Council Update – Agenda No. 10
Council Meeting 20th August 2020
Mayors Announcements (Councillor Steady)
25th July – Gravel Field Clear-up as per the report under Open Spaces.
7th August – Photograph taken of laying of a wreath at the war memorial marking the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day, to be included in TDC montage on their website, with Councillors Barry and Chapman.
12th August – Met the High Sheriff of Essex on her tour of Essex coastal towns with Deputy Mayor Councillor Chapman, Deputy of the Cinque Port Liberty Frank Pomroy and his wife Win, and Pauline Skerritt from the Museum .
16th August – Laid wreath at official VJ Day 75th Anniversary at the war memorial. With Councillors.
Lido (Councillor Barry)
Volunteers and finance
Small groups of volunteers have been carrying out work parties clearing out changing rooms and preparing for refurbishment. Clear measures have been employed to provide cleaning and sanitation for those on site.The two big sheds have been resited and the plant room is now ready for repair work subject to insurance verification.
Staffing issues have been addressed with some revised contracts and expectations for the manager and other staff.
Financially the Lido should be in a strong position to open next year despite the lack of revenue this summer. Government grants and a rates freeze have helped to offset this year’s expenses. The five year planned council funding support will enable some further improvement works to take place, particularly flood resilience measures.
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.
Open Spaces (Councillor Steady)
25th July – Attended clear up at Gravel Field with 15 volunteers, Grounds Manager Terry Hamilton, Councillors Carr and Smith.
In line with Town Council policy of marking the towns assets boundary, stakes have been put into position.
4th August – Met with Julie Ford (Springmead), Susie Jenkins (Nature Network) and Tracey Tierney (Volunteer) regarding a tree planting initiative, in line with our environmental policy, in the town.
To identify suitable sites
By using google maps and local knowledge
Liaising with Grounds Manger
By public donation in conjunction with council budgets
Tracey Tierney, volunteer, has raised over £1,000 to date
By encouraging volunteers to ‘adopt’ the areas and trees planted
To be confirmed when sites identified
Regeneration – Town Centre (Councillor Chapman)
All the quotes are now in to replace the wall around the war memorial.
Donations are still coming in towards the new seats around the fountain, special thanks to the Masonic Lodge of Hope who have made a significant donation, the Co-op Woman’s Guild, British Legion Club, Brightlingsea Gild of Freeman and local residents.
Tourism (Councillor Chasney)
Rather late in the year due to the present circumstances, town guides have been distributed to garden centres and some TICs. None have been returned. A local distribution to shops, clubs and businesses has taken place with only one pub refusing to handle them. It is intended that planning for the new edition will begin in September so we can publish earlier well before the season gets underway.
Buoy at All Saints
The proposal from the harbour to site the Inner bench Head spare buoy on the All Saints green triangle hasn’t progressed and is being held in abeyance.
Transport & Highways (Councillor Beckett)
Report to follow.
Welfare (Councillor Chapman)
NHS – You need to choose if your data from your health records is shared for research and planning. Your Doctors can pass on your information unless you choose to opt out.
This information can be given to insurance companies etc.
To opt out go to www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/manage-your-choice
Or paper copy or phone 0300 303 5678 Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm
Meetings are starting to take place with Boots Chemist to try and sort out the new system that Boots have had to put in place. I have had a telephone meeting with the area manager and a face to face meeting with the Regional Pharmacy Experience Manger and Brightlingsea shop manager Candice, who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
The area manager is happy to take calls if anyone experiences problems. His number is 07557 744733
Or area manager on email@example.com
Flu vaccinations are due to start being given from the council office. Residents will be sent appointments from the doctors surgery.
A few welfare call this month, many residents are now beginning to come back out but some are still really nervous. We are still collecting prescriptions and doing odd jobs for about 10 residents who have no one else and still in isolation.
Tendring Community Transport and Harwich Connexions Transport are launching a new door to door service between Clacton & Harwich and the outlying villages in the Tendring area. The new service starting 31st August will enable people to access local amenities, GP appointments, Harwich / Clacton hospitals, social / leisure activities, visit friends or even a trip to the seaside. For more information about how to book please either contact 01255 436962 (Tendring) or 01255 552010 (Harwich).
Western Promenade (Councillor Howard and Chasney)
Meeting with TDC
Councillor Chasney arranged a virtual meeting with Mike Curran TDC to discuss Western Prom and Harbour Issues, also in attendance: Scott Lawrence TDC and Councillors Carr and Howard. We discussed Prom related signage i.e. Cycling and Dogs, safe bathing areas, jet skis and the cleaning of the path around the paddling pool and extra bins. Some of these issues did not come under Mikes remit but he was happy enough to forward our concerns to the appropriate person. Mike has agreed to bi monthly meetings with us starting in September when the coast is not so busy. This has resulted in ‘no cycling’ and ‘do dogs’ signs being erected by TDC and the buoying of a TDC-funded ‘trial’ safe bathing area from Splash Point to Batemans Tower.
