Minutes of the Council Meeting held at

The Parish Hall, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea on:

Thursday 13th December 2018 at 7.30 p.m.

 

Present:

Councillors

B Smith (Mayor)

G Steady (Deputy Mayor)

M Barry, I Block, J Chapman, V Chapman,

D Dixon, J Howard, J Russell and K Yallop

 

In attendance:

County Councillor Alan GogginTracey Pulford –Town Clerk

8 Members of the publi

  1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Councillors Ingate and Judson.
  2. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 15TH NOVEMBER 2018 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:

Councillor Russell proposed that the Minutes of the meeting held on the 15th November 2018 were accepted as a true record. Seconded by Councillor J Chapman. Agreed.

  1. MAYORS ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

A copy of the Mayors Announcements are annexed to the minutes.

 

  1. DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:

 

The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

 

  1. FIVE MINUTE REPORT FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN AND QUESTIONS:

 

County Councillor Goggin wished everyone a Merry Christmas, then reported on the following:-

  • Held a clinic in the Library
  • Meeting with Sonia Church about the Local Highways Panel, which meets next Tuesday
  • Meeting with Bernard Jenkin, who wanted details about what is going on in the town, especially the Lido
  • Attended a meeting with the Community Centre Trustees Board about the Library.
  • Now sit on the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Board, which is interesting and they are based in Brightlingsea.
  • Also sit on the Haven Gateway Partnership.
  • Full Council meeting on Tuesday and the bulk of the conversation was about libraries. He stated that he did a presentation to the Council and talked about the Brightlingsea Library. Brightlingsea Library is used by many groups including: Baby and Toddler, Computer/IT, Home Library Service, Book Club, Children’s events, Lego Club, Schools visit the library, Virgin Care go there to weigh babies, Music events, it is a Tourist hub, County Councillor Surgeries are held there.       The problem with the library at the moment is that vast amounts of residents do not use the library.       It is only open for 24 hours a week; no evenings; it has no toilets, or refreshments; and no parking.       The basic concept about the discussion paper is that they are looking for ideas. If Brightlingsea Library stays in ‘group 3’ they are in danger of being not fully supported by Essex County Council. Next Wednesday there is a two hour consultation at the Library, where officers will be available to answer questions.       After this, he will meet with Councillors J Chapman and Yallop to come up with a strategy, then a public meeting should be held.

 

Members asked the following questions:

Councillor Smith asked about the Essex Energy Switch Auction, which takes place every year. He mentioned an article in the Sunday Times headed “Anyone can sell energy on the cheap, then the lights go out”. He stated that the company, SO Energy, was in financial difficulties. He mentioned a press release which Essex County Council put out in February 2018, and stated that these smaller firms, whilst they provide cheaper electricity and gas, appear not to have been subject to checks, and he asked County Councillor Goggin if he could ask the Energy Suppler Officer in Chelmsford, that whilst it is great to have these energy switch auctions, that next year the County Council’s successful auction company is going to be viable and there is no danger that it could go bust. Obviously Ofgem do guarantee the supply, but 6,000 households in Essex will be forced to find a new supplier.

Councillor J Chapman asked about the Library and whether it is better for people to fill in the petition on online or get a paper copy and not sign the petition, also have you any idea on how many people have replied to the consultation. County Councillor Goggin said that, at a meeting on Tuesday, 7,000 people over the whole of Essex had replied. He stated that getting the public involved is a good thing, but in his opinion, signing a petition is not very helpful, but the Library cannot carry on in its current state. He stated that the Library is really a Community Hub, as 1 in 4 who go in the library borrow a book, so what are the other three going for.

