Minutes of a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL held on Wednesday 16th November 2022 at 7.30pm in The Day Centre, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr M Caton (Chair), Cllrs A Barnes, A Guney, J Hogg, J Hudson, M Jessup, P Jones, J Kavanagh, A Khan, J O’Brien, L Prior, F Richards, G Sell and T Smith
Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Mrs Emma Philbrick – Deputy Clerk
Cllr Lee Scott – Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport
County Councillor Ray Gooding
District Councillor Melvin Caton
Police Sergeant Steve Sharma
Special Constable Steve Dale
1 member of the press
19 members of the public
238 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Braeckman as he is away at university. Having been proposed by Cllr Jones and seconded by Cllr O’Brien, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To accept the apologies of Cllr Braeckman
Six members of the public spoke relating to traffic issues in Stansted, primarily the use of Grove Hill by heavy good vehicles (HGVs).
One member of the public also commented on Planning Application UTT/22/2861/OP
________________PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ENDS
239 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
240 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING ON 26TH OCTOBER 2022
RESOLVED To accept the minutes of the Full Council meeting held on 26th October 2022 as a true and accurate account
241 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS FROM THE LAST MEETING
200 – Not done yet but the Clerk will do before the next meeting
206 – Done
209 – On the agenda for tonight’s meeting
210 – On the agenda for tonight’s meeting
242 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR, CLLR MAUREEN CATON Attached
243 TO RECEIVE THE DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORT
244 TO RECEIVE THE COUNTY COUNCILLOR’S REPORT
Nothing further to add to minute number 245
245 TO WELCOME CLLR LEE SCOTT, CABINET MEMBER FOR HIGHWAYS MAINTENANCE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
The below list of questions were submitted to Cllr Scott ahead of the meeting:
1 Are you committed to making the centre of Stansted an HGV free zone? Is this project dependent upon the legislation to approve the use of cameras at the entrances to enforce the restriction? If so, are you actively lobbying Parliament? If not dependent, how will enforcement be undertaken? How far along is the project and what is the likely timescale for introduction?
Cllr Scott advised he had no powers to say or do. The bill is going through Parliament. He has put in for the powers but until this has gone through, there is nothing he can do. What they cannot do is make things worse somewhere else. He cannot give timelines to when they will receive the powers as Parliament do not give out indications of timelines and there are a lot of bills that need to go through.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that some of the tests carried out proved that it would be difficult to enforce. They need to make sure the bill and equipment is sustainable or clever lawyers will find a way through and no one will end up being prosecuted.
He has contacted Sat Nav and requested for Grove Hill to be removed as the route to take from the M11 to Elsenham, but they have no powers to enforce this and so far, it has not been done.
2 Is Hall Road the only alternative to Grove Hill? What happens if it is deemed to be unsuitable?
Yes, Hall Road is the only alternative owned by Essex Highways. The feasibility study is assessing the safety of this road considering the recent accidents, some of which resulted in fatalities.
3 What is the County Council’s policy on repairs to potholes?
He asked for all potholes to be reported to Cty Cllr Gooding who will then put a list together of 36 of them which will be repaired.
4 In recent weeks Stansted has seen large numbers of dumper trucks full of earth accessing Chapel Hill and Grove Hill. It is believed they emanate from the Bishop’s Stortford North development. The truck movements begin shortly after 5 am. There have been complaints regarding the speed of the trucks and the affect they are having on our narrow roads. What measures are the County Council taking to resolve the situation?
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that lorries dumping soil did not need consent in planning terms. He is trying to get a multi-agency meeting to discuss. To date, UDC have been dismissive, Minerals and Waste are happy to meet, and the
Environment Agency would like further information on the extent of the issue. He commented that enforcement action can only be taken if there is a condition in the original planning approval for developments. Liaison with East Herts would be required to establish this with regards to Bishop’s Stortford North.
Cllr Lee Scott advised that he will return in the new year and he will bring with him the Cabinet Member for Planning.
