HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL
MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
|Councillor A Munday||Chairman||Present|
|Councillor M Radley||Vice Chairman||Present|
|Councillor Mrs J Allen||Apologies|
|Councillor Mrs S Dingle||Present|
|Councillor Mrs S Diver||Apologies|
|Councillor C Fox||Apologies|
|Councillor D Gronland||Present|
|Councillor D Hume||Apologies|
|Councillor Mrs J Pell||Present|
|Councillor Mrs E Penn||Present|
|Councillor Mrs J Sutton||Apologies|
|Councillor G Warren||Present|
Also in attendance: Public Steven Wenlock (BDC), Nicola Murphy (BDC); Mr G McCoyd,
Mr G Mylchreest, Mr R Payne, Mr and Mrs White, Mr Derek, Mr Lister; Mr and Mrs Biggs,
Ms H Wolf, Mr I Tinton (Ch Trade), Ms Joyce, Mr and Mrs Dalby, Mr and Mrs Kellegher
Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk) gave apologies as unwell
Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)
164. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE. There were apologies from Cllr Mrs Allen due to work commitments; Cllr Mrs Sutton due to a clash with another arranged meeting; Cllr Mrs Diver due to personal reasons; Cllr Fox due to work commitments and Cllr Hume as unwell. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of apologies. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried by unanimous vote.
165. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Munday declared PI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00168/OUT as is home owner close to proposed development. NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00186/FUL as member of Empire Theatre Committee; NPI 19/00379/HH as owner is known; NPI Agenda item 7b and 7b(a) as recipient of payment to be agreed and member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee; NPI Agenda item 14 as member of committee for Empire Theatre. Cllr Mrs Pell declared NPI Agenda Item 3b as Member of Braintree DC; Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00168/OUT as objectors and home owners are known. PI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00186/FUL as Halstead TC owns the building. PI 19l/00379/HH as owner and agent are friends; NPI Agenda item 7b as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee and Braintree DC; NPI Agenda item 8 as member of H4C; PI Agenda item 14 as Halstead TC owns the building. Cllr Gronland declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00186/FUL as Halstead TC owns the building; Cllr Mrs Penn declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00168/OUT as homeowners and objectors are known and 19/00186/FUL as building is owned by Halstead TC. Cllr Mrs Dingle declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00186/FUL as volunteer at Empire Theatre; NPI Agenda item 14 as volunteer at Empire Theatre. Cllr Radley declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00186/FUL as Halstead TC owns the building. NPI Agenda item 7b as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee and PI Agenda item 7b as recipient of payment to be agreed.
166. (a) Presentation of cheque to Halstead Day Care Centre was postponed until next meeting.
166. (b) Presentation by Braintree D.C. on Ramsey Road Steven Wenlock spoke about the S106 money due to Braintree DC from developers at Oak Road that was earmarked for improvements to Ramsey Road Open Space area. He said that around £250,000 would be paid and the first stage payment of £50,000 had now been received. He had begun the process of looking at the way forward and wanted this to be a joint process - he noted that proposals had not yet been put to Ward members nor to Cabinet at BDC. Nicola Murphy then explained that 3 phases of development had been identified, firstly to consult with partners and residents, possibly with face to face meetings, an online survey, etc. Secondly would be a concept design with further consultations and the third phase would be building. Cllr Gronland asked if the proposed consultations would be paid for from the S106 money and was told that this was not the case. Cllr Mrs Pell asked that residents of the area be consulted and suggested that stalls at various events in the town might be a way for this consultation to take place - the upcoming May Day event was put forward as an example of events in the town; events dates are publicised on HTC web site. Cllr Radley asked if letters would be sent to residents and it was said that letters would be sent not only to residents but to schools and parents. Nicola said that it was hoped that Ramsey Academy might be involved in the process. Steven said that it was important to get the design right and include what was perceived to be required. Cllr Radley asked when further monies might be available but this was not yet known. Cllr Munday asked about a timeline for process and was told that the initial consultation period would begin within the next two weeks and last until about the end of July with a period of 3 to 4 months following for production of concept design (which should be ready by Christmas 2019). Further consultations would then take place followed by construction. Cllr Munday suggested that the HAPPY Group (former Youth Council) should be consulted and this was agreed. Following a public question, it was said that S106 money must be spent on identified projects, so the money due must be earmarked for the Ramsey Road Open Space but other monies would be due for other identified projects. It was agreed that the existing Skate Park at Ramsey Road is not now fit for purpose and that work on the area is desperately needed.
