MINUTES of a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 9th June 2021 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr M Caton (Chairman), Cllrs A Barnes, D Brett, P Davies, J Hogg, J Hudson,
M Jessup, J Kavanagh, A Khan, J O’Brien, F Richards, G Sell and D Wallace-Jarvis
ATTENDING Mrs Ruth Clifford – Clerk
Mrs Emma Philbrick – Trainee Deputy Clerk
Dan Schlanker – Communications Officer
District Cllr Melvin Caton
County Cllr Ray Gooding
Peter Biggs – PJB Planning – Agenda Item 3
Ross Evans & Greg Thabit – Luxus Homes – Agenda Item 3
1 member of the press
9 Members of the public
Apologies for absence were received from District Cllr Alan Dean
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION BEGINS
One member of the public spoke regarding the following:
– Paperwork for Item 3 not available to the public so they are unable to ask questions relating to this.
– Agenda Item 15 – Why has the Draft Neighbourhood Development been completely re-written when the previous team working on this invested a lot of time and money?
– A political leaflet delivered by the Liberal Democrat Party for the May Elections to promote their candidates contained what he believed to be false information and he would like them to issue an apology to Essex Highways.
– He voiced his objections to Planning Applications 1 and 5 on the agenda
Two residents of Grove Hill spoke of their continued concerns of the traffic issues on Grove Hill. They outlined the damage that vehicles had caused to properties and cars and the concern to residents and members of the public walking the paths as vehicles mount and drive along this path regularly. They voiced their concerns that items spoken about at Council meetings are not followed up, no updates given and nothing done. They asked for bollards and raised kerbs to be installed and also cameras to catch offenders especially those who jump the red lights. One of these residents asked when the declassification of Grove Hill would take place and the need to appeal the decision by Highways who rejected the application for bollards.
One member of the public addressed the District Councillors regarding his concerns at the staffing in the Planning Department and the danger that it has left the district in with regards to planning applications with the Local Plan deadline date being extended. He also addressed County Councillor Ray Gooding regarding the No Comment from Highways to the Bloor Homes application in Pennington Lane. As they don’t publish their reasons he asked if this is something Cty Cllr Gooding could find out and report back. The resident also congratulated the Parish Council and its gardening contractors as the memorial gardens are looking the best they have and asked when the hanging baskets were going up.
One resident who is affected by planning application 10 on the agenda addressed the members with his reasons to why they should object to the application.
The Chairman advised that the question from the first resident regarding agenda item 15 would be addressed by Peter Jones when it got to that item.
Cllr Sell spoke regarding the comments on Grove Hill. He said it was not true that nothing was being done and that the Council also shared their frustrations on the situation but that some progress was being made. He had received a commitment from Cty Cllr Gooding that the new cabinet member Lee Scott would be making a visit and talking to residents. Highways have also been waiting for Parliamentary Legislation to come into force which is now in place.
Cty Cllr Gooding arrived at the meeting.
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that he had been speaking to Vicky Presland and she was following through with the details and putting together a scheme. This is a trial as it is the first time it will have been used so there is a little way to go yet. He had also been speaking to them about who’s responsibility it was for the cars being damaged and had been advised that the legal officers would be writing a statement.
Cllr O’Brien advised that he had been present with the manger of the Highways Strategy when they did a site visit and they witnessed cars jumping the lights. The Parish Council will continue to chase Highways and will not let it go.
Cllr Kavanagh asked for clarification on the Legislation and was advised that this would give the ability to electronically identify vehicles that were oversized and overweight using Grove Hill and prevent them from doing so. It also triggers fines. This has only just gone through Parliament so is very new. To begin with it would reverse the current weight limit to vehicles going down the hill rather than up. Cllr Kavanagh asked if there was a time scale and Cty Cllr Gooding advised that they were currently looking into whether they would need to hold a public consultation first due to the potential impact this would have on other areas if large vehicles were diverting.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ENDS
93 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
94 TO WELCOME PJB PLANNING REGARDING LAND SOUTH OF STONEY COMMON (PINES HILL)
A presentation was forwarded to all members with the agenda.
