Minutes of a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 8th February 2023 in The Day Centre, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr F Richards (Acting Chair), Cllrs A Barnes, A Guney, J Hogg, J Hudson,
M Jessup, P Jones, J Kavanagh, A Khan, J O’Brien, L Prior and G Sell
Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk
Mrs Emma Philbrick – Deputy Clerk
County Councillor Ray Gooding
District Cllr Alan Dean
Cllr Lee Scott – Cabinet Member for Highways
1 member of the press
3 members of the public
355 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received for Cllr Caton (Holiday). Having been proposed by Cllr O’Brien and seconded by Cllr Guney, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To accept the apologies from Cllr Caton
Apologies for absence were also received from District Councillor Melvin Caton
One member of the public asked if Cty Cllr Gooding could contact them outside of the meeting regarding the application for a second dispensing pharmacy licence in Stansted
356 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
357 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 18TH JANUARY 2023
RESOLVED To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 18th January 2023 as a true and accurate account.
358 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS FROM THE LAST MEETING
359 TO WELCOME CLLR LEE SCOTT REGARDING HIGHWAYS ISSUES IN STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET
Cllr Richards welcomed Cllr Lee Scott to the meeting.
Cllr Lee Scott started by asking the Parish Council to formally write to him and request the removal of HGV’s from the centre of Stansted. This would then allow him to take forward banning large sized vehicles going through the village and not just based on a weight limit. He is planning on doing this in two more villages in the County as he has recently been granted the powers to do so as this successfully went through parliament. This will be done on road safety grounds and pedestrian safety. He cannot give a timescale as there is a process to follow and was not straightforward.
Regarding potholes, there are 36 in Cllr Gooding’s division that have been put on the list to be repaired. The repairs have slowed up due to the recent weather but he hoped that they would all be completed by early April. Cllr Khan asked if a list of the potholes which had been put forward could be sent to the Parish Council so that residents could be made aware.
He would also like to know which ones did not meet the criteria. The Clerk pointed out that this would also save the office time as we are reporting ones which could be on the list.
Cllr Sell voiced his frustration that the Parish Council was being asked to put in a formal request when it has supported this proposal since Cllr Bentley had made it known that this was his vision a couple of years ago.
Cllr Jones asked for an update regarding tipper trucks and the jumping of red lights on Grove Hill. Cllr Scott advised that there is no simple solution as some people just don’t care. The issue will be tackled and he doesn’t believe it will be completed eradicated due to those that will do it no matter what. With regard to tipper trucks, Cllr Scott would like to see planning laws amended to put responsibility on developers to have formal processes in place for the disposal of waste from sites. He does not agree that tax payers should pick up the bill when trucks are damaging the highways. He would like to see bonds paid by developers and this money then paid back if there are no issues arising, or the money used to repair any damage caused because of the trucks and development.
Cllr Scott reported that tomorrow is budget day and a lot of positive announcements will be made which will be good for the county.
Cllr O’Brien raised the issue of the footpath between Stansted and Birchanger and this is something he has been reporting for 6 years. Cllr Scott asked him to wait 24 hours when an announcement will be made that will be of benefit for this type of maintenance. He advised that he will be giving more powers to divisional councillors.
Cllr Khan commented that at the last Full Council meeting attended by Cllr Scott that he spoke about managing decline. Was this no longer relevant due to the announcement due tomorrow? Cllr Scott confirmed that the proposed budget was not enough but he is happy with the announcements that will be made.
Cllr O’Brien asked who was responsible for the levelling up of a road when a repair is made at the junction of a highways owned road and an unadopted road. Cllr Scott confirmed that this would be the responsibility of the residents of the unadopted road and will be in their deeds.
Cllr Prior asked if Cllr Scott could confirm that the budget he is about to put forward is not being taken from other front line areas as it is better than the budget first proposed. He confirmed that this was not the case and the top priority will always be Adult and Children’s Services.
Cllr Sell advised he had been contacted by a Grove Hill resident who had named the main company who were breaching the vehicle restrictions. Cllr Gooding confirmed that he had been made aware of this company but that he had been advised not to write to them as he could not write to just one company. This is a serious issue that he is in talks with the police about and they are looking to deal with this as part of a traffic enforcement programme.
Cllr Sell asked when the Highway Rangers service was coming to an end and if this was the case for the whole of the county? Cllr Scott confirmed that it would stop at the start of the new financial year, 1st April and that some district councils had taken on the service themselves so it would continue in those areas.
