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HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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MINUTES OF FULL COUNCIL MEETING
15 April 2019
Held at
Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, HALSTEAD, Essex. CO9 2BY 

 Membership:

Councillor A Munday Chairman   Present
Councillor M Radley Vice Chairman Present 
Councillor Mrs J Allen   Present
Councillor Mrs S Dingle   Present
Councillor Mrs S Diver   Present
Councillor C Fox   Apologies
Councillor D Gronland   Present
Councillor D Hume   Present
Councillor Mrs J Pell   Present
Councillor Mrs E Penn   Present
Councillor Mrs J Sutton   Present
Councillor G Warren   Present

Also in attendance: Public    Ian Tinton (Chamber of Trade); Charley Goff (Press), Jo Bridgeman; Rob Rayner; Pat Rayner; Helen Wolf; Graham McCoyd; Philip Amos (Halstead Day Centre)

                                           Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)

                                            Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)

Before the business of the meeting Cllr Munday asked for 1 minute silence to honour former Councillor and Mayor of Halstead Ruth Mayes who had recently died.

189.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE. There was apology from Cllr Fox as unwell. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of apology. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

190.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS: Cllr Munday declared PI Agenda item 5-Planning. 19/0455/HH as lives in this location. NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00468/HH as Agent is known. NPI -19/00519/OUT as objectors are known; NPI 19/00562/HH as Agent is known. NPI Agenda items 7b as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee (CSGMC). NPI Agenda item 7b(a) as recipient of expenses. Cllr Mrs Pell declared NPI Agenda item 3 as Trustee of Halstead Day Centre. NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00493/OUT as objectors are known; NPI 19/00519/OUT as objectors are known. NPI Agenda item 7b as Member of CSGMC and member of Braintree DC; NPI Agenda item 8 as member of H4C. Cllr Mrs Sutton declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00519/OUT as lived in Slough Farm Road for 11 years. Cllr Hume declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 15/00468/HH as applicant is known; 15/00455/HH as Agent is known; 15/00563/HH as Agent is known. NPI Agenda item 7b as Member of Braintree DC. Cllr Mrs Allen declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00493/OUT as site is in close proximity to own property. NPI Agenda item 7b(a) as member of Braintree DC. Cllr Mrs Dingle declared NPI Agenda item 18/01093/FUL & 18/01904/LBC as owner is known. NPI 19/00455/HH as neighbour is known. Cllr Mrs Diver declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 18/01094/LBC & 18/0193/FUL as owner is known. NPI Agenda item 7b as member of GSGMC Cllr Radley declared NPI Agenda item 7b as member of GSGMC.

191.  (a) PRESENTATION OF CHEQUE TO HALSTEAD DAY CARE CENTRE Town Clerk, Sarah Greatorex handed a cheque to Philip Amos from Halstead Day Centre as proceeds of Beavers concert organised by Town Council staff. Mr Amos thanked the Council and Council Staff for this donation. 

191.  (b) PUBLIC QUESTION TIME Mr Ian Tinton spoke, as an individual resident of Halstead and not as member of Halstead Chamber of Trade. Firstly he asked if Halstead Town Council liaised with Braintree DC and also took advice from Essex CC. He was assured that Halstead Town Council liaises with both District and County Councils as appropriate.

Secondly Mr Tinton spoke about planning applications and noted that he had written to Chair of Planning to complain about procedures but had received an ineffectual reply. Mr Tinton spoke about recent planning application for land north of Slough Farm Road, Halstead and noted that residents in Stanley Road, who would be impacted by this development, had not been consulted and there were no orange planning notices in this area. Mr Tinton said he had concerns about the planning application no. 19/00519/OUT not just for Halstead but for villages and dwellings both upstream and downstream of the area. Cllr Munday said that Halstead Town Council takes all planning matters seriously although Halstead TC is only a consultee and Braintree DC is the planning authority but that any resident is able to lobby Braintree Councillors who sit on the Planning Committee and can attend Planning Committee meetings. Cllr Mrs Pell agreed with Mr Tinton that Halstead has only 1 member sitting on the Planning Committee but said that membership of all committees is strictly controlled by Council leaders; Members of Halstead TC do attend Planning Committee meetings where appropriate. Cllr Mrs Pell assured Mr Tinton that Braintree DC Planning Committee adheres to national policy rules and consults with all statutory bodies as appropriate - although not all respond.
Mr Tinton spoke about the junction of Beridge Road with Sloe Hill and commented on the danger to users of this area. He was assured by Cllr Gronland that a speed survey would be conducted in this area after the Easter Holiday but Mr Tinton voiced his frustration that there seemed to be lots of talk but little action.  Mr Tinton then read a prepared statement - copy attached herewith

