MINUTES OF A MEETING OF PURLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL,

HELD IN THE WELLS PAVILION, HOWE GREEN ROAD,

ON FRIDAY, 9th MARCH 2018, AT 7.00 P.M.

 

Members present: Mr. N. Arthur (Chairman), Mr. C. Ash, Mr. B. Oliver, Mr. S. Potter.

 

Also in attendance: Mrs. Jane Potter (Clerk).

 

Mr. John Archer attended the public session prior to the start of the meeting.

 

The meeting was not attended by any members of the public.

 

1/03/18 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

Apologies were received from Mr. S. Bardwell, Mr. G. Rayner and Mr. G. Strathern who were unable to attend the meeting due to prior personal and professional commitments and from Miss Sue White (District Council Ward Member) and Mrs. Penny Channer (County Council Ward Member) who also had prior commitments.

 

2/03/18 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND APPLICATIONS FOR DISPENSATIONS (Localism Act 2011)

 

There were no new declarations of interest made, nor were there any applications for dispensations from the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

 

3/03/18 THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF PURLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON 9TH FEBRUARY 2018 having been circulated to all Members, were approved, and then signed by the Chairman.

 

4/03/18 TO DISCUSS ANY MATTERS OF INFORMATION ARISING FROM THOSE MINUTES:

 

4.1/03/18 Clerk: 11/02/18 Correspondence: Purleigh Post Office closure: Members noted that Mr. Ash had met with Baldev Kahlon (Network Operations Manager, Post Office) on Tuesday, 20th February 2018 to discuss the continuing closure of Purleigh Post Office.

 

At the meeting Mr. Ash had been advised that the Post Office was seeking to send a ‘mobile’ office to Purleigh to set up and sell all the normal range of products such as stamps and foreign currency etc. in a convenient venue. Mr. Kahlon had suggested that ideally this would be behind the shop, which could benefit the proprietors by attracting customers, or failing that at the village hall. There would be no charges or fees for this service. Rather like the mobile library, there would be regular weekly visits lasting for an hour or two which would be well publicised so parishioners knew when the Post Office was open.

 

Mr. Ash had subsequently liaised with Purleigh shop’s owners, who had agreed that the building behind the shop could suit a temporary Post Office.

 

Mr. Ash reported that Mr. Kahlon had since explained that he was still struggling to find/recruit a nearby Core Branch who could offer Post Office services in Purleigh. In this situation when there was no Postmaster committed to provide the service, there was no point in discussing any proposal with the village shop. Mr. Kahlon was also making enquires with his planning and IT team to try to get a spare mobile KIT, but had had no success to date. Mr. Kahlon had assured Mr. Ash that he was trying on all fronts and would let him know if and when he had any good news. He was really sorry, things were not progressing as he had hoped but the Post Office would keep trying to restore some service to Purleigh.

 

Mr. Ash was thanked for all his efforts in trying to find a solution, so this important parish resource could be maintained.

 

4.2/03/18 Members’: Members did not have any matters arising from the February meeting to report.

 

 5/03/18 PLANNING MATTERS

 

5.1/03/18 Decisions taken between meetings: Members noted that the Parish Council had not made any recommendations on planning applications between meetings.

 

5.2/03/18 Current applications: HOUSE/MAL/18/00130 Proposed single storey side extension, Elmfield Cold Norton Road, Purleigh.

 

The Parish Council RECOMMENDED APPROVAL.

 

HOUSE/MAL/18/00133 Proposed garage in place of approved stables (16/01061/FUL), Stable at Purleigh Grange, Chelmsford Road, Purleigh.

 

The Parish Council RECOMMENDED APPROVAL, but agreed to point out that the plans were misleading in that there was not a veterinary surgery operating from the site.

 

HOUSE/MAL/18/00259 removal of conservatory, conversion of bungalow to two storey dwelling with rooms within roof, single storey rear extension and alterations. Syringa, Chimney Lane, Purleigh.

 

The Parish Council RECOMMENDED REFUSAL on the following grounds:

 

The proposed development, by virtue of its scale, bulk, height and design, would appear visually inharmonious, conspicuous and demonstrably discordant within this very rural street scene which was characterised by much smaller dwellings congruous with their surroundings, to the detriment of the locality's character, contrary to policies D1 and H4 of the Maldon District Local Development Plan and guidance contained within the National Planning Policy Framework and the Maldon Design Guide.

 

5.3/03/18 Notification of appeals: Members noted that the Parish Council had not been notified of any new appeals or appeal decisions between meetings.

