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Langham Parish Council

 

Minutes of the meeting held on 26th February 2008

 

1          Attendance and Apologies for Absence

 

Cllr. E. Schofield         Chairman

Cllr. W. Durlacher      

Cllr. C. Garnett            Borough Councillor

Cllr. S. Gallup

Cllr. A. Stacey

Cllr. A. Ellis

Cllr. R. Watson

 

No apologies for absence were needed.

 

Also present

 

Mr D. Winter               Clerk to the Council

 

Nine residents or interested parties were present. Mrs Kimberley sent her apologies for not being able to attend.

 

2          Declarations of Interest

 

Cllr. Schofield declared a potential conflict of interest in that Whitnell, who will be involved in work on the USAAF Monument, rented space from Schofields Removals.

 

3          Minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2008

 

Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Gallup seconded that the minutes be agreed as accurate. This was accepted unanimously and Cllr. Durlacher as Acting Chairman for that meeting signed the minutes.

 

4          Matters Arising from the meeting of 22nd January 2008

 

 

 

Ref

Item

Action By

Status

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.1

Mrs Kimberley asked that potholes in the Moor Road by the Shepherd and Dog and on School Road by Spencer’s Piece be reported.

 

Cllr. Watson

Reported

 

5.2

Fox House at the junction of Moor and Chapel Roads has been sold and the planning services department and Highways should be informed in case developments allowed sight lines at the junction to be improved.

 

David Winter

The developer, Mr Nick Purdie of Pyefleet Homes, has been contacted and asked to improve the sight lines. He intends to cut back the vegetation on the corner, and is creating a parking place behind the house to replace the garage. This should reduce the incidence of car parking there and help improve visibility.

 

9.3

The Clerk had still to identify Bonfire night’s cumulative profits so that the amounts could be ring fenced.

David Winter

Done

 

9.3

The bonfire site was to be cleared and more stones provided when the weather had improved.

Cllr. Durlacher

Awaiting finer weather.

 

9.4

The Emergency Plan needs to be updated.

David Winter

Outstanding.

 

9.7

He would try to get the Village Design Statement validated so as to become a component of the Local Development plans

Cllr. Garnett

This has been investigated and Cllr. Garnett has found it will be in the best interests of Langham to leave matters as they stand.

 

9.8

Cllr. Stacey had nothing new to report. The query on the obstruction of footpath 49 remained. Cllr. Schofield was to try to obtain the land owner’s name so that he could be contacted.

Cllr. Schofield

Mr Barrel rents the site and has cleared the obstructions to the footpath.

 

10

It was agreed that investigations should be made to see if there was any opportunities for the Community Shop and repainting the car park spaces.

Cllr Gallup

Community Shop and Community Council have been informed.

 

11

The Parish Council discussed whether or not a sign giving a visual indication of excessive speed might be suitable for Langham to consider using in order to try to lower speeds on Park Lane or Wick Road. It was thought Mr Harris was aware of this and Cllr. Watson would be asked to follow this up

Cllr. Watson

Cllr. Watson has contacted Mr. Harris to remind him about this, but with no response as yet.

 

13

Going Green - It was agreed to pass copies of this information to the Community Council

David Winter

The information has been sent to their secretary.

 

13

Going Green - It was agreed to pass copies of this information to the Community Shop

Cllr Gallup

Community Shop has been informed.

 

14.1

Boxted Airfield Historical Group is to apply for Heritage Funding, and it was agreed the Council would support this application

David Winter

Letter supporting the application has been sent to Richard Turner.

 

14.2

Stile on footpath 26 may need replacement by a gate.

Cllr. Stacey

See footpaths report below.

 

14.2

Stile on footpath 22 will be checked because the path may have been diverted

Cllr. Stacey

See footpaths report below

 

14.2

The line of footpath 49 is not blocked by logs, but the path is overgrown.     