Mr Graham McCoyd spoke about Agenda item 15 - Footbridge update. Mr McCoyd said he had two questions; 1) has ownership of the footbridge been transferred. He was told that at present this had not happened. 2) if, as stated, Essex County Council had lost the original engineering report on the bridge had they been asked to make another report at their cost. If this had not happened, could Halstead TC pay for another report from Reserved Funds. Cllr Munday responded and said that the report to close the bridge was not based on a technical report but there had been a technical survey that showed repairs were required. Essex CC has been asked to furnish this report to Halstead TC but to date they have not sent the report. Mr McCoyd again asked if Halstead TC could pay for another report but was told that at present it was hoped that S106 money could be used for this. Mr McCoyd suggested that a time limit be put on Essex CC to provide the necessary details - say end of August 2019 and that after that Halstead TC should take further action. Cllr Munday said that this issue was not easy to resolve and thanked Mr McCoyd for his input. He said that the matter would be taken forward by the new Council after May 2nd elections. Mr McCoyd wished all candidates in the election the best and thanked all Halstead Town Councillors who will stand down at the elections. 

192.  MINUTES To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting on 18th March 2019.  Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes of 18/03/19 was put forward by Cllr Gronland and seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn . Minutes adopted with 1 abstention.

193.  PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Cllr Hume took the Chair for this part of the meeting.

19/00427/ADV - 39 High Street, Halstead, Essex. Replacement signage; 1no. externally illuminated fascia sign; 1no. externally illuminated projecting sign and 1no. internally illuminated poster frame. Discussions took place regarding illumination of signs and Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to signage provided they are all internally illuminated in line with Braintree DC Planning policy for a conservation area. Motion was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

19/00411/LBC - 39 High Street, Halstead, Essex. Replacement of existing externally illuminated painted timber fascia sign and projecting sign. Repainting of existing painted aluminium framed shopfronts and principal entrance door. Replacement of existing window manifestation. Replacement of existing shopfront poster frames. Creation of internal bin store for tenants of flats above. Replacement of existing counter, counter door and adjoining partition wall. replacement of existing suspended ceiling and lighting. Replacement of existing floor and wall finishes. Discussions took place regarding illumination of signs and Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to signage and works provided signs are internally illuminated in line with Braintree DC Planning policy in a conservation area. Motion was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

19/00431/FUL - 1 Chapel Street, Halstead, Essex. Proposed first floor extension to create office space. Concerns were raised about the additional height of the building, health and safety in the Chapel Street car park area during building works and possible disruption to the daily multiple deliveries to Sainsburys. Cllr Munday proposed no objection to application provided that health and safety guidelines were adhered to and disruption kept to a minimum. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Radley and a vote was taken. 8 votes were cast for proposal; 2 votes against and 1 abstention. Motion was carried.

Cllr Munday left the meeting at this point

19/00455/HH - 11 Ashlong Grove, Halstead, Essex. Single storey rear and first floor extension. It was noted that there is plenty of space for this addition and Cllr Mrs Diver proposed no objection to this application. Cllr Gronland seconded proposal and vote was 10 votes for and 1 abstention. Motion was carried.

19/00468/HH - 40 Colchester Road, Halstead, Essex. Two storey side and single storey rear extensions. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application and proposal was seconded by Cllr Radley. Motion was carried with 1 abstention.

Cllr Munday returned to meeting.

18/01094/LBC & 18/01093/FUL - Mill House, The Causeway, Halstead. Proposed change of use from B1 (offices) to C1 (Hotel) including internal and external alterations. Cllr Mrs Pell said that she found it difficult to understand this application as Council had already raised no objections to the same application in 2018. It was queried whether mistakes had been made in forwarding this application to Council as there seemed to be no new documentation on the BDC portal. Cllr Munday proposed that clarification be sought over this application as Council had already voiced approval in 2018. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.

