Update  from Town and District Councillors – Agenda No. 10

Council Meeting 18th February 2020

Amenity Areas (Councillor Steady)

28th January 2021 – Planting Initiative Zoom meeting with Susie Jenkins, Julie Ford, Claudia Campbell, Lettie Heppell, Tracey Tierney, Terry Hamilton and Cllr Smith.  Positive discussion regarding sites for activity, Church Road from All Saints to Blacksmiths Corner, Gravel Field incorporating the lagoon on edge of Hopkin Homes phase 2 development, Hurst Green area for wild flowers and Manor Wood.  Working with Brightlingsea Nature Network to survey and make improvements for wildlife/attractiveness of boating lake islands.  Budgetary support to be confirmed at next finance meeting.

Harbour (Councillor Carr)

Monday 8th February – Waterside regeneration on line meeting, where planning for the heritage quay along with details of the offer in principle  EU/EMFF for a grant of £75k with a match fund from BTC of £25k grant were both given and discussed.

Minutes of the meeting as follows:-

“Brightlingsea Harbour and Heritage Project Task Force meeting – 8th February 2021

Present   Cllr Graham Steady Chairman

                 Cllr John Carr

                 Cllr Mick Barry

                 Cllr Graham Chasney

                 Cllr Ben Smith

                 Consultant Dave Atkinson

The chairman welcomed all to the zoom meeting, and made reference to the progress made to date.

Cllr Carr gave an update relating to the heritage pier and jetty. Discussion took place on the planning issues concerning the scheme and grant funding, it was agreed that Cllrs Carr and Smith would discuss the planning issues, outside of the meeting to progress matters.

Consultant Dave Atkinson explained, in conjunction with the illustrations circulated at the previous meeting, the way forward including the next stage of the architects plans.

Cllr Barry presented the first draft of the business plan under the banner of “Brightlingsea Harbour and Heritage Project” it was acknowledged by all that the plan was comprehensive, but that it was a working document subject to change. It was agreed that Cllr Barry would liaise with Dave Atkinson to revisit the estimated costs and where possible firm them up.”

Wednesday 3rd February  attended the 3rd Bradwell consultation on line meeting, majority of conversation was linked to the Environmental impact assessment, the design of the power station  and  public body consultation i.e. English Nature RSPB etc.  Slides from presentation are  available to view on the website at  HYPERLINK “https://bradwellb.co.uk/communityforum/” \t “_blank” https://bradwellb.co.uk/communityforum/.

Tuesday 9th February attended online meeting with the Mayor & William Coulet from Exco Environmental where the analysis & results and findings of the recent testing of the smack dock were discussed.  Lab results show very high lead levels.  Although we may need to undertake another analysis closer to the low water mark, high lead levels determine what we can do with the mud if we need to move it for any waterside regeneration desires.  As soon as I have further information I will report to council.  At the same time discussions regarding using our mud to create objects such as paving slabs, planters etc. was discussed.

Wednesday 10th February a technical meeting with Duncan Nicholson & barge owners (Inc. Dave Atkinson) subject barge berthing computations and analysis.

Monday 15th February, in company with Cllr Chasney and Mr Dave Atkinson, attended the zoom meeting planned by Jane Harman, local heritage (Barge & smacks) contact, re Heritage Harbours.  A joint initiative by the Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships (NHS) Shipshape Network; with strong support from the European Maritime Heritage (EMH), proposes that historic Ports and harbours in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland become officially recognised as ‘Heritage Harbours’.  The developing Heritage Harbours recognise the great value in sensitively developing their, often superb, historic buildings; waste land; mooring; and maintenance facilities for both local and visiting historic vessels and are identified within the NHS Shipshape Network regions.  We listened to an introduction from Mr Brian Corbett, who is championing the initiative in Chatham and the Medway Ports.  Action: a working group may be established to promote the Colne and Brightlingsea applying for heritage harbour status.

Please see below the criteria (with highlighted text that may interest council) to join the programme, councillors will note that mention is made to historic waterside buildings (regeneration?).  We  will  update  council after the group has been formed.

Criteria for Designation as an Heritage Harbour – DRAFT

Brian Corbett

OGA Trustee, MHT

February 2019

1.  Introduction – A joint initiative by the Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships (NHS) Shipshape Network; with strong support from the European Maritime Heritage (EMH), proposes that historic Ports and harbours in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland be invited to be officially recognised as ‘Heritage Harbours’. This follows the Netherlands model and similar initiatives in Belgium, France and Germany. Ageing Ports and harbours, with areas of diminishing commercial shipping, have recognised the great value in sensitively developing their, often superb, historic buildings; waste land; mooring; and maintenance facilities for both local and visiting historic vessels.

