Update  from Town and District Councillors – Agenda No. 09

Council Meeting 16th September 2021

Amenity Areas (Councillor Steady)

Working with Susie Jenkins, Brightlingsea Nature Network and her Cobnuts organisation to put forward agreed areas of  joint activity.  Report with a recommendation that we support a grant application request attached.  Discussions took place with our Grounds Manager Terry Hamilton and Julie Ford Springmead Garden Manager.

Communication and Tourism (Councillors Chasney and Court)

COMMUNICATIONS

We have worked more on creating the comms strategy and the timeline associated with delivering the goals within it.  Once the initial elements are completed we will be able to build the relevant social media profiles to ensure we are doing all we can to communicate effectively.  We have also started an audit of the current signage around town, as well as identifying potential new signage opportunities – we will be producing an interactive map of these that we will circulate to Councillors that want to help us in this audit to ensure we are covering off as much of the town (and as many of the opportunities) as possible.  We have also started work on the Town Guide, which this time out will have a digital element to it.

TOURISM

We arranged and Chaired the inaugural Tourism Steering Group meeting with representatives from CYC, the High Street, Museum and BHC. The meeting was a success with the stakeholders’ being honest about what they would like to see happen which will help us develop the strategy.  It seems there is going to be substantial crossover with the signage audit in the Communications report above. We will also be focusing on fostering the sense of sharing between stakeholders that was felt during the meeting.  Again, more crossover will be had between the new digital/communications strategy and our work on Tourism.  In addition to a strong desire for the signage audit, other actions cited were:

  • Establish ‘Brand Brightlingsea’
  • To start planning Christmas shopping
  • To encourage shops to remain open on Saturdays
  • To form a High Street Association
  • To consider a Visit Brightlingsea leaflet
  • Take the Jubilee planning forward
  • Joined up CCTV 
  • Ask the football club to provide a steering group representative 
  • Publish town guide in January / February

Also a local film production:

As has been previously reported, local film maker Ray Hayden, Opaz Multimedia, is producing a children fantasy film titled ‘Brightlingsea’.  The storyline is about mermaids.  Local youngsters have been cast for the roles and the backdrop is various well-known landmarks around our town.  Regents FC have already been filmed in action.  The Regatta was also used.  To see how it’s going take a look at www.brightlingseafilm.co.uk 

It’s a professional shoot using 4K Ultra technology and the crew have worked on The Crown and other well-known productions.  Ray has told us he intends to offer BTC an abridged version showing tourist sites which  could be viewed on our proposed new website.

We will stay close to the team and we have been asked if BTC might consider a grant towards the costs.  Also if anyone has any ideas where the crew could be accommodated during filming at the end of September to save hotel bills.  The town clerk has been made aware of the grant request.”

The Hard (Councillor Carr)

Fisherman’s / Community Pier

I would like to acknowledge the assistance that BHC have given with  regards to signage and safety equipment on the new pier. However prior to opening we are still awaiting delivery of some equipment. Follows an update as of 13/9/2021

a) Rules and use of pier signage to be affixed w/c 13 sept.. (all dolphin safety signage is affixed)

b) Flag pole sign and life saving equipment, arrival from the welder this Wednesday or Thursday so can be affixed this week.

c) 2 new mooring to be laid, I have discussed this with the owner of the sailing dinghy and he is very keen to have his mooring moved as soon as the harbour can action. BHC  have indicated that they will lay 2 mooring to the west of the area 

d) Lower concrete area by the ramp. Terry our groundskeeper has spoken to Rob Butcher to undertake this work.

e) H&Safety audit as soon as we have the above works completed can we do the audit , Terry and Owen, 

f) I have spoken to Brahm of Haywards Oysters, who will lay his boat alongside for some photos and a soft opening after which we will encourage day angling vessels to collect their charter parties as and when tides permit. 

I would hope that the opening to the public will be w/c 20th Sept.