Peter Biggs from PJB Planning working on behalf of Luxus Homes addressed the meeting. He explained that they had spent approx. 6 months reviewing the site involved for development opportunity. The site is South of Stoney Common Road with access from Pines Hill with no access onto Stoney Common Road. Their proposal is smaller than the refused application for that site in 2014 and is on land that is vacant and overgrown. When looking for a site to develop they looked at the location of the site, walking distances to the railway, play areas and to the village centre and shops. This site would be a maximum 12-minute walk to any of them.
Luxus Homes have already employed a Tree Consultant to look at the quality of trees especially as the tress along Pines Hill are particularly important to the setting and they want to ensure minimal impact.
Affordable housing has been discussed with Uttlesford District Council and the Essex Design Guide has been taken on board.
Their intention is to work towards submitting an outline application and they will continue with future ongoing detailed discussions with the Parish Council, District Council and residents. They hope to start a consultation in approx. 6 weeks with a letter drop to local residents.
Cllr O’Brien commented on his surprise that they had not submitted an application for the whole site and questioned whether this would lead to expansion in the future. He pointed out that the Uttlesford District Council estimation is that the B1383 is already 158% stressed. Pines Hill is narrow so it will only add to that stress. He is also puzzled why 2 homes are showing as being outside of the building line. Greg from Luxus Homes explained that the internal road is just an illustration at this stage. He also explained that the road showing to the Eastern side is the legal right of way of the Engineering Business.
Cllr Caton pointed out that the site is part of the Greenbelt so what are the special circumstances to be considered for proposing development in it?
They explained that the circumstances they will be outlining are based on housing delivery/affordable housing and also that this parcel of land is identified as a more moderate level of Greenbelt where the rest is a higher standard.
Cllr Sell commented that to fulfil housing needs in Stansted he doesn’t feel building needs to be done in a Greenbelt area and he is not convinced by the reasons. He also asked if any pre- planning discussions had taken place with UDC Officers? They confirmed that these had taken place and also had a separate meeting with Essex County Council in terms of Highways. They had also had initial discussions with Affordable Housing Officers and were in the process of putting together a case for Greenbelt.
Cllr Wallace-Jarvis stressed her concerns over the impact this would have on Pines Hill and Silver Street and thinks this development is in the wrong place.
Cllr Davies asked if the application was part of the Local Plan Call for Sites? They confirmed the application has been submitted through this process.
Cllr Richards commented that they talk about the affordable housing/social housing component, but these are very different and they need to be affordable to local residents who can’t afford current house prices. Peter said that they will be in line with the UDC guidelines for Affordable Housing.
Cllr Caton pointed out that Stoney Common is an unmade road and encountered heavy traffic. Peter confirmed that they were looking at Stoney Common Road and how to improve the route. This would be key to the proposals.
95 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON 19TH MAY 2021
RESOLVED to accept the minutes of the Full Council meeting held on 19th May 2021 as a true and accurate account.
96 MATTERS ARISING AND ACTION POINTS
44 – Cllr Barnes asked Cllr Khan if he had received any update from Adrian Webb and the request to contact Cllr Barnes as he had not heard anything yet. Cllr Khan advised that Adrian Webb had given his assurance that he will be in touch. Cllr Sell advised that he had also been chasing Emma Barry but had not yet received a response. If he hasn’t heard back by next week he will chase her line manager.
Action points PP Waiting for the work on the NDP to calm down
45 Meeting scheduled for this Friday with Cllr Jessup for various items including this one.
97 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
We await the outcome of our capital funding bid to UDC to update the kitchen and other areas at the current Day Centre and Crafton Green House. Our vision is that all 3 Parish Council properties will become a Community Hub that promotes the spirit of support and cohesion we have seen come to the fore in our community over the last year or so.
The Working Group following its responsibility for due diligence have made the decision not to progress with Enterprise East for a food service delivery model. This decision was also reached as this model was unable to be flexible with the use of the kitchen and accommodation for some of your existing group users. However, Touchpoint will be offering a further hot meal service on Fridays as well as Thursdays. We are working very closely with Touchpoint to explore and commission further food delivery options to cover up to five days a week. Thank you to Touchpoint and the Working Group for all your hard work and support on this venture.
