MINUTES of the Full Town Council meeting held virtually on Monday 21 December 2020 at 7.30pm Chair Approved
Present: Cllr Booth (Chair), Cllr Tile, Cllr Maltby, Cllr Luxford-Vaughan, Cllr Needham (arrived during the course of the meeting), Cllr Wenaden, Cllr Boughton, Cllr Evans, Cllr Widgery, CBC Cllr Cory, Maurice Howard (RFO) Jo Beighton-Emms (Town Clerk), Emma Buckley and two members of the public.
Public Questions; None
Cllr Evans said that he will be contacting Cllr Young directly regarding the potholes. Despite the £1.5bill extra funding Wivenhoe hasn’t seen any improvement.
Cllr Boughton said he would like to know how the criteria for the repair of potholes has changed and would also like clarification on the extra funding.
2. The council considered a previously circulated report from CBC Cllr Cory which is attached at Appendix B.
Cllr Evans asked if the ‘Hewthorn’ planning issue was setting a precedent. Cllr Cory said that planning applications are considered on merit and that this application had not been significant enough to change current policies. He was therefore aiming to change the system as he had not previously been aware that a ‘calling’ could be overridden in such a way and this meant unfortunately that WTC have lost out this time.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan said that this was undemocratic. There were material grounds that the four councillors could have been lobbied on and that WTC should have had their say. She questioned the input from Cllr Liddy. Cllr Cory responded that Cllr Liddy had tried but that he (Cllr Cory) should have been kept informed.
Cllr Needham joined the meeting.
The council considered a previously circulated report from CBC Cllr Liddy which is attached as Appendix C.
No report was provided by Cllr Luxford-Vaughan.
3. The council considered a previously circulated report from Peter Kay, which is attached as Appendix D.
The Town Clerk to circulate the letter sent to Bernard Jenkin MP to all councillors.
FC/12.20/05 Recycling Initiative- Proposal by Cllr Maltby
The councillors considered a previously circulated report from Cllr Maltby, which is
attached as Appendix E. She confirmed that to start with there will be two bins
for two waste streams. The project will be subject to review and will be expanded
over time. The council were being asked to agree to the use of staff time.
Cllr Evans asked what the WTC staff role would be and also how the funding for
this project would be allocated.
Cllr Maltby confirmed that the member of staff will be emptying the bins. The
contents would be sorted and boxed up and made ready for fortnightly collections.
The funding has been sourced form a Locality Budget.
The first step will be to set up the recycling station with appropriate signage. A
review would then be done in March, with the plan being to expand the project and
add bins at schools and dentists. The project has support from En-form and
Transition Town Wivenhoe.
Cllr Maltby said that some funding would be held back to use when the project is
expanded. Cllr Cory confirmed that the funds were from the Locality Budget and
would not be requested back if they were not used at the outset of the project.
Cllr Cory asked what the business plan was going forward in respect of expanding
the project to include the top of the town. He had met with the CBC Waste Team
who had concerns about the De Vere Lane recycling station and also the one at
the railway station. He confirmed that a separate meeting on this could be
arranged. Also, that further funding could hopefully be arranged in time.
Cllr Tile asked what volumes of recycling were anticipated. Cllr Maltby explained
that this was unknown and so therefore the project was starting on a small scale
and volumes would be monitored.
Cllr Maltby proposed that - WTC sets up the recycling scheme as per the report,
with staff time of two hours per fortnight allocated to manage the scheme.
Cllr Tile queried whether it should be WTC and Cllr Booth suggested that this
should be changed to the Environment Committee. Cllr Maltby agreed.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan seconded, all in favour with the exception of Cllr Tile who
asked that his abstention was recorded in the minutes.
Planning; Cllr Luxford-Vaughan reported that a response to the Link Road Pre-Application had been submitted to CBC. The Town Clerk to circulate to all.
Personnel; Cllr Tile confirmed that staff matters such as the new role and redundancy had been dealt with successfully. The Town Clerk reported that it had also been agreed that a £50 gift voucher would be given to all staff for Christmas.
Environment & Health & Wellbeing; Cllr Evans confirmed that the verge project had been finalised.
