Minutes of the Council Meeting held at
The Parish Hall, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea on:
Thursday 15th October 2015 at 7.30 p.m.
J Chapman (Mayor)
K Yallop (Deputy Mayor)
M Barry, I Block V Chapman, D Dixon,
D Ingate, J Russell and G Steady
County Councillor GogginTracey Pulford –Town Clerk
17 Members of the public.
- APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: None received.
- TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 17TH SEPTEMBER 2015 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:
The Minutes were accepted as a true record.
- MAYOR’S ANNOUNCMENTS:
Copy of the Mayor’s Announcements is annexed to the Minutes.
- QUESTIONS UNDER SO 9(2):
- DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:
The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.
The Mayor asked members if anyone had any objections with moving agenda items 9 and 10 around. This was agreed.
- COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN:
County Councillor Goggin thanked the Mayor for moving him up the agenda, he stated that St Osyth and Brightlingsea’s meetings always clash on the same night.
County Councillor Goggin then reported on the following:-
- Minute number 86, bullet point 7 from the last meeting – it was not the resident who asked for the footpath to be reinstated, but a resident of the town.
- Grass Cutting – apparently the footpaths are cut twice a year, not once a year, and the 2nd cut is due in the next 2-3 weeks.
- Locality Board Meeting is due to take place on Thursday 22nd October at 6pm. Councillor Dixon stated that he would like to attend this meeting.
- Recently submitted 10 or 12 reports of things that affect Brightlingsea. The route of communication is always through the Town Clerk, who distributes to all Councillors. If anyone has any questions or queries, please get in touch.
- Brightlingsea Town Council wrote to Essex County Council concerning traffic calming in Church Road. Essex County Council responded but this letter was overlooked. The Clerk is now filling out the necessary LHP Scheme Request form to send off to the relevant Highway Liaison Officer.
- Budgets – County are to abandon free meals.
- Attended a few meetings – families committee dealing with immigrants and children, locality board, meeting at Mistley Care Home, Full Council on Tuesday.
- Consultation on the Local Bus Service Network Review closes in a couple of weeks.
- NOTICE OF VACANCY OF TOWN COUNCILLOR:
The Mayor informed the meeting that following the resignation of Andy Blanche, Tendring District Council have been notified and the ‘notice of vacancy of town councillor’ was posted on the 7th October. Tendring District Council will notify us of the outcome of this notice.
She advised that Brightlingsea Town Council still has two vacancies, following the uncontested election in May, which can only be filled by Co-Option. A discussion took place. It was then agreed to advertise these two vacancies after the possible election for the ‘casual vacancy’.
- TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THOSE MEMBERS EXAMINING THE ACCOUNTS FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD:
The Payments and Accounts for the period ending September 2015 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor Barry as follows:
General Account Cheque No’s 706271 – 706292 in the sum of £17,670.75 for payment.
Bank Balances – All Accounts – in the sum of £200,771.80
Employee payments paid for the month of September were £10,806.42
Seconded by Councillor Steady. Agreed.
Councillor J Chapman asked about cheque number 706283 for PKF Littlejohn LLP and whether that was for our External Auditor. The Clerk replied, yes, this is the cost for the External Audit for 2014/2015.
- TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE FINANCE MEETING HELD ON THE 8TH OCTOBER 2015 AND TO CONFIRM THE RECOMMENDATIONS THEREIN:
Councillor Block proposed that the Minutes were accepted as a true record, and the following recommendations were agreed:
- All budget requests are received in time for the next finance meeting.
- Tendring District Council to be asked for a copy the Statement Ian Davidson made recently, which included a statement on Social Media, and also to ask the EALC to see if they suggest any Social Media wording.
- There is no change in the Special Expenses Function for 2016/2017.
- The completed Annual Return for 2014/2015 was accepted and noted.
- Future meetings would be held on 26th November at 8pm and 3rd December at 7.30pm. The proposed meeting to be held on the 5th November would be changed to another date.
- STATEMENT BY THE MAYOR – THE TOWN HARD:
The Mayor, before reading out the statement, made the following comments to Councillors and the public:
Members of the public, please can I ask that you listen carefully to what we have to say and let me finish the whole statement.
This is our legal position, it may not be our personal views but being part of Local Government we have to abide by our legal obligation.
Contrary to rumours no meetings behind closed doors have taken place. The last meetings with only 2 councillors present and the Town Clerk was with Gary and Christine.
All Councillors attended the meeting with the Harbour Commissioners with Graham Steady arriving later to join us, this is where the Harbour Commissioners gave their report and the charges for next season were discussed.
If and when evidence comes forward from ECC for a highway or land registry claim it has made a mistake and registered the land wrong then we will sit down and discuss the next step forward.