Cllr Richards read out questions which were still outstanding from the last meeting. The following information was given:
The lights along Cambridge Road were still not working as the County were waiting on UKPN to connect the supply. A meeting with UKPN was scheduled for Thursday next week to go through the list of outstanding issues.
Regarding the leaning post at the bottom of Chapel Hill/Lower Street, Cllr Gooding confirmed that he is in talks with Highways to get this done but it was not a priority for them. He will keep chasing and pushing them.
Church Road traffic calming chicanes – Cllr Scott confirmed that he does not deal with S106 money and that his colleague Cllr Wagnell would be the best person to speak to. Cllr Gooding confirmed he would speak to them on the Council’s behalf.
360 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR
Nothing to report
361 TO RECEIVE THE DISTRICT COUNCILLORS’ REPORT
Cllr Dean had supplied a written report before the meeting but it had been too late for it to be circulated – he read part of the report to the meeting. The full report will be circulated with the minutes.
Cllr Khan added that it had been no surprise that the Council’s financial mismanagement led to council house building being stopped and that they won’t meet their target. He also commented that when the budget goes to council, there will be an increase in Council Tax.
Cllr Jones asked for the death of Pearl Wellings be noted and her work for the council recognised. Condolences to her family.
Cllr Sell added that when the council sets its budget on 21st February, the proposal is for Band D Council Tax to be increased from £166.61 to £171.61 which is an increase of 3 %. He commented that in 2020/21 interest rates were at a record low and the district bought a lot of investments with borrowed money. Many of these were short term loans. Concerns about this were raised at the time.
362 TO RECEIVE THE COUNTY COUNCILLOR’S REPORT
Cty Cllr Gooding advised that most of the highways issues had been discussed earlier in the meeting. They are finally making headway with Grove Hill and plans are taking shape. This includes proposals for cameras to deal with issues. Anything they put in place needs to be legally sustainable to enable them to prosecute.
363 FINANCE – TO RECEIVE THE LIST OF PAYMENTS
The Clerk confirmed that Cllr Jessup had checked the schedule against the invoices before the start of the meeting. The only issue was the Serv Security invoice which was showing as £494 but should have been £494.40.
The list of payments was approved.
364 TO CONSIDER THE LIST OF PLANNING APPLICATIONS
1 UTT/23/0083/HHF – ASHMOUNT, 8 BREWERY LANE
Demolition of garage and erection of single storey side extension
2 UTT/22/3219/HHF – OSTRA BRAMA, PINES HILL
Proposed new vehicular access
This application has been withdrawn.
3 UTT/23/0126/HHF – 50 GILBEY CRESCENT
Single storey rear extension and flat roof canopy over the front door
4 UTT/23/0162/FUL – BREWERY BARN, 31 LOWER STREET
Variation of condition 3 (opening hours) attached to UTT/14/3368/FUL – extend opening hours in line with new premises licence
5 UTT/23/0134/FUL – LAND ADJOINING 1 MOUNT DRIVE
Erection of 1 no. bungalow
The Parish Council objects to the application on Highways safety grounds including sightlines.
6 UTT/23/0197/LB – 39-41 FORGE HOUSE, CAMBRIDGE ROAD
Retention of works including removal of existing foam insulation from rafters and timbers, clean and treat with timber preservation. Proposed breathable membrane and battens to be replaced and installation of reclaimed tiles on a like for like basis.
7 UTT/23/0188/LB – THE DOG AND DUCK, 58 LOWER STREET
Single storey porch on rear elevation to accommodate alterations to existing staircase for Means of Escape from First Floor
8 UTT/23/0187/FUL – THE DOG AND DUCK, 58 LOWER STREET
Single storey porch on rear elevation to accommodate alterations to existing staircase for Means of Escape from First Floor
9 UTT/23/0185/HHF – THE COTTAGE, HIGH LANE
Two storey rear extension and rear lean too roof to be raised – amendments to that approved under UTT/22/2775/HHF
10 UTT/23/0178/FUL – EASTFIELD STABLES, MAY WALK
Erection of a stables
No comment but seek a condition that ties the stables to the house detailed in the application.
11 UTT/23/0247/HHF – 37 BENTFIELD ROAD
Demolition of existing garage and conservatory. Erection of part two storey part single storey side/rear extension. Detached double garage.
No objection as long as it meets the criteria for extensions.
