Langham Parish Council
Minutes of the meeting held on 30th September 2008
1 Attendance and Apologies for Absence
Cllr. E. Schofield Chairman
Cllr. C. Garnett Borough Councillor
Cllr. A. Stacey
Cllr. A. Ellis
Cllr. R. Watson
Cllr. W. Durlacher sent his apologies for his absence.
Also present were Mr. Harris and Mr. Smith from the Highways Department of Essex County Council, 24 members of the general public 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 29th July 2008
Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Garnett seconded the proposal that the minutes be agreed as accurate. This was accepted unanimously and Cllr. Schofield signed the minutes.
4 Mr G Harris – Essex County Council (ECC) Highways
Mr. Harris had received written questions from residents and agreed to reply to all of them through the Parish Council. He and Mr. Smith answered questions from the meeting concerning, amongst other matters
Gully cleaning, where ECC will check specific problems raised by parishioners
Work on Langham Lane, where extra work is expected in the next month
Vehicle speed and heavy lorries making Langham Lane and Park Lane unsafe
Placement of 30 mph signs
Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Bottwood seconded the proposal that ECC be asked to do speed checks and vehicle counts on Park Lane at a site to be determined by the Parish Council. Mr. Harris said that this would be done in the next 6 to 8 weeks.
Following this initial phase, Mr Harris also agreed to consider speed limit restrictions following the checks and to look at the HGV situation with regard to current policy. Even if the checks show that traffic is within 60mph on unrestricted areas the Parish Council still believe this is too fast.
Mr Smith also tried to clarify who had responsibility for the road verges and hedges adjacent to the highways:
The rural road network had not materially changed in the last 100 years so it was unlikely that any tree or hedge less than 100 years old would be the responsibility of the Highway's authority.
Hedges or trees would only be the responsibility of the Highways authority if they actually planted them.
Where there is a ditch running alongside the road the Highways authority have responsibility to the brow of the ditch. If there is a hedgerow and no ditch the Highways authority have responsibility to the edge of the road.
Residents should be wary of placing boulders on grass verges and this is done at their own risk.
Illegal objects on Highways land are not allowed.
5 Matters Arising from the Meeting of 29th July 2008
Any items where action is carried forward are shown in the minutes.
Mrs. Kimberley raised the question of excessively speeding farm traffic on Chapel Road. Cllr. Garnett will contact the company he believes may be responsible.
The company has been contacted and promises to ensure speeds are not excessive.
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.
See minute 13
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.
This information is also to be put on the web site.
See minute 7.2 (a)
Rayners Court Grass Cutting
Cllr. Garnett has discovered that Langham is responsible for cutting this grass and Troggy has been asked to include it in his schedule. However, Troggy feels this should be the responsibility of Veolia the council contractors.
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.
Application form submitted.
The Clerk was asked to see if the prize money could be put into Premium Bonds.
Premium Bonds have to be purchased in an individual’s name so this is not possible.
The Village Design Statement
A proposed letter will be drafted by Cllr. Watson for Cllr. Schofield to sign
This was done.
National Best Village competition
See minute 9
All Councillors to come back with comments including any thoughts on identifying vulnerable groups of people.
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.
Information regarding Homestead School contacts was to be passed to Cllr. Bottwood.
The caretaker of Langham Primary School was to be asked to see if he was prepared to be on the contacts list.
See minute 10
The Goodings are happy to help.
See minute 10
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.
Audit completed and to be approved at the meeting.
6 Residents Questions.
6.1 Letter querying the number of vehicles outside Ajunta on Park Lane
Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Ellis seconded the proposal that a reply from the Planning department be awaited before any further action.
6.2 Request for the purchase of a new CCTV camera monitor from the Community Council
Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Stacey seconded the proposal that the Council purchase the CCTV monitor and donate it to the Community Council.
Action – David Winter
7 Reports to the Council.
Cllr. Ellis provided the planning report for September 2008
*Application no. 081265: Retention of Use, Langham Community Shop-Approve Conditional
Application no. 081326: Change annexe design, Yew Tree Cottage – Approve Conditional
Application no. 081334: Erection of two dwellings, Old Thatched Cottage, Ipswich Rd - Refuse
Application no. 081329: Barn division for office units – Park Lane Farm – Approve Conditional
Application no. 081418: Erection of garage/storage–Manse, Dedham Rd-Approve Conditional
*NB Informative (from CBC Planning): NOTE that further renewal of temporary permission for Retention of Use would be contrary to Government advice. The Clerk was asked to write to the Community Shop Chairman to ensure she is aware of the situation. Action – David Winter
APPLICATIONS AND PARISH COUNCIL RESPONSES
Application no. 081326 – Yew Tree Cottage
The current application appears to be a radical change to the previous application (F/COL/05/1403), in that the current plan now incorporates additional ground floor accommodation, as well as a first floor bedroom, consisting of a lounge/sitting area, kitchen, 2nd bedroom and shower room. Thus the building ceases to be a granny annexe dependent on the main house and becomes an independent dwelling. In addition the property is Grade II listed and we are concerned that this application may require Listed Building Consent. Any increase in the size of this proposed building over the size of the present garage will also have an impact on its aspect from Chapel Road. We therefore object to this application on these grounds.
