Full Council Minutes 31st August 2011
MINUTES of the Meeting of HARWICH TOWN COUNCIL held at The 1912 Centre,
Cow Lane, Harwich on Wednesday 31st August 2011 commencing at 7.05 pm
Present: Councillors C Callender, R Callender, Calver, Day, Double, Flavell, Gibbins,
I Henderson, J Henderson, King, McLeod, Thompson, Thurlow and Todd
In the Chair: Councillor B Brown
Clerk: Mrs L Ballard
Also present: 10 members of the public and 1 member of the press
Mrs B Holbrook commented on the recent fire at the site of the Queen’s public house
and the condition of this, and other buildings in the area, including the former Starlings
building and Park Hotel, and asked how long it is going to take HTC/TDC/ECC to put
these back into a reasonable condition, and how soon. Cllr Calver said this had been
ongoing for several years and members of previous councils had met, along with the
Mayor of the day, Jacky wares, with the owner on site in an attempt to put pressure on
them to deal with the worsening condition, but powers are limited. The former
Starlings site has now been declared unsafe and as such Cllr Calver has liaised with all
relevant TDC departments and the Chief Executive to look at how best to move forward
as there will now been grounds to take action. Cllr Calver also mentioned that due to
the timing of the fire, the issue as a whole will be addressed and steps have already been
taken to do this. Cllr R Callender believed the owners would be responsible for funding
the renovations. Cllr Flavell said he was appalled by TDC’s lack of responsibility. Cllr
McLeod raised concerns over the resulting road closure due to it affecting the viability
of the town centre, and understood there had been delays due to more extensive,
underground work that needed to be carried out, but mentioned that the site will be
boarded to enable to road to re-open from Monday. Cllr Brown confirmed that HTC’s
powers are limited due to any work requiring planning permission, under the authority
Mrs Bradnum asked why the ground beside the hospital has gotten so bad. Cllr
McLeod suggested a phone call to the owners might help as the site had been previously
cleared but then left to overgrow again.
Dr Rogers raised concerns over issues raised at the Annual Parish Meeting (notably Jet
Skis and Friday market), and which had been deferred but had not yet appeared on a
Council agenda and was still awaiting answers. Cllr Brown confirmed he would ensure
these feature on a future agenda. Cllr R Callender confirmed in relation to the concern
over Jet skis that buoys have been put in place. Dr Rogers suggested pressure be put on
those with enforcement powers.
Mr Laurie Payne referred to recent items being raised at TDC regarding leisure
facilities in Dovercourt, such as the swimming pool, gym and sports hall, and how they
will be managed in the future. If managed by a leisure trust, would be good as there
would be an element of re-investment to those facilities, but if management goes to
private control, it could see the end of some of these facilities, as they would want to take
a profit. He suggested HTC ask TDC for a consultation to look at proposals and enable
the public to have a say before making a decision. Cllr I Henderson agreed and
commented on the frustration of being excluded from consultation, even as an elected
TDC councillor. Cllr J Henderson mirrored the frustration as it was becoming common
to be informed of decisions rather than being included in them. Cllr Brown suggested
that we could ask TDC to include HTC in any consultations regarding the future of
leisure facilities in Harwich.
Prayers were said by Reverend Peter Mann.
The Chairman gave condolences to Cllr O’Neill in reference to her recent bereavement and
announced that an emergency item would be included in the agenda after item 12 to receive
the minutes of the last meeting of the Guildhall Committee.
60/11 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor O’Neill.
61//11 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
62/11 MAYOR’S ANNOUCEMENTS
The Mayor announced that he had attended 10 different events since the last
meeting, and gave a brief account of a few including the opening of the new
CAB building, the Sea Festival and Bobbits Holes, as well as attending a Gala
event at the Electric Palace in aid of the visit to Essex of Queen Elizabeth I in
1651, a visit on board ‘Balmoral’ and BBQ and award ceremony hosted by
63/11 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting of the Town Council held on
20th July 2011 (previously circulated) be approved by the Chairman and signed
as a true record, following an amendment to the date of the next meeting at
minute reference 58/11, which was corrected from 10th to 31st August 2011.
64/11 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
• Members noted a letter from the Essex Police Authority and concerns over the
content. RESOLVED to write to the EPA to ask for a rep (suggested Linda
Belgrove) to come to HTC to explain how they see things working in the
foreseeable future and to hear the concerns of HTC in this regard. FURTHER
RESOLVED: to write to Harwich Police Station to obtain the official numbers
of Police Officers, PCSO’s and Front office staff covering the Harwich area.
