COUNCIL MEETING – 17TH OCTOBER 2019
Minute Number 098 – Questions from the Public.
Q1) Wivenhoe held a public meeting last week on Climate Issue, and they ended up dividing up those present into individual sub-groups to discuss different aspects of the Environmental Plan, and now they have a range of working parties. This is a good way of involving the public, and I wondered if Brightlingsea would consider doing something similar? Councillor Smith said he would look into this.
Q2) Went to a meeting at the Sailing Club about the proposed dock for Jet Skis. Is there any update? Councillor Carr advised that this had not been progressed any further.
Q3) Firstly, thank Councillor Steady for providing information about the collection of rubbish, which was very useful. Also thanked Julie at the office, as he received more sense out of her than speaking to anyone at Tendring District Council!
Has Councillor Barry any more information about the Climate Change Committee at Tendring? Councillor Barry replied that he could not attend the last meeting, however he attended a Scrutiny Committee Meeting on Monday, and a proposal was put before them for the redevelopment of Clacton Leisure Centre spending half a million pounds. This proposal collapsed, as they had not considered Tendring’s policy of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, therefore this proposal maybe be ‘called in’ under review, subject to further discussions.
Q4) At the Brightlingsea Nature Network meeting a question was asked about the swans at the boating lake. They have seen beach hut owners cleaning out paint brushes in the drain that goes into the boating lake, and people have seen the swans drinking the tainted water. Can some signs be installed? Councillor Howard replied that there were some signs put up, but these have disappeared. We will look into getting some more permanent signs installed, and will also make contact with the Beach Hut Association to ask the beach hut owners not to do this. Councillor MacGregor advised that someone is putting out trays of fresh water around the lake.
Q5) Thank you – at last someone has painted at the end of Western Road ‘keep clear’. It is good that it has been repainted, but what can we do to enforce it? The Mayor replied that we will contact the Infant and Junior School to see if they can put out a notice in their newsletter.
Q6) As part of the Council’s Environmental Strategy, will they be issuing Groundsmen with trade bikes for those trips they don’t need to carry equipment? The Mayor replied that the Groundsmen do walk from time to time and he will pass on these comments to the staff. Councillor Smith added that it is great to see that a member of staff has an electric car.
Councillor Carr briefed members that two written questions had been received, regarding the Harbour, as follows:-
Q7) Are you able to let us know what the plan is for users of the dinghy park like us who have an allocated space for our dinghy on a trailer and where the car is parked when we are out on the water? We hope we will be able to retain the facility to park in the same space as the dinghy, since space is wasted if parking is separate, particularly on the busiest summer days. We tend to arrive afternoon so are currently certain of a car parking space, but this will be unlikely on the busier days if there is a small separate area for cars. We did try a smaller dinghy for a short while but concluded it was unsafe in the harbour, particularly being vulnerable to the wash from the ferries, and also not suitable to go out into the River Colne. We do on occasions use a 14ft dinghy (16ft including the trailer) so would like a space of that size – which is car length. We have reached an age when we would not be able to lift a dinghy into a rack, and would like to retain the opportunity to tow the dinghy by car to the hard if we reach a stage that we cannot physically pull it back up. We have had a space in the yard since 1977 so hope the new arrangements will be able to accommodate us as well as new visitors. Although it may seem ramshackle the yard is very well used. More often than not when getting ready, we have to move the car to let someone through to the far end. Using a public car park in the vicinity is not viable as we would have difficulty carrying the outboard, petrol tank and water bottles some distance back to the boat park. Nor would using the boat park as a drop-off point be a viable alternative – for reasons of security, outboards oars etc. cannot be left unattended whilst a car is being parked elsewhere. We have noticed that the boat park gates are now always open and now that we no longer have a Hard Master to keep an eye on the boat park, as Mr Bragg used to do, security is an issue – our brand new boat cover has recently been slashed with a knife, presumably someone looking for an outboard or something else of value.
Others use the dinghy park in similar way. Will there be consultation with the main stakeholders i.e the existing users of the dinghy park, with respect to the re-modelling proposals? We suspect that many users of the dinghy park will not be members of either the Yacht Club or the Sailing Club.
Councillor Carr replied as follows:- Discussions between Councillor Graham Chasney and himself on the improvement of the dingy park are ongoing. It is the council’s desire to provide a facility that is both more transparent and available to more residents and harbour stakeholders than we currently enjoy. I am confident that once plans have been discussed between the Town Council and the commission in full the consultation will be undertaken.
Q8) I note that the Town Council are currently in discussion with the Harbour Commission for a new updated License to run the Dingy Boat Park, can you tell me if the Council have used due process to ensure that the contract to manage the area is put out to Tender if it has not gone out to Tender could you tell me why please?
Councillor Carr replied as follows:- The area in question is part of four Council-owned areas within the harbour, that the commissioners manage and maintain on behalf of the council, these areas were, in the past, managed by a council employee, the expenses of which never covered any income received.
The council have looked to the Commission, as they have proved to be a suitable statutory body that has the skill and maritime expertise to maintain the town’s assets, in particular, the hard jetty.
The Town Council has not in the past gone out to public tender as the income and running costs of the assets are cost-neutral, it is felt therefore that there would be no other statutory body within the locality that could manage the entire portfolio by license, which is the preferred manner by the Council.