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HALSTEAD TOWN COUNCIL

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

 Membership:

Councillor A Munday Chairman   Present
Councillor M Radley Vice Chairman Present 
Councillor Miss J Atkinson   Present
Councillor P Caulfield   Present
Councillor P Claydon   Present
Councillor Mrs S Dingle   Present
Councillor M Fincken   Present
Councillor D Gronland   Present
Councillor D Hume   Present
Councillor Mrs J A Pell   Present
Councillor Miss L Smith   Present
Councillor G Warren   Present

There were no apologies for absence.

Also in attendance: Public   Ms H Wolf; Mrs Eileen Penn, Mr Graham McCoyd, Cllr Mrs J Beavis (ECC) Mr B Dixey.

                                           Sarah Greatorex (Town Clerk)

                                            Julia Smith (Minute Clerk)

090.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS:  Cllr Mrs Pell declared PI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00531/FUL as family member has a factory in the vicinity and H4C has land in Butler Road.  NPI Agenda item 5-Planning; 19/00709/HH as Agent is known and as applicant is an employee of Braintree DC of which Cllr Mrs Pell is a member.  19/00684/ADV as is Vice-Chairman of Halstead Cricket Club in the near vicinity and family member has property in the vicinity. NPI Agenda item 7g as member of Courtaulds Sports Ground Management Committee (GSGMC).  NPI Agenda item 8 as member of H4C.  Cllr Hume declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00709/HH as Agent is known and as applicant is an employee of Braintree DC of which he is a member. 19/00752/FUL and 19/00753/LBC as Agent is known. NPI Agenda item 7 as member of GSGMC.  Cllr Warren declared NPI Agenda item 7 as member of CSGMC. Cllr Radley declared NPI Agenda item 5-Planning 19/00709/HH as applicant is an employee of Braintree DC of which he is a member.  Cllr Munday declared NPI in all planning as soon to be member of Braintree DC planning committee and has taken advice that remaining for HTC discussions on planning might be a conflict of interests and disruptive to the running of the BDC planning committee. 

010.  (a)  PUBLIC  QUESTION  TIME  Mr Graham McCoyd voiced his frustrations over slow progress on work to bring the public footbridge over the River Colne at Bridge Street back into use and noted that at the previous meeting he had asked that Halstead TC take money out of Reserved Funds to commission a report on necessary work or to push for this report from Essex CC by end of August.  This, he said, did not appear in minutes of previous meeting.

Cllr Jo Beavis (ECC) welcomed new Councillors to the meeting and offered congratulations on their election.  Cllr Beavis said that she had received many emails about the footbridge and pledged to assist in any way possible as repairs are a pressing issue.  Cllr Mrs Beavis spoke about the Local Highway Panel and the good work done by this group.  Cllr Beavis noted that ECC had offered Braintree DC £100,000 to effect Highway work provided that BDC matched this funding.  The offer had been declined and Cllr Beavis felt this a lost opportunity and said that Local Councils should speak with strong voices about Highway issues.

011.  MINUTES  To approve the minutes of the Town Council Meeting  on 15th April 2019.   Minutes had been circulated and proposal to adopt minutes of 15/04/19 with addition of note about Mr Graham McCoyd's request that Council should take money from Reserved Funds to pay for a report on necessary works at Footbridge was put forward by Cllr  Munday and seconded by Cllr Mrs Dingle.  Minutes adopted with 7 votes for and with 5 abstentions from new Council members.

012. PLANNING  APPLICATIONS

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

Cllr Munday left the meeting at this point

19/00616/HH 9 Pear Tree Close, Halstead Essex - Construction of ground floor side/rear and first floor front extensions and part conversion of existing garage into habitable space.  Cllr Hume said that he could find no reason to object to this application and Cllr Mrs Pell proposed no objection to the application.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Pell left the meeting at this point

19/00531/FUL  66 Broton Drive, Halstead, Essex.  Construction of a new workshop/storage unit.  Cllr Hume noted concerns about contamination on the site and that a recommendation of a geo-technical survey to look at foundations had been made. Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application provided that a geo-technical survey be carried out.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Mrs Pell returned to the meeting

19/00709/HH - 12 Ravens Avenue, Halstead, Essex. Replacement of flat roofed front porch with a pitched roof and installation of new windows to ground floor front elevation.  It was noted that applicant is member of Braintree DC staff.  Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application.  Proposal seconded by Cllr Miss Atkinson and carried by unanimous vote.