• Members noted a response from Ian Taylor, TDC regarding parking
congestion and the council’s assets. A recent ‘walk round’ between Cllrs I
Henderson and Flavell and Ian Taylor and Pam Sambridge from TDC was
discussed, and a ‘wish list’ of remedies perused to alleviate parking problems,
and progress will be monitored directly with TDC. The charges for
Wellington Road car park were also discussed and since a response had not
been received from TDC to a request from HTC to consider immediate
removal of these charges it was RESOLVED: to write to Ian Taylor at TDC to
request a) that Wellington Road car park is free at all times during the period 1
October to 31 May and to give consideration to it becoming a free car park at
all times after then, to encourage greater use, and b) to request the removal of
as much as possible of the ‘No waiting’ restriction, between the Naval House
and 57 King’s Quay Street.
• An update on the recruitment of an Assistant Clerk was given and it was
RESOLVED: to delegate appointment to the recruitment panel.
• Cllr Calver asked if the findings of the Dovercourt Town Centre Study, in
relation to the Lidl’s s106 monies, had yet been released (Minute ref 41/11). It
was RESOLVED: to write to TDC urgently to request the findings of the
65/11 ADOPT A KIOSK
Members discussed possibilities for use of the BT Kiosk on the junction of St
Helen’s Green on Main Road, as well as advantages and disadvantages of
adoption. It was RESOLVED: to proceed with an application for adoption on
the basis that it would be kept as piece of ‘living history’ and accept to incur
maintenance costs as they arise.
66/11 NEIGHBOURHOOD NETWORKING MEETINGS
Members discussed the advantages of these bi-annual meetings and it was
RESOLVED: to attend meetings for the purposes of liaising with other local
councils on matters of common interest.
67/11 STANDING ORDERS
Members discussed the proposed revised Standing orders along with the
additional appendix of delegations to committees. It was expressly mentioned
that one particular change, which would affect the public, is during the 15-
minute question time in that all questions to full council meetings must now be
sent into the Clerk in writing prior to the meeting, in order for members to
prepare a response, and that for committees, all questions must be pertinent to
the items on the agenda. It was RESOLVED: adopt the revised Standing
68/11 RECYCLING CENTRES
Members discussed the proposed plans to reduce opening times/days of the
Dovercourt civic amenity site following receipt of the survey data from ECC
on which they based their proposals. It was RESOLVED: to write to TDC
and ECC to oppose the reduction in the number of days opening from 7 to 5,
but to accept the reduced opening hours on Monday and Tuesdays. Also to
stress the comparison with Clacton’s usage in relation to population.
69/11 POLLING STATIONS
The Chairman made recommendations of the Working Party to members as to
how to overcome problems with polling station locations in Harwich. It was
RESOLVED: to forward these recommendations to Judith Raisin at TDC with
the addition of a suggestion that TDC look into the proximity to polling
stations to enable voters to vote at the polling station closest to their residence,
with the aim benefitting through the encouragement of voters.
70/11 COMMUNITY WARDENS
Cllr Double raised the successful use of a Community Wardens scheme
through SEETEC (part of the Job Centre) by Sudbury Town Council and the
potential benefits of adopting this scheme at HTC.
RESOLVED: for Cllr Double and the Clerk to visit Sudbury TC to establish
what’s involved, the benefits, costs etc. with the view to produce a report to
bring before a future meeting of the Town Council.
71/11 PARKING ISSUES IN RELATION TO DOVERCOURT MARKET
Cllr Calver informed members that due to a current spate of tickets being
issued by the Essex Parking Partnership on Fridays, he’d submitted a FOI
request to ascertain the total number issued. Members discussed the possible
reasons for this high level and it was RESOLVED: to write to the EPP to
request the re-sanctioning of the previous-used cones to provide a clear
indication of the parking restriction on market days. It was FURTHER
RESOLVED: to write to both Peter Martin, Leader of Essex County Council
and Bernard Jenkin M.P to request they put pressure on the EPP to behave
72/11 MINUTES OF THE GUILDHALL COMMITTEE MEETING
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting of the Guildhall Committee held on
18th July 2011 (previously circulated) be accepted. It was FURTHER RESOLVED:
to pass the Disabled Access Feasibility Study to the Finance & General Purposes
Committee for consideration in regard to the anticipated costs.
Payments and receipts, current balances, financial activity against budgets and
earmarked funds were noted.
RESOLVED: to authorise payments as listed Appendix A.
74/11 BRIEF REPORTS FROM MEMBERS
Cllr Thurlow informed members that the Harwich & District Pensioners Association
were now flourishing following a grant from HTC. Cllr McLeod commented that
he’d yet to receive an invitation to attend a meeting of the Chamber of Trade and
75/11 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of Harwich Town Council will be held on Wednesday 12th
October 2011 at The 1912 Centre, Cow Lane, Harwich at 7.00pm, or at the rise of
the Town Planning Committee, whichever is the later.
The Chairman closed this part of the meeting at 8.45pm.