Minutes of the F&GP COMMITTEE meeting held on Wednesday 17th May 2023 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr J O’Brien (Chair), Cllrs M Caton, P Jones and G Sell
ATTENDING Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Mrs Emma Philbrick – Deputy Clerk
Cllr Alan Barnes (via Zoom)
1 member of the public (via Zoom)
12 TO ELECT A CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE
Cllr Caton as Chair of the Council opened the meeting and invited nominations for Chair of the Committee.
Cllr Sell proposed Cllr O’Brien for the position of Chair, having been seconded by Cllr Jones and with no other nominations, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED that Cllr John O’Brien be elected as Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee for the Civic Year 2023/24
13 TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Hogg – Holiday and Cllr Khan – Work Commitments. Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Caton, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED to accept the apologies from Cllrs Hogg and Khan
14 TO RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
15 TO ELECT A VICE-CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE
Cllr Caton proposed Cllr Jones for the position of Vice-Chair, having been seconded by Cllr Sell and with no other nominations, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED that Cllr Peter Jones be elected as Vice-Chair of the Finance & General Purposes Committee for the Civic Year 2023/24
16 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 5TH APRIL 2023
RESOLVED to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 5th April 2023 as a true and accurate account.
17 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS SINCE THE LAST MEETING
429 – Ongoing action point
429 – Done and more information received.
429 – Done
18 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CLERK
A report by Cllr O’Brien was circulated by the Clerk to members ahead of the meeting. Cllr O’Brien read the report out.
19 TO APPOINT:
a) HEALTH MATTERS REPRESENTATIVE
After discussions and having led the Council’s campaign for a second dispensing pharmacy in Stansted, it was unanimously agreed that Cllr Caton should take on this role and she agreed.
b) POLICE LIAISION REPRESENTATIVE
The Clerk advised that since this was originally set up things have changed significantly. The various multi-agency meetings around the District have cesaed and the office now have a close working relationship with the local police. After further discussion it was unanimously agreed that this role was now redundant.
Following a question from Cllr Jones, it was agreed that the office would contact UDC to find out if Stansted get a share of the PCSOs who are funded by them in Saffron Walden. Cllr Caton also asked if the office could contact the Communities Team to find out why we no longer receive the documents containing data relating to depravation/health/housing in the village.
c) NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH REPRESENTATIVE
Linzi Shelford has agreed to continue in this role.
a) TO RECEIVE AN OUTAGE REPORT
A resident has reported that a light in Park Road is still not working. All of the other Park Road lights have been repaired. Contractors are looking into this ASAP.
b) TO RECEIVE A GENERAL REPORT ON LIGHTING
Cllr O’Brien gave the following update:
We are awaiting the Structural and Electrical tests on our lighting stock. Once this is received, we will ask our lighting contractors to proceed with the conversion to LED. Cllr Jones asked for more detail regarding the condition of the grant and some lights being turned off at night. The Clerk and Chair advised that their plan was to identify which lights we would definitely not switch off and then bring a plan of which lights to trial back to the Committee to agree. Once agreed, the lights would be switched off for a three-month period during which we would consult with residents to see what effects it has had and what people like and don’t like. The Clerk stated that it is a relatively simple process to switch back, but there would clearly be an additional cost.
21 FINANCE – TO APPROVE THE LIST OF PAYMENTS FOR AUTHORISATION
The Clerk advised that Cllr Jones had checked the invoices against the list of payments during the meeting. She asked permission for an additional payment to be added for the delivery company of The Link magazine as part of the agreement is that the payments are made promptly.
The list of payments with the additional invoice was approved.
22 TO CONSIDER ANY GRANT APPLICATIONS RECEIVED
Stansted Hall and Elsenham Cricket Club (SHECC)
Following on from further information received from SHECC, having been proposed by Cllr Caton and seconded by Cllr Sell, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To award a grant of £400 to the Stansted Hall and Elsenham Cricket Club.
Magna Carta Embroidery Committee
Having been proposed by Cllr Jones and seconded by Cllr O’Brien, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To award a grant of £400 to the Magna Carta Embroidery Committee
23 RISK ASSESSMENTS 2023 – TO REVIEW THE COUNCIL’S RISK ASSESSMENT
A copy of the Risk Assessment was circulated to the Committee ahead of the meeting. The Clerk advised that the previous template used was 80+ pages long and was criticised by both the Internal Auditor and the CiLCA examiners when the Deputy Clerk used it as part of her training. The Auditors had suggested a few models and after researching them, the Clerk had decided to use the model which had been adopted by a Gold Standard Council. She reminded members that this did not cover events as each event had their own risk assessment.
The document was unanimously approved.