 

5.4/03/18 Maldon District Council planning decisions: Members noted that Maldon District Council had APPROVED the following planning applications:

  • FUL/MAL/17/00802 Retrospective – Siting of two (2) containers for agricultural use. Blackstone Farm, Lodge Lane.

  • FUL/MAL/17/01456 & LBC/MAL/17/01457 Proposed change of use from vacant building to B1 office use. Stabilisation works, replacement metal framed windows and demolition of existing non-original timber framed extension. Building 30, Stow Maries Aerodrome, Hackmans Lane.

and had REFUSED to grant planning permission for the following development:

  • HOUSE/ MAL/17/01324 Retrospective – Erection of front boundary wall. Cornlands, Hackmans Lane.

5.5/03/18 Chelmsford Pre-Submission Local Plan, Sustainability Appraisal, and Habitats Regulations Assessment: Members were reminded that these documents had been circulated after the February 2018 Parish Council meeting.

 

It was agreed not to make a formal response to the Chelmsford Pre-Submission Local Plan.

 

5.6/03/18 Other planning matters: Removal of the Parish Trigger: The contents of a letter from Paul Dodson (Director of Planning & Regulatory Services, Maldon District Council) to all the parish and town councils in the District were noted by the Parish Council.

 

In his letter Mr. Dodson acknowledged that the District Council had received a number of letters in response to the decision to remove the ‘Parish Trigger’ and the decision to no longer provide hard copies of plans to Town and Parish Councils. According to Mr. Dodson whilst the District Council was always interested in the views and opinions of Town and Parish Councils, alongside the other residents of the District, there were times when it needed to make decisions in the interest of the District as a whole. The changes being introduced were in response to comments provided via both a recent audit and peer review and were an attempt to improve efficiency and bring practices in line with most other authorities.

 

Whilst the ‘Parish Trigger’ had been in place for a number of years at Maldon District Council, it was not common practice nor was it encouraged by Government guidance which advocated that a minimum of 90% of planning applications should be dealt with at delegated level, with the planning committee only dealing with particularly complex or controversial applications. The District Council did not consider therefore that these changes in process were in conflict with the localism agenda.

 

The call in process for planning applications had not been amended as part of the changes to the Council’s scheme of delegation. A weekly list was sent out to all District Council Members which provided them with details of all of the planning applications validated that week. There was already a deadline of 28 days from the date in which the ‘weekly list’ was sent for District Council Members to inform the Local Planning Authority (LPA) that they would like an application to go to the appropriate area planning committee. There would not be an ability for Members to ‘call in’ an application once the officer had made a recommendation or prior to the decision being issued.

 

Mr. Dodson explained that notwithstanding the ‘Parish Trigger’ it must be noted that any comments received as part of the planning process were a material consideration for the Council when determining a planning application. Whilst the Planning Authority did not always come to the same conclusion as a Town or Parish Council, the content of their responses was always fully considered and was seen as a key part of the determination of any planning application by Maldon District Council.

 

With regard to the withdrawal of paper copies of plans, National Government had made a number of cuts to Local Government funding and had challenged authorities to look to streamline and review their processes and the services they offered. This had resulted in Councils making a number of difficult decisions, Maldon included. Unfortunately, this had included the decision to stop providing hard copies of planning applications to the Town and Parish Councils of the District from 1st April 2018. The uptake in on-line submission had increased the cost to the Council of providing hard copies and it had been estimated that the cost to the Council, in officer time alone, was around £12,000 a year.

 

The reduction in the production of and reliance on hard copies of documents was something that was in line with the Council’s own internal aspirations and process review. Planning Officers were not provided with scale plans or hard copies of documentation, and had not been for some time now, and it was expected that they rely on electronic formats of the information.

 

Members noted that despite the Parish Council asking District Council Ward Members Sue White and John Archer to call in planning application FUL/MAL/17/01475 (Conversion of existing building to dwelling. The Stable at Pale Pitt Farm, Latchingdon Road, Purleigh) after the February 2018 Parish Council meeting, they had been unable to do so because the District Council’s time frame had precluded it. Cold Norton Parish Council had also recommended that the application be refused.

 

To receive a complaint about the ability to engage with the Parish Council during the public session prior to the start of the February 2018 meeting, regarding planning applications: The contents of a complaint by a member of the public who had attended the public session prior to the start of the February 2018 Parish Council meeting were noted by Members.

