Minutes of the Council Meeting held at

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

on: Thursday 19th August 2021 at 7.30pm.

Present:

Councillors

J Chapman (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

2 members of the public (in person)

2 members of the public joined the meeting by zoom

053. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Councillor Barry.

054. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 15TH JULY 2021 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:

Councillor Carr proposed that the Minutes of the meeting held on the 15th July 2021  were accepted as a true record.  Seconded by Councillor Beckett.  Agreed.

055. MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

056 DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:  

The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

057. UPDATE FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN:

A copy of County Councillor Goggin’s report had been circulated to all members.  He then reported on the following:-

  • Trying to help Councillor Barry with brown signs for the Lido.  Have sent him the criteria.
  • The Colne Community School look after their own system re truancy, which is outsourced.
  • Met with Councillor Judson at Mill Street re the speed and volume survey.
  • Attended a site meeting at the Colne Community School, with the Headmaster, Chief Engineer and many County Councillors to discuss the new build.  The investment into the school is £6.5m.
  • Will be supporting the CIF grant application for Pawsons Playground and Skate park, however just waiting for financial information from the Town Clerk.

The following questions were asked by Town Councillors:-

Councillor Carr asked for an update on the foot ferry incident.  County Councillor Goggin replied that a Harbour trip to Wivenhoe was purchased a birthday present for someone.  However the resident had issues getting on and off the boat at Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe.  To overcome this, the Harbour Commissioners paid for a taxi for the resident to get back to Brightlingsea, and all literature has now been changed, stating that “Passengers are required to be able to step down onto the boat and once at Wivenhoe be able to step up onto the jetty.”

Councillor Smith spoke about the trees on Church Road, and that he had spoken to Charlie Sprowl of Essex County Council, who stated that they do not look after this area, but they will ask Tendring District Council to carryout a survey of the trees.  He then mentioned item 19 on County Councillor Goggin’s report, and that it would be useful if  we had feedback on the defects reported to Essex County Council.  County Councillor Goggin replied that an e-mail had been received from the Town Clerk, listing some defects in the town which had not yet been repaired.  However as of yesterday, there are 72 issues still outstanding in Brightlingsea and in the last 12 months, 129 repairs have been made, and 547 repairs in the last 5 years.  Much discussion took place.

Councillor Hawkins thanked Essex County Council for the double red lines outside the Colne School.  County Councillor Goggin thanked Councillor Hawkins for her comments.

Discussion also took place on the cycle path and the bus shelter at Thorrington.

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

Q1) The Lakeside Caravan Park – Aware that this site is in breach of its planning application, and there are also issues with the lease.  What is being done to overcome the problems and what steps will be taken in the future to prevent any further difficulties?

A1) Councillor Steady replied that, as reported last month, the planning department have received a retrospective planning application, but this is not due to be discussed until September/October.  Regarding the License, we checked with the licencing department at TDC and the license has always been in the name of Brightlingsea Town Council not the tenant, however the tenant has put in an application to have this changed.  He said that he did question the spaces between the pitches, and was advised that the space between the pitches is 5ft and between the actual caravans it is 6ft.  We will be getting an update next month, and then will  be having a meeting to discuss further.  

Q2) The pot hole at the bottom of Church Hill, adjacent to Gate House Farm – This could cause a serious accident if it is not fixed soon.

058. TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & PROPERTY MEETING HELD ON 5TH AUGUST 2021 AND TO CONFIRM THE RECOMMENDATIONS THEREIN:-

Councillor Carr proposed that the Minutes of the Finance and Property Meeting held on the 5th August 2021 are accepted as a true record, and the recommendations (as written) be accepted:-

  • RESOLVED that Members allowances for 2021/2022 remain unchanged at £552.00 for Councillors and £696.00 for the Mayor/Chairman.
  • RESOLVED to seek the approval of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to apply for a PWLB loan for the amount of £44,000 over the borrowing term of 10 years, for the purchase of the Ventrac 4500Y.
  • RESOLVED that the Council engages James Lawson Planning to undertake Stage 2 of the Review of Development Opportunities, up to a sum of £6,500.00.
  • RESOLVED that Councillors Steady and Morgan investigate Government Bonds/Investment opportunities further, and consult with the Internal Auditor, and report back to a future finance meeting.
  • RESOLVED that any changes should go to a meeting of the Springmead Trust, with consultation from the Charity Commission and the Internal Auditor.
  • RESOLVED that the Insurance Company are contacted over the next steps of the ‘claim’.

Seconded by Councillor Beckett.  Agreed.

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

The Payments and Accounts for the period ending July 2021 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor Steady as follows:

General Account – 26 BACS Payments totalling £17,488.56 be authorised for payment.

July 2021

Current Account:

£179,254.18

Saver Account:

£68,643.66

Base Rate Reward Account:

£42,602.80

Making a total on all accounts:

£290,500.64

Income to date:

£254,154.84

Expenditure to date:

£231,302.32

Employee payments paid for the month of July were:

£13,731.14

Payments taken direct from the bank account in July – 49 payments totalling:

£32,693.55

The accounts were then seconded by Councillor Carr.  Agreed.

