Prior to commencement of the Agenda, a presentation was given by the Local Strategic Partnership, whose representatives were John Preston, Head of Planning Services & Economic Development at EFDC and Nick Roberts from Essex County Council Highways Department. A question and answer session including the Public followed the presentation.
Present: Cllrs R Glozier (Chair), S Jones, P Gooch, M Hannibal, J Padfield and A Purkiss
45. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllrs Cushing, Eaton, Hammond, Oliver and Hayday.
46. The Minutes of the meeting held on 27th September, 2007 were confirmed as a correct record.
47. Declarations of Interest. There were no declarations of interest.
48. Correspondence. The Clerk reported on the following:-
48.1 Notification from the Highways Agency that the revised dates when the Environmental Statement and Non Technical Summary regarding the M25 Junctions 27 to 30 widening would be on deposit and available to view at the Parish Office between 15th November 2007 and 7th February 2008.
48.2 A letter from Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head, solicitors, confirming that the Land Registry has granted absolute freehold title to the Parish Council for the land at Playground at Theydon.
48.3 A letter from Essex County Council Highways & Transportation Department notifying the Parish Council of reported attacks on the local 541 bus service which have occurred in Coppice Row. The incidents take place after dark by youths making the bus slow down by standing in the road then either spitting at the screen or throwing eggs and other objects. There has been one report of smashed glass which was reported to the police. Arriva, the operator, is concerned for the safety of their drivers and vehicles and at the perceived lack of action from the police.
48.4 A letter from the Parish Council dated 18th October to Mike Emmett of TBAAG in response to his previous letter of 13th September.
48.5 A letter from Mike Emmett of TBAAG in response to Cllr Glozier’s letter dated 18th October.
48.6 A letter from a resident requesting installation of street lights in Theydon Bois and free travel on the tube for pensioners.
49.1 The accounts up to 21st November 2007, having been previously circulated, were approved.
50.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twenty one applications since the last Public Meeting in September, of which the Planning Committee had objected to ten. Several of these were for a Certificate of Lawfulness, which does not require full planning consent, but which the Parish Council can still comment on.
50.2 Cllr Jones reported that there was considerable concern regarding Theydon Lodge. The Parish Council has objected to its demolition and the decision is still outstanding.
50.03 Cllr Jones reported that in respect of Blunts Farm now that the Appeals in respect of the Enforcement Notices have been withdrawn the developers would now be required to fill in the pits using material that is on site. EFDC will issue a methodology statement and await confirmation from the developer regarding provision of their own methodology statement. Cllr Jones expressed thanks to all those who had contributed to the weight of evidence against the developers which has lead to the withdrawal of the Appeals, particularly Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society, TBAAG and Lambourne Parish Council.
50.4 Cllr Jones stated that she is regularly in contact with EFDC and watching closely for any further moves from Blunts Farm Estates.
50.5 Cllr Jones reported that there is to be a Public Inquiry regarding Trek Highways on the Blunts Farm site who wish to retain the site for commercial use. The Planning Inspectorate rejected the original Appeal against an EFDC Enforcement Notice on the grounds that it was inappropriate in the Green Belt, harming openness, and was a disturbance to neighbours due to lighting and noise pollution.
50.6 The Wansfell College Public Inquiry will take place on 11th and 12 December at EFDC Civic Offices. Cllr Jones thanked all those residents who had provided evidence for the Inquiry.
51. Village Design Statement (VDS)
51.1 Cllr Gooch reported that the questionnaire would be distributed with the December edition of Village News, giving all residents the opportunity to provide input into the Village Design Statement. The Parish Council will be offering prizes as an inducement for the questionnaires to be completed and returned by the end of January. The information will then be collated and incorporated into the overall content of the Village Design Statement, which will be a planning guidance document for the Village. On behalf of the Chairman of the group, Cllr John Eaton, Cllr Gooch expressed thanks to all those who were involved on the Committee.
52. Highways & Environment
52.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that parts of Coopersale Lane had been re-planed and resurfacing works were currently being undertaken to the public areas of the pavement outside the shops in Forest Drive. It was hoped that improvement works would be carried out in the near future to Baldocks Road and The Green.
52.2 Cllr Glozier reported that due to concerns over some of the timings on the Traffic Orders for the new parking restrictions some of the timings were being reviewed, particular on the Village Hall side of the Village. This would mean re-advertising the proposals which will delay implementation. However, on a positive note additional roads have been earmarked for the restrictions and it was important to achieve the right outcome. In addition, the waiting times at the shops will be increased from 1 hour to 2 hours which will be of considerable benefit to the shopkeepers, as well as the shoppers themselves.
53.1 Cllr Glozier reported the general consensus in the Village is that things are getting out of hand. The Village Hall had suffered criminal damage and some of the local buses had been attacked. During the previous week two sheds had been set on fire at the allotments.
53.2 The Parish Council and Village Association have arranged a meeting with the Police for 5th December. Because of the lack of response from the Police many people were not reporting incidents and therefore the Village was not shown to be a problematic area on Police records. Cllr Glozier emphasised the importance that every incident must be reported to the Police and an incident number obtained so that the trouble in Theydon Bois appears on
the crime statistics. The incident and number should also be reported to the Parish Council.
53.3 Cllr Glozier reported that the CCTV system was being further improved and upgraded in the Village Centre near the Station and also at the Village Hall. In the longer term the system will be linked directly to a Police Central Control so that incidents can be monitored as they occur.
Resolved: Theydon Bois Parish Council will pay £940 (inc. VAT) for further improvements and upgrading of the CCTV system at the Village Hall and Village Centre. The Village Association will be making a grant to the Parish Council of £800 towards the work carried out.
Proposed: Cllr Purkiss Seconded: Cllr Hammond
54. Village News
54.1 Cllr Jones reported that Theydon Bois Village News had won two awards in the Essex Life/RCCE community magazine competition: Best Less than Monthly Magazine in Essex and Best Community Magazine in Essex. Prizes were two Certificates and £150. Cllr Jones expressed thanks to all those on the Committee and all the distributors of the magazine for their hard work.
55. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
55.1 Cllr Jones reported this year’s celebrations are at 6.30 p.m. on Friday 7th December at the Village Hall. One change to the format this year is that Santa will be in a marquee in the car park in order to avoid the crowding at the entrance to the Hall after the lighting ceremony.
56. Reports from Representatives
56.1 Buxton Trust
Cllr Hannibal reported that the under 17 football team had folded but the under 13s were still running. Volunteers were needed to help run the team. Thanks were expressed to the Parish Council in helping to fund the new fencing by the Scout Hut. New grass cutting machinery had also been purchased, for which a grant for 60% of the price had been received from an outside organisation.
56.2 Avenue of Trees
Cllr Glozier reported that the Parish Council were hoping that the City of London Open Spaces Dept would be in a position to give a presentation at the January 2008 Council Meeting regarding the various options and the consultation exercise for the long term plan for the Avenue of Trees.
57. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
The following topics were raised by the Public:
1. Concern regarding the efficacy of the police in general and whether Essex Police liaise with London Transport Police regarding youths coming in from further up the Central Line and causing trouble in the Village.
2. The neighbourhood watch Co-Ordinator emphasised the importance of the Neighbourhood Action Panel meetings, when representatives from the community meet with the police to discuss local issues. The next meeting is at 7.30 p.m. on 23rd January at the Village Hall.
4. Concerns regarding the implications for the Village for increased traffic during the forthcoming widening of the M25.
5. Essex County Councillor John Spencer gave an update on various Highways issues. He emphasised Central Government had capped funding and this had lead to underinvestment, particularly on roads.
6. A reminder that Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Celebrations at PAT will take place on Saturday 1st December, 1.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Finally, the Chairman wished everyone on behalf of the Parish Council a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Present: Cllrs S Jones (Chair), J Eaton, M Hannibal, P Hammond, M Oliver and A Purkiss
31. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllrs Glozier, Gooch, Cushing, Padfield and Hayday.
32. The Minutes of the meeting held on 26th July, 2007 were confirmed as a correct record.
33. Declarations of Interest. There were no declarations of interest.
34. Correspondence. The Clerk reported on the following:-
34.1 A letter from the City of London Open Spaces in response to Parish Council concerns regarding the felling of some of the trees in the Avenue of Oaks.
34.2 An EFDC media release regarding the introduction of a recycling collection for batteries.
34.3 An EFDC media release regarding the reversion to fortnightly collections of residual waste.
34.4 A letter from the Highways Agency regarding the Stansted Generation 2 Airport Access from M11 and A120 and M11 Junction 6-8 improvements. Copies of the two maps showing the options for the two schemes were made available for viewing at the end of the meeting. They will also be available to the public during Parish Council office opening times until 5th November.
