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Langham Parish Council


Draft Minutes of the meeting held on 25th November 2008


1          Attendance and Apologies for Absence


Cllr. E. Schofield         Chairman

Cllr. C. Garnett            Borough Councillor

Cllr. W. Durlacher

Cllr. A. Ellis

Cllr. A. Stacey

Cllr. R. Watson

Cllr. M. Bottwood


Also present were Mrs Kimberley, Mrs Anne Brown, who is hoping to become the County Councillor on Mr. Clover’s retirement, and Mr. D. Winter, Clerk to the Council


PCSO Sue Donaldson sent her apologises for her absence.


2          Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest at this point, though it was possible that some could arise later.


3          Minutes of the Meeting held on 28th October 2008


Cllr. Garnett asked that minute 7.7 (b) be clarified. This was done and Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Durlacher seconded that the minutes be agreed as accurate. This was accepted unanimously and Cllr. Schofield signed the minutes.


4          Matters Arising from the Meeting of 28th October 2008


Any items where action is carried forward are shown in the minutes.




Action By



Road signs around the Lodge Lane area.

Cllr. Garnett agreed to visit Mr. Hardie to see the extent of the problem and then to take action. Cllr. Watson suggested that if possible, proper signs to Lodge Lane should be erected.

Cllr. Garnett

See minute 5.3


Hedges overhanging the pavement approaching Agrimix

This problem is to be investigated.

Cllr. Garnett

See minute 5.4

7.2 (c)

Essex County Highways Visit

The Clerk was asked to contact Mr Harris to check when we were likely to receive a reply to residents’ questions

David Winter

Mr Harris has replied and this has been forwarded to Councillors and all residents who submitted a question. See also minute 6.2.

7.4 (a)

Youth Bus

Cllr. Watson will investigate this at the next CALC meeting.


Cllr. Watson



See minute 6.4 (a)

7.4 (c)

Parish Plan

Ian Hollands is to be asked to confirm the likely date for circulation of the next newsletter to ensure that we have sufficient time to notify residents of the meeting proposed for 6th December. If this is viable Ian will also be asked to allow an insert to go in the newsletter


Cllr. Bottwood


The meeting is now proposed for February 7th.

7.7 (a)

Speed Signs

Cllr. Garnett reported that money was still available, and it was agreed that the Council would investigate the possibility of locating these in alternative sites such as Wick Road, School Road and Langham Lane.


Cllr. Watson



Cllr. Watson has contacted ECC to see what the possibilities of having a speed sign are.

7.7 (b)

Site Visits

The Borough Councillor can ask for a site visit to ensure the planning committee is fully aware of the circumstances of a planning application. If there are any questions of policy or planning, the application can be “called in” for consideration.


Cllrs. Bottwood, Garnett and Watson


No further action is planned.


Regional Village of the Year

The Village Development Committee is to meet soon and Cllr. Watson is to talk with the Clerk to ensure the timescales can be met..


Cllr. Watson


Cllr. Watson has the information produced for the Essex Village of the Year and will contact Cllr. Schofield and the Clerk as necessary.


Lettice Dyke Foundation

Ideas as to how funds might be raised to increase the money available to this Charity included

  • A country/barn dance. The Clerk will investigate possibilities.

  • Cards and/or a calendar using Cllr. Stacey’s photographs.

  • Use of a second web site with both local advertisements and “click throughs” for national companies. How this has been done at Rayne, including access to the money without VAT implications.      

  • Merging this charity with the Thomas Love Charity.


David Winter




Cllr. Schofield


Cllr. Bottwood






David Winter



Possible dates of 17 and 24 January are being investigated.









This has been investigated and will not be easy to achieve. See agenda item 14.

10 (a)




10 (b)

Operator’s Licences at School Farm Buildings     

The planning conditions pertaining to this site are to be checked.

The records held at the Eastern Area Traffic office and in the Parish and any private archives are to be checked.        




Cllr. Garnett


Cllr. Bottwood



See items 10 and 11

See items 10 and 11


2009/2010 Budgets

The Finance Committee is to meet during November so that budget proposals can be put to the Council at the November meeting.  The proposed dates are 19th or 20th November. Any items of expenditure the Councillors consider should be added to the budget should be submitted to the Clerk.


All Councillors





Draft budget proposals have been circulated to the Councillors.   