Steven and Nicola were thanked for their presentation and left the meeting.
166. (c) PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Mr Ian Tinton noted that the temporary 30mph speed limit on the A131 near to the Oak Road Development had now been removed and asked if there are plans for this to be made a permanent 30mph zone. Cllr Mrs Pell said that she had been working with ECC Highways on this matter and it had been found that road markings in the area are not correct and must be revised and that when this is completed there may possibly be an extension to the existing 30mph speed limit. Mr Tinton then noted that there appears to be an issue with water and mud from the Oak Road site leeching onto the A131 during rainy periods and he asked if the road could be swept and if the leeching could be remedied. Cllr Mrs Pell (Ward Member) said that sweepers had been deployed and that at the planning stage developers and BDC Planning Department had been warned of possible flooding in the area. Cllr Pell agreed that this must be looked at again and suggested that residents should complain to BDC Enforcement team and also to ECC Highways. Mr Tinton then spoke about the Sloe Hill/Gosfield Road area of Halstead where he said that traffic congestion, parked vehicles and speeding issues were becoming more dangerous and with further development in the area the matter would only get worse. He asked that HTC insist that ECC Highways take action. Mr Tinton was asked to email Cllr Gronland with his complaints to be taken forward to Highways. Mr Tinton then spoke about new developments in the town and the perceived cursory nature of wild life surveys. He said that surveys need to be long term, over a period of months not weeks. He also noted reports that developers are putting nets over trees to stop birds nesting on sites and it was suggested that this is a crime against wild life and any instances should be reported to the Police.
Mr Graham McCoyd spoke about a meeting he had a year ago with the then Mayor, the Town Clerk and Cllr Hume regarding the now named Riverside Bridge and had been told that there would be an update on progress in June; Mr McCoyd noted that no update had been forthcoming and asked that the matter be put on Agenda for next meeting. Cllr Munday assured Mr McCoyd that the matter is already pencilled in for discussion on 15th April and that he and Cllr Radley had recently spoken with James Cleverly MP on this matter. Mr McCoyd then spoke about the Outline Planning Application for land West of Sudbury Road and the impact this could have on surrounding roads and infrastructure. He hoped that Halstead TC would ask for refusal or at least postponement of development in this area.
Ms Helen Wolf spoke about the Outline Planning Application on land West of Sudbury Road and referenced that Braintree DC in a recent report noted that Halstead's growth is curtailed by good quality of landscape on the outskirts of town. The Circular Walk of Halstead is popular and would be disrupted by this development. The land is of historic importance and the sustainable landscape is of great importance locally and within the district. Ms Wolf noted that the photos supplied with the application to support a visual impact assessment show a stunning landscape that should not be spoiled. Ms Wolf then spoke about the Halstead Town Centre Regeneration project that seemed to have stalled since an early consultation. It was noted that in BDC minutes a meeting was projected for 28th March and asked if the plans are now a fait accompli or if they will be brought back to residents. Ms Wolf noted that if further developments are to be allowed then with lack of improvements to infrastructure a tipping point would be reached and asked that Halstead TC speak to BDC to say that enough is enough for Halstead and that objective criteria must be set and applied. Cllr Mrs Pell suggested that Ms Wolf write to Braintree DC to ask about the limit for development in Halstead but noted that Government keeps redefining what is required in the way of housing. It was also noted that developers are buying land, obtaining planning permissions but not building and it was said that this is now under discussion for compulsory powers to be levied for building within defined periods. Cllr Munday said that Halstead TC is fully aware of issues but has no authority to refuse permissions as only a Consultee on planning issues. He assured public that Town Council is working in the background to limit development. Cllr Munday also said that Town Centre Regeneration programme is still ongoing but that ECC Highways is delaying matters although Steven Wenlock (BDC) is trying to move matters forward. Town Clerk to be asked to liaise and report.