19/00474/HH - 10 White Horse Avenue, Halstead. Formation of pitched roof over existing attached outbuilding/garage. Over-cladding of part of existing brickwork forming attached outbuilding/garage. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Allen left the meeting at this point.

19/00493/OUT - Land off Bournebridge Hill, Greenstead Green. Outline application 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. It was noted that this application does not fall within the boundary of Halstead but is in Greenstead Green and Halstead Urban parish. It was noted that Greenstead Green and Halstead urban Parish Council had raised no objections. Cllr Warren said that residents on this site would use Halstead facilities as the nearest town because the number of houses proposed was under the limit for more facilities to be provided on site. He said that Halstead infrastructure would suffer from this additional impact and he felt that Council should strongly object to any more development on the periphery of the town. Cllr Radley voiced strong objections on the following grounds; 1) Not within Halstead boundary but joins existing residential development thereby expanding urbanisation into open countryside. 2) The site is not on the Draft Local Plan 3) The adverse impact on Halstead infrastructure 4) Braintree DC has declared publicly that there is now a 5.29 year housing supply in the district which is over government targets. 5) Halstead has a disproportionate amount of new development - 14% in total with only 8% of population for the District. 6) Access onto the A131 is poor and possibly dangerous.   Cllr Munday noted that approx. 674 houses have already been approved in and around Halstead and that enough is enough. Cllr Mrs Pell noted that the proposed development site is on the line identified for a Halstead by-pass and that there is no connection with existing villages/hamlets so the site would be very isolated. It was also noted that proposal appears to leave one access to a farm track meaning that further applications could be lodged to extend the site. Cllr Mrs Pell also noted that the junction Russells Road/A131 is already an accident black spot and deer use this area to cross the road; it was stated that this area of road can be difficult to traverse in bad winter weather. Concerns were raised about the flora and fauna on the site. Cllr Radley proposed very strong objections on the following grounds;

  • Not within Halstead boundary but joins existing residential development thereby expanding urbanisation into open countryside.
  • The site is not allocated in the Draft Local Plan
  • The adverse impact on Halstead infrastructure
  • The Braintree DC 5 year Housing Supply Statement dated 11th April shows a forecast supply of 5.29 years compared to the Government target of 5 years. This application is therefore not required to meet the target.
  • Halstead has a disproportionate amount of new development - 14% of the District housing supply target with only 8% of total population for the District and a further potential 855 homes still going through the planning process.
  • Access onto the A131 is poor and possibly dangerous.      
  • Site is on the line of the proposed Halstead by-pass
  • There are concerns about flora and fauna on the site. There are concerns that this development could be extended further into open countryside.

This Council strongly feels that 'enough is enough' with new developments on Halstead's boundaries. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Allen rejoined the meeting

19/00519/OUT - Outline application with all matters reserved for residential development of up to 29 dwellings and access. Land north of Slough Farm Road, Halstead. It was noted that on BDC web site there are many objections against this application on very valid grounds. There is a very real flood risk in the area and the proposal would risk loss of wild life habitats. There would be extra burdens on the infrastructure of Halstead and it was noted that the layout of the plans would leave scope for more expansion on the site.   It was noted that access to the site is very poor and dangerous. Cllr Mrs Allen said that this is a peaceful area, an amenity for the Town and should not be disturbed and Cllr Munday concurred that development here would mean a loss to the community. Cllr Mrs Allen noted that at a recent Planning Committee meeting an application for site in Gosfield had been refused as it would mean extra burden on Doctor's Surgery facility. Cllr Munday asked why this could not be recognised as a reason for refusal on Halstead applications. Cllr Mrs Diver was concerned at the small number of dwellings on a large site, and said that this would possibly lead to other applications for the area. Cllr Gronland proposed objection to this application on grounds of poor access, risk of flooding, loss of wild life habitats, burden on Halstead's infrastructure and additional burden on Halstead's Doctors' Surgery. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

19/00563/HH - First floor extension over existing garage. 1 Brook Farm Close, Halstead, Essex. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application and proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday. Proposal carried by unanimous vote.