The reprovision of the Almshouses remains an issue as there is currently no immediately available and agreed site / land and LEAP (Legacy East Almshouse Partnership) who are project managing and fund holding for this venture are increasingly concerned that the funding remains unallocated and may not be used in the Parish and for the benefit of \Parishioners – this is despite a number of investigations into possible sites. We will be looking at the Call for Sites applications and will discuss any possibilities there with UDC, and obviously landowners to endeavor too move this project along and retain this funding.
The Parish Council Planning Working Group, with other councilors observing, met via Zoom with representatives of Columbia Threadneedle to impress on them the limited consultation with Stansted residents and how this could be overcome with a further leaflet drop; mitigation of the impact of increased traffic on our highways; and the benefits we can expect – particularly in respect of sports facilities and youth football – as the current agreement for land use for youth football is temporary. The meeting was constructive and the plan is now to meet up to look at the considered access issues to the Stansted Northside site and within the village; possible additional transport links, and sites for additional sports facilities. The following councillors will attend the proposed sites meeting Cllr Sell- Highways; Cllr Kavanagh-Planning; Cllr Hogg- Sports, myself and the Clerk and I propose Cllr Davies who has expressed a wish to be involved.
I joined the Speed Watch group last week on Church Road. I was astonished to see that some drivers drove at over 40mph plus along this road and paid no heed to the fact that their number plates were recorded for follow up by the police. This group need volunteers too boost their numbers and to help keep roads like Church Road- where young people walk to school- mum’s push prams etc. safe. One new volunteer also joined us – but please more are needed.
Grove Hill – I am not aware of any developments- I hope our County Councilor will update us with actions that are proposed. I am aware that Cllr Scott has said that he will visit again – I hope with a strategy on how we can address the issues. The Clerk has followed up with the bus company the complaint that they were driving on the pavement and has received a response from the company TrustyBus and a statement of their intention to carry out a site visit.
The vegetation that had grown up the Black Bridge from the entrance on Water Lane has been cleared by Network Rail. Thanks to Cllr O’ Brien for continuously chasing this following our visit and photo shots of the issues with the bridge being shared with Network Rail. Unfortunately, any additional lighting will need to be funded by the Parish – but Network Rail are willing too support our application for this.
The Director for Wellbeing, Public Health and Communities for Essex County Council has confirmed a 70-day consultation period for the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment for localities – between mid- May and the end of July 2022. He has confirmed that the district and Parish council will be consulted as well as local patient groups and community groups. We will ensure further information on how residents can have their say and hopefully promote the establishment of a second dispensing pharmacy in the south of Stansted.
Following information available from EALC that councilors do not have to be a member of a standing committee (ie Open Spaces and F&GP) – we plan to undertake a review of the membership of our committees, especially as our newly elected councilors have yet to be assigned a committee. I would be grateful if you could let myself and the Clerk know of your preference for a committee and why you would be a good for selection by 30th November please so we can consider appropriate and equitable allocation. Also, we have been asked by UDC whether we will be taking part in the Queen’s Jubilee Celebration and lighting a Beacon on the nd June 2022 at 21.15. Again, can any volunteers willing to help cost and plan such an event please contact myself or the Clerk. CHAIR REPORT ENDS
Cllr Sell commented that he was not aware that Enterprise East might be party to any lease of the building and looked forward to further discussion on the progress of the project in due course.
98 DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORT
Dist Cllr Khan advised that they had not prepared a written statement as there was not much to update as everyone has been preoccupied with the Stansted Airport Expansion decision and sorting out the cost implications.
There will be an extraordinary meeting of the Council tomorrow night to appoint an interim Chief Executive when the current CEO Dawn French retires at the end of June.
They were no nearer to signing off the accounts for 2019-20 and this meant that the accounts of 2020-21 would not be signed off either. Poor governance needs to be noted.
A meeting of the Governance Audit and Performance Committee is going to be taking place to look at how the Council contract manages and makes decisions on grant funding.
Dist Cllr Sell advised that the airport issue as a major one facing the Council and they were hoping to get a reversal on the application of costs by applying to the Secretary of State.
A review of the planning service will be taking place as they are not meeting targets within the statutory period. Officers responsible are confident they will get the necessary resources to improve.
Dist Cllr Caton spoke regarding the comments by a member of the public during public participation and advised that there was a work programme for producing the first draft and this was published on their website. Regulation 18 draft plan will be available by spring next year and they were currently on track to submit the draft plan in 2024.
In response to a question from Cllr Davies, Cllr Sell advised that the exact bill for the Stansted Airport appeal had not yet been made public, but he had been assured that a large contingency had been put aside for this.
In response to another question from Cllr Davies, the Clerk confirmed that the consultation for the Government’s Community Governance Review will be on the next Full Council agenda.
99 COUNTY COUNCILLOR’S REPORT
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that he had not prepared a report as nothing much to report. He was going to give an update on Grove Hill but this had been done during Public Participation.
Cllr Hogg asked about the request in Public Participation regarding the Bloor Homes application comments. Cty Cllr Gooding advised that he had already scheduled a meeting with Catherine Wilkinson as he is also concerned about this and he will come back to the Council with feedback.
Cllr Khan asked if minutes of the meeting could be sent to all Parish and District Councillors as they were all supporting the campaign.
Cllr Barnes asked for an update on the land at the bottom of High Lane and B1383. Amherst believe they need a licence to improve it but no one seems to know exactly what is required. Cty Cllr Gooding advised that the issue is the query of who owns the land as Highways don’t believe it’s them. The Clerk advised that if it is not owned by Highways then it may be best to speak to Francis Braeckman and see if it belongs to them. She did advise that the Parish Council cut the grass there as part of an agreement with Highways so if they have this agreement in place then it should belong to them.
100 PAYMENTS FOR AUTHORISATION – Approved
101 TO APPROVE SWITCHING THE PARISH COUNCIL’S BANKERS TO UNITY TRUST BANK
The Clerk advised that this was something the Internal Auditor had raised from time to time and Unity Trust come highly recommended. Many town and parish councils already use them and EALC have also used them for several years now and their switch over was very smooth. There are no benefits of staying with the bank we are currently at and Unity have the added benefit of the online 2 level authentication which is straight forward. This will also tick the box with the auditor.
Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Richards it was
RESOLVED to move to Unity Trust Bank.
This was unanimously agreed.
102 TO CONSIDER THE ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT 2020/21
This had been circulated to members with the agenda.
The Clerk read out the Statements under Section 1 of the Annual Return for 2020/21. The voting to all statements was a unanimous “yes” and it was
RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement 2020/21 be approved
103 TO CONSIDER THE ACCOUNTING STATEMENTS 2020/21
These were circulated to members before the meeting.
Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Richards it was unanimously
RESOLVED to approve the Accounting Statements for year end to March 2021
104 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
1 UTT/21/1548/FUL – 18 NUTHATCH PLACE
Change of use of garage to food preparation kitchen for e-commerce business
2 UTT/21/1557/HHF – THE THATCH, ELSENHAM ROAD
Erection of a two bay cart lodge with attached shed/workshop and log store
3 UTT/21/1539/HHF – JASYMN, 19 BURNELLS WAY
Single storey rear extension, partial garage conversion, loft conversion with front and rear dormers and new entrance hall.
4 UTT/21/1621/HHF – BROOKLANDS, PINES HILL
Ground floor extension and associated landscaping works (including external pool) to rear of existing dwelling to provide therapeutic leisure facilities for the applicant.
5 UTT/21/1631/FUL – 23B SILVER STREET
Demolition of existing single storey dwelling and erection of 2 no. one bedroom flats over two stores
Overdevelopment – Larger than refused plan. Proposal to attach to existing property at first floor results in loss of a window and therefore loss of natural light.
Waste/store – this is not acceptable – insufficient space for number of bins required for 4 flats. The space allocated is directly in front of a downstairs bedroom window, smells from the bins would undoubtedly enter the bedroom or preclude the occupier from having access to fresh air. We consider this to be a matter for Environmental Health department to comment.