365 TO CONSIDER IDEAS AND/OR QUOTES RELATING TO THE REFURBISHMENT OF THE CORONATION SHELTER ON CHAPEL HILL
Cllr Barnes advised that he had received one quote for a stone plaque and that it was coming out more expensive than hoped. He asked for the item to be deferred whilst more quotes are obtained and more information is gathered.
Cllr Jones commented that he thinks it should be a stone plaque and that we should try to raise the funds for it.
Cllr Sell asked how much was being quoted so far and believed that some parishioners would contribute, he had already been approached by one lady whose husband was one of the builders of the shelter.
Having been proposed by Cllr Prior and seconded by Cllr Kavanagh, it was unanimously:
RESOLVED To go ahead with the refurbishment of the shelter as soon as possible and decide on the stone plaque and other ideas as a phase 2 project. Also to delegate authority to the Clerk along with the Chair of F&GP to find ways of funding the project.
366 OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE – TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 25TH JANUARY 2023
The minutes were received.
367 HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE – TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 1ST FEBRUARY 2023
The minutes were received.
Meeting closed at 8.53pm
359 Clerk to put a formal request in writing for the ban of HGVs in Stansted
359 Cty Cllr Gooding to send a list of the 36 potholes which had been agreed for repair and advise which ones did not meet the criteria.
365 Cllr Barnes to obtain more quotes for the stone plaque for the Coronation Shelter
Report by District Councillor Alan Dean
The District Council is presently unsettled by the loss of staff at various levels. They include people from the Planning Department, which is having an additional impact on the much-delayed replacement of a very out-of-date Local Plan. This is having a serious impact on what I consider to be a near free-for-all by prospective developers.
The most alarming departure, in my opinion, occurred yesterday. The Council’s Assistance Director for Governance & Legal resigned and left the Council on the same day without serving the normal 3-months’ notice. Ms Reynolds was also UDC’s Monitoring Officer; the officer who oversees the Standards Process and Code of Conduct.
No explanation was been given by the Monitoring Officer’s superiors at a meeting I attended and at which Jane Reynold’s immediate departure was announced. Therefore, I cannot add to the substance of this report beyond saying that I am disturbed at the way UDC is currently being run; or should I say “not run”?
I note that at its January meeting, the Parish Council discussed the published need for Uttlesford to make savings of £5,000,000 in coming years. The natural question follows; will UDC then deliver fewer or lower quality services to our residents after the cuts have been made? I don’t know the answer, but councillors will be trying to find out. Another financial concern is that UDC has to date borrowed £275m to use for investments in commercial property with the aim of raising income to pay for services. In the current year, that income was only £760,000. This is said to be a poor financial return since interest payable has risen with interest rate rises.
This is bound to be a major challenge for whoever takes on running UDC from next May.
I have been liaising with County Councillor Ray Gooding over the continued closure of Gipsy Lane; now in aid of water supplies by Thames Water. The latest problem is that the lane remains closed at the Stansted end, but the continuation towards Bishop’s Stortford via Hazel End Road has finally been reopened at the junction roundabout with Michael’s Road by the Mountbatten Restaurant. BUT there was no signage as of yesterday to tell Stansted-bound drivers NOT to use the dud route. Apparently, it’s Thames Water’s job to fix the signage. In my opinion, that’s crazy!
Finally, some good and bad news. The good news is that next year’s UDC budget will include a cost-of-living support fund to help those most in need of help in paying their Council Tax in these straitened times. This idea was put forward by me and my three District Council colleagues in Stansted, together with other colleagues. The disappointing news is that the Council’s house-building programme has been stopped for the time being owing to financial mistakes. REPORT ENDS.
NOTICE OF MEETING You are summoned to attend a meeting of the FULL COUNCIL which will be held on Wednesday 8th February 2023 at 7.30pm in THE DAY CENTRE, 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 18th January 2023
4 To receive an update on action points from the last meeting
5 To welcome Cllr Lee Scott regarding highways issues in Stansted Mountfitchet
6 To receive a report from the Chair
7 To receive the District Councillors’ Report
8 To receive the County Councillor’s Report
9 Finance – To approve the list of payments – To be tabled
10 To consider the list of planning applications received– see attached
11 To consider ideas and/or quotes relating to the refurbishment of the Coronation Shelter on Chapel Hill
12 Open Spaces Committee – To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 25th January 2023 – To follow
13 Highways Sub-Committee – To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 1st February 2023 – To follow
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 2 February 2023