Councillors Howard and Chasney met with Terry Hamilton Head Groundsman to discuss Pawsons Play Area on the Western Prom which is still out of action and we are currently liaising with our insurance Company following the recent surge. We have been considering trying to move the play area to higher ground which would be the BMX track next to the skatepark, but looking back on videos of the surge this area was also quite flooded so we would have to build up the area at a phenomenal cost. It would also be on the other side of the road to the car park which would be a safety issue for younger children. Our suggestion is that we use Wet Pour surfacing, we have wet pour underneath the beach hut activity frame in the play area at Pawsons and it has stood up very well to the flood and will just need jet washing to remove flood silt. Using Wet Pour surfacing under all equipment will be more expensive than the usual surfacing but should withstand further flooding. Terry has asked two companies to quote on Wet Pour and we will update at the finance meeting.
Public Toilet Damage
On the 1st August the outside shower tap at the public toilets became stuck on and flooded the disabled toilet. TDC were informed and sorted out the damage.
We have had difficulties on the Grass car Park as the parking meters were affected by the recent surge and on the first really sunny day people visiting were upset as although you can pay on your phone not everyone has a phone or is able to pay in this method. We have now put notices on the meters informing people that the meter by the public toilets does take coin, TDC do know of the problem and hopefully will replace the meters soon.
Beach Hut Patio
One of the B.T.C Beach Huts around the Lake has had a new patio built at the front, Terry Hamilton (Head Groundsman) has deemed it to be a trip hazard and it too big and high. We have informed the owner of the hut and asked them to remove it, it is unfortunate that we have to do this but it could create a precedent.
We have had many complaints about the Lakeside Camp Site as it appears they opened the site, but campers could not use their facilities. Both Councillor Chasney and Howard have spoken to the Manager of the site and he has told us that it is on their web site that their toilets and showers are not open (which we can confirm is the case) he also tells people when they arrive that all he offers is a sluice/elsan to dispose of their portaloo waste. However, there have been complaints of raw sewage in the lake and a full portaloo was left outside a beach hut near the site which one of our groundsman had to deal with. We understand that the site facilities are now open.
There has been inappropriate parking behind Pawsons Play area (up the slope and between the beach huts at Splash Point), Terry is to place two new bollards to stop this happening.
We are still waiting for TDC to place some extra bins around the paddling pool. At present they are not coping with beach waste on a busy day, the new ones that are there are replacements for the ones lost in the surge. A Beach Hut owner has complained that a bin has been chained right in front of his hut which makes it almost impossible for his family to sit outside his hut, especially as it is a walk through as well. We have forwarded this complaint to TDC.
The hot weather brought a large public outcry against irresponsible PWC riders speeding dangerously inside 4- and 8-knot limit areas. Discussions are ongoing with the harbour office and Cllr Carr has written to Bourne Leisure to request their support by restricting launching from the St Osyth. Strong support is being given by Essex Marine Police who are working in consultation with the harbour office.
Batemans Café (Councillor Howard)
I have spoken to Lisa owner of Batemans Café and she is still in litigation with her builder about the new build. Her Burger Van is now based on the front of the café operating with social distancing. Lisa was concerned that there has been an Ice Cream seller on a motorised bike vending to the public without the appropriate permission and licence to do so, she has reported this issue to Tendring.
Tendring District Council Report (Councillor Barry)
Attended a Climate Change Working Party meeting (via Skype) on 23.7.20. The energy Consultants appointed by the council had submitted a draft report which had utilised a data capture of all council energy use to prepare a comprehensive action plan. Proposals ranged from simple energy efficiency measures such as insulation, use of modern technology and replacement of old equipment, through to ambitious projects such as a solar farm and using all electric vehicles for council business. There are some decisions to be made regarding costs and benefits, but the report was thorough and far reaching.
Attended a Resources and Services Scrutiny Committee Meeting (via Teams) on 13.8.18. The agenda was focused on budget and finance issues and the “back to Business’ strategy for local enterprises and businesses as Covid restrictions are relaxed. TDC has a large financial reserves and officers are confident that services and finances will not be too badly hit by the events of 2020, although they are concerned that govt spending and support will become more limited as the true costs of the pandemic become apparent.
Tendring District Council Report (Councillor Steady)
21st July – Took part in full council meeting via Microsoft Teams just basic issues dealt with.
Dealt with licences for trading issues.
Rubbish bin and sweeping issues on Western Prom discussed with officers.
19th August – Attending all members briefing regarding local government and planning reform, via Skype.