5 Would you promote support for the S106 Highways Fund for Foresthall Park to come under the control of the Local Highways Panel? If not, can you assure us that none of the remaining funds will have to be returned to the developers? We wish to progress a scheme to improve the footway on Church Road and have submitted this, however it may be quicker to do this through the Uttlesford LHP.
In January a complete review of S106’s will be published. The biggest issue is that new developments may have great new drains, but they then run into old drains. He cannot stop developments and Highways are only a consultee commenting on Highways issues only.
6 Drain clearance – can you send the annual programme for clearance. What is ECC’s policy for clearing drains reported after that visit, but which have become blocked again. We have a number of drains which, if not kept clear, could result in the flooding of Lower Street when the levels in the Ugley Brook rise.
We were told that the inadequate drain at the bottom of Chapel Hill, outside The King’s Arms Hotel, would be replaced with a more effective type of drain. When will this work be undertaken?
Cllr Scott promised to send over the programme and added that if any drains have failed, he will ensure they are jetted. He believes it is wrong that the taxpayers pick up the bill if people are having work done such as extensions and drains get blocked due to the cement etc. He would like to see a bond paid in advance which would be paid back if no issues arise.
7 Street-lighting – when will the replacement columns now erected along Cambridge Road actually be in lighting – they are all still not working
This is a problem across the country. There has been a shortage of components, but they are now sourcing these in the UK and an improvement should start to be seen. Phillips are also not making the SON lightbulbs anymore.
8 Bottom of Chapel Hill/corner with Lower Street – who is responsible for the leaning post which has been damaged now for around 2 years and remains in need of removal. A similarly leaning post across the road in
Lower Street was removed, we believe by Essex Highways, earlier this year.
This question was not answered at the meeting so the office will chase for an answer
9 Bottom of Chapel Hill – two of the lighting columns (either side of the zebra crossing) which were installed as part of the new mini roundabout scheme at the same location have been out of lighting for many months – who is responsible for these columns?
This question was not answered at the meeting so the office will chase for an answer.
10 Church Road traffic calming chicanes – these were installed some years ago as one of the schemes under the Foresthall Park Highways Fund S106 programme. They are considered to be dangerous and have not calmed the traffic in the way intended. Through your S.106 officer, we have asked for this scheme to be reviewed and to have the chicanes removed and replaced with a more suitable scheme such as speed tables or similar. Please can you provide an update.
He is aware of the concerns of the chicanes and has asked their engineers to undertake a review and report back to him.
11 What can be done about the numerous road closures and diversions around the village – Church Road alone has been closed 5 or 6 times this year.
He has no powers over utility companies, and they have to issue the permits if required. He is currently lobbying to say he would like the powers to manage them, but he doubts he will get it.
Cllr Scott commented that some of the buck stops with him and they will take the blame for those things but there are other things that don’t, and he won’t make false promises. He knows people are upset and he knows the problems.
Regarding the rumours of compulsory purchases, these have never been considered but even if they were, there is no budget for them.
With regard to street-lighting, Essex County Council has gone from paying 19p per kilo watt hour to 70p per kwh for electricity, and on top of that, 70% of ECC’s overall budget, rightly so, gets allocated to adult and child social care.
It would cost £75 million to repair every road and they don’t have the budget to spend that sort of sum. He can’t achieve everything, but he will do what he can and what the budget allows.
Cllr Scott promised to come back in the new year and give an update on every question.
The Chair then invited questions from Councillors and the public
Cllr Khan asked about the flooding on Church Road and when is the drainage issue going to be resolved. Cllr Scott advised that the road is closed now for this work to be done.
Cllr Khan asked when the strategic review of traffic in Stansted would be taking place as he asked Cty Cllr Gooding to undertake this over a year ago! Cty Cllr Gooding advised that this was part of the feasibility study being funded by the Local Highways Panel into removing HGVs from the centre of Stansted. The report should be ready by Q4 of the current year. Any recommendations will be considered and put forward to Cllr Scott as part of the budget process. Cllr Scott commented that until they get costs, they will not be able to confirm if this can go ahead as it is going to be a tough budget.
