Theydon Bois Parish Council
Annual Meeting of the Council held at
8 pm on Thursday 15th May, 2008 at The Village Hall
Present: Cllrs J. Berry, J Dodman, M Emmett, M Hannibal, S Jones,
A Purkiss, S Sowerby and P Vincent
1. Election of Chairman
1.1 There being no other nominations Cllr Sue Jones was duly elected as Chairman for the coming year.
Proposed: Cllr Sowerby Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
2. Declaration of Acceptance of Office
2.1 Cllr Jones duly signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office as Chairman for
3. Appointment of Vice-Chairman
3.1 There being no other nominations Cllr Dodman was appointed as Vice-Chairman for the coming year.
Proposed: Cllr Jones Seconded: Cllr Berry
4. Formation of Committees and appointment of representatives4.1 The draft list for 2008-2009, having previously been circulated, was agreed. A copy is appended hereto.
5. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllrs Gooch, Hammond and Philip.
6. The Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on 24th April, 2008 were confirmed as a correct record.
7. Declarations of Interest
7.1 There were no declarations of interest for any of the items on the Agenda.
8. Correspondence The Clerk reported on the following:-
8.1 Confirmation from Stop Stansted Expansion that their Chairman, Peter Sanders, will be giving a presentation at the next Parish Council Public Meeting on 31st July.
8.2 An e-mail from District Councillor Roland Frankel offering good wishes and support to the newly elected Parish Council. In addition, he commented that in his opinion the wild flower areas on the Green are unsightly and unnecessary.
8.3 A letter of thanks from Theydon Bois Primary School thanking the Parish Council for their donation of £120 towards the cost of materials for the Craft Club.
8.4 A letter of thanks from Playground at Theydon thanking the Parish Council for their donation of £1,000 to assist towards insurance costs.
8.5 Several letters both in support of, and in opposition to, the new Parking Restrictions.
9.1 The accounts up to 7th May 2008, having previously been circulated, were approved.
10. Standing Orders
10.1 In accordance with Standing Orders Issue 6 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 the review would be postponed until the newly elected councillors had had an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Standing Orders and to let him know if they thought any alterations were necessary prior to the next Administration Meeting in order that any changes could be adopted at the July Public Meeting.
11.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twelve applications since the Annual Parish Meeting in March. The Planning Committee had objected to five, the most notable being the alterations and extension to house No. 2 at Theydon Towers which was unacceptably large and in the Green Belt, and the application at 2 Theydon Park Road for two pairs of semi-detached houses. This application has since been withdrawn.
11.2 Cllr Jones reported portacabins had been installed on the site of the Old Foresters. Enforcement officers at EFDC have been informed but the owners have been given two months in which to submit a planning application, during which time EFDC considered it unreasonable for them to insist on removal of the portacabins.
12. Parking Restrictions
12.1 Cllr Dodman reported that a new sub-committee of the Highways & Environment Committee had been set up in order to look into the consequences of the new Parking Restrictions. An update on the key points regarding the restrictions are to be published in the June edition of Village News. There are to be increased parking spaces by the shops by reducing the length of the double yellow lines with an increase of the time allowed from one to two hours. In the meantime, contact is to be made with Transport for London in order look into the possibility of increasing parking availability at the Station.
12.2 Permits are available for a fee for workman carrying out contracts in affected roads and parents were reminded that parking is available in the Village Hall car park for pupils who attend Theydon Bois Primary School.
12.3 Broken yellow lines where contractors have been unable to complete lines are enforceable by traffic wardens, as are Bank Holidays. The Parish Council feels restrictions on Bank holidays is unacceptable and will be seeking to have this rescinded.
12.4 Cllr Jones reported that an article in the Guardian newspaper published on 15th May quoting Essex County Cllr Norman Hume as saying that there would be a full Parking review in Theydon Bois was being denied by his office. The Parish Council is seeking clarification.
13. Village Design Statement
13.1 Cllr Emmett reported that progress was on schedule and it was hoped that the final document would be published by the end of 2008. Some 400 residents had completed the questionnaire and these had been analysed and would be appearing on the web site shortly. A photoshoot had taken place on 3rd May but any submissions after this date would still be accepted until the end of May. Further funding would be required to complete the project and appeals would be made for further assistance.
