BRIGHTLINGSEA TOWN COUNCIL

Minutes of the Online Council Meeting held on

Thursday 20th August 2020 at 7.30pm.

Present:

Councillors

G Steady (Mayor)

J Chapman (Deputy Mayor)

M Barry, M Beckett, J Carr,

G Chasney (7.49pm onwards), M Judson (7.38pm onwards) and B Smith

In attendance:

Tracey Pulford – Town Clerk

County Councillor Goggin

3 Members of the public

Before the meeting started, the Mayor mentioned the sad passing away this morning of Ex-Councillor and Town Mayor, Colin Olivier.  He said that when meetings resume in the Parish Hall, he will be making a tribute to Colin, at the first meeting.

36. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Councillor Howard.

37. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 16TH JULY 2020 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:

Councillor Barry proposed that the Minutes of the meeting held on the 16th July 2020 were accepted as a true record.  Seconded by Councillor Chapman.  Agreed.

38. DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:

The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

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

The Payments and Accounts for the period ending July 2020 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor Carr as follows:

General Account, 27 BACS Payments in the sum of £10,851.49 be authorised for payment.

Current Account

£164,627.77

Saver Account

£68,593.86

Base Rate Reward Account

£42,590.40

Making a total on all accounts of:

£275,812.03

Income to date

£201,643.10

Expenditure to date

£92,482.07

Employee payments paid for July

£13,489.99

Payments taken direct from the bank account in July –50 payments totalling

£30,205.49

Seconded by Councillor Chapman.  Agreed.

40. 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:-

  • Blue Badge Scheme – If blue badge holders do not get their badges renewed on time they should use the old ones and if any parking tickets are issued they should be challenged.  Essex County Council are NOT encouraging the Parking Partnership to issue tickets.
  • Member Grant – Circulated via the Town Clerk, a list of options, rules, guidelines and my own ambitions and aspirations.  To date had two discussions with Councillors about their ideas.  At some time would like some direction from the Council with which schemes to run.
  • Gave thanks to Terry Hamilton, Grounds Manager, who dealt with a tree issue very swiftly, even though it was on a Sunday.
  • Roadwork’s on the B1029/B1027 are now completed and have since received no specific complaints.
  • Liaised with Councillor Carr regarding support for the Heritage Pier Project.
  • Local Highways Panel – still waiting for the Council to give their preferred option for the junction at Church Road/Spring Chase/Seaview Road.
  • Member led pot hole initiative – Sent to Town Clerk a list of all the paperwork including the criteria, application form etc.  A couple of days ago had correspondence from Councillor Judson, also received a comprehensive report from Councillor Beckett, however this does not address the issues we are looking at.  A discussion took place.  The Mayor then suggested that Councillors Beckett and Judson ‘get together’ to compile the list of 10 pot holes to be fixed, and arrange for the application form to be completed and returned.  County Councillor Goggin said that he has sent a copy of a completed application form, from St Osyth Parish Council, to the Town Clerk, for information.

Councillor Smith asked County Councillor Goggin the following questions:-

When you brought officers to the Parish Hall, they showed various slides, and were pretty pleased with the state of the roads in Brightingsea.  (1) Do you think things have remarkably changed since the officers came, as generally the whole thing looks pretty bad to me? (2) Yes we were very pleased to see the resurfacing work taking place on the road at Thorrington, however was there a need for this resurfacing, and could the money have been better spent on pot holes?

County Councillor Goggin replied that he is not an engineer, and does not know about engineering works, but there are many people working on it.  There are some 3,000 pot holes throughout the whole of Essex; there are various things that need doing on a maintenance basis; things that occur unexpectedly.  The pot hole initiative is a repeat of one that worked very well before.  The list of repairs and maintenance is still there, and all we are asking the council for are the most important pot holes, which the residents, councillors and the council as a whole think need urgent attention.  The best people to do this are the Council and the designated Councillors looking after the roads.  The Mayor re-confirmed that Councillors Beckett and Judson would ‘get together,’ go through the report and come up with a priority list of top 10 pot holes to be filled, which meets the criteria.  He asked for this priority list to be completed within the next week.  This was agreed by Councillors Beckett and Judson.

Councillor Barry asked County Councillor Goggin who was responsible for the level crossing at Thorrington as the pot holes at this crossing are diabolical?