34.5 A letter from Sue Sowerby, Chair of TBAAG, with a financial contribution in support of the Theydon Bois Village Design Statement.
34.6 A letter from Eleanor Laing. M.P congratulating the Parish Council in winning their category in the Best Kept Village competition and expressing thanks to all those in the local community whose efforts preserve the look and nature of the Village.
34.7 There is to be an awards ceremony on 3rd October for the Rural Community Council of Essex/Essex Life community magazine awards, for which Theydon Bois Village News has been short-listed for consideration in the final round. Members of the Village News Committee will be attending.
34.8 A letter from Mike Emmett of TBAAG taking issue with the points made in the Parish Council response to Sue Sowerby’s letter dated 8th Augsut.
34.9 The Parish Council’s letter to Sue Sowerby dated 5th September referred to in 34.8 above.
35.1 The accounts up to 19th September 2007, having been previously circulated, were approved.
36.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twenty nine applications since the last Public Meeting in July. The Planning Committee had objected to thirteen of these applications, the most contentious of which are the application to demolish Theydon Lodge and the proposed relocation of the Club House and variation of landscaping at Blunts Farm Golf Course. Relocating the Clubhouse will have a serious impact on the Village and there will be lighting and traffic implications.
36.2 Cllr Jones reported that in respect of Blunts Farm, following discussions with EFDC and the Planning Inspectorate, the Parish Council has decided not to seek Rule 6 status at the forthcoming Public Inquiry. Although the Parish Council had previously received free legal advice on the matter, this would not be possible for the Inquiry. TBAAG has been granted Rule 6 status and therefore the Parish Council will act in a supporting role to their presentation at the Inquiry on behalf of Village residents.
36.3 No date has yet been set for the Public Inquiry regarding Woodview on the Wansfell College site. However, submissions must be received by the Inspectorate by 10th October.
37. Village Design Statement (VDS)
37.1 Cllr Eaton reported that he appreciated the financial contributions made by local groups in the Village. He also thanked Jacqueline Dodman for her work in preparing the questionnaire which it is hoped will be distributed with the December edition of Village News. A photo-shoot has provisionally been scheduled for 5th April 2008.
38. Highways & Environment
38.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that May Gurney had resurfaced the Abridge Road from Abridge Bridge to Epping Lane. Baldocks Road and The Green are due to be resurfaced during this financial year.
38.2 Plans are underway to resurface the pavements outside the shops in Forest Drive. Parts of the areas are privately owned by the shopkeepers and negotiations are continuing to agree a price with May Gurney to undertake the works.
38.3 Cllr Purkiss reported that Essex Highways has approved all the proposed parking restrictions with the exception of Thrifts Mead, where a substantial number of residents were opposed to the scheme which had been submitted for their particular road.
38.4 It is anticipated that the yellow lines will be painted during December. It has been requested that dangerous areas such the junction of the Green and Loughton Lane should be given priority.
38.5 Cllr Hammond reported that it is planned to improve the area along the Green which is sinking by banking it up to make it safer. Three extra parking spaces will be added at the shops in Forest Drive by altering the configuration of the yellow lines. It is hoped to add further spaces, subject to negotiation.
39.1 Cllr Hammond reported that a meeting had been held with Inspector Fox and that the police would provide a grant to the Parish Council for improving the Village CCTV system. This will involve an increase in the number of cameras thereby increasing coverage at the shops and the station. A broadband link direct to the police will enable them to activate cameras remotely themselves when an incident is reported. Only the camera at Playground at Theydon will not be connected to broadband.
Resolved: Theydon Bois Parish Council will pay £2,380 for upgrading the Village CCTV system in order to claim the agreed grant of £2,300 from the Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership
Proposed: Cllr Purkiss Seconded: Cllr Hammond
40.1 Cllr Eaton reported that a number of shrubs had been lost in the round beds in the Garden of Remembrance, which would be replaced in due course. It is also planned to upgrade the pathway in the Garden of Remembrance. The general appearance of the cemetery has improved since retaining the services of a regular gardener. A ‘wobble’ test on the graves will be undertaken in January to comply with Health & Safety regulations.
41. Theydon Bois Tree Strategy
41.1 Cllr Eaton reported that City of London had employed a consultancy firm, LizLake, to advise on possible options for the Avenue of Trees. Cllrs Padfield, Eaton, Purkiss and Hammond will be liaising with them. The Superintendent of Epping Forest, Mat Roberts, will come and address residents on the issue at a Parish Council Public Meeting next year.
41.2 Cllr Eaton reported that it was hoped to reinstate the ‘Seven Sisters’ oaks trees on the land at Great Gregories owned by the City of London Corporation. A grant to undertake the work has been applied for.
42.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that to introduce diversification on the site participation in the Apples and Orchards of East Anglia Project had been agreed by allotments holders. Twenty eight apple trees have been ordered from named ‘old stock’ and will be planted at a designated area on the allotments which was previously overrun with ‘mares tail’. The project has been supported by individual allotment holders and others purchasing a tree. The Parish Council will be providing two of the trees.
43. Reports from Representatives
43.1 Car Park at Jack’s Hill
Cllr Hammond reported that the Parish Council were aware of the nuisance caused by the activities around the car park at Jack’s Hill, which were being advertised on a gay web site. The police are aware and are monitoring the situation. Members of the public who observe such activity should report it to the police.
43.2 Nuisance youths
Cllr Eaton reported that Foster’s hairdressers had had an incident of youths trying to kick the door in. When large numbers of youngsters hang around Tesco and the shops it is intimidating for people walking by. Cllr Hammond stated that the majority of these youngsters were not troublemakers but lacked facilities where they could meet up.
Cllr Purkiss reported that several individuals had been arrested and charged for attempting to steal RSJs from the Old Foresters site.
44. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
The following topics were raised by the Public:
1. Concern regarding the efficacy of the police in general and whether the additional CCTV coverage in the Village will improve responses from the police. The Parish Council to chase response to recent letter to police regarding anti-social behaviour in the Village Centre and at the Village Hall. Residents were reminded that when reporting incidents to the police the Parish Council should also be informed to add the information to the Incidents Log kept at the Parish Office. Cllr Jones stated that the Parish Council would chase a reply to the letter which was recently sent to the Chief Inspector regarding nuisance youths and copy the correspondence to the Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator at EFDC.
2. There was a lengthy discussion about the implications of the introduction of the forthcoming parking restrictions, particularly with regard to Thrifts Mead. The point was also made that there is exemption for blue badge holders for up to 3 hours.
3. The dangers at the junction of Coppice Row and the Avenue of Trees opposite Tesco from delivery vehicles and persistent violation of the double yellow line restrictions by vehicles outside the store.
4. Comments regarding speeding and the newly installed Visual Display Speeding Signs. It had been observed that the signs were triggered at speeds significantly higher than the legal limit. Cllr Jones stated that the Parish Council would take advice from Essex Highways regarding the point at which these signs should come into operation.
5. It was requested that a representative from EFDC Waste Recycling department give a talk and/or provide a display at a Public Meeting.
Present: Cllrs R Glozier (Chair) J Eaton, M Hannibal, S Jones, M Oliver,
J Padfield, A Purkiss, K Cushing and M Hayday
19. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllrs Gooch and Hammond.
20. The Minutes of the meeting held on 24th May, 2007 were confirmed as a correct record.
21. Declarations of Interest. There were no declarations of interest.
22. Correspondence The Clerk reported on the following:-
22.1 The Parish Council had sent a letter to Cllr N Hume, Portfolio Holder, Highways and Transportation, Essex County Council expressing concern about the notification of the need for emergency repairs required to stabilise the condition of the Grade II listed bridge at Abridge. An explanation is being sought given the earlier concerns expressed by the Parish Council in relation to this issue.
22.2 The Parish Council had sent a letter to Mr Magnusson, Executive Chairman of West Ham United F.C regarding the possible interest of West Ham United F.C in acquiring land at Parsonage Golf for use as a football academy and clarifying the Parish Council’s position in relation to any possible future planning application.
22.3 A letter received from Epping Forest District Council regarding the cedar tree at Theydon Lodge, Coppice Row and which states that the cedar tree has been deemed potentially unsafe and is to be felled within the next month.