14. Litter Picks
14.1 Cllr Jones reported that the litter picks that are held on the first Saturday of every month at 9.00 a.m. from the Village Hall would be continuing under the auspices of former councillor John Eaton. New volunteers are always needed in order to keep the village tidy and equipment is provided. Cllr Jones stated that the Parish Council were grateful to John Eaton for continuing to lead the Litter Picks.
15. Reports from Representatives
Cllr Purkiss reported that Tesco had erected a very large sign along the flank wall by the Tesco parking spaces without planning permission. He had contacted Tesco Head Office and they have removed it.
16. 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 question was raised about when the dilapidated bus shelter on the Viaduct was going to be replaced. Cllr Purkiss investigating.
2. A question as to why the bench outside the newsagents had been put back on the other side of the road following the refurbishment of the pavements. Cllr Purkiss replied that this was at the request of the shopkeepers.
3. Concern about the drainage problem at the zebra crossing during periods of heavy rain.
4. An expression of appreciation from PAT for the financial support given towards insurance costs at the Playground.
5. Concerns about the short length of time (20 mins) allowed in the Tesco parking spaces. Parish Council to approach Tesco to seek extension of time limit.
6. Comments regarding the parking restrictions in general and along the Avenue of Tress in particular.
7. Cllr Purkiss mentioned the recent road traffic accident in Loughton Lane which resulted in a fatality. Speeding is a major issue and he will be meeting with Inspector Fox and Trevor Stubbington on site in Loughton Lane in the near future to discuss ways to address the problem. The accident statistics for Loughton Lane are high and a particular concern is pupils walking to and from Davenant school.
Theydon Bois Parish Council
Extraordinary Meeting of the Council held at
8 pm on Thursday 24th April, 2008 in the Village Hall
Prior to commencement of the Agenda the Chairman presented Cllr Oliver, who is standing down at the forthcoming election, an engraved glass in recognition of his time spent on the Council.
He then invited Roy Newland to give an update on the latest position regarding the Village Green Registration at the Youth Club site
Mr Newland gave a brief history of the site and stated that in January 2004 Essex County Council (ECC) considered the Youth Centre site surplus to requirements and sought outline planning permission, which was objected to by Theydon Bois Parish Council and refused by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) in July 2004. Mr Newland was aware that a Village Green application could prevent development of the site and he then applied to register the open land surrounding the building as a Village Green, citing one of the criteria that it had been in community use for more than 20 years. ECC were the only objectors to this application.
ECC lodged an appeal against the refusal for planning permission in October 2005, and a four day Public Inquiry was held in January 2006, where the Inspector, against expectations, decided in favour of ECC. However, ECC were unable to further the development because of the Village Green application and the protracted legal process whereby people involved in the ‘Traps Ground’ case went to the House of Lords and overturned the Court of Appeal’s ruling. A date for the Inquiry was set for 7, 8 and 9 May 2008 but unfortunately neither Mr Newland, nor his barrister, were available for those dates and new dates are to be set. Up until now Mr Newland’s barrister has been giving advice pro bono but any further advice will be charged for, albeit at a reduced fee.
If the Village Green application fails it will mean ECC can develop the site at will, subject to obtaining full planning permission. If the application is successful the community will have the right to use the land for public open space but not the Youth Club building itself, nor the Scout building, which will mean negotiating with ECC for its use.
ECC have recently made a proposition regarding the site and the Youth Facility and Scout Hut buildings and requested that the Village Green application be deferred whilst negotiations continue.
Cllr Glozier thanked Mr Newland and then formally opened the Meeting.
Present: Councillors R Glozier (Chair), S Jones, J Eaton, P Hammond, M Hannibal, M Oliver, J Padfield, and A Purkiss.
86. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Councillors
K Cushing, P Gooch and M Hayday.
87. The Minutes of the meeting held on 27th March 2008 were confirmed as a correct record.
88. Declarations of Interest. There were no declarations of interest.
89. Youth Facility
89.1 Cllr Hammond stated that the main reason he had joined the Parish Council was to help the youth of the Village. A Youth Survey had been carried out via the Village News and the results had shown a need to make provision for young people to meet up.
89.2 Mr Newland pointed out that strong representations had been made for the last four years to ECC to provide for the youth of the Village, ever since they announced the closure of the Youth Club.
89.3 Cllr Hammond reported that the Village Green application had been made personally by Mr Newland who had had progressed the application giving a great deal of time and putting himself personally at risk of incurring legal costs. Any fees incurred from now on should be the responsibility of the Parish Council.