Powered vessel initiative joint St Osyth meeting
I have been invited to a special meeting on 15th September at St Osyth Parish Council where a update on how BHC have managed the launch and speed of powered vessels from the Point clear stone and into Brightlingsea Harbour. Attendees will include the marine police unit BHC and representation from the Point Clear residents assoc. I will update Council with a report.

Newly formed group Tourism and regeneration
A newly formed group, initiated by the Mayor, met on 27th August, with a remit of Tourism and regeneration. Stakeholders were invited from the following areas:
Shopkeepers (High street and beyond)
BHC
Yacht & sailing clubs
BTC (Cllrs, Chasney, Court, Morgan & Carr.)
The Museum

Discussion centred around how the stakeholders could raise the awareness of tourism within the town, and to identify BTC assets that they could input into prior to any regeneration.

The Community Quay was discussed where ideas on markets, pop up shops, music and many other community events were discussed. It was confirmed that the Technical Volunteer Group would feed back to this group any plans and layouts of the planned facility.

Community / heritage quay, adjusted plans for TDC planning
The technical group met on Thursday 9th Sept, consisting of Cllrs Carr, Chasney, Morgan, Duncan Nicholson and William Coulet. The meeting was called to discuss the way forward with the planning application for the Heritage Community Quay and the restrictions placed upon the application in particular by ECC. Funding was also discussed where two heritage funding opportunities were identified as suitable for application.

After the original planning application was lodged with TDC, ECC made two objections. The first on the lack of any archaeological report and the second objecting to the interruption of view from the Grade 2 listed building the Anchor Hotel. I met with Mr Tim Murphy from ECC in company with our ECC Councillor Alan Goggin to discuss the objections. It was agreed that we would commission a archaeological survey which was completed and passed to BTC early September. The comprehensive survey recommended that a series of trial pits be dug in the areas where piling would commence to hold the sheet pilings in place. As the construction included excavation to place the pilings at certain points this recommendation was felt to be acceptable.

The Heritage objection was linked to the interruption of the view enjoyed by the residents of the Grade 2 Anchor Hotel. Mr Murphy recommended that we lodge new block plans with the width no further than the western wall of the Colne Yacht Club.

With this objection in mind the Technical Group would like to liaise with Tim Snow, architects to post the following changes on the planning document. (SEE ATTACHED DOCUMENTS).

The above shows a size of 40m deep by 35 m wide (our original plan was to be 40 m wide x 25m deep)

We feel that this change in shape and size fulfils the ECC heritage objection, and feel that we should use the services of local architect Tim Snow to put the readjusted planning document together for presentation to TDC. We will at the same time require contact with the MMO to update them on the change. As the artists impression produced gave much confusion the group felt that only block and elevation plans should be used in any consultation.

The quay requirement of community use for farmers markets, music events, pop up shops amongst others will be taken into account with regard to services built into the structure. It is planned to utilise as much harbour sediment to produce generic paving slabs and any other street furniture such as planters and benches as possible.

Once the updated planning application has been produced the group would like to pass this to Cllr Ben Smith and the planning committee for discussion, after which it can then be resubmitted to full council.

Additional reply to Resident Mr Colin South re Oyster layings
After a request regarding Oyster laying’s information was passed to Mr South, an additional request as follows was made:
“To: Town Clerk
Subject: Re: Question for Town Council Meeting
Good morning. Thank you for your reply but could you please give me the positions of the Oyster Layings as I assume you have a map giving there positions. Also can you send me the University reports as I’m doing a study on the regeneration of Native Oysters as I believe the town would benefit considerably from this.
Regards
Colin”

My reply, sent via the Clerk, is as follows:-

“Dear Mr South

Thank you for your email 7th September.

1) You have asked to see the Oyster Laying map that we hold. The map is stored within our archives under the management of the Councils archivist, the archivist works half days on Monday and Thursday, in order for you to view the map we will need you to make an appointment on her day of working giving at least 2 weeks notice. The notice period is required as our archivist has many duties at the moment and will need to plan your visit within her timetable. An alternative to your visiting the Parish Hall is for you to visit the Harbour Office where James Thomas has a  map on display. If you think this to be an easier method, I would be happy to call the harbour to arrange your visit.
2) As far as the University of Essex reports on Oyster health are concerned, these reports are commissioned and paid for  by Richard Haywards Oysters in Mersea. I would ask that you contact Mr Hayward to ask for shared information.

