MINUTES of the Full Town Council meeting held virtually on Monday 16 November 2020 at 7.30pm Chair Approved
Present: Cllr Booth (Chair), Cllr Tile, Cllr Nash, Cllr Read, Cllr Maltby, Cllr Luxford-Vaughan, Cllr Needham, Cllr Wenaden (arrived during the course of the meeting), Cllr Evans, Cllr Widgery, Maurice Howard (RFO) Jo Beighton-Emms (Town Clerk), Emma Buckley and two members of the public.
Public Questions; None
FC/11.20/01 Apologies for absence: Cllr Newton, Cllr Boughton, ECC Cllr Young, CBC Cllr Cory, CBC Cllr Liddy, and Peter Kay.
FC/11.20/02 Minutes of the previous meeting:
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2020 were proposed by Cllr Tile, seconded by Cllr Widgery and approved as an accurate record of proceedings.
FC/11.20/03 Declarations of interest; None
FC/11.20/04 Reports from Members of County and Borough Councils;
a. The council considered a previously circulated report from ECC Cllr Young which is attached as Appendix A.
Cllr Needham requested that the Garden Communities e-newsletter is resent and also that Wivehoe would welcome a briefing.
The councillors discussed the difficulties with receiving lengthy reports and not having the councillors present at the meeting to put questions to them.
Cllr Needham asked that the Town Clerk to remind them that reports should be received by her at least three days ahead of the meeting for circulation.
b. The council considered a previously circulated report from CBC Cllr Cory which is attached at Appendix B.
It was noted by Cllr Read that the reports are an excellent source of information, but it is difficult to absorb the contents during the course of the meeting.
Cllr Read provided further information regarding Planning Application reference 202207.
The council considered a previously circulated report from CBC Cllr Liddy which is attached as Appendix C.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan provided a verbal report.
Regarding the Clean-Air project, she hoped that both primary schools in Wivenhoe will get involved and that more volunteers were required.
With regards to the link road, Cllr Luxford-Vaughan reported that there has been a meeting with Tendring District Council and CBC who are requesting a £2m budget but it is unclear what this is for. It is unknown if they are setting up a development corporation.
It is likely that the ECC application will be made in the new year. The ECC Cabinet received conditions from Homes England.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan is concerned that funds will be spent on the RTS in North Colchester leaving insufficient funding for Clingoe Hill.
She has written directly to ECC Cllr Ball. Cllr Read asked for the letter to be circulated to the Planning Committee.
Cllr Evans suggested that ECC should be called to account on social media. Cllr Luxford-Vaughan said that she could do this as a CBC councillor. Cllr Read said that WTC councillors could do this as long as they make it clear that they are expressing their views as a councillor and not on behalf of WTC.
c. The council considered a previously circulated report from Peter Kay, which is attached as Appendix D. The council expressed its’ thanks to Peter Kay for his continued support. It was noted that his report contained some valid points with regards to the impact of Covid on our lifestyles.
The consultation has been responded to by Cllr Luxford-Vaughan and Cllr Tile.
a. Planning; Cllr Read provided an update on the meeting held on 3 November. With regards to Planning Application reference 202207, Cllr Widgery asked if planning permission was required for demolition. Cllr Luxford-Vaughan explained that this was an outbuilding and permission is not required unless the property is in a conservation area or is a listed building.
(Cllr Wenaden joined the meeting)
b. Personnel; The Town Clerk updated the council on the interview held that day for the vacancy for a public toilet and office cleaner.
Cllr Read confirmed that CBC had reported that the electorate had not requested that an election is held for the current councillor vacancy and that therefore WTC could choose to co-opt.
c. Environment & Health & Wellbeing; Cllr Evans provided an update on the meeting held on 4 November. He reported that Mark Halladay was progressing the Re-Wilding Project and that a proposal will be put to Full Town Council in December.
Cllr Wenaden provided an update on Covid vaccination and the likely plans for priority recipients although this had not yet been fully communicated.
Cllr Read reported that since March, engines in London buses are subject to new criteria, being that they are ‘Euro 6’ versions. However, the engines in our local buses are version 4 or 5 which emit higher levels of emissions. He would like WTC to take this matter forward. Cllr Read suggested that data could be collated and Cllr Evans suggested a social media campaign. Cllr Luxford-Vaughan also highlighted the issue with idling engine emissions.