Cllr Sell commented on the situation on Grove Hill and how it has got worse not better. Dumper trucks are not adhering to the speed limits on Silver Street as well as other roads. What can be done about this? Can they put in a STOP order? He asked whether Cllr Scott buys into the vision to ban HGVs from the centre of Stansted. Cllr Scott commented that he always buys into the vision. Cllr Gooding stated that he has been trying to get something done about these trucks but it needs a multi-agency meeting to really decide what can be done. If the planning consent for the developments that the lorries are servicing does not have a condition relating to the disposal of the waste, then there is not much that can be done.
Cllr Jones commented that the scheme for Grove Hill has been in discussion for at least 18 months and he agrees that Hall Road is the only alternative. What he finds hard to believe is that it takes so long to find a viable alternative and to confirm if the scheme is achievable. He understands that other surrounding parishes may not like the alternatives but if Parliament approves and grants the powers, they should be in a position to move things forward straightaway. He also commented on the footpath on Church Road and the S106 money being held which could be used to improve the path and its safety. He urged Cllr Scott to help the Parish Council to free the money to help. Cllr Scott advised he will take this up.
Cllr Hogg spoke regarding the state that the roads are in and how much they have deteriorated in the last 7-10 years. He also commented that as the leader of a Rule 6 party, he wants to understand how Highways always put in an initial objection on large developments but then developers seem to offer a huge S106 benefit and then there is no final objection from Highways. Why do Highways not engage with Parish Councils before commenting on large developments? Cllr Scott advised that S106 money does not go to Highways and that it goes to Uttlesford District Council which is something he wants to change. He offered to meet with the Parish Council to discuss any developments when they want to.
Cllr Scott advised that he is managing a decline in Highways and the budget he has is not big enough to repair everything. If anything is dangerous then it will be fixed but if something is cosmetic, then they don’t have the funds to do anything.
Cllr Prior asked Cllr Scott to explain the Parliamentary Bill and how it worked. Cllr Scott explained that it is for the whole of the UK but that each county has to apply for the powers if they wish to. Some do not wish to have the powers but Essex does, and they have applied.
A member of the public commented that surely haulage companies do not want the legal bills of challenging fines, but that the revenue from the fines would be useful to Highways. Cllr Scott advised that if he is provided with a list of haulage companies who are seen repeatedly breaking the speed and weight restrictions, then he will contact them and ask for meeting, although he cannot insist on this.
One member of the public asked when a proper traffic count would be done in Stansted as the last data available was in 2016. Cllr Scott confirmed that a survey was carried out last year. Cllr Gooding advised that a camera study was done as part of the visibility study recently and it provided a lot of information with regards to where traffic is coming from and going to. He will ask if the information can be made public. The member of the public requested that an actual traffic count take place and Cllr Scott agreed that he would ask for this to be done.
Special Constable Dale pressed for the multi-Agency meeting which Cllr Gooding had already confirmed they were trying to set up.
One member of the public asked why speed cameras couldn’t be installed to get extra revenue? Cllr Scott advised that the revenue goes to the police and not to Highways.
Cllr Scott thanked everyone for attending and left the meeting.
246 FINANCE – TO APPROVE THE LIST OF PAYMENTS
These were tabled at the meeting. The Clerk confirmed that Cllr Jessup had checked and signed the invoices off against the payment scheduled and asked if two invoices could be added. She detailed who they would be paid to, what the invoices were for and how much. Members unanimously
RESOLVED to approve the payment schedule with the two additional invoices added
247 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
- UTT/22/2861/OP – LAND AT THE LODGE, ELSENHAM ROAD
Outlines planning application with all matters reserved for the erection of 1no. detached dwellinghouse.