Cllr. Stacey

See item 9.8 above

 

14.2

Essex County Council is to be told that the pedestrian gate at the end of Perry Lane is broken

David Winter

 Essex CC Highways has been contacted.

 

14.2

Essex County Council has been informed that hedges at The Wick need cutting back. They are to be informed about Old Park House, Park Lane..

David Winter

The Wick has been cut back. There is some debate as to whether or not there is a problem at Old Park House.

 

15

The Clerk asked all councillors to let him have their notices of registerable interests if these had not been provided in the last month.

All Councillors

All received by the Clerk.

 

15

David Winter reported that

(a)   VAT needs to be reclaimed. This is expected by the end of February.

(b)   Last year’s financial report has to be sent to Lubbock Fine.

(c) An asset register has been discovered but will have to be updated.

David Winter

Information has been sent to Lubbock Fine. The two other items are outstanding but will be dealt with in the next two weeks.

 

15

Grass Cutting contracts need to be checked and tenders requested if needed. It was thought Ian Sutherland might have some knowledge of this.

David Winter

A meeting has taken place with Ian Sutherland and useful information obtained.

 

17

In appreciation of the work that Mrs Jones has done for the Council at short notice and in difficult circumstances it was felt that the Council should write a letter of thanks to her

David Winter

Letter sent to Cllr. Schofield for approval.

 

17

 

 

it was felt that Cllr Schofield should use some of her Chairman’s allowance to buy a suitable gift for her.

Cllr. Schofield

 

 

 

 

5          Residents’ Questions

 

5.1       Additional Tennis Court

 

Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Ellis seconded the motion that the tennis club should supply drawings of their proposed extensions and provide an analysis of current usage. This was agreed and Ian Sutherland aims to provide this information for the next meeting.

 

5.2             The question was asked what was Langham doing to become an eco-friendly village.

 

Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Stacey seconded the motion that Peter Martin, the expert in this area from Essex County Council, should be asked to attend the annual parish meeting to speak on this subject. This was agreed.

Action - David Winter

 

5.3             A proposal to build an eco-friendly house in Langham

 

Mr. Kelly described his family’s ideas for building an eco-friendly house in Langham. The Councillors in general applauded his principles and made the following points

 

  • To get permission to build outside the village envelope it would have to be an exceptional house

  • There was concern over the ecological importance of the location proposed

  • Before spending too much time and expense on the proposals, they should contact the planning department of Colchester BC for their opinions.

 

 

6          American Monument

 

Three quotations had been obtained for the hard landscaping. Whitnell Hire Services was the cheapest and their quotation had been accepted.

 

Cllr. Schofield thanked Cllr. Ellis for all his hard work on this project.

 

7          Village Upkeep

 

Mr Ernie Schofield will be asked to keep signs clean and to trim around them. He will also be asked to see if he could repaint the landing lights at the USAAF Monument.                                                                                         Action – Cllr. Schofield

 

8          Seat in Wick Road

 

The Clerk reported that Revetts had been asked to proceed.

                                                                                               

9          Reports to the Council

 

9.1       Planning

 

Cllr. Gallup reported:

 

Applications:

 

080086 Gun Hill, Langham. Removal of condition 6 about minimum sight splays. 

As Highways seem to be in favour of omitting condition No. 6 we have no objections to this application.

 

080122 Oakcroft, School Rd, Langham. Two storey side extension over existing garage and single storey utility room. 

The Parish Council has no objection to the application but note that Footpath 31, which is along the west side of the property, is not marked on the map.

 

080186 Moorleigh, Moor Road, Langham. Raise roof by 1000mm and addition of two dormer windows. 

One of the conditions on the approval of 071566 was that no additional windows could be put in the extension because the extension will overlook the neighbours in both directions. We object to this application unless there are strict conditions on the dormer windows to protect the privacy of the neighbours.

