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Parish Council Business Minutes 2008

Theydon Bois Parish Council
General Buisness Minutes

General Business Meeting of the Council held at
8 pm on Thursday 20th November, 2008 in the Village Hall

Present:      Councillors Jones (Chair), Berry, Dodman, Emmett, Gooch, Hammond, Hannibal, Philip, Sowerby, Purkiss and Vincent.

1.     Chairman’s Welcome.  The Chairman welcomed councillors and members of the public to the meeting.

2.     Apologies for absence.  There were no apologies for absence.

3.     Declarations of Interest.  

3.1       Cllrs Berry and Dodman declared a personal interest on item 9 on the Agenda by virtue of being residents of Theydon Park Road, which is currently undergoing a parking consultation.

3.2       Cllr Emmett declared an interest in item 7 on the Agenda by virtue of living opposite one of the sites identified and being a member of the South Theydon Bois Residents Association.

3.3       Cllr Philip declared an interested in item 16 on the Agenda by virtue of being a member of the Village Association, which had provided the Parish Council with funding for the new Parish Flags.

3.4       Cllr Jones declared an interest in item 7 on the Agenda by virtue of her husband being a partner in the solicitors dealing with the possible legal challenge against the Gypsy and Travellers site consultation.

4.     Correspondence
The Clerk reported on the following:-

4.1       A letter from St. Mary’s Church seeking financial assistance for graveyard maintenance.

4.2       A request for funding from the Open Spaces Society. 
Resolved:       That a donation of £75 be made to the Open Spaces Society.

Proposed:         Cllr Purkiss       Seconded:        Cllr Hannibal
Carried unanimously

4.3       A note of thanks from the Royal British Legion for the Parish Council’s donation.

5.     The draft Minutes of the General Business meeting held on 16th October, 2008 were reviewed and minor typographical errors amended.

6.     Finance

6.1       The clerk reported that £25K had been transferred in to the newly opened Barclays Instant Saver Account, and a further £25K has been transferred to the newly opened Co-Operative Bank 3 month Bond, as previously agreed.  £25K remains in COIF.

6.2       It was further agreed to review the latest on the volatile banking situation at the next meeting.

6.3       Cllr Dodman stated that allowance would be made in the budget for 2009/2010 to the income on interest which was likely to decrease due to the sharp fall in interest rates.

7.     Planning

7.1       Gypsy and Traveller sites consultation

Cllr Emmett reported that a meeting for the public had been held on 13th November at the Primary School and hosted by the Parish Council.  Approximately 250 people attended.  Cllr Jones reported that a further meeting would be held on 4th December at the Village Hall.

Residents were encouraged to read the consultation document in full before completing the questionnaire.  Jim Watts has created a dedicated e-mail address on the Village Web site Parish Council section to receive any comments and compile a database of e-mail addresses.  It is important to draw all the groups together to achieve a co-ordinated approach.

The consultation is publicised on the Parish Council web site and notice boards and an article will be appearing in the December edition of Village News.

EFDC and the Government have been quoted as saying that there will be no compulsory purchase orders on the identified sites.  The South Theydon Bois Residents Association is employing a planning barrister and highways and acoustics consultants who are due to report back before Christmas. 

Cllr Dodman to produce a written policy statement for the Council.  Cllr Philip to press EFDC to try to obtain more copies of the consultation document.  The Parish Council to send an official letter of complaint to EFDC regarding the delay in distribution of printed copies of the document and request a further extension of the deadline for the consultation process.

There followed discussion regarding costings of a possible legal challenge and Foskett Marr’s role in the process at which point Cllr Jones left the room, having declared a personal  interest.  A sum of £10K for the QC (Robert Griffith) and solicitors fees had been muted and Foskett Marr had received offers from individuals to help finance the cost.

Resolved:        Theydon Bois Parish Council is in favour of exploring the merits of a Judicial Review in principle but before deciding to make a financial contribution the following should be clarified:

1.  What is the breakdown of the £10K legal fees?
2.  What is the wording of the Instructions to Counsel?
3.  Are other town and parish councils providing financial support?

Proposed:         Cllr Philip         Seconded:        Cllr Gooch
Carried unanimously

8.     Meeting with EALC

8.1       A report from Joy Sheppard at EALC had been circulated to all Members.  Cllr Jones stated that Agendas would need to be more specific and reports supplied in writing to the Clerk at least one week before a meeting for circulation and/or to assist in producing the Minutes.

