Wivenhoe Town Council
MINUTES of the Full Town Council meeting held on 13 January 2020 Chair Approved
Present: Cllr Tile (Chair), Cllr Newton, Cllr Aldis, Cllr Maltby, Cllr Nash, Cllr Read, Cllr Booth, Cllr Luxford-Vaughan, Cllr Wenaden, Cllr Needham, Cllr Evans, Cllr Boughton, Maurice Howard, RFO, Jo Beighton-Emms, Town Clerk, Emma Buckley, CBC Cllr Mark Cory and Transport Representative Peter Kay
Public Questions; None
FC/01.20/04 Reports from Members of the County and Borough Councils:
Essex County Councillor J. Young had not provided a report.
CBC Cllr Cory provided a verbal report.
Cllr Cory confirmed that he agreed with the Council’s comments on the planning application for the Flag Public House. Also, that there were concerns about parking and that cycle racks had been requested. He noted the positive recommendation for the redevelopment to go ahead. Cllr Wenaden asked if there could be community space for hire. Cllr Cory agreed that this could be requested.
Regarding Salary Brook, Cllr Cory acknowledged that it was a sad situation and that given the extent of the damage the aim is for a prosecution. Cllr Evans asked if the developer had made a public statement yet; one has not been provided to date. Cllr Cory thinks that they will hold back until they have to provide one. Cllr Cory to forward an email to all Councillors with further information.
Cllr Cory confirmed that the hearing on the Local Plan starts on 14 January 2020.
Cllr Cory reported on the parking issues on Parkwood Ave which will be subject to parking restrictions. This will impact on other roads. It was agreed that the station car park is not big enough and should be more affordable.
Cllr Cory reported on Ferry Marsh and that it was once again silting up. Volunteers will be asked for to help clear it. The Councillors discussed the need for better river management and the involvement of Colnewatch. Cllr Read suggested that CBC should also be involved in the management of Wet Dock.
Cllr Cory reported that he will be attending a meeting on 15 January with Cllr Evans and others regarding a ban on the use of glysophate.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan provided a verbal update.
She is working on the Local plan and will attending the hearing. She reported that she is now on the CBC Cabinet and is the portfolio holder for Customers & IT.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan also requested applications for the locality budget which expired at the end of January.
Public Transport Representative Mr Kay had provided a report which was previously circulated and is attached as Appendix A.
Cllr Evans agreed to provide a Mr Kay with a document regarding the use of ramps for disabled train passengers.
Mr Kay asked Cllr Cory if he could chase Will Quince MP once again regarding the Tendring Rail Report.
Regarding the previous Council plans for a bus passing place on the High Street, Mr Kay asked that the Council contact ECC Cllr Young to progress this once again.
Cllr Cory agreed to provide the Town Clerk with an air quality survey.
Cllr Read explained emission levels on buses and how the local buses would compare to those in London. He suggested moss screens. Mr Kay advised that new buses won’t be bought locally until they have to be. Cllr Read reported that he had previously been in touch with the bus companies. Town Clerk to chase up on this matter.
FC/01.20/05 Election of Deputy Mayor for 2020/21 and Order List
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan confirmed that she would put herself forward to be the next Deputy Mayor.
The Councilors debated the use of the Order List and whether it was correct and also if it was necessary. Cllr Newton explained how the list had come about and that he didn’t think the current list was correct.
Cllr Aldis suggested that a Working Group is created to cover this and other mayoral related matters.
Cllr Aldis proposed Cllr Luxford- Vaughan as Deputy Mayor for 2020/21. This was seconded by Cllr Maltby and carried by majority.
Cllr Needham proposed that a Working Group is formed to consider a number of civic matters being the appointment of the Deputy Mayor and Mayor and the mayoral handover ceremony and to report back to Full Town Council as soon as possible.
This was seconded by Cllr Luxford-Vaughan and carried by a majority.
FC/01.20/06 Committee Reports
6.1 Planning Committee; The Council considered the minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020.Cllr Aldis confirmed the approval of a change of use application for an estate agents on Vine Parade. He confirmed that the focus for him and Cllr Luxford-Vaughan would be on the hearing for the Local Plan.
Cllr Aldis and Cllr Luxford-Vaughan left the meeting.
6.2 Estates(Properties) Committee; Cllr Needham confirmed that the next meeting will take place on 12 February 2020.
6.3 Estates(Open Spaces) Committee; Cllr Nash reported that the Committee still need to decide on the location for the zip wire. Cllr Booth said that he would chase the 18 Club about a request for two events on the KGV. Cllr Evans confirmed that the Council have been offered assistance from Beth Chatto Gardens with the sensory garden. Cllr Newton reported that he would like different groups in the town to manage different areas of this garden
6.4. Personnel Committee; No report
6.5 Finance & Administration; The Councillors considered the draft minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2020. The RFO updated on points on the budget such as a budget for the Environment and Health & Well-Being Working Groups as well as an increase in the Major’s Allowance. He suggested that this could be considered by the newly proposed Working Group. Cllr Newton reported that there were two matters which should be dealt with in camera under Part B which required Full Town Council approval. It was agreed that the Mayor’s Allowance could in fact be considered by the new Working Group. Cllr Needham will chair the group. He asked for Councilors to join the group. Cllr Tile said that terms of reference are also required.