 

The complaint concerned the attendance and punctuality of Councillors and the time and opportunity given to members of the public to talk to Parish Councillors.

 

In accordance with the Parish Council’s Code of Practice for Handling Complaints, Mr. Rayner, who had chaired the February meeting, had contacted the resident concerned to address their concerns. Following their conversation three residents, including the complainant, had put their objections to applications FUL/MAL/18/00145 & LBC/MAL/18/00146 (Proposed extension to existing public house with internal alterations and replacement doors and windows. The Bell Public House, The Street, Purleigh), in writing for Members’ information.

 

Both sets of objections had been placed in the circulation folder for Members’ information.

 

Possible commercial use of land, 2 Silsons Cottages, Fambridge Road: Members noted that Maldon District Council had thanked the Parish Council for its recent enquiry and informed Members that its enquiries into the matter had been completed and that the District Council considered that there was no breach of planning control at the site.

 

6/03/18 HIGHWAY MATTERS

 

6.1/03/18 Highway verge, The Street: Members noted that designs of the proposed improvement scheme, prepared by S.P. Bardwell Ltd, had been forwarded to Jon Simmons (Essex Highways Highway Liaison Officer, Local Highway Panels: Chelmsford City and Maldon District) and Penny Channer (County Council Ward Member) for consideration by the Local Highways Panel (See Minute 6.1/02/18).

 

6.2/03/18 Other highway matters: Fallen tree, Bridleway 51 Purleigh through Kent Wood: Members noted and approved that as a result of a complaint from bridleway users, between meetings the Parish Council had reported a fallen tree at the Edgewood Veterinary Practice end of Bridleway 51 through Kent Wood to Essex County Council (reference number 2556702).

 

Essex Highways Councillors Briefing: Members noted that there would be an Essex Highways Councillors Briefing on Monday, 19th March at 7.00pm at Maldon District Council’s Offices and that the Parish Council had been invited to send one representative.

 

The briefing would cover the following topics:

 

  • Essex Highways Service Overview

  • Ringway Jacobs, Safety & Network Management

  • Data-led Asset Management and prioritisation

  • Revenue Repairs and Maintenance

  • Highways localism – Local Highway Panels and Rangers (overview only).

  • Public Communications.

 

and would be given by a range of senior Highways Officers.

 

Members noted that this was an overview briefing of the service and consequently Officers would not be able to answer individual queries about specific named local defects on the evening. However, the briefing would cover how Essex Highways handled defects generally, assessing and prioritising them.

 

Essex Highways Service Delivery Survey: Members noted that having acknowledged that the last survey had ‘used some confusing wording in places’ Essex Highways had asked Parish Councils and other stakeholders to complete a second survey to indicate user satisfaction with the highways service and indicate local highway priorities. Only one return could be permitted per Council.

 

Members returned their completed individual surveys to the Clerk for collation and submission to the County Council. Members noted that the Clerk had completed questions 3, 4 & 5 on behalf of the Parish Council.

 

As part of the collective response, the Parish Council agreed that it was not at all satisfied with the road surface condition in Essex, the condition of footpaths in the county, the condition of white lines, road signs and bridleways and the time it took to complete roadworks, nor was it satisfied with the speed and efficiency with which the County Council kept grass and vegetation cut along roadways.

 

Public consultation on the A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange Improvement Scheme: Members noted that Essex County Council had launched a public consultation on a multi-million pound scheme to improve the A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange.

 

The Fairglen Interchange was operating very near to its traffic capacity, with motorists experiencing significant delays during peak periods. The proposed scheme included building new roads and widening existing ones to help reduce journey times, increase capacity and address safety issues for the tens of thousands of motorists who drove through the Interchange every day.

 

In addition to the improvements for motorists, the creation of a new walking and cycling bridge hoped to provide significant benefits for sustainable transport users, linking existing walking and cycling routes along the A127. The public consultation gave individuals, businesses and organisations an opportunity to comment on the County Council’s proposals.

 

Members noted that responses were required by Tuesday, 20th March 2018.

 

7/03/18 PLAYING FIELD AND OPEN SPACES

 

7.1/03/18 Children’s Play Area: Mr. Ash reported that he had carried out his usual inspections of the Children’s Play Area and that all items of play equipment therein appeared to be in a satisfactory condition. There was still evidence however of increased mole activity.

Members noted that the Play Inspection Company would be starting the annual play area inspections in the week commencing Monday, 9th April 2018 on behalf of Maldon District Council.