Cllr Evans agreed to contact Cllr Read directly.
d, Properties; Cllr Tile reported that the meeting planned for 11 November had not taken place as it was not quorate. The meeting has been rescheduled for 2 December.
e. Open Spaces; Cllr Booth provided an update on the meeting held on 14 October.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan reported that Wild About Wivenhoe group have asked for further funds for relining the pond in the wildlife garden. She confirmed that the additional funding would come from her locality budget held in the Wivenhoe Mutual Aid fund.
Cllr Nash asked the council to reconsider her previous proposal for the installation of a zipwire on the KGV playing field.
Cllr Booth explained that this proposal had since been voted against in March 2020 at the Open Spaces Committee meeting and that further information was required to bring it back to the table now. In his view, the situation has changed as the council now have other projects to consider such as the skatepark, basketball court and table tennis table.
Cllr Nash explained that she had provided additional information and that the quotation, location and colour had been agreed.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan reported on the feedback which had been received through the skatepark survey and that from this consultation it was clear that a basketball court was wanted. She explained the advantages of this project and the fact that some funding would be sourced from ECC. A basketball court would be inclusive and provide an amenity for team sport. Her concern was that the proposed zipwire looked flimsy and there were also concerns about maintenance. Other councils said that whilst zipwires were popular, a basketball court was preferred.
Cllr Nash agreed that a MUGA had been suggested some time ago and there was no reason why both projects couldn’t progress as they catered for different age groups. Also, that funds had been raised specifically for a zipwire.
Cllr Read suggested that this matter should be debated by the Open Spaces Committee again first and then brought to Full Town Council.
Cllr Wenaden said she didn’t feel sufficiently informed to vote on this matter at this meeting.
Cllr Tile explained that it had been voted against in March. Also, that there were now issues with proposed rewilding areas and the football pitches in the proposed location for the zipwire.Cllr Nash proposed that the zipwire was installed on the KGV. This was not seconded.
Cllr Wenaden said that the council need further information on quality, a maintenance plan and the location. Cllr Maltby, Cllr Wenaden and Cllr Read noted that it would be shame if this project didn’t go ahead just because of insufficient information.
Cllr Nash agreed to provide further information and make the proposal again to Full Town Council in December.
f. Finance & Administration; Cllr Tile reported that he had met with the RFO and Emma Buckley to discuss the budget for the coming year. This was a fluid situation and there may be a deficit of approximately £20k in 2021/22. The RFO confirmed that this may be the case as it was unknown if CBC would be providing the same level of grant funding. The RFO also confirmed that the manpower budget for 2021/22 needs to be agreed. A Finance Committee meeting will be arranged in December.
FC/11.20/06 RFO Update
a. The council considered a previously circulated RFO Report which is attached as Appendix E.
b. The council considered a Bank Reconciliation report which is attached as Appendix F-Bank Cash and Investment Reconciliation as at 31 October 2020
c. The council considered the previously circulated list of monthly payments, which is attached as Appendix G
d. The approval of all payments was proposed by Cllr Tile, seconded by Cllr Read and approved by all.
e. With regards to budgetary control, the RFO explained there should be an underspend for 2020/21 and that he had worked on the following year’s budget on a ‘worst case’ basis, as we are still unsure on whether we would receive CBC grants and other incomes. It was likely that we wouldn’t have a firm indication until December. The RFO was working on a precept increase of 2.5%.
f. AGAR 19/20- Received External Auditor’s Report & Certificate. Emma Buckley confirmed that the certificate had been received on 6 November and that it had been signed without qualification. This has been posted on the noticeboards and on the WTC website.
Emma Buckley reported that a donation of £100 had been made to Reaching Out at Christmas. Cllr Needham thanked the council for this donation.
An insurance review was being conducted to ensure that correct and sufficient insurance was in place.
Cllr Maltby was thanked for her time and Cllr Nash volunteered to assist in December.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan asked if the council could donate to the Carer’s First Group, which supports carers in the home and asked if funds could be provided from the WMA fund. This was agreed by all. Cllr Booth asked for details to be provided to the Town Clerk.
