Minutes of the Online Council Meeting held on

Thursday 10th December 2020 at 7.30pm.

Present:

Councillors

G Steady (Mayor)

J Chapman (Deputy Mayor)

M Barry, M Beckett, J Carr, G Chasney,

J Howard, M Judson and B Smith

In attendance:

Tracey Pulford – Town Clerk

County Councillor Goggin

5  Members of the public

90. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: None received.

91. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 19TH NOVEMBER 2020 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:

The Minutes of the meeting held on the 19th November 2020 were accepted as a true record.  Agreed.

92. MAYORS ANNOUNCEMENTS:

A copy of the Mayor’s Announcements is annexed to the Minutes.

The Mayor mentioned Choosing Day, which was held virtually with 53 people attending, where Frank Pomroy was re-elected as Deputy to the Cinque Port Liberty.

93. DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:

The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

94. TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & PROPERTY MEETING HELD ON 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 AND TO CONFIRM THE RECOMMENDATIONS THEREIN:

Councillor Carr proposed that the Minutes of the Finance and Property Meeting held on the 26th November 2020 are accepted as a true record, and the recommendations (as written) be accepted:-

  • A budget would be prepared based on a precept increase of 3% (£186,806.00).
  • The money received from the Land Registry would be ring-fenced into the Development Fund for projects at the Hard.

The minutes were seconded by Councillor Chapman  Agreed.

95. TO CONSIDER AND APPROVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THOSE MEMBERS EXAMINING THE ACCOUNTS FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD:

The Town Clerk informed members that the Payments and Accounts for the period ending November 2020 (as shown on the attached appendix) are as follows:

General Account – 16 BACS Payments totalling £11,929.34 be authorised for payment.

Current Account

£217,820..16

Saver Account

£68,593.86

Base Rate Reward Account

£42,599.97

Making a total of:

£329,013.99

Less one un-presented cheque

£40.00

Making a total on all accounts of

£329,973.99

Income to date

£392.797.47

Expenditure to date

£230,474.48

Employee payments paid for November

£13,618.89

Payments taken direct from the bank account in November – 44 payments totalling

£23,518.54

These accounts were then proposed by Councillor Carr, seconded by Councillor Howard.  Agreed.

The Mayor asked a question about the payment to Glasdon, and the memorial benches, and asked if these were to be recharged.  The Town Clerk replied that this invoices covers 4 benches for the Victoria Gardens, which have been paid for by local organisations, and the memorial bench is for Ian Block, which is situated on Hurst Green, and will be paid for by his family.

96. REPORT FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN:

A copy of the report from County Councillor Goggin had been circulated to all members.

County Councillor Goggin mentioned the following:-

  • Have circulated an e-mail from John Spence re Covid-19, unfortunately Essex has taken a turn for the worse.  Essex’s average is up to 169 per 100,000, which is driven by bad figures in the South of the County – Basildon has 390 cases per 100,000, however Tendring only has 70 cases per 100,000.  The key issue is there are 352 beds occupied by people with Covid, 55 beds occupied with people who have suspected Covid, and that is 30% of the spare beds.  The whole country is being re-assessed on the 15th December 2020, and if we stay at those numbers, we could go up to tier 3.
  • Items 1 and 9 – The B1027 review has been accepted by Gt Bentley, Thorrington and St Osyth.  Alresford did not like it.  The B1027 does not go though Brightlingsea although a lot of residents use this road.
  • Items 2 and 11 – Have asked Highways to prepare figures and statics .  The number of repairs/works on roads is 543 over the last 4 years, with 2018 being the busiest year with 186 repairs, caused by the ‘Beast from the East’.  So far this year we have had 41 repairs to date.
  • Bellfield Avenue – Still waiting for an Engineers Report from Highways, before a leaflet drop can take place.
  • Item 6 – Have a 3rd grant application in from Brightlingsea for the Locality Grant – for a ‘pleased to chat bay’ at the Hard Shelter.
  • Item 10 – Received good support from certain people, however Morrison’s have been particularly helpful.  They have, locally, helped the Food Bank and have a fund of money for food and other things, if groups of people have ideas for people less well off.
  • Item 14 – Subsidised school meals was discussed at full Council on Tuesday,
  • In Discussion with Councillor Steady regarding the lack of finger posts around some of the rights of ways in the town.  Councillor Steady and the Grounds Manager have been on the case for past 18 months.

