MINUTES OF SIBLE HEDINGHAM PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL, PARKFIELDS, SIBLE HEDINGHAM ON MONDAY 8TH MAY 2006 AT 7.30 P.M.
In the chair: Dr. N. Edwards
Present: Councillors C. Cannell, P. Day, R. Falco, R. Green, J. Hatfield, D. Holmes, G. Massey, M. Rudge, J. Skittrall, E. Snarey & A Weatherley.
Mr. A. Corder-Birch (Clerk)
Mr. D. Finch (County Councillor)
Mr. S. Bolter & Mrs. W. Scattergood (District Councillors)
Mr. R. Carter (Youth Council representative)
Together with 1 (one) member of the public.
27. Apologies for absence
Mr. A. Law (holiday), Mrs. J. Beavis (District Councillor).
28. To co-opt new Councillor to fill casual vacancy
As no election was requested and the relevant time limit had expired the Parish Council exercised their powers of co-option to fill the casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. C. Chapman. It was proposed by Mr. J. Skittrall, seconded by Mrs. G. Massey and carried that Mrs. A. D. Weatherley be co-opted onto the Parish Council.
29. Declaration of Acceptance of Office of New Councillor
Mrs. A. Weatherley then signed her Declaration of Acceptance of Office and undertaking to abide by the code of conduct in the presence of the Clerk.
30. Declarations of Interest
Mrs. G. Massey declared an interest in connection with the sale of a photocopier for the new Parish Council Office. No other interests were declared.
31. Election of Chairman
The retiring Chairman, Dr. N. Edwards vacated the Chair and the Vice Chairman asked for nominations for Chairman. It was proposed by Mr. E. Snarey and seconded by Miss. C. Cannell that Dr. Edwards should be re-elected as Chairman. There being no other nominations Dr. Edwards was unanimously re-elected as Chairman for the ensuing year. Dr. Edwards then signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office as Chairman. Upon taking the chair he thanked Councillors for re-electing him to enable him to continue with ongoing projects, in particular the move to the new Parish Council office, water management and flood prevention.
32. Election of Vice Chairman
It was proposed by Mrs. G. Massey and seconded by Mr. J. Hatfield that Mr. J. Skittrall should be re-elected as Vice Chairman. There being no other nominations Mr. Skittrall was unanimously re-elected as Vice Chairman for the ensuing year.
33. Election of Advisory Groups
Although the Chairman and Vice Chairman are ex-officio members of all Advisory Groups at the request of Mr. J. Skittrall (Vice Chairman) it was agreed he should be specifically named in each of the Advisory Groups in which he serves. It was resolved that a CCTV Advisory Group was no longer necessary and that Planning and Village Design Statement should in future be separate Advisory Groups. It was proposed by Mr. R. Falco that a Police and Community Consultative Advisory Group are formed and he gave details of the work which it could usefully carry out. Following some discussion it was resolved that Mr. R. Falco should be invited to attend future SARA meetings as a representative of the Parish Council and that the
proposal to form a Police and Community Consultative Group should be deferred for the time being. Councillors were then elected to the following Advisory Groups:
Mr. J. Skittrall (spokesperson), Mr. P. Day, Mr. D. Holmes, Mr. M. Rudge, Mr. E. Snarey.
Mr. J. Skittrall (spokesperson), Mr. P. Day, Mr. D. Holmes, Mrs. G. Massey.
Footpaths and PROWs
Dr. R. Green (spokesperson), Dr. N. Edwards, Mr. R. Falco, Mr. J. Hatfield, Mr. A. Law.
Finance and Funding
Dr. N. Edwards (spokesperson), Miss. C. Cannell, Mrs. G. Massey, Mr. J. Skittrall, Mrs. A. Weatherley, Mr. A. Corder-Birch.
Miss. C. Cannell (spokesperson), Mr. R. Falco, Dr. R. Green, Mr. D. Holmes, Mrs. G. Massey,
Mr. J. Skittrall.
Recreational Areas and Horticulture
Mr. J. Skittrall (spokesperson), Mr. P. Day, Mr. J. Hatfield, Mrs. G. Massey, Mr. M. Rudge,
Mrs. A. Weatherley.
Mr. E. Snarey (spokesperson), Mr. P. Day, Dr. R. Green.
Village Design Statement
Miss. C. Cannell (spokesperson), Mr. P. Day, Mr. R. Falco, Dr. R. Green, Mrs. G. Massey, Mr. J. Skittrall, Mrs. A. Weatherley.
Dr. N. Edwards (spokesperson), Dr. R. Green, Mr. A. Law, Mr. M. Rudge, Mr. E. Snarey.