19/00684/ADV - Land East of Sudbury Road, Halstead. Application for a non-illuminated sign with two adjacent flags, with an additional 10 flags along Sudbury Road.  Hoarding along Sudbury Road with graphics.  It was noted that this is a retrospective application.  Cllr Radley raised objection to the number of flags, and asked if this number met current guidelines.  It was queried whether hoardings had been placed to obstruct use of a public footpath, but it was said that this is a permissive footpath only - the existing national footpath is still open for use.  Cllr Radley proposed that an objection be raised about the number of flags and asked that existing guidelines for use of advertising flags be met.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.

19/00730/HH and 19/00731/LBC - The Howe, Howe Chase, Hedingham Road, Halstead.  Extension and associated internal alterations.  Cllr Hume noted that this would make improvement to the building and the proposals were sympathetic to the existing architecture.  Cllr Caulfield proposed no objections to this application and proposal was seconded by Cllr Claydon.  Proposal carried by unanimous vote.

19/00752/FUL and 19/007563/LBC - Brook Farm House, Colchester Road, Halstead. Proposed conversion of garage to dwelling and new driveway access.  It was noted that ECC Highways had no objection to this application provided that existing access onto Colchester Road was blocked off.  Cllr Radley proposed no objection to this application provided that requirement of ECC Highways was met.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Mrs Pell and carried by unanimous vote.

At conclusion of this agenda item Cllr Hume urged all Councillors to view plans on Braintree DC web site prior to meetings so that informed decisions can be made.

Cllr Munday returned to the meeting

Chair of the meeting was handed back to Cllr  Munday.

013.  MAYOR'S APPOINTMENT  AND  ANNOUNCEMENTS..  Chairman noted recent attendance of himself and Deputy at the final match in the current season for Halstead Football Club, and that he had attended and enjoyed being a part of the 25th Halstead Marathon, noting a number of other various pending engagements.  Report was noted.                                     

014.  FINANCE.  Cllr Radley Chair of Finance presented Finance Reports.
Cllr Radley noted that reports 7a, 7b, 7c and 7d referred to Financial year 18/19. 

a) 2018/19 Financial accounts and current assets:
Report had been circulated.  Cllr Radley commented on page 3 of the report - Earmarked Reserves and noted that £12,000 had been allocated for election costs but that actual costs were expected to be in the region of £7,000 meaning a perceived surplus in the accounts.  It was noted that there would be a higher than expected cost for churchyard maintenance and a further £1300 would need to be allocated to this expense.  An extra amount of £2309 would be required for repairs on the roof of Empire Theatre and reserves would be spent here.  A full report on the updated churchyard tree maintenance work would be presented at next meeting.  Cllr Radley noted that it was important for Council to build up the reserves against unexpected expenditure.  Cllr Claydon queried the credit of £5000 against Riverside Bridge repair and it was said that money had been reserved for impending legal costs but as matters had not moved on as quickly as hoped there was a credit that would mean a re-allocation of reserves could be effected in future.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the report.  This was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.

b) Internal auditor's report.  Report had been circulated and Cllr Radley proposed that this report be noted.  Cllr Gronland seconded this proposal and it was carried by unanimous vote.

c) Approval and signing of annual governance statement. Report had been circulated and it was noted that this report would be sent to external auditor for approval.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of this report.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.

d) Approval and signing of Accounting Statements for 2018/19.  It was noted that this report has also to be sent for external audit.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of this report.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Claydon and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Radley noted that the following reports referred to the current financial year.