Kind Regards
Cllr John Carr”

Lido (Councillor Barry)
The lido is slowly winding down to it’s seasonal closure at the end of September, but it has been flexible enough to capitalize on the recent good weather and open some extra sessions as well as providing early morning and evening swims throughout the month. There was a very successful fund raising event last Saturday and a sold out full moon swim is scheduled for September 21st.

Over the season the Lido and the Café have provided employment for over twenty young people as either lifeguards or café staff, and they have all acquitted themselves very well and grown in stature and experience. The new Lido manager Nicki Martin has developed a good team ethic and nurtured her very young lifeguard group through their first summer without any mishaps or major incidents. The Lido café has established and promoted sustainability through its policy of using local suppliers for bread and meat supplies with all packaging, cups, bags, boxes and cutlery being fully compostable or recyclable. The atmosphere generated by the young team in the café has been lively and friendly with many positive comments and good feedback about their food and customer service – the latter was sometimes slow at peak times but it is not a fast food takeaway. The café will see a change of management for the winter with Jay Jenkins moving away from the area.

Despite the really poor summer both Lido and Café have generated profits that are going to be re-invested into facility improvements. Coming out of Covid in mid June my budget forecast would have welcomed a break even figure but to their great credit both operations have exceeded expectations. The on-line booking system has worked well in generating guaranteed income and volunteers have once again played a critical role in managing the front of house function and supporting fund raising.

The winter schedule will see continuing improvements with the aim to install a pool cover, a hoist to assist pool access, create a shaded area and develop flood resilience in the plant room.

Welfare (Councillor Chapman)
Its been a busy month getting care packages in place.

Had a meeting with Age Concern to try and set up a “Friendship and Dementia Cafe” which will now start on 4th Thursday of every month starting on Thursday 23rd September at the United Church Hall, Chapel Rd from 10am to 12pm. Some Councillors and staff took part in Age Concerns Dementia training at the Parish Hall, this will enable us to be the 1st council in Tendring to become Accredited.

The Hearing Clinic is booked in at the Parish Hall for the third Friday of the month from 11am until 2pm.

Essex Diabetic Eye Screening Programme have booked the Parish Hall for a week in October, plus dates in March, July and October 2022.

Cllr Mick Barry and I had a lot of requests from the Leisure Village residents to help with the on-going problems being caused by the new people who have taken the lease. Cllr Graham Steady and Cllr Ric Morgan have now taken over and meetings have been arranged.

Western Promenade (Councillors Morgan and Steady)
“THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN”
Stakeholders: BTC, TDC, Environmental Agency, Natural England.
Private Enterprise: Batemans Café, Lakeside Camp Site, Leisure Village
Community Users: Model Boat Club, The Scouts, Fun Fair, Food and Drink Festival, Car Boot Sales, Jog Walk Run.
Ad Hoc: Pawsons Playground , Skate Park, Paddling Pool, Millennium  Gardens including 2 Petanque Rinks ,Outdoor Gym and Car Parks
For the purpose of this exercise, The Lido is not included.

To confirm that we will be having meetings at the end of the season i.e. September, and the beginning of the next season, i.e. April, with all stakeholders.

HISTORICALLY
No real development plan, no linked up strategy to present the whole area.

FACILITIES
Long term improvements Skate Park, Paddling Pool and Boating Lake
Short term: Pawsons playground, Finance available insurance £41,000 TDC £62,000 Total £103,000, Total cost £133,000
Skate Park remedial work to ensure all equipment is safe original cost £14,500, new quote £3,500
Basketball Court refurb finance available £1,525 from Gofundme, total cost £6,000.