He also reported that with regards to the Salary Brook issue, this was still being chased up. He noted that the developer was the same as that for the Hewthorn development. He agreed with Cllr Luxford-Vaughan that he would meet the landowner on site if this could be arranged.
Cllr Tile said that the concerns were in respect of Wivenhoe being downstream of the pollutants and asked Cllr Cory if he could assist. Cllr Cory asked for the council’s contacts to be sent to him.
Cllr Evans confirmed that he had made contact with the Tarmac Estate Manager and Environment Manager and was welcoming dialogue with them. He had worked hard to get them to the table and was hoping for a meeting in early January. Cllr Evans said that he would welcome Cllr Tile’s support at any meeting.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan said that the most expedient route would be to contact ECC and ask for sight of relevant reports. Without evidence that there were no longer pollutants in the water course due to activity at this site, WTC could not support the application.
Cllr Wenaden reported on the Covid-19 vaccination roll out. A second hub was due to be opened in Colchester. Cllr Cory said that he would provide further information on this when it became available. Cllr Wenaden reported that she had also attended Dementia Awareness training and that food hampers had been arranged with the assistance of Cllr Evans and the Wivenhoe Foodbank for locals in need. Cllr Evans said that the Foodbank continues to receive more donations than it needs and the council could work more with this group. Cllr Wenaden will be meeting the new mental health co-ordinator based at Wivenhoe Surgery soon.
Properties; Cllr Tile reported that a matter will be dealt with under Part B of this meeting.
Open Spaces; The Town Clerk reported that the zipwire project had been put on hold for one year. Also, that the rules with regards to the interment of ashes had been changed.
Cllr Boughton said that he would speak to Cllr Cory about the possibility of the zipwire being installed on Lower Lodge Farm.
Cllr Needham reported that a working group had been set up to look at the possibility of installing a columbaria at the new cemetery. Members of this group are Cllr Tile, Cllr Needham and Mandy Smart.
Cllr Cory left the meeting.
Finance & Administration; Cllr Tile reported that there would be a deficit in the coming year and that the RFO and Emma Buckley had done a sterling job on the budget which was to be agreed.
FC/12.20/07 RFO Update
Cllr Wenaden queried whether alternative office suppliers had been considered. EB confirmed that these were being looked at and other companies were being considered. She asked if other eco-friendly company details could be provided to her.
The authorisation of all payments was proposed by Cllr Tile, seconded by Cllr Wenaden and approved by all for payment.
The RFO explained that if WTC budgeted for the same precept as last year this would result in an increase in council tax of £1.70.
The RFO agreed with Cllr Luxford-Vaughan that an explanation should be sought from CBC for the decrease in the tax base but advised that any enquiries would not influence the precept for the coming year and to receive the same precept WTC would need to increase the council tax. For every 1% increase the council would receive an extra £3,300.
The RFO confirmed that WTC did receive £10,000 from CBC for the impact of the covid crisis and also, further funding in respect of furloughed staff but that it was unknown if any further support would be received for 2021/22. At the Finance Committee meeting it was agreed that the council should look to protect the taxpayer and that therefore the increase in precept for 2021/22 should be restricted. This increase would incorporate the planned austere payroll policies and the fact that the manpower budget is decreased.
The RFO advised that in 2022/23 the council would be in a better financial position as the loan for the police houses would be paid.
Cllr Tile proposed that Wivenhoe Town Council approve a precept of £343,102 for 2021/22. This would be an increase of £3,602, or 1.06% from 2020/21. This would increase the Band D Council Tax for Parish Purposes to £122.06 in 2021/22 from £119.08 in 2020/21 an increase of 2.5%
This was seconded by Cllr Boughton, with all in favour.
Cllr Evans said that any increase would be accepted as long as the council engaged and demonstrated that it was providing value for money. The council should also look for further grant funding.
Cllr Booth thanked the RFO and Emma Buckley for their hard work on the budget.
FC/12.20/08 Working Group Reports;
She explained that Cllr Booth had been obtaining quotations for the proposed works to the court which would be increased to half size and have further new hoops installed. A third quote was being waited on.
