Council Minutes 28th November 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Community Council held on Wednesday 28th November 2018, 7.30pm, at Mile End Methodist Church Hall, Nayland Road, Colchester.

Cllr Pete Hewitt (Chairman) Yes
Cllr Martin Goss (Vice-Chairman) Yes
Cllr Pauline Bacon Yes
Cllr Clare Bailey Yes
Cllr Richard Beauchamp Yes
Cllr Stewart Calver No
Cllr Catherine Clouston Yes
Cllr David Clouston No
Cllr Marina de Smith Yes
Cllr John Dickson Yes
Cllr Adrian Ellis No
Cllr Alan Hayman No
Cllr Alison Jay Yes
Cllr Robert Johnstone Yes
Cllr David King Yes
Cllr John Stewart Yes

The Clerk

There were no members of the public present.

73-18/19 To receive apologies for absence
Apologies were received and accepted from Cllrs Calver, D Clouston and Hayman.

74-18/19 Declarations of Interest
There were no Declarations of Interest received.

75-18/19 Minutes of the Community Council Meeting held on 31st October 2018.
It was resolved unanimously to approve the minutes as a true record for signature by the Chairman.

76-18/19 Have Your Say – Public Participation

There were no comments.

77-18/19 Minutes of Committee Meetings
The receipt of the minutes of the following committee meetings was formally acknowledged.
a) Planning and Highways Committee – meeting held on 7th November 2018.
b) Community Engagement Committee – meeting held on 19th November 2018
c) Resources, Policy and Strategy Committee – meeting held on 5th November 2018.

78-18/19 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk said she had nothing to report.

79-18/19 Ward and County Councillors’ Reports
Cllr Goss said access to the Fords Lane Recreation ground for wheelchairs, pushchairs and other similar vehicles was progressing. He said there had been progress on the Northfields estate with only snagging left to do, although there were currently forty lights still not working. He said on Rosewood some remedial work was all that was now required. He said plastic recycling has been rolled out to flats across the borough with 70% now included and the rest to be looked at on a case by case basis.

Cllr King said that work was being done by the developer on Chesterwell for the Chesterwell Wood area. He said this was work on the trees and vegetation, and not development. He said the developer was also involved in work to help ease traffic in the vicinity and that testing work was due to start. He said the developer of the Rosewood estate has sorted out issues to do with doors and windows.

The Chairman referred to the ongoing liaison between the Council and the developers, and how useful this could be.

80-18/19 To agree the budget for 2019/20 as recommended by the Resources, Policy and Strategy Committee.

Cllr King set out the aims of the budget for 2019/20 and clarified how the figures had been reached. (Appendix A).

The following points were noted:
• Costs for potential defibrillators could be included under code 86, Grants and Donations.
• Election expenses can be taken from reserves if needed (the cost of a contested election would be much higher than uncontested).
• Costs resulting from loss of Clerk would be taken from the contingency reserve.
• Greening the Parish – a substantial amount of money had been allocated to allow the Council scope to take on new projects
• Consideration for raising the precept should be made, as a time would come when the Council would have assets to maintain.
• The office at 101 Nayland Road was a significant asset to the Council.
• £73,000 was available in the Community Centres account for potential work on the new community centres on Severalls and Chesterwell, and other sites within the parish should the opportunity arise.

The Chairman said the rationale for the budget had been well presented and that the Council now had a supporting vision and a plan. He said the Council could be confident it was moving forward with a community-facing vision and a proper rationale behind the figures. He said this would support the ongoing review of the Neighbourhood Plan policies.

The budget for 2019/20 was agreed as circulated and is attached to these minutes as Appendix B.

Proposed: Cllr King Seconded: Cllr Jay (Unanimous)

81-18/19 To agree the precept demand for 2019/20 as recommended by the Resources, Policy and Strategy Committee.

The precept demand for 2019/20 was agreed at £136,040 as recommended by the Resources, Policy and Strategy Committee.

Proposed: Cllr King Seconded: Cllr Goss (Unanimous)

82-18/19 To receive an update from Councillor Stewart on the new website and email system.

Cllr Stewart said:
• the new Council website was now up and running. He said authority had been given to use the suffix for the website and Council emails.
• MCC owned the new domain outright.
• visitors to the old site would be re-directed.
• the old email system would run concurrently for a while.
• he would circulate copies of his presentation.
• the new website was clean, user-friendly and future-proof. The design was becoming standard and we now have a newsletter facility. Users can register, then receive agendas, minutes etc.
• he would like to see all Councillors register for the newsletter.
• he had created a poster advertising the website and encouraging members of the public to subscribe. This poster could be displayed on noticeboards and Facebook.
• the website included policy documents, a history of the parish and previous minutes. A search facility had also been included as well as the latest weather.
• updates from Committees and Working Groups could be added.
• there was a contact form for residents to comment and ask questions. These would be published but moderated and there is a CAPTCHA facility.
• the site is secure and displayed the padlock confirming this.
• he was happy to answer any questions.
• the email system was already working and Councillors could use it as soon as they had been set up on the system.
• the suffix came with responsibility and a strong password should be used.
• security was now in place on the office computers.
• the website would be backed up monthly.