The Mayor asked for questions to County Councillor Goggin from Councillors:

Councillor Smith mentioned Covid and the figures, and asked why Brightlingsea is grouped with St Osyth?  He then asked if County Councillor Goggin could ask the Medical Officer at Chelmsford if we could be re-grouped with Alresford, or be on our own.  The Mayor replied that Brightlingsea is grouped with Point Clear, and maybe it is because we are close to Point Clear.  County Councillor Goggin replied that this is correct however sometimes Brightingsea is linked to Mersea.  He then stated that he has already asked if we can be devolved, but has not yet received a reply.

Councillor Barry mentioned that on the NHS digital records today, Brightlingsea and Point Clear have 6 people testing positive to Covid.  He then asked what the position is, County verses District, with changes to the tier system.  He mentioned that areas like Basildon and Harlow, with very high numbers, should be placed in tier 3, but the corollary of that is that Tendring has the 2nd lowest rate in the Country, and should not be placed in tier 3.  He asked do you have any indication in your discussions with Bernard Jenkin and Will Quince and at County level whether there is to be any changes to the tier system, i.e. full counties being tiered together?  County Councillor Goggin replied that Councillor Barry has made a good point, and that Tunbridge Wells in Kent has the same situation, they are the lowest in terms of cases, but because they are in Kent, they have been put into tier 3.

The following questions to County Councillor Goggin were asked from members of the public:

Q) Potholes – There are some in Church Road which are marked out, but not fixed.

A) County Councillor Goggin replied that pot holes are repaired on an ‘as needed danger’ basis.  Today he received notification from Highways that advised some repairs in Church Road and Bateman Road are to take place, however this is scheduled for the 12th April 2021.  In the last 4 years there have been 543 repairs to roads, pavements, lights etc. in Brightlingsea.  The Mayor requested that County Councillor Goggin sends the resident a copy of his report.

Councillor Judson stated that he is responsible for roads in Brightlingsea, and said that the resident could contact him with any issues concerning roads etc.

97. QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:

Q) When Councillor Judson is inspecting pot holes, does he walk or drive round?

A) The Mayor replied that Councillor Judson is available to discuss roads, and if you wish to contact him direct, please do so.

98. CAR PARK CHARGES 2021/2022:

A copy of a report on the car park charges for the Promenade Way car parks and the Oyster Tank Road car park, produced by Tendring District Council, had been circulated to all members.

After discussion it was proposed by Councillor Chapman that the prices for 2021 should remain as they are, with no increase.  The reason behind this is that with the current situation everybody is in re Covid-19 with job losses etc. no increase should happen, it is a cheap day out for families, and would discourage tourism if the price increased.  Seconded by Councillor Carr.  Agreed.

99. ADMINISTRATION:

A copy of a report produced by the Mayor had been circulated to all members.

The Mayor briefed members, and after discussion it was agreed that this would be re-discussed in the new year.

100. TO NOTE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETINGS HELD ON 26TH NOVEMBER and 9TH DECEMBER 2020 AND THE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:

Councillor Smith proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 26th November and 9th December be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council.  Seconded by Councillor Chapman.  Agreed.

