HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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DRAFT MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
18th September 2017
Held at
Mill House, The Causeway, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 1ET

 

 Membership:

Councillor Mrs S Diver Chairman   Present
Councillor Mr Andy Munday Vice Chairman Present
Counvillor Mrs J Allen   Present
Councillor Mrs S Dingle   Present
Councillor C Fox   Present
Councillor D Gronland   Present
Councillor D Hume   Apologies
Councillor Mrs J A Pell   Present
Councillor Mrs E Penn   Apologies
Councillor M Radley   Apologies
Councillor Mrs J Sutton   Present
Councillor G Warren   Present

Also in attendance: Public -  Sean Davies (Press); Graham McCoyd, Ms Helen Woolf,

                                           Robert Light, Martin Walker, Roger Bone, Peter Caulfield,

                                           Malcolm Fincken, Mr and Mrs P Hennelly.                 

319. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE received from Cllr Mrs Penn as unwell, Cllr Hume as unwell and Cllr Radley as away.  Cllr Mrs Diver moved acceptance of these apologies and this was seconded by Cllr Munday.  Motion carried by unanimous vote.

320.  WELCOME TO CLLR GARRY WARREN, newly elected Councillor for Holy Trinity North.  Signing of declaration of acceptance of office.  Cllr Warren took the oath of office and signed the declaration.

321. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Mrs J Pell Declared PI - Agenda Item 5 - Planning: 17/01520/FUL as family member has factory in vicinity; NPI - 17/01578/FUL as member of BDC that has connections with Greenfields and as neighbours known and husband has a garage owned by Greenfields; NPI 17/01467/FUL as owner is known; NPI -17/01664/OUT as owners known.  Agenda item 9 NPI as Chairman of H4C. Agenda item 15 - NPI as member of Braintree DC. Agenda item 18 NPI as members of Courtauld family known. Cllr Gronland declared NPI - Agenda item 19 as applicant is known.  Cllr Mrs S Dingle declared PI. Agenda item 8b as recipient of deposit return.  Cllr Mrs J Allen declared NPI in Agenda item 5 - Planning 17/01578/FUL as member of BDC that has connections with Greenfields.  Cllr Munday declared PI. Agenda item 8b as recipient of expenses.  Cllr Mrs S Diver declared NPI Agenda item 5 - Planning 17/01467/FUL as applicant is known.

322. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME: a)  Mr Martin Walker thanked Halstead TC for their support in opposing planning application at Sudbury Road although opposition was unsuccessful despite the BDC Planning Committee commenting that they had 'never received more objections to an application'. Mr Walker felt that the 'deal had been done' before the planning meeting and that ECC Highways had not studied the area and the expected impact on local roads.  Mr Walker voiced concerns about the amount of power held by Planning Officers who had not listened to objections from Halstead residents; he felt their attitude to objectors was disgusting and condescending and said that a complaint would be lodged with BDC.  Mr Walker recognised that there would be many objections to proposals at Chapel Hill, Halstead but said that the existing 'Hands Off' team could not take on organisation of objections to this site and a new group would need to be formed.  Mr Malcolm Fincken raised some matters that had been discussed during canvassing for the recent election of Cllr Warren in Holy Trinity North; firstly there had been much disquiet about the river walk and the river which is perceived to be sadly neglected.  He said that the actual walk is in good order, but the banks and the river bed seem to be in a poor state.  Mr Fincken said that residents were still very concerned at the lack of progress in opening up the pedestrian bridge from Bridge Street to Chapel Street.  Cllr Mrs Diver replied that Council has met with Essex CC and been told that there is no money for work on the pedestrian bridge but that Halstead TC is still working with other agencies regarding this matter.  Cllr Mrs Jo Beavis, Halstead member of Essex CC will be meeting with Halstead TC in the near future to discuss the way forward.  Regarding the river walk Halstead TC has met with Environment Agency regarding the river bed but as there is no ownership by Halstead TC negotiations will have to take place with owner of The Mill.  Cllr Diver assured the meeting that Council will continue to keep up pressure to resolve the issue, but also noted that conservationists are happy with non-intervention of the flora and fauna on the river bank.  Mr Roger Bone spoke as resident of Sloe Hill and regarding the proposed development at Chapel Hill.  He noted that this is an historic part of Halstead and felt that development would encroach on green belt land where there is a public footpath to Gosfield which is well used.   Mr Bone feels that proposed access is not safe and the development would be a 'blot on the landscape' of this beautiful part of Halstead.  He has strong concerns about the lack of infrastructure and impact on local services and felt that there are more acceptable areas for development within Halstead. Mr Peter Caulfield also spoke about the development at Chapel Hill and noted that this would impact on setting of a listed building and said that an area of biological diversity would be destroyed.  He felt that the existing green space should be retained.  Ms Helen Woolf said that she was glad to see that the Town Survey was on Agenda for discussion this evening and felt that a Neighbourhood Plan was vital for the Town to give a voice and demonstrable evidence to any opposition that might be lodged against planning decisions.  Mr Malcolm Fincken spoke again and said that a Police Presence was needed in the Town as a top priority as visiting officers do not know the area and are not proactive.  He asked Council to put on more pressure for a better service.  Cllr Mrs Diver assured the meeting that pressure would be exerted and asked that the public assist the Police wherever possible by taking photographic evidence and noting details when it was safe to do so.  Cllr Warren noted that it was a shame that it took a public meeting with the PCC to get recent action where arrests have been made and he hoped that Police would keep up action in the Town.