Application no. 081401 – Lawful Development Certificate for an Existing Use - Martin’s Farm Barn
The application is supported by a number of Statutory Declarations, both by the applicant and others, but no accounts of rent, etc.
The Parish Council notes that a number of residents have objected to this application, on the grounds of dangerous access to Dedham Road, and a site visit confirms this to be a narrow and windy section of road used by vehicles at some speed. Sight lines are limited, as are manoeuvring options off the road.
The barn, upon inspection, does give rise to some concern as to its condition, with possible issues of vandalism, fire and theft, and especially as it concerns fire.
These issues concern local residents, as the site is remote from services and is considered vulnerable to anti-social behaviour and crime, and nearby timber structures are at risk from spreading fires.
The Parish Council opposes this application on the grounds that the position and condition of this building is unsuitable for the purpose of commercial storage, as the application has demonstrated is its present, unauthorised, function.
Application no. 081418 – The Manse Dedham Road
The application is to replace a single garage with a double garage, with storage over.
The Parish Council notes that this is a larger structure than the rather modest one it replaces and is in the Dedham Vale Conservation Area, but it is well screened from this landscape by a substantial bank of trees, and is some distance from Dedham Road.
We would wish to make mention of the status of part of the property as a Methodist burial ground, and that the Vestry, immediately adjacent to the proposed build, has a baptismal chamber beneath the floor.
The Parish Council does not object to this application, but suggests that suitable conditions be applied to approval; that the Vestry is protected during the build, that access to the burial ground is maintained, and the new garage/storage building should not be turned into accommodation.
Application no. 081485, Jeveck, Chapel Road – Retention of external staircase
Whilst the Parish Council sees no difficulties with this application, it would wish that approval should be conditional upon the retention of use of this part of the garage as an attic store and not for accommodation purposes.
APPLICATION NO. 081595 – Serenity, High Street, Langham
We note that the current application is for the erection of a fixed structure on land which has received permission for Change of Use from agricultural to domestic garden, for which we would expect there to be conditions already in place. The property is also outside the Village Envelope.
We would, however, request that the proposed summerhouse be used solely for recreational purposes and not accommodation. Other than this concern, we have no objections.
The Clerk was asked to add a note in the Newsletter to refer parishioners to the web page which has links to the planning office database.
Action – David Winter
7.2 Roads and Transport
(a) Bus Shelter
Details of the bus shelter on the A12 are to be sent to Mr. Harris so that concerns over safety may be addressed. Action – David Winter
7.3 Recreation Ground
Cllr. Schofield reported that Councillors will be asked for the help for bonfire night and for painting the railings of the children’s play area.
The Clerk was asked to clear the proposal to fill in the ditch on the west side of the recreation ground with the Environment Agency. Action – David Winter
The hedge to the east of the recreation ground is to be cut by Mr. D. Isted. This will be a reasonably large job but should be completed to put the cuttings on the bonfire.
7.4 General Purposes
(a) Youth Bus
Cllr. Watson reported that to have the Youth Bus, the village would have to pay for the provision of Youth workers at £55 per session. Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Stacey seconded the proposal that this should be pursued, and Cllr. Watson will investigate this at the next CALC meeting. Action – Cllr. Watson
(b) Youth Activities in General
There was general agreement that the younger members of the parish should be consulted as to where does the village go from here. Cllr. Schofield agreed to co-ordinate this work with Cllrs. Bottwood, Watson and herself.
Action – Cllr. Schofield
(c) Affordable Housing
This topic will be discussed in relation to village developments.
(d) Village Development Committee
This will be discussed in relation to village developments. Mr and Mrs Gooding will be pleased to help in the Lodge Lane area.
Cllr. Garnett is trying to arrange a walk about and he will be happy for Councillors to attend.
Cllr. Schofield and the Clerk will be trying to arrange a visit to a resident in Rayners Court. Action – David Winter
7.6 Community Council
The Chairman reported that the Community Council
has had problems with meeting fire regulations
is reported to desire Cllr. Schofield to sit on their finance committee. If this is the case, she will not be able to accept.
7.7 Ward Councillor
The Clerk was asked to put up notices of the closure of Greyhound Hill and Mill Lane have been posted on the village notice board. Action – David Winter
The topic of affordable housing will be discussed when work is started on the Parish Plan.