2.  Heritage Harbour Philosophy – Considerable mutual benefit and local pride can be achieved from the ‘Heritage Harbour’ status, by pulling together, in a forum group, all the interested parties; local government authority; the statutory port authority; developers; Harbourside commercial interests; historic trusts; the boating community; etc. etc. The status also provides opportunities for trusts and charities, encouraging young people, to engage in confidence building activities.

Pressures are brought to bear on local government authorities and developers to seek maximum short term profit by building apartment blocks with one and two bedroom units immediately alongside a river or harbour, without due consideration being given to access to the waterside and the long term benefits of protecting Maritime Heritage. To earn the designation of Heritage Harbour, the city, town or village involved needs to have, or; encouraged to demonstrate, an enthusiasm and  recognition for the long term benefits of its status in terms of tourism, commercial investment and residential desirability.

       3.  Heritage Harbour Attraction A combination of historic Harbourside buildings and local historic ships and boats, which tell a story related to the Harbour and region provide a uniquely attractive vehicle for improving the desirability of the area and can; halt a downward spiral in port / Harbour deterioration; significantly gentrify    previously rundown area, and; give new life through increased tourism and valued balanced development. In Great Britain the Ports and Harbours generally typify the regional differences and therefore encourage localised tourism. The buildings and the ships tell a story of the past growth and prosperity of the port, and; promise a  encouraging future.

4.  Harbourside Buildings – Substantial historic waterside buildings, often of local stone, have so many potential uses. An Heritage Harbour benefits from a balance of; relevant light industry; retail; catering; commercial offices, and; most importantly, maintenance facilities for resident and visiting historic boats and ships.

As far as is practical, private businesses,  cafés and restaurants alike, should be encouraged to be outgoing and transparent, using; historic local photographs and Artefacts to reflect the local heritage.

New development needs a symbiotic architectural connection to the historic buildings, common in Holland.

5.  Historic Ships and Boats – It’s important to encourage regional boat and ship types, which reflect the past local trade, fisheries and agriculture. Access to wharf side and moored vessels should be widely available. It is essential that adequate berthing is available for visiting craft, with some safe alongside berths for public visiting.

6.  Historic Ship Maintenance – Small shipyards, Maintenance Slips and  Barge blocks are steadily disappearing. So any existing facilities, within reasonable reach, need to be rebuilt and incorporated. The Shipshape Network already identifies available traditional tradesmen in a series of regional hubs.

Lido (Councillor Barry)

The lido has been monitored during the recent cold spell and secured against freezing conditions. The paddling pool was completely frozen and a mini ice rink for a couple of days!

It is hoped that preparations can begin for a limited opening of the café over the next few weeks with a view to possible weekend takeaways in March, if regulations and the improving local situation permits this to happen.  Further work on the plant room may also be able to commence in March with volunteers being vaccinated and able to work in pairs hopefully from the end of this month.  There has been another lost couple of months due to the severity of the lockdown and the weather conditions but the aim is to confirm contracts and get plant room equipment ordered for a provisional Easter work programme.

The changing room refurbishment has been completed and the perimeter fencing replaced.  There are some issue with the quality of the work on the fence that have been taken up with contractors. Without being too optimistic we are hoping to see volunteers back on site by Easter –  end of March/beginning April.

Planning (Councillor Smith)

Update on Planning Consultants:

Members will recall that in October 2020 Council agreed to proceed with commissioning a chartered town planner to advise on the Neighbourhood Plan and additionally advise the Council on development opportunities with regard to land and buildings. It has not been possible to secure the same planning practice to carry out both commissions because different practices are only interested in certain types of work. However, I am pleased to update members by confirming that with a little help from the Mayor we now have a planning practice willing to advise on the Neighbourhood Plan the fees of which will be paid nearly in total by a government grant. Consequently, I will shortly be writing to the 8 members of the public who have made an ‘expression of interest’ in joining the Steering Committee with this news. Additionally, I am also pleased to report that we have retained the services of another planning practise to advise on development opportunities with regard to land and buildings.