County Councillor Goggin replied to the questions asked, as follows:- Following the meeting held with County Officials, a procedure was firmed up, which is working fantastically.  He said that both Julie and Tracey in the office run a system whereby if people come in and report something, they help them to log in, get the reference number, chase it up etc., and if something is particularly dangerous they come back to him to ask for further help.  He added that there is a problem with roadwork’s and on-going maintenance, and as explained at the meeting, every job is given a priority number, and every time a priority comes in that is higher than the one that was already there, it takes priority – a pot hole on a road that is not very busy does not get the same attention in terms of timing etc. as one that is in a major road.  The Town Council has a very good system with two very good people running it.  When Devolution comes, then you will end up doing what I am saying to do now.  He reiterated that it is not up to him to pick out the most important pot holes.

Councillor Judson informed Councillor Beckett  that he was still waiting for costing’s from Rob Butcher, for the repairs in Bellfield Avenue, and will chase this up again tomorrow.

County Councillor Goggin replied to Councillor Barry’s question, and said that in the past it was down to the Railway Authorities.   

Councillor Chapman thanked County Councillor Goggin for his help with an issue that she was dealing with, with both Tracey and Julie.

Councillor Steady mentioned the Essex County Council Grants and asked if there was anything County Councillor Goggin wished to add about the Locality Fund.  County Councillor Goggin replied that the Locality Fund for Tendring had worked well in the past, and he had some interesting projects to look at, his objective would be to get £10,000 and turn it into £20,000.

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

Q1) The B1029 junction with B1027 at Thorrington Cross was completed very well.  However the level crossing at Thorrington is a B2 road, and outside Network Rails jurisdiction.

County Councillor Goggin left the meeting at 8.00pm.

41. QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:

No questions were raised by members of the public.

42. TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETING HELD ON 23RD JULY AND 6TH AUGUST 2020 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:

Councillor Smith proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 23rd July and 6th August 2020 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council.  Seconded by Councillor Barry.  Agreed.

43. TO CONSIDER A REPORT FROM COUNCILLOR SMITH ON ‘UPDATING THE TOWN PLAN OR COMMENCING WITH A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN.’

Councillor Smith briefed members, and after discussion he proposed that (1) The Council proceeds with a combined Brightlingsea Town Council Asset Plan/Footpath map; to invite quotations from registered Town Planning practices for an assessment of development opportunities on Town Council land and buildings; to work up two ‘shovel ready’ projects as soon as possible.  (2) Brightlingsea Town Council to commence work on a Brightlingsea Neighbourhood Plan; to advertise on both the web-site and in the local newspaper to see if people are interested in coming forward to be members of the Steering Committee, which over a period of approximately 3 years, would take the Town Council to a status of a Neighbourhood Plan. Seconded by Councillor Steady.  Agreed.

44. HERITAGE PIER UPDATE:

Councillor Carr updated as follows:-

“There has been some progress with regard to the Heritage pier project and I would like to give you a verbal update on where the project team are, to date.

To recap;

A formal consultation was implemented to businesses and associated sailing and yacht clubs in the summer of 2019, feedback from these stakeholders was favourable enough to encourage me to continue with the aspiration and a press release was issued to the Chronicle in November 2019.

At a Council meeting last year, Council agreed that the project had their support, which enabled  further discussions with interested parties and barge owners.

During the Covid-19 period the team have not met face to face, but they did undertake a technical meeting via zoom on Thursday 2nd July, when a land survey showed a hidden concrete structure. The technical team are working on the land surveys of BTC owned land and in particular the substantial concrete grid that was placed in the whole area in the second world war.  We understand that this grid was placed in the area to allow large navel vessels to sit on the Hard whilst undergoing maintenance. Unfortunately part of the grid is where we would like to install pilings for the pier side of the community project.

The projects civil engineer, Duncan Nicholson, has worked with the survey team and mapped out the concrete grid, and created a drawing of the planned structure, after Sue our archivist, unearthed drawings of the grid.

The Community paved extension team have discussed their desires, which includes education areas, heritage displays and access to heritage vessels, seats and shaded areas that will allow both community and visitors to enjoy the area.