5          Residents Questions.


5.1       Community Council Smoke Alarm Quotations


The Clerk was asked to investigate obtaining two additional quotations. Rob Clark was to be thanked for all his work on this project.                         Action – David Winter


5.2       Amendments to Proposed Community Centre Work


It was agreed the Clerk would write to the Community Council Chairman to express the concern of a member of the public that the amendments would not be to the detriment of the overall plan for improvements.                                             Action – David Winter


5.3             Road signs around the Lodge Lane area.


Cllr. Garnett agreed to arrange a visit to Mr. Hardie to see the extent of the problem and then to take action.                                                       Action - Cllr. Garnett


5.4             Hedges overhanging the pavement approaching Agrimix


This problem was investigated and the Clerk was asked to contact the owners of the site, thought to be Palmer Brothers, and to inform Mr. Maplestone for ECC.

                                                                                                Action – David Winter


6       Reports to the Council.


6.1       Planning                       


Cllr. Ellis provided the planning report for November 2008












Application No 081813 - Land Adjacent to Jeveck, Chapel Road, Langham


Change of use from agriculture to private amenity land including minor realignment of driveway and landscaping scheme.


The Parish Council Planning Committee has reviewed this application and feels that it does not comply with sections CO1, CO8 and H12 of the Colchester Borough Local Plan which seeks to protect the countryside. We believe that this requested change involves the unnecessary sacrifice of good quality agricultural land. The application claims that the land is "Grade 3b quality at best" but we dispute this because the land has consistently produced good yields from a variety of crops. Last year we believe the field was used for the commercial growing of onions. This would not have been viable on land as poor as 3b. In our view this application also sets a precedent for similar applications in the vicinity.


We also have a major concern that several of the changes requested have already been carried out. This applies to the iron railings as a boundary treatment and the fact that the land has already been laid to lawn. This makes a part of the application retrospective. Furthermore, the requested driveway change is described as minor, we do not accept this as the new configuration takes up a significant part of the new land. In addition this change would constitute development work however the land is classified.


We therefore object to this application.


Application No 081818 - Jeveck, Chapel Road, Langham


Proposed poolside changing rooms


If we review this application in isolation the Parish Planning Committee would have to say that there is no major objection. However, we would like to register our concern that this is only part of a much larger project which would involve a swimming pool, possible housing and likely screening which could involve further site development and impact a number of material factors at a later stage. We therefore believe that it is unrealistic to consider this application in isolation from the overall project.



6.2       Roads and Transport

(a)        Essex County Highways Visit


Cllr. Stacey agreed to put the questions made by residents, excluding the names of the questioners, and the answers received on the village web site. Action – Cllr. Stacey

The Clerk was asked to contact Mr Harris to check the legal position regarding positioning rocks, cutting hedges and notices placed at the side of the highways.                                                                                                    Action – David Winter


(b)       Langham Lane

Good progress has been made on these repairs and the Chairman was to congratulate her contact on this.


6.3                   Recreation Ground

(a)        Extra Storage Facilities


At the Town and Parish Clerks meeting where grants were being applied for, Cllr. Durlacher agreed to withdraw this application in favour of the one for the improvements to the Community Centre.


(b)       Bonfire Night


Because of the appalling weather, a loss of about £2,300 was made on the event this year. Cllr. Durlacher was committed to an event next year. Cllr. Durlacher proposed and Cllr. Garnett seconded the vote of thanks to everyone who put such a lot of help into the occasion, especially Bob Schofield.  


6.4       General Purposes       


(a)        Youth Bus


Cllr. Watson will investigate this at the next CALC meeting, there having been none in the last month.                                                                 Action – Cllr. Watson


(b)       Parish Plan


The meeting is to be held in the club room downstairs on 7th February 2009 for a drop in session from about 10 a.m. to noon. As many Councillors as possible should be there to answer questions. There will be posters on the wall where people will be encouraged to note what they want in the Parish. Publicity is needed to ensure the maximum numbers of people attend. Ideas included


  • Strategically placed notices around the village, like those provided for bonfire night.

  • A flyer in the newsletter.

  • Promotion at the 13th December dance.

  • Provision of free refreshments.

  • Notices on the web                                                     Action – Cllr. Stacey

  • Councillors to be asked to attend meetings of individual organisations

Action Cllr. Watson


 The Clerk was asked to book the room.                               Action – David Winter


(c)        Postal Scam


The Clerk was asked to contact Brian Hindley of Neighbourhood Watch to check the accuracy of the details.                                                     Action – David Winter


6.5       Housing


(a)        Decent Homes


Colchester Borough Homes has visited all Council properties in Langham. Rayners Court is to be revisited to check damp in the downstairs properties. 1 Orchard Cottages was found to be substandard. There will be no money to make any improvements until the next financial year.


(b)       Rubbish at Rayners Court


Cllr. Garnett has organised the removal of this. However, the Chairman and Clerk are to write to and visit the tenants to ensure they understand they have to organise their own rubbish removal in future.        Action - Cllr. Schofield and David Winter


6.6       Community Council    


Cllr. Durlacher proposed and Cllr. Watson seconded the motion that the Council donate a £20 raffle prize for the dance in aid of Community Council funds on 13th December.

Action – David Winter


The Clerk was asked to send Kevin Cook a letter to thank him for the donation and erection of Christmas lights outside at the Community Centre.

                                                                                       Action – David Winter


6.7       Ward Councillor          


(a)     Dedham Vale/River Stour Joint Advisory Committee


Cllr. Garnett reported that their application for £1.1 million National Lottery Funding has been accepted in principle, and now a detailed case has to be prepared.


(b)       Community Initiative Fund from Colchester


Cllr Garnett advised that this might be removed next year.


(c)        Planning for the Future


Cllr. Garnett reported that he has received the framework document which he will be examining in more detail.


(d)       Grant Sources


Beverley Davies is to be invited to our January meeting to speak on this topic.

Action – David Winter

6.8       Footpaths                    


Cllr Stacey reported that the route of Footpath 31 south from School Road had been partially cleared by the CC. He will contact Mary Moir re the position for complete clearance and re-opening. Footpath 25 needs restoration and Mr John Rix will be contacted.                                                                             Action – Cllr. Stacey


7          National Village of the Year


The closing date for the entry is 30th November. Cllr. Watson asked for ideas regarding challenges facing the village and what will be doing about them. Suggestions included


  • Keeping Langham as a separate community from Colchester

  • Clustering with other local parishes for ideas such as improving rural transport

  • Improving the depth of the web site, especially more information from local organisations.


8          Rural Commission for Essex


Cllr. Bottwood reported on his and Cllr. Garnett’s visit to this event which was held on Thursday 4th November. The Essex Rural Commission  has been formed as an independent working group to look at rural issues throughout the county. The meeting was chaired by Jules Pretty, Chairman Essex Rural Commission. The Commission are currently gathering information which will be reviewed by them for recommendations to ECC by Easter next year. They are looking for practical recommendations capable of early implementation. The meeting attendees were split into working groups which produced their priorities on the challenges and issues facing rural communities in Essex. This information is to be evaluated by the Commission and used in the submission to the ECC as appropriate.

9          Youth Activities in General


There will be a section addressing this at the Parish Plan meeting of 7th February, manned by young people. The publicity for this is to be organised by the Chairman.

Action - Cllr. Schofield


10     Operator’s Licences at School Farm Buildings


Cllr. Schofield declared an interest in this topic and took no part in the discussions. Cllr. Bottwood reported that there appear to be four HGV licences covering 7 vehicles and 2 trailers. As a continuation of the “meet and greet” exercise at Lodge Lane, the Clerk will arrange a meeting for Cllrs. Durlacher, Ellis and Bottwood, and any other interested Councillors, with Mr. Whitnell.                                            Action – David Winter         

11        Powerplus Engineering


Cllr. Schofield declared an interest in this topic and took no part in the discussions. Powerplus has been visited. They have no vehicles hence no operator’s licence. The number of their employees has risen from 30 to about 40 in their years at School Road. The Clerk is to draft a letter in reply to Mr. Elmer for Cllr. Durlacher to approve. The points this should cover include

  • A preliminary investigation has been carried out and the Council is concerned to ensure there are no breaches of planning regulations, including concern about the potential volume of traffic in School Road.

  • As far as the Council is aware, the company still operates within the terms of its planning consents.

  • There has been no planning application received for the uncultivated land to the rear and side of their premises.

  • Informing Mr. Elmer of the contact details of the enforcement office of Colchester Borough Council if he feels there have been any breaches of planning or health and safety.                                 Action – David Winter


There was a discussion as to whether or not ECC should monitor the HGV movements.

Action – Cllr. Ellis


Under AOB I believe Tony expressed our condolences over the sad death of a Powerplus employee. Should we record this in the minutes?