Mr Glen Mylchreest spoke about increases to Council Tax and noted that contribution for Police is increased but that there is no visible Police presence in Halstead. Cllr Munday replied that Halstead TC has no input to revisions of Council Tax contributions but noted that 150 extra Essex Police officers have been recruited to the district recently with further recruiting to take place over the next year. Cllr Munday noted that Halstead TC has funded a Special Police Constable for the Town with further Officers to take up posts soon but noted Mr Mylchreest's comment that crime is increasing and that this causing increased insurance premiums for residents. Cllr Radley noted that Police have set up meetings in Halstead and urged residents to attend and voice their concerns. It was noted that Police have a 'coffee with cops' event in Coffee Kavern in Halstead every 2 months and this is publicised on Facebook, Twitter, in the local press and on Halstead TC website. It was noted that the next Police meeting at Queen's Hall is 15th May 2019.
Mr Lister then spoke about the Town Plan recently distributed and asked about the proposed Community Centre when plans had been passed but building has not yet started. Cllr Mrs Pell said that one condition of planning was that there had to be an extra environment survey which, when carried out, showed more contamination that will have to be removed before building can begin. Cllr Pell said that the committee is trying to raise funds to get this work done. Mr Lister then spoke about the proposed Halstead Bypass that he said was first mooted in 1937. He suggested that this Bypass would never happen and noted that Sudbury has now dropped plans for a Bypass and instead will alter streets to accommodate traffic. Mr Lister asked why planning permission for a further 300 homes, outside Halstead boundary, has been given and Cllr Munday replied that developers are applying as no local plan is in place and that Halstead TC has no authority as is only a consultee to BDC. Mr Lister voiced dissatisfaction with local and regional councils which, he felt, had no powers; Mr Lister said he would not be voting in the forthcoming elections. He felt that the country is becoming a laughing stock and that MPs are ineffectual and Mr Lister felt that something has to be done. Mr Lister then left the meeting.
167. MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting on 11th February 2019. Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes of 11/02/19 was put forward by Cllr Munday and seconded by Cllr Gronland . Minutes adopted with 1 abstention.
168. PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Cllr Mrs Pell took the Chair for this part of the meeting.
Cllr Munday withdrew from the meeting at this point
19/00168/OUT - Land West of Sudbury Road, Halstead. Outline planning permission for up to 200 residential dwellings (including 30% affordable housing), planting, landscaping, public open space and children's play area and sustainable drainage system (SuDS). All matters reserved with the exception of access.
Cllr Mrs Pell made the point that Halstead is only a Consultee on planning matters as Braintree DC is the Planning Authority. Cllr Pell noted that some objectors and residents are known to her, but that she will stay and conduct this part of the meeting. Cllr Pell noted that some 95 documents, some of them long, are associated with this application and noted that wildlife surveys on the site were carried out by contractors engaged by the applicant although they are on a recognised approved list. Many comments had been raised including destruction of wild life habitats, lack of public transport, poor infrastructure, congestion in Head Street and at the St. Andrew's Church roundabout, pollution, the 13ft deep pond on the boundary, highways issues, archaeological importance of the site, disruption to the Halstead Circular Walk, health service issues, flooding risk, management of waste from the site, etc.. The comment from Greenstead Green and Halstead Rural Parish Council regarding additional hedging requirement was noted. Cllr Pell highlighted inaccuracies on the applications and said that on the application 3 medical facilities are shown in the town although only 2 exist and that accident data for the A131 in this area is not up to date - the road is called Sudbury Lane rather than Sudbury Road. Cllr Pell felt that this proposed development is a step too far and that development to the East of Sudbury Road has not been taken into account with this application.