e) Approval of Direct Debits for Financial Year 2019/20.  It was said that some payments are made by Direct Debit and need to be approved for the coming year. Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of report and acceptance of payments by Direct Debit as listed.  Report was seconded by Cllr Claydon and carried by unanimous vote.

f) Monthly Finance.  Cllr Radley noted one month's reporting (April) and pointed out  £91000 receipt that is half of precept - the second half will be received in September.  Receipts for coach outings was noted.  An expenditure of £3500 was noted as purchase of a new trailer as approved at previous meeting of Council.  An amendment on figures for Queen's Hall booking was pointed out by Cllr Fincken.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the report subject to amendment of figures for Queen's Hall bookings.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

g) and ga).  Payments to be approved.  Payments for King's Road toilets repair and access doors had been approved at previous meeting of Council.  Vehicle insurance had also been noted.  Cllr Munday asked if the redundant trailer had been sold after purchase of new trailer and was told that it had been sold for £550.00.  Cllr Warren asked if toilets were now open after the refurbishments and was told that they have been open and that no more expenditure is planned.  Cllr Radley proposed acceptance of the payments report.  Proposal seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.

015.  COMMUNITY HALL.  Cllr Mrs Pell noted that a meeting had been arranged for 22nd May at Queen's Hall between 4 trustees of H4C and Councillors, 7 of whom had confirmed attendance.  Cllr Fincken said that 'new' Councillors may not be aware of previous matters concerning the proposed community centre and asked if a pre-meeting could be arranged to update knowledge.  Cllr Fincken said there had been a lack of communication with public and a lack of transparency about this project.  He said that the public need to know the stance taken by Halstead TC on this project and where matters stand on bringing the project to fruition.  Cllr Munday suggested that Town Clerk put a briefing pack together with timeline of matters to date and after discussion a meeting was arranged for 6.30 prior to the arranged meeting on 22nd May.  Cllr Mrs Pell said that the arranged meeting was a bridge-building exercise to mend communications and give details of problems regarding contamination of site and details of funding that had been sought but that was not forthcoming at present.  Trustees would bring plans and details of the way forward but would require commitment of Town Councillors to the project.  Cllr Fincken asked if pack details could be sent by email to all Councillors and Cllr Munday said that the meeting would be informal, but held at Queen's Hall.  The meeting would not be minuted, and Cllr Pell asked that all Councillors be honest in their approach and to give full and frank suggestions on the way forward.  Cllr Caulfield and Cllr Claydon gave apologies for the meeting and Cllr Caulfield asked if submitted questions would be acceptable.  It was agreed that all Councillors should have a chance to submit questions and comments and all would be taken into consideration.  Cllr Mrs Pell proposed acceptance of this report and decisions made.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Munday and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr  Munday proposed suspension of standing orders to allow Mrs Eileen Penn to report on the following Agenda item.  Proposal seconded by Cllr Fincken and carried by unanimous vote.

016.  YOUTH.  Mrs Penn reported that some photos of HAPPY members at the May Fayre had been circulated to Councillors by email.  She said that there had not been much activity within the group at present as all members were concentrating on exams at college.  She was pleased to report that members of the Youth Club had asked to join the HAPPY group and also gave details of the competition organised and run by HAPPY team members.  A draft leaflet about the group had been prepared and copies were handed out at the May Fayre and also sent by Instagram and email.  Cllr Munday was pleased that the group seemed to be going from strength to strength and thanked Mrs Penn for her continuing liaison with the group.  All agreed that it was good to see the HAPPY group thriving and it was suggested that a link to the group be put on the Town Council web site.  Cllr Munday thanked Mrs Penn for her report and for her work with the HAPPY group.  Report was noted

Council was moved back into Standing Orders by proposal from Cllr Munday, seconded by Cllr Fincken and unanimously agreed.