12        Allotments


Cllr. Garnett and the Clerk were to discuss the letter received from en-form.

Action - Cllr. Garnett and David Winter


13        Asher Prior Bates – letter concerning first registration of council land


The Clerk was asked to check what land the Council owns, with help from Mrs. Smerdon, and to check the costs of registering it.                Action – David Winter


14        Lettice Dyke Trust and Thomas Love Charity


Ideas as to how funds might be raised to increase the money available to this Charity included


  • A country/barn dance. The Clerk aims to arrange this for 17th or 24th January 2009 if possible.                                                     Action – David Winter

  • Cards and/or a calendar using Cllr. Stacey’s photographs are being investigated                                                                Action - Cllr. Schofield

  • Use of a second web site with both local advertisements and “click throughs” for national companies. How this has been done at Rayne, including access to the money without VAT implications.                             Action - Cllr. Bottwood

  • Possibly closing the Thomas Love Charity and using the money for the Lettice Dyke Trust.                                                                      Action – David Winter


It was agreed that any funds raised would be split between Lettice Dyke and the Church Sunday School.


15        Correspondence Received


1          en-form: Possible provision of allotments.  See agenda item 12.


2          Letter from Mr. Elmer  See agenda items 10 and 11.


3          Communities and Local Government

A consultation paper on “Communities in control: Real people, real power: Codes of conduct for local authority members and employees – A consultation”.


4          Colchester Borough Council – Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 December 2008 to 28 February 2009  An outline of the key decisions CBC intends to take in this period.


5          Letter from Asher Prior Bates  Circulated to Councillors. See agenda item 13.


6          Countryside Voice  The magazine of the CPRE.


7          Grassroots  A charity that nurtures local community organisations with the support of  local charities.


8          Oyster  The RCCE magazine which has articles on the village of the year and the best kept churchyard, with a picture of Langham church. Extra copes have been ordered.


9          Stop the Drop  A CPRE toolkit for Parish Councils


10        Bus Timetable   The new Essex bus timetable. The proposal is to give this to the Community Shop.


11        Lock Lintel   The River Stour Trust journal for autumn. The proposal is to give this to Simon Gallup.


12        EALC County Update




16     Administrative Matters


In the last 4 weeks the major activities have been


  1. Remembrance Sunday arrangements.

  2. Bonfire night and the subsequent administration.

  3. Homestead meeting, to be raised in any other business.

  4. Checking the archives for planning matters.

  5. Discussion on the regional village of the year.

  6. Town and Parish Clerks meeting with Cllr. Durlacher at which we were successful in obtaining a £10,000 grant for improvements to the Community Centre.


17        Receipts and Payments


A list of receipts (£4,399 which includes the bonfire night proceeds) and payments (£6,443 including £4,500 bonfire night costs) was circulated as part of the financial report. The Clerk reported that actual expenditure is likely to be £6,500 more than budgeted. However, because of the poor bonfire night outcome, income is only likely to be £1,200 more than budgeted, giving a £4,300 reduction in the Council’s financial position.


It was agreed that once the financial turmoil had died down, the Council should consider putting more money into higher interest bearing accounts.

Action - Cllr. Watson and David Winter


18        2009/2010 Budgets


The Finance Committee presented its budget proposals for the approval of the Council, with the outcome that assuming a reasonably successful bonfire night in 2009, the precept will remain the same as the previous year. Acceptance of the budget was proposed by Cllr. Durlacher, seconded by Cllr. Ellis and approved unanimously. 


19     Next Meeting


The next meeting will be on Tuesday 27th January 2009, at Langham Community Centre at the earlier time of 7 pm.


20        Any other urgent business


(a)       Homestead School


Cllr. Bottwood reported on his and Cllr. Schofield’s meeting with the educational consultant at the school. Until the formal closure procedure is completed at the end of December, nothing concrete can be agreed. However, ECC is committed to re-opening the school in about two years time, all being well.


(b)       Planters at the USAAF Monument


These have been replaced, and Mrs. Ellis and Whitnell Hire Services were both thanked for their work in replacing them. There will be a press meeting with the sponsor Mr O’Sullivan, on 5th December to which interested Councillors are invited to attend.


(c)       Death of a Powerplus Employee

Cllr. Ellis expressed our condolences over the sad death of a Powerplus employee.


There being no other urgent business, the meeting closed at 10.45 pm.