89.4 Firstly, whilst it was felt that there was a good chance of being successful in the Village Green application, nothing is certain and there is a risk of failure. Earlier negotiations had failed when ECC refused a tentative offer of £70,000 for the site, stating that £1M would be the sum they would be looking for. It was clear that ECC would prefer not to incur substantial legal fees associated with the Inquiry and were keen to have the Village Green application removed. Should their offer be accepted, they would be willing to offer a two year lease on the Youth Club building whilst the conveyance was finalised. In return for the Village Green application being withdrawn completely ECC were offering to transfer the land and the building to the community for £1. Similarly, the Scout Hut and surrounding land would also be given freehold for £1. In addition, the ECC housing development area of the site would be restricted to a maximum of three houses only, by way of covenant.
89.5 Cllr Hammond stated that there were a number of possible outcomes:
89.6 If the Village Green application was successful the community would have use of the land forever. However, all the land and the Youth Centre and Scout Hut buildings would still be owned by ECC.
89.7 The second eventuality was if the Village Green application is not successful. In that case up to ten houses could be built on the site, the Youth Centre would be lost and the scouts would have to renegotiate with ECC when the lease on their building expired.
89.8 Thirdly, the Youth Club could reopen within the next few months, subject to surveying the state of repair of the inside of the building. The Scout Hut and Youth Club buildings, together with the agreed adjoining areas of land would be secured for the community. The disadvantages are that three houses would be built within three years and the responsibility of ownership of the remaining site buildings would fall to the Parish Council.
89.9 Cllr Hammond pointed out that the land has been maintained by the community in the interim and will continue to be so.
89.10 Due to the suddenness of the ECC proposals urgent legal advice would have to be sought but with local elections on 1st May it would be up to the incoming Council to make any decisions regarding ECC’s offer. In the meantime, it was prudent to ensure that any legal expenses incurred by Mr Newland would be met by the Parish Council.
89.11 Cllr Purkiss expressed thanks to everyone involved in the Youth Club petition which had been available at The Bookshop. He stated that this had been a key factor in ECC coming up with the current proposal. He also stated that the Parish Council belonged to the Open Spaces Society, which defends the development of open land. He stated that whilst it was difficult to accept any housing on the site, there was a risk in pursuing the Village Green application and the ECC offer may be an acceptable compromise.
89.12 Cllr Hammond stated that to obtain the freehold of both the Youth Club and Scout Hut buildings had to be beneficial to the community as a whole. The ultimate aim would be to reopen the Youth Club for the youngsters and hold events there, including breakfast and after school clubs. The facility would be run by volunteers.
89.13 Cllr Eaton stated that the process of securing the youth club had begun many years previously and it was evident that youngsters needed a place to meet. He fully supported the proposed motions.
89.14 Cllr Jones stated that whilst the planning committee always tried to defend green spaces this was an exceptional circumstance and three houses would be more acceptable than a possible ten and therefore she supported the motions.
89.15 Cllr Hannibal stated that he supported the motions, which would apply for an interim period until the new Council could take further decisions.
89.16 Cllr Glozier stated that this meeting was necessary as public money may have be spent on legal fees before the next Council was sworn in on 15th May, in addition to the opportunity to update residents on the current position in the interest of openness and transparency.
89.17 The following motions were then put to the Members:
1. This Parish Council authorises Cllr Hammond and Cllr Purkiss, (or such other Councillor(s) designated by the Council), to continue negotiations with Essex County Council for the eventual transfer of the freehold of land, that includes the Youth Club and Scout buildings and the adjacent areas, to the Parish Council for a nominal fee.
Proposed: Cllr Jones Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
2. When negotiations are complete the new Parish Council will consider a public consultation process for fully informing and obtaining views from residents to facilitate the new Parish Council making an ultimate decision for the good of the village.
Proposed: Cllr Jones Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
3. This Parish Council authorises the expenditure of up to £1,500 for legal and surveying costs in connection with such an acquisition and/or the Village Green Application. The sum of £1,500 has presently been partly incurred and the remaining balance is provided only in case of need before the new Parish Council is able to have a public meeting for any further resolution. This sum will be met from reserves and any further expenditure shall be at the discretion of the new Parish Council.
