MINUTES of a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL held on Wednesday 5th October 2022 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr M Caton (Chair), Cllrs J Hudson, M Jessup, P Jones, J Kavanagh, A Khan, F Richards, G Sell and T Smith
ATTENDING Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Mrs Emma Philbrick- Deputy Clerk
Cllrs A Barnes, G Braeckman, J O’Brien and L Prior – Via Zoom
District Cllr M Caton – Via Zoom
1 member of the press – Via Zoom
1 member of the public – Via Zoom
155 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Barnes, Braeckman, O’Brien and Prior due to ill health and Cllrs Guney and Hogg due to family reasons. Having been proposed by Cllr Jessup and seconded by Cllr Kavanagh it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To accept the apologies for Cllrs Barnes, Braeckman, Guney, Hogg, O’Brien and Prior
Apologies were also received from Cty Cllr Gooding
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION – None
156 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
157 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON 27TH JULY 2022
RESOLVED To accept the minutes of the Full Council meeting on 27th July 2022 as a true and accurate account.
158 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS FROM THE LAST MEETING
131 – The Clerk advised that after the meeting she received an update from the S106 officer, and she was also aware that the District Cllrs were due to meet with Dean Hermitage so has asked if they could ask the questions and update the council rather than hold a separate meeting.
132 – Cllr Caton advised that she had contacted Cty Cllr Gooding regarding this but was yet to receive a response.
137 – Completed and the first meeting took place on Monday 3rd October 2022
Cllr Sell commented that he was concerned about the lack of communication from Cty Cllr Gooding on the Grove Hill issues and is surprised by the lack of progress to date. Residents are rightly asking for updates.
Cllr Caton advised that Cty Cllr Gooding had sent in a written report, and she read out the section on Grove Hill. It was agreed that Cllr Caton would give the residents an update and the office would contact Cllr Lee Scott and ask him to attend a Full Council meeting.
159 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR, CLLR MAUREEN CATON
Cllr Caton also advised that she had received a written update from Touchpoint which will be attached to the minutes and put on our website. She read out a brief overview of the report.
Cllr Jones commented that he had been looking at Ashdon Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan, in which they state that under the NPPF, paras 66 & 67, the Parish Council can approach the District Council and ask the number of houses that could be allocated to the village. Cllr Jessup asked if the Parish Council or one of its members could put in an FOI request for the information. The Clerk advised that it might be quicker for her to email the Director of Planning and the Local Plan Lead Officer. She will try this first and if no success then that could be the next step.
In response to a query from Cllr Sell, the Clerk confirmed that the amount due from Lengard was around the £5,000 mark. At each stage they would assess the cost of the legal action against the amount owed.
Cllr Sell asked that when the King’s Coronation takes place, the Council considers marking the occasion. It was agreed that this would be a future agenda item.
Cllr Khan advised that he fully supported the comments made regarding the Local Plan and asked that the Council writes to the Chair, Leader and Chief Executive of the District Council to state our objection to the further delays to the Local Plan consultation.
160 TO RECEIVE THE DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORT
District Cllr Sell’s report is attached to these minutes.
District Cllr Caton reported that UDC’s offer towards Manchester Airport Group’s legal costs has been refused. The total costs are likely to be in the region of £3.5 million which will be paid for by council taxpayers.
Regarding the Local Plan, as well as the manager leaving, the Specialist Transport Officer also left this week, they have lost a lot of specialist knowledge at a time when it’s needed.
Good news – Cllr Pepper, Portfolio holder for Environmental Services, has been persuaded to set aside £300,000 for a climate change grant scheme for Parish Councils and community groups. The scheme needs final approval by Council.
Cllr Sell asked if, following the District Councillors’ meeting with Dean Hermitage, should the Parish Council try to reach out to Amherst directly? Cllr Maureen Caton asked if we could take advice from Dean as to whether this was a good idea.
161 TO RECEIVE THE COUNTY COUNCILLOR’S REPORT
Cllr Caton questioned where the equipment was that we were promised to monitor the situation with heavy goods vehicles on Grove Hill.
Cllr Khan commented that he had no confidence in the support from Cty Cllr Gooding as we are still awaiting his strategic review of traffic in Stansted which was promised a while ago.
