Agenda 8th November 2017

Highwood Parish Council

66 Victoria Road, Writtle, Chelmsford CM1 3PA

2 November 2017

To:      MEMBERS OF HIGHWOOD PARISH COUNCIL

 

You are hereby summoned to attend a meeting of Highwood Parish Council to be held at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 8 November 2017 in the Village Hall, Loves Green, Highwood, to transact the business shown in the agenda.

 

The press and public are welcome to be present.

Louise R Fuller

Clerk

 

A G E N D A

1

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

To RECEIVE any apologies for absence.

 

 

2

CONFIRMATION OF MINUTES

 

 

To APPROVE the minutes of the meeting of the parish council held on 13 September 2017 as a correct record.

 

 

3

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

 

3.1

Councillors to DECLARE any disclosable or other pecuniary interest or other interest in any items on the agenda, in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.

Pecuniary or other interests should be declared at this time, or at any point in the meeting where they become apparent.

Councillors must inform the Monitoring Officer of Chelmsford City Council, via the Clerk, within 28 days of becoming aware of any change in their pecuniary or other interests.

 

3.2

DISPENSATIONS

To CONSIDER any requests for dispensation from the provisions of S31(4) of the Localism Act 2011.

 

S31(4) states that a member may not participate in any discussion or vote upon a matter, at the meeting, in which he/she has a disclosable pecuniary interest.

 

Requests for dispensation must be made in writing to the Clerk.

 

 

4

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

 

To RECEIVE questions from members of the public.

 

In accordance with the agreed procedure public questions will be taken and shall be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes or such other period as may be determined by the Chairman of the meeting.

5

REPORTS

To RECEIVE brief reports on the following matters.

 

Chelmsford City Council

City Cllr N Chambers

 

Essex County Council

Cty Cllr J Aldridge

 

Play park, Edney Common

Cllr D Cameron

 

Village Hall

Cllr C Sargent

 

Public Rights of Way

M Martin reports that many of the crossfield paths have been seeded and not yet reinstated; hopefully this situation will be remedied as soon as possible. A couple of fallen trees have not been cleared and walkers are making new routes to bypass them. Paths are overgrown with vegetation as usual.

   

6

REPORT OF THE CLERK

 

To RECEIVE the report of the clerk.

 

1

 

Edney Common Play Area

The swing chains have been replaced.

 

2

 

 

 

UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks has been in touch to say it will be cutting back some trees on the Edney Common play area to prevent them getting tangled up with power lines.

 

3

Litter pick road warning signs

These have been delivered to Cllr Horsnell.

 

4

Village Hall bookings 2018

The village hall has been booked for council meetings for 2018.

 

5

Poppy wreath

The poppy wreath has been obtained and will be delivered to the Chairman.

 

6

Section 106 Agreements

The council was interested in using monies obtained via S106 agreements, which are limited to being used as laid down in the agreements, more flexibly e.g. to provide a footway between Loves Green, the church and Edney Common.   As requested, advice has been sought on the council’s legal position on the use of money obtained under S106 for more liberal purposes than are laid down in the agreement. As a reminder, Chelmsford City Council said

 

“I understand that ideally the Parish Council would like the freedom to spend the S106 contributions on any infrastructure, however if we were to rely solely on an email/letter from the developer as confirmation of this there is an element of risk involved. The developer may not honour that, for example if a new director were to then take charge. We could then end up with the possibility of having to repay the contribution in the future because we covenanted that the contribution would be used for a specific purpose.

 

If you wish to go down the informal route then we would want an indemnity from the Parish Council saying that they would repay to Chelmsford City Council any legal costs and repayments to the developer that we will incur. It may be better to obtain a Deed of Variation from each developer prior to the use of the contributions for different purposes.”

 

The Essex Association of Local Councils has obtained advice from the National ALC on the parish council’s behalf. Firstly, NALC points out that a request for an indemnity from the parish council if a change is done by exchange of letters is somewhat odd, as the S106 agreement already provides such an indemnity if the council spends the money otherwise than as permitted by the S106 agreement. Secondly, the advice is that CCC’s view is essentially correct but conservative, as the risk of having to repay the money is quite small, due to a legal doctrine of promissory estoppel. This doctrine says that if one party makes a statement and the other party changes its behaviour because of it, then the first party will be stopped from denying its truth. If the developer provides an official letter agreeing the changes in the permitted use of the money and the parish council uses the money in accordance with the agreed changes, then the developer would normally be estopped from claiming the money back. However, a court would make a decision after considering all the circumstances and the result cannot be guaranteed.

 

NALC advises that if the council wants absolute certainty, then it must use a deed of variation. A reasonably straightforward one should only cost a few hundred pounds. Cost would be minimised if the council reached agreement with the developers first so the only legal work was producing the relevant deed. Developers may require the council to pay part or all of their legal costs.

   

Highwood display in Chelmsford Museum, 2019

David Taylor is unable to commit to this at present but he would be happy to help with a display in principle. I have informed the museum that Highwood will probably put on a display.