34. To confirm minutes of previous meeting held 10th April 2006
The minutes of the previous Parish Council meeting held on 10th April 2006, having been previously circulated, were taken as read, were confirmed and duly signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
35. Matters arising from the minutes
a) Convoys through village
The MOD had sent a detailed reply stating that the convoys through the village were carrying nuclear materials. The correspondence was passed to Mr. J. Skittrall as spokesperson of the Emergency Planning Advisory Group for further consideration.
b) Footpath from Spurgeon Close to Swan Street
The Clerk reported that he had chased Shell’s agents again regarding the footpath across Shell property and understood that Shell had now consulted W. S. Atkins. The Clerk had since sent an email to W. S. Atkins and a reply was awaited. Shell’s agents, MBH Partnership, had forwarded the PCs letters to W. S. Atkins and copied the PC in. A draft Statutory Declaration was being sent to Mr. D. Holmes for approval.
c) Street light at Swan Chase
A letter from EDF Energy was considered and it was resolved to proceed with reconnecting the electricity supply as quickly as possible.
d) Hearing facilities at Village Hall
Mr. P. Day reported that Sible Hedingham Village Hall Committee would be meeting on 9th May to consider various types and the costs of a hearing loop for the Village Hall.
e) Parking problems at both Schools
Mr. D. Finch reported that the site meeting with Mr. R. Bass at both Schools in Sible Hedingham regarding parking problems had not yet taken place and he hoped to arrange it within the next month.
f) Proposed BMX track
The Chairman reported that he had spoken to Mr. M. Crowther, the owner of the proposed site at Brick Kiln Hill, Castle Hedingham who is happy to lease it to the Parish Council. He expressed concern about liability, insurance issues and stopping motor bikes entering the site. It was understood that appropriate warning notices are being erected on the site. Mr. J. Skittrall reported that the Police had been specifically
instructed to stop motor bikes entering the site and if they persist the bikes will be scrapped. Mr. Skittrall had spoken to a BMX expert in Devon regarding tracks, costs and insurance. He will be obtaining further information following which a meeting of the Recreational Areas and Horticulture Advisory Group will give the proposals further consideration.
g) Village Greens and Commons
The Clerk reported that he planned to visit County Hall, Chelmsford to obtain full details of village greens and commons in Sible Hedingham.
h) Annual Report
The Chairman reported that Paul Clark Printing Limited had printed 1,800 copies of the annual report for £271.00. If the inside pages had been in colour the cost would have been an additional £500.00. The Scouts had commenced delivery and Mr. R. Carter reported that this would be completed by 10th May 2006.
i) Advertisement signs
The Clerk read a letter from the Enforcement Officer of BDC relating to the advertisement signs at 5 and 18 Swan Street. Whilst neither sign warrants action by the planning department, if the A-Board sign outside 18 Swan Street obstructs the footpath the issue of obstruction should be referred to Essex Police.
36. Public Comment
There was no public comment.
37. Chairman and Vice Chairman’s reports
The Chairman had nothing to report outside the agenda. The Vice Chairman reported upon recent flooding problems near the Sugar Loaves. It was agreed to write to Highways asking for all drains in the village to be cleared out regularly – at least twice a year. Mr. E. Mayes had carried out tree surgery work to the lime tree on the Recreation Ground near 20 Cambridge Avenue. Mr. J. Skittrall reported that the Fish & Chip Shop would now be providing their litter bin but it was agreed to continue monitoring the situation.
38. Youth Council Report
Mr. Robert Carter as representative of Hedingham Youth Council gave a report. The launch of the Youth Council on 28th April had been very successful and well attended. Arrangements for the ‘Battle of the Band’s Contest were progressing satisfactorily. Mr. J. Skittrall agreed to attend the next Youth Council meeting to discuss the possibility of holding a Youth Festival on the Recreation Ground and other projects including a proposed Youth Shelter With regard to a possible Youth Shelter it was understood that in order to qualify for a grant the shelter must be located on land owned by the Parish Council. Existing Youth Shelters at Finchingfield and Hatfield Peverel are to be viewed. The Recreational Areas & Horticulture Advisory Group will consider a suitable site for a Youth Shelter at Grays Hall Meadow or the Recreation Ground and consider an application for a grant to the Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund in the autumn. The Chairman thanked Mr. Carter for attending the meeting and for his report. (Mr. R. Carter and Mr. P. Day left the meeting).
39. Essex County Council Report
Mr. D. Finch gave a detailed report a copy of which is attached to these minutes.
(Mr. P. Day returned to the meeting).