Councillor Barry stated that a newspaper article headed “Closing County Libraries could be unlawful”, was proposed at a Council meeting which County Councillor Goggin would have attended. If so, what was the thrust of that meeting, was there a vote and which way did you vote? County Councillor Goggin read out the proposition put forward by two opposition individuals: “This Council has no confidence in the ability of the leader and cabinet member to deliver in the future a comprehensive and effective public library.” He stated that this was not about libraries but about confidence in the leader of the council the cabinet member dealing with libraries. He said that he, along with the vast majority, voted against it. Councillor Barry said that County Councillor Goggin is comparing this situation to the Lido, but there is a great difference between the lido as a cultural and community asset and the library. The Library is a free asset and it carries with it a much broader potential usage. He said that the he did not think that the lido should be held up as a community asset that is then saved and rescued by volunteers etc.

A discussion took place.

Councillor Steady stated that there are two issues in Robinson Road, which he has mentioned in the past to Councillor Judson.   One being the speed limit going down Mill Street around to Robinson Road, where you go from 30 mph to the national speed limit.   The other issue is the lack of street lights from the Chapel Road end of Robinson Road to the new development. A discussion took place.

Councillor Russell asked if Libraries are a statutory duty for County Councils? County Councillor Goggin replied yes they are. Councillor Russell then asked for clarification on whether the motion of no confidence was won. County Councillor Goggin replied that the vote was lost.

The Mayor then asked for questions to County Councillor Goggin from members of the public.

Q1) Essex County Council has an investment in a Business Park in Surrey and a shopping precinct in Yorkshire, but there is not enough information in the paper about where the money went to for the front line services – where does this money go, who actually scrutinises it as well?

County Councillor Goggin said he would look into this.

Q2) Regarding the library, can you tell us what the options are? County Councillor Goggin replied that it all depends on the answers to the consultation. He stated that he has spoken to/looked at the Community Centre, YMCA, Chairman of the Springmead Trust, Museum so any of these could be a solution. If anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. There are currently 8 Libraries in Essex which are run by community groups.

As there were no further questions for County Councillor Goggin, the Mayor thanked him for his report and comments.

  1. TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE FINANCE MEETING HELD ON 6TH DECMBER 2018 AND TO CONFIRM THE RECOMMENDATIONS THEREIN:

Before proposing the minutes, Councillor Steady highlighted a couple of items: Minute Number F198 and the update of the Sufuse Project. He stated that the final schemes and figures have been submitted to Sufuse so now we have to wait. If the schemes are approved and we go ahead with the proposed schemes, it could be heavy commitment, and with elections in May we could have a new Council, therefore he suggested that, if successful, the Town Council holds a public consultation on the schemes put forward, via the press, display boards at the office, and a display on a Saturday morning. He then mentioned Minute Number F199 on the budgets for 2019/2020. He stated that the proposed increase of 2% on the precept, would mean a Band D rating of £60.61, up from £59.41 for 2018/2019, and increase of £1.20 per year. The extra revenue raised will help to fund different initiatives, such a Feet on the Street, and also help to review the staff salary increase which was part of a two year deal.

 

Councillor Steady then proposed that the Minutes were accepted as a true record, and the recommendations (as written) be accepted:-

  • The Town Council would resend the information in respect of the S106 bids for the changing facilities at the Lido and in respect of The Hard to both Martyn Knappett and Paul Price, including any additional information which may have been requested subsequently by TDC Officers. Also include Councillor J Chapman’s scheme for Victoria Place to see if it meets the S106 criteria.
  • The Precept for 2019/2020 would be increased by 2%, giving a precept request, before LCTSS Grant, of £176,460.00. This gives a tax base of £2,850.00, and a Band D rating of £60.61. .
  • Winterfest is awarded £500.00 from the grants budget, and £150.00 from the Mayors budget.
  • The Town Council would purchase a licence for the Internal Auditor to be able to access the accounts remotely on a reports basis only, to help speed up the sometimes lengthy process of internal audit.

 

The Minutes were seconded by Councillor Block. Agreed.

  1. TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THOSE MEMBERS EXAMINING THE ACCOUNTS FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD:

The Payments and Accounts for the period ending November 2018 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor Dixon as follows:

General Account Cheque No’s 707202 – 707219 in the sum of £12,165.37 for payment.

