Minutes of the Council Meeting held at

The Parish Hall, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea and on-line via Zoom, 

on: Thursday 15th July 2021 at 7.30pm.

Present:

Councillors

J Chapman (Mayor)

M Barry (Deputy Mayor)

M Beckett, G Chasney, M Court, S Hawkins, 

M Judson, B Maltby, R Morgan, G Steady and B Smith

In attendance:

Tracey Pulford – Town Clerk

County Councillor Goggin

4 members of the public (in person)

2 members of the public joined the meeting by zoom

The Mayor welcomed everyone to the meeting, and stated that although restrictions are being lifted on the 19th July 2021, we are still asking Councillors and visitors to the Parish Hall to continue wearing masks, and anyone attending a Council meeting to take a lateral flow test before hand, as the numbers appear to rising in and around the area.

040. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: None received, although Councillor Carr is hoping to join the meeting via zoom.

041. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 24TH JUNE 2021 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:

Councillor Steady mentioned that under the Town Council report, he did suggest a site for the survey in Mill Street and Robinson Road, between the two speed signs, as they have to be connected to something. 

Councillor Morgan then proposed that the Minutes of the meeting held on the 24th June 2021  were accepted as a true record.  Seconded by Councillor Barry.  Agreed.

042. MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

043 DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:  

The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

044. UPDATE FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN:

County Councillor Goggin reported on the following:-

  • Mill Street – Took the opportunity to speak to the residents in Mill Street who raised the speeding concerns, they have suggested that the worst speeding is after the ‘s’ bend before it goes to their houses and the 60 MPH.  In this area there is one telegraph pole and one street light – so it can be fixed to either of these structures.
  • The tree on Church Hill – The Tree Warden of TDC is excellent, and the tree, which was damaged by the demountable accident, is of good health.  Councillor Smith mentioned that he was not concerned about the tree which was hit, but those dying along the side of the road, and that it would be a good idea to get all the trees surveyed.  A discussion took place.  The Mayor stated that it would be a good idea if Clive Dawson, TDC’s Tree Officer, was invited to come out and walk the area, to look at the trees, from Gate House Farm to the top of Church Hill.  Councillor Judson asked to be included in this walk.  Councillor Beckett suggested that the cycle path is included in this survey.
  • Essex County Council and Brightlingsea Town Council have received some criticism on Social Media regarding the new demountable class rooms at the Colne Community School.  He stated that he has visited the residents in Maltings Road, and has taken their issues/concerns to the person in charge at Essex County Council.
  • Received an e-mail from Councillor Court about the condition of the cycle path.  Following this correspondence, have spoken to Alan Howard of the Highway Rangers, who confirmed that they walked the cycle path a month ago, and noted that it was overgrown.  It should be cleared in the next two weeks.
  • In October there is to be some machinery surfacing in Church Road.  In the next quarter the zebra crossing at the School should be installed.
  • 6 nights of work in Station Road/Victoria Place have taken place, without any complaints.
  • Sewer work has been completed in Ladysmith Avenue.

The following questions were asked by Town Councillors:-

Councillor Beckett – had concerns expressed to me, from worried parents, about the level of Covid-19 in the area and children being sent home from school.  Also had complaints about Attendance Solutions Essex being heavy handed in the way they deal with absentees.  Are you able to investigate their current guidelines?  County Councillor Goggin replied that the decision on who sends who home from School is down to the Head Teacher/Master.  Councillor Beckett added that in Germany they are investing in air conditioning and ventilation systems, to make them future proof to Covid-19.  He asked if this was something he could take back to County to look at, whether piloting or doing something about investing in renovating the ventilation systems and air conditioning units, to try to minimise the ability for Covid-19 to be transmitted in our education system?  County Councillor Goggin replied that he is not aware of Attendance Solutions Essex, and asked Councillor Beckett if he could let him have an example of the complaints.  

Councillor Steady mentioned the cycle path, and that it is down to be swept twice a year.  He said that a maintenance programme is needed, also for trees which need to pollarded.  He mentioned Mill Street, and looking to the future – Hopkins Homes Phase 2 and Honace are both going ahead, and maybe we need a speed survey carried out at that end of Robinson Road, as well, as in the future a lot of traffic will use these roads.  Councillor Steady then mentioned the reporting system for Essex County Council, and that our staff are very good at reporting issues, but it is difficult to get answers back, especially about the cutting schedule.  We should try a system whereby the office reports the issue, and it is then chased up by yourself or Councillor Judson.  The Mayor informed members that at a Group Leaders meeting on Monday, a discussion took place that e-mails being sent to Tendring are also not being responded to, so this is not just a County issue, but a Tendring issue too.    