83-18/19 To discuss the future role and format of the Mylander magazine and agree any action necessary.

It was agreed that an option was to employ a member of staff with sole responsibility for the Mylander. The Resources, Policy and Strategy Committee (with responsibility for employment issues) and the Community Engagement Committee (with responsibility for the Mylander) should work together to come up with a proposal for moving this forward.

Proposed: Cllr C Clouston Seconded: Cllr de Smith (Unanimous)

84-18/19 Reports from Members
To receive the following reports:
a) Report from Chairman

“I wish to thank and congratulate Marina for the work put into the First World War commemoration event. Many people have expressed their thanks for staging a moving and community inclusive commemoration. I need also to thank Marina’s husband John for producing, lighting and managing the beacon, the schools and the WI for the wonderful displays, Lofty Tolhurst and others for their help, Rob and Katherine our Clerk for their help too, Rupert Dix for ringing the church bells and last but certainly not least a young lad named Arthur who read the Flanders Field poem word perfectly.
I attended a meeting with the lead lady on Colchester’s Orbital Route, Rowena Macauley, and as a result I have provided a summary of Myland’s links with the Orbital Route where it runs through Chesterwell. I highlighted why and how the route should be protected and how Myland’s other paths can access the route into a Borough-wide experience. This was extended to highlight the fundamental importance of green paths, hedgerow protection and green space links.
I attended CBC’s Planning training course and also received training from John Stewart on the new website and email system. I found the website easy to use, clearly presented and professional. I thank John for picking up the baton on this and seeing us over the line.”
I add my thanks to Catherine for her all her past editing of the Mylander and for her generous offer to carry on as Editor for the next issue while a replacement is found.

b) Reports from Working Groups

Neighbourhood Plan Group

“The Group was due to meet this month but owing to one or two absences I have instead embarked upon an update of the Plan in terms of what MCC is currently doing in respects of the Plan’s objectives and policies. This will be made available to all Cllrs and will be placed on the MCC Website. The profile and authority that the Plan carries is becoming increasingly clear and it is therefore important that we continue to monitor its role within our own plans and actions.”
Cllr Hewitt
c) Reports from Councillors

Cllr Dickson said he had attended CBC’s Planning Training and the Footpaths presentation given by Cllr Johnstone at the Methodist Church the previous week.

Cllr C Clouston said she had attended CBC’s Planning Training and a meeting at the football ground. She said now Colchester United were doing better, improvements to the ground were planned.

Cllr Bacon said she would be attending Elections Training, and had also attended the Footpaths presentation. She said future meetings at the Methodist Church Hall for the community were being planned.

Cllr Bailey said she had attended the Annual Youth Panel Conference and the Open Road presentation.

Cllr Johnstone said he would also be attending a course on Elections.

Cllr Goss said he had spent a day out with an ambulance crew. He said a defibrillator would shortly be installed at the Co-op on Nayland Road, and he would like to thank the previous manager for his help in this matter.

Cllr Hewitt said he and Cllr King had met with the Chesterwell developers and CBC Planning Officers. He said in response to uncertainty at the meeting he had ascertained from ECC Education that the current projections were that the secondary school will operate from September 2021 and the primary school from 2023. He said he had attended the RP&S Committee, the Planning & Highways Committee and CBC Planning Liaison.
Cllr de Smith said she had attended EALC Councillor Training Days 1 and 2 which she had found very useful.

Cllr Jay said she and Cllr de Smith would be sourcing a Christmas tree for the front garden of the office as part of Greening Your Parish.

Cllr King said the demand for bulbs had been seriously underestimated and this was an example of how a simple idea could catch the imagination.

Cllr Stewart said he had attended Planning Training and now all members of the Planning and Highways Committee were trained. He said he had met Cllr Gerard Oxford, ward councillor for Highwoods, about the village green and the traffic calming on Mill Road. He said Planning Liaison meetings between MCC and CBC were now back on line and were beneficial to MCC.

85-18/19 Finance and Payments

a) To confirm approval of invoices received and paid and to consider approval of other invoices.

Invoices were approved for payments as listed below.

Various Staff costs – October £2,604.60
Various Staff costs – November £2,604.60
Easyspace Website hosting £545.76
Anglian Water Utilities £45.70
Anglian Bulbs Green Your Parish £500.00
Green Square Communications Printing costs £2,327.60
CNG Utilities £33.63
Opus Energy Utilities £20.37
Clearbusiness Utilities £25.37
Eyelid Productions Website/Email System £600.00
Starboard Systems Scribe Renewal of Licence £462.00
Perpsex Distribution Ltd Bus shelters £548.54
Green Square Communications Printing costs £2,242.00
Cllr de Smith Expenses £20.44
Mile End Methodist Church Meetings £23.00
Cllr Stewart Expenses £25.00
E + J Fire and Security Office maintenance £58.82
St Michael’s PCC Community Events £75.00
Martin Fulcher Gardening £90.00
EALC Training £180.00
C Pearne Mylander delivery – November £236.00
Zurich Municipal Insurance £1,182.08
Zen Internet Broadband £70.80
CNG Utilities £60.02
Opus Energy Utilities £22.23
Clearbusiness Utilities £20.20
Eastern Waste Disposal Office maintenance £12.00
Cllr Stewart Expenses – website £36.00
H Duin Expenses – noticeboard £10.60
Perspex Distribution Ltd Noticeboards £102.01
Mile End Methodist Church Meetings £23.00
Colchester District Neighbourhood Watch Grant £100.00
Colchester District Neighbourhood Watch Donation from Mersea Homes £100.00
Cllr Stewart Expenses – business cards £15.58
St John Ambulance Fete expenses £165.60

