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Langham Parish Council


Minutes of the meeting held on 29th July 2008



1          Attendance and Apologies for Absence


Cllr. E. Schofield         Chairman

Cllr. W. Durlacher      

Cllr. C. Garnett            Borough Councillor

Cllr. A. Stacey

Cllr. A. Ellis

Cllr. R. Watson

Cllr. Bottwood


There were no apologies for absence.


Also present were Mrs. Kimberley, Mr. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. McBride and Mr. D. Winter, Clerk to the Council


2          Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


3          Minutes of the Meeting held on 24th June 2008


Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Ellis seconded the proposal that the minutes be agreed as accurate. This was accepted unanimously and Cllr. Schofield signed the minutes.


4          Matters Arising from the Meeting of 24th June 2008


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




Action By


9.4 from 25/03/08

The Emergency Plan will be updated after the next election.

Cllr. Bottwood

Cllr. Bottwood very kindly agreed to take responsibility for this and will be presenting a draft to the meeting of 29th July 2008. See item 12.


Post Office – the Council was asked to complain to the Post Office about the poor service there had been. 

David Winter

 The Clerk contacted the Post Office, EALC and Essex County Council and has a response from the Post Office.




Village Design Statement Committee - action to resolve the future of this will be co-ordinated by Cllr. Watson, with involvement from Cllrs Ellis, Stacey and Bottwood.

Cllr. Watson

 See item 11.


Village Design Statement - copies of the VDS are to be sent to Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council

Cllr. Ellis


7.7 (e)

Rayners Court Grass Cutting – outstanding.

Cllr. Garnett

It has not been possible to contact the appropriate person so far. The Clerk has found that Mr. Holmes, the resident that raised the query, is cutting the grass.

7.7 (f)

 Licensing Committee - Simon Harvey be contacted to see if the Community Council might be able to obtain better licensing terms.


Cllr. Schofield

Simon Harvey has been contacted but with no response so far. The Community Council has also been informed but thinks that there have not been any improvements as yet.


Geoff Harris of ECC Highways – meeting 30th September 2008. This meeting will cover Essex County Council Highways matters only.

David Winter

Ian Hollands will advertise this meeting in the Parish Newsletter. The agents for the local papers will be told in September. News as to the availability of the downstairs club room is awaited.           


 Vitalise it was agreed to donate £50 to this charity if it was legal to do so.

David Winter

As it does not specifically benefit the Parish residents, it is not legal to do this. However, the Chairman’s fund may be used.


BT Proposed Closure of Pay Phones  - the Clerk is to submit a response indicating our opposition to this proposal

David Winter

Done 07/07/2008 and our comments will be added to the response from CBC.


 The Clerk was asked to distribute a list of the

 Village’s assets.                 

David Winter

Done 07/07/2008


The Clerk’s contract has to be approved by Cllrs. Durlacher and Watson.


Cllr. Durlacher Cllr. Watson

 Cllr. Watson approved this subject to the Clerk having an annual appraisal by the Chairman.


The Clerk was to investigate Councillor training for Cllr. Bottwood.


David Winter

A “New Councillor” guide has been provided and details of training passed to Cllr. Bottwood.


Last year’s accounts must be finalised and the annual return prepared for audit.

David Winter

The start position has been agreed. Missing statements arrived  from Barclays on 28/07/2008.


Grants of £4,000 towards the cost of the War Memorial and USAAF Monument are to be claimed.

David Winter

These have been claimed.



5       Residents Questions.


5.1             Excessively Speeding Farm Traffic on Chapel Road


Mrs. Kimberley raised this question. Cllr. Garnett will contact the company he believes may be responsible.                                      Action – Cllr. Garnett


5.2       Planning Enquiries


Mr. and Mrs. McBride were given Cllr. Ellis’s contact details.


6       Support for the proposed enhancements to the Community Centre


Mr. Clark summarised the plans for the refurbishment of the Centre. Questions were asked concerning


  • Drainage under the building – not part of the project.

  • Cleaning materials – to exclude bleach.

  • Loss of business tended to be on entertainment lettings.

  • Re-decorations is not included though some of the minor damage to the walls may be looked at.


Cllr. Schofield proposed and Cllr. Garnett seconded the proposal that when the work is completed, provided the Community Council has obtained the necessary funding, the Council will loan the Community Council £1,000 interest free for a maximum period of 5 years. This was agreed unanimously.


Cllr. Schofield thanked Mr. Clark for all the hard work he has put into this essential project.


7       External Doors for Langham Community Centre


The Community Council asked the Parish Council to utilise £2,817.77 of the money held on their behalf by the Parish Council to replace the main and shop doors and provide a new burglar alarm. Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Watson seconded the proposal that provided the Community Council obtained two further quotations, the Parish Council would place the tender with the company recommended by the Community Council.


The Finance Committee was asked to look at the rate of return on the £26,000 bonds currently held on behalf of the Community Council.