A TO APPROVE THE LIST OF PAYMENTS
The Clerk advised that Cllr Jessup had checked the invoices against the payment schedule.
The list of payments was approved.
B TO REMIND MEMBERS THAT THE NEW BUDGET PREPARATION CYCLE IS NOW UNDERWAY
The Clerk reminded members that now is the time to start thinking about the budget for 2023/24. She stated that given the current economic situation, there was very little scope this time for one-off projects. Members can still propose any schemes they wish to be considered.
C TO NOTE CONCLUSION OF EXTERNAL AUDIT
The Clerk advised that the Notice of Conclusion had been received from the External Auditors with no issues arising.
Cllr Caton and members gave congratulations.
163 TO CONSIDER THE LIST OF PLANNING APPLICATIONS RECEIVED
1 UTT/22/2478/FUL – 8 LOATES PASTURE
1 no. dwelling with new access (revised scheme to UTT/21/2655/FUL allowing utility and single garage)
2 UTT/22/0457/OP – LAND TO THE EAST OF HIGH LANE – AMENDED APPLICATION
Outline application with all matters reserved except for access for up to 30 no. dwellings, parking, landscaping, access and all associated development.
The Parish Council objects to the application for the following reasons:
Highways – Risk to pedestrian safety as there is no provision of a footway or a formal crossing point.
Loss of established woodland leading to loss of biodiversity. We note it was stated at a recent Planning Committee meeting that UDC’s stance is “we don’t lose trees”.
3 UTT/22/2568/FUL – LAND NORTH OF WATER LANE
Removal of conditions 5 (pre-commencement condition survey of Water Lane) and 6 (post-completion condition survey of Water Lane) attached to planning permission UTT/16/2865/OP for the erection of up to ten dwellings
The Parish Council objects to the application and wishes to make the following comments:
1 The condition of the road and verges now, indicates that large vehicles are being used to access this site. This road is well used by pedestrians, cyclists and scooters. It is not well lit and any damage to the road causes risk of accident and/or injury to the users. The surface is now in a poor condition, and this must be made safe on completion of the development.
2 The applicant states that the surveys are unnecessary as no damage will be caused. If no damage is caused, they have no reason to request removal of the condition. A survey does not have to be expensive to undertake but is merely a photographic record of the condition on the date the pictures were taken. It appears late in the day to request permission not to undertake a pre-commencement survey given that the site is now active. Please confirm that this was undertaken!
4 UTT/22/2567/DOC – LAND NORTH OF WATER LANE
Application to discharge Condition 2 (Construction Management Plan) attached to UTT/22/1165/FUL
This is a Discharge of Conditions application which the Parish Council does not have to be consulted on. It was noted that the decision has already been made so no discussions took place.
5 UTT/22/2564/FUL – NEW FARM, STANSTED ROAD
Retrospective application for 4 no. containers for agricultural storage
No objection in principle as long as you are satisfied that they are for agricultural use. We would point out that recent applications relating to this site are not agriculture related.
6 UTT/22/2370/FUL – LAND SOUTH OF GRANGE PLACE
Erection of two buildings to accommodate 9 apartments and associated works including hard and soft landscaping and provision of covered car parking
In principle we do not object to this application but would ask the following questions/make the following observations:
1 What are the proposals to deal with surface water drainage from the site? Will this impact Ugley Brook which flows between the site and Gall End Lane and floods on a regular basis? We expect that flood mitigate measures will be required as a condition if approval is granted.
2 We are concerned that the provision of the access and adequate sight lines will result in the loss of more than one tree as claimed. Could the applicant be asked to consider revising the layout to enable shared use of the access to Grange Place?
3 Applicant states that this development would not be viewed from any road or path, but it will be seen very clearly from Gall End Lane!
4 Disposal of refuse – We would expect to see communal bins in the bin store as opposed to wheely bins for each property and we seek your confirmation that the refuse lorry will be able to safely enter and exit the development and not have to stop on High Lane to empty the bins.
5 Our final comment is that we trust there will be a requirement that the energy provision will be as environmentally friendly as possible.