Proposed: Cllr Jones Seconded: Cllr Hannibal
90. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
90.1 District Councillor Kay Rush stated that in her view the offer was the best possible compromise. She voiced concern regarding the short notice of the meeting as she had in her possession a copy of a letter to the W.I. dated 2nd April from ECC Youth Services referring to an offer made to the Parish Council regarding the site. Cllr Hammond responded stating that talks had been ongoing with ECC for some time but no formal offer, with the latest accompanying maps, had been available until 22nd April. Cllr Rush supported motion 3.
90.2 District Councillor Frankel mentioned the Quirk Review which relates to community management and ownership of assets. He supported motion 3 and also favoured pursing the Village Green application.
90.3 Jim Watts of Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society stated that it would be of concern to the Society to erect three houses on the site and the detail of the proposals would have to be carefully scrutinised.
90.4 A number of residents stated that they would favour accepting the proposals and reopening the Youth Club building for the youth of the Village. Other residents were opposed to the reopening of the Youth facility as before it closed down there had been acts of vandalism and nuisance youths causing trouble. There was a lack of supervision and the police had not provided an adequate response.
90.5 Further questions were raised about how the facility could be run Cllr Glozier stated that the Youth Club would probably be owned and maintained by the Parish Council but it would be run by volunteers as a Village facility. Membership could be confined to the youngsters from Theydon Bois only. The Box in Epping was an example of how the future facility could work. Grants and help from Youth Organisations would be available and it could be run by a qualified Youth Worker.
90.6 A resident raised the question of the areas of ownership of the site after the construction of Maple Close.
90.7 A question was raised regarding the timing of withdrawal of the Village Green registration should the ECC proposal be acceptable.
Theydon Bois Parish Council
Meeting of the Council held at
8 pm on Thursday 27th March, 2008 in the Village Hall
Present: Councillors R Glozier (Chair), S Jones, J Eaton, J Padfield, K Cushing,
M Hannibal and A Purkiss.
Prior to commencement of the Agenda, the Chairman announced that this year’s winner of the annual award of the Chairman’s Rose Bowl was Paul Argent. The award was made in recognition of Mr Argent’s contribution to village life over many years, including his work with Cubs & Beavers, as a Junior Church Leader and for his involvement with the Music Society. Tribute was made to Mr Argent for his willingness to help with litter picks and other village activities and more recently for his work in support of the re-opening of the Youth Club site & the proposed village green application to secure the site for the future use of the village. Mr Argent accepted the award on behalf of himself and his mother, Doreen Argent who had been at the centre of village life for over 40 years
71. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Councillors
M Oliver, P Hammond, M Hayday & P Gooch. Cllr Glozier mentioned that Graham Hayday, the father of Cllr M Hayday had been taken ill suddenly hence Cllr Hayday was unable to attend the meeting and that best wishes were sent by the members of the Parish Council to Mr Hayday for a speedy recovery.
72. The Minutes of the meeting held on 31st January, 2008 were confirmed as a correct record.
73. Declarations of Interest. There were no declarations of interest.
74. Correspondence The Clerk reported on the following:-
74.1 A letter sent to the M25 Widening Project Leader at the Highways Agency expressing concern about the potential increase in traffic during the proposed works to widen the M25 from junctions 27 to 30, and with a request that the Parish Council be consulted on all proposed alleviation measures.
74.2 The Clerk reported that three letters of complaint had been received regarding the proposed parking restrictions. One of these letters, from a concerned resident of Theydon Park Road whose property does not have the benefit of off-street parking, was read out.
74.3 A letter sent in reply to the above resident explaining that the Parish Council had requested that Essex County Council should consider parking restrictions following repeated requests from residents to take action against the problems arising from commuter parking in the village.
74..4 A letter sent to Essex Highways Area Office West requesting that corrective measures be adopted immediately to alleviate the effect of the parking restrictions on those properties in Theydon Park Road without the benefit of off-street parking.
74.5 A media release issued by Epping Forest District Council regarding the underage sales telephone hotline which has been set up to make it easier for people to report the illegal sale of age-restricted goods to young people who are not old enough to buy them. These goods include alcohol, tobacco, knives, fireworks and aerosols such as spray paint. Further information can be obtained from the Safer Communities Team on 01992 564272.
74.6 An email from Stop Stansted Expansion confirming that they will be sending a speaker to the Public Meeting on 31 July.