8.2       Re-evaluation of the roles of the various committees and sub-committees was discussed and a final copy incorporating all changes will be circulated to Councillors before the next General Business meeting.

8.3       It was suggested the General Business meeting should be more involved in the ‘housekeeping’ aspects of running the Council and the main Public meetings be made more relevant to the public in the usual reporting format.

9.     Parking

9.1       Cllr Vincent stated that the Parking sub-committee had produced a draft letter, which once agreed in final form, would be distributed to all householders in Theydon Park Road, together with a questionnaire with three possible options regarding parking restrictions in that particular road.  Members agreed the final form of wording in the letter and that distribution be carried out as soon as possible.

10.   CCTV

10.1     Cllr Vincent reported that Theydon Security had reported back regarding the numbers of downloads and types of incidents recorded.

10.2     The Youth Club building has been identified as a possible site for new cameras and this has been estimated at £2,600 for two cameras, which could be linked into the Buxton Trust’s central system.  It may be possible to obtain matched funding from the Safer Communities Group for such a project.

10.3     The maintenance contract with Theydon Security will shortly be up for renewal.  Cllr Gooch stated that the Buxton Trust had commission another security company to report back on the suitability and effectiveness of their current system and as a result a number of issues had been bought to their attention.

11.   Communications

11.1     Cllr Emmett stated that the identity of the Parish Council needed updating.  A document he had prepared reviewing the different areas of communications had previously been circulated to all councillors.

11.2     Cllr Sowerby to provide some examples of possible new letter heads.

11.3     Once it has been identified what technical functions are required for the web site it can be considered whether to buy in a purpose built package or pass it to the web site committee to rebuild the Parish Council Web site.

11.4     It was agreed that surgeries would continue on Monday evenings 5.30 p.m. until 7.00 p.m. in the Village Hall.  Room to be booked until June 2009.  Next rotas as follows:-

January 5th        Cllrs Emmett, Berry, Dodman, Sowerby
February 2nd     Cllrs Jones, Hannibal.

12.   IT Equipment

12.1     Cllr Gooch had researched the Council’s requirements and recommended that a Dell desktop be purchased for the office and the Burial Supervisor be given a Dell laptop on which the Cemetery package from RBS Solutions software could be installed.  The RBS finance package would be the most suitable replacement for Quickbooks on the office computer.  Each computer would cost in the region of £400 and would be covered under warranty.  A projector, screen and laptop would also be useful for the Planning Committee.  Cllr Gooch to provide further detailed estimates at the next General Business meeting.

13.   Cemetery

13.1     Cllr Hammond reported that a number of gravestones had been identified as unsafe and an itemised list and estimate had been obtained from Elfes stonemasons, as provided to councillors at the meeting.

Resolved:       The Council authorises up to £1,000 be spent on gravestone repairs.

Proposed:         Cllr Hammond              Seconded:        Cllr Vincent     
Carried Unanimously

14.   Highways & Environment

14.1     Cllr Purkiss reported that following resurfacing outside the shops some of the road markings had been wrongly replaced.  He had therefore spoken to Essex Highways who have agreed to rectify.

14.2     Cllr Purkiss reported that a new bench, which has been paid for by a benefactor, is about to be placed outside Harry George.

15.   Forthcoming General Business Meetings

15.1     A rescheduling of the former Administration Meetings, now General Business meetings was discussed. Clerk to circulate new timetable.

16.   To consider approval of purchase of 2 new Parish Flags

16.1     Having received £200 by way of a grant from the Village Association, it was agreed to proceed with purchasing two new parish flags.

17.   Bus Shelter

17.1     The type of new bus shelter to be placed on the Viaduct was discussed.  The Council has already received a grant of £3,036 from Essex County Council towards the new bus shelter.

Resolved:        The Parish Council purchase the Newsted design at a cost of £5,180.

Proposed:         Cllr Hammond  Seconded:        Cllr Philip
Carried unanimously

18.   St. Mary’s Churchyard

18.1     It was agreed that in future the Parish Council would pay for two cuts a year at the churchyard in April and in the Autumn.  The current cost per cut is £175 and the necessary figures would be reflected in the forthcoming budget proposals.

19.   Reports from Representatives

19.1     Youth Centre

Cllr Hammond reported that the newly formed Youth Committee had already had two meetings and would be needing funding for training of first aiders, insurance etc. and it was likely that they would approach the Parish Council for financial assistance.