7 UTT/22/2559/HHF – 16 BENTFIELD GREEN
Proposed detached outbuilding to replace the existing garage
164 TO RATIFY THE FOLLOWING PAYMENT SCHEDULES WHICH WERE APPROVED DURING THE SUMMER RECESS AND MOURNING PERIOD:
Having been proposed by Cllr Richards and seconded by Cllr Jones it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To ratify the above payments schedules
165 CALL FOR SITES – TO RE-CONSIDER THE COUNCIL’S STANCE IN RELATION TO SITE 013 HIGH LANE
The Clerk explained that the Council had previously supported this application but then due to concerns about loss of views it had decided that it could no longer support it.
The Clerk advised she had been approached by the developer who believes they could develop housing closer to the roadside not to impact on the views and they could offer flood mitigation measures potentially. In view of this new information, would the Council wish to change its stance?
Discussions took place between members and with 1 vote in favour of supporting the application, 6 against and 2 abstentions, it was agreed that the Council would continue to oppose this site.
Meeting closed at 8.47pm
158 District Councillors to report back on their meeting with Dean Hermitage
158 Cllr Caton to give update to Grove Hill residents
158 Office to invite Cllr Lee Scott to a Full Council meeting
159 Clerk to email Director of Planning and Local Plan Lead Officer
159 Cllr Caton to write to the Chair, Leader and Chief Executive of UDC regarding delays to Local Plan
160 Cllr Sell to ask Dean Hermitage for advice on direct contact with Amhurst
CHAIR REPORT: Maureen Caton
- Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth ll, I represented the Parish Council at the Proclamation Ceremony for King Charles lll at Uttlesford District Council.
- Our thanks to Mark Presland – of our local Scouts group for the signalling of the flag in the Memorial Gardens at half and full mast in line with protocol. In response to a local enquiry in relation to the Queen Elizabeth Commemoration Bench on Chapel Hill – we are pursuing refurbishment and await quotes.
- We and Touchpoint have chased the DWP for a start date here in Stansted – as previously agreed – we have been informed this is imminent. A meeting is hopefully taking place this Friday to discuss.
- We are unfortunately, unable to proceed with our annual firework display this year. The Events Working Group pursued a number of options but safety and accessibility were issues for a number of areas, others were cost of hiring the ground and amenities, as well as an increase in the cost of the fireworks. We hope with continued research into locations to provide an event next year. The monies accrued to date will be carried over in the budget.
- We also continue to look for an alternative site for the reinstatement of our Alms houses. We are currently pursuing ECC who had put the Youth Centre site into the UDC Local Plan Call for Sites to use this land for such a purpose. We are told the Youth Centre and Spangles will be rehoused on the Peter Kirk site – before Xmas.
- The Essex Youth Service are now delivering our Youth Club service – they commenced the service with a focus on talking to the young people about the activities and programme they wanted to see delivered. Delivery will be on the same nights as previously offered for the same time span – and we are incurring no additional costs. The service being delivered will be monitored against the contract and delivery and outcome standards set.
- The fight continues for a second licensed dispensing pharmacy. We were informed by NHS England that the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment 2022 showed no gaps in our current provision. This decision has been made against a backdrop of a flawed consultation that has not considered local needs, and inaccurate local information. Cllr John Spence – Chair of the Essex Health and Wellbeing Board has communicated some support for our quest – but has not seen fit to question the facts or the content of the consultation promoted by Essex.
Our MP Kemi Badenoch has also supported our representations and I am hoping to meet with her, John Spence and other campaigners in the near future – before planning our next steps.
- The recommendation from the newly appointed Planning Director at UDC is that the consultation on the current version of the Local Plan not be undertaken until after the next round of Local Elections. This would not be a transparent decision – how would the electorate know how to vote if they are unaware of the facts – that is where the 14000 houses proposed for the district will be located. It is undemocratic to hold elections without informing the electorate of what is planned where. Our NDP is impacted as we will not know how many new developments Stansted will be expected to accommodate.
- Meanwhile, the Chair of the ND group has raised that during our various public consultations on the NDP, we had very few responses to our request to establish what activities parishioners might like to see delivered in a community building if such a facility could be delivered. To date we have fitness classes, drama and music. Councillors are requested to consider this question and feedback their views to us within one week of the Council Meeting, i.e., by 12th They can give their own ideas, feedback suggestions from family and friends etc.