The council have been offered £2.5k towards this project from ECC Cllr Young but that she was under time pressure to confirm this allocation of funds to us. Also, that the group were pursuing S106 funding which had been allocated to another organisation in the town, which had remained unspent. Finally, now that the zipwire project had been put on hold some funding from this project could be used for the court, apart from the monies raised specifically for the zipwire.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan asked the councillors to consider supporting this project and the allocation of funds to it, thereby agreeing to the use of s106 funds and other funding which could be made available by the RFO from unspent allocations elsewhere. The RFO confirmed that the Finance Committee could review the current funding available and the reserves to fund any shortfall.
She suggested contacting Cllr Liddy and Cllr Cory for an allocation of their locality budgets and that the group would report back to Full Town Council once confirmation had been received from Cllr Young that the £2.5k would be allocated to this project. It was agreed that the Town Clerk would contact Cllrs Liddy and Cory as the deadline for applications was approaching.
Cllr Luxford-Vaughan proposed that WTC pursue the basketball court project using funding allocated to the KGV but not raised specifically for the zipwire. This was seconded by Cllr Maltby, with all in favour.
Cllr Evans said that it would be good to have a positive project as long as the zipwire could go ahead at a later date.
Office & Yard;. The Town Clerk reported that a further meeting was being arranged to discuss more detailed drawings.
Funding, Engagement & Youth: Cllr Wenaden reported that the next meeting will be held on 11 January 2021
WNP;. Cllr Needham reported that an offer of funding from CBC had been made for the noticeboard and quotations were being obtained. Unfortunately, there was no co-operation from CBC with getting tree wardens, Cllr Cory was aware of this and will be intervening.
Mayoral activities;.Cllr Booth reported that he had been interviewed for an online post by St Mary’s Church and will be helping to deliver hampers on Christmas Eve with ROAC.
FC/12.20/09 Town Clerk Report
A previously circulated report from the Town Clerk was considered and is attached as Appendix J.
FC/12.20/10 Date and time of the next meeting: It was agreed that the next Full Town Council meeting will be held virtually on Monday 18 January 2021 at 7.30pm.
FC/12.20/11 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.
The public left the meeting.
FC/12.20/12 Land Registry issue- Update from the Chair of Properties Committee
Cllr Tile updated the council on this matter.
Cllr Tile proposed that the Town Clerk would confirm to the resident in question that
Wivenhoe Town Council would have no objection to them contacting Fields in Trust and
proceeding with the transfer of ownership of the area of land. Also, that the resident would
be liable for any costs.
This was seconded by Cllr Widgery and approved by all.
The Chair closed the meeting at 21.08.
Report from County Councillor Julie Young
Please find my written report as follows :
The potholes along the Avenue persist, a road closure for work is scheduled for April and I am assured that “they will be done” as a result of my inclusion as part of the 50 pothole nominations.
The issue of safety at the steps leading down from Clifton Terrace to platform two, this is part of a PROW and I have submitted a fresh local highway application to improve safety here.
At the request of the Mayor I have submitted a LHP form to install a mirror to improve visability at East street and High street.
There is going to be some improvement work done at the junction where Elmstead road joins the main road by the Football ground, this work is as a result of scoring highly on the casualty reduction criteria due to the accidents here. Hopefully the work will improve visability.
TCB communications will step up in the new year and I know members will welcome a briefing where we hope the many questions members naturally have can be answered. I am very happy to work constructively on the progress of section 2 of the plan when section 1 is hopefully adopted in late January/early February.
Hopefully members are aware that I have made just under £5000 available for the Council to invest in new play provision , I wanted to see a heavy duty table tennis table installed and I understand bats have been purchased which can be hired out, the remainder subject to your agreement will be used towards updating and enlarging the basketball court . I really think that 2020 was the year to invest in equipment to increase activity and in doing so health.
Mr Mayor and members, may I take this opportunity in wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a much better 2021.
I do plan to attend your Full Town Council meeting on Monday, but I will outline a brief headline report for you now:
I am working with the Town clerk and specific councillors on some other projects which I can update on in the coming weeks.
Cllr Mark Cory
Leader of Colchester Borough Council
Wivenhoe Ward (Lib Dem)
A Report to Wivenhoe Town Council for Monday 21st December 2020.
Planning. Currently, there are no major applications for Wivenhoe.
The only application of interest is that of Hewthorn, Anglesea Road. This was called in and determined under the interim delegated arrangements for determining planning applications.