74.7 A letter from Essex County Council informing the Parish Transport Representative of the changes that are being made to the provision of concessionary Bus Passes. The District Councils feel that they are not receiving sufficient funding to meet the full costs of the present scheme and so with effect from 1st April 2008 concessionary pass holders will only be able to travel free from 09.30 until 23.00.
74.8 A media release issued by Epping Forest District Council stating that Essex Police announced at the Overview & Scrutiny meeting on 6th March that they have achieved their targets and reduced crime in the District by 10%, and that the Epping Forest Crime & Disorder Partnership has been able to assist Essex Police within their working partnership.
75.1 The accounts up to 19th March, having been previously circulated, were approved.
75.2 Cllr Cushing referred to his report at the previous meeting on 31st January when he had reported that the budget for 2008 is on target with a possible small surplus left over, and further reported the likelihood of a surplus is looking even stronger due to the increase in cemetery income although this cannot yet be confirmed.
76. Parish & Town Council Remuneration Scheme
76.1 Cllr Hannibal explained that communication had been received from Epping Forest District Council regarding the review of the Remuneration Scheme and with a request for adoption of the Report of the Parish Remuneration Panel for Epping Forest District dated February 2008. Cllr Hannibal explained that Parish Councillors are entitled to receive payments in the form of allowances & expenses to compensate them for the work they do but reiterated that the members of the present Parish Council do not make any such claims.
Resolved: That this Council accepts the Epping Forest District Council report dated February 2008 and adopts the Parish Remuneration Scheme arrangements for Theydon Bois reported therein.
Proposed: Cllr Hannibal Seconded: Cllr Glozier
77.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twenty two applications since the last Public Meeting. The Planning Committee had objected to ten of these applications.
77.2 Cllr Jones reported that several residents had expressed concern about the development at Theydon Lodge and that she had been assured by EFDC that the present work was being implemented under the planning consent which had been granted on appeal or at the developer’s own risk. Specifically the work which had commenced with regard to the proposed garage was not progressing.
77.3 Cllr Jones reported that the Planning Committee had been disappointed to learn of the successful appeal against the refusal of EFDC to approve a reserved matters application for a proposed dwelling in the rear garden of 64 Morgan Crescent. The same Inspector’s earlier decision had made it clear that any new build was expected to be a bungalow and it was therefore surprising to learn that he had subsequently allowed the appeal for a substantial four bedroom detached house. Cllr Jones reported that a letter of complaint had been sent to the Quality Assurance Unit of the Planning Inspectorate requesting a review of the Inspector’s later inconsistent decision.
77.4 Cllr Jones reported that with reference to the Trek Highways site, enforcement notices had been upheld and were due to be complied with by 6th March. EFDC cannot take further proceedings until after that date but have confirmed that they have already written to Trek Highways reminding them of the requirement to vacate the site. EFDC are monitoring the situation closely.
77.5 Cllr Jones reported that in response to public requests the Parish Council have reached agreement with the Village Association to facilitate the public display of any major planning applications in the entrance foyer of the village hall. The finer detail remains to be agreed but the intention is that any major planning applications will be open for public view Monday-Friday usually during opening hours of the Village Hall. Cllr Jones reiterated that plans are always available for public view by prior appointment with the Parish Office as it is acknowledged that it is difficult for some residents to view plans at EFDC.
78. Highways & Environment
78.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that Mr Riley had agreed a reasonable price to supply six replacement planters for the village centre and that EFDC had refurbished the benches which will be returned to their previous locations.
Resolved: This Council approves the purchase of 6 replacement planters in the Village Centre at a cost of £300 each.
Proposed: Cllr Purkiss Seconded: Cllr Eaton
78.2 Cllr Purkiss reported that talks between the shopkeepers are ongoing in relation to the proposed resurfacing of the private areas of the pavements in front of the shops.
78.3 Cllr Purkiss reported that monies set aside for pavement improvements would be used for improvements to the section between Buxton Road & Forest Drive.
78.4 Cllr Purkiss reported that work was due to commence on improvements to Baldocks Road and that the relevant funds would come out of this year’s Highways budget. It had been agreed with Essex County Council that work would also commence on The Green but due to lack of funding Essex CC had now placed the work on hold. Cllr Purkiss reported that he and Cllr Hammond were due to attend a meeting with County Cllr Hume on 28th March and they would be pressing for the relevant funds to be ring-fenced as next year’s Highways budget is due to be slashed by 2/3.