Cllr Mrs Pell proposed objection to this application on grounds of access to development from the A131; traffic difficulties in Head Street and at St. Andrew's Church roundabout; lack of infrastructure provision, lack of heath facilities and education facilities in Halstead. There are further objections to loss and disturbance of wild life habitats, disruption to the Halstead Circular Walk and that this site is not identified in the Local Development Framework for Development. This proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren.
Cllr Radley then spoke about the application and said that he supported the objection and has spoken with various residents and had emails about this matter. Cllr Radley said that in the past two to three years Halstead has seen unprecedented development with no progress on improving infrastructure; nothing has been done and nothing appears to be planned. There is no approved local plan which leaves the area open to speculative development. He has looked at the BDC website for information on numbers and noted that 674 dwellings are planned for Halstead during the next 5 years with more going through the planning process. The total number of additional dwellings forecasted for Braintree District is 4834 meaning that Halstead has 14% of this planned development with a population of only 8% of the district. Cllr Radley said that this is disproportionate and is of great concern - enough is enough and Halstead TC and residents should stand firm. On a Braintree document published within the past two weeks it is said that Braintree District now has a forecasted 5.42 years of housing supply already. Previous applications for speculative developments have been accepted by BDC because of a lack of a 5 year housing supply, this is not the case with development and it should not be granted for that reason. Cllr Radley voiced other concerns already mentioned. Further discussions took place and Cllr Pell then withdrew her proposal, Cllr Warren withdrew his support of that proposal and Cllr Radley proposed Halstead TC's very strong objections to this application on the following grounds:
- Site is not allocated in the Draft Local Development Plan
- The development is not required to meet the BDC 5 year housing targets as per Braintree DC's documentation.
- The addition of this development to the already high number of approved applications would present and unacceptable high burden on the Doctors Surgery, schools and traffic congestion within the town.
- Halstead has already been subjected to a disproportionately high level of additional housing growth in the Braintree District (14% of the district growth with only 8% of the district population)
- Access to the site from Sudbury Road is dangerous without mitigating actions
- Development on this site would impact greatly on wild life and on the iconic countryside landscape in this part around the town.
- The site is archaeologically and historically important and is part of a conservation area.
- There is inadequate detail and provision of S106 developer contributions
- The wild life survey is not detailed and not sufficiently well documented.
Cllr Warren seconded this proposal and it was adopted unanimously
Cllr Penn asked that Town Clerk write to Braintree DC to ask where the line on additional developments will be drawn. Cllr Pell said that if the proposed Garden Villages go ahead there will be sufficient housing supply within the district. Cllr Warren asked if there is any information about when this application will be discussed at Braintree and it was said probably not until after the elections in May.
Cllr Munday returned to the meeting.
Many of the public left the meeting at this point.
19/00145/HH & 19/00146/LBC - The White House, 32 High Street, Halstead. Replacement of rear kitchen extension and associated works, including new railing to front elevation. Cllr Munday proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Dingle and carried by unanimous vote.
19/00210/LBC - 23 Mill Chase, Halstead, Essex CO9 2DQ. Removal of chimney breast and fireplace between kitchen and boot room at ground floor level only and insertion of supporting beam. Cllr Munday proposed no objection to this application that was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
19/00240/HH - 1 Garden Yard, Parsonage Street, Halstead. Single storey extension to the existing cottage and additional car port. It was noted that a similar application had been lodged previously and the applicant had taken advice. Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
19/00185/FUL - 9 Gardeners Road, Halstead Essex. Erection of 1no. two bedroom dwelling with associated garaging and landscaping (revised scheme). It was noted that a similar application had previously been received but that there were no objections raised by ECC Highways and only one general comment to the application. Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.
