MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING HELD AT 7.45 PM ON WEDNESDAY 15TH MARCH 2023 IN THE DAY CENTRE, 72 CHAPEL HILL, STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET, ESSEX
PRESENT Cllr M Caton (Chairman of the Parish Council) and 11 other Councillors
Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Emma Philbrick – Deputy Clerk
Cty Cllr Ray Gooding and District Cllr Melvin Caton
Sgt Sharma, PCSO Stewart and Sp Const Dale, Essex Police
Paul Chambers – Touchpoint
Des Ashton – Uttlesford Foodbank
Daniel Burford – Stansted Airport
Teresa Buglass – Stansted Surgery
1 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from District Cllr Dean, County Cllr Gooding and District and Parish Cllr Khan although Cty Cllr Gooding arrived during item 9.
2 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 16TH MARCH 2022
The minutes of the meeting held on 16th March 2022 were received.
1 Parishioner said that he objects to the minutes being received as he had not seen a copy and does not have access to the internet to look at them on the website. He requested that the minutes be made available at the meetings – the Chair confirmed that this request had been noted.
3 TO RECEIVE THE PARISH COUNCIL’S AUDITED ACCOUNTS TO 31ST MARCH 2022
Copies were distributed at the meeting and there were no questions raised.
4 FINANCIAL REPORT
The report had been printed in The Link, put on the website and copies distributed at the meeting and no questions were raised. Cllr O’Brien added that he was pleased to report that the Parish Council had won a grant of £34,900 towards getting a large number of street-lights converted to LED.
5 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
This was printed in The Link, put on the website and copies distributed at the meeting. Cllr Caton read out an update to the report which is attached.
6 TO WELCOME GUEST SPEAKERS
DANIEL BURFORD – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER – STANSTED AIRPORT
Daniel gave a presentation to the meeting explaining what his role was and detailing initiatives which are being carried out in the region. He gave details of grants they are giving out, projects they are working on and ways in which they are trying to communicate and engage with the community.
TO WELCOME PAUL CHAMBERS FROM TOUCHPOINT
Paul addressed the meeting to give an update on what Touchpoint have been doing since they started in April nearly two years ago. He detailed the different community events they hold weekly, the different organisations they work with, what funding they have been successful in securing and what this has helped to pay for.
He advised that they are currently giving away 1.5 ton of food every week with their food share scheme and that they have an army of 120/130 active volunteers which gives help to approx. 1200 people a week. He outlined future projects they were working on and also revealed that they will be getting a refrigerated van to enable them to take produce further afield which will help even more people. Touchpoint are hoping to hold an open day sometime in May.
TO WELCOME DES ASHTON – ADVOCACY & CAMPAIGNS OFFICER – UTTLESFORD FOODBANK
Des started her presentation by explaining that they look at why people come to the foodbank and look at what can change so that the people come to the foodbank less. She detailed the location of their three depots and explained that they take the food parcels to their customers. She explained that this was only possible thanks to their team of voluntary drivers and that they currently distribute 5 tons of food a month and each parcel contains 5 days’ worth of food. She brought along to the meeting samples of the products which often make up the parcels and explained that everyone they helped is referred from organisations such as Citizens’ Advice, Housing, Social Workers, the Benefits team and even from schools.
Des gave details of how many staff and volunteers they have and gave facts on the people that were receiving the parcels, such as 56% are those on Universal Credit and 60% are those living with a disability.
The presentation also gave details of the percentage of people who are helped in Stansted, both in the North and South of the village.
Sue Hitchmough thanked Paul Chambers for everything they do for the community as it had changed her life.
The Clerk read out a statement from District & Parish Cllr Khan regarding Touchpoint, first thanking Paul for the work he does with Touchpoint and also to ask what the District Councillors could do to support Touchpoint and help not only the low paid, but also the middle-income earners who are also being impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. Paul will make contact with Cllr Khan outside of the meeting to discuss.
7 TO WELCOME TERESA BUGLASS, PRACTICE MANAGER, STANSTED SURGERY
Teresa explained that difficulty in getting an appointment was a national issue. She detailed that they currently see approx. 12,216 patients a year as well as 204 temporary patients a year. They have seen an increase of approx. 450 a year over the last three years. She also explained that they are funded by the Government on the size of the list from the previous year. Teresa presented the figures on the number of prescriptions they had done in the last 12 months and what percentage of these were online. With regards to phone calls, she explained that they have in the region of 400/500 calls every Monday and then on average 200 calls a day for the other 4 days. This is as well as approx. 85 emails per day and 130 face to-face-interactions. Over the last 12 months they have also done over 3200 referrals.
