COUNCIL MEETING – 15TH OCTOBER 2015
Minute Number 105 – Questions from the Public.
Q1) Janet Aldridge – After reading the extensive “Brightlingsea Hard and Right of Way” document produced by Gary Humm, it is quite clear from the maps and plans that Waterside Road, running parallel to the jetty, is a separate area of land that was not gifted to the council by William Pannell. How do the council intend to rectify their mistake in the registration of the hard so Brightlingsea residents can continue to use it as it was intended to be used? It is noted that Brightlingsea Town Council have said that when the deeds to the Hard were sent to the Land Registry they were destroyed. One would not send documents without making photocopies first. So where are the deeds and by-laws for Waterside Road? Or can we conclude that the council never had them in the first place?”
A1) Councillor Steady replied that at the recent public meeting many issues were discussed. I am a Tendring District Councillor and Chair of the Corporate Management Committee, which is the senior scrutiny committee, so therefore I embrace scrutiny and at times we are not scrutinised enough. There is too much obfuscation. Gary circulated a document to all Councillors, however the Town Clerk did not receive a copy, neither did the Mayor and some other Councillors. He has used an Architect, not a Solicitor – where is the expertise on boundaries for this. The report is the view of an Architect. Also, it states that the parcel of land was left to the people of Brightlingsea – however we all know that the original deed states it was left to the Brightlingsea Urban District Council and its successors. The various points on the Brightlingsea Harbour Users Facebook Page are clouding the issues. The recent news paper article omitted to include that the £25.00 charge is per launch, depending of the size of vessel. The Harbour Users Facebook page has 399 people like it. This represents only 4.9% of the population. At the meeting earlier in the year we said we would get all the information but we are still waiting for this information to come through.
The Mayor replied that if and when evidence comes forward from Essex County Council and the Land Registry we will sit down and discuss again.
Councillor Block stated that the Land Registry have registered the Hard to Brightlingsea Town Council with absolute, with the documents that were submitted at that time.
Councillor Steady then read from a copy of the BHU Facebook Page highlighting the issues, which could be construed in different ways and not actually factual.
Q2) Colin Olivier – It occurs to me that as there is going to be a by-election, why don’t you put the three vacancies up instead on one. You are spending £4-5,000 on an election. When I spoke to the Officers at TDC they were under the impression there are three vacancies.
A2) The Mayor replied that we cannot have an election for three seats – one seat is for a casual vacancy and can be filled by election, and the other two seats, which were not filled at the May elections are to be co-opted only.
Q3) Gary Humm – You have said all along you don’t dispute the evidence. In a recent meeting you did not deny it and Councillor Russell was going to write a statement for council. Can I have a copy of the notes of that meeting? Can any Councillor make the deed of gift fit from the old map on to the new map? Can you make that shape fit – yes or no?
A3) Councillor Steady replied that a lot of money has been spent on this issue on legal advice. Gary Humm replied that most of the information he has provided has come from the Museum free of charge. The Mayor added if and when evidence comes forward we will sit down and discuss again.
Q4) Andy Blanche – I was a Councillor until recently when I resigned. I ask whether the council is conducting itself well – the hard is just one issue. I do not believe the Council polls the public well. I recently put a question onto Facebook and was questioned. Why is our council fighting a local group not helping them. Meetings take place behind closed doors – the Hard issue – always discussed in Part B. Information was refused by the Mayor and Town Clerk. Mr Humm’s e-mail not being received by all is untrue. Does this Council think it knows better than the town, I think it does.
A4) Councillor Steady thanked Andy Blanche for attending the meeting, and stated that it was a shame that, as a Councillor, he had been unable to attend the last couple of Council meetings. A robust exchange of views ensued.
The Mayor then replied that she could not answer this question. Andy Blanche reiterated “does the council think it knows better?” Councillor Yallop replied absolutely no.
Q5) Pamela Miller – Thanked the Town Clerk and Councillor Steady for the information and report from Tendring District Council.
Q6) Julie Ford – Brightlingsea Leisure Village – What is Councils response to the Local Plan, with occupancy from 1st March – 1st October – implying an occupancy period of 8 months.
A6) Councillor Steady replied that there is now a new Portfolio Holder at Tendring District Council, and he will be contacting them to arrange a meeting to discuss further.
Q7) Jenny Beaumont – What assurance can the Town Council give regarding the Brightlingsea Leisure Village continuing as a holiday park post 2019? No sub-leases have been issued from our current lease holder.
A7) The Mayor replied that as a Council we see no reason why not. After discussion it was agreed to seek Solicitors advise on a letter stating that “Brightlingsea Town Council does not currently have any plans or intentions regarding a change of land use at Brightlingsea Leisure village post 2019.” Councillor Steady then suggested that as he was trying to progress things from a District Council view, he would also like to be the contact for the Town Council and try to progress these issues/problems further.