FC/11.20/07 Working Group Reports;
Cllr Booth reported that he had received a request from Rev. Lammens for £65 from the council as a contribution towards gifts for local children. This was proposed by Cllr Booth, seconded by Cllr Widgery with all in favour, with the exception of Cllr Tile who asked that his vote against was recorded in the minutes.
FC/11.20/08 Town Clerk Report
A previously circulated report from the Town Clerk was considered and is attached as Appendix H.
The Town Clerk confirmed that the table tennis table had been offered by ECC Cllr Young. The funds were not offered to the council as an alternative.
Cllr Wenaden asked when the action against anti-social behaviour funding meeting would be. The Town Clerk explained that she was waiting on a date from Cllr Cory.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan suggested that a councillor whatsapp group could be set up.
FC/11.20/09 Date and time of the next meeting: It was agreed that the next Full Town Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday 21 December 2020 at 7.30pm.
The Chair closed the meeting at 21.23
FC/11.20/10 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 from County Councillor Julie Young
Like Cllr Liddy I am at another meeting tonight please find my report :
I appreciate the frustration from members of the community and fellow Councillors about the persistence of unrepaired potholes. The last direct response from Cllr Bentley is copied below this was received on the 27th October. I am also sending an attachment to the covering email to members under the pothole repair scheme asking for patience.
Thank you for your further email.
The Revenue team will try to carry out works under the Pothole Scheme, but these will be proportionate to the needs for this site to be resurfaced, as patching will not maintain this section of carriageway. However, this will help with the existing pothole issue in the short-term.
The site has yet to be looked at in detail, but Officers have advised that Traffic Management will be required and will cause some disruption.
Officers within the Revenue team are in contact with Essex Police regarding the recent painting of the potholes.
Cllr Kevin Bentley
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure”
Tendring Colchester Borders
I know members will be very interested in all matters related to the Garden Communities development. I have shared the e newsletter hot off the press, it details the ways the community can keep in touch with this project. Just so you are aware Cllr King is the CBC representative but I am also in attendance at the meetings. I understand that Elmstead Parish Council recently had a briefing and I wondered if you would like one too ?
Safer Greener Healthier Routes
As previously stated I have applied for school streets for Bowes road and Broom Grove and they have passed validation. Funding will be considered in the LHP budget 2021/22.
I believe that you will be approached soon regarding the measures being considered to improve walking and cycling in Wivenhoe. Here is the copy of the email received :
“Dear Councillor Young
I have been forwarded your email to Essex County Council about requests you have received for changes in Wivenhoe.
I am pleased to advise that we will shortly be contacting the Town Council to inform them that we will be receiving funding from the Reopening High Streets Safely fund from Government and we have ring-fenced some of the budget to tackle the type of requests you have outlined in certain areas outside of Colchester Town Centre; Wivenhoe being one of these locations.
We are already liaising with Essex Highways officers on this and Aaron will be talking to Wivenhoe Town Council very soon about what measures they would like to see implemented.
This funding extends to March 2021 only, and we will be supplementing the above with other activity, such as producing a video that the Town Council can use on its social media and elsewhere to give a clear public message about how people can remain safe in the Town. We shall also have a Specialist Campaign Officer who will work with local businesses and the Town Council to review the action plans, signpost and provide support.
If you have any specific details that you would like us to consider in our plans, please do let me and Aaron know.
Group Manager – Neighbourhood Services”
Please let me know if they don’t get in touch ?
The ongoing saga over responsibility for the maintenance of West Quay rumbles on and will seek a further update from planning enforcement. Meanwhile there are various matters that are outstanding.
I have been trying to get some improvements made to the PROW at The Folly which is very uneven.
I gave a very full report last time with lots of documents attached. I hope these were useful for Councillors and I do remind them to look back at that report.
Since then, I have worked on the following:
There are many other issues I am working on and I keep the Town Clerk updated regularly.
Cllr Mark Cory
Leader of Colchester Borough Council
Wivenhoe Ward (Lib Dem)
A Report to Wivenhoe Town Council for Monday 16th November 2020.
Planning. Currently, there are no major applications for Wivenhoe.
Highways. Since the October meeting, Julie and I continue to press Essex Highways to resolve the white lining and flooding issues raised previously.