In addition Mr. Finch reported that action was currently being taken regarding the parking problems at Christmas Field. The flood lagoons were progressing with the purchase of land from one landowner and negotiations continuing with another landowner. At the request of Mr. Finch, Essex Police wish to trial their new ‘Community Speed Watch’ in Sible Hedingham, which may later be extended to Castle Hedingham. Mr. Finch gave full details of the scheme and particularly the training of volunteers. The Clerk explained that the Police were seeking six volunteers from Sible Hedingham.
(Mrs. W. Scattergood arrived at the meeting)
Mr. J. Skittrall reported that sometimes both Wethersfield and Sible Hedingham Fire Stations cannot respond to emergencies because of lack of personnel and asked if ECC could encourage recruitment. Mr. Finch agreed to investigate this and to discuss with the Chairman of the Fire Authority and report back.
(Mr. D. Finch left the meeting)
40. Braintree District Council Report
Mrs. W. Scattergood reported that the request for ‘no litter’ signs for Sible Hedingham had been referred to Mr. M. Galley, BDC Street Scene Manager. He had since been monitoring the whole village and had found it very clean. Apparently this was because his inspections had taken place later in the day after Mr. Metson had cleaned the village from 7am each morning. BDC were looking for a ‘universal’ sign for the whole District, which will eventually be ordered on block. A variety of no litter posters had been delivered by BDC. These posters were intended for village shops and notice boards and were deplored. Mr. Galley had offered to speak to PC regarding the street scene and litter signs. Consultations were commencing on the Local Development Framework for which an event will take place in Halstead on 21st June. Mr. S. Bolter reported that Mr. D. Finch had been elected as Chairman of BDC with Mrs. B. Gage as Vice Chairman. BDC were concerned that only two strategic health authorities were proposed to cover the whole of Essex. A training course was being arranged for District Councillors to deal with anti social behaviour. BDC were considering the proposed increase in the cost of meals on wheels. BDC were opposing the construction of a second runway at Stansted and were particularly concerned about the stacking of aircraft over this area. The proposal that BDC Officers should be allowed to approve planning applications contrary to representations made by Parish Councils without referring them to the Area Committee had been rescinded. If an application is opposed by a Parish Council or by five members of the public it will go to the Area Committee. Mrs. Scattergood and Mr. Bolter were thanked for their reports.
a) Planning applications
Miss. C. Cannell reported that the following applications had been considered by the Planning Advisory Group and recommended as follows:
06/00208/FUL & 06/00322/LBC – 7 Potter Street – Erection of single storey rear extension and alterations – no objection.
06/00691/FUL – Panfield, Blois Hall Road – Erection of front porch, rear extension and new dormer window together with new velux windows – no objection.
06/00794/FUL – Lamb House, Lamb Lane – Erection of single detached garage with garden tool storage area and new fence to front Lamb Lane – no objection.
06/00862/FUL and 06/00863/LBC – 15 School Road – Erection of kitchen extension and removal of modern door frame – no objection.
It was proposed by Miss. Cannell, seconded by Mr. J. Skittrall and carried that the above recommendations of the Planning Advisory Group are approved.
b) Village Design Statement
Miss. C. Cannell reported that a meeting of the Village Design Statement Advisory Group had been arranged for 14th June 2006 at 7.30pm at Sible Hedingham Village Hall. In addition about twenty volunteers in Sible Hedingham had been invited to attend together with Jan Cole of RCCE. Miss. Cannell and Mrs. G. Massey had attended a VDS Surgery in Roxwell on 8th May, which had been very useful and much valuable information had been obtained. It was estimated that the process and preparation of a VDS for Sible Hedingham would take between two and four years. Information about grants available and application forms are being sent to Mrs. Massey. It was emphasized that the VDS is to be run by residents with support from the PC and that it will be public led and not PC driven. The Chairman thanked Miss. Cannell and Mrs. Massey for all their hard work in connection with the VDS and for attending the Surgery.
42. To consider quote to fix seat on Recreation Ground
Mr. J. Skittrall reported that Mr. D. Moores had built four new seats for the Recreation Ground. One seat needed fixing in a new concrete base for which Mr. K. Metson had quoted £60.00 for concrete base, painting, labour and materials. It was proposed by Mrs. G. Massey, seconded by Mr. J. Skittrall and carried that Mr. Metson’s quote for £60.00 is accepted.