Bank Balances – All Accounts – in the sum of £234,281.43

Employee payments paid for the month of November were £13,250.80

The accounts were then seconded by Councillor Russell, in Councillor Judson’s absence. Agreed.

  1. TO RECEIVE QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:

These questions are annexed to the Minutes.

County Councillor Goggin left the meeting to attend the Council Meeting at St Osyth.

 

  1. TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETINGS HELD ON 15TH AND 29TH NOVEMBER 2018 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:

Councillor V Chapman proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 15th and 29th November 2018 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council. Seconded by Councillor Howard. Agreed

  1. HIGHWAYS DEVOLUTION PILOT:

A copy of e-mails from the EALC on Highways Devolution Pilot, together with a copy of the Grant Agreement had been circulated to all Members.

The Mayor briefed members that Essex County Council had £1m left over from its budget, and had decided that they would like to have this Pilot with Town Councils in Essex with regard to them doing some of the work, and are going to pay the money up front, to those Councils who wish to take part in the scheme. He read out the list of items which the Grounds Manager thought the council could undertake, for the suggested amount of money available for Brightlingsea.

After much discussion it was proposed by Councillor Barry that Brightlingsea Town Council would not take part in the Highways Devolution Pilot. Seconded by Councillor Russell. Agreed.

 

  1. THE HARD – AMENDED TITLE AND TITLE PLAN:

A copy of a letter from Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors dated 23.05.18, together with a copy of the amended title and plan for the Hard had been circulated to all Councillors.

The Mayor briefed members and stated that the amended Title Plan has been received from the Solicitors, showing the area owned by the Town Council, and the area of land being de-registered. This plan was noted.

Councillor Yallop asked Councillor Smith about a sign/disclaimer against the Town Council, being installed a the Hard, showing the area of de-registered land. Councillor Smith said that he would look into this.

 

  1. TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM COUNCILLORS CONTACT CO-ORDINATORS:

Councillor V Chapman – A quotation has been received for the CCTV cameras on the Promenade; Spoken to the new owners of the Lakeside Caravan Park, and work has started on the toilet block; a bench was installed on the 1st December and the Team are installing a path around the boating lake.

Councillor Steady informed members that the ‘poo’ issue at the allotments has been solved – it was cats, not dogs.

Councillor Yallop asked Councillor Howard about the incident at the Community Centre with the Youth Centre, and whether there was any update. Councillor Howard briefed members on the situation, and stated that the person was arrested and charged by the YMCA. An apology has been received and also a donation.

Councillor Barry recorded thanks to the CIF Grant Team, and the awards body, as the amount received for the Lido was £16,709 and this will prove a very useful amount of money to help with the upgrading of the cafe.

  1. TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM MEMBER REPRESENTATIVES ON OUTSIDE BODIES:

Councillor Russell – Highways Panel Election at TDALC – Three nominations were received and Councillor Frank Belgrave was appointed.

Councillor V Chapman – At a recent TDALC Meeting Tony Clements attended regarding the Tendring Road Race.

  1. TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:

Councillor J Chapman briefed members about the recent meeting re S106. A discussion took place.

 

  1. TO RECEIVE THE TOWN CLERK’S REPORT:

This item will be carried over the January 2019 meeting.

The Mayor gave an update on item 1.12 – Operation Quasar. He stated that an update had been received from Sgt Tattersall, and the scheme has been well received in the town, with the police visiting every business in the town. There were 54hrs of foot patrol, 18hrs of visible mobile patrol and 36hrs of unmarked mobile patrol. He stated that the Crime figures for November 2018 was 43, compared with 45 for 2017, and the figures for Anti Social Behaviour for 2018 was 5, compared with 22 for 2017. A discussion took place. Councillor Yallop said that this item should be taken back to the Finance Committee, so funding can be sought so the scheme can carry on. She stated that although we pay for Policing through our tax, we do not pay for the Police to be in Brightlingsea.

 

  1. CLOSE OF MEETING:

 

The Mayor wished everyone a Happy Christmas and invited Councillors and members of the public to stay for a drink and mince pie.

 

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 20.33 p.m.

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