Cllr Garnett has applied for dog waste bins for St Margaret’s Cross and Pond Corner.
Cllr Stacey reported that Mary Moir of Essex County Council (ECC) has looked at Langham’s paths.
The concrete slab on footpath 35 may have to remain as it is a footpath.
Problems relating to Footpath 31, which leads onto School Road, have led to letters going to residents.
The vineyard footpath onto Langham Lane where the fence is being pushed down has been seen by Mary Moir and has been actioned.
A resident has checked the stiles on footpath 26 and feels they are safe.
8 Essex Village of the Year Prize
Cllr. Watson proposed and Cllr. Garnett seconded the proposal that the use of the prize money be deferred until the results of the regional and national finals are known. This was agreed unanimously.
9 Essex Village of the Year – the Future
Cllrs. Watson, Garnett, Ellis and Stacey are to establish a working party to move the village ahead, including approaching non-Councillors to get involved. Cllr. Watson agreed to lead this team, including assuming responsibility for the entry for the National Village of the Year competition where the entry is due at the end of November.
10 Emergency Plan
Cllr. Bottwood presented the revised version of the emergency plan and asked the other Councillors to come back to him within the next week, either with any comments or the statement that they are happy with the plan.
Action – All Councillors
Rev. Bull is to be asked if he will allow his name to be in the emergency plan.
Action - Cllr. Schofield
Cllr. Bottwood is to contact Jean Brandreth to check the contents of the emergency box. Action - Cllr. Bottwood
Now it is the end of the holidays, 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
11 Correspondence Received
1 Anchor Staying Put
Information about a gardening and repair service for over 60s is to be passed to Mr. Hewitt. Action – David Winter
2 North East Essex Primary Care Trust
Patient Commissioning Forums. These are part of the Trusts vision for public involvement. Meetings are held every month or so. The Councillors were to let the PCT know if they were interested in contributing.
3 RCCE Village Hall & Community Building Conference
To be held 18th October. The Clerk is to give this information to Mr. Cadman.
Action – David Winter
4 Making the Links
Cllr. Schofield has the September issue.
5 Essex Wildlife Trust Newsletter
6 Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change
This e-mail has been circulated to Councillors.
7 CPRE Fieldwork Newsletter
8 Essex Protector Newsletter
Thanks for our donation.
10 Community Facilities Audit
This e-mail has been circulated to Councillors. The investigator is to be encouraged to contact Langham. Action – David Winter
11 Public Transport Information
A record of changes to bus timetables throughout Essex. No changes in this area.
12 Letter from Mr and Mrs Peasland
Congratulating Langham on its VDS.
13 The Making and Enforcement of Bye-Laws
A consultation document.
14 Colchester Borough Council – Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 October to 31 January 2009
An outline of the key decisions CBC intends to take in this period.
15 Letter from Mr Michael O’Sullivan
Mr O’Sullivan has very kindly offered a donation towards the cost of replacement planters. This is to be discussed with Mrs Ellis. Action – David Winter
12 Administrative Matters
In the last 8 weeks the major activities have been
Completion of the audited accounts by Mr Allen.
2 days CilCA training course with EALC in Chelmsford.
Agreement over the way to handle VAT reclaiming on Community Centre improvements.
Preparation for bonfire night, including 2 recreation ground committee meetings.
East Essex Forum with Cllrs Ellis and Bottwood.
Local Handling of Complaints meeting with the Monitoring Officer.
EALC AGM in Coggeshall with the Chairman and Mrs Smerdon where Langham received an award for the Essex Village of the Year.
13 Receipts and Payments
A list of receipts (£6,231) and payments (£2,339) was circulated as part of the financial report.
The auditors report was received by the Council and signed by Cllr. Schofield.
The Finance Committee will look at the rate of return on the £26,000 bonds currently held on behalf of the Community Council once holidays have been finished. Action – Cllr. Durlacher
14 Next Meeting
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 28th October 2008 at Langham Community Centre at 7.00pm. This is earlier than normal because PC Barlow will be attending.
15 Any other urgent business
The Clerk was asked to compose a letter for the Chairman to send to the Tolhurst family following the sad death of Mr. Tolhurst. Action – David Winter
There being no other urgent business, the meeting closed at 10.40 pm.
16 Closed Session
A student from the village has applied for a grant for books from the Lettice Dyke trust. Cllr. Garnett proposed and Cllr. Watson seconded the proposal that a maximum of £50 be given to this student on production of invoices for the books, and provided adequate funds were available in the charity.
Currently the Lettice Dyke Trust does not have sufficient funds for this and the Clerk is to check to see if the Charities Commission would allow this charity to be merged with the Thomas Love charity. Failing this, the possibility of increasing the assets of Lettice Dyke will be considered. Action – David Winter
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