Update on Review of Environmental Policy:

When I drafted the BTC Environmental Policy I attached some importance to it being subject to an annual independent external review. I first approached Essex University but unfortunately they declined my invitation.  I then approached Roger Tabor, an eminent biologist living in Brightlingsea, who agreed to carry out the review. He completed the review on 7th February and it is now available to members and will shortly be put on the BTC website. When it has been on the website for a couple of weeks I will put it on the agenda of a BTC Planning Committee for discussion and action. Next year we will invite a different reviewer with the intention of continued improvement of our Environmental Policy.

Transport & Highways (Councillor Judson)

Colne Road Repairs – Patching work on Colne Road took place w/c 1st February 2020.  There was a problem with parked cars in New Street and this forced a change of plan with the diversion route for lorries, but progress has been made.  The work was completed on Friday 5th February 2020, with the road due to be ‘top dressed’ later in the year.

Incident outside Tesco Express – The office was advised of an incident which took place outside Tesco Express on the 21st January, where a gentleman came off his scooter, as there was a pothole filled with rain in the road.  This has been reported this to Essex County Council Highways, under reference number 2698881.  ECC replied as follows:- “We have investigated, risk assessed and recorded this issue as requiring future non-urgent works. Thanks for helping us keep Essex roads in the best condition we can.”

Western Promenade (Councillors Chasney and Howard)

Meeting with Neil Horsfall, Sedgwick Insurance Co

Cllrs. Howard, Chasney and Terry Hamilton met with Neil Horsfall to discuss and try to finalise the claim for the Western Prom Play Area damaged in the Flood, please see below minutes/bullet points:

“Zoom Meeting 29/01/2021

Tracey Pulford  – Brightlingsea Town Council (BTC)

Graham Chasney – Brightlingsea Town Council (BTC)

Terrence Hamilton  (TH)- Brightlingsea Town Council (BTC)

Jean Howard– Brightlingsea Town Council (BTC)

Neil Horsfall (NH)  – Sedgwick

Ownership of play equipment.

Owned by BTC.  Play Inspection Company (PIC) reports organised by Tendring DC who organise reports for all councils.

Specialist Report

It was agreed that an environmental report would be a good idea.

ACTION: NH to request the disaster restoration consultants, Davis French Associates (DFA)  carry out reassurance tests for biological contamination.

ACTION :  Tracey to advise on best point of contact for DFA Tracey or Terry?

Old Slide Rubber Matting

Gaps in matting historic – not part of claim for consideration.

Double Flat Swing

Rubber chips on top of old tiles – no problems as result of flood.  Patches of wear noted as due to children’s feet being put down – not flood related.

Roundabout

Roundabout:  Agreed that damaged due to salt water inundation.

ACTION: TH to obtain two quotes to replace like for like.

Wet pour:  Lifting around perimeter noted in PIC reports – repair agreed as maintenance related.

Toddler MuliPlay

Multi Play:  It was agreed that the rusting is flood related.

ACTION: TH to obtain two quotes to replace like for like.

Wet pour agreed as not damaged.

Junior Multiplay

Multiplay:  Corrosion noted pre flood.  Agreed that flood has exacerbated the damage.  TH believes repair possible.  Agreed 50% of reasonable repair cost would be ascribed to the flood.

ACTION: TH to obtain two quotes for repair.

Bonded Mulch:   Agreed cost to replace mulch is part of the claim.

ACTION: TH to obtain two quotes to replace like for like

Aerial Run Way

Agreed that repairs to bonded mulch is as a result of historic wear and not flood related.

Nest Swing

Agreed that repairs to bonded mulch is as a result of historic wear and not flood related

Council investigating improved drainage of swing by linking to road system.

Springers

Springer:  corrosion noted to steel of frame.  Agreed this can be attributed to flood.

ACTION: TH to obtain two quotes to replace like for like if council wish to replace.

Bonded mulch: Agreed there was pre existing damage as noted in PIC reports.  Problem exacerbated by flood.  Agreed 50% contribution to like for like replacement cost.

ACTION: TH to obtain two quotes to replace like for like.”

Estimates for Western Prom Play Area

Cllrs. Howard, Chasney and Terry Hamilton met on site with four different Play Equipment companies to discuss and make plans to repair and renew equipment, resurface the area and to finish with Wet Pour to protect area from damage in further flooding.

Environmental Policy

Cllrs. Howard and Chasney have both had telephone conversations with Roger Tabor to discuss ways that we can help with the environmental policy.  Some very interesting points were raised where we can make a difference by doing simple things differently such as drainage/signage/proper composting.  We will be looking into this with Terry Hamilton Head Groundsman.