19.2     Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Cllr Jones reported on arrangements for the event and asked for councillors to volunteer to help on the evening and on Saturday morning for the charity collection for HomeStart so that a rota could be organised.


Theydon Bois Parish Council
General Buisness Minutes

General Business Meeting of the Council held at
8 pm on Thursday 16th October, 2008 in the Village Hall

Present:      Councillors Jones (Chair), Berry, Dodman, Gooch, Hammond, Hannibal, Philip, Sowerby, Purkiss and Vincent.

1.     Chairman’s Welcome.  The Chairman welcomed councillors and members of the public to the meeting.

2.     Apologies for absence.  Apologies were received from Councillor

3.     Declarations of Interest.  There were no declarations of interest.

4.     Correspondence
The Clerk reported on the following:-

4.1       A letter from Uttlesford District Council acknowledging  the representation from the Parish Council on the proposed second runway at Stansted Airport.

4.2       A press release from EFDC regarding the Recycling Consultation deadline.

4.3       A press release from EFDC regarding submitting requests for grants for voluntary and community sector funding online.

5.     The draft Minutes of the meeting held on 25th September, 2008 were reviewed and minor typographical errors amended.

6.     Finance

6.1       Cllr Dodman reported that the National Association of Local Councils had confirmed that bank deposits were not guaranteed.  As a result of the current financial turmoil in the money markets various options for spreading the risk of the Council’s investments had been investigated by Cllr Dodman and were discussed by Members.

Resolved:       To move funds out of COIF, leaving £25K in the fund and open up a Barclays Instant Saver Account with £25K and a Co-operative Bank 3 month Bond with £25K. 

Proposed:         Cllr Philip         Seconded:        Cllr Hannibal
For:                  8         
Against:            2
Motion carried

Cllrs Purkiss and Hammond requested that it be recorded they were not against the principle and proposal of spreading the risk in these difficult times, but did not agree with leaving monies in COIF if that was the institution that all believed to be unsound in the first instance.

6.2       It was further agreed to review the latest situation at the next meeting.

6.3       Resolved:       In the meantime funds should be withdrawn from COIF leaving a balance of £25K on the account and the remainder transferred into the Barclays Community Account immediately for the purposes of fulfilling the previous motion.

Proposed:         Cllr Hannibal                Seconded:        Cllr Philip
Carried Unanimously

6.4       Councillors discussed the appointment of a new internal auditor.  Cllr Gooch stated that this position should be reviewed annually.

Resolved:        That Louise Fuller be appointed as Internal Auditor for 2009.

Proposed:         Cllr Dodman                 Seconded:        Cllr Hannibal
Carried Unanimously

6.5       Cllr Jones reported that the financial software package of Quickbooks used in the office had become outdated and there were more suitable packages available than the Quickbooks upgrade.  RBS Software Solutions are particularly tailored for Parish Councils requirements in all areas, not just finance.  It may be necessary to purchase a new office computer as the current machine is outdated.  Cllr Gooch to investigate computer options and link up with Cemetery Supervisor’s computer.

7.     Meeting with EALC

7.1       The meeting with Joy Sheppard had had to be postponed due to her being taken ill.  New meeting date set for 22nd October.

8.     Parking

8.1       Cllr Vincent reported on the recent meeting with Andy Ruffle and David Mant of Essex Highways.  The meeting had been very positive and it was planned to consult with residents of Theydon Park Road on whether (a) the lines should stay, (b) the lines should be removed or (c) the lines should stay but only up to a point e.g. Hill Road.  Also Essex Highways will look into the possibility of having different time restrictions on alternate sides of the roads.

8.2       Once the problems in Theydon Park Road are resolved, a survey can be carried out in Blackacre Road and Hill Road.  Cllr Philip pointed out that this may not be able to be done for 18 months or more.

8.3       A response will be sent on 17th October to the official complaint made by Mr. Lawless, which he has now verbally withdrawn after meeting with Cllrs Vincent and Jones.

9.     CCTV

9.1       Cllr Vincent reported that Parish Council issues with Theydon Security had been resolved after meeting Tim Penegar.  However, there were still some problems with the Buxton Trust equipment.

9.2       Theydon Security to provide monthly reports to the Parish Council regarding usage of equipment.

9.3       The Grant from the Crime and Disorder Partnership has already been received.

9.4       A list has been drawn up identifying possible future improvements.

10.   Planning

10.1     Cllr Gooch reported that a meeting had taken place with Parish and District Councillors, officers from EFDC, Eleanor Laing M.P and the Rural Preservation Society in order to clarify the latest position regarding the Enforcement Notices and other issues regarding the Blunts Farm site.