b) A presentation was given by Robert Light of ADA Architects on redevelopment of 28-30 Trinity Street, Halstead.  Mr Light noted that in 2015 an application had been made to convert the building into 5 flats with the ground floor being for commercial use.  It has since been noted that commercial premises in this location would not be viable so a further application to make the ground floor into residential is in the process of being lodged.  This will make a total of 6 flats and work should be commenced in the near future.  Mr Light noted that car parking would be an issue and asked that Council be aware of need for car parking spaces and hoped for co-operation in this provision.

323. MINUTES  To approve the minutes of the meeting on 14th August 2017. and of the Extraordinary meeting held on 14th August 2017.  Minutes had been circulated and were adopted by majority vote with 3 abstentions.

324. PLANNING APPLICATIONS In Cllr Hume's absence, Vice Chair of Planning, Cllr Mrs Pell took the Chair for this part of the meeting but said that Cllr Hume realised that there were some contentious issues and had voiced opinions on all applications.

ESS/04/15/BTE - Halstead Anaerobic Digestion Facility.  Land North of Bluebridge Industrial Estate, Halstead, Essex - Continuation of development of an anaerobic digestion plant without compliance with Conditions 1 (compliance with submitted details), 4 (hours of operation) and 19 (external materials, finishes and colours) attached to permission ref ESS/28/13/BTE, to allow an extension of operating hours to between 12.00hours and 16.30 hours on no more than 8 Saturdays following a bank/public holiday per annum and to remove cladding on the Engine Building (part retrospective). It was noted that no objections had been received for the additional hours of working required.  Cllr Mrs Sutton noted that there had been problems with this site but that the Environment Agency had worked hard with applicants to resolve issues.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application.  Motion was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

17/01498/LBC - 103 Head Street, Halstead CO9 2AZ - Removal of rear chimney showing significant signs of distress and imminent collapse.

Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application.  Motion was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Pell left the meeting at this point.  Chair was taken by Cllr Mrs Diver.

17/01520/FUL - Land Adjacent 41 Broton Drive, Halstead, Essex - Change of use of land to enclosed storage. Discussion took place about this application and concerns were raised about height of the enclosure and difficulty of wheelchair exit in case of emergency.  There were also concerns about loss of car parking spaces.  It was agreed that a risk assessment would be required.  Cllr Mrs Sutton proposed that Council should object because of height of fencing and loss of fire exit particularly for disabled exit and Council object also to loss of parking spaces.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Allen and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Pell returned to the meeting and resumed Chair for this Agenda item.