79.1 Cllr Glozier reiterated that the Parish Council has no powers in relation to Highways. The Parish Council acts as a conduit for resident’s requests which it passes on to Essex County Council Highways department. It is then for the Highways department to devise a scheme which attempts to meet resident’s needs. When they have done so it is residents not the Parish Council whom are invited to comment, and the decision as to the final scheme is made by the District Council who take into account the comments of residents.
80.1 Cllr Cushing reported that during the term of this Parish Council the Cemetery has been managed by the Cemetery Committee comprising Cllrs Eaton, Hammond & himself. However day to day tasks have been undertaken by the Burial Supervisor, George Gardner, a local resident who has undertaken this important work on behalf of the village for many years. Mr Gardner has advised the Cemetery Committee that he wishes to retire as soon as a replacement can be found. The vacancy of Burial Supervisor has been advertised and so far the Parish Council has received one application from a local person. At present the Cemetery records are held manually but they are in the process of being computerised with the assistance of Richard Crone who has offered to set up the necessary database.
80.2 Cllr Cushing reported that the Cemetery Committee meets annually in February and the burial fees are compared with those of similar nearby cemeteries. If these are found to be broadly in line with similar cemeteries then the fees are generally increased by inflation only. As a result of this year’s comparison exercise it was noted that it is the practice of some other cemeteries to publish the schedule of fees such that residents fees are stated to be one third of the fees shown, rather than setting out the fees with a postscript stating that the published fees must be multiplied by three times for non-residents. Cllr Cushing reported that the Cemetery Committee had decided that in future the former method would be adopted and the table of fees and charges for Theydon Bois Cemetery for 2008/2009 had been issued on this basis.
Resolved: This Council endorses the rise in burial fees recommended by the Cemetery Committee for the year 2008-2009.
Proposed: Cllr Cushing Seconded: Cllr Eaton
81.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that the present allotment income barely matches expenditure given that the rents paid by the allotment holders include the supply of water and manure. Having canvassed allotment holders it had been decided to increase rents by £5. The revised rent will be £25 for one plot and £35 for two plots.
Resolved: This Council endorses the rise in allotment fees recommended by the Allotment Committee for the year 2008-2009.
Proposer: Cllr Purkiss Seconder: Cllr Hannibal
82. Village Design Statement
82.1 Cllr Eaton reported that Theydon Bois Village Design Statement Association were preparing for the Photoshoot Day on 3rd May and would be publicising the event shortly. The Primary School had been invited to join in but for organisational reasons the Headmistress has advised that her preference is for the children to undertake this project during the week preceding the event. The Village Design Statement brochure will include a section written from the perspective of a child.
82.2 Cllr Glozier reiterated that it was to be hoped that as many villagers as possible would participate in the Photoshoot Day.
83. Reports from Representatives
There were none.
84. Vote of Thanks to Councillors
84.1 Cllr Glozier expressed his thanks to all the present members of the Parish Council for their service over the last term. In particular he thanked those Councillors standing down at the next election and showed the presentation glass that each of them would receive. He also especially thanked Councillor Sue Jones for her valuable support as Vice-Chairman.
84.2 Cllr Jones expressed her thanks to Cllr Glozier on behalf of the present members of the Parish Council for the work he had undertaken as Chairman during this term.
85. Suspension of the Parish Council Meeting to allow Local Government Electors to speak on items on the Agenda and of local importance.
85.1 A resident raised concern about the effect of the new parking restrictions on the residents of Theydon Park Road. Cllr Glozier reiterated that any technical enquiries should be addressed to West Essex Area Highways department.
85.2 County Cllr Whitehouse requested clarification as to the reason for the Youth Club Petition which has been advertised in the village. Cllr Purkiss explained that the petition has been organised by local residents as one means of pressurising Essex County Council to offer a compromise solution. Cllr Glozier reiterated that there is a two stage process: - firstly the need to make the case for a Youth Centre facility and secondly to secure the transfer of the Youth Club site to the Parish with a view to the Community taking responsibility for the operation of a Youth Club facility, to be run on a voluntary basis but, hopefully, with grant aid. County Cllr Whitehouse queried whether negotiations would be difficult given that the Youth Club site had been previously offered to the Parish. Cllr Eaton stressed that the previous offer was not viable as Essex County Council had been seeking £1m for the transfer of the site to the Parish.