On 12th August I received information on a funding opportunity called The “Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage” the Tendring CVST website gives details on the scheme but it is basically a scheme to support organisations across the heritage ecosystem that were financially sustainable before COVID-19, have exhausted all other financing options, and are now at risk of failure.

Whilst the covid-19 situation certainly  paused any fundraising and permissions, we felt that the opportunity for applying to the scheme would go in some way in re starting the  project, consequently a bid of £390k was put in with the help and support  of the harbour team, 1 hour before the deadline of 17th August.

The incredibly short timescale of just 4 working days  to prepare the bid has sharpened minds and aspirations, but the up side of this is that we  now have a bid format of the scheme that can be used for future funding opportunities.

I am very grateful to Tracey our Town Clerk  for her help in collating financial figures.

I am pessimistic about the success of our bid, as I understand that many other councils across England  have also bid for funding linked to the  curtailment of theatres and leisure facilities.

As the project information now includes land surveys, formal technical drawings and  illustrative concept drawings along with realistic costs, it is now my desire to commence a public consultation to Brightlingsea residents linked to a planning application to both the local authority and The MMO Marine Management Organisation.

I would like to prepare a full visual pack of the scheme for Council before our November Council meeting in order to invite comments and debate from councillors.

Thank you.”

Councillor Smith reiterated his comment that he is pleased it is now going out to public consultation, and declared an interest in this project, as he is one of 8 closest to the development.  He said that he does have some reservation on such a scheme, as there is no business plan.  Councillor Carr replied that it was difficult to go to public consultation any earlier, as they did not have any pictorial information.  Councillor Barry asked about grant funding and whether the whole direction is likely to change towards job creation and environmental improvements, he wondered what was the overall cost on this and the expectation on council support.  Councillor Carr replied that there is a business plan, and it does not entail the Town Council to run the scheme, or pour money into it over a period.  He said that it is to be a self-sustained project, with an agent looking after the berthing arrangements – the Harbour Commissioners.  The paved area, is a Town Council asset, and this would incorporate some activities to bring in some revenue.  Regarding funding, it is a 100% funded grant.  Councillor Barry also asked whether all the Land Registry issues had been completed.  Councillor Carr replied yes, everything was in order.

45. PAYMENT OF MEMBERS ALLOWANCES FOR 2020/2021:

Councillor Steady briefed members that it had been agreed that members allowances would be paid at the end of the financial year, instead of at the beginning.  He then proposed that Members Allowances should be paid as from now, and go back to the old scheme of paying at the beginning of the financial year.  Seconded by Councillor Judson.

A vote was taken:-  Agreed: 7; Against: 0; Abstention: 1.  Agreed.

46. COUNCIL UPDATE:

The following added to their previously circulated reports:-

Councillor Chapman – Through Operation Quasar, a gentleman was stopped in Samson’s Road a few weeks ago for speeding and possible drug related issues.  When they went to check on him at the police station, he spat at a police woman, and got sentenced to 16 weeks in prison.

Councillor Carr mentioned the comprehensive report submitted by Councillors Howard and Chasney, and gave his support to them for all the work they have carried out over the past few weeks.

Councillor Barry informed members that the Manager at the Lido, Clive Edwards, has tendered his resignation.  He has been on furlough since April, but the prospect of resuming full time work is pretty minimal at the moment.  He is looking for alternative employment and the Lido are looking to recruit a new manager in the new year.

Councillor Steady drew everybody’s attention to the Tendring District Council report with the e-mail exchange from Councillor Neil Stock about the Local Government Reformation.  A similar letter has been circulated to all members from County Councillor David Finch.  A white paper is to be submitted in the near future, and it seems that Tendring District Council and Essex County Council will be no more.  Essex will be divided up into Unitary Authorities and there will be one or two members of the unitary authority who will sit on the board of the Greater Essex Authority.  Councillor Steady said that he had asked Neil Stock the question about Town & Parish Councils, and Neil Stocks response was that they would carry on.  Councillor Finch’s e-mail was even more supportive of Town and Parish Councils.  He said that assuming it goes ahead, he believes that Town & Parish Councils will have more responsibility devolved down to them.  A discussion took place.

35.     CLOSE OF MEETING:

There being no further business, the meeting closed at  8.39 p.m.

Chair ……………………

Date: 17th September 2020

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