- I requested from Cllr Gooding written feedback as minuted at the last meeting. To date I have not received this – nor any further detail on the specific issues/actions relating to the use by HGV’s etc. This was promised for this meeting – but I understand he is now on holiday and cannot be with us this evening.
- Lengard Ltd -The sum due to the Parish Council by the builders following the long-delayed completion of the Mountfitchet Exchange remains unpaid. We have sought legal advice on the matter and will pursue this.
- Remembrance Sunday – A reminder that our annual parade and service will take place on Sunday 13th The office will be in touch later this week regarding your assistance on the day. CHAIR REPORT ENDS
ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILLOR REPORT: Ray Gooding
As you know I am on holiday this week so will need to give my apologies for this evening’s meeting. My report is as follows and I hope it is readable because I am having to send it from my phone.
Excessive HGV’S through the Village
It is evident that the number of HGV’S using the Village as a through route has increased again over the last few weeks and this has similarly been reported as happening in other locations including Ugley and Elsenham as well. It is clear that if no traffic regulations are broken then nothing illegal has happened. However, in the case of Grove Hill and Ugley Green the weight and width are being breached but without the police or trading standards being present to witness the breach there is little chance of conviction.
The issue is that spoils from development sites is being dumped in a number of locations in Uttlesford. This is not a planning issue for UDC but I am working with Officers from ECC’S Minerals and Waste team to enforce against landowners who are allowing the spoils, which may be toxic, to be dumped on their land.
The investigations into this and the provision of alternate routes are being assessed. I am meeting with Officers on 20th of this month to progress this further.
I am concerned that there is some inconsistency in the understanding of where responsibility for the decision to grant a licence for a second Pharmacy lies. I have arranged to meet with the relevant people on my return from holiday and at that meeting I will be stressing not only my support for the additional Pharmacy but also the apparent flaws and potential lack of transparency in the decision-making process predominantly by the NHS. ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILLOR REPORT ENDS
DISTRICT COUNCILLOR REPORT: Geoffrey Sell
A new era We have moved from the Elizabethan era to the Carolean era. The Accession proclamation was read out by the Chairman of the Council in a brief ceremony. Our meetings during the official mourning period were all cancelled. We all have memories of our late monarch. She was a link to earlier generations. My parents often talked about how they were part of the crowd at the coronation in 1953. The shelter in Chapel Hill commemorates this event. Not only do we have a new monarch, but a new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. This new era has been marked by economic instability which councils and residents must do our best to navigate.
The Local Plan It is safe to say that the history of Uttlesford’s has been a chequered one. It has been 16 years in the making with two failed attempts. A Local Plan sets out the vision for future development in the borough. Every area in England and Wales should have an up-to-date Local Plan in place and review it at least every five years. Local Plans are used to help decide on planning applications and other planning related decisions. In effect, they are the local guide to what can be built where, shaping infrastructure investments and determining the future pattern of development in the district.
The council has delayed the publication of the first draft of the new local plan until after the May 2023 elections. It is important to get the local plan right but this is disappointing news. It came as a surprise to me as a member of the local plan Scrutiny Committee. We had been repeatedly reassured that the local plan was on track.
This further delay before the first draft of the Plan goes out to consultation will have unwelcome consequences- developers will continue their assault on Uttlesford by submitting further speculative applications whilst the Council has an out-of-date plan and no 5 year land supply.
The Residents for Uttlesford administration promised that the Plan would be completed within four years but now it is certain to stretch to six years. The financial impact on the council will make a bad situation even worse. The original cost of producing the plan was originally £7m. This delay will further add to the costs when the council is already looking for at least £3m worth of savings over the next four years.
Section 106 A Section 106 Agreement (S106 Agreement) is an agreement entered into between a local authority and a landowner and/or developer under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The agreement will contain planning obligations which the local authority wish to secure, or which the developer wishes to offer, in return for planning permission being granted.
Although these are legal obligations it is not always easy to get developers to honour them. Cllr Alan Dean and myself were pleased that the planning committee refused to allow the developer to renege on an obligation to provide two footpaths at King Charles Drive. Thanks go to the local residents and parish councillor Jo Kavanagh for their support.