 

7.2/03/18 Pavilion security: Members noted that Mr. Bardwell had obtained the following quotation from Barry Bros Security for Members’ consideration (see Minute 7.2/01/18):

 

High Security Locks with Controlled Keys: There were two variants, an Automatic Rim Case Lock and a Mortice Hook Lock. Both were BS Graded and exceptionally strong, and were available from Barry Bros Security’s Trade Counter in Paddington.

 

The SC100 Mortice Deadlock at list - £215.00 plus VAT

 

The SC110 Automatic Rim Case Lock at list - £205.00 plus VAT

 

Additional Keys at point of order £14.00 plus VAT. (The Parish Council would need 40 keys).

 

It was agreed to defer this matter until the April 2018 meeting, when Mr. Bardwell would be present.

 

7.3/03/18 The treatment of moles in the Children’s Play area: Moles: Members noted that it was no longer possible to purchase smoke bombs, which had been made illegal (see Minute 7.1/02/18).

 

Details of Essex and Herts Pest Control were passed to the Clerk. Members were reminded that it had been agreed to ask PG Groundcare Ltd to carry out further rodenating of the mole hills in May 2018, but a final decision was deferred until the April 2018 Parish Council meeting.

 

7.4/03/18 Other Playing field and open space matters: Repairs to three Memorials in the closed churchyard: Members noted that Church officials had asked the Parish Council to confirm when work to repair the memorials would commence, as the Church’s Health & Safety Officer had expressed their concern that the work remained outstanding.

 

Members were reminded that at the August 2017 Parish Council meeting Mr. Bardwell had reported that the work involved was likely to take 3 hours, and as a result would cost approximately £150 to £200. Mr. Bardwell had been authorised to proceed with the repairs when he judged ground conditions to be suitable, and to invoice the Parish Council once the work had been completed (Minute 7.4/08/17.) The sum of £200 had therefore set aside in the precept 2017/2018 to complete the work required.

 

It was agreed to ask Mr. Bardwell to proceed with the work at his earliest convenience, and to advise him that the Chairman and Mr. Potter had volunteered to help.

 

Use of the football pitch by South Woodham Ferrers Football Club: Members noted that Lee Hill had advised the Parish Council that the football clubs had only been able to use the pitch once in the last three months as it had been too wet due to the effects of a burst water main some weeks ago and the subsequent weather.

 

The Club had also asked if the Parish Council had any objection to it moving the football pitch marginally, ideally approximately 2 metres nearer to the pavilion and to make it fractionally narrower, to try to avoid the persistently boggy patch in the bottom corner.

 

It was agreed to write off the outstanding sum of £640 owed by South Woodham Football Club (reserves) on the understanding that the South Woodham Football Club who had paid their fee of £640 already would be reimbursed by the reserves in the sum of £320 so that both affected teams would receive a 50% refund on the agreed fees for the season.

 

Members had no objection to the realignment of the pitch, provided it would not be detrimental to the cricket pitch.

 

8/03/18 The General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR):

 

8.1/03/18 Getting ready for the introduction of the GDPR on 25th May 2018: Members noted that NALC had now published, ‘New Data Protection Laws - A GDPR Toolkit for Local Councils’ (February 2018) and had also issued a new legal Topic Note (LO2-18) on reporting personal data breaches. The latter was placed in the circulation folder for Members’ information.

 

8.2/03/18 The operation of CCTV at the Pavilion: Members noted that the EALC was running a briefing on CCTV on Saturday, 28th April which would cover the operation of surveillance schemes by town and parish councils and the impact of the GDPR on the capturing of CCTV images. The cost of the briefing would be £55 per delegate.

 

Members noted that the Clerk had applied for a place. It was agreed to ask Mr. Bardwell if he would also like to attend the course and, if not, the Chairman agreed to check his availability.

 

9/03/18 FINANCIAL MATTERS

 

9.1/03/18 To consider a request from the Friends of Purleigh Church for a donation towards their festival of flowers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War: Members noted that The Friends of Purleigh Church and All Saints Church, Purleigh, had invited the Parish Council to support this event by giving them a donation towards flowers and loaning any ‘history or memorabilia to support the memory’ of its organisation. The Church would also be organising pew ends in memory of loved ones who had died in the Great War. The event would take place in All Saints Church on Saturday, 10th and Sunday, 11th November 2018.

 

It was agreed to buy £50 of flowers from petty cash to support the event.