Proposed: Cllr Goss Seconded: Cllr Johnstone (Unanimous)

86-18/19 Date and Time of Next Meeting: Wednesday 19th December 2018, 7.30pm at the Mile End Methodist Church Hall, Nayland Road, Colchester CO4 5ET.

The meeting closed at 9.18pm.

Chairman’s Signature______________________________________________


21 November 2018



1. The RP&S Committee have reviewed our MCC balances, our rate of spend this financial year and our likely future expenditure and accordingly recommend a draft 2019/20 Budget for full Council approval.
Our approach
2. The Committee have balanced three aims:

a. Cost – to ensure our precept can be justified and is reasonable when compared with the precept charges of other Parish, Community and Town Councils;
b. Delivery – to enable the Council to support the many causes, organisations, groups and needs of residents, and to deliver positive changes that make our parish a better place and community within which to live;
c. Our Future – ensure the Council is well placed to respond to emerging need and can play our full part in delivering community centre and other projects.

Our Starting Point

3. The RP&S noted significant reserves, despite our precept costs per head being amongst the lowest across the Colchester Borough. At £25.91 per year in 2018/19 the MCC cost was just 49p a week per household. Given our growing population this brought an income of over £132,000 in a full year, comfortably more than core running costs. Looking ahead this would still be so even if, as suggested, we follow through on the aims, objectives and spirit of the Neighbourhood Plan and play a more active role in the improvement of our community. Our approach accordingly sought to balance ambition, prudence and providing scope in year to respond to events, with the cost to residents.

The Budget Approach

4. In building the Budget we took account of representations and the individual views of Councillors, where known and the stated commitment and priorities of the full Council. The latter drove our work. They include our adopted Neighbourhood Plan, support to community groups and residents and wish to improve our environment. RP&S have accordingly allowed for past items carried forward as well as to provide scope for new budget items such as Community Events and Community Wellbeing (which could include defibrillators across the parish) and to make sure our Budget resources met our core and statutory functions. We took care to ensure we have funded key current and likely priorities, to include:

a. Green the Parish – building on current projects to secure a professionally advised and delivered step change in the look, feel and vibrancy of our green and urban spaces through planters, hanging baskets, verge planting and other means;

b. Clean the Parish – building on our current litter picking and cleaning service;
c. Community Futures Projects – enabling the completion and delivery of working and equipped community centres;
d. Support Our Village Green – with other partners to manage and enable the transition from current sports grounds to a village green, inclusive of associated costs and transfer of land;
e. Respond to Planning Devolution – to use any devolved highways and paths maintenance and or other powers as has been suggested by Essex County Council.
Budget Calculations
5. For ease of understanding the budget detail (separate paper) has retained the format used in earlier years. This groups similar lines of spend and or project allocations. Spend in 2018/19 was reviewed. Actual costs were noted as at the end September 2018. Costs to the end of 2018/19 were estimated, allowing for known variables and potential costs. This mix of actuals and sensible extrapolation was then used as the baseline for the 2019/20 budget. Adjustments were then made for inflation, new project lines and other likely cost changes. Some of these allocations are upward changes on 2018/19, for reasons stated above. Some budget lines have been reduced for realism. On this basis the RP&S Committee recommend a budget for 2019/20 of £176,100.
Precept Calculations
6. Given our starting point, of very healthy reserves RP&S agreed we could safely draw on likely end of year 2019/20 cash balances and or reserves. This would allow us to reduce the potential Precept (which is the sum we ask residents to pay) to £136,040.
Our Recommendations
7. The RP&S Committee accordingly recommend the Budget as presented and associated Precept. We ask the full Council to:

a. Agree the 2019/20 Budget at £176,100 and the 2019/20 Precept at £136,040;
b. Note this budget and precept:
• Ensures we can meet our statutory obligations as a local authority;
• Reflects the aims, objectives and community projects described above, consistent with our agreed and community endorsed Neighbourhood Plan;
• Draws on our reserves, to offset our expected spend in 2019/20 by £30,000;
• Ensures we continue to have the mandated Contingency Reserve, now set at £50,000;
• Maintains the Community Centres Reserve at the current level of £72,657;
• Allows us to respond to in year issues through an Opportunity Reserve of some £33,000;

David King
Chair, RP&S Committee