24 CRAFTON GREEN – TO RECEIVE ANY UPDATES ON THE COMMUNITY BUILDINGS
The Chair advised that he had today asked for three quotes for the small grass area in front of the Mountfitchet Exchange to be replaced with block paving and for the surface to be repaired and the ruts caused by vehicles to be made good. He also said that he was seeking advice from contractors on solar panels. He advised that switching to a heat pump was also an option.
Touchpoint have submitted applications for the airport grants for the work to the toilets in the Day Centre. The office had approached 5 companies for quotes and two have been received back.
Cllr Jones asked what other work needed to be carried out in Crafton Green House before Touchpoint would take on the licence to occupy? The Clerk confirmed that the upstairs windows would need to be replaced and Touchpoint have submitted this as part of the Airport grant.
25 WINDMILL – TO RECEIVE ANY UPDATES
Cllr O’Brien advised that there were no updates but that the Coronation event was a success and that the Windmill reported a huge interest on the day.
26 YOUTH MATTERS – TO RECEIVE ANY UPDATES
Cllr Caton advised the following:
Along with the Clerk and Deputy Clerk, she had met with one of the managers of the Essex Youth Service who are running the Youth Club. They had voiced their displeasure at the limited success of the Youth Club so far and the lack of communications and attendance. It was made clear that we expect to see improvements in their efforts to draw in the young members of the community using social media and advertising.
We have given Forest Hall School some dates to meet with their representatives and are awaiting a reply.
27 STAFF MATTERS – TO RECEIVE ANY AVAILABLE UPDATES
All staff were happy and gave thanks for their salary reviews. Nothing else to update.
Meeting closed at 8.06pm
19b Office to contact UDC and ask if Stansted get a share of the PCSO’s they fund for Uttlesford and whether Saffron Walden Town Council make any contribution.
19b Office to contact the Communities Team at UDC
by Cllr John O’Brien
The Parish Council’s decision to forego an increase in the Precept for the 2023/24 Fiscal year, although backed up with a deferral of repayment to the Foresthall Park Community Fund, will still require that strict financial controls are maintained.
Unfortunately, that being said, we have been advised that drainage work, carried out during the building of the Mountfitchet, has created a situation where blockages have become a recurring problem. These defects will have to be addressed.
Now we are commencing on the Parish Council’s new 4-year term of tenure, we shall proceed as a priority, after extensive research, to take advantage of the rates of interest available on investments, as approved by Full Council.
The Parish Council has now received 80% of the £34,900 Zero-Carbon Emissions Grant won earlier this year and work is due to commence, once a safety survey has been completed, on the conversion of our Sodium-powered streetlight stock to the more energy efficient LED in our residential areas. One special condition in obtaining the grant was that we move towards Part-night lighting, ie switching off lights within residential areas between midnight and 5.30 in the morning. The lights covering the main walking routes will, however, remain on all night. Part-night lighting will initially be on 3-month trial in order to obtain views and concerns from our residents prior to establishing a permanent basis.
The benefits obtained from carrying out the conversion to LED, and introduction of Part-night lighting, are the significant financial savings on energy and maintenance costs. However, more importantly, it emphasises the Parish Council’s commitment to countering the causes of the Climate Emergency and encouraging better conditions for wildlife in our rural environment.
Last year, this Council endeavoured to improve the seasonal lighting display in our social hub around Lower Street and, with thanks to the Stansted Social Club, Kings Arms and the owners of Castle Maltings, this was achieved.
Unfortunately, we had hoped to improve the lighting display further this year but have been thwarted by the failure of Essex Highways and Cllr Lee Scott to answer certain enquiries, despite repeated requests to them for clarification. We are now left with no means to action any improvements on this year’s Christmas display as the deadline for contractors is now upon us. It seems that despite the PR expertise of Cllr Scott, nothing has changed from the historic “talk to the hand” attitude of Essex Highways. Report Ends.
Members of the Council you are hereby summoned, and members of the public and press are hereby invited, to attend a meeting of the FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE which will be held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17th May 2023 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex where the following business will be transacted:
1 To elect a Chair of the Committee
2 To receive apologies for absence
3 To receive declarations of interest
4 To elect a Vice-Chair of the Committee
5 To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 5th April 2023
6 To receive an update on action points from the last meeting
7 To receive a report from the Clerk – To follow
8 To appoint:
a) Health Matters Representative
b) Police Liaison Representative
c) Neighbourhood Watch Representative
a) To receive an outage report
b) To receive a general report on lighting
10 Finance: To approve the list of payments for authorisation – To be tabled
11 To consider any grant applications received – attached
12 Risk Assessments 2023 – To review the Council’s Risk Assessment – To follow
13 Crafton Green – To receive any updates on the community buildings
14 Windmill – To receive any updates
15 Youth Matters – To receive any updates
16 Staff Matters – To receive any available updates
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 11th May 2023
Any intention to record, film or take photographs during a meeting must be notified to the Clerk prior to the start of the meeting.