22.4 A letter of thanks received from St Clare Hospice in respect of the Parish Council’s donation of £300.
22.5 A media release received from Epping Forest District Council expressing thanks to residents for achieving record levels of recycling and notification of the extension of kerbside plastic recycling.
23.1 Cllr Cushing advised that there had been an amendment to the previously circulated Income & Expenditure Budget vs Actual Account as at 18th July, 2007 to show the Public Works Loan as an expense in the Budget. The amendment having been noted the accounts up to 18th July, 2007, were approved.
23.2 Cllr Cushing confirmed that the draft Annual Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 2007, remained unchanged from the draft previously circulated and showed that actual income was greater than that budgeted for owing to an increase in income from the cemetery which cannot be accurately predicted.
Resolved: To approve and adopt the Annual Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 2007.
Proposed: Cllr Cushing Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
23.3 Cllr Glozier thanked Cllrs Cushing and Hannibal and Madeleine McCarthy, the Clerk, for all their work in the preparation of the Annual Accounts.
24.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been sixteen applications since the last Public Meeting in May. The Planning Committee had objected to nine of these applications. There have been an increasing number of applications which involve the construction of additional dwellings in back gardens and this is a major concern. The Parish Council wrote to Eleanor Laing MP in support of Caroline Spelman’s Bill on Land Use which seeks to remove gardens from the definition of brown field sites and Mrs Laing confirmed her support in response. It is understood that this Bill is now due to be heard in October.
24.2 Cllr Jones reported that in respect of Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf, the appeals against the enforcement notices have now been reactivated by the Planning Inspectorate. It has been confirmed that any earlier submissions will be automatically carried over but Cllr Jones recommended that all those who sent submissions should ring the Inspectorate and check that they had been attached to the current file. Details of reference numbers are available from the Parish Office.
24.3 Cllr Jones reported that she is in regular contact with Stephan Solon and Barry Land, the Planning Officers dealing with Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf, and has been advised that EFDC do not believe that West Ham United F.C. is any longer interested in the site. Confirmation is however awaited.
24.4 Cllr Jones reported that she had spoken with Nigel Richardson, the Planning Officer dealing with Wansfell College as she had been surprised that it had not appeared on the planning agenda for July. Nigel Richardson had indicated that it may be dealt with under delegated powers due to the recent appeal but confirmation is awaited.
24.5 Cllr Jones reported that she had also been in touch with the relevant Planning Officer dealing with the Theydon Lodge development and had expressed disappointment at the loss of the cedar tree. Assurance has been given that the developer will be obliged to replant a tree in a prominent area of the site and that various conditions on landscaping the site will be applied.
24.6 Cllr Glozier expressed concern about developments at Theydon Lodge on behalf of the Parish Council and noted that it is also a major concern of our District Councillors.
25. Code of Conduct
25.1 Cllr Hannibal reported that the Standards Board for England has produced a revised Model Code of Conduct for Members of Parish and Town Councils and is recommending adoption of the new Code by 1 October 2007. It is possible for amendments to be made but the Parish Council is proposing to adopt the revised code without amendment.
Resolved: This Council adopts the revised Standards Board’s Model Code of Conduct for Parish and Town Councils 2007 without amendment.
Proposed: Cllr Hannibal Seconded: Cllr Jones
26. Village Design Statement (VDS)
26.1 Cllr Eaton reported that the VDS Steering Group had held its first promotional event at the Donkey Derby. The level of interest from Villagers had been very pleasing. Cllr Eaton expressed thanks to Cllr Frankel who had prepared a leaflet summarising the aims of the VDS project. The next promotional event would be held at the Horticultural Society Show on 28th July and in due course the Primary School will be approached and the Rural Preservation Society will also promote the project via its membership. Cllr Eaton mentioned that although not legally binding the VDS would be a useful document in planning terms and he invited any resident to contact him via the Parish Office with any comments on the project.
26.2 Cllr Glozier expressed thanks to the Steering Group volunteers.
27. Highways & Environment
27.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that it is anticipated that works will be undertaken in Baldocks Road and The Green in the early autumn.
27.2 Cllr Purkiss reported that funds have been secured to resurface Forest Drive but this project may take some time as some of the shopkeepers’ forecourts are privately owned.
27.3 Cllr Purkiss expressed concern about the condition of the Grade II listed Bridge at Abridge as notwithstanding earlier assurances from Mouchel, Essex County Council’s agents, it now transpires that the bridge requires urgent repairs. The Parish Council have written to Essex County Council for an explanation and the reply will be considered with interest.
27.4 Cllr Purkiss advised that the allotments, which were originally given to the Village by Lord Buxton pursuant to a Deed of Gift in 1930, have now been registered at the Land Registry in the name of the Parish Council. This is prudent as it safeguards the allotment site for the benefit of the Village for the future.
28. Best Kept Village Competition
28.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that the Village had won Class 2 in the Best Kept Village Competition which carries a prize of £150. Class 2 comprises villages with a population of 2000 to 5000 and it is very pleasing that the Village won this Class against stiff competition from villages such as Coggeshall. Cllr Purkiss expressed thanks to all who had assisted with tidying and preparing the Village for the competition.
28.2. Cllr Glozier mentioned that the Village will also be presented with a sign confirming its status as Best Kept Village which will shortly be erected in a prominent position on the Village Green.
29. Reports from Representatives
29.1 Village News
Cllr Oliver reported that the cut-off date for submission of articles for the next edition of Village news would be 22nd August.
29.2 Litter Pick
Cllr Oliver reported that the August litter pick has been cancelled and the next official pick will take place on 1st September.
29.3 Village Website
Cllr Jones expressed thanks to Jim Watts, Tony Mitchell and Adrian McCarthy for their work in the operation of the village website and in particular to Adrian McCarthy in relation to his work on the new website for the Primary School, which can be accessed by a link from the village website. The websites are very informative and residents are encouraged to use them.
29.4 Village Green
Cllr Padfield mentioned that concern had been expressed in some quarters about the relevance of the conservation areas within the Village Green. These areas were originally left uncut to preserve the Cuckoo Flower which was thought to be present. There is now some debate as to whether this approach is justified. The Village Green is owned by the City of London with the Parish Council being responsible only for maintenance. The Superintendent of the City of London has indicated that this issue may be included within the consultation exercise in connection with the future of the Avenue of Trees. Residents are invited to let the Parish Clerk have their views on this topic.
Cllr Glozier reported that due to the waterlogged condition of the Plain that the Donkey Derby had been held on the Village Green. Feedback from residents on the change of venue had been very positive and the organisers may consult with the City of London about running the event on the Green again next year.
Cllr Glozier reported that due to timetabling problems the route of the 541 Bus will be altered so that it will run to and from Loughton via Abridge and Theydon Bois to St Margaret’s Hospital.
29.6 Neighbourhood Watch
Cllr Glozier reported that the Police are looking for more volunteers for the Action Panel. The next meeting will take place at 7.30pm on 15th August in the Village Hall. Details are available from Caroline Law and residents are encouraged to attend. Volunteers are also needed for the Neighbourhood Watch scheme to cover Theydon Park Road and Morgan Crescent and any interested residents should contact either Caroline Law, the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator for the Village or the Parish Clerk.
29.7 Tree Strategy
Cllr Eaton reported that the annual Tree Strategy Meeting is usually held in October. This will however be brought forward this year as Epping Forest District Council have indicated that if planting plans are identified early enough then work could start this Autumn rather than next year.
The Superintendent of the City of London will speak at the Public Meeting of the Parish Council on 27th September and will be unveiling proposals regarding the future of the Avenue of Trees.
30. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
The following topics were raised by the Public:
1. District Cllr Frankel reported that Sita UK has been appointed as the new refuse contractor and will be taking over from Cory. The new contract will deliver 22 week, May to September, weekly collections with collections for the remainder of the year to be bi-weekly. Sita are able to accommodate the recycling of food waste and separate weekly food waste collections may be available from next year. Any difficulties in relation to the new contract arrangements should be addressed to David Marsh at EFDC or via Cllrs Frankel or Rush.
Several residents expressed concerns about bi-weekly collections and the viability and suitability of food waste collections. Cllr Cushing advised that the Parish Council had been pressing strongly for weekly collections but that there were issues of cost and arguments that bi-weekly collections do encourage greater recycling. District Cllr Rush advised that Uttlesford District Council, which has the highest recycling rate in Essex, does collect food waste separately.
Cllr Purkiss raised a concern about the effect on personnel of the change over to Sita UK as the Village would not wish to lose the services of its dedicated street cleaner who has proved to be such an asset. District Cllr Frankel thought that the same staff would continue in their roles but Cllr Purkiss requested that District Cllr Frankel should raise this issue specifically within EFDC.