 

080177 Erection of 4 bed house on land adjacent to Alefounders

We still have a few days to reply to this and I am waiting for comments from the PCC. We will certainly be objecting strongly in that this would be backland development and as the rest of the village consists of ribbon development this would be against Policy H7 in that it would  adversely affect the existing pattern and character of development and it would also not harmonise with the local distinctiveness and sense of place.  We will also point out that we didn't see the previous application and so do not know the precise area involved. It was stated that the Parochial Church Council had removed a restrictive covenant on this land a few years ago to allow a house to be built. Cllr. Gallup is to check that the Essex Design Guide principles are followed.                                                                                                                  Action – Cllr. Gallup

 

2 Hillcrest Cottages – no objections.

 

Valley House – internal alterations to a listed house. No objections provided whatever conditions laid down by English Heritage are followed.

 

Decisions:

 

Approved:

 

073010 - Wenlocks, Grove Hill - but subject to 8 conditions including approval from Highways.

 

Airfield Museum – the planners pointed out that the position of the gates from the road should be 4.8 metres, and they will be responsible for ensuring this is done.

 

9.2        Roads and Transport

 

Potholes at the corner of Wick Road and School Road had been agreed by Mr, Maplestone of Essex CC to be substandard and the contractors will be asked to rectify this work. He hopes this work will be completed on 8th March 2008. He has also looked at the potholes in Moor Road by the Shepherd and Dog, but if any action is planned this is not yet known.

                             

9.3        Recreation Ground

 

Cllr. Durlacher reported that

 

(a)   The bonfire site was to be cleared and more stones provided when the weather had improved.                                                                 Action – Cllr. Durlacher

(b)   The new item of play equipment has been ordered and has yet to arrive.

Action - David Winter

A card has been sent to Charles Hewitt thanking him for rolling the football pitch.

 

9.4       General Purposes

 

Cllr. Ellis reported that the Village Design Statement will be available for public perusal on 5th April at the Community Centre. Cllr. Ellis then proposes to resign and hope to get another Parish Plan leader.

 

Speed watch has been going now for about one year and Cllr. Ellis expects to resign as organiser at the end of April

 

Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Schofield seconded a vote of thanks for all Cllr. Ellis’ hard work in these two areas, and expressed regret that he felt he had to hand over the reigns. This was agreed by all.

 

The Emergency Plan needs to be updated.                  Action – David Winter

 

 

9.5       Housing

 

There was nothing to report. Before 2010, all council properties should have their kitchens and bathrooms upgraded where necessary.

 

9.6       Community Council

 

There was nothing to report.

 

9.7        Ward Councillor

 

Local Development Framework

 

Cllr. Garnett reported that those development sites mentioned below have been proposed by developers and not Colchester Borough Council (CBC). CBC has sufficient brown field land to meet their housing requirements until 2021. Three sites already proposed for development are

 

  • Blackbrook industrial site

  • The land in the High Street, Chapel Road and Moor Road triangle

  • Behind St Margaret’s Cross

 

The Parish Council has already made comments on these.

 

Maps showing additional sites have been displayed. These are

 

  • A – to the east of Whitnell’s and to the south of School Road, where 30 houses have been proposed.

  • B – to the west of Whitnell’s and to the south of School Road, where 45 houses have been proposed.

  • C – to the west of Wick Road and to the north of Park Lane, where 15 houses have been proposed.

  • D – to the east of Wick Road, the north of Park Lane and the west of the A12 where park and ride, for 700 – 1,000 cars, and industrial developments have been proposed.

 

Comments made included

 

  • Back land development outside the village envelope

  • The quality of the roads is poor and they are insufficient to handle the expected traffic

  • The proposed access to the park and ride scheme is very constrained

 

Submissions have to be made by 28th March and the planning group on the council will prepare this.                                                            Action – Cllr. Gallup

 

Cllr. Garnett reported that park and ride developments were proposed on a temporary basis at the new football stadium, and a permanent site north of the A12 at Cuckoo Farm for over 1,000 vehicles is proposed. The Council felt that without direct access to the A12, and given the poor standard of the local country roads, this proposal was irresponsible.