Western Prom Lighting/Litter Bins

The lights along the Prom Road are still not working since the surge last year, Julie, (Admin) is looking into this hopefully with an update soon.  There has also been issues with the Tendring litter bins around the prom not being emptied regularly and some in a terrible state of repair, this has been reported many times.

Meeting with the Western Prom Team

Cllrs. Howard, Chasney and Terry Hamilton Head Groundsman.

The following was discussed:

Lakeside Camp Site.  Mr McCarthy owner of the site has agreed that the fencing on the Prom Road side of the Site is in disrepair, after discussions it was agreed he will buy the fencing and we (The Council) will put it up.  The work on the Tree Stump in the corner of the site is ‘in hand’.

Boating Lake.  The Lake itself needs dredging at some time in the future, the island needs making good in places where it is wearing away.  The path around the lake needs to be made good as does the edging within the lake itself.  Sadly we have lost a male swan with avian flu and its poor mate was being attacked by a new pair of swans trying to take their place, she has been taken away and looked after, she hasn’t got the flu so will be re-homed possibly at Mistley.

Sluice.  Councillor M. Barry has been in talks with TDC about repairs to the Sluice.

Oyster Tank Road Car Park.  Terry will rope off the grass area in the Car Park to stop cars going on while it is so waterlogged.

Millennium Gardens.  We have plans to put in another ‘Petangue’ Lane and also an outdoor Table Tennis Table.  Most of the trees in this area are dying, affected by the flood. Roger Tabor has suggested replacing then with Tamerisk, Sea Buckthorn and Selegrass plants.

Skate park.  Cllr. Howard attended a Community Voluntary Services (CVS) Funding Surgery with Karen Tedder-Ward Chairing.  We also had Jess from the National Lottery.  Some very good points were raised, the best being that they have cut down the amount of forms that people have had to complete in order to apply for funding.

Cllr. Howard had a call with Michael Carter from Sports Play Consulting Ltd.  His company plans and project manages new build play areas.  He gave a good insight into some of the pitfalls of a big project and was very helpful.  Cllr. Howard will be reporting to the next Finance Committee Meeting.

Basket Ball Park.  The Posts need replacing around this area.

Gym Area.  Equipment ok but could do with more equipment.

Grass Car Park.  Terry has ordered an up to date inspection.

Batemans Café. Lisa is not operating a service at the moment as she feels it’s not Covid safe for her staff and customers.  She is still in litigation with her builder but she has told me that her Barrister has been looking at her case and she is very encouraged by the outcome.

Youth (Councillor Howard)

The Town Council have approved a grant of £646 to Church Lads & Church Girls for a cycling training course for their members and it will also be open to the community.

Town Council also procured a grant from the locality fund run by Essex County Council of £602, to make up the amount required.  Many thanks to County Councillor Alan Goggin for all his help.

Tendring District Council Reports:

Councillor Barry

Since the last Town Council Meeting I have attended a full TDC meeting on 26th Jan and a Scrutiny Cttee meeting on 1st Feb.  There is another full TDC meeting scheduled for Tues 16th Feb.

The focus of the meetings has been budgets and spending proposals with some fairly difficult areas to manage in respect of Covid measures, Business support and support for residents in very difficult circumstances.

As part of the considerations we were made aware of proposals for Brightlingsea Sports Centre which came as a surprise to the three District Cllrs!

Below is a briefing paper I sent to the leader of the council Neil Stock on the issue.  This matter will be raised on 16th Feb – I will provide a verbal update to the Town Council on Thursday 18th Feb.

Background

Brightlingsea Ward Councillors – Cllrs Barry, Chapman and Steady – have only recently (28th Jan) become aware of proposals to relocate Clacton Hockey Club to the Brightlingsea Sports Centre, accompanied by a short-term refurbishment of the 19 yr old playing surface at a cost of £20,000. The urgency of the situation is compounded by correspondence from TDC indicating that refurbishment was scheduled to take place this month (Feb 2021).

The proposal stems from the scheduled installation of a 3G football pitch at Clacton Leisure Centre, displacing the Hockey Club from their base of twenty years.  Related to the planning application for the 3G pitch at Clacton is a requirement for mitigation in respect of the displacement of Clacton Hockey Club.

The proposed mitigation strategy is subject to an Objection from Sport England and is strongly opposed by the club itself.  In their view moving the club to Brightlingsea would lead to its demise as the only active club in Tendring, and there are a number of detailed objections relating to playing strength, social engagement, additional travel and the fitness for purpose of the facility.