Cllr Eaton enquired as to whether any pressure is being brought to bear on Supermarkets regarding the extent of packaging waste. Essex County Cllr Whitehouse responded explaining that she had attended a County Waste Management Conference and a representative from Tesco Stores explained various schemes which Tescos are implementing to address this issue.
2. A resident expressed her pleasure in the present uncut conservation areas within the Village Green.
3. A resident requested an update on commuter parking. Cllr Purkiss advised that Highways are presently reviewing all the views which have been expressed on the proposals and once analysed the issue will be referred back. Therefore no timing as to yellow lining can be given as this will depend upon the level of complaints and the attitude taken by the County and District Councils to that feedback. Ultimately, agreement may not be reached on all roads in which case the Parish Council will press for partial implementation.
4. Cllr Glozier thanked District Cllrs Frankel and Rush for their input.
Present: Cllrs R Glozier (Chair) J Eaton, M Hannibal, S Jones, M Oliver,
J Padfield and A Purkiss
Prior to commencement of the Agenda the Chairman announced the annual award of the Chairman’s Rose Bowl. This year the award was presented to Jim Watts for his work on the Village Website and for his assistance with Village News and in relation to planning matters.
1. Election of Chairman
1.1 There being no other nominations Cllr Glozier was duly elected as Chairman for the coming year.
Proposed: Cllr Eaton Seconded: Cllr Padfield
2. Declaration of Acceptance of Office
2.1 Cllr Glozier duly signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office as Chairman for
3. Appointment of Vice-Chairman
3.1 There being no other nominations Cllr Jones was appointed as Vice-Chairman for the coming year.
Proposed: Cllr Glozier Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
4. Formation of Committees and appointment of representatives
4.1 Cllr Glozier reported that with the exception of a change to 4.8, where Cllr Oliver would cease to be the Parish Council Representative on the Village Association that the composition of committees and representatives would otherwise remain unchanged from that for 2006-7. Cllr Oliver would be replaced by Cllr Glozier in this role.
Proposed: Cllr Glozier Seconded: Cllr Padfield
5. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllrs Hayday, Gooch, Hammond and Cushing.
6. The Minutes of the meeting held on 29th March, 2007 were confirmed as a correct record.
7. Declarations of Interest
7.1 Cllrs Oliver and Hannibal declared a personal non-prejudicial interest in item 9.2 by virtue of their respective positions on the Board of Trustees of the Buxton Trust.
8. Correspondence The Clerk reported on the following:-
8.1 The Parish Council received a letter from the Standards Board for England dated 10th April 2007 which stated that the complainant, Ms Jacqueline Dodman, had sought a review of the decision of the Standards Board not to refer her recent complaints against Councillors Padfield, Glozier and Hammond for investigation. The Standards Board had reviewed the case to check that the decision taken by their officers was reasonable and it had concluded that the case was handled correctly and the final decision not to refer the Councillors for investigation was reasonable. The Standards Board for England therefore confirmed that the last stage in the process in relation to this complaint having been completed they now consider the matter to be closed.
8.2 A letter from Eleanor Laing M.P to Cllr Glozier expressing her concern about the continuing situation at Parsonage Golf and expressing her support for the Parish Council in their dealings with the matter.
8.3 A copy of a letter sent by Cllr Diana Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council to Lesley Balkham, Health & Safety Inspector, regarding issues at Parsonage Golf, expressing concern about the lack of enforcement action by the Health & Safety Executive in relation to possible sources of danger and the adequacy of safety measures at the site. This letter had been copied to the Parish Council by Cllr Collins for information purposes.
8.4 A copy of a letter sent by John Scott, Joint Chief Executive of Epping Forest District Council to Mr George Dilloway c/o of his Solicitor, regarding issues at Parsonage Golf, making reference to his obligations under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984. This letter had also been copied to the Parish Council by Cllr Collins for information purposes.
8.5 A letter from Cllr Glozier, Chairman of the Parish Council, to Mr George Dilloway of Blunts Farm Estates Ltd, regarding issues of safety at Parsonage Golf.
8.6 A letter of reply from the Trustees of the H & M Smith 1991 Settlement & P Newman trading as Parsonage Golf (formerly Blunts Farm Estates Ltd) and signed by Mr Dilloway.
8.7 A letter from Theydon Bois Primary School thanking the Parish Council for their donation of £250 in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the school on it’s present site.
8.8 A letter from George Mould, Branch Treasurer of Loughton Royal British Legion, thanking the Parish council for their donation of £50 towards the proposed veteran’s day weekend on 23rd/24th June, 2007.
8.9 A letter from Playground at Theydon thanking the Parish Council for their donation of £1,000 towards the cost of insurance and maintenance.
8.10 A media release issued by Epping Forest District Council regarding summer refuse collections and confirming that commencing on 14th May and continuing until 14th September wheeled bins will be emptied weekly on the usual collection days. The Council will continue to collect recyclable waste in the normal way, every 2 weeks, throughout the summer months.
9.1 The accounts up to 16th May 2007, having previously been circulated, were approved.
9.2 Cllr Hannibal reported that the Buxton Trust had identified a need to construct a metal fence approx 6 feet in height along the boundary with the Scout Hut. A children’s play group operates from the Scout Hut and it is thought that there is a risk of children running through gaps in the existing hedge. For reasons of safety therefore a permanent metal fence is required and the likely cost is in the region of £2700.
Resolved: That this Council will contribute the sum of £700 to assist with replacement fencing between the Buxton Trust grounds and the Scout Hut following Health & Safety issues arising for the children using the Play Group at the Scout Hut.
Proposed: Cllr Eaton Seconded: Cllr Purkiss
Cllrs Hannibal and Oliver did not vote by virtue of their personal interests (see clause 7.1 above.)
10. Standing Orders
10.1 In accordance with Standing Orders Issue dated 27/7/06 the Standing Orders are a formal Agenda item at the Annual Meeting of the Council for the purposes of review and amendment as required. Cllr Hannibal reported that these had been reviewed and that no changes are necessary this year.
11.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twelve applications since the last Public Meeting in March. The Planning Committee had objected to three. Cllr Jones reiterated that the Planning Committee carefully examines all planning applications and is committed to protecting the village from inappropriate development. Objections are made where the Planning Committee feels that the proposed development would have a negative impact on the village and the street scene. Where an objection has been made by the Committee this is followed up by a further letter of objection in the event that the application having been refused by Epping Forest District Council is then appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. Cllr Jones explained that many appeals are the subject of a site visit only by the Planning Inspector rather than a full hearing and thus there is limited opportunity for the Planning Committee to further argue their case. Regrettably a number of recent applications which have been refused by the District Council have been the subject of successful appeals.
11.2 Cllr Jones reported that progress in relation to the latest Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf planning application is frustratingly slow but she is in regular contact with Stephan Solon, the Planning Officer overseeing the application. Official notification of the commencement of the appeals to the enforcement notices is awaited but it is anticipated that this will be issued in early July. Once this notification has been received then the Parish Council will meet with Stephan Solon and other interested parties including the Rural Preservation Society to decide how best to proceed. Stephan Solon has advised that the Environmental Impact Assessment Report is still awaited from the developer. In view of the delay the application may have to be re-registered under a new reference number but Mr Solon has assured Cllr Jones that any objections which have been received will automatically be filed under the new reference number.
11.3 Cllr Jones reported on the Village Design Statement Initiative and was pleased to confirm that there have been a number of volunteers and a preliminary meeting has been arranged for Thursday 31st May. At that meeting, Chris Hobbs, Field Officer for the Rural Community Council of Essex will give a presentation on the project.
12. Highways & Environment
12.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that the draft Traffic Orders for Theydon Bois have now been published and overall the contents of the Orders are pleasing although a few errors had been noted. A copy of the Orders and associated plans would be available for inspection after the closure of the meeting and were held at the Parish Office. Any objections or comments should be sent directly to West Area Highways Office by 15th June, 2007. The contact details are shown at the end of the draft Orders which have been published in the Epping Forest Guardian. Cllr Purkiss mentioned that the effect of the Orders cannot be extended or increased and the contents of the Orders can only be reduced following the consultation process. Cllr Glozier reiterated that the public should view the plans and lodge any objections with Highways Area West directly.