This application was a resubmission of earlier one that was easily refused. The current application (202207) is for an existing dwelling (Hewthorn) to be renovated, and a new one built to the rear. The new build is within the current settlement boundary. Planning law is prescriptive and since the applicant resubmitted a plan showing a red line site within the settlement boundary, it is difficult to refuse consent. You will be aware that a planning authority can only consider what is within a red line and not what lies without it. The previous application showed a far larger red line site, which was clearly unacceptable.
In the light of these factors, the application was not referred to the committee and was determined by the group spokes, as there was really no material planning consideration in question.
For the record, I objected to the application as it appeared to be contrary to the WNP. I am convinced that Neighbourhood Plans must be accorded full weight as planning guidance shaped by residents. Here the new dwelling might allow additional houses to be built on the remainder of the site.
However, the plans in the WNP I relied on to make my case, are large scale showing the whole of Wivenhoe and are illustrative, rather than definitive. The WNP also seeks to protect the current settlement boundary and I was also assured that no further building would be permitted on the remainder of the site.
WTC members will also be aware that the motives or possible future plans for further houses by an applicant are not a material planning consideration, as well as the cost to the Council Taxpayers in officer time and possible costs against CBC where a planning refusal is overturned on appeal.
My objection was not shared by my fellow group spokes, so I was outvoted, and the application approved. It is unlikely a referral to the full committee would have altered that result.
Local Plan. Members will be aware that the Inspector has approved the final draft of Part 1 of the Local Plan. It will be debated by all borough councillors at a special meeting of CBC. This is provisionally scheduled for Monday 1st February and will be available to view on CBC’s YouTube channel.
Rewilding. Julie and I went on a recent walking tour of some parts of Wivenhoe with with Mark Halliday and Cllr. Glyn Evans to consider the possibility of introducing a maintenance regime for some carefully selected road side verges and greenswards that would encourage more diverse flora and insect life than at present. This an interesting initiative that will make a small but significant part of Wivenhoe’s contribution to our climate emergency. It has my full support and I look forward to future developments.
Locality Budget. This is my final appeal 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 CBC finances it is likely to be the final year of the Locality Budget.
Other matters. I note the resignation of Cllr. Aldis. I thank him for his years of service to our community and I wish him well in the future.
I also welcome the arrival of Cllr. Glen Widgery. I am sure he will find being a member of WTC a rewarding and satisfying experience. I look forward to meeting him and working with him, as well as all others on WTC in the future.
WTC staff have my praise and thanks for the hard work they have put in over the year for our community. The office staff, Jo and Mandy, for the smooth running of the office and the meetings. Jim and Andy for their hard work in making Wivenhoe such pleasant place to live, especially in putting up the Christmas lights and to Michael for keeping the streets so clean.
I also thank the Town Mayor, Phil Booth, and his team of elves in their high altitude work of brightening up Wivenhoe for Christmas. I also thank all WTC members for their unstinting efforts and loyalty to our community.
Ward Cllr. Cyril Liddy. Monday 21st December 2020.
WTC Report December 2020
The GA Timetable Consultation as published is virtually unrespondable to, as it gives no details of what changes are being proposed.
For London peak services it gives a statement for each station of the proposed ‘number of peak trains per hour’, which are all less than currently, although in Wivenhoe’s case it is only ‘2 or 3’ instead of three. However they are also denying that there is a policy of reduction! And in any case they effectively say that these peak services will not happen anyway as it will all need sorting out after the Covid dust has settled (as it indeed will). (Even without the collapse of commuting a small reduction in peak train numbers would have been advisable because of the increased capacity of each train. But people cannot comment without having a fullish picture of any proposed new service).
As for local services it merely says that the offpeak frequencies will be unchanged, saying nothing about the local peak services which is actually the main inadequacy currently.
Derek Monnery, Chair of the Essex Rail Users Federation, has been haranguing them verbally this week and says that they now claim they are wanting people to suggest any improvements they think desirable, but nobody would deduce that from the consultation material itself.
The WTC response can be done in Jan / Feb when we may have learnt more.
All the (my) current bus timetables in Wivenhoe (and throughout Colchester town centre) were systematically ripped down last month, probably by the same nasty First drivers who did this in April-May, possibly by ECC but I think not as any ECC person would have done the ‘job’ tidily. Admittedly this leaves Colchester in the same position of no current info at stops that the rest of Essex has been in ever since March!