Councillor Barry mentioned that it would be good to have a list of scheduled works for Essex County Council, Tendring District Council and Brightlingsea Town Council, so we know when and where work is due to take place, covering footpaths, cycle paths, verges etc. 

Councillor Judson mentioned the speed and volume survey, and that he disagreed with Councillor Steady’s suggestion.  He said that the survey should be at the most populated area at the end of Mill Street.  The Mayor replied that we will look at getting a second survey carried out when the Honace development is underway.

Councillor Maltby mentioned the yellow lines by the dropped kerb outside the Co-Op which are now not visible.  She said that she spoke to the office about this, and they have been reported to County on numerous occasions.  County Councillor Goggin replied that he would encourage all Councillors to report direct on the Essex County Council web-site, and there is an area for faded lines.  He said that you should get a response within 5 working days, unless if the issue is serious you call ‘0300’ number.  Councillor Maltby then asked if anything was happening to dropped kerbs.  County Councillor Goggin replied that the last dropped kerb he was involved with was at the Hard/Marina.

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

Q1) What is Essex County Council’s stance on the likelihood that the Government will make it legal for privately owned e-scooters to be used on the highway?  Currently they are illegal.  Will Essex County Council consult the public to allow them to make their views known?

A1) County Councillor Goggin replied that, as far as he understood, it is Central Government that has given some money to Local Government to try out – Chelmsford are doing it, as are Colchester.  It is at the experimental stage at the moment.  Much discussion took place.

County Councillor Goggin mentioned the development at the Colne Community School, a discussion took place.

045. TO CONSIDER AND APPROVE THE ACCOUNTS FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD: 

The Payments and Accounts for the period ending April, May and June 2021 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor Chasney as follows:

General Account – 20 BACS Payments totalling £15,441.60 be authorised for payment.

April 2021

Current Account:

£247,794.85

Saver Account:

£68,643.66

Base Rate Reward Account:

£42,601.73

Making a total on all accounts:

£359,040.24

Income to date:

£122,020.11

Expenditure to date:

£30,628.01

Employee payments paid for the month of April were:

£13,582.39

Payments taken direct from the bank account in April – 40 payments totalling:

£29,878.01

May 2021

Current Account:

£120,315.05

Saver Account:

£68,643.66

Base Rate Reward Account:

£42,602.12

Making a total on all accounts:

£231,560.83

Income to date:

£128,591.56

Expenditure to date:

£164,678.87

Employee payments paid for the month of May were:

£13,792.32

Payments taken direct from the bank account in May – 48 payments totalling:

£134,050.86

June 2019

Current Account:

£94,840.05

Saver Account:

£68,643.66

Base Rate Reward Account:

£42,602.45

Making a total on all accounts:

£206,086.16

Income to date:

£136,296.79

Expenditure to date:

£197,858.77

Employee payments paid for the month of June were:

£13,735.53

Payments taken direct from the bank account in June – 51 payments totalling:

£33,179.90

A discussion took place on the income and expenditure for the hard and boat park, and also the separate set of accounts from the Harbour Commissioners for the boat park.

The Town Clerk informed members that between the early May and June Council meeting, 16 BACS payments were made in the sum of £114,486.07.  This should have been reported to Council at the June meeting, and she apologised for this oversight.  Two of these payments relate to the Heritage Pier project, totalling £109,256.40.  She confirmed that the first grant instalment of £71,616.75 was received on Friday 9th July 2021, and a quarterly VAT return is being submitted to HMRC for £21,855.82, which £18,209.40 relates to these two invoices.

Councillor Steady asked whether or not the Internal Auditor had been contacted about the level of reserves the Council should hold.   The Clerk replied that she had had a verbal conversation, however would be asking for his comments in writing.

The accounts were then seconded by Councillor Court.  Agreed.

046. TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETING HELD ON 1ST AND 14TH JULY 2021 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:

The Clerk informed members that the minutes of the 14th July 2021 were not available to confirm at this meeting, and would be taken to the August meeting for ratification.  

Councillor Smith then proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 1st July 2021 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council.  Seconded by Councillor Barry.  Agreed.

047. UPDATE FROM TOWN AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:

The following Councillors gave an update on their reports:-

Councillor Steady – (1) The agreement has been received for the ECC Information board, which is to be installed on the Western Promenade.  (2) The Groynes are being repaired today, along the seafront.  (3) The Go Fund Me page for the Basketball Court has raised £1,065.00 after 10 days.  (4) The Level Best Walk Shop is holding a workshop in the Lozenge on the 22nd July.