The suggested relocation of Clacton Hockey Club to Brightlingsea has not been through a process of consultation with ward councillors and is not supported by them.  Brightlingsea ward councillors are aware of two key strategy documents that identify Brightlingsea as a priority venue for a 3G football pitch.  These are outlined below.

Documentation

Tendring District Council adopted a Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) in June 2017, which was to run until 2021 and provide the necessary evidence base to enable the council to identify priorities, update plans, and justify required sports facilities infrastructure across the district. The PPS was a key piece of evidence required for the Local Plan, which was recently adopted unanimously by full council. (Council meeting 26th Jan 2021).

A further document with relevance to this issue has been prepared by the Football Foundation – a charity set up by the Premier League, The FA and the Government.  The Foundation has prepared detailed reports mapping out the football facilities needed across every local authority area in England. Tendring has a Local Football Facility Plan (LFFP) dated December 2018.  It identifies Brightlingsea Sports centre as a priority project/location recommending installation of a new full size 3G Football Turf Pitch.

Given that both Clacton Hockey Club, Sport England and all three Brightlingsea Ward Councillors object to the proposed mitigation strategy as it stands, an alternative has emerged after discussion with the Clacton Hockey Club development officer.  I believe the relevant officer Mike Carran has also been in correspondence with Clacton Hockey Club and is aware of the proposal but we have not been able to talk to him this week.  Equally the portfolio holder Alex Porter has been contacted via e-mail this week but has yet to respond.

The alternative strategy involves the Hockey Club being relocated in Clacton at the Tendring Education Centre, Jaywick Lane.  There is currently a 3G pitch there (recently refurbed in 2019) that could be taken up and re-laid at Brightlingsea, and replaced by a new dual purpose artificial grass pitch suitable for Hockey and football.

This strategy has been discussed with industry specialists and is possible at a cost of approximately £220,000.

The provision of a 3G pitch in Brightlingsea would be a sustainable investment, meeting the priorities of current strategy documents, and provide returns within 3-5 years of operation.  A draft business case identifying 14 youth teams, 4 adult mens teams, one womens team and a walking football club within Brightlingsea, plus 10 further youth teams and 4 adult teams within the Alresford, Gt Bentley, Thorrington and Bromley area, will show demand and financial viability plus a guaranteed return on investment.

This alternative strategy would involve negotiation between TDC officers and school authorities under the Sigma Trust umbrella but if successful would provide a sustainable, long term outcome for both sports in their respective areas.  It would provide access for a range of different user groups to promote wellbeing and health, reduce carbon footprint, and be financially viable.  It would have the support of Ward Councillors, Sport England, Clacton Hockey Club and all football clubs in the Brightlingsea/Alresford/Gt Bentley area as well as providing a stimulus to new user groups and competitions.

It is hoped that funding can be allocated from unused reserves to facilitate this positive sporting development for Tendring residents of all ages, genders and abilities. If allocated it is anticipated that there would be a return on investment within 3-5 yrs.

After days of discussions and information gathering I proposed to put forward the following amendment to the budget – after correspondence with the TDC leader it was not submitted following assurances that he would ‘progress the issue’ and publicly commit to the strategy in his budget speech on 16th Feb.

‘For consideration at Full Council meeting Tuesday 16th February 2021.

Proposed amendment to Agenda Item 8 Recommendations.

Under Section a) recommendations i) to vi) add:

vii) that the council will re-allocate/ re-purpose the Reserve Fund item listed as ‘Residents Free Parking Reserve’ (£221,000) to facilitate the mitigation strategy in respect of Clacton Hockey Club and progress the installation of a 3G football pitch at Brightlingsea Sports centre.

Proposed: Cllr Mick Barry

Seconded: Cllr Graham Steady’

Councillor Steady

26th January 2021 – Full Council

28th January 2021 – Local Highways Panel.  Much to do regarding local schemes.

4th February 2021 – Pre meeting of Community Leadership Overview and Scrutiny Committee to formulate questions to be asked at actual meeting on Monday.

8th February 2021 – Community Leadership Committee meeting streamed on YouTube.  I asked questions regarding delivery of schemes, especially seafront ones, when focus is not on district wide initiatives.  Reports on support for communities regarding Social Isolation and Mental Health, impact of public firework displays and protocol for cabinet and overview and scrutiny roles.

16th February 2021 – Full Council budget meeting.

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