10.2     Cllr Gooch reported that there was concern over the implications for the latest proposals for Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Epping Forest District.  Two possible sites had been identified in Theydon Bois which are on the Abridge Road and in Coopersale Lane.  A public consultation is to take place between 4th November and 20th January. 

10.3     An application for renewal of the outline planning application for ten houses on the ground adjoining the youth centre has been received from Essex County Council.  There was some discussion as to whether there were now grounds for objection as the circumstances had changed due to the youth facility at Borders Lane, Loughton often being closed. 

11.   Cemetery

11.1     Cllr Hammond reported that further quotes were being sought for relaying the pathway in the Garden of Remembrance. There was discussion as to the advantages and disadvantages of using bonding materials.

11.2     Cllr Hammond reported that a plot owner had requested a refund as she was the owner of an unused plot but had moved away and did not want to retain it.  A refund fee was calculated on a pro rata basis on the number of years it had been owned and a return of the lease would be sought.

Resolved:       The Council authorises a refund fee of £815 to Joan Simmons.

Proposed:         Cllr Hammond              Seconded:        Cllr Sowerby   
Carried Unanimously

12.   Highways & Environment

12.1     Cllr Purkiss reported on the works recently carried out on the kerbs in Coppice Row and the forthcoming work to be done in re-planing the carriageway in Forest Drive from ‘The Heights’ to the J with Buxton Road, the refurbishment of the footways between Buxton Road and Elizabeth Drive, and the re-making of the road ‘The Green’ from Poplar Row to Green View Cottages.

12.2     Other areas requiring maintenance were discussed.  The footways in Elizabeth Drive were considered a priority.

Resolved:       Cllr Purkiss be given authority to discuss matched funding with Essex Highways up to a limit of £5,000 limit injected by the Parish Council regarding the footways in the Village.

Proposed:         Cllr Vincent                  Seconded:        Cllr Hammond
Carried Unanimously

13.   Reports from Representatives

13.1     Youth Centre

Cllr Hammond reported that there had been a very positive response to the meeting to arrange for volunteers to run youth projects in the Village.  Gerry Smith from Essex Boys Clubs had offered advice during the meeting.   A further meeting for those voted onto the committee of volunteers will be held on 4th November.  Cllr Hammond will initially be the Parish Councillor appointed on the committee.

13.2     St. Mary’s Church

Cllr Hannibal reported that the Church is seeking volunteers and funds to help maintain the churchyard.  It was discussed as to whether the Parish Council should fund a further grass cut in the spring in addition to the autumn cut, and cut the hedge around the cemetery.  Agenda item next General Business Meeting.

13.3     Village Association

Cllr Philip reported that the VA had agreed to a £200 grant to the Parish Council for a replacement parish flag.

Cllr Vincent will assist with setting up of microphones at the Public Meetings.


13.4     Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Cllr Jones reported on current ideas for the Ceremony.  It was suggested that Homestart Epping Forest should be the nominated charity this year.  If this was agreed a representative from the charity would be invited to the event to talk briefly about their work.

13.5     Surgeries

Cllrs Dodman, Emmett and Philip to attend the surgery on 3rd November.   Cllrs Sowerby and Hannibal are reserves.  The continuance of surgeries to be discussed at next General Business meeting.  Examples of questions and answers raised at the surgeries to be considered for publication in Village News.

14.   Dog Bin Contract

14.1     The Clerk reported that following the withdrawal of services in the District from TBS Hygiene, a joint contract involving a number of town and parish councils was proposed.  The Clerk at Epping had been in negotiations with two suitable companies who had provided quotes.  The scheme will be administered by Epping Town Council, as detailed by their Clerk’s e-mail dated 15th October, 2008.

Resolved:       To accept the scheme as proposed by Epping Town Council in their e-mail dated 15th October, 2008

Proposed:         Cllr Jones                     Seconded:        Cllr Berry
Carried Unanimously

15.   Appointment of new Tree Warden

15.1     Sue Warren had put her name forward to EFDC as a volunteer tree warden for Theydon Bois.  EFDC has sought the Parish Council’s agreement.

Resolved:       To appoint Sue Warren as new tree warden for Theydon Bois.

Proposed:         Cllr Jones                     Seconded:        Cllr Gooch
Carried Unanimously