FC/01.20/07 To approve the Council’s 2020/2021 annual budget presented by the Finance
Cllr Newton reported that it was approved by the Finance Committee that the precept would be increased by 5% to reflect the increase in inflation and budgets for new working groups which must show a benefit to the town to reflect any spending. Cllr Nash suggested an additional 1%, Cllr Read said that if new projects such as policing are a success the Council could increase the precept by a further 1% to cover this again next year.
Cllr Newton proposed that the Council approve the annual budget and that the precept is increased by 5% for 2020/21, this was seconded by Cllr Booth and was carried by majority. Cllr Nash requested that her vote against this proposal was recorded in the minutes.
FC/01.20/08 Monthly finance and budget matters:
FC/01.20/09 Town Clerk’s Report: The Council considered a report from the Town Clerk which was previously circulated and is attached as Appendix C. Cllr Needham thanked the staff for the Christmas event on 18 December 2019.Cllr Tile agreed.
10.1 William Loveless Hall: Cllr Evans reported that a users group meeting was planned for 27 January. He confirmed the increase of 7.5% on hire charges agreed by the Finance Committee.
10.2 Wivenhoe Wood: No report. Cllr needham suggested that tree wardens could be dealt with going forward by the Environment Group.
10.3 Mini-bus: Cllr Booth reported that he had researched the cost of electric minibuses but they were not available yet. Cllr Evans suggested using the minibus for trips such as for birdwatching to generate more income. Cllr Booth suggested the use of Adblue as a way to reduce carbon emissions. Cllr Read agreed that this was a possibility
10.4 Youth Facilities: A meeting has been arranged for 20 January.
10.5 Cemetery Chapel Museum : No report.
10.6 Communications: Cllr Evans asked what procedure could be used regarding the newsletter so that all Councilors were given sufficient time to review the contents. Cllr Newton suggested that each edition should be approved by Full Town Council.
Cllr Evans had also drafted a response to CBC regarding Salary Brook which had been requested by the Planning Committee. The Councillors considered the response. Cllr Newton considered that it posed a risk to WTC’s relationship with CBC. Cllr Evans agreed not to send the response to CBC.
10.7 V E Day 75 2020: The next meeting will take place on 10 February 2020.
10.8 Environment; Cllr Maltby reported that a meeting would be arranged and that terms of reference will be submitted for Full town Council approval in February. She also reported that she will be applying for a locality grant to start a new recycling initiative.
10.9 Allotments; Cllr Read reported that under the Neighbourhood Plan new allotments would be created by WTC once they have received the land. S106 monies would be used to develop the land appropriately, with consideration to be given to different ways to allocate plots.
10.10 Health & Wellbeing; The Council considered the terms of reference and report previously circulated by Cllr Wenden. Cllr Tile and Cllr Newton said that they considered that there was not a fully costed proposal and risks had not been identified, with a timescale also necessary.
Cllr Booth left the meeting.
Cllr Wenaden requested further support and Cllr Read agreed that it was necessary. Cllr Wenaden asked to discuss this matter further with Cllr Tile.
Cllr Wenaden left the meeting.
Cllr Tile said that the Council’s procedures must be tightened up.
Cllr Evans highlighted that some Councillors could not give as much time as others and Cllr Nash agreed that further understandable guidance was necessary. Cllr Newton said that new Councillors should attend more meetings.
The Chair closed the meeting at 22.09
FC/01.20/11 Date and time of the next meeting: The next meeting of the Full Town Council will be held on Monday 17 February 2020 at 7.30pm.
FC/01.20/12 Exclusion of press and public: In accordance with Paragraph 1 (2) of The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, the Council is invited to consider if the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following item(s) owing to the confidential nature of the business.
REPORT JANUARY 2020
After two meetings where no discussion was possible, this is naturally a long report. It seeks to clear up all outstanding issues from 2019.
Matters where a response is sought are highlighted in red.
STATION – DOWN PLATFORM ACCESS
The media coverage of the ‘Hollie-Anne Brooks Incident’ (does anybody know this person?) seemed to provide an opportunity for reviving this saga again, especially as the GA spokesperson was quoted as having said that they had drawn up a scheme for Wivenhoe (but it had been rejected by DfT). As far as I am aware nobody here had been told about that? – another fine example of how our supposed Community Rail Partnership is a joke. (They knew nothing of the past history on this issue).
I emailed this spokesperson and was passed on to Stuart Freer the GA ‘Relationship Manager’ (!!) who replied promptly, advising that the ‘initial proposal’ in (?) 2018 was for a new footbridge with lifts, at a cost of £3.5m. This was (not surprisingly) rejected on the basis of poor value on ‘cost versus passenger numbers’. In 2019 DfT were only offering to fund schemes costing less than £1m. The scheme is therefore on indefinite hold unless some other form of funding appears (not likely).