First are refusing to reply to emails on this subject. The bigger ‘scandal’ is their refusal (admittedly like some other big operators) to put up timetables at major stops themselves (which Hedingham has been doing in a big way since the summer). This was specifically included by HMG as a condition of the taxpayer-funded life that bus operators have been enjoying since March.
Also neither ECC nor operators will remove the wholly or partly incorrect timetables still displayed at all stops nine months on, which are still being looked at by that part of the public that is convinced that anything that looks official must be correct. (The dates on them are very inconspicuous).
Re the vandalising of the last intact WTC timetable case (out of 4 originally provided), I cannot find available online anything other than those resembling the ECC ones. They don’t put the prices on the websites! (Do not want more feeble ones like the previous ones).
Re the mins of the Nov meeting, suggesting that the buses in Colchester should be as good as the latest buses in London, is not going to impress anybody! Also First drivers have long been instructed to switch off engines when waiting and as many do it as can be expected in the real world.
The Suffolk LCs inquiry Inspector’s report and Decision Letter have now been published (as well as the Cambs ones). In this case the SoS has rejected 13 of the 22 crossing closures, which is an extraordinary result from a public inquiry (i.e. reflects the abnormally poor case and attitude of the promoter). However as with Cambs the Department has just agreed with the Inspector in every case.
The Department may now be in difficulties with our inquiry, as the (intelligent) Suffolk Inspector rejected the NR Barrister’s (rubbish) legal argument that the scope of the inquiry was limited to the alternative routes, whereas our Inspector after hearing exactly the same speech accepted it and conducted the inquiry according to the NR barrister’s opinions. The Suffolk Inspector’s report refers to the purpose of the inquiry as being to weigh up the overall public interest, and the Department in accepting all his reccdns has effectively agreed that this is correct. (Or putting it another way, agreed that what I and the RA barrister were saying at the start of the inquiry is the correct interpretation of the law).
If there was a judicial review after the decision on our inquiry, the whole incompetence of the Dept and the Planning Inspectorate in failing to consider in advance the correct scope of the first of this new type of major inquiry, would be exposed to all.
The best way for the Dept to avoid a court case would be to ensure that the decision gives all the main objectors what they want. Therefore it would be desirable to create an impression immediately (as the decision is probably not far off) that we would take it to court, best done by writing to Bernard a letter to that effect to be forwarded to the Dept (which I can write for you) NOW. (Not in January).
Somewhat oddly the modifications from the Inspector, now accepted by CBC and incorporated, include a requirement for ‘Rapid Transit Networks’ to be provided. As the single Route 1 between the GC and Cuckoo Farm cannot be described as a ‘network’ (which requires at least two intersecting routes) one wonders why CBC had not opposed this.
Re Route 1, is the HIF money now supposed to pay for the NAR Busway that was originally to be funded under the Severalls Hospital s.106? The last ECC report seen suggested that the scheme they now propose (a widening of the existing road to dual 2 with the outer lanes for buses only) would probably not meet the description of the scheme agreed in the s.106 (when it was to be a separate busway to the west of the NR, for which of course space was left). And thus that the developers might refuse to pay!
CBC/ECC TRANSPORT POLICY CONSULTATION
A new example of the total disconnect between their ‘policies’ and their actual decisions appeared at the last CBC Cabinet meeting, where there was a report on ‘new parking policy’, radically rewritten since the 2019 draft, in which CBC actually admit for the first time that they have been actively undermining the P&R by offering ultra-cheap all day car commuter parking in the town centre (St Johns). The report also goes so far as to state (correctly) that there is no hope of curing peak car congestion unless the still bigger problem of excessive free employer car parking is dealt with via a Workplace Parking Levy. (When I raised this at the last Scrutiny Panel meeting on transport it produced horror!). It has taken CBC 24 years to reach this wisdom since the 1996 report by their own consultants emphasised it. NB Alan Lindsay also mentioned the WPL possibility when speaking to Andrea last month.
(All this is highly relevant to the Clingoe Hill peak situation in particular).