SIGNAGE
We have carried out a survey of signs along the Western Prom.  There are 20 concerning dogs, 6 no cycling, 15 around the paddling pool danger warning and 3 signs giving directions to the public toilets.  We have to make a decision on any initiatives we wish to take along this very important area.

SUMMARY
Taking all the above information concerning the Western Prom facilities into consideration, we have to take positive action to upgrade the facilities. Although there has been no grant applications put in, except for the two for the CIF fund, we have to consider making a positive statement, bearing in mind that the grant procedures can run into months, with no guarantee of success. The financial figures mentioned shows that there is a shortfall of £38,000. I would like to recommend that this sum is taken from the reserves/town development fund. This would enable all three projects to be completed immediately and before the next season. What a wonderful statement of intent!
Tendring District Council Reports:

Councillor Barry
I have attended a members briefing on Suicide Prevention (8.9.21) and a Finance Training event (9.9.21) and full Council Meeting (14.9.21) where I tabled a question regarding the future of the Brightlingsea Sports Centre (along with Cllr Steady). See below.

Can I urge all members to fill in the questionnaire and encourage residents to do the same.

Use this link before 24th October
https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=UjyhhT5pOUy9-oXDqQR9FZcerWSZAMxNuvGRwRxbUapUM1BFTkVYRFU4VUc5NzdES1ROSjJNWjYwTy4u

Councillor Chapman
Wednesday 8th Sept catch up on Human Resources and staffing
Wednesday 8th Sept all members briefing.

Councillor Steady
2nd September – Attended Freeport East working group, requested that Brightlingsea be included in the ‘cluster’ group for investment and job creation.

14th September – Attended full council, asked the following question to Councillor Alex Porter, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism:-

“The Council’s head of Sport and Leisure attended a Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 14th October 2019 and minutes from that meeting state (para.30)

‘He advised the Committee that later in the Calendar year there was intended to be consideration by Cabinet of a 10 year Strategy for Sports facilities in the District as provided by the Council.’

He identified underpinning themes of the new Strategy as:
Securing the financial sustainability of the Council’s leisure and sports facilities.
Seeking to harness the work being undertaken with Sport England to break the cycle of inactivity and consequential health problems and design services that will align with the outcomes of the project.
Adjusting the service offer and pricing policy to respond to the changing market in leisure facility provision nationally and attract more users.

Can the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism update council on the position of the 10 year strategy and confirm that the underpinning themes will be paramount when considering the future of all leisure service provision in the district?

16th September – Attending the Local Highways Panel meeting, where the main issues are:- report on funded schemes 2021/2022 and report on schemes awaiting funding.  I would like to raise the issues that I have raised before, which are:- we do need to carry out a full highways and traffic survey covering pinch points in the town, double yellow lines, possible double red lines, sites for LED lights  and traffic flow.

QUESTION TO COUNCILLOR ALEX PORTER
PORTFOLIO HOLDER FOR LEISURE AND TOURISM
QUESTION PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 11.2

Question raised by: Councillor Barry
‘As we begin to emerge from the pandemic and look towards the road to recovery, the importance and profile of physical activity in improving the well-being of residents has never been greater.
Being physically active and participating in sports activities is one of the most effective ways to enrich the lives of the people of Tendring and the communities we live in.
Against this background it is a matter of great concern that the involvement of this council in the operation of Manningtree Sports Centre has ended and reviews of similar arrangements at Brightlingsea and Harwich sports centres are scheduled to take place in the next few months.
Will the portfolio holder for Leisure and Tourism confirm that joint user agreements currently in place at Brightlingsea and Harwich sports centres will be revised and updated and that leisure provision for residents in those communities will be safeguarded and enhanced?’
RESPONSE:
“The current agreements with Brightlingsea and Harwich have reached their expiry, and as such an extension has been secured until the end of December, allowing for a full governance process to take place. A full six-week consultation will be undertaken with local centre users and non-users to provide Cabinet with the information required to make an appropriate key decision for these facilities, which are not owned by this Council.”

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