 

9.2/03/18 To receive a report of receipts: Members received a report of the following receipts:

 

 

POPHA

Pavilion hire 2017/2018   £78.00
       

Maldon & District

U3A Pavilion hire:    

 

December 2017 to March 2018 inclusive   £75.00
       

Barclays Bank Plc

Interest:    

 

Business Premium Account £9.90  

 

Historic Buildings Fund £4.37  

 

Miss Pawsey’s Legacy £3.25  

 

    £17.52

 

    £170.52

 

 

 

9.3/03/18 To approve payment of accounts between meetings: Members noted that there had not been any payments of accounts made between Parish Council meetings.

 

9.4/03/18 To approve payment of accounts to hand and transfers between bank accounts: It was unanimously agreed to approve payment of the following accounts to hand:

 

 

       

Mrs. Jane Potter

Salary –February 2018 £1,226.00  

 

Plus room allowance £400.00  

 

Plus use of personal word processing    

 

Equipment (Min 10/01/17) £300.00  

 

  £1,926.00  
       

 

Less tax £164.80  

 

and National Insurance £149.52  

 

Pension contributions £71.11  

 

  £385.43  

 

Plus    

 

Expenses 2017/18 (Min 10/01/17) £1,239.00  

 

    £2,779.57
       

H.M. Revenue & Customs 

Tax £164.80  
 

National Insurance (employees)

£149.52  
 

National insurance (employers)

£171.95  

 

    £486.27

Essex Pension Fund

Employee contributions    
 

(5.8% pensionable pay)

£71.11  
 

Employer contributions

   
 

(16.7% pensionable pay)

£204.74  
 

Administration charge

   
 

(8% employee contributions)

£5.69  

 

    £281.54
       

Mrs. R. Dilworth

Pavilion cleaning – February 2018    

 

20 hours @ £7.50 per hour   £150.00
       

 

     

RBS Invoice Finance Ltd

Photocopying £20.20  

 

VAT £4.04  

 

    £24.24
       

J P Ovel

Work in the parish January & February:    

 

4 hours @ £15 £60.00  

 

Plants £20.00  

 

    £80.00

Mrs. J. Potter

Petty cash reimbursement:    

 

Postage   £10.08

 

    £3,811.70

 

 

 

Transfers: Members noted and approved the following bank transfer:

 

  1. On 8th March 2018 the sum of £3,722.78 had been transferred from the Business Premium Account (80731099) to the Community Current Account (40731080) to cover payment of the accounts to be paid at the Parish Council meeting held on 9th March 2018 and leave approximately £1,500 in the current account.

 

Bank reconciliation as at 28th February 2018: A bank reconciliation for the period 1st April 2017 to 28th February 2018 was carried out by the Chairman and approved by the Parish Council as follows:

  

Statement of Accounts:

 

 

Receipts:

£84,061.34 Barclays Bank Plc:  

Expenditure

£49,616.13    Current account £1,435.92
   

   Business Premium Account

£17,672.76
   

   Historic Buildings Fund

£8,770.23
   

   Miss Pawsey’s Legacy

£6,516.30

 

________ Petty Cash £50.00

 

£34,445.21   £34,445.21

 

 

10/03/18 CORRESPONDENCE

 

Essex County Council

Ward Members’ report: Members noted that Penny Channer had forwarded the Parish Council a report on the most recent work of Essex County Council. Her report was placed in the circulation folder for Members’ information.

 

Your community, libraries and you’: Members noted that Cllr. Susan Barker (Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Customer) had invited representatives of the Parish Council to an event in Maldon Library on Wednesday, 28th March 2018 between 7.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. which would explore the future shape of the library service in Essex. Libraries had long been at the heart of communities, but communities, lifestyles and expectations were changing so libraries needed to change too.

 

Essex County Council was inviting people to get involved to rethink libraries’ place in communities and make them fit for the future, relevant and sustainable. The County Council believed that libraries had great potential as hubs for local people, services and activities, and wanted to work with local communities and partners to make it happen.

 

Each event comprised:

 

  • A short film illustrating the themes to be discussed.

  • A 20-30 minute discussion led by Cllr. Barker or her deputy, Cllr Mark Durham.

  • Discussion zones on the themes of ‘community heart’, ‘getting involved’, ‘front door to services’ and ‘innovation’ where guests could talk to staff and each other, share their ideas and sign up for future involvement.

 

11/03/18 POINTS OF INFORMATION

 

Members did not have any points of information to share.

 

CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1988 (SECTION 17)

 

Consideration was given to the crime and disorder implications of all decisions made at this meeting.

 

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.18 p.m.