19/00547/LBC - Internal alterations and external repairs. The Howe, Howe Chase, Hedingham Road, Halstead. It was noted that work has already started on this site, and that pre-application advice had been sought. It was agreed that it was a welcome move to renovate this historic house back to original condition. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to this application. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr Munday.

194.  MAYOR'S APPOINTMENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS. Cllr Munday noted recent engagements and was sorry to have missed the concert given by Halstead Choral Society due to ill health. Cllr Munday proposed that report be noted and proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn. Report was noted by unanimous decision.

195.  FINANCE. Cllr Radley Chair of Finance presented Finance Reports.

7 A. Monthly Finance Report:  Report had been circulated, and Cllr Radley noted that finances are in a good position to take forward for new Council. Income was higher than budget, up 4.2%, mainly due to excess charges collected. There were also extra charges in car parks and additional bookings at Queen's Hall that helped increase income. There were some budget overspends on payments mainly due to costs of refurbishment of toilets at Kings Road and also with refurbishment of the war memorial but Cllr Radley assured Council that monies have been covered by the additional income and savings in other expenditure items.  The move to Queen's Hall for Town Council Offices resulted in expenditure being more than £4000.00 lower than budget. Cllr Radley pronounced Council finances to be in a good position that will be reflected in accounts for new year. There were no questions, but Cllr Radley and Cllr Gronland were thanked for their work on accounts and for good decisions made. Council staff were also thanked for their hard work. Cllr Radley noted that from Earmarked Reserves not much had been spent although additional money for toilets would be taken from this account. Acceptance of the report was proposed by Cllr Radley, seconded by Cllr Munday and carried unanimously. Report was noted.

7A(b) Completion of toilet refurbishment. Report was before Council regarding additional electrical work needed at the toilets that would mean additional funding would be required. Some money allocated for 19/20 can be used but some additional money from 18/19 surplus that was put to Earmarked Reserves will be required. Proposals were:

1.  to use allocation of £2500 in the 19/20 budget and to allocate a further £900 from Earmarked Reserves to cover costs.

2.  that £3000 from 18/19 surplus be transferred from Earmarked Reserves for lock and door mechanism repairs.

3.  that Town Clerk should seek 3 quotes for door locking work required - quotes to be circulated by email and agreed by Councillors in order to facilitate work as soon as possible.

Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that these should all be agreed and this was seconded by Cllr Warren. Proposals were adopted by unanimous vote.

7 B. and 7B (a) Payments to be approved; Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of Agenda Items 7B and 7B(a) and this proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver. Vote was taken and motion was carried unanimously.

7 C. Purchase of new trailer. This expenditure had been identified by Council staff and a sum of £3500 had been allocated to capital reserves to enable purchase. Approval of purchase and offer of old trailer for sale was proposed by Cllr Warren and seconded by Cllr Mrs Allen. Proposal carried by unanimous vote.

7 D. Reconciliation. Report was before Council and no issues were identified, internal Auditor is happy with procedures to reconcile accounts. Cllr Radley noted that at last meeting Cllr Munday had suggested that risk should be spread over different banks as a sum of £113000.00 was currently lodged in current account and this sum would be enhanced when first part of precept was paid in the near future. Cllr Radley asked Town Clerk to investigate and put forward proposals at next meeting to mitigate exposure of Halstead Town Council against the £85,000 limit per financial institution under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. It was agreed that some investment would be desirable. Cllr Radley moved acceptance of Reconciliation and proposed that Town Clerk investigate actions to mitigate against the £85,000 limit per financial institution under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn and adopted unanimously.                

196.  COMMUNITY HALL. Cllr Mrs Pell had reported at Annual Town Meeting. No further report was given.                                      

197.  YOUTH. Cllr Mrs Penn noted that this was a quiet time for the HAPPY group because of exams and holidays but said that the drawing competition initiated by the group would be judged in the near future. Cllr Mrs Penn said she would continue her work with the HAPPY group although she was standing down from Halstead Town Council. Cllr Mrs Allen thanked Cllr Mrs Penn for her hard work with the youth group and noted that this was not an easy task as membership was fluid in nature. Cllr Mrs Penn said she was proud of the group, all that had been achieved and their hard work to restore a positive view of youth in Halstead.  Report was noted. 