Anyone who has dealt with Essex Highways will know that it is a black box operation, where an issue is reported on a website, a reference number allocated and then silence. A pothole may be outlined with spray paint. The colour of which will determine the urgency of repair and this usually takes place at a fairly leisurely pace.
Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group. Last week I attended a briefing by BANNG on the future of Bradwell B. I attach a report of the main points for the meeting.
Remembrance Sunday. I was privileged to lay a wreath at the War Memorial on behalf of the County and Borough Councillors.
Locality Budget. I shall soon be appealing for voluntary groups to apply for a grant from my Locality Budget. Applications should be made to me by 31st December 2020 at firstname.lastname@example.org In the light of current local authority finances it is quite likely that this will be the final year for the Locality Budget.
Ward Cllr. Cyril Liddy.
Monday 16th November 2020.
Where does the UK nuclear programme stand?
Concerns about Chinese involvement include:
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is due to complete the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) review of the Hualong One reactor design in 2021.
Energie de France (EDF) is effectively bankrupt & for 2 years, a French government-led rescue plan, Operation Hercule, has been under development
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)
It might take a couple of years work before ONR can begin, 3-4 years to get through the GDA & 4 years to build it to meet RR’s claim to have first plant operating in 2030.
REPORT for Oct-Nov 2020
GA has just advised that the consultation on the Dec 2021 (originally meant to be May 2019!) timetable revision is starting next week. In current circumstances it seems rather pointless to do this now, when the whole future demand for rail travel at different times of the day / week has become wholly unknown; especially given that the main purpose of this new timetable has always been focused on a big increase in the number of peak seats for London commuters. It would surely be more intelligent to postpone it further now until the dust from 2020 has settled.
Now that it is becoming seen as likely that Mon-Fri peak travel will be much less important, and weekend travel more significant, Network Rail’s 5-day-a-week railway (which TOCs have gone along with happily because it is not they but the passengers who suffer) will become even more unfit-for-purpose than it already is. Indeed what point is there on consulting on proposed Sat and Sun services when one knows that they will not actually be operated on a large % of weekends?
It is no doubt likely that CBC and ECC will do even less than they usually do on rail matters this time, so others must be prepared to act, especially as the implication is that it will be done over December!
Local rail usage had grown back to near normal levels by Sept / Oct (although this has been ‘helped’ by the fact that hardly any adults in Tendring have ever travelled by train for work in Colchester in recent time anyway! – so they can’t ‘disappear’).
THE NEW WORLD
It may be appropriate to consider what the social impact of working from home is likely to be on Wivenhoe. Even after Boris told people to go back to their offices in London, the number of Wivenhoe commuters remained at no more than 30-ish (another count was done last month of people getting off pm ‘peak’ (!) trains). It is surely likely that people’s wish to remain working at home as much as they are allowed to will vary according to their circumstances at home and their distance from London. Nice places where commuters are mostly middle aged family people living in nice houses are surely far more likely to be affected. (Whereas a 25 year old single person living in a block of flats in Wickford where the people don’t speak to each other, whose social life is normally work-colleague-based, has their life destroyed by working at home). So it is likely that Wivenhoe will see one of the biggest changes, especially given that a much larger than average number of Essex commuters work in the City, where jobs are especially ‘unreal’.
Wivenhoe has relied on its London commuters for its tenuous claim hitherto to be a place with greater than average public transport use for journeys to work. (When it has always actually been a very car-minded place for somewhere with such good local public transport services).
Additionally the link road will obviously make Wivenhoe a much more attractive place for car commuting to North Colchester / South Suffolk / A12 west, increasing pressure for car-based housing development in north Wivenhoe.
General bus usage in Colchester had recovered considerably by Sept / Oct (on top of the schools traffic returning). It has also not fallen off anywhere near so much in the current supposed ‘lockdown’ as in the previous real one. The operators have another agreement for special government funding from Sept into 2021.
However on the 61 and 62 there is still much less use than normal because of the very reduced University student usage, which seemed to be only about 10% of normal in a 1600-1700 survey last month (no lectures to go home from!).
The Secretary of State’s decision letter on the Cambridgeshire level crossings inquiry has just been published. Both the Inspector and the SoS agreed that several of the crossings (9 out of 25) should remain open because of the inconvenience caused / unacceptableness of alternative routes. (One was rejected because of the narrow pavement on the ‘alternative route’ road on a railway bridge). This shows that the Dept is willing to engage in deletions, however in this case they simply agreed with the Inspector in each case. What will they do in cases like ours where the Inspector mis-held the inquiry? It is likely that the Suffolk decision will also be published before ours.