Action – Cllr. Durlacher


8       Reports to the Council.


8.1       Planning                      


Cllr. Ellis provided the planning report for July 2008




Application No. 081033 – Glebe House:                         Approve conditional

        “           “    081067 – 2, Spencers Piece:       Approve Conditional

        “           “    081045 – Dove House:                 Approve Conditional






Application No. 080968 – Park Farm Barns




Application Nos. 081124/081125 – Thorpe Ley


The documentation for both applications appears identical although different numbers are attached. No objections.


Application No. 081265 – Langham Community Shop


This is a simple application for renewal and has the full support of the Parish Council.



8.2       Roads and Transport


(a)       Local Highways Panel


Cllr. Watson reported that the first meeting of the Local Highways Panel had taken place, and commented that


  • The programme for the current financial year had been approved as suggested by officials because budgets had already been set and work commenced in many cases  The next meeting in September would consider the programme for 2009/10 and it was hoped that local influence would be more effective. However, the structure of the Panel is such as to limit its real impact. .Lack of local knowledge makes it difficult to be able to make sensible decisions.

  • School Road footway is in the programme of work under the safer journeys to school scheme, but has not yet been scheduled.


(b)       Repairs


The repairs to Langham Lane have been disappointingly small. Some kerb work has been done at the A12 end of Park Lane, thought Cllr. Garnett wondered if any of the residents had contributed to the cost of this.


(c)       Bus Shelter


The Council will put a notice in the August Newsletter to state that for health and safety reasons, we are considering its demolition. Any comments should be sent to the Clerk.                                                                   Action – Cllr. Watson


This information is also to be put on the web site.         Action – Cllr. Stacey


8.3       Recreation Ground


Cllr. Durlacher reported that a proposal for additional storage is to be considered at the Recreation Ground Committee meeting.


8.4       General Purposes       


See item 11 below.


8.5       Housing


CBC is committed to completing the Decent Homes programme by 2010, and Cllr. Garnett is trying to meet the new team of officers responsible.


Damp in Rayners Court is thought to be a design fault and appears to have baffled CBC.


8.6       Community Council    


The Chairman reported that the Community Council is searching for a secretary and anyone interested should contact the Chairman.      


8.7       Ward Councillor          


Rayners Court grass cutting is outstanding as the appropriate officer is on holiday.                                                                                 Action – Cllr. Garnett


8.8       Footpaths                    


Cllr Stacey reported that


  • The concrete slab on footpath 35 has been reported to Essex County Council (ECC)

  • Footpath 31 problems have been reported to ECC.


9         Highways Projects


Cllr. Watson proposed that the Council look at installing solar powered speed activated devices on Park Lane. There is £166,000 to be shared within Colchester with a maximum of £25,000 on any single project. The deadline for submission is late September and has to be on a form provided by highways which Cllr. Watson will obtain.                                          Action – Cllr. Watson


The exact location of a sign is to be considered by the Roads and Transport Committee.


10       Essex Village of the Year Prize


The Council considered to what use the prize of £500 should be put. Suggestions included


  • A pump primer to help set up a scholarship fund, which might be very long term and could perhaps be combined with one of the current charities.

  • As a basis for green projects, perhaps in conjunction with the school.

  • Perhaps £100 each to help those organisations that contributed to the success of the village, such as the Community Shop, school, scouts, Good Companions etc. There is the potential problem of organisations feeling excluded from this.

  • In combination with these, possibly a party for the village.


The proposal was to think about this before the next meeting so that a decision can be taken at it.


The Clerk was asked to see if the prize money could be put into Premium Bonds.                                                                                    Action – David Winter 

11        Essex Village of the Year – the Future

Cllr. Watson outlined some of his thoughts as below.

(a)               The Village Design Statement (VDS) - this is to be distributed with the August Newsletter. Mr. Phillips (CBC planner) has made comments which will need to be incorporated as an addendum to the document prior to distribution. This could be included in a letter which introduces the VDS, thanks the distributors and explains that we shall be moving on to a Parish Plan. The letter would explain what a Parish Plan was and link it with our bid for national supremacy as best village. The theme would be making things happen in the village that people wanted to happen. In other words, we would be doing things for ourselves and not expecting others to do them for us! Our objective, as with all these things, would be to involve a larger number of people in the active life of the village. A proposed letter will be drafted by Cllr. Watson for Cllr. Schofield to sign.                                                                                                         Action - Cllr Watson

(b)       The Parish Plan - The letter could also announce the date of a meeting to dissolve the VDS Association and set up a new Parish Plan Association, transferring the former's assets to the latter at the same time. As there does not seem to be Parish Plan funding from the RCCE, we also need to look for new sources. Projected visits to the parish's businesses may be a good start!