However as only one WPL scheme has ever been achieved in the UK so far (Nottingham, with the bribe of a real tram system), even if CBC were actually serious about this it does not mean that it would be able to get pushed through in a place where no bribe of consequence is offerable!
But we don’t need to ponder on that, as in the very same Cabinet meeting that approved the new parking policy, they voted (in a separate agenda item on CBC charges for services for 2021/2) to RETAIN the ultra-cheap car commuter parking!! (They put up the price from 3.50 to 4.00, but that is only = inflation since it was introduced, and will not change anybody’s habits).
It is doubtful if most CBC people even understand the big difference between the policies needed for shopper parking and all day commuter parking. Let alone really complicated things like making two decisions on the same subject at the same meeting compatible with each other…..
PS They also voted to give up the extraordinarily business-hostile idea introduced some time back of forcing people to decide in advance when they arrive in the car park how many hours they will spend shopping.
Proposal to be put to FTC on 21/12/20
Sustainability of the service is key to it’s long-term success. The plan is initially a simple one. Initially only 2 waste streams will be collected. Regular reviews are planned with an aim to gradually increase the number of items recycled and work towards installing multiple recycling points across the town. The long-term aim is to work with local businesses, service providers, schools, restaurants, event organisers and public houses to increase the amount of plastic waste, produced by Wivenhoe, that is recycled.
This strategy will only be successful if WTC works with local groups to achieve it’s aims, this currently includes En-form (in Colchester) and Transition Town Wivenhoe.
Two recycling bins to be installed outside of the William Loveless Hall . This will include constructing a station to secure the bins and attaching signage to the bins and station. Bins to accept the following items:
Bin 1 – Crisp packets (inc nut, popcorn,pretzel, park scratching and other snack packets)
Bin 2 – Biscuit and cracker packets and wrappers
Collections to be made fortnightly, each waste stream to be emptied, sorted and packaged once a month. Once packaged into cardboard boxes, labels supplied by En-form will be stuck on and the boxes collected by a Terracycle courier – the only cost implication this has for WTC is the paper and ink used to print modest labels to put on the boxes.
2 x staff hours once a fortnight to collect, sort and package waste
Funding – cross-party locality grants have been secured to fund setting up and initial running costs.
The scheme will be subject to regular reviews:
Initial 2 month review – March 2021
Stage 2 and on-going
Items that can be added:
Confectionary wrappers, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, pens, ink cartridges, cheese packets (there is potential to raise funds through recycling cheese packets), lightbulbs and much more.
Additional collection locations: Broadfields estate, Cooks Shipyard, station and schools. Small boxes for toothbrushes in dentists, box’s for crisp packets in public houses, boxes for writing insruments in offices etc
One off amnesty’s at Wivenhoe Market – eg VHS tapes, cassettes, sports equipment, craft materials, disposable face masks
What will happen to the waste after it’s been sent to Terracycle?
Michael will make fortnightly collections which will be boxed up and collected by Terracycle. Once collected by Terracycle, the waste streams are sorted, shredded and washed. The material is then densified into hard-granulated plastic granules. These converted plastics are then melted, moulded, and extruded or injected into the manufacturing supply chain to become new, durable products made from items we use every day e.g plastic products, fence posts, benches etc
Megan Maltby – Wivenhoe Town Councillor
Date – 17/12/20
RFO FINANCE AND BUDGET REPORT UPDATE 30th NOVEMBER 2020 FOR COUNCIL MEETING 21st DECEMBER 2020
30/11/2020 Confirmed Bank Balances £508,966
(See attached draft schedule)
The RFO reported that as at the 30/11/2020:
The Council had collected £407,874 or 95% of the £430,691 annual income Budget.
The Council has spent £255,183 or 59% of the £430,343 annual expenditure Budget.
RFO REPORT UPDATE
14th December 2020
Appendix G- See attached
Appendix H- See attached
Appendix I- and see attached Annual Budget
Budget Review : To consider and review progress
Since the Finance Committee meeting on the 8th December 2020, Colchester Borough Council has provided the information required to finalise the budget for 2021/22 and the proposed precept.
Colchester BC, are going to continue paying a LCTS grant of £6,901 for 2021/22.
The tax base for Wivenhoe has gone down to £2,810.90 in 2021/22 compared with £2,851 in 2020/21.