19/00269/HH - 71 New Street, Halstead, Essex. Proposed 2 storey and single storey rear extension; quality heritage style replacement windows and door to front of the house; new stained glass hallway window at ground level side elevation. It was noted that a similar application had previously been submitted. Cllr Munday proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle and carried by unanimous vote.
19/00186/FUL - Empire Theatre, Butler Road, Halstead. Installation of a 1.2M Satellite Dish. Chairman said that as this property is owned by Halstead TC Cllr Pell proposed that as owner of the building it would be inappropriate for Halstead TC to comment and Braintree DC must make a decision on this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle and carried with 1 abstention.
19/00294/FUL - 61 Kings Road, Halstead, Essex. Conversion of Brands Direct (use class B1) Head Office facility into 8 short term holiday lets (use class C1) together with associated minor alterations to plan layout and elevations and minor alterations to landscaping. It was noted that the conversion seems to have been well planned and includes a laundry room although there does not appear to be provision for disabled access to the first floor. Cllr Pell said that tourism is to be encouraged but it was queried whether there is need for this type of holiday provision. It was said that 8 parking spaces have been allocated and that this is sufficient for holiday lets, although not sufficient for residential properties. Discussions took place and Cllr Warren proposed objection to this application on grounds of loss of employment opportunities. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
18/00387/HH - 5 Blamsters Crescent, Halstead, Essex. Form new front porch with pitched roof and part glazed UPVC door with side panels. Cllr Munday proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Mrs Pell and Cllr Munday withdrew from the meeting at this point. Cllr Radley took the Chair.
19/00378/HH - Parsonage House, Parsonage Street, Halstead. Construction of double garage workshop and store. Cllr Radley said that plans were not clear. Cllr Mrs Dingle proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
Cllr Mrs Pell and Cllr Munday returned to the meeting. Cllr Mrs Pell resumed Chair of the meeting.
19/00361/ADV - Land South of Oak Road, Halstead, Essex. 11signs comprising of 1 x totem sign, 1 x main sign, 2 x visitor parking sign, 1 x fascia sign, 1 x swing sign, 3 x secondary sign, 2 x show homes plaques and 12 flags. Cllr Mrs Pell raised no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle and carried by unanimous vote.
Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Munday.
169. MAYOR'S APPOINTMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS. Cllr Munday noted attendance at meeting with James Cleverly MP and attendance at various events. The forthcoming civic celebration and service was noted. Cllr Munday proposed that report be noted and proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn. Report was noted by unanimous decision.
170. FINANCE. Cllr Radley Chair of Finance presented Finance Reports.
7 A. Monthly Finance Report: Cllr Radley noted the position that was in line with budget and was expected to stay on course for the final month of year. It was noted that £5000 had been moved into Reserves and this was money put aside for legal costs for the Riverside Bridge that had not yet been spent but would now be ring fenced and available when required. It was noted that some upfront payments had been made for work on the Public Toilets in Kings Road. There had been no movement on Capital expenses. Queen's Hall bookings at the highest ever rate were noted. Acceptance of the report was proposed by Cllr Radley, seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried unanimously. Report was noted
7 B. and 7B(a) Payments to be approved; Money for repair to light at Butler Road Car Park was noted and it was said that this came from Earmarked Reserves. Payments regarding refurbishment of toilets was noted. Cllr Mrs Dingle proposed acceptance of Agenda Items 7B and 7B(a) and this proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren. Vote was taken and motion was carried with 2 abstentions.
7 C. Payment for light in Butler Road Car Park it was noted that the light had ceased to work and had to be repaired at a cost of £1638.47 plus VAT. Money had been taken from the Earmarked Reserves of £5000 for Car Park maintenance. Approval of payment was proposed by Cllr Radley and seconded by Cllr Gronland. Proposal carried by unanimous vote.
