security Company in place to lock/unlock the gates to the grass car park with prominent closing at 21:00 hours signs
  • The padlock on the Water Board gate at the side of Batemans café has been cut off, we have informed the Water Board.
  • A Zoom meeting took place with Councillors Howard, Chasney, Carr and Town Clerk presiding to discuss the quotes for renewing the CCTV which was affected in the recent surge, we will now make recommendations to the finance committee.
  • Councillors Howard and Chasney met with Lisa from Bateman’s Café for an update on the new build. Lisa is still in Litigation with the builder and is waiting to hear from him. Lisa has now put her burger van on the front of the building and is complying with social distancing rules.
  • We had lots of Jelly fish come in on high tide and as Terry recognised some as ‘Stingers’ and there were a lot in the paddling pool we put a quick warning on Spotted Brightlingsea and informed Tendring who also put out a warning.
  • We have had a request for Yoga classes to take place in the Millennium gardens, this will be discussed at the next council meeting.

Tendring District Council (Councillor Steady)

Attended the following virtual meetings:-

19/6 Local Highways Panel

1/7   Members Briefing interesting item discussion on the reorganisation of local government.

16/7 Standards Committee main item update of the code of conduct.

Town Clerk’s Report – Items requiring action:

  1. Bert Stocks Fun Fair have cancelled their July visit to Brightlingsea, but would now like to visit 7th – 13th September.  They have provided copies of their Risk Assessment, Covid19 Risk Assessment and Public liability Insurance.  (If any member wold like to see copies of these documents, please let me know.)  Comments please.
  1. DDMIX – permission for outdoor classes – would like to request permission to hold outdoor dance fitness classes on the Bayard Recreation Ground on the following dates and times please:

Thursday 16th July 5:45-6:45pm

Saturday 18th July 10-11am

Sunday 19th July 10-11am

Wednesday 22nd July 5:45-6:45pm

Thursday 23rd July 5:45-6:45pm

Wednesday 29th July 5:45-6:45pm

Thursday 30th July 5:45-6:45pm

They would like to use the more private area where the football goal is set up, near the allotment gardens.  Due to the current government guidelines there will be no more than 6 of us in total at one time (1 instructor and 5 people dancing).

They have sent in their copies of their certificate of insurance, membership certificate and a risk assessment form.  (If any member wold like to see copies of these documents, please let me know.)  Comments please.

(Please note:- football training takes place on a Saturday and Sunday morning and Thursday afternoon, so these times would unavailable in this area).

  1. Hare and Tortoise Running Limited – Are getting their Covid-19 procedures in place for race days moving forwards, ensuring that the adhere to the Government Guidelines, for example in respect of social distancing.  As a result, they are considering whether it may be possible to hold a small tester event at Millennium Gardens, Brightlingsea on the weekend of the 1st/2nd August. This will be limited to 30 people and will enable them to put in place their C19 procedures for a reduced number of people to ensure they have it correct before increasing the numbers as the govt. regulations allow. The event will be in line with their usual events held at Brightlingsea in the past.

They would like to set up and have the start and finish of the event in the Millennium Gardens.  The course would head out along the sea wall and off up into the quarry area before returning down through the woods by the water treatment works.  They believe the course is long enough to maintain social distancing as the field will spread out quickly and also they believe that there is enough room for the public, if they were to be out walking.  Comments please.

  1. Yoga with Hannah – Hannah is a qualified Hatha Yoga teacher recently moved to Brightlingsea. She is requesting the use of the Millennium Gardens on Thursday evenings 6-7pm throughout July and August. Classes are for adults only. Whilst social distancing measures are in place, she will have a maximum of 5 participants per class. If distancing measures are eased she would propose increasing this to up to 12 participants.   She has provided copies of her qualification, insurance certificates and risk assessment and medical/injury waiver form.  (If any member wold like to see copies of these documents, please let me know.).  Comments please.
  1. United Church Open Air Service – The United Church would like to hold an open air service on Hurst Green, sometime in August.  Crawford would have his accordion and they will print out single sheets with hymns on two sides, in a box for people to help themselves to or given out with rubber gloves on.   Social distancing and all procedures would be adhered to.  Comments please.
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