Teresa detailed the number of face-to-face appointments that they have carried out over the last twelve months and explained that doctors are seeing approx. 50 patients a day (25 patients in the morning and 25 in the afternoon) when the British Medical Association advice is to carry out 28 per day. This effectively means that they are working beyond safe levels. She also gave figures of such things as how many covid and flu vaccinations have been carried out and how many blood tests have been done on site, thus reducing the number of people needing to go to the hospital to have them done. Finally, she detailed what pieces of equipment they had bought thanks to the fund raising of the Patient Participation Group.
Cllr Guney asked how many doctors they have working and Teresa explained that it’s different every day but that on their busiest day, Monday, they have 5 doctors working all day and one doctor working ½ day. Other days they also carry out other things such as care home visits and minor surgery procedures. Cllr Guney thanked the surgery for everything they do.
Audrey Rodgers asked for a vote of thanks be given to Helpline as they help many residents get to the surgery when they need to.
8 PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS
Jean Newson commented that she had seen a lot of plastic cylinders put around trees on the new developments around Stansted by the developers. As this is not environmentally friendly she asked if there was anything that can be done to stop this. Cllr Caton confirmed that the Parish Council can consider this when commenting on planning applications and Cllr Barnes confirmed that all of the Parish Council planted trees have biodegradable cardboard sleeves.
Cllr Sell commented that he had recently shown a BBC Journalist around the Elms Farm and Walpole Meadows areas and that their attention had been drawn to all the dead trees. This is something that UDC Planning need to ensure is a planning condition when approving applications.
9 OPEN FORUM
Jonathan Fox asked regarding the pothole initiative that he had emailed Cty Cllr Gooding about last September. He had been asked to put forward suggestions but had heard no more and no action had been taken. The Clerk advised that certain potholes would be done but that the low temperatures had delayed they work but we had been advised they should be done by the end of April.
Greg Snow asked how many members of the Parish Council were also District Councillors? He was advised that it was two. He asked if, when they speak on behalf of themselves, they also represent the Parish Council when asked to? Cllr Sell confirmed that he does speak on behalf of the Parish Council when asked to and that he had close links with the Chair and Clerk of the Parish Council. Mr Snow then asked if the Parish Council had made any comments on the new booking system being introduced at the Saffron Walden tip. Cllr Caton advised that we had not as we had no pre knowledge and only found out through the papers. No consultation had been carried out.
Cty Cllr Gooding arrived at the meeting.
District Cllr Caton advised that it was actually a decision made by Essex County Council and not Uttlesford District Council.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that it was a waste transfer site actually run by Essex and not the Parish Council or UDC. The decision was made and trialled at a large number of sites where there had been issues such as queues with a 6-hour waiting time. After seeing a positive improvement at the trial sites, it was decided to do this at every site and universally imposed it. The reason for this was that if they did it at some sites and not others, people would travel to the sites where there was no system in place. This is still only a trial and they will consult whilst it’s going on. Cllr Gooding asked for anyone with concerns to write to him and he will pass them on to the relevant people.
Cllr Kavanagh commented that she had read in the papers that sites in Hertfordshire are now requesting proof of ID when visiting their sites as they will only allow people in Hertfordshire to use them.
Ray Woodcock asked how long the trial will be and how will the results be published.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that the trial will finish in September time.
Greg Snow commented that if you miss your booking slot then you are given an alternative by email – not everyone will have email and due to the amount of roadworks, it’s likely that booking times will be missed. Cty Cllr Gooding advised that there will be stronger restrictions around commercial waste but that it’s a difficult situation as they don’t want to increase fly tipping.
Ray Woodcock advised that he had emailed Cllr Caton as the Chair of theCouncil and Cllrs Barnes, O’Brien and Sell as Committee Chairs and asked them to explain in no more than 5 minutes what the key issue(s) have been during the past 2 years and what are expected to be the main issues during the next 2 years? All 4 Councillors addressed the meeting to give their answers to this.