 

Devolution of Certain Responsibilities to Local Councils

 

Essex CC is to ask for CBC and local Parish Councils to set up a committee to decide on priorities for small improvements for local roads. The work would still be done by Essex CC. This experiment is to be for three years.

 

Post Office Closure

 

Cllr. Garnett reported that Essex CC is trying to come to an arrangement with the Post Office whereby the Council funds up to £1 million to save post offices. If this is successful, Langham might benefit from it.

 

 

9.8       Footpaths

 

Footpath 49

 

This has been cleared of undergrowth on Sunday, 17 Feb, after informal contact with the field’s user – by David Winter and then Cllr.Stacey.

 

Cllr. Garnet interceded over the state of the footbridge -

 

Footpath 49 Langham

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 16 January concerning the above footpath.

 

I am pleased to inform you that following an inspection of the footpath I have requested that Essex County council’s maintenance team to add a 3m handrail to the bridge which is located on this footpath.

(Mary Moir)

 

 

Footpath 22

 

Cllr. Stacey visited the high stiles and they are in good condition – but high. As no livestock is kept in the enclosed field area, their replacements by gates would be a suitable component of a P3 plan.

 

Footpath 22

 

The poor signage at Springfield Farm, Nightingale Hill, was one of several topics brought up with Mary Moir, and she concurred she had not yet received the details of the footpath diversion there. Cllr. Stacey has dug out his photos of the planning sign and will e-mail her.

 

Footpath 26

 

Where this path joins Grove Hill, the stile is quite high. Replacement by a gate would depend upon stock using the field and the landowner’s attitude to such a change.

 

Footpath 31

 

Activity has been observed in the clearing of Footpath 31, to re-align it on its legal track.

 

Footpath 33

 

Cllr. Stacey is to have a word with Mr. Rix about marking the footpath south of Park Lane. It is passable as it has been sown to ley grass, but the line is not obvious to walkers. An alternative is to improve signage.

Action – Cllr. Stacey

 

Homestead School

 

The footpath tools need to be collected from the school as they will not be carrying out maintenance work for the rest of the academic year. David Winter and Mr. Schofield will accompany Cllr. Stacey on 13th March.

Action – Cllr. Stacey

 

10           Community Initiative Fund

 

The Clerk was to provide further details to the Councillors within the next two weeks.                                                                             Action – David Winter

 

Ideas suggested included

 

  • Access to broadband

  • Renewable energy generation, such as solar panels on the Community Centre, perhaps selling electricity back to the National Grid

  • Extensions to the tennis courts.               

 

11            RCCE – Best Kept Village Competition

 

The Clerk and Cllr. Schofield will complete the application form.

                                                                                                Action – David Winter

 

12            Post Office Update

 

Cllr. Ellis has met Mr. Alan Buck who is to provide the outreach service. He has little knowledge of

 

  • The range and level of services to be provided

  • How he, the shop’s customers and the shop assistants are to be protected in the event of any raid

  • What technology he will be using.

 

It was agreed to await Essex CC developments (see 9.7 above) before deciding on any other action.

 

Cllr. Ellis reported that the Community Shop had made a surplus of £5,700 and the Council felt it should be congratulated and they hoped it would continue as the asset it has become.                                                   Action – David Winter

 

13            Closure of Homestead School

 

The proposal is to close the school with effect from 31st August 2008, with the possibility of mothballing it for four years and re-opening under another name then with the same sort of pupils. The Councillors were asked to think about possible alternative uses, especially for young people, and Cllr. Garnett was to discuss this with Bernard Jenkin, MP, when he met him.