I replied by saying that we had never sought anything of that magnitude given its costs, but had rather been envisaging a compliant ramp in the steps area, using the unregistered land; and I sent him a sketch of this.
His response to that was
‘Where the proposed rise of a ramp is more than 2m, a secondary means of access must be provided. We take this guidance from British Standard BS8300 which sets out standards for design of an accessible and inclusive built environment’.
I thought it best to study this document before replying again, to discover exactly what a secondary means of access has to be, and whether one might not actually be possible with our ramp. However it turned out this document is only available at a price of £250! (so concerned is the government to spread information on disability matters….). Our ECC/CBC Councillors tried to get copies from ECC/CBC but were told that they did not have copies (which seems rather odd in ECC’s case).
Unless somebody else can suggest a means of accessing it, this means having to go back to Freer in a situation of being reliant on his interpretations. I suspect that they may find the impasse quite convenient! His last email concluded
‘This leaves the lifts and bridge as the ONLY feasible solution’.
STATION – UP PLATFORM GAP
We got nowhere (thanks to ECC’s communication obstructiveness) in our attempts to discover from Dominic Lund-Conlon at ECC (who knows the answer) to advise whether or not the new Bombardier units for Essex will have the extendable steps that the main line units have. I also asked Freer this and he avoided replying. I don’t think it is worth trying to pursue GA management further on this as they have very limited knowledge of detailed matters. The first units will be visible before long anyway.
In the course of pursuing this I was reminded of something I had forgotten, viz that prior to our getting the track raised in 2007 the use of the portable wheelchair ramps was forbidden at Wivenhoe because the gap was too big. I am concerned it might now become too big again because of the extra length of the cars in the new units.
TENDRING RAIL REPORT
Little progress has been made (after six months) in getting the three MPs to do anything specifically about this.
Bernard has done nothing at all to date. Are we anticipating an apologetic reply from him for completely muddling the whole thing?
I have not heard any further from Mark Cory as to whether Will Quince was actually undertaking to do anything.
Giles Watling has taken it on board, but now he has become Chair of the GEML group he could do much more to highlight the Clacton service. Unfortunately those members of the Tendring Rail Group who live in his constituency seem to keep contact with him to select people.
FIRST BUS SERVICE CHANGES JANUARY 5th
These are generally beneficial to Wivenhoe, notably in the increase from four 62’s an hour to six an hour on weekdays 0900-1900. However things have been made rather complicated!
The number of buses via Barrack St has increased considerably, and the journeys via Eastgates are only reduced from four to three an hour in the daytime.
Termination of buses at the Coop (via Wivenhoe loop) is reintroduced, however these have only a 2 min booked layover there (and are more likely to arrive late than early). A longer layover would of course be better for punctuality, but they have no doubt remembered the previous complaints from Wivenhoe motorists!
A significant ‘power standoff’ has happened in connection. ECC sought to force First to agree to having half the 62’s only stop at the top of the High St, and the other half stop only at the bottom. This was so stupid that First have refused to implement it, and all versions of 62 are still picking up at GC as previously (although the 62b’s also call at FC at the top of the High St, JC in Queen St, and Town station). This is the first rebellion by any main operator against ECC’s anti-passenger bus stop allocations, and may prove to be a blessing and provoke further rebellions! In the short term there may be a ‘war’. I have been involved in all this, although the First driver reps had already got their management to agree to be sensible before I heard of it.
PASSING PLACE AT THE LIBRARY
Having heard nothing from the Libraries officer for several months, I emailed again in December seeking an update, and got the reply ‘we are not perusing [sic] this anymore at this moment’.
Which I think is to be interpreted as meaning ‘This was a thing that Ian Messer was doing but I as his successor am not interested in it’.
I had asked them previously if they had any means of pursuing it internally within ECC instead of having to make a normal public application via NEPP. There was no reply to that, however it would now appear that Messer did actually do that! – leading to the internal Passenger Transport report to NEPP that has now been copied to us. Whilst ‘hung’ on the Library aspect, this really uses the same sensible arguments that we had put in 2014. The officer who produced this report is well known for his great resistance to anyone disagreeing with his views (normally a pain, but in this instance hopefully a blessing, if NEPP should seek to oppose it on their usual ‘only the immediate residents who leave their cars here matter’ basis).
The report makes no reference to the previous WTC applications (which one suspects he was unaware of). One also wonders if he knows that the Libraries officers have now lost interest in it (however, now that he has made up his own mind on the matter he is not likely to change tack because of that).
Has this report been sent to WTC as part of a formal consultation process at THIS stage?
What has happened with WTC’s recent attempted dealings with NEPP and can they now be abandoned?
Appendix B- See attached
Town Clerk Report; Full Town Council meeting on 13 January 2020.