101. UPDATE FROM TOWN AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:

The following updates were given:-

Councillor Chapman advised that the residents on the Brightlingsea Leisure Village can stay there during the closed season, and do not have to go to families or other addresses unless Tendring goes into tier 1.  If Tendring goes into tier 1, they would have to go move back to where they normally go during the closed period.  Mr Hammerton is due on site tomorrow, and has been told, in no uncertain terms, that the residents are allowed to stay – but it is the residents with genuine reasons – they cannot go to families, or have their own complex health issues.  The Mayor added that this issue has gone to ministerial level at Central Government.  He said that we need to sit down in January to discuss flood levels etc., as the Lakeside Caravan Site is down as a red, and the Leisure Village is down as an amber, so there appears to be some discrepancy from what Tendring are saying and also Central Government.  He then thanked Bernard Jenkin MP for all his help on this issue, also Councillors Chapman and Barry, who have both been dealing with local residents.

Councillor Howard reported that another piece of play equipment has now rusted underneath, due to the tidal surge in February.  The Town Clerk has contacted the Insurance Company, and the equipment is due to be inspected in the next couple of days.

Attended the Superfast Broadband Meeting last Thursday and once details of the meeting are sent through, will circulate to all members.

Councillor Steady welcomed Susie Jenkins to the meeting and spoke about the 2nd phase of the tree planting, and the spinoff from Mark Nowers of the RSPB.

Councillor Chapman asked Councillors Howard and Chasney, if there was any update on the Batemans Tower Cafe.  She said that they received a grant, and was worried that this grant ran out in November?  Councillor Howard replied that they got an extension on the grant.  Councillor Steady confirmed this and said that the extension is now March.

Councillor Barry updated members on the Lido.  He said that all the fencing has come down, the changing rooms have moved on quite significantly in the last two weeks and work is due to commence on the boiler room early in the new year.  He said that it could look very different early in the new year, and we will be on course to open, if allowed, under some guidance by May next year.

102. TOWN CLERKS REPORT:

  1. Agreed the Brightlingsea Woodwind and Brass Musicians can play Christmas Carols in the War Memorial Gardens on Sunday 20th December 2020 between 4.30pm and 6pm.  They are to be advised that as Sunday afternoons in the Town Centre is quiet, maybe they should play on Saturday 19th also.  Also as the grass has been re-turfed, they are to stay off the grass and only use the paved areas.
  2. Agreed Brightlingsea Preschool can extend its hours of trading to 7am until 6pm, starting January/February 2021.  The session fees would be looked at and increased pro-rata.  Also they are to liaise with the Grounds Manager about gate lock-up etc.
  3. Agreed that the Town Council will purchase a Christmas Tree, and install in the Victoria Gardens, to be decorated by a local Art Therapist, with ornaments made from recycling.
  4. Agreed White Gardenia Foods can site a food outlet trailer within the Community Centre car park.

Councillor Steady moved, in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, in order to discuss items of a sensitive nature and items which are commercially confidential, the press and public be excluded.  This was seconded by Councillor Chapman   Agreed.

103. MOTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS) ACT 1960 –To discuss the following:-

  • Property Update

104. PROPERTY UPDATE:

Councillors Smith, Chasney and Carr all declared an interest in the following item:-

Colne Yacht Club – After discussion it was proposed by Councillor Chapman, seconded by Councillor Barry that as no one else has received a rent holiday from the Town Council, also with the national support for organisations in financial difficulties, the Town Council believes this will offset any loss of income, they be refused a rent holiday.  Also the Town council is losing income, and still maintaining front line services.

A vote was taken: for: 6; abstention: 3.  Agreed.

The Hard – The Mayor briefed members on the recent Freedom of Information request that had been received concerning areas of the Hard, copies of which had been circulated to all members.  He stated again that all the information concerning land registry issues is held in the office and that the asset register is an on-going piece if work.   He urged all members, as he has done before, to talk to the archivist, who has been involved with compiling all the relevant information.  Much discussion took place.  Councillor Steady declared an interest in this item.  Councillor Judson acknowledged that he worked with the applicant of the FOI request, however felt it  was not relevant at this time to declare any interest.

Hard Initiative – A copy of the steering group notes had been circulated to all members.  A discussion took place.

105.     CLOSE OF MEETING:

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9.15 p.m.

Chair ……………………

Date: 21st January 2021

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