 

The Youth Community bus was to visit Dedham on 12th March at 7.30 pm. The Clerk was to contact Rev. Bull to see if he might be interested in attending.                                                                                                         Action – David Winter

 

14   Park and Ride at the Community Centre

 

It was reported that the Chairman of the Community Council had been approached by Colchester United FC to see if the Community Council could provide overspill car parking for up to 14 events a year. The Councillors pointed out problems would include

 

  • The dangerous junction from the car park to School Road

  • Excess traffic on locally inadequate roads

  • Would there be enough room for buses to turn

  • What about the Play School in the Centre if conferences were proposed

  • What about adequate parking if a wedding was using the Centre

  • Cars would not be allowed to park on the recreation ground.

 

The Council rejected this proposal vehemently and the Clerk was to write to Mr. Cadman hoping that the Community Council would do the same.

                                                                                                Action – David Winter

15   Annual Spring Clean

 

Cllr. Garnett reported that CBC’s annual spring clean was to take place in March. Cllr. Schofield was to arrange this, enlisting the help of the WI if possible.                                                                            Action – Cllr. Schofield

 

16   Clerk’s Contract

 

Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Durlacher seconded the proposal that the Clerk be paid on point 19 of the spinal column. This was agreed and the contract will be produced.                                                       Action – Cllrs. Durlacher and Watson

 

 

17   Register of Interests

 

The Clerk reported that he had received notices of registerable interests from all the Councillors.

 

18   Correspondence

 

 

The following correspondence had been received during the last month and was available for inspection at the meeting.

 

  • Colchester Borough Council – Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 March to 30 June 2008

 

  • Colchester Core Strategy – Alternative Sites

 

  • Essex County Council – Introduction of 1 APP and Local Validation Checklists

 

  • The Playing Field

 

  • RCCE Best Kept Village

 

  • Travel Concessions for over 60s

 

  • Consultation on Orders and Regulations Relating to the conduct of Local Authority Members in England

 

  • Highways Act 1980 – Public Path Diversion Footpath 25

 

  • Village Design Statement

 

  • Consultation on Orders and Regulations Relating to the conduct of Local Authority Members in England

 

 

19   Administrative Matters

 

The Clerk reported that last year’s financial report has been sent to Lubbock Fine and the queries received to date answered.

 

Two outstanding actions are

 

  • VAT needs to be reclaimed.

  • An asset register has been discovered but will have to be updated.

                                                                                                Action – David Winter

 

Grass Cutting contracts must be checked and tenders requested if needed. Repayments for Urban Grass Cutting from Colchester Borough Council are to be investigated.                                                                 Action – David Winter

 

20   Receipts and Payments

 

A report of receipts and payments had been circulated showing from the previous meeting to date payments of £1,219.62 and receipts of £7,160, including a £7,000 grant for the USAAF Monument.

 

Cllr. Ellis proposed and Cllr. Gallup seconded the proposal that a payment of £50 be made to the Parochial Church Council to help publish the village directory. This was agreed and a cheque produced.

 

Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Durlacher seconded the proposal that there be a payment of an estimated £455 to help publish the village design statement. As £500 had been in the budget, this was agreed and the Council will pay the invoice directly when it is received.

 

In addition, a report of the current financial position against budget, together with a projection for the financial year to the end of March 2008, plus bank balances had also been circulated.

 

 

21   Mrs J Jones – Previous Parish Clerk

 

In appreciation of the work that Mrs Jones has done for the Council at short notice and in difficult circumstances the Clerk has written a letter of thanks to her which is with Cllr. Schofield for her approval.

Action – Cllr. Schofield

 

Cllr Schofield as agreed at the last Parish Council meeting should use some of her Chairman’s allowance to buy a suitable gift for her.

                                                                                                Action – Cllr. Schofield

 

22   The date of the next meeting

 

This is on Tuesday 25th March 2008, at Langham Community Centre at 7.30pm.

 

23   Any other urgent business

 

The new village web site will have the facility to have minutes and agendas displayed. This will be thought about for the next meeting.

 

There being no other urgent business, the meeting closed at 10.02 pm.

 

 

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