Councillor Morgan – Had a tour of the Lido, which is an excellent facility.  He then mentioned the sluice gates, and stated that this needs to be pushed through with Tendring District Council as a matter of urgency to protect the area and the Lido.  Councillor Chapman mentioned that there is a meeting with TDC Officers being held next Monday.  Councillor Barry thanked Councillor Morgan for his comments, and the other Councillors who also visited the Lido at the weekend.  He then said that Bernard Jenkin MP also did a walk round of the Lido and the Western Promenade, he took photos of the sluice gates, and took this up with TDC’s Chief Executive, who is now attending the walk-round on the 26th July.

Councillor Steady mentioned the Ventrac Machine and that he has provided a further report, as requested.  After discussion it was proposed by Councillor Steady that the machine is purchased, subject to a financial projection/agreement, subject to Financial Regulations and Standing Orders, and that this is discussed at the next finance meeting.  Seconded by Councillor Judson.  Agreed.  

Councillor Barry informed members that the meeting with Ian Taylor has not been rescheduled yet.

Councillor Chapman informed members that the Local Plan goes out to consultation on Friday for 6 weeks.  She also mentioned that in 2023 every council has to recycle glass bottles, containers, papers, plastics, aluminium tubes, tetra packs and garden waste will be free, which means Tendring alone will lose £1.2m on the garden waste collections.  At the moment there is no feedback from the Government about the help they are gong to offer, to offset these costs.  Also the Deposit Scheme comes into force. 

048. QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:

Q1) The cut through from Nelson Street to Duke Street is very overgrown, is there any chance it can be cut?

A1) The Mayor replied that we do ask Tendring to cut them back, however they do this on behalf of Essex County Council.  Unfortunately Tendring District Council have run out of money – they used to receive £120,000 but this has been reduced to £80,000 and this amount is to cover 26 parishes.  The resident stated that the cut through is full of rubbish, broken grass etc., and asked if it is was OK for them to cut it with their strimmer.  The Mayor replied no one would object, however we will also report it.

Q2) A vast amount of money has been spent on the Heritage Quay.  How much money has been spent on the Foot Ferry?

A2) Councillor Steady replied that £75,000 of the project is being grant funded, and the Town Council is only paying £25,000.  However, the landing stage at St Osyth comes under the Harbour Commissioners, as the scheme was split into two.

049. TOWN CLERK’S REPORT:

  1. You Can Careers Roadshow – Agreed they can visit Promenade Way with the SOS Bus on Wednesday 11th August 2021, with parking on the gravel road area.  (Post meeting note: This has been postponed to a date in September 2021.)
  2. Hare and Tortoise Running Ltd – Agreed they can use the Millennium Gardens for its start/finish points for its racing events taking place on the 7th August and 14th November 2021.  Organisers to be informed of the Music Festival Weekend taking  place on 7th and 8th August 2021 on Hurst Green.
  3. Agreed that Bayard Recreation Ground can be used on Thursday 26th August, for a fun themed small walk, or ‘toddle’.  Organisers to be informed of the Lozenge or Gravel Field as alternative areas.
  4. Agreed that following the lifting of restrictions on the 19th July 2021, the Jetty is opened for crabbing.

Councillor Barry informed members that the Covid vaccination bus would be at the Music Festival on Saturday 7th August from 12noon until 6pm, for the under 40’s age group.

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

  • Property Update

051.     PROPERTY UPDATE:

Lakeside Caravan Park – Councillor Steady briefed members on the planning and license issues with the Lakeside Caravan Park.

Land Registry / Adverse Possession Claim – Councillor Chapman briefed members on the recent Adverse Possession Claim received from the Land Registry. 

After discussion it was proposed by Councillor Morgan that the Town Council should formally object to the Adverse Possession Claim.  This was seconded by Councillor Smith.  A vote was taken: For: 9, Against: 0, Abstention: 2 – Carried.

Planning Consultants – Councillor Smith briefed members that last year it was agreed that the Town Council would engage the services of a Town Planner to review development opportunities of Town Council owned properties and land.  He stated that stage 1 (review of the councils assets) has now been completed, and stage 2 is to carry out site appraisals.  After discussion Councillor Smith proposed that the Council engages into Stage 2, up to a maximum figure of £6,500.00, and this is taken to the next finance meeting for ratification.  Seconded by Councillor Morgan.  Agreed.  

052.     CLOSE OF MEETING:

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 21.30pm.

Chair ……………………

Date: 19th August 2021

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