 

   

Allotments, Radley Green

The annual rent for the allotments has been demanded and receive

 

 

 

7

FINANCE

 

7.1

 

Accounts for payment

To APPROVE the accounts for payment (list will be available at the meeting).

 

 

7.2

To NOTE the account balances as at 31 October 2017.

 

 

 

8

2

DRAFT BUDGET AND PRECEPT FOR 2018/19  

See attached report; figures to follow.

 

 

9

HIGHWAY MATTERS REPORTED BY COUNCILLORS AND CLERK

1          Speeding Traffic (standing item)

 

 

10

 

COMMUNICATIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE

To RECEIVE such communications and correspondence as the Clerk may place before the Council.

 

 

 

11

DISTRIBUTION BAG

None.

 

 

12

DOCUMENTS ON DEPOSIT

To RECEIVE notice of the following documents received by or deposited with the Clerk.

RCCE Oyster autumn 2017


 

13

PLANNING APPLICATIONS

 

a)

To NOTE the parish council’s comments made on planning applications between meetings.

None.

 

 

 

 

 

b)

To CONSIDER the following planning application.

 

 

App. no.

17/00606/HNC

 

 

Location

Fowkes, Loves Green

 

 

Proposal

Change of name to Woodland House

 

 

 

 

c)

To CONSIDER any other planning applications received since the agenda was prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

d)

DECISIONS BY CHELMSFORD CITY COUNCIL

To NOTE the following planning decisions by Chelmsford City Council.

 

 

 

GRANTED

 

 

 

App. no.

17/01163/FUL

 

 

Location

Montagues Farm, Loves Green

 

 

Proposal

Proposed replacement stables, tack room, hay barn and feed store

 

 

 

 

 

 

App. no.

17/01552/LBC

 

 

Location

Montagues Farm, Loves Green

 

 

Proposal

Alterations and extensions to existing stable block

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFUSED

 

 

 

App. no.

17/01507/FUL

 

 

Location

Cowells Court, Nathans Lane

 

 

Proposal

Fitting of gates and driveway to access highway

 

 

 

 

 

e)

 

 

PLANNING CORRESPONDENCE

i           To NOTE any planning correspondence received and respond to             consultations as appropriate.

None.

 

 

 

 

14

OTHER URGENT BUSINESS – for information only

To NOTE any matter of an urgent nature which a Member or the Clerk may wish to draw to the attention of the Council, and/or request to be included on the agenda for the next meeting of the Council.

 

Note: no decisions may be taken during this item as the required statutory notice of the business will not have been given.

 

 

15

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

7.30 p.m. Wednesday 10 January 2018

 

 

16

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To RESOLVE to exclude the press and public from the following item under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 as it contains confidential information relating to property matters.

 

 

17

2

PROPERTY MATTER

Report has been emailed to parish councillors. Please note the information therein must be kept confidential and is for the information of parish councillors only.

               

 

 

AGENDA ITEM 8

DRAFT BUDGET AND PRECEPT 2018/19

 

Please see attached financial report showing last year’s receipts and payments, current year’s budgets, receipts and payments to 31 October 2017, expected transactions for the remainder of the year, forecast totals at 31 March 2018, and draft budgets for 2018/19. I would caution that the projections are only a rough estimate.

 

Redecoration of the noticeboards has not yet been arranged; in the meantime an estimate of £700 has been put in the forecast expenditure.

 

A figure of £1000 has been put in the forecast expenditure for garage maintenance/ contingency, the same amount as is in the budget, as although this may not actually be spent during the year, it will be put into a reserve fund at the end of the year.

 

2018/19

 

Income

The council should review its income on an annual basis.

Rent received for the allotment site at Radley Green is currently £70 p.a.

The rent for a garage in Sparrows Close is £38.44 + VAT per month, total £46.13. This has not changed since the council acquired the garages in April 2015. CCC’s policy was to increase rents from 1 April by the level of inflation in the previous September (this is a generally used measure). The rate of inflation (CPI) in September 2017 was 2.8% so on that basis, the monthly rent would become £39.52 + VAT. It is recommended that the council increases the rent; small increases on an annual basis are usually better tolerated by tenants than occasional large increases. The council is asked to consider increasing the rent to apply from 1 April 2018; the draft budget for income has been drawn up on the assumption that the increase will be applied.

 

Property rear of village hall/play equipment

No figures have been put in for anything to do with the property at the rear of the village hall as there is as yet nothing certain which can be applied.

 

The question of buildings insurance for the garages is still unresolved. No figure has been included for this. It will be met from general reserves if necessary.

 

Chelmsford City Council Tax Base

It is possible that the council tax base for the parish will change from last year due to new properties in the parish but the figure for this is not known.

 

Precept

The last two columns in the attached report show a draft budget for receipts and payments, (1) without any precept, and (2) the same figures including a precept with no change in the amount from last year.

 

Recommendation: that the council considers the draft budget, the information above, and any other options for 2018/19, and decides the precept for 2018/19.