43. Footpaths and update on Pauline Stevens Walk
The Chairman reported that the opening of the Pauline Stevens walk had been arranged for Saturday, 20th May at 10.30am opposite Alderford Mill to which all Councillors and public were invited. In addition
Mrs. P. Cox, who had worked closely with Mrs. Stevens in connection with footpaths, would be invited to open the walk. Mr. J. Hatfield reported that he had erected way markers along the route and the new notice board would be completed and erected at the start of the walk. It was agreed that Mr. Hatfield should arrange for an article to appear in the local newspapers and for leaflets to be distributed. Dr. Edwards reported that two gates had been ordered for the new walk along Mr. Gagen’s land. Dr. Green reported that another gate is required along footpath 54 near the River Colne on land belonging to Wash Farm. It was agreed to order this gate which the farmer will erect.
44. To consider grass cutting for Essex County Council on an agency basis
Mr. J. Skittrall produced maps showing the areas of grass currently cut by ECC which it was proposed that the PC take over. He had received a written quotation for cutting these areas from Mr. B. Coe for £185.00 per cut and estimated that 3 or 4 cuts a year would be necessary (as opposed to two cuts by ECC). It was hoped that additional cuts would improve the appearance of the village. The Vice Chairman and Clerk were authorized to communicate with ECC and to give them the PC price for cutting. Mr. Skittrall confirmed that ECC will reimburse the PC with the cost of grass cutting and that it is the policy of the PC to control all grass cutting of public areas in the village. Mr. P. Day reported that since the PC had taken over grass cutting in Oxford Meadow the residents were very pleased with the significant improvement.
45. Report on ECC Community Initiatives Fund grants meeting
The Clerk gave a report of the ECC CIF judging panel meeting at Causeway House, Braintree on 26th April 2006 at which Mrs. W. Scattergood, Mr. A. Corder-Birch and others had been members of the grant making panel. Over 50 applications had been considered, which had been very time consuming, of which 30 were successful. A total of £149,160.00 had been awarded to various projects across the Braintree District including £8,000.00 towards the renovation of toilets on the Recreation Ground at Sible Hedingham. The majority of other grants awarded required match funding but this was not a condition of the SHPC grant. There would be an opportunity in the autumn to resubmit applications for grants for improvements/additions to the skate board park, a new roundabout for the children’s play area and any other projects. In this respect Mrs. Scattergood advised that the offer of match funding was desirable. It was agreed to write to Lord Hanningfield of ECC, thanking him for the scheme, the financial assistance with the project and expressing a wish that the scheme will continue in future years. The Chairman thanked Mr. Corder-Birch and Mrs. Scattergood for being members of the judging panel and for their reports.
46. To arrange renovation of toilets on Recreation Ground
In view of the grant of £8,000.00 awarded to SHPC for renovation of the toilets on the Recreation Ground it was agreed that Mr. J. Skittrall ask Mr. C. Chapman to prepare a specification to include vandal proof measures and to thereafter obtain three quotations for the work. When the work is complete, ECC wish a small metal plaque to be erected and a photo opportunity at the opening to show all three tiers of local government working together.
47. To consider future of tennis courts on Recreation Ground
The Chairman reported that he had spoken to Mr. P. Drury of Castle Hedingham Tennis Club, which still has vacancies and tennis courts are still available for hire. Unfortunately there was little interest or demand for tennis courts in Sible Hedingham in view of the availability of the excellent courts at Castle Hedingham. He therefore suggested that the PC consider other uses for the SH tennis courts. Mr. J. Skittrall reported that he had attended a recent meeting of Hedingham Hawks Youth Football Club who were very keen to have use of an all weather five a side football pitch. The existing tennis courts could easily be adapted for the dual use of five a side football and basket ball. Miss. C. Cannell expressed concern about noise from the proposed change of use. Mr. Skittrall had spoken to residents living close to the site who were very happy with the proposed change of use and in addition Hedingham Hawks had a very strong committee who would ‘police’ the Recreation Ground. After some discussion it was proposed by Mr. J. Skittrall, seconded by Mr. J. Hatfield and carried that the former tennis courts should be adapted for other uses and an application for a grant should be made to ‘Awards for All’. The remaining detail,
including replacing the netting, was delegated to the Recreational Areas and Horticulture Advisory Group to consider.
48. To consider purchase of photocopier for new office
Mrs. G. Massey reported that her company has a photocopier surplus to requirements, which is capable of A3 and A4 copies, can reduce and enlarge copies and produce double sided copies. Under the maintenance contract, with Bentex of Ipswich, there is a minimum charge of £15.00 per month including toner, etc., and the user only has to supply electricity and paper. It had been valued in the region of £200 to £250.00. It was proposed by Mr. J. Hatfield, seconded by Mr. J. Skittrall and carried that the PC purchase this photocopier for £200.00 and the PC will make arrangements to collect it. The Chairman thanked Mrs. Massey for her kind offer.