85.3 A resident queried how the surplus funds in relation to the precept would be used. Cllr Cushing explained that the Parish Council is required to carry forward a minimum of one years’ precept. Funds are earmarked for possible village initiatives, for example, a donation to the Woodland Trust, refurbishing the planters in the village centre or for highways improvements under the matched funding scheme negotiated by Cllrs Purkiss and Hammond with Essex County Council. Cllr Glozier mentioned that as the budget for next year had already been set any surplus could not be taken off that year’s precept but it would be for the next Parish Council to determine future plans.
85.4 A resident queried whether the result of the City of London’s consultation process regarding the future of the Avenue of Trees was available, and also queried why members of the Parish Council had approached County Cllr Spencer in relation to one of the proposals for the Avenue which would involve the closure of the Avenue to traffic. The resident expressed concern about the possible traffic implications of this particular proposal. Cllr Purkiss explained that the proposal had been referred to County Cllr Spencer so that he could establish the viability of the proposal with the Highways Department and not to secure his support for that particular option. Cllr Glozier reiterated that the Open Spaces Committee of the City of London would take the final decision as to which option would be chosen, and it is to be assumed that the consultation will be ongoing. Cllr Cushing mentioned that the option to which the resident referred was the view of one Councillor, and was offered only as an additional option for consideration.
85.5 A resident expressed her thanks to the present Parish Council for all their work over the past term.
Meeting of the Council held at
8 pm on Thursday 31st January, 2008 at The Village Hall
Prior to commencement of the Agenda Mat Roberts, Superintendent of Epping Forest, City of London (Open Spaces) gave a presentation regarding options for the future of the Avenue of Trees. This was followed by a question and answer session
Present: Councillors R Glozier (Chair), K Cushing, J Eaton, P Gooch, S Jones,
K Cushing, M Oliver, M Hannibal, J Padfield and A Purkiss
58. Apologies for absence. Apologies were received from Cllr Hayday
59. The Minutes of the meeting held on 29th November 2007, having previously been circulated to members, were confirmed as a correct record.
60. Declarations of Interest
60.1 There were no declarations of interest for any of the items on the Agenda.
The Clerk reported on the following:-
61.1 A media release issued by EFDC regarding their on-line questionnaire seeking views from residents regarding crime and disorder in the district in order to identify priorities for the District’s first strategic assessment, due for completion in April.
61.2 A letter from St. Clare Hospice thanking the Parish Council for the donation of £500 which was collected at the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and the following morning at the Village Centre.
62.1 The accounts up to 24th January 2008 were approved.
62.2 Cllr Cushing reported that he, together with the Clerk and Chairman, had prepared a draft budget which was then submitted for amendments and approval at the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held in December. It is anticipated that the budget for year end 2008 is on target with a possible small surplus of £400 left over. The cemetery income is difficult to predict but will exceed expectation by approximately £2,000. Salary expenditure is down due to staff shortages. There have been exceptional items of income and expenditure relating to fencing at the Buxton Trust grounds, CCTV and renewal of the bus shelter on the bridge.
62.3 For 2008-09 it is planned to make some environmental improvements by purchasing new dog bins and refurbishing the path in the Garden of Remembrance. It has been agreed with The Village Association that the Parish Council will no longer make an annual donation but will consider funding specific items on request.
62.4 Financial standing orders require retention of the equivalent of one year’s precept. £17,000 has been earmarked for expenditure during 2008-09. Elections in May are anticipated to cost £2,700, of which £2,000 will be taken from reserves and £700 from the year’s budget. In future annual budgets will include £700 for elections. The remainder has been earmarked for Highway improvements, the Woodland Trust and refurbishment or replacement of the Planters in the Village Centre.
62.5 For 2008-2009 it is proposed to increase the Precept by £360, which is approximately 1.35% of the normal precept (excluding the Public Works Loan) or 20p per household.
Resolved: That the Parish Precept for 2008-2009 be set at £61,936.
Proposed: Cllr Cushing Seconded: Cllr Glozier
62.6 Cllr Glozier thanked Cllr Cushing and the Clerk for preparing the budget.
63.1 Cllr Jones reported that there had been twenty-one applications since the last meeting, of which the Committee had objected to five.
63.2 Cllr Jones also reported that the Parish Council had spoken against the application for an extension at 19 Heath Drive, a property which is on the Local List, at the EFDC Plans B Committee meeting. Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society and District Councillor Kay Rush also spoke against the application. After a split vote, the application was subsequently deferred to the District Development Control Committee.