12.2 Cllr Purkiss reported that further road repairs are scheduled with re-haunching of the kerbs in Harewood Hill, Woodland Way and Graylands. A complete overhaul of the pavements in Baldocks Road is also scheduled as this road was identified to be in particular need due to the high level of use by the elderly. With the help of Essex County Councillor John Spencer, Cllrs Hammond and Purkiss have secured a commitment for repairs to be undertaken to the Abridge Road from the Motorway Bridge to the Parish Boundary by late August. Re-planing will also be undertaken to Coopersale Lane as far as the M11 motorway bridge. Cllr Purkiss concluded that there have been some positive signs of progress by Highways in relation to the replacement of signs and chevrons and other improvements.
13.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that the allotments are doing well with 41 plots being worked by 37 allotment holders which is very pleasing. Approximately 40 people attended the recent AGM and the allotment site has been entered into the Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day on 24th June.
13.2 Cllr Glozier thanked Paul Argent and Robin Llewellyn-Jones for their voluntary work at the allotment site.
14. Police Matters
14.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that he had attended a meeting with Cllr Hammond which was both useful and positive with Inspector Fox and Sergeant Walker. The Police have been keen to access CCTV footage from the Theydon Bois CCTV monitors following incidents. Efforts are being made to obtain funding for CCTV enhancements from the Police via grants which are available to them for the prevention of anti-social behaviour initiatives in the East of England. It is hoped that the Village CCTV could then be enhanced to enable the Police to view footage remotely.
14.2 Cllr Purkiss reported that Inspector Fox is leaving his present position and that the role of Inspector in relation to Waltham Abbey and Epping is to be combined.
15. Tree Warden Meeting
15.1 Cllr Eaton reported that having taken over the role of Chairman of the Tree Strategy Committee he had decided to call an informal meeting to enable familiarise himself with certain aspects of the Tree Strategy. A meeting would be convened at the end of the summer to discuss future proposals.
15.2 Cllr Eaton reported that the Avenue of Trees will be the subject of a five day road closure order in mid-June to facilitate the removal of 4/5 oaks by the City of London. Crown lifting and shaping work will also take place at the same time. The City of London’s proposals for the future of the Avenue is still awaited but it is anticipated that these will be issued in July.
15.3 Cllr Eaton mentioned that the Parish Council had considered a recent planning application in relation to the protected oak tree to the front of Theydon Lodge. The application is for consent for crown lifting and shaping work to be undertaken to the tree. It was considered that this particular work would be beneficial but the Planning Committee is keen to protect this tree and the property at Theydon Lodge.
16. Revised Bus Route
16.1 Cllr Glozier reported that the new bus routes for the 541 and the Sunday 500 and 501 services had been running since April and requested that users provide feedback to the Parish Council so that any concerns could be raised at the next transport meeting.
17. Reports from Representatives
Cllr Eaton reported that a new gardener has now been employed and it is to be hoped that her regular presence may also deter the problems of fly-tipping which has been on the increase. A plea was made for visitors to the Cemetery to be vigilant and make a note of any suspicious vehicles. Thanks were expressed to Mrs Chris Dower who had financed new hard standing at the Cemetery and that a sponsor for a new bench would now be welcomed.
17.2 Buxton Trust
Cllr Hannibal reported that the safety netting between the Tennis Club and the Cricket Club is now in situ. A new fence is to be constructed between the Scout Hut and the Buxton Trust land. The Trust faces issues of future financing as its income is relatively low. Cllr Glozier mentioned that the Parish Council would wish to do what it could to support the Trust.
17.3 Village News
Cllr Oliver reported that the cut-off date for submission of articles for the next edition of Village news would be this weekend 26th May.
18. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
The following topics were raised by the Public:
1. A concern was raised about the expansion of Woolston Hall Golf Club, Chigwell as an entertainment/leisure facility as it may be seen as a blueprint for the developers at Parsonage Golf.
2. The proposed Village Design Statement initiative was commended by District Councillor Frankl. As a member of the District Planning Committee he saw merit in the production of a VDS for Theydon Bois and felt it could be a valuable tool in protecting the village from inappropriate development and infill.
3. A note of thanks for the provision of the new Village Notice Board.
4. A resident referred to a letter which the Parish Council had sent to Mr George Dilloway dated 20 October 2005 in which it stated that the Parish Council would like further information regarding the developer’s proposals for an itemised Agenda before proceeding with any meeting with the developer and that as a matter of protocol any meeting would have to take place in the Village Hall. The resident queried what change of protocol had occurred which led to the decision to hold a meeting with the developers at Cllr Padfield’s home and without any Agenda. Cllr Glozier explained that he was not aware of any specific change of protocol but that the Parish Council had agreed to proceed on this basis. He also pointed out that the Parish Council may meet with whom and wherever they choose.
5. A resident expressed a view that the new bus route appears to be working satisfactorily.
6. A concern about the poor state of the grounds at Robert Daniels Court. In the absence of Cllr Cushing, Cllr Glozier reported that the Parish Council would be writing to the managers urging them to undertake the necessary maintenance as a matter of urgency.
7. A query about progress in connection with the Youth Centre site. Cllr Glozier confirmed that this was being handled privately and that an offer had been made to Essex County Council based on the value of the site as it is and that a decision from Essex is awaited.
Present: Councillors R Glozier (Chair), J Eaton, J Padfield, P Gooch, P Hammond,
M Hannibal, M Hayday, S Jones, M Oliver and A Purkiss.
65. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Councillor
66. The Minutes of the meeting held on 25th January, 2007 were confirmed as a correct record.
67. Declarations of Interest
67.1 Cllr Jones declared a personal and prejudicial interest in item 10.1 on the Agenda by virtue of her position as a school-teacher employed at Theydon Bois Primary School.
68. Correspondence The Clerk reported on the following:-
68.1 An email from Mr David McKelvey with questions regarding the meeting held on 19th December between Members of the Parish Council and the developers of Blunts Farm Estates.
68.2 The Parish Council received Decision Notices dated 22nd February 2007 from the Standards Board for England which stated that they were in respect of a complaint by Ms Jacqueline Dodman alleging a breach of the Code of Conduct by Councillors Glozier, Padfield and Hammond as a result of their conduct in relation to the construction of a golf course, for which planning permission was granted in April 2000. The Standards Board decided in respect of all Councillors that the allegations should not be referred to an ethical officer for investigation. Before reaching these decisions no information had been sought by the Standards Board from either the Parish Council or Councillors Glozier, Padfield and Hammond. Copies of the Decision Notices are available from the Parish office if required.
68.3 A letter from John Scott Joint Chief Executive of Epping Forest District Council regarding his retirement in July 2007.
68.4 A Media Release issued by Epping Forest District Council in connection with Cllr Stephen Metcalfe’s open letter delivered to every household inviting residents to comment on the waste collection service.
68.5 Cllr Cushing sent a response on behalf of the Parish Council and a reply was received from Cllr Metcalfe addressing the points raised.
68.6 A letter sent by Home-Start Epping Forest expressing thanks for the donation from the Parish Council of £150.
68.7 A letter of thanks sent by Mr N J Reynolds of Southampton regarding the installation of the new memorial seat on the Village Green.
69.1 The accounts up to 21st March 2007, having been previously circulated, were approved.
70.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twenty applications since the last Public Meeting. The Planning Committee had objected to three of these applications and of these two related to Wansfell College. The Wansfell College applications comprised revised application for full planning permission and change of use for the conversion of the former college building into 14 flats with on-site parking and outline application for the erection of a replacement dwelling on plot 30A Piercing Hill. The former was heard before Area Plans Sub-Committee B/ C on Wednesday 21 March and the application was refused on the grounds of overdevelopment of the Green Belt. The latter application was withdrawn by the Developers at the last minute. Cllr Jones paid tribute to the considerable efforts of the local residents of Piercing Hill in presenting their case to EFDC and mentioned that the Developer may appeal or submit revised plans. The Parish Council would therefore advise as to further developments as soon as they become apparent.
70.2 Cllr Jones reported that EFDC had served an enforcement notice on Trek Highways in respect of the traffic management depot in Coopersale Lane. Application for planning permission was refused on 12 April 2006 and this decision was upheld on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate on 18 January 2007. The enforcement notice states that the present use as a traffic management depot must cease and the site restored to its former condition. The enforcement notice takes effect on 4 May 2007 and from that date the owner has a period of four months to comply with its terms.