198.  TOWN PLAN MEETING WITH BDC. Cllr Munday gave a verbal report of his meeting with Cllr Radley and the Town Clerk and Andy Wright and Cllr Butland from Braintree DC. They had been interested in the report and found it positive and informative. They could not comment in this period before elections but hoped to work with Halstead TC in the new Council year. Cllr Mrs Penn said that there had been favourable comments from outside the Town on the Twitter platform and someone had asked for the link to the Town Plan. Cllr Munday noted that there were 29 points for action by the new Council.  Report was noted.

199.  DISTRICT COUNCILLORS. - Reports from District Councillors had been given at the Annual Town Meeting, held prior to this meeting. No further reports were given.

200.  MEMBER/OFFICER PROTOCOL. Report was before Council and had been circulated. It was said that this was a new document as new Council when elected needed to be aware of protocol. Cllr Mrs Pell proposed adoption of this protocol and this was seconded by Cllr Mrs Sutton. Proposal adopted by unanimous vote.

Cllr Munday commented on the number of policies and protocols that were now in place and thanked Town Clerk and staff for their hard work in bringing these forward that enabled Council to gain prestigious award and status.

201.  LEAVE FROM WORK POLICY. It was said that there had been an informal granting of leave up until now and the proposed policy would bring Halstead Town Council into line with National Joint Council for Local Government Services in this matter. Cllr Mrs Dingle proposed acceptance and implementation of this policy. Proposal seconded by Cllr Mrs Diver and carried by unanimous vote.

202.  RISK MANAGEMENT REVIEW. Reviews had been circulated prior to meeting, as a review of risk management is a new requirement for this year’s audit. It was agreed that they had been well written and that this project had entailed a great deal of hard work. Thanks were given to Town Clerk and Staff for their diligent work in bringing this review to Council. Cllr Munday proposed acceptance of these reviews and this was seconded by Cllr Mrs Penn. Proposal was adopted by unanimous vote.

203.  FOOTBRIDGE UPDATE. Report was before Council and it was noted that there was hope that S106 money could be used to commission a new engineering report on the bridge. It was hoped that the matter of the footbridge could be taken forward into next year. Cllr Mrs Pell asked if minutes of the working group were available but it was said that there had been no meetings recently although minutes were available for those meetings that had taken place. Cllr Munday said that there had been no recent meetings since it had become obvious that a technical report was needed and that funding was required for this. Cllr Munday said that getting the bridge onto the Open Spaces Action Plan would allow S106 monies to be spent on commissioning the technical report needed for the future working party to move the project forward. Cllr Warren noted that no meeting had taken place since June 2018 (last meeting was in fact August 28th) and he would ask for an update to be put on Agenda for each Council meeting going forward. Cllr Munday agreed that the matter should be on Agenda for May meeting but Cllr Warren proposed that there should be an Agenda item at each Council meeting to discuss the Footbridge. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Allen. Cllr Radley noted that the new Council, after 2nd May elections, would appoint a working group so there could be no report in May but that after that there could be an item at each Council meeting. Cllr Mrs Allen said that there should be a report to Council, if only on membership of new working group. Vote was taken on proposal of Cllr Warren with 8 votes for the proposal, 2 votes against and 1 abstention. Motion was carried.

204.  APPROVAL OF NEW PAY SCALES   it was noted that this was a Government driven initiative. Cllr Gronland proposed acceptance of new pay scales and this was seconded by Cllr Warren. Proposal was carried by unanimous vote.               

205.  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'

At the conclusion of business Cllr Munday, Mayor of Halstead, thanked those Councillors who will not be standing for election to new Council and certificates were presented to

Cllr Mrs Shirley Diver

Cllr Mrs Eileen Penn

Cllr Mrs Jenny Sutton

Cllr Mrs Julia Allen

Cllr Christopher Fox

All were thanked for their work with Council and were wished health, happiness and success going forward.

There was no further business. Meeting closed at  9.50 pm.

 

 

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