017. DISTRICT  COUNCILLORS.  - Cllr Mrs Pell reported that Braintree DC would meet for Annual General Meeting on 21st May and Committees would be arranged at that meeting; constitution of committees is on a pro rata basis for all represented parties/groups but at present it had been suggested that Cllr Munday sit on the Planning Committee; and Cllrs Radley, Hume and Mrs Pell would sit on what was previously the Overview and Scrutiny and Governance teams but that was now divided up differently.  It was expected that Cllr Mrs Pell would sit on the licensing committee, be the representative for Halstead Public Gardens and continue to be invited to Cabinet meetings although not in a voting capacity. It was expected that Cllr Graham Butland would continue as Leader of the Council.  Report was noted

018.  FOOTBRIDGE  UPDATE.  It was said that at present there was nothing to report but that Mr McCoyd's comments about funding another survey had been noted.  A further report would be made at next meeting.  Report was noted

019.  ROAD NAMES FOR LAND EAST OF SUDBURY ROAD.  Bellway Homes had contacted Council regarding names for road on the new development.  Halstead History Society had compiled a list of local artists that could be used.  Cllr Mrs Pell suggested that as the land is adjacent to Halstead Cricket Ground some names of past players/officials of the Club could be used; a list of 6 names were put forward and it was said that families of these deceased members should be sought before names were put forward.  Cllr Mrs Pell was asked to research and find a further 6 names that could be suggested as there are up to 12 roads identified on the development.
Cllr Warren said that he would be strongly opposed to use of names to reflect  species that used the area as habitat as this would be seen as disgraceful and insensitive.
It was suggested that perhaps a mix of names could be used on various areas of the site.
Cllr Mrs Pell proposed that names of 12 former members of Halstead Cricket Club be put forward as road names.  Cllr Munday seconded this proposal, but asked that Cllr Mrs Pell put forward 12 names as soon as possible and circulate them by email to all Councillors for approval and forwarding to developers.  Proposal was carried by unanimous vote.

Discussion then took place about Developers’ proposal to call the site 'Willow Park'.  Cllr Caulfield said that calling the site 'Willow Park' would seem to exclude residents from Halstead and suggested that objections be lodged with Developers.  It was said that the name would be a marketing tool for developers, Cllr Radley said that in effect the site was an extension of the Churchill Avenue estate.  Cllr Mrs Dingle was of the opinion that once the site was developed and all dwellings sold the name 'Willow Park' would be redundant.  Cllr Caulfield proposed objection to the name 'Willow Park' and questioned validity of the name.  After further discussion Cllr Caulfield withdrew this objection.  Cllr Hume then proposed that the request from the developers be answered by stating that the preference of Council is that no name should be given to this site. Proposal was seconded by Cllr Caulfield and vote was taken.  7 votes were cast for the proposal, 1 vote against the proposal and 4 abstentions.  Motion was carried.

020,  REVIEW  OF  BANKING  ARRANGEMENTS.    Cllr Munday appraised Council of the discussions at previous meeting about the need to spread the risk to Council by placing money in various banks.  Town Clerk said that holdings should be spread, and felt that a current account at Lloyds Bank - the only remaining bank in Halstead - would be a wise move. Clerk also suggested that it may be prudent to have different signatories for other accounts to spread the risk for Council.  After discussions it was decided that signatories to current account should remain as at present but that different signatures for other accounts would be in Council's interest.  Cllr Claydon asked about internet banking and was told that this had been explored for the Barclays current account but seemed to be taking a long time to arrange.  It was suggested that perhaps internet banking for other accounts could also be explored.  Cllr Munday proposed that Clerk be given delegated authority to explore other bank accounts, particularly a current account with Lloyds Bank subject to checking banking charges.  Proposal was seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried with 11 votes for proposal and 1 against.

Cllr Munday proposed that Clerk be given delegated authority to research the most appropriate investment option to achieve a higher yield with easy access.  Proposal seconded by Cllr Claydon and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Munday proposed delegated authority to Clerk to secure online facilities on all accounts.  Proposal seconded by Cllr Warren and carried by unanimous vote.

Cllr Munday proposed that current signatories to current account be maintained, but that different signatories for other accounts be set up.  Proposal seconded by Cllr Gronland and carried by unanimous vote.

021.  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' 

There was no further business.  Meeting closed at  9.06pm.

 

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