Minutes of the Council Meeting held at
The Parish Hall, Victoria Place, Brightlingsea on:
Thursday 21st June 2018 at 7.30 p.m.
B Smith (Mayor)
G Steady (Deputy Mayor)
M Barry, I Block, J Chapman, V Chapman,
D Dixon, J Howard, D Ingate, M Judson,
J Russell, and K Yallop
County Councillor Alan GogginTracey Pulford –Town Clerk
7 Members of the public
- APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: None received.
- TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 17TH MAY 2018 AND THE EXTRA ORDINARY MEETING HELD ON THE 31ST MAY 2018 AND CONFIRM AS A CORRECT RECORD:
Councillor J Chapman proposed that the Minutes of the meetings held on the 17th May and 31st May were accepted as a true record. Seconded by Councillor Ingate. Agreed.
- MAYORS ANNOUNCEMENTS:
A copy of the Mayors Announcements are annexed to the minutes.
The Mayor mentioned that a lot of invitations received are for events which are long distance, and he does look carefully at them, so he will try to do his best to concentrate on events in Brightlingsea, and will choose, with care, those others that are along way away.
The Mayor then gave an update on the SUFUSE meeting held yesterday, which Councillor Barry also attended. He stated that there are a number of projects from different organisations in the town, which are being looked at, however the big news is that Hastings has backed off as the Lead Authority. The Harbour Commissioners are now the Lead Authority, and will employ a Project Manager to oversee the project. One of the difficulties for some of the organisations is the financial scrutiny side of it, as this is not a total grant, but match funding, so those organisations who have put forward schemes would need to find a substantial amount of money. This does include the Town Council for the Green Lung and Town Square projects. We will keep these projects on the table for the time being. Councillor Barry informed members that he attended the meeting on behalf of the Lido, and stated that there is still a lot of work required to get these projects up and running. Councillor Howard asked if the Paddling Pool project is still in the running. Councillor Smith replied yes it is. Councillor Steady stated that the first step is to carry out a feasibility study, and as it is a TDC property, they have to agree to this, which they have done.
- QUESTIONS UNDER SO9(2):
- DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS:
The Mayor reminded Members to declare interests when necessary.
- QUESTIONS TO COUNTY COUNCILLOR GOGGIN:
Councillor Russell asked County Councillor Goggin if he could supply members with a written report, prior to the meeting, so members know what is going on? County Councillor Goggin replied that his has been asked before, and the answer is no. Councillor Steady stated that County Councillor Goggin had given written reports before when on annual leave, and a written report was provided for the Annual Town Meeting, so this is not out of the ordinary. He stated that as a council we are trying to be more efficient and effective, and one of those ways is to be more focused by receiving written reports, we can then ask questions on the night, rather than ad-hoc, making us all more efficient and effective.
County Councillor Goggin replied over the last 40 years, at this part of the meeting, a County Councillor would present their report. It would be their view of the decisions made at Essex County Council and anything that may affect the residents. Since the last meeting he has had two meetings with the Mayor where he was advised that, from this meeting onwards, the County Councillor would no longer be allowed to present a report, instead he would be invited to answer questions from Councillors and members of the public. He stated that he was told that the Town Council decision was made at a meeting of the Council where it was unanimous. It was also suggested that the County Councillor did not need to attend every month, but every other month, as an alternative. As all 12 Councillors have chosen this route and the Chairman is in total charge of the meeting, he does not have any choice, so welcomes your questions.
Question from Councillor Block – We met with Hedingham last week, is there any update from that meeting?
County Councillor Goggin replied that there is a problem with the 87 bus withdrawing their service. Following residents getting in touch with him, he in turn got in touch with Hedingham Buses. He thanked Councillors Block and Judson for attending the meeting with Hedingham, together with Councillors from Alresford, Gt Bentley and Thorrington. Essex County Council also attended and a press release is due out tomorrow. The latest move is now to try and arrange a meeting with First Buses, however Essex County Council have a slight problem – the minute they have a meting with one company about supplying a service of some sort, they are almost duty bound and are unable to organise the meeting with First, so has taken it upon himself to arrange.