(c)               National Best Village competition - We have a good starting point, but this will not be enough to guarantee success. We need to make some things happen between now and then (some time in the spring) which will press some more of the buttons which we have so successfully pressed to get our present position. Low cost housing, youth facilities, climate change issues and the environment are examples which readily come to mind. Cllr. Watson suggested that we set up a new Parish Council Committee for Village Development. It should be fairly small - 6-8 perhaps - with non councillors added from the start. It should operate as a steering group, tapping into expertise and enthusiasm throughout the village to stimulate other groups to form and do things that will help our cause. Even if nothing great happens before our next test, the signs of progress will help us to present ourselves as a dynamic village. This was agreed and. Cllrs Stacey, Garnett, Ellis and Bottwood volunteered to join the Committee with Cllr. Watson.                                   Action - Cllr. Watson

12        Emergency Plan


Cllr. Bottwood presented a draft emergency plan and asked the other Councillors to come back with comments to him within the next two weeks, including any thoughts on identifying vulnerable groups of people.

                                                                                                Action – All Councillors 


An emergency group to consist of Cllr. Stacey, Durlacher and Bottwood was provisionally suggested. Cllr. Schofield was to ask the Goodings if they would be prepared to represent the Lodge Lane area.              Action - Cllr. Schofield


Information regarding Homestead School contacts was to be passed to Cllr. Bottwood.                                                                           Action – Cllr. Garnett


The caretaker of Langham Primary School was to be asked to see if he was prepared to be on the contacts list.                          Action – Cllr. Watson


It is hoped that the revised Emergency Plan might be published on the Langham web site. It was felt that the Data Protection Act would require the Council to obtain written agreement from the contacts listed in the plan for their details to be published.


13        Correspondence Received


1          RCCE Calor Essex Village of the Year (see also Agenda item 10)

This confirmed the result and will allow Langham to receive feedback on the judging. We await news of the metal plaque, the village sign and details of the National competition.

2          Letter from Post Office

This is a reply to our letter of complaint. A copy has been given to the Community Shop.

3          NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Brochures were given to Councillors and copies have been given to the Good Companions.

4          Making the Links

Essex CC newsletter for July which contained articles on

  • CIF (Youth) grants (copied to Tim Bull).

  • Parish Engagement Project with which the Council will be involved if possible.

  • Trees – a tree warden is sought and will be advertised if necessary.

  • East Essex Forum on 2nd September at Lawford Venture Centre where the theme is “The Environment”. Cllrs Schofield and Garnett are to accompany the Clerk to this meeting.

5          River Stour Trust Newsletter

6          The Essex Jiangsu Festival

The Clerk attended an exhibition of “Guardians to the King: Terracotta Treasures from Ancient China” in the Castle Museum. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

7          Mencap

This is a request for the Council to promote an “Adult Placement Scheme”. Details have been provided and will be displayed on the notice boards.

8          BT Review of Pay Phone Provision

CBC has acknowledged receipt of our comments and will be forwarding them to BT. Troggy has cleared the area around the phone box on Dedham Road.

9          Lubbock Fine

This is confirmation that we have had our Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2007 approved.

10        Letters of Support to the Community Council (see also Agenda item 6)

These are copies of letters from the Clerk to the Community Initiatives Fund and the Essex Environment Trust.

11        Public Transport Information

A record of changes to bus timetables throughout Essex. There are no changes in this area.

12        Common Ground and the Oyster for summer 2008

These are magazines from RCCE and CBC, and copies were distributed. The Oyster has a photograph of and short article about the Community Shop. A copy has been given to them.

13        External Doors for Langham Community Centre (see also Agenda item 7)

These are the details provided by Mr. Clark.

14        Colchester Borough Council – Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 August to 30 November 2008

An outline of the key decisions CBC intends to take in this period.

15        EALC County Update

This contains contact and training details relevant to the EALC.

16        Update for Bus Pass Holders

From August 4th, bus passes in CBC District will be extended to the hours of 09.00 to 24.00 during the week, and all weekends and Bank Holidays. Copies have been done for the notice boards and shop.

17        Clerks and Councils Directory

This magazine covers council legal and current affair matters. Cllr. Schofield has this copy.


14     Administrative Matters


The Clerk has spent 64.5 hours on Parish matters in the last 4 weeks with the major activities being


  1. Village of the Year presentation ceremony with post award activities including a visit with the Chairman to Great Bentley, Green Village of the Year and a previous national Village of the Year winner.

  2. VAT reclaim for the first quarter of £2.090.

  3. Grant application for the Additional Storage Facility on the recreation ground.

  4. Help to the Community Council with their grant application for refurbishments to the Community Centre.


15        Receipts and Payments


A list of receipts (£600) and payments (£2,684) was circulated as part of the financial report.


Missing bank statements had just been received which now make it possible to finalise last year’s accounts and the annual return prepared for audit.              Action – David Winter 


16     Next Meeting


The next meeting will be on Tuesday 30th September 2008 at Langham Community Centre at 7.30pm. Cllr. Durlacher apologised because he will not be able to attend.


17        Any other urgent business


There being no other urgent business, the meeting closed at 10.30 pm.