BRIGHTLINGSEA TOWN COUNCIL

Minutes of the Council Meeting held at
The Parish Hall, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea on:
Thursday 19th October 2017 at 7.30 p.m.

Present:
Councillors
I Block (Mayor)
B Smith (Deputy Mayor)
M Barry, V Chapman, J Chapman, D Dixon,
D Ingate, M Judson, J Russell and G Steady

In attendance:
Tracey Pulford –Town Clerk
County Councillor Alan Goggin
6 Members of the public

091. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Councillors J Howard K Yallop.

092. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 21ST SEPTEMBER 2017 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:

The Minutes were accepted as a true record.

093. MAYORS ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Copy of the Mayor’s Announcements is annexed to the Minutes.

094. QUESTIONS UNDER SO9(2):

None received.

095. DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:

The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.

096. COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN:

County Councillor Goggin reported on the following:-

• The pothole outside 66 Sydney Street – There is no news on when this is likely to be fixed.
• The article raised by Councillor J Chapman in the newspaper on the 30th August – As I understand it Essex Cares is a wholly owned company run by Essex county Council. They work on behalf of the NHS and distribute after hospital equipment. 92% of the items collected, are cleaned and put back into use. The other 8% is broken and used as spares.
• Bellfield Avenue – Councillor Judson and I have been working on this. We have inspected the road, taken pictures, and sent them off to Essex County Council who have advised that the engineers report from January 2017 stated that no work was warranted at this time, but it is being monitored.
• Had a meeting with the school about the traffic outside the Colne Community School. Essex County Council advised that they will fund a zebra crossing, and it is in the LHP budget. They will not fund it at the place where the school children come out, but in the middle of the gates to the bus stop. The school will have to look at moving their exits. I did ask if, for a temporary measure, the a Lollypop Crossing person could be put at this school, however you do not get traffic assistance outside Secondary schools.
• Consultation on Recycling Have Your Say – copy sent to the Clerk for circulation
• Consultation on the Mobile Library System. There are currently 9 mobile vans and 6-7 of them are at the end of their life. Essex county Council are looking to replace them and where they go.

Council Steady asked about Bellfield Avenue. He said he was confused, at the last meeting you gave the link to the LHP website. This does not include anything for Bellfield Avenue. He checked this with Councillor Judson who could not remember if anything had been put in for this. County Councillor Goggin stated that he had being dealing direct with Highways. Councillor Steady mentioned the possible changes to the grass verges, Councillor Judson said that he is going to go and talk to the residents to find out their views. A discussion then took place on the resurfacing of Bellfield Avenue.

Councillor Barry asked County Councillor Goggin if he was aware of the Waste Meeting in the town on Wednesday, and whether or not he was intending to attend. County Councillor Goggin replied that he was going, as a resident. Councillor Barry flagged something up that was mentioned today under another forum, where the chair of the committee, who has been considering the waste plan, Carlo Guglielmi, indicated that it was a done deal and that although there is no planning application, it is an existing site, it would probably go ahead. He asked County Councillor Goggin if this was also his understanding? Councillor Barry said that Carlo Guglielmi said that he had briefed County Councillor Goggin along the way. He said If that is your understanding, you should give that positon to the meeting. rather than allowing them to create a pressure group thinking they can stop that decision. County Councillor Goggin briefed on the meeting held with Sue Lissimore, and that she advised that residents and the Council could object once the planning application has been received. Much discussion took place.

097. 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 2017 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor Dixon as follows:

General Account Cheque No’s 706831 – 706849 in the sum of £11,561.46 for payment.

Bank Balances – All Accounts – in the sum of £229,348.68
Employee payments paid for the month of September were £1512,162.12

Councillor J Chapman asked about cheque number 706838 and whether this was for the removal of grass cutting. The Town Clerk replied, no, it was for the removal of hedge cuttings. Councillor Smith stated that he asked this question when signing the cheques, and stated that, as a Council, we do not have any guidelines re: using recycling paper, environmentally friendly paper etc., and suggested that it would be useful to have an agenda item for a future meeting to discuss the adoption of an Environmental Policy. This was agreed.

Councillor Barry asked about cheque number 706840 for Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors, and what it is connection with. The Mayor replied that is was for the Hard. Councillor Judson asked if the amount includes previous amounts. The Mayor replied no.

The accounts were then seconded by Councillor Smith. Agreed.
098. STATEMENT BY COUNCILLOR STEADY – CHAIRMAN OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE:

Councillor Steady, as Chairman for the Finance Committee, made the following statement:-
“In these changing times of reduction in budgets, I think it is prudent to make a statement on the two areas that this committee is responsible for.
Financial
Out of the three strands of Local Government: County, District and Town, the Town is the one which has not cut its budget.