Please see below e-mails and letter from Councillor Neil Stock OBE – Leader of the Council, Tendring District Council, regarding the Local Government Reform:-
Sent: 10 August 2020 18:42
To: ‘Cllr. Neil Stock OBE, Leader of the Council’ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Cllr. Neil Stock OBE, Leader of the Council
Sent: 10 August 2020 18:05
To: Cllr G. Steady <email@example.com>
Cc: mick barry <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Cllr J. Chapman <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: ALL MEMBER EMAIL FROM CLLR STOCK OBE – Local Government Reform
Hi Graham, yes, from what I understand there is no plan to alter the way that parish and town councils function and operate.
I do think and this is purely my personal opinion, that unparished areas will need to consider whether now is they time to get a town or parish Council, and also some of the much smaller parishes and towns may want to consider whether they would be better able to represent their residents if they merged with others to get the kind of economies of size and scale that would allow them to operate with a small, professional staff.
Neil From: Cllr G. Steady <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2020 5:28:55 PM
To: Cllr. Neil Stock OBE, Leader of the Council <email@example.com>
Cc: mick barry <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Cllr J. Chapman <email@example.com>
Subject: FW: ALL MEMBER EMAIL FROM CLLR STOCK OBE – Local Government Reform
Thanks for this ,is it your opinion that town/parish councils will be left as they are?
From: Elizabeth Ridout
Sent: 06 August 2020 15:15
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Subject: ALL MEMBER EMAIL FROM CLLR STOCK OBE – Local Government Reform
Please see attached letter from Cllr Stock OBE, Leader of the Council.
Leadership Support Manager
Democratic Services & Elections | Governance
Letter from Councillor Neil stock OBE – Leader of the Council, Tendring District Council
Thursday 6th August 2020
Re: Local Government Reform
The Government is shortly to publish a white paper entitled Devolution and Recovery, which will focus heavily on Local Government Reform. I have mentioned this several times recently as it will have a fundamental effect on us here in Tendring.
Following conversations with Government, and a round table discussion with the Leaders and Chief Executives of all Essex Councils (including Southend and Thurrock( which I chaired on Friday, I can now update you further.
Friday’s meeting was the first opportunity for Leaders and Chief Executives to come together to discuss what the Government have told us about how they see the future and consider ideas and opportunities for improving the current Local Government System.
We are starting these conversations from a strong collaborative position. Throughout the last few months, there has been a real collective effort across organisations in addressing the challenges that Essex has faced during the COVID-19 crisis.
There is a real commitment and ambition to build on this and consider how much more can be achieved with a simplified system. Across Essex we have one of the most complex local government structures in the UK – one county council, 12 district councils (some of which are borough or city councils) and two unitary councils. And a population that is fast approaching 2 million!
It is clear from our discussions with the Government that it sees the current two-tier system of county and district councils as flawed, and that unitary authorities, which are responsible for all council services in a defined area, are seen as a better option for delivering services.
It is also clear that the Government wants to see more directly elected Mayors, alongside Combined Authorities (much like those in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands) who would be responsible for driving economic growth alongside other powers. Combined Authorities, as the name implies, cover a larger geography (for example, Greater Essex) that a single unitary council area. A Combined Authority will not be another council; it is more like a board comprising Leaders from the Unitary Authorities within its geography, plus the Mayor. Combined Authorities get extra powers from government, but they can also secure more investment for their residents.
No decisions have yet been taken but for Essex this might look like two to four unitary councils, and a Greater Essex Combined Authority and Mayor.
The Government intends to bring forward the White Paper in the autumn outlining its policy proposals and inviting Councils to put forward submissions for reform. The ambition in Essex is to have the proposals on both unitary councils and a Combined Authority, ready to submit following the White Paper being published. I will be writing to the Minister today seeking to obtain further clarity on the details and to put forward the case for Greater Essex.
It is worth remembering that this is a manifesto commitment for the Government, and it has a comfortable majority to ensure a swift passage for the legislation through the Houses of Parliament; so this is happening! Of course, for all of us connected with Tendring District Council, whether as an elected member, an officer or a resident, this is going to be an unsettling time, as there will inevitably be concerns about what exactly is going to happen and when. I would like to reassure you that no decisions have been taken yet and as a district council we are playing a leading role in shaping the future. The earliest we anticipate any changes being implemented is in two to three years’ time.
In the meantime, we still have ambitious organisational plans and strategies to deliver and we must continue to ensure we have financially sustainable business plans. And of course, we must keep a focus on working with our partners and delivering for our residents and businesses throughout this difficult period.
We have made a positive start on this work. Keeping residents and businesses at the heart of our thinking, and ensuring we get the best possible deal and structures to support them in the future, is what we must remain focused on.
There is a long journey ahead, and we will keep you updated with the facts as we know them, as inevitably there will be speculation in the media and on social media.
Councillor Neil Stock OBE
Leader of the Council”