What does that mean if we budgeted for the same precept amount as last year, the Council Tax would still increase from £119.08 to £120.78 an increase of £1.70.
If we want to avoid an extraordinary meeting in January we need to agree the 2021/21 budget and precept at the Council Meeting on the 21st December 2020.
The updated budget report for 20/21 and 21/22 is attached as Appendix A and is summarised below.
Revisions to the 2020/21 budgets
The Budget Report I have attached records the actual position as at the 30th November 2020 and the budgets approved for 2020/21.
If the forecasts are confirmed as correct, the Council will be under spent at the 31st March 2021 by £14,556 by a shortfall of income of £4,711 and an underspend of expenditure of £19,219.
This forecast includes an underspend on employees of £4,200 which does not include the money received for furloughed staff but does include the agreed redundancy payment.
The 20/21 budget provided £53,000 for repairs and renewals and as at the 30th November 2020, £19,726 had been spent leaving a provision of £33,274 for the remainder of the year.
Expenditure was also identified for:
The Council also have some reserves which have been put aside for repairs and renewals.
The Police House PWLB loan will be fully repaid in October 2021 which will reduce the Council’s budget by approx. £45,000 from 2022/23.
The Council still need to formulate a comprehensive integrated programme of repairs and renewals for its property estate, which will need to cover the next 3 to 5 years.
A further matter of concern is that the Council’s charges and fees were reviewed and increased, but due to COVID the amounts collected have been substantially reduced. Areas of particular concern are:
William Loveless Hall Hire Charges
Minibus Hire Charges
The financial position continues to be closely monitored particularly regarding property and hire charges.
As part of the budget process this year it is recommended that there is a 3 year review of the Councils:
Consideration be given to the carry forward of the 20/21 underspend via reserves, to finance the possible deficit in 2021/22
Budget / Precept 2021/22
The proposed outline budget for 2021/22 is also included in Appendix A.
Issues to be considered are:
In 2020/21 Wivenhoe’s part of the Council’s tax for a property in band D is £119.08 more than any other Local Council in Colchester. Tiptree is the next highest Local Council with a band D rate of £105.49.
The latest year on year RPI inflation rate is 1.3%.
The minimum living wage increased by 6.2% in 2020 and is currently forecast to increase by only 2.2% in 2021. This has a direct and indirect impact because over half the Council’s budget is payroll. The payroll budget is forecast to exceed £208,800 in 2020/21 and £202,500 in 2021/22.
If the Royal Mail vacate the ground floor of the office in say September 2021 the Council could suffer a combined loss of income and additional spending of over £11,000 in 2021/22 which will increase to over £22,000 in a full year.
On the other hand, the £57,292, in the budget for debt charges, will not increase at all in 21/22.
Taking all these factors into account and allowing for the general economic uncertainty I suggest that at this stage consideration be given to a precept increase which will increase the Council Tax payable by 2.5%.
This will increase the precept to £343,102 or 1.1% more than 2020/21.
Based on a 2.5% Council Tax increase, the same LCTSS grant being paid by CBC and the Post Office vacating the ground floor of 77 High Street the proposed budget is forecast to generate a £8,975 deficit in 2021/22.
If we plan for a 2.5% Council Tax increase (although inflation is running at 1.3%) and other income of say £65,422 this will give a total income of £415,425.
I have allowed for the increase in minimum living wage and the NJC pay award as per the government’s latest public sector pay policy.
The estimates for loan repayments and insurance are unlikely to change substantially which means that if we expect income to total £415,425 and Administration to total £292,814 only £122,611 is left for other services.
These have cost centres, such as William Loveless Hall, whose budgets are split between overheads, improvements and maintenance.
The Council do have some reserves, £122,546 which has been put aside for repairs and renewals. The Police House PWLB loan will be fully repaid in October 2021 which will reduce the Council’s budget by approx. £44,859 from 2022/23.
As mentioned above the Council need to formulate a comprehensive integrated programme of repairs and renewals for its property estate, which will need to cover the next 3 to 5 years.
It is very important that the financial position is verified as correct to enable the preparation of a reliable budget for 2021/22 to be made on a sound basis.
Some key information will not be known until late December but
Town Clerk Report for Full Town Council meeting on 21 December 2020