7 D. Payment for Churchyard tree work Necessary work had been discussed in October and budget for works in 2019/20 was approved in January 2019. Faculty has been applied for and when granted work should start in April/May 2019. Cllr Gronland proposed that Town Clerk be authorised to put work in hand in April/May as required and to contractor quoting price most closely matched to agreed expenditure. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and unanimously agreed.
7 E. Reconciliation. Report was before Council and no issues were identified. Cllr Radley noted that Petty Cash was also up to date and that reconciliation had been signed off by himself and Cllr Gronland. Cllr Munday noted that there is a considerable balance in current account that will have additional funds when precept is paid; it was asked, therefore, if some money could be moved to another account to ensure safety of funds. Town Clerk to be asked to investigate this move. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of Reconciliation Report. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.
171. Community Hall. Cllr Mrs Pell said that proposed meeting had not taken place and would now be scheduled for after the May elections. Cllr Munday said he had hoped to take this matter forward and asked that a date be determined so that Councillors can be brought up to date with progress. Report was noted.
172. Youth. Cllr Mrs Penn said that the HAPPY Group (Halstead Actively Promoting Positive Youth) was working well and doing a great job. A drawing competition for schools had been put forward, and Richard de Clare School, so far, had taken up the challenge that would be decided by Easter with small prizes awarded. Cllr Penn had attended a Youth Strategy Meeting and noted that Young Carers group is now meeting again. There is progression with Mental Health Awareness within the District, and Knife Crime is of concern to young people and an awareness programme will be taken forward. Funding is being sought for a Healthy Eating programme, a chef from Maldon is to use an industrial kitchen in Braintree for demonstrations, etc. and possibly this may be brought to Halstead's Resource Centre. Cllr Munday suggested the High Sheriff's Awards may be a source for funds. Report was noted.
173. DISTRICT COUNCILLORS. Cllr Pell reported that she had recently been on holiday so had missed some meetings but had attended a meeting on Voter ID for the forthcoming elections. A Cabinet meeting had been attended, and it was noted that roads in the District were an issue with the A131 upgrade being cancelled. BDC are concerned about this and are speaking with ECC to seek reassurances that work will go ahead. Cllr Pell had advised that money is available from Tesco for upgrades to the Marks Farm roundabout and that this would need to be spent in the near future or would be lost. Discussions had taken place about the River Colne in Halstead and the Open Spaces Plan and it was noted that a private individual, Mr John Smith, had called a meeting for 17th April to which Councillors had been invited. It was questioned whether the Environment Agency would attend and noted that Braintree DC had not been invited as yet. Cllr Pell noted that a Friends of Halstead Public Gardens meeting had taken place where the May Day event, 6th May, was discussed and that the Fields of Trust for Halstead Public Gardens is progressing. Cllr Pell noted that BDC Planning Committee has a huge amount of work before the Purdah period (prior to election) begins. Cllr Gronland asked how planning would be managed by Halstead TC in the period before elections and it was said that Town Clerk will manage. Report was noted.
174. CHRISTMAS OFFICE HOURS Report was before Council on hours for Christmas 2019 period. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that hours as shown be adopted. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.
175. MEETING WITH MP JAMES CLEVERLY .Cllr Munday reported on meeting with himself and Cllr Radley and James Cleverly and his P.A. on 22nd February. The points of concern were raised and the report gives details of the discussions. Cllr Mrs Pell said that it was a shame that only ECC is included in discussions with MP and not Braintree DC. It was said that a follow up meeting will take place. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of report and this was seconded by Cllr Warren. Report was adopted by unanimous vote.
176. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS. To give consideration to adopting the following resolution:'that in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted and pursuant to the provisions of section 1(2)- of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, as amended, the public and the press be temporarily excluded from the meeting'
Public and press left the meeting at 9.03pm.
177. EMPIRE THEATRE LEASE RENEWAL
Discussions took place about this renewal and decisions were taken on terms to be applied.
178. TOWN TEAM FUNDS
The residual funds from the Town Team were noted and decisions made on the way forward.