70.3 Cllr Jones reported that she is in regular contact with Stephan Solon, the Planning Officer overseeing the Blunts Farm/Parsonage Golf development and there is no further news about the present application. Mr Solon has advised that he awaits the comments of Essex County Council, who have indicated that they do have some issues concerning the bridge at Abridge and also as to whether the matter constitutes a “waste issue”, in which case the application will merit a decision by Essex County Council. Mr Solon is aware of the concerns about the delays and has indicated that he is chasing outstanding responses. The Planning Inspectorate is however insisting on the other appeals to the enforcement notices now progressing and they have suggested a three day hearing to be held in September. The developers have indicated that this is not convenient for them and the hearing may be later. The Parish Council will be in touch with Lambourne Parish Council and The Rural Preservation Society to agree how best the interests of the Village can be presented at the Inquiry.
70.4 Cllr Jones reported on the Rural Community Council of Essex Village Design Statement (VDS) initiative. A VDS is a substantial document put together by a Steering Group made up of residents and other interested local organisations and identifies areas of particular aesthetic value to local people. Its philosophy is that if thriving communities are to be maintained then necessary changes need to be accommodated with minimal damage to the character of the area. Cllr Jones stressed that the VDS must be compiled by residents and not the Parish Council. Whilst the Parish Council is already undertaking some preliminary work with the Rural Preservation Society it will therefore be necessary to recruit volunteers to join the proposed Steering Group. Any interested residents are invited to contact either Cllr Jones or the Rural Preservation Society for further information. Cllr Glozier stressed that a VDS is not legally binding but that the district planning authorities must have regard to it when making decisions as must the Planning Inspectorate when considering any appeal. The production of a VDS for Theydon Bois would involve a considerable amount of work but would be a valuable document. The Parish Council would provide administrative backup and a limited number of volunteer Councillors to assist with the project, but it was again stressed that volunteer residents would be required.
71. Highways & Environment
71.1 Cllr Purkiss reported on a new Neighbourhood Action Panel in relation to Neighbourhood Watch. The idea is that a Panel is set up for each village or town and is made up of various representatives from the Community. The meetings, aimed to meet quarterly, will give the panel the opportunity to identify and prioritise those issues that are important to them, e.g. discuss police issues and decide upon specific policing priorities for the Theydon Bois area, as it is the community who have the best understanding of local issues. The Panel will seek to problem solve within the Community and involve other agencies where necessary. The Panel can be made up from anyone who has an interest in the local community. This is a Government Scheme which the Police are obliged to implement. Further information is available from the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Mrs Caroline Law, or Sgt.Tony Walker at Epping Police Station.
71.2 Cllr Purkiss reported that the Parish Council is pleased with progress in relation to road repairs although one would always want to see more. In particular, improvements have been completed in respect of Piercing Hill, Loughton Lane and The Green although time will tell as to the adequacy of the micro-asphalt surfacing material. Essex County Cllr & Highways Portfolio Holder, Rodney Bass is in the process of agreeing budgets for the next financial year but Cllr Purkiss commented that Essex Highways Area West is under funded and understaffed and it is difficult to see how its performance may be turned around at present. It has been noted that other local residents associations have been pressurising for improved Highways performance and Theydon Bois Parish Council will continue to press the case for more improvements for Theydon Bois.
71.3 Cllr Hammond reported that application had been made to Essex County Council (ECC) for flashing display signs to calm traffic in Loughton Lane, Piercing Hill near the junction with Morgan Crescent, and at the top of Coppice Row. ECC had undertaken a survey to verify the Parish Council’s assertion that speeding traffic presents a danger on these roads and they are accident blackspots. A statement had now been received from ECC confirming that they agree and they will fund the relevant signs. It is not yet known when the signs will be installed.
72.1 Cllr Eaton reported that efforts were still being made to recruit a gardener for the Cemetery and that in the meantime Cllr Cushing had been undertaking essential tasks such as bin emptying.
72.2 Cllr Eaton reported that following a review by Mr Gardner, the Burial Clerk, the Committee were recommending a small rise in burial fees for 2007-08, details of which had been circulated to all Councillors for consideration. A comparison had been made with burial fees charged by Parndon Wood and Chigwell Cemeteries. This had identified that Parndon Wood’s charges were far higher but that Chigwell’s were similar. The increase is approximately 2.78% but this is not across the board and some categories remain unchanged.
Resolved: This Council endorses the rise in burial fees recommended by the Cemetery Committee for the year 2007-2008.
Proposed: Cllr Eaton Seconded: Cllr Hammond
72.3 Cllr Hammond commented that the number of burials is diminishing and, whilst the Cemetery has been a net contributor to Parish funds in the past, there is no guarantee that this will continue and it may be that the Parish Council will have to commence funding the Cemetery in the future. Cllr Eaton mentioned that details of the Cemetery fees are to be published in each future edition of Village News with a comparison of the fees charged at Parndon Wood in the hope that this will attract more interest in Theydon Bois Cemetery.
73.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that improved take-up of allotments is very pleasing- the allotment site is now 75-80% full and worked. 70 tonnes of planings were obtained from Highways at no cost to the Village. A digger was hired at a cost of £380 and the new hard standing has now been laid by Cllrs Purkiss and Hammond with the help of a team of volunteers.
73.2 Cllr Glozier expressed thanks to the Cllrs and volunteers who gave up their time to construct the hard standing thereby saving the Village considerable money.
73.3 Cllr Purkiss reported that the Annual General Meeting of Allotment Holders will take place at Theydon Bois Cricket Club on 23rd April 2007 at 7.30 p.m.
73.4 Cllr Purkiss reported that the Allotments will be entered for the Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day
74. Christmas Tree
74.1 Cllr Padfield reported that given the disappointing state of the tree which was planted three years ago it had been decided to replace it. After some difficult negotiating with the original supplier it was decided that the Village Association would make a contribution of £300 which will be matched by the Parish Council and a replacement tree has now been purchased and planted. The Village Association have agreed to lower the Village Hall hedge along Coppice Row to enable the new tree to be seen across the green.
75. Theydon Bois Primary School 50th Anniversary
75.1 Cllr Glozier reported that a letter had been received from the Parent Teacher Association at Theydon Bois Primary School explaining that the arrangements for the school’s 50th Anniversary Ball are gaining momentum. The letter also requested a donation in recognition of the event with all funds raised to go to the school, some of it to keep the swimming pool open and also for the expansion of ICT facilities at the school.
Resolved: That the Parish Council makes a donation of £250 direct to Theydon Bois Primary School in recognition of the Golden Anniversary of the School.
Proposed: Cllr Glozier Seconded: Cllr Hammond
Cllrs Eaton and Gooch abstained by virtue of being governors at the School and Cllr Jones did not vote in view of her personal interest (see Clause 67.1 above).
76. Royal British Legion Veterans Day
76.1 Cllr Eaton reported that an email had been received from the Secretary of The Loughton Branch of the Royal British Legion requesting a donation in respect of the Veteran’s Day Weekend celebrations. Cllr Eaton reported that although the email contained no reference to the Theydon Bois Branch he had spoken with local British Legion representatives and that no issue arose in making a contribution through the Loughton Branch as all contributions would be for the benefit of the Royal British Legion.
Resolved: That the Parish Council makes a donation of £50 to The Royal British Legion towards the Veteran’s Day Weekend events.
Proposed: Cllr Glozier Seconded: Cllr Hammond
77. Reports from Representatives
77.1 Village News
Cllr Oliver reported that the deadline for submissions for the June issue will be 18th May 2007.
Cllr Oliver reiterated that Village News is not a Parish Council newsletter. Theydon Bois Parish Council does not have editorial control over the content of Village News, the responsibility for which lies with the independently appointed Editor. The Parish Council is responsible for funding, printing arrangements, proof reading and distribution.
77.2 Village Association
Cllr Padfield reported that the AGM of the Village Association which was originally scheduled to take place on Monday 16th April will now take place on Tuesday 17th April at the Village Hall and all residents are welcome to attend.
78. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
Cllr Glozier brought to the attention of the Public the following extracts from the minutes of previous Public Meetings:
Public Meeting dated 25th May, 2006:
“Clause 15 The Chairman reminded those present of the appropriate procedures for those who wished to speak. Local electors may voice their views and ask questions at the discretion of the Chairman. Councillors would normally volunteer to help with any queries if they feel able. Electors may not demand answers or make personal accusations.”
Public Meeting dated 30th November:
“Clause 51 Cllr Glozier stated that direct questions could not be taken on the latest Blunts Farm planning application as it had not yet been officially considered by the Planning Sub-Committee. Also, an Environmental Impact Assessment Report was still awaited from the Developer. However, comments were welcome.”
The following topics were raised by the Public:
1. A request for individual name-cards identifying Parish Councillors for future meetings. It was agreed that this practice should be reinstated.