Councillor Steady informed members that the balance sheet had been revised, to allow for the grant monies received for the new jetty, and also the expenditure the town council was committed to, being £25,000.  He also mentioned the payment of £2,162.00 for the Hard Shelter, and that the Mayor had raised £4,600 towards the renovation and clock repairs.  He also mentioned the works to the War Memorial of £2,300.00.  He then stated that the Internal Auditor had advised on the amount of reserves which the Council should hold, and based on his recommendation we have a surplus of £103,694.00.  He recommended that this is taken into consideration when the next round of budgets are being agreed.

Councillor Judson asked when the members allowances were to be paid.  The Mayor replied that these have just been authorised, under the finance minutes.  The Town Clerk asked if members wished to wait until the September ‘wages run’, or arrange this as a separate ‘run’ and make payment now, however this would incur an additional charge.  It was agreed that the allowances would be paid as soon as possible.  The Clerk reminded members that co-opted councillors are not eligible to claim members allowances, but can claim expenses. 

060. TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETING HELD ON 14TH AND 29TH JULY AND 12TH AUGUST 2021 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:

Councillor Smith proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 14th, 29th July and 12th August 2021 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council.  Seconded by Councillor Chapman.  Agreed.

061. UPDATE FROM TOWN AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:

The following Councillors gave an update on their reports:-

Councillor Chapman – ‘Dementia Friends’ Training is taking place on Tuesday 7th September 2021 from 2pm until 3pm at the Parish Hall.  All Councillors are invited to attend.

Councillor Steady – We have received notification that the sale of the Leisure Village has now gone ahead, and our Solicitors have advised that things stay exactly the same.  He said that he will be requesting a meeting with the new owners and mentioned that he would like to send a communication to all residents, with a copy of the letter we have received, to keep them all in the loop.  A discussion took place.

He then gave an update on the Wildflower Planting in Brightlingsea, from Susie Jenkins.  

Councillor Steady then mentioned the skate park, and that it was originally installed in 1998/1999, instigated by Darren Barrenger.  A community group was created – SK8 CRE8, who helped with the design.  He then spoke about the recently held road shows at Harwich.

Councillor Steady then said that in the past a Community Information Day has been held, and he would like to hold a similar day, where groups and organisations can attend.  He said that at this event, the Neighbourhood Plan could be launched, and that more details would follow.

Councillor Smith informed members that the Rights of Way Map has been ordered, and will be placed in a vandal proof frame on the side of the Parish Hall.  He said that this map would compliment the other walking trails/maps in the town.

Councillor Judson asked Councillor Steady when the signs near to Batemans Tower were to be installed.  Councillor Hawkins said that a meeting with Scott Lawrence from Tendring  District Council had been held, the signs had been ordered and will be in place shortly.

Councillor Carr informed members that there was a slight error in his report on the two vessels moored on the hard.  He said that the reports states that they lay on Stoney ground, when actually one lays on the boarder of Stoney ground, the other is not at Stoney ground.  

Councillor Steady asked Councillor Carr about the report on the existing jetty concerning the loading, and asked for a copy to be circulated.  Councillor Carr said yes, he would circulate a copy to all members.  Councillor Steady also mentioned that he had received complaints about the yellow buoys, by open water swimmers, as they not as secure a the pink buoys.  Councillor Carr replied that we are waiting to put rope between them, however a complaint has been received by someone who uses a paddle board down there.

Councillor Smith asked Councillor Carr about the signs on the new jetty, and stated that signs should be erected saying ‘work in progress’.  He also said that they should give a summary of what’s going on.  Councillor Carr replied that he has a meeting to look at signage tomorrow, including the signage for the Dolphins.

Councillor Morgan asked the Tendring District Councillors if there was an update on the sluice gates on the Western Promenade.  Councillor Chapman replied that two quotations had been received by Tendring District Council, however one Company backed out, so they are going out to tender again.  Councillor Smith asked if there was any update on Electric Charging Point in Victoria Place.  The Town Clerk said that she would contact the Officer at Tendring.

Councillor Judson asked who owns Oyster Tank Road Car Park, is it Brightlingsea Town Council or Tendring District Council?  The Mayor replied that this car park is owned by the Town Council, and managed by Tendring District Council.  A discussion took place.

062. COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY:

The Mayor replied that his item is as per the written report received.

063. QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:

Q1) In the past the Council has paid for extra Policing.  Can we not do that with the Traffic Wardens?  The other day a bus could not get through due to bad Parking.

A2) The Mayor asked Councillor Judson if he could find out from the Parking Partnership if part funding of a Traffic Warden is available.

Q2) A lot of local residents have questions, but will not attend a meeting as they believe the Councillors do not listen to them.  You have unelected Councillors making statements.  The question is why is the Council carrying on its harassment and victimisation of Gary Humm?