ECC / CBC TRANSPORT STRATEGY CONSULTATION
This has just been launched (well, Christmas is approaching!). It is on the ECC website (link from CBC website). It is of course the nth time since the 1990s that the councils have undertaken a consultation on waffly notions of what the policies ought to be as a substitute for actually doing anything of substance.
The usual solutions are proposed for reducing car traffic, with the usual deliberate non-mention of the well-known reasons why these things that can achieve something in ‘normal’ places have no chance at all of reducing peak car traffic in the uniquely weird situation of Colchester.
In the words put into Mark Cory’s mouth in the preface it is claimed that the two councils are committed to working together to improve things. Well, they may be on some fronts, but far from it on the most important front of reducing peak car traffic. The reality is that CBC is not only committed to ignoring the free employer parking problem, but also emotionally insists on worsening the situation further by itself offering ultra-cheap all day public commuter parking; thereby ensuring that ECC’s introducing a P&Ride service was doomed to failure. (Of course it was highly stupid of ECC to go ahead with it without getting a binding undertaking from CBC to act on parking matters, but then, what does blowing £6m of public money matter). ECC officers and bus operators on one side, and CBC Cllrs on the other, openly argued with each other at the last Scrutiny Panel discussion on transport! – but what is done with only a few members of the public listening has of course to be suppressed in public documents! NIFOTC!
On top of that ECC are now proposing to spend another £6m on another P&R site, with CBC support (!), which will also rack up the annual £500k Colchester P&R operating deficit still further. (But as it will become part of the ‘rapid transit system’ the huge deficit on providing unwanted facilities for people with cars will be massageable into a general ‘public transport’ deficit, the P&R subsidy swamping the money spent by ECC on supporting real bus services for people without cars).
Turning to the very few words about improved public transport, the document mentions Rapid Transit, more P&Ride, and bus lanes as the goodies to come. That is to say, Rapid Transit that everyone has agreed does not meet even the minimum standards of real Rapid Transit, more P&R buses carrying only 6 people in peak periods, and no actual useful bus lanes because none of the roads in inner Colchester are wide enough to have one.
There is of course no mention of how the traffic problems in east Colchester relate to the universal view of all official parties that local rail services in Tendring should never be improved.
However every single person of influence at CBC will no doubt be entirely satisfied that another dose of waffle is the Way Forward!
RFO FINANCE AND BUDGET REPORT UPDATE 31st OCTOBER 2020 FOR COUNCIL MEETING 16th NOVEMBER 2020
31/10/2020 Confirmed Bank Balances £528,102
The RFO reported that as at the 31/10/2020:
The Council had collected £396,820 or 92% of the £430,691 annual income Budget.
The Council has spent £230,385 or 54% of the £430,343 annual expenditure Budget.
There is at present little cause for concern overall but there are significant variances on a few budget heads.
A detailed budgetary report is being prepared for the Finance / Personnel Committee in December at which the 21/22 precept will need to be determined.
(See attached draft schedule)
I can report to the Council that the external auditor has notified me that the 2019/20 audit has been concluded.
His report and Certificate was received on 6th November. The report has been signed without any qualification.
The legal requirement to publish the audit findings on the notice boards and web site have been arranged.
RFO REPORT UPDATE
12th November 2020
The mayor has authorised £100 from his charity bank account to be donated to Reaching out for Christmas and WMA has also donated £100. The donation of £200 was made on the 4th November 20, from the Mayors Charity Bank Account.
As part of the Risk Assessment we had a meeting with our insurers to review our insurance policy. A few matters have arisen which we are currently investigating. We have increased our policy to include an addition of risk, relating to additional loss of rent and also CCTV.
BHIB has confirmed that subsidence cover for the buildings was refused in 2017. They have recommended a professional valuation of building’s, at present we are insured for reinstatement value and not market value. The quote for a valuation is £700.
It was recommended that the pontoon be insured under a marine policy, which has been quoted at £850.
Appendix F- See attached
Appendix G- See attached
Town Clerk Report for Full Town Council meeting on 16 November 2020