The Parish Council objects to this application on Highways safety grounds for the following reasons:
To reach the pedestrian footpath/footway requires crossing the road, which at this point is the national speed limit.
The footpath is narrow and poorly maintained
There is no street lighting
- UTT/22/2914/FUL – 82 CAMBRIDGE ROAD
Section 73A Retrospective application for the installation of ATM installed through a secure panel to the left hand side of the shop front
- UTT/22/2915/AV – 82 CAMBRIDGE ROAD
Retention of internally illuminated cash sign above the ATM and green LED halo illumination to the surround.
- UTT/22/2400/DFO – THE LARCHES, GROVE HILL
Details following outline application UTT/20/0882/OP, details of access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for the erection of 1 no. detached dwelling and garage.
No Objection but assume that energy efficiency is key to the design, and nocturnal lighting is kept to a minimum.
248 PERSONNEL SUB-COMMITTEE – TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 13TH OCTOBER 2022
The minutes of the Personnel Sub-Committee meeting on 13th October 2022 were received by the Council.
249 F&GP COMMITTEE – TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 19TH OCTOBER 2022 AND 2ND NOVEMBER 2022
The minutes of the F&GP Committee meetings on 19th October and 2nd November 2022 were received by the Council.
Meeting close at 8.46pm
241 Clerk to contact Amherst direct before the next Full Council
245 Potholes to be reported to Cty Cllr Gooding who will put a list of 36 together which will be repaired
245 Cllr Scott to send over the Annual Drain Clearance Programme
245 Office to chase Cllr Scott for an answer on who is responsible for the leaning post at the bottom of Chapel Hill/Corner of Lower Street
245 Office to chase Cllr Scott for an answer to who is responsible for the 2 lighting columns either side of the zebra crossing at the bottom of Chapel Hill.
245 Cllr Scott to look into the S106 money to be used for the improvements to the Church Road footpath
245 Cllr Scott to ask for a traffic count to be undertaken in Stansted
CHAIR REPORT: Maureen Caton
- The recent deliberate burning of the picnic table and bench on Mountfitchet Green is being followed up by the police and the Clerk has submitted a claim to our insurers. If anyone has any information in relation to this incident, it should be passed to the Clerk for forwarding to Essex Police.
- To boost the membership on our Youth Council, our Youth Councillors will be setting up an information stall around the Castle Maltings area to engage with any of our younger residents who may be interested in joining the council or in any projects going forward. The date is to be confirmed, but it will take place on a Saturday morning before Xmas. We will also be hosting a local village organisation multi-agency meeting, to ascertain what support and links can be made to promote and support the activities of both our Youth Club and the Youth Council – this is likely to be in December.
- A very specific thank you needs to be sent to all our flood wardens who kept a watch on the impact of the recent heavy rainfall on the Ugley Brook, and cleared debris to maintain its free flow. It has also been agreed that 3 Councillors will support the group by keeping a regular eye on weather forecasts and to make regular checks on the water level and debris. Thanks especially go to Iain Rankin for his continued work on this.
- Our meeting with Columbia Threadneedle last week was disappointing to say the least. It felt that Stansted was very much the Cinderella at this ball! With certainly no ticket to attend discussions with UDC and the Burnt Mill Academy Trust; where a 3G football pitch is proposed to be located on the Forest Hall School site. Apparently, this has been agreed in discussions with UDC and Elsenham Football Club. Columbia Threadneedle is also looking at possible drainage work on the existing football pitches at Elsenham. The management of the 3G facility is currently being broached to involve at least 6 different parties. We are pursuing a meeting with Sport England to be clear on their current position with regard to this application, and to share our concerns in respect of the proposed reprovision. Sport England had objected to the proposal in March 22.
Improved transport links between the village and the airport site have not progressed and it is unclear what is proposed post development, apart from a link between the airport and CTI’s development. HGVs departing/entering the site will be tracked and monitored to ensure the centre of the village is not accessed, with financial penalties being followed up for non-adherence. The financial penalties accrued will be ploughed back to any further highways work required.