Bill Stiles spoke regarding the additional public open space which was promised as a country park by developers when planning was granted for Elms Farm. This was 10 years ago and still it is in a terrible state. Can this be handed over to the Parish Council? The Clerk advised that it cannot behanded over until UDC are satisfied that it is in a fit condition. If it’s handed over before this time then the Parish Council would have to pay to put it right. She confirmed that Cllr Barnes is in touch regularly with the s106 officer but that it would be residents’ money that would be used to pay for it if it was handed over in the current state. She also advised that a meeting took place with the developers last week to discuss this. Cllr Barnes thanked Bill for the footpath reports he supplies for the Open Spaces Committee meetings.
Greg Snow congratulated the Open Spaces Committee and Chair on the improvements to the public open spaces over the years as they are greatly improved compared to how they used to be.
Cllr Khan had asked the Clerk to read out the following statement in his absence:
A word of thanks to the Chair of all the Parish Council working groups who do a lot of work that often goes unnoticed. Also, a special thanks to the Chair of
the Council, the Clerk and her team for their hard work over the course of another difficult the year. It’s very much appreciated.
Ray Woodcock commented that he attends a number of council meetings. He doesn’t always agree on everything said but it is not as easy as you think it may be to get things done. With the amount of work that councillors put in, he thinks they do a very good job. He gave thanks to the Chair and all Parish Councillors.
Meeting Closed 10.17pm
Chair Report: Maureen Caton
The Parish Council’s aim is to keep and support Stansted as a vibrant, caring community that is able to adapt to our changing lifestyles.
The Jubilee event held on the Recreation Ground was a huge success and the proceeds of £3,320 were donated to The Stansted Trust Funds to administer. We have agreed to run an event for the Coronation of King Charles III on May 7th and hope for a second success.
It was disappointing we could not extend our Christmas light offering to more businesses on Lower Street this year. We did not get a response from Essex CC to our request to use the power source to light up the Fountain at the top of Chapel Hill.
I am delighted, following a number of deliberations with the Chair of Finance, that we were able to agree a 0% increase in the Parish Council’s share of the Council Tax in the next financial year. This is in recognition of the current financial situation everyone is experiencing. It is unlikely to be repeated again next year.
Touchpoint go from strength to strength, and are now considering extending our partnership to lease – at no charge – Crafton Green House from the Parish Council. This would enable them to provide further services to our community. They now promote and facilitate a number of similar projects throughout Uttlesford and you will hear more about their plans when they speak at the Annual Parish Meeting.
Our Special Constable and PCSO continue to work with us to promote and safeguard our community. Following the withdrawal of Elsenham from the funding agreement with Uttlesford District Council, UDC has agreed to cover that element of the funding deficit for the remainder of the contract.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments had applied for planning permission to develop the Northside of Stansted Airport for mainly logistic sector developments and permission was granted by UDC in late January. We lobbied hard to promote the needs of Stansted within this application and were disappointed at the lack of community benefits considered in relation to the development. The turf football pitches on the site, which were used by Elsenham Junior Football Club, are to be replaced by a 3G artificial facility at Forest Hall School – we have requested that the Parish Council is represented on the body that manages this new facility. We did manage to secure funding to contribute to Essex County Council’s (ECC) feasibility study on the redirection of heavy goods traffic away from the village via the A120. We used this experience of lack of community benefit to respond to the UDC consultation on S106 provision and developer consultation and contributions.
We should also be clear, the Parish Council only supported the development of 250 homes on land north of Walpole Farm, in the proposed UDC Call for Sites, not the 350 now proposed. This was made very clear at their consultation event.
The search for land to replace the Almshouses in Stansted continues. We are currently in discussions with ECC and Legacy East Almshouse Partnership to determine if the old Youth Centre site in Lower Street could be a feasible replacement site.
We are also hopeful that, with the allocation of dispensing licences being passed to the Herts and West Essex Integrated Care Board in April this year, we can continue to demonstrate the need for two dispensing pharmacies in our community.
The delivery of the Youth Club service was retendered this year, with the provider now being Essex Youth Services. The service has transferred to, and was relaunched in, a refurbished building on the Peter Kirk site just a few weeks ago. Our Youth Council is now including year 6 primary school young people, working with primary heads and school councils. We aim to provide our youth with skills to negotiate and debate the promotion of a Stansted that enables them to develop into valued citizens.
Highways issues have been high on the agenda this year – with Grove Hill still awaiting legislation to enable remote enforcement of weight limit infringements. Residents’ parking schemes have been consulted on in the south of the village and currently with Foresthall Park residents. “No Airport Parking” signs have been erected as they have on some roads in the north of the village.