Councillor Block stated that the meeting with Hedingham was very positive, and if we can meet First on the same basis, led by yourself, we might have solution. If we can’t we are in danger of losing the early morning, late evening and Sunday services. County Councillor Goggin replied that he agreed entirely. The bottom line is usage and money – there are not enough people using the service. There is a Quality Development Plan, which means in areas of dispute, where there are two bus companies trying to run the same bus route, they try and get together and try and run a “together” route. The big stumbling block with that is tickets. One of these systems has run successfully at Halstead, and the two companies involved were Hedingham and First.
Councillor Yallop stated that it would have been nice if, at the meeting, Tendring District Councillors had been invited. Yesterday she attended a meeting with the Managing Director of Hedingham Coaches, Councillor Scott, Councillor Julie Young, parents from Wivenhoe, and Mr Fox – Head Teacher of the Colne School, where they had a very productive meeting. She stated that if parents buy the season tickets, and they have a big upturn of this, Hedingham will continue with the school service.
County Councillor Goggin replied that the decision at the time was to deal with the councils, which the bus route goes through (Brightlingsea, Alresford, Thorrington and Wivenhoe). He stated that he got in touch with these Councils and asked who they would like to attend the meeting. At Alresford, they did not want Councillor Scott at that meeting, as they wanted their Chairman to attend.
Councillor Howard mentioned not having County Councillors attending the council meetings, and the she does not remember voting on this. The Mayor replied that nobody objected. Councillor Howard stated that she did not remember this coming up at a full council meeting. The Mayor replied that it didn’t, but everybody was here. Councillor Howard said it was after the Finance meeting, and you ran it buy us, and she thought we would carry on as we were, but with questions on Brightlingsea. The Mayor gave a recap on his suggestion – that County Councillor Goggin attends alternative monthly meetings. This was discussed and Councillor Russell came up with an alternative proposal – to have questions to the County Councillor. He stated that he has had two meetings with County Councillor Goggin about this, and it was agreed that we will run this for three months to see how it goes, and at the end of the three months we will review it. Councillor Howard stated that at her previous Council, the County Councillor never attended any of the meetings in the 15 years that she was on the council, and we are very lucky to have ours at our meetings.
Councillor V Chapman reiterated that she does not recall the conversation taking place, as she was not at the Finance Meeting. She stated that the questions from the public have been instigated recently, and are received very well. Having a written report does not have the same impact of someone telling you something. You take it in more when someone is speaking to you. She said that she does not agree, but if you are happy to monitor it for three months, then she would accept that and see how it goes.
Councillor Steady spoke about being efficient and effective. There have been three different meetings with the buses, as Tendring District Council have also had a meeting with Hedingham. Can we all pull together and get a meaningful meeting. County Councillor Goggin replied “who do you want to attend the meetings about the buses, your two transport CCC’s or someone else?” He stated that the meeting yesterday took place as Julie Young could not attend the other meeting.
A heated discussion took place and the Mayor then said that he would take one further question from Councillor Barry, before moving on to questions from the public.
Councillor Barry asked County Councillor Goggin why he was so opposed to putting in a written report? He stated that all the CCC’s submit a written report, and give any verbal updates between submitting the report and attending the meeting. This has benefits both ways as it allows us to see the issues, be better informed when asking questions, rather than just having an impromptu decision. County Councillor Goggin replied that if we are to be more efficient, we need to learn the difference between a majority and unanimous. No other County Councillor gives a written report. He does, however, do work in between meetings, and in the last 40 years, he believes, he is the only County Councillor who sends information to the Clerk, who then circulates out to all Councillors. Councillor Barry asked his question again, why are you so opposed? County Councillor Goggin replied that, in his opinion, a system like that does not work well.
The Mayor then asked for questions to County Councillor Goggin from members of the public. Councillor Judson voiced his objection to not being allowed to ask his question, as he had raised his hand three times.
Question 1 –Why, after all these years, is County Councillor Goggin not allowed to give a report? The Mayor replied that this is in the interests of the council and the running of the council. The member of the public then asked what about the public? The Mayor replied that the public are allowed to ask questions, and asked for the question to County Councillor Goggin to be repeated. The member of the public asked why County Councillor Goggin is not allowed to give a report?. The Mayor replied that a lot of the members round this table would like him to give a written report, which he is not prepared to do.
Question 2 – Would like to ask County Councillor Goggin why is this Council so against you and they don’t work with you as their Essex County Councillor, which could lead to their advantage? County Councillor Goggin replied that this is an impossible question to answer. He stated that to be fair to the Councillors here, most do a great job around the town, many work with me, some don’t.
Question 3 –Councillor Goggin is my elected representative for Essex County Council and I look forward to his verbal report at each council meeting. It seems that Brightlingsea Town Council has become undemocratic. The Mayor thanked the resident for his comments.
County Councillor Goggin stated that as a good example he has not been able to respond to Councillor Steady’s request from last month about Robinson Road. At the time he was asked about the money from Robinson Road that was spent at Essex County Council. At the time he did say that he did not think it was an Essex County Council issue but it was a Tendring District Council issue. He did, however, ask Councillor Steady for the specific reference number, and asked Tendring District Council for this information. The response given was “the S106 agreement required an education contribution of £78,487 to be paid to Essex County Council. In addition a public open space provision, there was a contribution of £177,985. This amount was not allocated specifically to be spent in the Robinson Road area. Tendring District Council say they have recently released these funds for the improvement, modernisation and installation of showers in the open space along the seafront. The only other obligation was that there was an affordable housing obligation, where 11 dwellings were to be transferred. According to Tendring District Council no reference to road improvements were contained within the agreement, although road improvements themselves are standard conditions.” He then asked them to look at S278 agreements, and the reply was that “there are no S278 agreements”. Councillor Steady thanked Councillor Goggin for his reply, and stated that this is different to what he has been told, as there have been no allocation to the showers at this moment in time.
Councillor Howard asked for an update on the Zebra Crossing outside the school. It seems we get so far, then nothing seems to happen. County Councillor Goggin replied that by not giving reports, this council missed out on details from the Local Highways Panel meeting held last Tuesday, where there were 5 items relevant to Brightlingsea. He then stated that Essex County Council have allocated money for the crossing. When the school building was developed (the Wave), the school was going to centralise their pedestrian access. Essex County Council will take it a step further for the pedestrian crossing to be there, to keep it away from the dangerous areas. At the moment Essex County Council have earmarked the money but can only take it further when the school gets round to changing their pedestrian access, to right in the middle, which is in the plans that they submitted when The Wave was built.
The Mayor thanked County Councillor Goggin for his replies to the questions given, and stated that he will review the situation again after three months.
- TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THOSE MEMBERS EXAMINING THE ACCOUNTS FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD:
The Payments and Accounts for the period ending April 2018 (as shown on the attached appendix) were proposed by Councillor V Chapman as follows:
General Account Cheque No’s 707031 – 707074 in the sum of £38,862.08 for payment.
Bank Balances – All Accounts – in the sum of £260,207.21
Employee payments paid for the month of April were £12,977.46
The accounts for May 2018 will be presented at the next meeting.
The accounts were then seconded by Councillor Block. Agreed.
Councillor Russell asked how much had been spent on the Lido so far, and how much the Town Council has spent, which Tendring District Council would not have spent. Councillor Barry said that this raises a big issue about our financial issue with Tendring District Council. He stated that we are still in negotiations with them, however they have now cancelled the meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. There are still issues with an outstanding payment for last year, them paying us £20,000, an issue with S106 monies, 2nd hand pumps, supply of water and metering – all of which are unresolved despite our best efforts. He stated that Brightlingsea Town Council are currently carrying the burden of all the expenditure at the Lido, when it should have been halved with Tendring, but we do anticipate getting the money at some point. We have had the work done, and have had to pay the bills. It is all about getting a fair deal and a response from Tendring. Councillor Steady stated that there are three invoices in with Tendring District Council for S106 projects. He mentioned the Extra Ordinary Council Meeting on the 31st May where he highlighted that over the last two years the Councils reserves have increased by £56,000 so in terms of having money to cover the costs we have more than done that. He said that he has great confidence and works on the premise that “the road to success is always under construction”.
- TO RECEIVE QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC:
These questions are annexed to the Minutes.
County Councillor Goggin left the meeting at 20.18 pm to attend the Council Meeting at St Osyth.
- TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PLANNING MEETINGS HELD ON 31ST MAY AND 14TH JUNE 2018 AND TO NOTE PLANNING DECISIONS OF TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL:
Councillor V Chapman proposed that the recommendations in the Minutes of 31st May and 14th June 2018 be agreed by Council, together with the planning decisions from Tendring District Council. Seconded by Councillor Howard. Agreed.
- CHURCHYARD EXTENSION:
Councillor V Chapman reported that following a joint Churchyard and PCC meeting, she has been asked to clarify and confirm the following:-
- The Title is currently with Brightlingsea Town Council and this needs to be changed unless Brightlingsea Town Council wants to run a local authority cemetery. This would be a financial challenge,– costs of consecration documents, etc. There would be limits on memorials, escutcheons, etc., etc. There would also need to be L.A. regulations.
- Our joint meeting recommends that this is a churchyard extension (as with previous land).
- Therefore need to engage a solicitor who is experienced in ecclesiastical laws. Churchwarden can get a quote and a name for this. Brightlingsea Town Council may wish to use someone else, but a person with specific knowledge would be useful.
The purpose of this discussion, is to seek Council’s agreement that Brightlingsea Town Council do not wish to run a Local Authority cemetery, but will maintain the extension, whilst vesting the land to the church/PCC. The transfer needs to take place as soon as possible so that the Archdeacon can move the issue on and the Consecration can be included in the Bishops timetable.
- The Churchwarden will draw up a plan of the land relating to the churchyard and church.
- When planning and discussing with the solicitor, the issues of the Right of Way over the land, will be considered.
Councillor J Chapman stated that she was appalled that 3 ½ years down the line the Council are still not at completion stage. She stated that we had a date for consecration, we thought all the matters had been dealt with, now they are throwing up more problems. When we did the first extension, she does not remember doing anything other than gifting the land to the Church. It is still Council land, if it is not, why do we still maintain it? Councillor Dixon mentioned that with the previous extension, the town council gifted the land to the PCC, therefore the Diocese consecrated it.
Councillor Russell then proposed that Brightlingsea Town Council gifts the new extension of land to the PCC and the incumbent. Seconded by Councillor J Chapman. Agreed.
Councillor V Chapman asked for approval that the Town Council uses its current Solicitors to deal with this. This was agreed. Councillor Judson stated that he thought the Council should change its Solicitors. This comment was noted.
Councillor J Chapman and Russell both felt that they should have declared a personal interest in the item discussed.
- TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM COUNCILLORS CONTACT CO-ORDINATORS:
Councillor V Chapman mentioned that she had attended the following:-
- Beach Hut Association AGM, and a copy of her notes of this meeting were to be circulated by the Clerk.
- Meeting with the Grounds Manager regarding the skate park. Advised by Councillor Steady that funding should be available, and we will also be looking for matched funding.
- Meeting with Mr McCarthy of the Lakeside Caravan Park. Councillor Yallop asked if they were going to be upgrading the toilets. Councillor Chapman replied that they will start on the disabled toilet first.
Councillor Barry mentioned the last paragraph of his report “The Town Council has been frustrated in respect of negotiations with TDC about finances, which are stalled pending a number of lines of discussion. In collaboration with District Councillor Steady, pressure has been put on TDC via numerous meetings and correspondence but the stalemate has continued. BTC has not had the anticipated financial support from TDC and it is hoped that some resolution to issues can be achieved via a summit meeting with various officers and officials scheduled for the 22nd June.” He stated that the meeting scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled at late notice, and leaves this council in a compromising position.
Councillor Yallop asked Councillor Barry how the pool is going. Councillor Barry replied that the pool opened on the 28th May and during the first three weeks they have had over 3,000 swimmers in, with an income of over £12,000. The projection for the season is to have 12,000 swimmers with a projected income of £30,000, so we are well on the way to that, with the 6 weeks summer holidays still to come. The late swims are picking up, with not so many doing the early swims. Last night over 25 people attended the splashacise class. Today attended a meeting with a Sport for Confidence Representative, who are looking to engage with people in the Tendring area. They deal with user groups who are physically handicapped or have disabilities/needs, we are looking to expand the catchment for the whole thing.
Councillor Steady declared a personal interest in the Lido, as his daughter had arranged the Splashacise class.
Councillor V Chapman stated that she was surprised that there was no report on the Hard, even though it was mentioned a lot at the opening of the Boat Show. She stated that she was concerned to see that the metal, at the Hard, was well above the fence line, and stated that even though it is suppressed by water, this then contaminates the estuary. At one time it was agreed that they would not go over the height of the fence, and it looks unsightly. She asked if Councillor Smith could give an update please. Councillor Smith said that he would raise this again with the Harbour Commissioner who look after this area for us.
Councillor J Chapman asked Councillor Howard how the YMCA Youth Centre is going? Councillor Howard replied very slowly. Councillor J Chapman then asked if the posters, which have been put up all around town, could be cut down and removed as they are all water logged, and have the Councils logo on them. She stated that this could also be classed as “fly posting”. Councillor Howard said that she would inform the YMCA Group to remove them and not to put any more up.