The End of Year Statement has been accepted by the External Auditor, which gave us a clean bill of health, as in previous years.

Healthy reserves to underpin the Council’s aim of improving services and facilities for our community.

Keeping the town’s precept at a low level.

Property
The Town Council is the custodian of our community’s assets. In the last 2 ½ years, two challenges have been made regarding the community ownership of the Town Hard:

1) An application for adverse possession was dismissed by Land Registry in July 2015
2) An application for alteration of the Land Registry Register was made on November 2016

These challenges have confirmed that our objective of undertaking an asset review was a correct one.

It is evident that Council documents were held in different locations, especially where the Town’s Hard is concerned, i.e. Town Council, Museum, Harbour Commissioners, Essex County Council Records and individuals.

To obtain information and documentation, Councillors Barry, Smith and Yallop visited Essex County Council Paralegal Department in June 2016, who confirmed that “the view of the Council that it has found no evidence to support the existence of a highway of any particular category at The Hard.”

Councillor Judson attended County Hall in Chelmsford, who in turn contacted the Records Office, but no documentation was found.

To ensure all avenues were exhausted, the Council employed an archivist to do research for any further documentation regarding our community’s assets.

Information concerning the Hard was found at the Essex Records Office in Chelmsford, at the Harbour Commissioners, the Museum and the Council’s own records.

Information concerning other community assets have also been located.
An asset file has been created, as a working document, and this was presented and adopted at full council on 17th August 2017. To clarify, this is the current Council’s document, and as the leases/agreements become due for renewal, the file will be updated accordingly.
In conjunction with the asset review, services supplied to the Council by various agencies have been reviewed. This has enabled a more focused, but flexible, approach when dealing with varying issues. The action taken fits in with the Town Council’s commitment, made several times over the last three years, that issues brought to its attention will be investigated by researching the information available and by contacting the relevant agencies.”

099. TO RECEIVE QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:

There were no questions from members of the public.

County Councillor Goggin left the meeting at 20.08pm to attend the Council Meeting at St Osyth.

100. TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETINGS HELD ON 28TH SEPTEMBER AND 12TH OCTOBER 2017 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:

Councillor V Chapman proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 28th September and 12th October 2017 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council.

Councillor J Chapman mentioned that she and Councillor Steady had met with Gary Guiver of Tendring District Council regarding the Robinson Road Development issues. She stated that originally the Town Council had asked for the application to be called in if they did not agree to 3 conditions, (1) the removal of the playground; (2) the removal of the through road and (3) the number of social housing be increased. She stated that she now feels that the application should not be called in, as (1) Hopkins Homes have removed the playground, (2) the road is needed to get to the top of the estate and (3) the number of Social Housing in the second phase has been reduced as the houses in the first phase were brought up a Social Housing Group, however the social houses in the second phase are to be given to Tendring District Council.

The Planning Minutes were then seconded by Councillor Ingate. Agreed.

101. SWIMMING POOL UPDATE:

Councillor Barry informed members that a meeting had been held today at Tendring District Council with himself, Councillors J Chapman, Steady and Yallop, and an observer from the Lido Group, Carlo Guglielmi, Paul Price, Andy White and Mike Carran. A report had been prepared, which will be circulated to Councillors, which listed the activity in the 9 months since the meeting with them in January. He stated that they advised TDC that they felt they were in a position to go ahead with the asset transfer, and would be looking at forming a charitable incorporated organisation. A ‘wish list’ was then given to the Officers, which listed 5 things:- (1) Tendring District Council facilitate transition of the asset in full working order; (2) support the transition through staff training, preparation of operation manual and staff consultancy; (3) allocate the budget for decommissioning of the pool – £54,000, to enable improvements and maintenance issues to be addressed; (4) allocate £10,000 per annum for 3 years to support the lido through its transitional phase and (5) arrange the transfer for the lease of the cafe outlet, subject to due notice and consideration in respect of the current leaseholders. They disagreed totally with item 4. Then next step is for the Heads of Terms Agreement to be drawn up, which should take 3-4 weeks, which would then need consideration.

He then gave an update on the action group. He stated that they have been meeting monthly since April, and at the last meeting 10 people were willing to commit to being trustees. Some members have indicated specialist areas that they could help with. He stated that he would sit on the committee as a trustee, but as a representative of the Council, but not a member of the organisation. He asked the council for support in the asset transfer. He stated that Tendring District Council would not sell the pool to the Council for £1, but would offer a long lease, of say 99 years, with break clauses. All this would depend on their robustness of the business plan.