49. Report on Planning Seminar held 20th April 2006.
Mrs. G. Massey reported that the planning seminar held on 20th April at Causeway House, Braintree had been a particularly interesting and informative evening. It had included an excellent presentation by Ridgewell Parish Council, with an audit trail showing how they arrived at their representations upon planning applications. Mrs. G. Massey agreed to arrange for a copy of the ‘audit trail’ to be given to all Councillors. It was agreed that the Planning Advisory Group should consider this ‘audit trail’ and make recommendations to the PC concerning representations upon planning applications.
Mr. J. Skittrall reported that at the Planning Seminar, the Braintree District Parish Partnership Agreement had been signed. He gave details of the benefits of signing the partnership and of the help which BDC and SHPC could give each other.
Mrs. Massey and Mr. Skittrall were thanked for attending the seminar and for their reports.
50. Report on Braintree District Voluntary Support Agency Roadshow
Mr. A. Corder-Birch gave a report of the Braintree District Voluntary Support Agency Roadshow which he had attended, with Miss. C. Cannell, as representatives of SHPC on 8th May 2006. Apart from BDVSA, representatives had also been present from the Rural Community Council of Essex, Voluntary Sector Training and the Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Service. He outlined the functions and services provided by each organization. He had ascertained that the Essex Community Foundation may provide some finance towards the proposed BMX track. The Clerk was thanked for his report.
(Dr. N. Edwards left the meeting)
51. SARA Report
Mr. J. Skittrall gave a report of the recent SARA meeting which had also been attended by three Police Officers. It was reported that more young persons had been arrested and were being processed, with more arrests to take place. There had been an increase in Police Officers on the beat and in particular additional officer in the village on Friday evenings. The Police were making a determined effort to arrest young persons and boy racers. It was emphasized that the more reports, which are made to the Police regarding criminal activities, the more officers will be allocated to the area.
(Dr. N. Edwards returned to the meeting)
52. To consider assisting Essex Police with ‘Community Speed Watch’
(Please see minute 39 above). It was noted that the Police were seeking six volunteers, not necessarily Councillors, willing to assist with the ‘Community Speed Watch’ which the Police wished to trial in Sible Hedingham. It was considered that if Councillors participate they may loose the co-operation of the public. As an alternative, Councillors preferred to consider acquiring vehicle-activated signs (VAS) or speed indicator devices (SIDs). The Clerk reported that other PCs in the Cluster are also considering these and it may be more cost effective if a number of PCs purchased a VAS or SID jointly and shared it. It was resolved that SHPC would be interested in contributing to a share of the cost and that this matter will be reviewed after the next Cluster Meeting.
53. To check compliance with Ethical Framework
The Clerk reminded Councillors that the checking process for compliance with the ethical framework should be undertaken on an annual basis. Councillors were reminded of their duty to register any interests, of the requirement to review their respective Registers of Interests and to notify the Monitoring Officer within 28 days of becoming aware of any changes. Councillors duly noted the position.
The correspondence received and listed in appendix 1 was referred to the relevant Councillors for information and action. Arising from the correspondence the following items were agreed
a)It was agreed that Dr. N. Edwards and Mr. A. Corder-Birch attend the BDC/Essex Funding Forum – Community Money Market Place on 25th May 2006.
b)It was agreed that Dr. N. Edwards, Dr. R. Green and Mr. E. Snarey will represent the PC at the Flood workshop on 10th May 2006 at Kelvedon.
c)An email from Caroline Dewsnip relating to ‘traffic worries’ was considered and it was agreed to inform her of the request from Essex Police for volunteers for ‘Community Speed Watch’.
55. Accounts for payment
The accounts listed in appendix 2 were presented for payment together with the following additional accounts:
Mrs. I. Goldthorpe – plants £13.54
Darkin’s Supply Stores – goods supplied £63.64
Zurich Insurance Company – annual premium £2,082.06
Mr. D. Moores – grass cutting £100.00
Paul Clark Printing Limited – printing annual reports £271.00
It was proposed by Miss. C. Cannell, seconded by Mr. D. Holmes and carried that the accounts are paid.
56. Any other business/exchange of information/agenda for next meeting
Mrs. A. Weatherley requested funding for planting in the village. Although £100.00 had previously been allocated for 2005-2006 it was agreed to review this at the next meeting.
57. CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS
It was resolved that in view of the special or confidential nature of the business about to be transacted it is advisable in the public interest that the public and press be excluded from the remainder of the meeting and they are instructed to withdraw pursuant to the provisions of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.
(Mr. S. Bolter and Mrs. W. Scattergood left the meeting)
The Parish Council meeting continued in private session (see confidential minutes on separate page for Parish Councillors only).