2. A resident welcomed the improvements to the roads and pavements but enquired about recurrent flooding problems in the pond area of Poplar Row. Cllr Purkiss reported that as part of the recent highways works in Poplar Row the open ditch had been dug out and an old sluice was uncovered. The relevant man-hole now seems to be running but the drain does await jetting. Cllr Hammond mentioned that the drain outside Tesco Stores has been jetted, hopefully alleviating the problem in that area.
3. A resident had noted that the legal notices in respect of proposed parking restrictions for Epping had been published in the Gazette this week to come into force on Monday 2nd April and raised a concern that if commuters were unable to park in Epping then they may try to park in Theydon Bois, thus worsening the parking problems which already exist. Cllrs Purkiss & Glozier reported that 1 hour restrictions are in the pipeline for Theydon Bois and it is anticipated that the relevant legal notices will be published shortly, with the yellow lining work expected to take place in June provided that the notices are issued in sufficient time. Cllr Hammond reported that the Parish Council had held meetings with LTU pressing for them to make parking provision on the spare land which they own on the other side of the railway line. A response is awaited. Another resident mentioned that individual residents are continuously writing to Essex County Council Highways, chasing them to issue the legal notices and apply the yellow lining.
4. A query from a representative of The Rural Preservation Society regarding the Avenue of Trees. The consultation exercise to be carried out by the City of London is to be welcomed but a concern was raised about the reference to “infilling” given that the Rural Preservation Society feels that a second avenue is the best solution and it had been under the impression that this was the agreed basis going forward. Cllr Glozier explained that the Parish Council agree but that the City of London are the owners and they wish to put a range of options to residents and canvass local opinion. The City of London may give a presentation at the next Public Meeting on 24th May 2007 or, failing that, the July meeting. Cllr Eaton reported that City of London intends to station a caravan in the Village with projections and displays of the possible options available for viewing and comment.
5. Mrs Sowerby in her capacity as Chairman of The Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) referred to the correspondence item relating to the Decisions of the Standards Board. These Decisions been issued in response to complaints in the name of Mrs Jacqueline Dodman. Mrs Sowerby stated that the complaints had been signed by Mrs Dodman in her capacity as Secretary of TBAAG and that they did not necessarily reflect her personal views.
6. A concern about the refuse/recycling bins to the rear of the green as the paper waste container is regularly set on fire and a suggestion that this bin should be removed now that paper waste is being collected fortnightly. Cllr Purkiss saw some merit in this and the issue will be discussed further by the Parish Council.
7. PAT announced that there will be an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday 31st March at the Playground.
8. Cllr Hammond mentioned that as referred to in the last edition of Village News if any resident notices any vehicles damaging kerbs within the Village then they should take a note of the number plate and if possible take a photograph and forward the information to Essex County Council Highways Area West Department in Harlow. There is then some chance of recovery of costs from the owner’s insurer. A copy should be sent to the Parish Council so that a central register could be maintained.
Present: Councillors R Glozier (Chair), P Gooch, S Jones, K Cushing, M Oliver,
M Hannibal, J Padfield, A Purkiss
52. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllrs Eaton, Hammond and Hayday
53. The Minutes of the meeting held on 30th November 2006, having previously been circulated to members, were confirmed as a correct record.
54. Declarations of Interest
54.1 There were no declarations of interest for any of the items on the Agenda.
The Clerk reported on the following:-
55.1 A letter received from The Theydon Bois & Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) explaining that they have, with the help of Eleanor Laing MP, gained the opinion of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government as to whether a developer’s previous conduct can be taken into account when considering a planning application. TBAAG advises that Baroness Andrews confirmed in a letter to Mrs Laing that “it is for the local planning authority to decide whether or not to take into account a developer’s previous conduct when considering a planning application”. Mrs Laing subsequently wrote to Cllr Brian Sandler pointing out that Blunts Farm Estates have previously breached planning conditions and have also had their exemption certificate withdrawn by the Environment Agency because of their conduct and that this previous conduct can be taken into consideration when the new application is considered.
55.2 A letter to the Parish Council dated 8th January 2007 received from Blunts Farm Estates outlining their position regarding completion of the Golf Course:
(i) If planning permission is granted before spring 2007 then, subject to weather conditions and a minimum of six months uninterrupted construction, it is envisaged that the golf course could be completed during summer 2007.
(ii) Having taken on board the concerns of Theydon Bois Parish Council, the proposed quantities of imported landscape and golf course construction materials have been reduced. Of the clay excavation voids currently on site, it is proposed that over 70% is filled from material already on site, and less than 30% from material yet to be imported. The delivery period for importation of these materials is envisaged to run from mid-March to August and equates to approximately 6,000 deliveries.
(iii) The golf course layout has been amended to allow for the reduction of deliveries of imported landscaping material and this amendment also has the benefit of retaining a large section of mature woodland.
(iv) The clubhouse location is to be changed to a location in the valley which is less visible to surrounding countryside.
55.3 A letter has been received from a resident expressing concern about the wording of a poster put up by TBAAG being inappropriate for children to read.
55.4 A media release issued by EFDC regarding the introduction of free Saturday car parking for long and combined stay pay and display Council car parks in Epping Forest District. Charges will continue to be levied for short stay car parks.
55.5 A letter has been received from Home-Start Epping Forest enquiring about a possible donation towards their work. The Charity supports families in the Epping Forest Area including Theydon Bois with at least one child under the age of 5 years and trains volunteers to go into homes to support the family for as long as is required.
56.1 Cllr Cushing reported that there has been just one unusual amount of expenditure comprising the sum of £1,000 representing payment for the three years CCTV Maintenance Contract with Theydon Security. The accounts up to 18th January 2007 were approved.
56.2 Cllr Cushing reported that expenditure is within budget for 2006/7 and will be covered by the 2006/7 precept of £60,053 (this equates to approx £20 per person). Income at the cemetery is declining while running costs are increasing. The reduction in income is due to the fact that many of the plots have already been purchased, there is an increasing trend towards cremations and there is increased competition from woodland burial schemes. Cllr Cushing mentioned that a gardener is required for the cemetery and hours can be flexible to suit the applicant.
56.3 Some of the general expenses have increased such as the cost of the Community Bus and payment has been made for three years CCTV maintenance. Income from the production of Village News has increased and sponsorship take-up means that the magazine is virtually self-financing.
56.4 It is anticipated that there will be a budget surplus of approximately £36,000 for this financial year. However, financial standing orders require retention of the equivalent of one year’s precept which will therefore leave a surplus of approximately £9,000 which can be spent on projects for 2007-2008. This has been earmarked for £3,000 for the Avenue of Trees (although sponsorship will also be sought from residents), £1,000 for a donation to The Woodland Trust for the project adjoining the Cemetery and £5,000 for Highways in respect of a possible “matched funding” scheme with Essex County Council.
56.5 For 2007-2008 it is proposed to increase the Precept by £1,523 which is approximately 50p per person or 2.5%
Resolved: That the Parish Precept for 2007-2008 be set at £61,576
Proposed: Cllr Cushing Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
56.6 Cllr Jones requested that consideration be given by the Council to give a donation to Home-Start Epping Forest. She explained that this is a small charity which depends largely on donations..
Resolved: That the Parish Council makes a donation to Home-Start Epping Forest in the sum of £150.
Proposed: Cllr Jones Seconded: Cllr Padfield
57.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been sixteen applications since the last meeting, of which the Committee had objected to three. Objections normally relate to proposals for over-sized extensions which would lead to a terracing effect on the street scene.
57.2 Cllr Jones also reported that the Parish Council had spoken against the application for a replacement dwelling at Blunts Farm at the EFDC Plans B Committee meeting. The application was subsequently refused but has been taken to appeal by the developers. The Parish Council will be submitting their views regarding the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
57.3 Cllr Jones provided an update on Blunts Farm Estates. The Parish Council had understood from Stephan Solon, EFDC Planning Officer, that the developers were to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment Report in support of their latest planning application by 12th January, 2007. However, the Parish Council received a Scoping Report for the proposed Environmental Impact Assessment Report on 24th January and has been asked to provide its opinions on the Scoping Report. Once EFDC has completed its consultation procedure on the Report it will then agree the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report with the developers. At present there is no timetable for delivery of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report itself. Cllr Jones reiterated that the latest Blunts Farm planning application cannot be considered by the Parish Council until all the relevant information is before it. However, without prejudging the application, the Parish Council’s position is that it should not be necessary for the developer to import any further spoil onto the site and only essential materials such as sand and gravel should be brought onto the site for the completion of the Course.