Councillor Smith asked Councillor V Chapman about the amount of weed in the Boating Lake. Councillor V Chapman replied that she had attended a meeting with Paul Milton of the Model Boat Club earlier this week. She stated that Framlingham Fisheries are hoping to come back early next week to try another chemical, as the sun has made the weed very thick. The Commodore did reiterate his thanks to Terry and the team, as Terry was there at 2am on two occasions, trying to get rid of the weed.
Councillor Judson asked Councillor Barry “is there a Jazz evening coming up at the Lido at £10.00 a ticket with a gourmet Hot Dog included in the price?” Councillor Barry thanked Councillor Judson for his reminder, and stated that this event is takin place next Saturday 30th June.
- TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM MEMBER REPRESENTATIVES ON OUTSIDE BODIES:
Nothing further to report.
- TO RECEIVE REPORTS SUBMITTED FROM DISTRICT COUNCILLORS:
Nothing further to report.
- TO RECEIVE THE TOWN CLERK’S REPORT:
2.1 Agreed that the North Essex Caravan Club could change the date of its 2019 Rally, from 19th-22nd April to 3rd – 6th May 2019, still on Lower Park Playing Fields.
2.2 Agreed that when “Operation London Bridge” is in place, the designated area for floral tributes would be the War Memorial.
2.3 Agreed that Councillors J Chapman and Howard would sit on the focus group for the Health and Wellbeing Group at the EALC.
2.4 Agreed that if the advertising sign is to be situated by the farm, just after Graham Labelling, Porridge and Pens should request permission from the farmer. If the sign is to be situated by the water tower, permission is given.
The Mayor then explained the situation regarding Part B. He stated that at the last meeting we did have some discussion as to whether or not it is necessary to have a vote to exclude the public, or whether it was taken as read when it was read out. He stated that, the council did seek advice, and the advice that has been received is as follows:-
“The legislation to be used is the Public Bodies (admission to meetings) Act 1960, and it is normal for this to appear on an agenda, to have a proposer and seconder and to be voted on. If your council do not normally do this, it may be an idea to introduce it, as it makes it very clear that the meeting has agreed to the motion. If the members were minded not to exclude the public, then that item would have to be withdrawn from the agenda and could not be discussed”.
The Mayor then stated that Part B tonight involves discussion of contractual items, and sometimes it involves named members of staff and salaries, therefore it is opportune and appropriate to have Part B. The Mayor stated that he would do everything he could, during his term of office, to reduce the items discussed under Part B.
- MOTION TO EXCLUDE THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS) ACT 1960 – To discuss the following:
- Property Update
Councillor Block moved, in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) 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 Russell. Agreed.
Councillor Barry stated that he felt uncomfortable at how agenda item 6 was managed from the chair. He stated that as Mayor or Chair of this meeting, your role is to facilitate discussions, not to control and prevent it. He felt that the Mayor cut off two female Councillors quite abruptly. Councillor Chapman also mentioned that, as a Council, we only meet once a month, and this is our forum to discuss items. The Mayor noted these comments.
- PROPERTY UPDATE:
Brightlingsea Leisure Village – Councillor Steady updated members, and a copy of an e-mail from Fox Leisure had been circulated to all. After discussion it was proposed by Councillor Russell that the Council counter offers a premium for a 50 year lease, with a fall back provision, and include a “license to assign clause” in the new lease. Seconded by Councillor Howard. Agreed.
Lakeside Caravan Park – Councillor V Chapman briefed members on her meeting with Mr McCarthy. After discussion it was proposed by Councillor V Chapman that we offer Mr McCarthy a 50 year lease, subject to the remedial works being carried out within the first year. Seconded by Councillor Yallop. Agreed.
Councillor Steady mentioned that Fenn Wright are our Land Agents, they collect our rents and that the Council are in the process of reviewing all agreements, leases and its agents. Councillor Smith mentioned the Councils Assets, and that they should be looked at, in depth, by a Town Planner/Surveyor. It was then agreed that this would be discussed at the next finance meeting.
Councillor Barry gave an update on the pool and the current relationship with Tendring District Council.
- CLOSE OF MEETING:
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 21.17 p.m.
Chair …………………… Date 19th July 2018