63.3 The application for demolition of Theydon Lodge has been refused by EFDC. It is hoped that the applicant will not lodge an Appeal.
63.4 Cllr Jones is in regular contact with Stephan Solon at EFDC regarding the Blunts Farm site. EFDC are pursuing the developers to take action regarding filling in the pits but there is disagreement over the methodology statement.
63.5 The Wansfell College Inquiry took place in December and a decision is expected soon.
64. Highways & Environment
64.1 Cllr Purkiss reported that work was due to commence on improvements to Baldocks Road from Woodland Way down to the junction at Purlieu Way, including resetting the kerbs. It was also hoped that work on The Green would be completed before 1st April.
64.2 Cllr Purkiss reported that the public area of the pavements by the shops had been resurfaced before Christmas. It had been hoped to include the private areas owned by the shopkeepers at the same time, with matched funding from the Parish Council, but unfortunately agreement could not be reached in time before commencement of the works by May Gurney. It is hoped that agreement will be reached and the private areas can be resurfaced in the future.
64.3 Cllr Hammond reported that following discussions with Spencer Brooks, Essex Highways, it had been agreed to include additional roads in the parking restriction programme. The Traffic Orders have been published and it is hoped that the painting of the yellow lines will commence soon.
65.1 Cllr Glozier reported that as well as the regular Liaison Meetings an additional meeting had been held with the Police on 5th December. The Parish Council and Village Association presented a list of complaints, including lack of police response. As a result, it was promised that there would be more regular patrols attending the Village, including the Village Hall, and regular feedback regarding arrests. The Beatmobile is going to be parked in the lay-by by The Heights where it is considered to be more accessible and not at the Village Hall.
66.1 Cllr Glozier reported that improvements were ongoing and EFDC Crime & Disorder Partnership had provided a grant, which has been match-funded by the Parish Council, for equipment by the Station, Village Centre and Village Hall. There is further coverage at the Cricket and Tennis Clubs.
67. Village Design Statement
67.1 Cllr Eaton reported that 31st January was the deadline for returning questionnaires in order to be included in the draw for a voucher at the shops. However, questionnaires would still be accepted after that date. Approximately 200 had been received to date, and all those received would be analysed. A photo shoot is due to take place on 3rd May, after which a brochure will be produced for publication in October/November. Cllr Eaton thanked Jacqueline Dodman, Mike Emmett and Diane Gillespie and all those who were helping to produce the document.
68. Emergency Response
68.1 Cllr Cushing reported that the Parish Council had set up an Emergency Response Plan four years ago. It included a list of key personnel, contact numbers and premises which could be used in the event of a major emergency. Since setting up the Plan it has been expanded to include contingency plans in the event of a bomb in London with people being evacuated out of the City on the trains. The latest eventuality which must be included is for a pandemic and the Plan is currently being updated to include key tasks of the Burial Supervisor and the Parish Clerk.
69. Reports from Representatives
69.1 Buxton Trust
Cllr Hannibal reported that as a result of the Buxton Trust winning the Best Kept Playing Fields competition Ernest Doe had donated £300 to the Trust.
69.2 Youth Club
Cllr Hammond reported that registration of the outside area at the Youth Centre for Village Green status was ongoing. It is hoped that the building can be purchased for the Youth of the Village. The Murray Hall in Borders Lane, which was supposed to include a youth centre, is not fit for purpose and has been closed for weeks due to damage. A youth bus attends Theydon Bois Green on some occasions but its presence is not advertised.
69.3 Village News
Cllr Oliver confirmed that the deadline for submission of articles for the March edition of Village News is 14th February 2008.
70. 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. Concerns regarding the poor state of pavements in the Village, which have lead to pedestrians falling over.
2. The Neighbourhood Watch Co-Ordinator pointed out that the EFDC Crime and Disorder questionnaire referred to in 61.1 above was very difficult to follow.
3. PAT is holding an Easter Egg Hung on March 8th.
4. Concern regarding the poor state of some of the verges due to inconsiderate motorists. The verges by Darlingtons Garage are in a particularly bad state.
5. A resident commented that the overspill parking at the station is dangerous. Cllr Purkiss stated British Transport Police are aware.
6 Concern regarding the inconsiderate parking by commuters on pavements, damaging kerbs and blocking driveways.
7. It was observed that when the parking restrictions come into force the Village Hall car park will be vulnerable to commuter parking.