57.4 Cllr Jones reported that revised planning applications had been received regarding the Wansfell College site. Firstly an application for change of use, alteration and extension to the former college building to contain 14 flats and secondly an outline application for the erection of a new dwelling on 30A ‘Woodview’, the former caretaker’s house. The Parish Council has objected to the former on the grounds that the proposed car park constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt as identified by the Planning Inspector in connection with the Appeal against the refusal of the original planning application. The Parish Council has also objected to the application for ‘Woodview’ on the grounds that the proposal is for a far larger dwelling than the existing and is in the Green Belt.
58. CCTV Maintenance Contract
58.1 Cllr Glozier reported that the CCTV Maintenance Contract with Theydon Security has now been signed and improvements to the system have already been made by Tim Penegar. The Playground now has the benefit of an infra red system which, although expensive at £350 per unit, provides the best available picture quality. Theydon Security is also in the process of drawing up some further proposals for improvements to be considered by The Parish Council.
59. Parking at Tesco
59.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that the Parish Council has been actively trying to solve the parking problem which has arisen due to the dispute between Tescos and McMullen in relation to the car park to the front of the Queen Victoria. This issue will become more critical once the proposed parking restrictions are implemented. Cllrs Hammond, Purkiss and Glozier had instigated and attended meetings with the relevant Directors of Tesco Stores and McMullen which has led to direct talks between the two parties. There is now agreement in principle for the grant of a licence by McMullen to Tescos whereby the front car park will be available for use by customers of Tescos in return for a substantial payment by Tescos. Cllr Glozier expressed thanks to Cllrs Purkiss and Hammond for their efforts in progressing this issue. Cllr Oliver enquired about timescales and queried how commuters could be prevented from parking in the car park. Cllr Purkiss explained that the details of how to operate the car park will be the subject of further discussions. Possible options were the installation of a barrier or the introduction of tokens.
60. Changes to the Bus Service
60.1 In his capacity as Parish Transport Representative Cllr Glozier reported that Arriva had provided notification that the 500 service would cease to run through Abridge and Theydon Bois and would be re-routed via Ongar. Essex County Council has a duty to provide a bus service and will provide a new service into Theydon Bois, the 541, which will be an extension to the current number 10 service. The exact timetable for the new 541 service is yet to be finalised but the service will commence operating on 30th April. Cllr Glozier thanked Essex County Cllr John Spencer on behalf of the residents of the Village for his considerable efforts at County level to secure a route through Theydon Bois and commented that the end result was a good outcome for the Village insofar as, whilst the ‘no change’ services to Harlow and Romford had been lost, a ‘no change’ service to the library at Debden, to Buckhurst Hill, the Limes Medical Centre and St Margaret’s Hospital had been gained. There are outstanding issues to be resolved in relation to “through ticketing” and the evening and Sunday services, where subsidies are far in excess of agreed levels due to low levels of passenger usage. Cllr Glozier reiterated that the new 541 service is a “County Service” subsidised by Essex County Council and if it is insufficiently used then it will be reviewed at a future date.
61. Highways & Environment
61.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that the Highways Department have successfully completed the re-planing works to Poplar Row. The Parish Council would like to see further road repair works in the Village but there is a lack of funds available for highways at County level. The Parish Council has arranged a meeting with Cllr Rodney Bass, Highways Portfolio Holder at Essex County Council, to discuss various highway matters including the criteria of category 1 repairs.
61.2 Cllr Purkiss also reported that the Parish Council are hoping to discuss the subject of “matched funding” with Cllr Bass whereby the Parish Council agrees to use some of it’s own funds for the refurbishment of pavements in the Village provided Essex County Council agree to match funds thus enabling necessary pavement repairs to take place at a far greater rate. On this basis certain roads for complete repair rather than the unsatisfactory patching which occurs at present could take place. Although council tax payers might feel that they are effectively paying twice over, the Parish Council feel that this is an avenue worth exploring and the proposal will be taken forward with Essex County Council this year.
61.3 Cllr Purkiss also reported that notification has been received that Debden Lane will be closed during the week commencing 5th February to allow re-planing works to the road surface between Ripley Grange and Debden Green.
61.4 Cllr Glozier thanked Cllr Purkiss for all his hard work, time and effort expended on highways issues.
62. Avenue of Trees
62.1 In the absence of Cllr Eaton, Cllr Padfield reported that at a recent meeting The City of London had provided a survey of the Avenue of Trees which concluded that at least eight trees are in a poor state, four of which are dangerous and will be felled. A further meeting will take place next week between representatives of The City of London and the Parish Council and the possibility of the planting of a second avenue will be discussed. If agreed, a second avenue will be planted further away from the road than the existing line due to concerns about impact on the trees from the proximity of the road. Should the Parish Council agree to give financial support then planting could start as early as next winter. An appeal for donations towards the cost of the planting of the second avenue will also be made to the public.
62.2 Cllr Padfield reported that consent was originally given for the planting of three new trees on the Green opposite the Village Hall. The Tree planted last year to commemorate Trafalgar Day has unfortunately failed to thrive and is deteriorating. It has therefore been decided to plant three new trees. There will be a Tree Planting Ceremony on 21st February 2007 at 11.30 am to which all residents are invited. The Trafalgar Day tree will be replaced and two further trees will be planted to commemorate the Queen’s 80th Birthday and the Silver Jubilee of Theydon Bois Primary School. The Parish Council are contributing £300 to the cost of the two new trees.
63. Reports from Representatives
63.1 Cllr Glozier reported that Eileen Johnson, former Parish Councillor and resident of the Village had sadly died recently. Tribute was paid to Mrs Johnson in respect of the considerable work she had undertaken on behalf of the residents of Theydon Bois over many years.
63.2 Village News
Cllr Oliver confirmed that the deadline for submission of articles for the March edition of Village News is 20 February 2007.
It had been proposed by the Police that there should be a new monthly police surgery based in the Village Hall and manned by the new Police Community Support Officer, Lorraine Oxley. However, it has now been decided that this service will combine with the visits from the Beatmobile and will therefore take place in the bus.
64. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
The following topics were raised by the Public:
1. A query was raised about the Environmental Impact Assessment Report in relation to the Blunts Farm planning application. The questioner asked who would be preparing the Report and also asked for assurance that there would be sufficient time to review the planning application, given the slippage in the timing of the delivery of the final Report. He also wanted to know whether the Parish Council would be distributing a flyer regarding this latest planning application. Cllr Jones reported as follows:
1.1 Stephen Solon, the Planning Officer responsible for the application at EFDC had given assurances that there would be sufficient time for responses to be made.
1.2 A decision would be made as to the need for any leaflet/flyer once the Parish Council had been able to review the application.
1.3 The developer’s agent will prepare the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and following submission of the Report to EFDC it is thought that the Report will then be reviewed by the Council’s own experts.
2. A concern about the possible threat to the mobile library service and an enquiry as to when the final decision will be made by Essex County Council as to which of the mobile services are to be retained. Cllr Glozier reported that the matter is still under discussion by Essex County Council but a strong case has been made for retention of the Theydon Bois service which is the heaviest user of those on the ECC list. Essex County Cllr Spencer reported that, following a review, it had been identified that a number of the mobile library vehicles require replacement and this would be very expensive. Of the five stations on the list Theydon Bois is the most used and he thought it likely that the outcome will be that the Theydon Bois mobile library service will be retained but have one visit a fortnight. Cllr Spencer mentioned that the new bus service proposals are still the subject of discussion at County level as the re-routing has meant some hardship for residents in the Passingford Bridge and Abridge areas.
3. Cllr Glozier reiterated that the new 541 bus service is a County service, subsidised by Essex County Council and if it is not used sufficiently then it will be reviewed. A resident suggested the publication of the bus service timetables in Village News.
4. A representative of PAT thanked the Parish Council for providing the new infrared system to the playground.
5. A resident commented that the overspill parking at the station is dangerous. Cllr Purkiss stated that the proposed parking restrictions are presently with the legal department at Essex County Council and if approved should help alleviate the problems at the station..
6. A resident made a complaint about dog mess around the Village.
7 Cllr Purkiss queried the status of the provision of visual display units on Piercing Hill, Coppice Row and Loughton Lane. Cllr Spencer reported that there are three schemes being developed and speed surveys are being undertaken. Cllr Purkiss also asked for assurance about staffing retention and the quality of staff employed by Essex County Council. Cllr Spencer commented that there are various schemes in place to address these issues.