Councillor Smith stated that he would not go anywhere near Tendring District Council without legal advice. He stated that the original suggestion was that they sell the pool to the Town Council for £1, now they are talking about a 99 year lease. Councillor Barry stated that once the Heads of Terms had been drawn up, legal advice would be sought.

A discussion took place. It was then agreed that the Council waits to see what proposals Tendring District Council come forward with before any decisions are made.

102. BRIGHTLINGSEA HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS:

The Mayor briefed members that a meeting was held last Thursday with the Harbour Commissioners. The outcome was that the council are not in a position to agree terms with them, until the Hard issue has been resolved. He stated that the Council does, however need to agree their charges for next year, which have increased by approximately 2%.

Councillor J Chapman then proposed that the charges are accepted, as per the paper circulated. Seconded by Councillor Ingate. Agreed.

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

Councillor Steady mentioned the YMCA which Councillor Howard had been dealing with. He stated that there will be an extra charge for the hall, of £15.00 per hour. He stated that we have asked for a rigorous reporting system, and they will be reporting back.

Councillor V Chapman asked Councillor Steady on how we stop the vandalism and fire lighting in the Lozenge. Councillor Steady stated that a lot of work had been carried out in the Lozenge, he said that there has been specific problems up Bayard Avenue, and if you look at CCTV the kids are openly smoking dope on the Recreation Ground, when the playgroup is open. Since the last meeting, we have contact the Colne Community School as many of the children are in Colne uniform, are doing drugs on the Rec. We have asked what their policy is on substance use and bullying and are still waiting for a reply. Councillor V Chapman then suggested that a meeting to meet the new Head of the Colne Community School should be arranged. It was agreed that this would be arranged, once a reply has been received.

Councillor Barry gave a breakdown on the Swimming Pool. He stated that the pool opened from the 15th July to the 1st September, 46 days. Tendring District Councils figure for the expenditure is £42.617, the income was £13,000, so they are saying that the subsidy is £29,000. Visitor numbers was 5,168 compared to 9,600 last year. He stated that he was asking for a breakdown of the figures.

Councillor V Chapman mentioned the Scouts Halloween event, and asked if the Council were in agreement or not for the event to go ahead. This was agreed.

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

Councillor V Chapman mentioned a Highways Briefing at Great Dunmow on 3rd November, which would be very interesting. Also picked up some flyers, which will give to the office to display.

105. TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:

Councillor Steady mentioned that the meetings today had been really good, and we took the opportunity to bring up Tendring issues in Brightlingsea. We had a frank exchange of views, and we will be putting forward a list of priorities, which will be sent off to Tendring District Council. We will then have on-site discussion with Tendring to get the costings. Councillor J Chapman mentioned the upgrade of the toilets, she stated that TDC will probably upgrade them, but the showers will never happen. The Mayor suggested that the Tendring Councillors, together with Councillors V Chapman and Howard get a list together and this is sent off asap. Councillor Steady mentioned that Paul Price is our point of contact.

106. TO RECEIVE THE TOWN CLERK’S REPORT:

2.1 Agreed that Children’s World can visit Hurst Green over the weekend of 28th and 29th April, arriving on 24th April, leaving the site on 2nd May. This is subject to usual terms and conditions.

107. MOTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS) ACT 1960 – To discuss the following:
• Property Update
• Social Media Posting

Councillor Russell moved, in accordance with the Public Bodies Act 1960, in order to discuss items of a sensitive nature and items which are commercially confidential, the press and public be excluded. This was seconded by Councillor Ingate. Agreed.

108. PROPERTY UPDATE:

Councillor Block informed members that he and Councillor Steady had met with Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors, and passed over 4 cases to them.

Lakeside Caravan Park – The Clerk informed members that she had been contacted by David Webb, who was acting for Mr McCarthy. The Mayor stated that the current tenants still needs to contact the Council advising that they are selling on the lease to Mr McCarthy. Agreed that the Clerk would contact Mr Poll regarding this.

The Hard – The Mayor advised members of the current position, and that the situation was going to tribunal. A discussion took place on the possibility of mediation. Councillor Dixon stated that it was inappropriate to discuss the situation due to sub judice.

109. SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING:

The Mayor mentioned that there had been some inappropriate posts on Facebook, naming certain councillors, calling them frauds, cheats etc., which is not acceptable. He stated that we have spoken briefly to our Solicitor, who has given us details of a Specialist Solicitor who would deal with this. A discussion took place. It was then agreed at this stage to leave it, but if it happens again, legal advice will be sought.

110. CLOSE OF MEETING:

There being no further business, the meeting closed at 21.12 p.m.

Chair …………………… Date 16th November 2017