“As many of the residents of Brightlingsea will be aware, there have been objections raised regarding the £25 per year charge that Brightlingsea Town Council (‘BTC’) makes for people to launch boats privately from the Hard and the £250 that businesses pay to launch for business purposes. BTC thinks these charges are very reasonable.
BTC consider it to be their wider public duty to manage the amenities of the Town in a manner that is financially responsible. Neither BTC nor Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners (BHC) make any profit from the Hard.
Historically, the Hard has run at a loss to BHC of roughly a few thousand pounds per year due to high maintenance costs.
BTC believes that it has to manage local facilities and assets for the good of all. Brightlingsea residents who do not use the Hard probably represent the great majority of local council tax payers. BTC is concerned that if it always uses Council Tax to subsidise the maintenance costs of the Hard, the non-Hard users may consider that this is not a fair use of taxpayers’ money.
BTC has taken legal advice regarding (1) its ownership and (2) its legal right to charge. This advice is consistent and clear. In summary:
- In 2005, HM Land Registry (‘HMLR’) themselves registered the entire Hard to BTC with freehold title absolute on the basis of the documents submitted at the time. This is the best class of title that HMLR can grant. It is defined as being incapable of challenge. HMLR destroy old deeds because they are replaced by the register which is legally conclusive. Any challenge to this is a matter for HMLR.
- BTC may have permitted public access to the disputed area of the Hard, but as owners of the land, BTC remain entitled to charge for that access, and numerous law firms have confirmed this over many years.
It therefore continues to be BTC’s policy to make such reasonable charges to all the users of the Hard as is required to run it with fiscal prudence.”
- TO RECEIVE QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:
These questions are annexed to the Minutes.
- TO RATIFY THE CHARGES PROPOSED BY THE HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS IN THEIR LETTER DATED 21ST SEPTEMBER 2015:
Councillor Russell, as MSR for the Hard, proposed that the charges, as detailed in the Harbour Commissioners letter dated 21st September 2015 be agreed by Council. Seconded by Councillor Block.
A vote was taken: for – 7, against – 0, abstentions – 2. Agreed.
- TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES FROM THE MEETINGS HELD ON THE 17TH SEPTEMBER AND 1ST OCTOBER 2015 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:
Councillor Dixon proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of the 17th September and 1st October 2015 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council. Seconded by Councillors V Chapman. Agreed.
- TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM MEMBERS WITH SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES:
Councillor Dixon gave an update on item a for transport and highways, and that this was being dealt with on the 22nd October at the Locality meeting at Weeley. He also mentioned that the finger posts had been ordered and a planning application was being submitted.
Councillor Dixon thanked Andy Blanche for his brief precisof the work he had been dealing with as a Councillor.
- TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM MEMBER REPRESENTATIVES ON OUTSIDE BODIES:
There were no reports submitted.
Councillor Russell mentioned that at a recent TDALC meeting members allowances was mentioned, and Co-Opted members do not receive an allowance. The Clerk was instructed to find out if this is the case.
- TO RECEIVE RPORTS SUBMITTED FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:
Councillor Yallop – Attended a meeting regarding Universal Credit.
Councillor Barry asked Councillor Yallop if the CAB are to get funding to help with the Universal Credit. Councillor Yallop replied that the CAB will be getting all the necessary information regarding the Credit, but they do feel people are going to be made homeless.
Councillor Steady – Declaring Interests is an in-depth subject. Lisa Hastings does an in-depth presentation and is prepared to come to Brightlingsea to present her presentation, which lasts around 20-30 minutes. Suggest we ask her to attend before a Council meeting. Agreed.
- TO RECEIVE THE TOWN CLERK’S REPORT:
2.1 Councillor Russell would like to attend the Planning Training Session on the 25th November at Weeley Council Offices. Agreed.
2.2 Agreed that EEDA can extend its Rally on the Lower Park Playing Fields from either Wednesday 24th or Thursday 25th August 2016.
2.3 Agreed the 4th Brightlingsea Scout Group can hold its Classic Car Show and Fun Day on Sunday 4th September 2016. This event also including a reunion party on Saturday 3rd September with an outside bar and DJ. This event going on until 11pm only. The Scouts would be responsible for all the necessary licenses/insurances etc. Also agreed that they can use the Western Promenade for free parking on the Sunday (provided TDC agree to this), however advertising of this must be looked at for next year.
Councillor Steady apologised to members if he had been over exuberant in his comments during the meeting.
112 MOTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS) ACT 1960 – To discuss the following:
(a) To receive the Part B Minutes from the council meeting held on the 17th September 2015 and confirm as a correct record.
(b) To receive the Staff Minutes from the meeting held on the 8th October 2015 and confirm as a correct record.
(c) Property Update