Finally, it was a great turnout for Remembrance Sunday – thank you to the volunteers and Environmental Rangers who stopped the traffic and kept us safe, the ladies who served tea and biscuits following the service and everyone involved who represented various organisations – remembering those who fought for our freedom. Thank you also to our staff who organise the event every year with such attention to detail. Report Ends.
DISTRICT COUNCILLOR REPORT Stansted South & Birchanger – Ayub Khan
Uttlesford Local Plan: The Local Plan continues to dominate the discussion at Uttlesford District Council.
Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), who were elected in 2019 on the basis of delivering a new Local Plan have now decided to push back the publication until after the Local Elections in May 2023.
This is clearly a very cynical move on the part of R4U given that they are fully aware of where the planned development across the district will take place. Their latest excuse is that they need to do more work assessing the sites.
District Council meeting and Motion of Censure: At a specially convened meeting of the full Uttlesford District Council on Thursday, October 13, Uttlesford District councillors discussed two major failures of the Council that had resulted in wasteful expenditure in excess of £5 million. These included an avoidable costs penalty of £ 2.1 million payable to Stansted Airport for acting unreasonably during the planning appeal and £3.5m spent on the stalled local plan!
The meeting ended with the Council passing a “Motion of Censure” that stated that the R4U administration had failed local residents.
Cllrs from our group stated, “The council was found to have acted unreasonably in its defence of Stansted Airport’s appeal against the Planning Committee’s decision to refuse the airport’s expansion” From the outset, it was clear to Cllrs that the legal defence team was heading straight for disaster. Not only was the Planning Committee’s decision to refuse re-engineered by officers to become a decision to approve with conditions, but councillors were kept in the dark about the defence strategy despite their persistent requests to be informed”.
The so-called R4U resident’s administration has refused to acknowledge that they were in the wrong and refused to accept the fact that had they vigorously defended the decision to refuse planning permission, then penalty costs for unreasonableness would not have been awarded against UDC. You can read the full censure motion here: https://uttlesford.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s29571/MOTION%20OF%20CENSURE%20AGAINST%20R4U%20Local%20Plan.pdf
Cost of living: Stansted District Cllrs are continuing to work with Touchpoint and provide support to tackle the Cost-of-Living crisis. A meeting was held last week to explore this in more detail. Further information will be announced in due course.
Parking matters: The Issue of Airport parking continues to be problematic across Stansted. District Cllrs are engaging with the team at Stansted Airport to look at additional signage in the roads most affected.
The Forest Hall Park working group to look at Highways matters including potential parking restrictions has undertaken two sessions with residents on the development. The group is led by Cllr Peter Jones and will meet on the 17th of November 2022 to discuss their findings and next steps.
Finally, the Remembrance Sunday service was a great advert for the whole community who came to together to remember those who fought for our freedom. A huge thank you to everyone involved. District Councillor Report Ends
NOTICE OF MEETING You are summoned to attend a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL which will be held on Wednesday 16th November 2022 at 7.30pm in THE DAY CENTRE, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted, Essex where the following business will be transacted:
1 To receive and approve apologies for absence
Adjourn for public participation
2 To receive declarations of interest
3 To approve the minutes of the Full Council meeting held on 26th October 2022
4 To receive an update on action points from the last meeting
5 To receive a report from the Chair, Cllr Maureen Caton – Written report only
6 To receive the District Councillors’ Report – Written report only
7 To receive the County Councillor’s Report – Written report only
8 To welcome Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport
9 Finance – To approve the list of payments – To be tabled
10 To consider the list of planning applications received– see attached
11 Personnel Sub-Committee – To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 13th October 2022
12 F&GP Committee – To receive the minutes of the meetings held on 19th October 2022 and 2nd November 2022
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 10 November 2022