Further improvements to the Mountfitchet Green have been completed with the addition of seating, fencing, a goalpost and a swing for less able children. Various areas of the village have benefited from a tree-planting project undertaken by the Essex Forest Initiative who will maintain the trees for the first three years.
We are seeking a grant from UDC to convert our streetlights from sodium to LED to save money and reduce CO2 emissions. A Climate Change group of residents has been formed to encourage a change in behaviour by our community. The group, Sustainable Stansted, has applied for funding to distribute flyers and aim to find more funding for projects focusing on domestic energy saving and environmental issues.
The UDC Local Plan remains an emerging plan with delay after delay announced – leaving us open to speculative development. Meanwhile, we are finalising the mapping and appendices to go with our Neighbourhood Development Plan and expect to deposit the draft. End of Report
Chairman, Finance and General Purposes Committee: John O’Brien
Annual Financial Report 2022 – 2023
In last year’s report, I raised concerns over inflation forecasts of up to 6% for April 2022, but a mis-conceived ‘Mini Budget’, together with the Ukraine war’s effect on energy costs, resulted in almost double that figure with inflation reaching 11.1% in November and a forecast that the rate will fall below 10% after March 2023.
In December the members of the Finance and General Purposes Committee voiced their opinion that, in view of the ‘Cost of Living Crisis’, a way should be found for the Parish Council to show its support for those members of our community struggling with their own financial worries. In January, it was unanimously agreed to recommend to Full Council not to increase the Council’s Band D Tax rate which should remain at £127.88. This was approved unanimously by Full Council at its meeting held on 18th January.
As explained last year, the Parish Council’s policy is to maintain a minimum increase in the Precept at 2% per annum. yet inflationary pressures indicated a rise in the UK economy in excess of 5 times that amount. Full Council therefore applied a caveat, that a 2% concession on the Council Tax should not be clawed back in later Precept calculations. To ensure this did not happen, Full Council also agreed that any shortfall in the budget for 2023-2024 should be taken from the £25,000 annual repayment into the Foresthall Park Community Fund which would be repaid as an extra instalment after the end of the loan repayment term.
As stated last year, the Finance and General Purposes Committee is charged with trying to balance ‘need’ with ‘service to the community’. The formation of a partnership with Touchpoint has seen the start of, not only improvements to council property at Crafton Green, but also in services to those in need of support. We have indeed seen ‘added value’ to community services here. Crafton Green House is now looking in better shape after repairs to the roof and windows, with the former Day Centre becoming a true welfare hub for our own and wider communities.
Environment and Energy are hot topics which need attention, and the Council has implemented a second phase of tree planting around our open spaces with 56 trees being planted through the ‘Essex Forest Initiative’. The Finance and General Purposes Committee has agreed that a £5,000 Earmarked Reserve be transferred from the Neighbourhood Plan excess funds to be made available to the newly founded Climate Change Working Group now named ‘Sustainable Stansted’.
Our Parish Council, unlike others, owns 85% of all streetlights in the village and an application has been made to Uttlesford’s ‘Zero-carbon Community Fund’ to convert 100 of our sodium lights to LED. If successful, it would help us reduce the anticipated timescale for the full conversion of our lighting stock, from 7 years to around 3 years, achieving an overall saving of 72% in carbon emissions and energy costs.
Last Christmas saw the first attempt to improve the Christmas lighting display in Lower Street. This proved more difficult than expected with property owners understandably reticent to allow fixings installed on the outside of their buildings. Thanks to the Stansted Social Club and King’s Arms a great improvement to the atmosphere was achieved. The great fund-raising effort of Patsy Banks provided the Christmas trees which were lit up outside the Castle Maltings and opposite The Dog and Duck pub.
Annual Parish Council Grants: – Applications were received from five organisations and dispersed as follows – Stansted Millers £500; Uttlesford Community Travel – £1,250; Human Roots – £500; Stansted Hall & Elsenham CC – £500; Uttlesford Citizens Advice – £1,120; Touchpoint – £1,150. End of Report
DAY CENTRE, CRAFTON GREEN, 72 CHAPEL HILL, 15th MARCH 2023, 7.30PM FOR 8.00PM START
1 To receive apologies for absence
2 To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2022
3 To receive the Parish Council’s audited accounts to 31 March 2022
4 Financial Report
5 Chairman’s Report
6 To welcome Paul Chambers from TouchPoint and Desiree Ashton from the Uttlesford Foodbank
7 To welcome Teresa Buglass, Practice Manager, Stansted Surgery
8 Proposed resolutions
9 Open Forum
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk