Minutes of a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL held on Wednesday 1st March 2023 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
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 G Braeckman – (via Zoom)
Cty Cllr Ray Gooding
1 member of the public
375 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Braeckman as he is at University but will be attending as a member of the public via Zoom.
It was unanimously:
RESOLVED to accept the apologies from Cllr Braeckman
One member of the public spoke on the following topics:
- Planning application UTT/23/0271/FUL
- The letter sent from the Parish Council to Cllr Lee Scott regarding the ban of HGVs in the village
- The lack of work by Cty Cllr Gooding in regard to a second dispensing licence for Stansted Mountfitchet
Cllr Prior asked for a copy of the letter to Cllr Lee Scott to be sent to her.
Cty Cllr Gooding referred to the comments by the member of the public and advised that he took exception to some of the accusations. He did speak to the decision makers after the request in October. He pleaded our case and made his points but there is nothing further to report. He will continue to support the case, but he has limited contact with the people who make the decisions.
376 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Cllr Braeckman declared an interest in the NDP agenda item as some of the land in the plan is owned by his family.
377 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8TH FEBRUARY 2023
RESOLVED To accept the minutes of the meeting held on 8th February 2023 as a true and accurate account.
378 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS SINCE FROM THE LAST MEETING
359 – Done
359 – Cty Cllr Gooding had not sent the list but he brought it to the meeting and gave to the Clerk to circulate. He advised that he had submitted 7 in Stansted, but the Old Bell Close pothole did not meet the criteria. He has since submitted a further two since the closing date.
365 – Done
379 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR, CLLR MAUREEN CATON
380 TO RECEIVE THE DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORT
Cllr Khan reported the following:
Chaos reigns at UDC as was evident at their meeting last week. They agreed the Council Tax and, unlike Stansted, UDC put up Council Tax for all residents with Band D getting a £5 increase. There was a motion in place for all Band A-C council tax to be frozen but R4U voted this down. The budget agreed uses £2.7 million of UDC reserves to balance the General Fund. Whoever takes power is going to be forced to make an emergency budget. R4U have been reckless with it. They have put together a corporate plan which shows no evidence of progression and no evidence of achievement which is shameful.
Cllr Sell reported the following:
Lots of things have been stored up or put off until after the elections.
There are lots of concerns regarding the need for ID to be able to vote and ask if this is something the Parish Council could help with and also post a link to the Electoral Commission on our Facebook page and website.Cllr Jones commented that at a meeting he attended the previous evening, it was advised that as well as passports and driving licences being an acceptable form of ID, they were also accepting bus passes and blue badges. People can also apply for a free certificate by post.
Cllr Khan also commented that as a consequence of the budget, council houses were now on hold which is shameful. This admin had promised 183 council houses but so far only 50-55 had been built which is woeful. They had not identified any land for council houses and not put any money aside for them.
Cllr O’Brien commented that the chaos in UDC had resulted in us being made aware of the Prosperity Fund less than 2 weeks before the cut off, meaning we were unable to apply. They have received between 12-14 other applications who must have been made aware earlier than us. He asked Cllr Caton to take this up with Peter Holt on behalf of the Council which she agreed to do.
It was suggested that the Council ask Paul Chambers to see if there is anything he can help set up at the Day Centre to help residents with the voter ID Certificate forms. The Clerk agreed to speak to him on his return.
381 TO RECEIVE THE COUNTY COUNCILLOR REPORT
Cty Cllr Gooding reported the following:
He has circulated details of the proposals for Grove Hill. The implementation of the traffic order has been delegated to the Local Highways Panel and their next meeting will be taking place on 20th March 2023. Following on from this meeting, proposals and drawings for the Order will need to be drawn up. The existing Order is unenforceable and effectively useless.
He will be visiting Ugley and Elsenham to explain the process as they will be consultees.
Cllr Caton stressed that she would not want the Local Highways Panel to sit on it like they have other projects and we need to ensure it is moved forward. Cty Cllr Gooding confirmed that he was working to ensure it was not put into their annual cycle and was working with Cllr Lee Scott for urgent work to be brought forward.
Cllr O’Brien asked about the announcement on 9th February 2023 that £9 million had been set aside for footpaths. Cty Cllr Gooding confirmed that this had been delegated to local members by the Local Highways Panel and that we was aware of the foothpahs we are concerned about and this gives him extra strength.
Cllr Sell asked about the Peter Kirk site and Cty Cllr Gooding gave an update and advised that he was looking into Cllr Sell’s request for storage on the site for the Local History Society.
Cllr Jones advised that a meeting had taken place with Annette Thornton, S106 Officer at Essex County Council and some engineers to discuss proposals for the footpath on Church Road and he was surprised by their keen acceptance to put them forward. There is approx. £300,000 in the Foresthall Park S106 fund and he did point out that this was decreasing in real terms at a rapid rate. If the work goes ahead and there are funds left over then they did discuss the possibility of a footpath going from Bentley Drive to the B1383 but he suspects that this will be too expensive.
Cllr Khan asked for the list of potholes which had been submitted to Essex Highways and Cllr Gooding passed this to the Clerk to read out. Cllr Sell asked if there was a timeline for the potholes to be repaired. Cty Cllr Gooding confirmed that 80% had been done already. With regard to the ones on Grove Hill, the white lines by the lights had faded so to try and help with the jumping of red lights, the work to repaint the lines was being arranged for the same time as the potholes.
382 FINANCE – TO APPROVE THE LIST OF PAYMENTS
The Clerk advised that Cllr O’Brien had checked the invoices against the schedule prior to the start of the meeting. With no questions from members, the payments were approved.
383 PLANNING APPLICATIONS
1 UTT/23/0271/FUL – LAND WOUTH OF GRANGE PLACE, HIGH LANE
Erection of a detached building to accommodate 9 flats and associated works including new access, parking and hard and soft landscaping
The Parish Council objects to the application for the following reasons:
Flooding – Concerned about the increased flood risk due to the amount of non-porous surfacing. The use of Geo-web does not eliminate the risk altogether. The “ditch” referred to is actually the Ugley Brook which has flooded on many occasions precisely at the point where this run-off water will enter the Brook.
Over-development of site – The scale of the building is out of keeping in the street scene and we consider 9 apartments at this location to be over-development of the site.
Highway Concerns – Traffic along High Lane increases its speed, particularly when leaving the village at this point in the road so we have concerns on safety grounds.
It was also agreed that this application would be called in by Cllr Sell.
2 UTT/22/3479/HHF – ROSE COTTAGE, BURTON END
Conversion and extension of existing garage/workshop into a habitable residential annexe – AMENDED APPLICATION
Members agreed that we could not comment on the amended application as no amended documents have been uploaded. It re-iterates its previous comments to the original application.
384 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON THE DRAFT NDP AND TO RESOLVE TO SUBMIT IT TO UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL FOR REGULATION 18 CONSULTATION
Cllr Jones explained that the current text of the document is the same as that approved by the Council some months ago. Work has taken place to make it look more attractive and he gave his thanks to Dan Schlanker who has done many hours outside of his working day to get the document to this standard including integrating the maps and diagrams which wasn’t an easy task. He also thanked the Clerk for the many hours she had spent to work on the document and collect a lot of the information which he was unable to do.
He advised that one thing he missed last March from the District Council in the form of the Local Plan Leadership Group is that the key difference with the emerging Local Plan is that Stansted Mountfitchet is top of the hierarchy meaning we should expect allocation in the South area of the district and there will be no getting out of it. Cllr Caton commented that this is because Stansted has a railway station. Cllr Jones advised that he had studied the recent changes of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and had prepared a summary which would be circulated to all members. He read out some of the key points.
Cllr Sell thanked Peter, Dan and Ruth and everyone else involved in the document. He commented that we now had a good document but he was concerned about the Council’s support for 250 new homes
Cllr Khan questioned whether the wording of the document was strong enough in relation to what we expect from developers. Bloor Homes have failed so far to deliver on what they promised and he believes we should reiterate robustly what we expect from any developers in the future. A show of hands indicated that the majority of members present were agreed that the wording should stay as it was.
Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Richards, and with 10 votes in favour and 4 abstentions, it was:
RESOLVED to submit the draft NDP to Uttlesford District Council for consultation.
385 TO CONSIDER A QUOTE TO LAY A POWER SUPPLY TO A LIGHTING COLUMN IN STATION ROAD.
The Clerk advised that the column was moved a number of years ago by a developer without telling us and they did not connect any power supply.
Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Kavanagh, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To accept the quote of £3477.60 to lay a power supply to a lighting column in Station Road.
386 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE PERSONNEL SUB-COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 15TH FEBRUARY 2023
The minutes of the meeting were received.
387 TO RECIVE THE MINUTES OF THE F&GP MEETING HELD ON 22ND FEBRUARY 2023
The minutes of the meeting were received.
Meeting closed at 9.03pm
PP The Clerk to send a copy of the letter sent to Cllr Lee Scott to Cllr Prior
380 Cllr Caton to contact Peter Holt regarding the delay in information for the Prosperity Fund
Chair Report: Maureen Caton
It was disappointing that LEAP (the Legacy East Almshouse Partnership) felt unable to progress Essex County Council’s offer for us to bid for the old Youth Centre site in Lower Street for the replacement of our almshouses in Stansted.
They felt that issues on the site itself would increase the funding needed to ensure an appropriate design and build project and this could not be supported by the charity.
I, robustly, made the point that the money from the previous site in Church Road should not be spent elsewhere whilst we try to locate an alternative site.
The Youth Club ( ECC’s building) is awaiting the final fire safety check and then we will have a definitive date for the relaunch Young people will be consulted on what activities they would like to see provided. We aim to strengthen our relationship with the service as it grows and have some of its members on our Youth Council also.
The Youth Council continues with a small membership currently but, following a session talking to pupils at Forest Hall School we hope to boost our numbers. The Head and Deputy Head were very supportive and willing to promote joining the Youth Council. The young people were attentive and receptive also. We also have a meeting scheduled at Bentfield Primary School.
The recent anti-social behaviour issues, particularly in Lower Street but also in other areas of the village, which were raised on social media have been discussed with the Police following on from presentations at Forest Hall School. They updated us on their on-street presence – both uniformed and plain clothed – and the interaction they have with local businesses in the area. They are aware of the issues and work closely with other agencies for intelligence and information sharing but, understandably, they cannot be on our streets full time and word does spread of their presence. We discussed the possibility of Public Space Protection Orders but they are not of the opinion, at this point in time, that the issues would meet the criteria. They are making an application to UDC for S59 notices to be erected in the Lower Street Car Park highlighting the enforcement action that can be taken in relation to anti – social behaviour.
A meeting of the Planning Working Group has been called to discuss the impending Bloor Homes application for up to 350 homes on land to the north of Walpole Meadows. We need to be very clear on the response to the additional 100 homes and on the desired community benefits in the event that, once submitted, UDC consider granting approval. Feedback following the PWG meeting will be sent to all members prior to any further submissions.
Gigaclear – further to the information circulated previously, they have arranged an online information meeting for residents and this has been publicised on our Facebook page. They have stated that they may subsequently arrange an in-person engagement session in the village.
Coronation – in response to requests to repeat the picnic that we held for the Platinum Jubilee, the Events Working Group is endeavouring to organise a similar event on Sunday 7th May. We hope to have the support of all councillors to help on the day. We are obviously seeking grant funding but it is unlikely that we will have decisions before we need to book key items. We are therefore asking that the Council agrees to up-front the set- up costs to be recoupled from the income on the day – as we have agreed to do for the Windmill Bank Holiday Fete in August.
And finally some good news – The Parish Council has written to formally request the removal of HGV’s from the village; enabling trucks to be banned on size as well as weight. Our application for a zebra crossing close to Blythwood Gardens has also been approved. Report Ends.
NOTICE OF MEETING You are summoned to attend a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL which will be held on Wednesday 1st March 2023 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, 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 meeting held on 8th February 2023
4 To receive an update on action points from the last meeting.
5 To receive a report from the Chair, Cllr Maureen Caton
6 To receive the District Councillors’ Report
7 To receive the County Councillor’s Report
8 Finance – To approve the list of payments – To be tabled
9 To consider the list of planning applications received– see attached
10 To receive an update on the draft NDP and to resolve to submit it to Uttlesford District Council for Regulation 18 Consultation
11 To consider a quote to lay a power supply to a lighting column in Station Road
12 Personnel Sub-Committee – To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 15th February 2023
13 F&GP – To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd February 2023
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 23 February 2023