Cllr Dean and myself have arranged a meeting with Dean Hermitage, UDC Director of Planning. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the S 106 for King Charles Drive and Walpole Meadows. With the latter we would like to get a timeline from the developers when they will be handing over to the Parish Council amenities such as play areas, allotments, woodlands, litter collection etc.
50th anniversary of Uttlesford Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first elections. Stansted then elected three councillors. One of them Peter Clark is still alive. I have asked the Leader of the council what we will do to mark this occasion. DISTRICT COUNCILLOR REPORT ENDS
UPDATE FROM COMMUNITY ORGANISATION TOUCHPOINT
“What you are doing is changing lives”
“I really cannot say enough positive things about this initiative and the impact it is having on our local community”
“This has helped me and my children so much”
“TouchPoint has made a huge difference to us at Bentfield Primary School Breakfast & Kids Club”
“Coming here has changed my life”
We constantly seek feedback to help us improve. These are recent comments made by members of our community.
TouchPoint Community Café on Thursdays & Fridays. Open to all. Low-cost hot food offerings. First tea or coffee free of charge. Regular, multi-generational attendance of 100+ people.
At the TouchPoint Café we have regular “drop in” sessions from partner agencies such as Peabody Trust (homelessness prevention), NHS Social Prescribers (wellbeing), and a live video link to Uttlesford Citizens Advice.
Over the summer we ran a series of twice weekly, free activities and events for families. This included free hot meals on Mondays and Fridays. This was very successful. On the last Friday before the children went back to school, we gave away 120 free meals.
We also hosted a Job Opportunities & Skills Training event in partnership with Stansted Airport and Harlow College/Bright Futures training academy. This was well attended, both by members of our community and recently arrived Ukrainian refugees.We bhope to host another event in the near future.
In response to the cost-of-living crisis we are soon to launch two new initiatives at TouchPoint on Crafton Green, next to the library. Our first weekly “TouchPoint Teatime” will be on Tuesday October 11th. The regular time will be 4.30pm-6pm. This is open to school age and pre-school children and their parents/carers. We will offer a hot meal which will be served free of charge.
On Friday October 14th we will have our first weekly TouchPoint Breakfast Club. This will run from 8.30am-10am. This is open to all although we are very keen to reach older members of our community. Breakfast will be served free of charge.
TouchPoint Community Foodshare launched in April 2022. We can be found at Crafton Green and are open on Weds, Thurs, Fridays at 11am, and Saturdays at 12.00. Since launch we have given away free of charge, more than 25 tonnes of fresh surplus supermarket produce. We are now running at a rate of 1.2 tonnes per week. FareShare statistics tell us that we are distributing the equivalent of more than 15,000 meals every month.
We record anonymous data and know that on each day we are open we have on average 85-90 unique Foodshare customers who are shopping for 210-230 family members and neighbours. We calculate that our weekly Foodshare reach is 800-900 people, representing nearly 10% of the Stansted population.
The TouchPoint Foodshare has now launched on Tuesday’s at 9.30am-11am in Elsenham.
Other recent TouchPoint Initiatives:
“She’s Ready” at TouchPoint. An empowerment initiative run by women for women. Delivered free of charge, it’s focus is physical activity, healthy lifestyles and volunteering. From a standing start in April we now have more than 45 participants.
Beginner level Yoga & Mindfulness. We have recently secured funding to run a weekly beginner yoga group for 6 months. This will be offered free of charge. More details will soon be announced. TOUCHPOINT UPDATE ENDS.
NOTICE OF MEETING You are summoned to attend a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL which will be held on Wednesday 5th October 2022 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 Full Council meeting held on 27th July 2022
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
- a) To approve the list of payments – To be tabled
- b) To remind members that the new budget preparation cycle is now underway
- c) To note conclusion of External Audit
9 To consider the list of planning applications received– see attached
10 To ratify the following Payment Schedules which were approved during the summer recess and mourning period:
5th August 2022
12th August 2022
19th August 2022
26th August 2022
2nd September 2022
14th September 2022
16th September 2022
23rd September 2022
11 Call 4 Sites – To re-consider the Council’s stance in relation to site 013 High Lane
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 29 September 2022