A2) The Mayor replied that we are not.  She said that three Councillors have had meetings with Mr Humm.  He asked for our evidence, which we have given.  He has redrawn his lines on his plan.  A lot of communication has been made to Councillors, lots of e-mails to the office.  We do not want it to go further, and have said that we will mediate with him.  Councillor Hawkins said that she had never heard of Mr Humm before becoming a councillor, and has no problem with him.  She said that she is proud of her fellow councillors for the way they are dealing with the situation.  Councillor Smith replied that at a meeting he attended, the meeting was taped by both parties.  However, Mr Humm accused him because of where he lives, of staring at him, because of the decision made at the tribunal.  He said that he does not accept this accusation made on the residents behalf.  Councillor Chapman stated that Councillors can not make a legal decision, and this has to be passed through to our Solicitors.  Councillor Steady mentioned that during Covid the intercom system was fitted at the Parish Hall, this also protects our staff.  Notices have had to be installed about ‘abuse to staff’, and these were erected during the time of the Hard issue.  Councillor Hawkins thanked the resident for bringing this up, and letting her give her answer.  The Town Clerk informed the resident that 8 Councillors are elected uncontested, which means they are still elected, the other 4 have been co-opted.

Q3) Which Councillor is responsible for the roads?

A3) The Mayor replied Councillor Judson.  

The resident then asked if he had a list of pot holes that have been reported.  Councillor Judson replied no.  

Q4) The new pontoon looks very nice, can I see a copy of the risk assessment before it is commissioned? 

A4) Councillor Carr replied yes.

Q5) Planning permission for the foot ferry landing stage at Point Clear, how is this progressing?

A4) Councillor Carr replied that the planning permission was in the name of Brightlingsea Town Council however the Harbour Commissioners are dealing with this.

Q5) The following written question had been received:-

“I have been told that the Council owns Oyster Layings and land in the area below low water springs where Morgan Marine have put in planning to extend their Marina.  Could the Council confirm which parcels of land they own adjacent to the existing Morgan Marine pontoon moorings and have they been declared to Land Registry?  

If this is the case the Council will need to declare this to Natural England as the Oyster Layings in the area all have Native Oysters growing on them and they are protected.  In 2013 the Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries were declared as a Marine Conservation Zoom for Native Oysters and their habitat by the UK Government.  I attach the letter sent to Tendring Planning by Natural England and also a map of the area and Zoological Society of London Native Oyster restoration leaflet.

I await your comments.”

A5) The Mayor said that a written reply will be given in due course.

064. TOWN CLERK’S REPORT:

  1. Agreed that the vaccine bus can attend the Food & Drink Festival being placed just outside the event site, on the car park side of the bollards in the pay and display area.  
  2. Agreed the North Essex Caravan Club can use the Lower Park Playing Fields for its 2022 Caravan Rally – 6th to 9th May 2022.

The Clerk reminded members that the EEDA Caravan Rally is visiting the Lower Park Playing Fields next Wednesday, until Bank Holiday Monday.

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

  • Property Update

066.     PROPERTY UPDATE:

Selling/Renting/or Sub-Letting Land – The Clerk read out an e-mail received from a local resident, who was asking if the Town Council had any land they could sell, rent or sub-let. Councillor Smith spoke about pre-application planning advise which should be obtained in the first instance.  Councillor Steady informed members that he had already spoken to the resident, and given her the details of people to contact.  After discussion it was agreed that, although the Town Council is supportive of the idea, at this moment in time, do not have any suitable land available, however we will keep the request under review, and if circumstances change, we will let them know.

Communications – Councillors Court and Chasney gave a presentation on communications, and a discussion took place the following:- e-mail addresses for councillors, newsletters, local promotions, web-site etc.  After discussion it was agreed that Councillors Court and Chasney would take this forward and come back with a time-line/deliverable goals. 

The Hard – The Mayor read out an e-mail from Councillor Barry concerning a statement which had been published without Councillors seeing the statement first.  She advised members that Councillor Carr received a question from David Bridle and the newspapers.  He sought advise from herself, Councillor Chasney and the Town Clerk.  He was advised to answer each question, which he did.  She said that she believes Standing Orders were followed, however she was disappointed that a Councillor knew about this e-mail before it was sent to herself and the Clerk.   She said that the newspapers were given the link to the web-site.  Much discussion took place.

Adverse Possession Claim – The Mayor asked members how they wished to carry on with the adverse possession claim.  A copy of the reports from Councillor Morgan, and Councillor Barry, had been circulated to all councillors.  After discussion it was agreed that:-

  1. A copy of the report produced by Councillor Morgan is sent to the Council Solicitors together with (2) the following comments from Councillor Barry’s report:
  • Does not have Harbour Master authorisation for his moorings as required by harbour bye-laws
  • Does not have planning permission required to conduct a business using the moorings
  • Does not have a licence for laying oysters
  • Does not have the consent of the relevant conservancy body – i.e., Natural England – for activity within a SSSI.

067.     CLOSE OF MEETING:

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9.50pm.

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