Communal amenity space – reduction in communal space which will be shared by occupiers of 4 flats for the storage of waste/cycles; compromises the safety of occupiers of 3 of the 4 flats in the site in an emergency as this is the only access/egress for all flats, except the existing ground floor flat.
Private amenity space – only accessible to occupiers of 1st floor flat.
Not in accordance with advice – The plans do not address the concerns raised by Place Services regarding the first floor door and roof.
The standard of accommodation is not consistent and is over development.
6 UTT/21/1530/HHF – WOODVIEW COTTAGE, FORST HALL ROAD
Proposed single storey rear and side extension for additional kitchen, dining, utility and iving space.
No objection to extending, but as the extension can be seen from various angles would prefer colour to be closer to original building. This house with its twin is a unique pairing for Foresthall Park despite the modifications.
7 UTT/21/1639/FUL – 5 POULTNEY ROAD
Proposed demolition of existing garage and erection of new residential dwelling within existing residential curtilage of 5 Poultney Road
Overdevelopment with particular concerns regarding practicalities of proposed on site parking, in particular the obstacle presented by the Council owned lighting column.
Gated entrance is out of keeping with street scene
8 UTT/21/1771/HHF – 8 SANDERS CLOSE
Erection of single storey rear extension
No objection but have concerns regarding the reduction of garden and loss of amenity space
9 UTT/21/1373/HHF – 16 BENTFIELD GREEN
Proposed demolition of existing conservatory and erection of single storey extension and a new dormer to the existing loft bedroom
No objection subject to the concerns of the Historic Environment Team being addressed. Would suggest a condition is attached which secures details of the external materials, to show type and colour, including new windows and doors.
10 UTT/21/1813/FUL – MONT PLACE, BREWERY LANE
Replacement retaining wall to front of entrance gates (revised scheme to that approved under
Object and make the following specific comments:
– No hedges, trees or TPO’s to be removed as the roots help to stabilise the land
– Landslip needs to be taken into consideration so the wall must be installed accurately
– The design and build of the wall must be appropriate
– The Considerate Contractors Scheme must be adhered to in all aspects. In particular the retention of the acoustic fencing and planting along the boundary with 27 Brewery Lane (planning permission UTT/1655/11/DOC)
– We are concerned at the validity of the BS5837 report. The report appears to be defective as it does not include trees within the boundary of 27 Brewery Lane which clearly must be protected.
105 TO CONSIDER APPLICATIONS FOR CO-OPTION TO FILL THE TWO VACANCIES ON THE COUNCIL
The three applicants for the two vacancies addressed the Council and expanded on their application to why they wanted to join the council and what they could bring to the council. After this, members had the opportunity to ask any questions.
Having been proposed by the Chairman and seconded by the Vice-Chairman it was
RESOLVED that in the view of the confidential nature of the business to be discussed, the public & press be instructed to withdraw from the meeting.
Once in private session a discussion took place between members regarding each applicant.
The meeting was then re-opened and a ballot was held with Mrs Anne Guney and Mr Thomas Smith being co-opted onto the Council.
The Chairman asked if members were happy to carry on with the meeting as it was now 10pm. It was unanimously agreed to continue:
106 NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN
- a) TO CONSIDER SUPPORTING PROPOSALS
A paper from Peter Jones had been circulated to all members ahead of the meeting. He stressed that it was important for the Council to consider the proposals and come to an agreement prior to considering the draft Chapters. It was intended that the document would be referred to in the forthcoming Planning Appeal relating to the land west of Pennington Lane so it required the Council’s approval prior to that.
Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Davies it was:
PROPOSED To accept and support the proposals
This was unanimously agreed
- b) TO APPROVE THE LASTEST DRAFT OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN (SUBJECT TO FURTHER CONSULATATION AND ON-GOING UPDATES)
This was circulated to members ahead of the meeting.
Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Richard it was:
PROPOSED To approve the latest draft of the Neighbourhood Development Plan
This was unanimously agreed.
Meeting closed at 10.07pm
101 Switch to Unity Trust Bank