Cllr Mrs Diver left the meeting at this point.

17/01467/FUL - Gate House, Parsonage Street, Halstead, CO9 1EZ - Amendments to approved application 03/00266/FUL - Approved render finishes replaced with Hardiplank cladding.  Reverse kitchen and lounge positions.  Reposition internal chimney stack onto right hand flank wall.  Doors and windows replaced/repositioned to suit revised internal layout. Cllr Mrs Pell noted no objections had been lodged against this application and said that it would modernise the building.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Allen and carried with 1 abstention.

Cllr Mrs Diver returned to the meeting.

17/01578/FUL - Garage site at Ronald Road (rear of 24-30) Halstead, Essex - Proposed demolition of existing lock up garages and erection of 3no. houses with associated external works.  Cllr Mrs Pell noted that Environmental Health had lodged some conditions about this application and there were concerns about access for bin collection and for emergency service vehicles.  It was of concern that there would be a displacement of cars onto roads when garages were lost.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that Council had no objections to this application provided that conditions laid down by Environmental Health were met.  Motion was seconded by Cllr Mrs Sutton and carried by unanimous vote.

17/01630/FUL - 31 Winston Way, Halstead, CO9 2TH - Change of existing flat roof over garage.           
Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objections to this application.  Motion was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.

17/01623/LBC - Bird in Hand PH, 54 Chapel Hill, Halstead, CO9 1JP - Internal redecoration, removal of some internal walls and creating an opening within an existing wall, replacement of shiplap boarding to external elevation.  It was noted that this would brighten and modernise the building, but that there did not seem to be provision for disabled toilet.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objections to this application provided that provision for disabled toilet was met.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

17/01664/OUT - Land adjacent to Crowbridge Farm, Chapel Hill, Halstead, Essex - Outline application for up to 70 dwellings with associated infrastructure and public open space  It was noted that this area was not included for development within the Local Development Framework.  The site is 4.2ha some of which falls within a designated wildlife site.  Halstead TC did not support the initial application for 90 houses; this application is for 21 social housing and 49 marketable houses.  Halstead TC supported renovation of listed barn and approved barn conversion close to this site but area was not allocated for residential in the Local Development Framework.  It was noted that two residents had spoken at tonight's meeting against this application and they were urged to get their representations in to Braintree DC as soon as possible and to urge other interested parties to also lodge objections.  Cllr Gronland said that he was very irritated that Halstead TC is consulted on planning issues but that views expressed were then ignored by Planning Officers and Committee.  Cllr Munday noted that Halstead TC had objected to original plans and there had been no change of stance.  He said that if permission was given for this site it would make a nonsense of the Local Plan.  He noted that the Government's change of plans for Local Development had left Halstead vulnerable to speculative developers.  Cllr Warren said that a further 70 houses at this location would make a considerable impact on Halstead's countryside.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that Council strongly object to this application as this is a greenfield site that would have a significant adverse impact on the biological diversity of the environment as part of the area lies within a designated wildlife site and this large development would harm both the setting of a listed building and wider countryside including the valley floor.  This motion was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.  Cllr Mrs Allen asked that it be noted that this whole process is frustrating, demoralising and a waste of time and money.

Cllr Mrs Diver resumed Chair of the meeting.

325. MAYOR'S APPOINTMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS. 

Cllr Mrs Diver noted that she had been to the Anglia in Bloom awards recently and that Halstead had been awarded Gold and named as Best Town in Anglia in Bloom for the 9th year running.  Colin Bailey had also won an award for 'Best Grow Your Own' at Adams Court and Halstead had other nominations.  Halstead Public Gardens attained a Gold Award and was named as Best Medium Size Park.  Cllr Diver thanked volunteers and all who assisted in gaining these awards.  Cllr Diver said she had also attended Halstead Bowls Club Final and the Halstead Horticultural Show both of which had been very interesting and she was delighted that Halstead Horticultural Society commented favourably on renovations at Queen's Hall. Report was noted.

326.  FINANCE. Cllr Gronland Vice Chair of Finance took the Chair for this part of the meeting.

7a Finance. Cllr Gronland noted the figures and said that they are broadly on budget for the year showing a healthy state for the Council.  Reserves were depleted by about £4000 owing to the recent election for Holy Trinity North but that there are plans in hand to build up these reserves in the future.  Cllr Gronland proposed acceptance of this report and this was seconded by Cllr Munday.  Motion carried by unanimous vote.

7b. Payments to be approved.  Some large payments for work at Queen's Hall were noted and after question by Cllr Warren Town Clerk explained the position regarding cancellation of PHS contract.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed acceptance of this report and also report 7b(a). This proposal was seconded by Cllr Fox and carried by unanimous vote.

7c. Church Clock.  Cllr Gronland said that there would be considerable cost to repair the clock's striking mechanism and there was no budget for this at present.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that repair be delayed until the following financial year when a budget for the work could be set.  This proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried with one abstention.

Cllr Mrs Diver resumed Chair of the meeting

327.  COMMUNITY  HALL  Cllr Mrs Pell said that there was nothing to report at present other than that Committee is trying to sort out some grants and have been bogged down with ground contamination issues. Report was noted.

328.  YOUTH.  No report was given.

329.  DISTRICT  COUNCILLORS. 

Cllr Mrs Allen reported attendance at BDC Full Council meeting on 24th July, a Licensing Committee on 16th August and on 17th August a meeting with officers as Chair of the Grants Panel.  Cllr Allen has also put her name forward to determine a Licensing Application at end of September.

Cllr Mrs Pell reported attending at a Licensing Committee on 16th August which discussed the Equality Act of 2010 and to commence the process of producing a list of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles.  A draft hackney carriage and private hire criminal convictions policy will be prepared before going to public consultation to ensure fit and proper persons hold a hackney or private hire vehicle licence.  Cllr Mrs Pell attended a Cabinet meeting on 5th September where North Essex Garden Communities proposals were discussed.  It was reported that four Councils voted to take this further - Tendring, Colchester, Essex and Braintree Councils.  Some compulsory purchase of land was discussed.    Finance & Performance were also discussed and a Governance meeting on 6th September noted the first quarter performance management report that was noted and accepted.  An Internal Audit report to 16th August was accepted.  A statement of Accounts 2016/17 and external auditors' report on results by Ernst and Young was given as 'very good'. A Treasury Management Annual report 2016/17 was presented and a preview of the next 12 months was given.  Cllr Mrs Pell recommended that all Halstead Town Councillors view the Agenda and the letter from Ernst & Young that was marked as 'confidential' but is now for public view.  Cllr Pell announced that she is elected Chair of the Scrutiny Review into Tourism Panel that will look to encourage tourism in the District.   Cllr Pell attended a Friends of Halstead Public Gardens Management Meeting on 14th September where a Guy Fawkes Trail was announced.  Cllr Pell attended the Anglia in Bloom Awards on 14th September and was pleased to accept the Gold Award and Best Medium Size Park Award for Halstead Public Gardens together with Peter Nice who is Head of the Gardening Team. Cllr Pell reported that she had allocated some of her Councillor's Grant for refurbishment of the Town Sign in Trinity Street and also given a grant to Ramsey Academy. Report was noted.

330.  RESOLUTION ON APPROVAL OF APOLOGIES. 

Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that Council agrees that apologies will be approved by resolution at each meeting.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

331.  CHRISTMAS PARTIES ORGANISED JOINTLY BY HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL AND THE OUTING COURIERS 

Cllr Mrs Pell noted that the parties were largely financed by the Couriers.  Report was noted by unanimous vote.

332.  ALLOTMENT  AGM CHANGE OF DATE.

Cllr Mrs Diver proposed that  change of date be noted.  This was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

333.  GARAGES AT MITCHELL AVENUE ON HTC ALLOTMENT LAND.  Cllr Mrs Pell felt that the map did not give clear indication where the garages were located.  Town Clerk said that she felt that Braintree DC did not want these garages, but it was not clear to whom the garage buildings belonged.   It was agreed that the current fee of £30 per annum was not sufficient.  Cllr Mrs Diver proposed that Town Clerk research ownership of the buildings before agreement for Halstead TC to take on ownership.  This proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried with 2 abstentions.

334.  TOWN  SURVEY  WORKING  GROUP. Cllr Mrs Diver said that much work had been done on the survey results but that an additional member of the team was now required.   Cllr Mrs Diver proposed that Cllr Warren join the working group and Cllr Warren agreed to this.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.  Cllr Warren was welcomed to the group.

335.  HEDINGHAM ROAD.  Request had been received for Town Council to support a request to Highways Panel that kerb be continued along the northbound side of Hedingham Road beyond Box Mill Lane.  A request for support had also been received from the Trustees of Homes of Rest for provision of double yellow lines in front of the Homes of Rest.   Cllr Mrs Pell noted that similar requests had been received in the past and support was given to residents.  Cllr Munday noted that cars frequently park on grass verges and this problem would only be exacerbated if more yellow lines were introduced.   Cllr Munday was advised to speak to the Parking Partnership about this parking as it is illegal.  There was broad agreement that the Highways Panel were not effective and took too long to action decisions.  Cllr Mrs Diver proposed that support be given and that Highways Panel be asked to be more proactive.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.  Cllr Munday asked that the Town Clerk follow up the requests.

336.  ACCESS TO KNIGHTS  FARM  It was noted that Fenn Road is very congested with parked vehicles and that there are difficulties in this area.  Cllr Gronland proposed that Council lends support to need for parking restrictions on the corner of Fenn Road to Brook Street and informs Essex Highways and NEPP of this support.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Fox and carried by unanimous vote.

337.  MORTON  MATHEWS  PICTURES. Cllr Mrs Pell said she would be totally opposed to any sale of Morton Mathews pictures as Halstead TC was made custodians of these pictures by the Mathews family; they are part of Halstead's heritage.  It was asked if the resident would publicly display the pictures and could they be loaned for this purpose.  It was thought that they would not be put on public view.  After discussion about possible future display/storage of the pictures Cllr Warren proposed that pictures be retained by Halstead Town Council and put into storage if necessary for the time being.  This proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried with 1 abstention.

338.  COMMUNITY  FRIDGE  UPDATE.  Report was given on a briefing day in Oxford on 12th September to explore issues around community fridges.  It was explained that community fridges are a way to minimise wastage of food and are not similar to Food Banks. Some community fridges are already in operation and are supported by Sainsbury's and an environmental charity Hubbub.  There are sources of funding for community fridges which are normally run by volunteers.  Some are manned by paid employees but this was not thought viable in Halstead.  The proposed location for fridge in Halstead would be in the Chapel Street Car Park, near to the Pay and Display car park machine.  It was suggested that it should be housed in a metal cabinet to discourage vermin and that it should be run by volunteers.  Fresh food would be donated to the fridge by supermarkets and other food outlets and cleaning/care of the fridge would be by volunteers.  No meat or fish to be donated to the fridge.  Various scenarios of responsibility issues were discussed and various costs were identified.  Cllr Munday believed that the project would be self policing although there may be 'bumps' along the way.  Cllr Dingle said she had discussed the project with Health and Safety Inspector and he will research the issue and report. Cllr Warren said there must be risk assessments.  Cllr Warren proposed that there should be further research into the project.  Cllr Dingle seconded this motion and motion was carried by unanimous vote.

339.  EXCLUSION  OF  PUBLIC  AND  PRESS.  To give consideration to adopting the following resolution: 'that in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted and pursuant to the provisions of section 1(2)- of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, as amended, the public and the press be temporarily excluded from the meeting'

There was no confidential business to discuss.

There being no other business meeting was closed at 9.10pm.

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