Harwich Town Council

01255 507211

9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Full Council Minutes 10th September 2014

held at
The 1912 Centre, Cow Lane, Harwich
on Wednesday 10th September 2014 at 7.00pm

Present: Councillors Brown, Calver, Day, Flavell, Fowler, I Henderson,
J Henderson, King, McLeod, Nicholson, C Powell,
F Powell and Thurlow
In the Chair: Councillor Todd
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: 2 members of the public and 1 member of the press
Cllr P Morrison and Cllr H Thompson
Cllr I Henderson declared a non-pecuniary interest in the LOFC grant application under item 14.
Betty Holbrook asked about the NYE fireworks and the need to keep the street lights on. She asked if there was any way we can ask to keep them on or to write to Essex County Council with this request?  She expressed her content to write independently.  Cllr I Henderson confirmed that the permissions would come from Cllr Rodney Bass and that perhaps HTC could write to him making him aware of the event and request the lights remain on to cater for it.  Cllr Calver thought that NYE was an exemption anyway and that we should check.  Cllr Calver asked if HTC had received a grant request for the fireworks as yet. The Clerk said no.  Cllr Flavell said the police had the power to request the lights remain on so perhaps we could write to them also.
Dr Rogers made reference to his question at the last meeting regarding a Loop system at the 1912 Centre and asked what action had been taken.  Cllr Day Said we’ve done some investigative work and it’s fairly impractical to do this at the current location but it will be considered by F&GP Committee when the Guildhall undertakes its disability access scheme.  He thanked him for raising this.
The Mayor gave an account of some of his engagements since the last meeting, which included opening the Dovercourt Art Club Exhibition at the Waterfront; attending a Commemoration of WW1 service at St Nicholas Church and an open day at Bobbit’s Hole for hedgehog day; the Secret Gardens presentation day; the Clacton Air Show; a100-year birthday presentation at the Tower hotel; Acorn village to see the new wing;  Merchant Navy Day civic ceremony; Harwich International Port railway station to welcome the Kindertransport train and the Air Ambulance Motorcycle Rally.
RESOLVED: That the Minutes and Confidential minutes of the meeting of the Town Council held on 30th July 2014 (previously circulated) be approved by the Chairman and signed as a true record.

  • Camper Vans in Wellington Road Car Park – Members were notified of the TDC (Tendring District Council) policy that vehicles may remain overnight but camping is not permitted and any such activity should be reported to TDC (Parking and Seafronts).   Cllr I Henderson referred to Betty Holbrook’s question and confirmed he’d received a further email stating that camping is not permitted on any TDC car park.  Vehicles may park overnight provided that they are the proper class or have special permission, without which they could receive a penalty charge, however in order not to deter genuine visitors, there is some leniency. TDC welcome calls from HTC or the public.  Can call 686969 or on Careline out of hours on 222022.
  • Min 49/14 – Bus Subsidies – Members considered a response from Nick Blackall at ECC.  Cllr C Powell stated it’s out of ECC’s(Essex County Council) hands.  They will not put another route on if it interferes with a commercial route already in place.  Cllr I Henderson says there are no controls over how the commercial companies run the services and there are not the same controls in place as there are for the railways franchisees.  He has asked ECC to seek an assessment to ascertain whether they should be taking out quality contracts. They can introduce a franchise system which would mean they meet certain criteria in terms of quality of service.  Cllr Powell said the timetables have been recalled due to errors.  Cllr McLeod spoke with Nick Blackhall and had the response that he would speak with First about the issues on certain services even if it’s just two services per day.
  • Min 51/14 – Harwich Maternity Services – Members considered a response from Amanda Hallums at CHUFT.  Cllr Calver it’s clear they are experiencing problems retaining staff, which implies the midwives aren’t comfortable working in this understaffed environment.  Members noted the response and agreed to monitor it carefully.
  • Min 51/14 – West End lane – Cllr Calver asked if a response had been received to our letter and the Clerk confirmed no. RESOLVED: To write to ECC and chase up a reply.
  • MIN 54/14 – Cllr Calver referred to the request to write to the MP and asked the Clerk if we’d received a response and the Clerk confirmed not as yet. Cllr Todd confirmed he had been chasing this also.
Cllr J Henderson asked about the progress with the CCTV at Dovercourt Station. The Clerk confirmed that final confirmation following its installation had not been received.  Cllr King asked if this could be chased up.  The Clerk agreed to do this.

  • MIN 162/13 – Pot holes – Cllr I Henderson provided an update on his seconding a motion to ECC for district councils to take back management of minor maintenance of highways including potholes; and reported that it had been rejected but instead the Council have promoted another councillor as portfolio holder for highways to be responsible for this issue.
Members considered whether to submit comments or suggestions regarding the polling district boundaries. Cllr J Henderson said district councillors received the map and that she didn’t have any issues in her ward.  Cllr Calver said that the Labour Group raised an issue direct regarding the Chase Lane station as it’s not user friendly.  Cllr Brown confirmed that the main gate is left open allowing vehicular access on polling days, and any historical problems have been resolved.  Cllr C Powell said there was no problem in East Ward.
Cllr Todd provided an update on the impact of the proposed new regulations on sulphur emissions. He referred to the request to the MP to submit an EDM (Early Day Motion).  Cllr Todd received a reply on Friday and said there had been no feedback on the consultation.  The first drafts have been looked at on the EDM and will be submitted shortly once final wording had been agreed.  He has also chased Richard Howitt MEP and to date has not received a response.  He had also asked Stena how they are going on with their scrubbers and the response was OK but they felt they would still need to make changes.  Thompson Celebrity is not returning next season due to the regulations as they are also sailing the Mediterranean where the regulations won’t come into force until 2020.  Cllr Calver said it’s unacceptable that we’ve not heard from the MEP and props we write to him for his views and what he’s doing urgently.  He also clarified that the MP said he was considering whether an EDM is necessary and that following our request to submit this, he felt it was a very quick job and is unacceptable with the delay.  He proposed that we write to the MP to seek some firm action.
RESOLVED: To write letters to both the MP and the MEP.
Cllr Calver brought to the attention of members that a member of the public felt the Council may have obligations under Section 17 of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998 in relation to the Part night Street Lighting Scheme, and asked that it was considered accordingly. Initial advice was sought, from a solicitor, and his opinion was to the contrary; however HTC do have the right to be consulted.  HTC have not been consulted, under the act, by ECC when considering the PNSL scheme.  Cllr Calver proposed we ask the appropriate officer from TDC to brief HTC on our rights and responsibilities under section 17 at the next meeting on 22 October.
RESOLVED: To request attendance by TDC officer.
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting of the Environment & Community Committee held on 15th July 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
RESOLVED: that the Minutes and Confidential Minutes of the meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 12th August 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To accept the recommendations of the committee in relation to grant funding application from Little Oakley Football Club.
RESOLVED: that the Minutes of the meeting of the Allotments Committee held on 26th August 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Confidential Minutes of the meeting of the Allotments Committee held on 26th August 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
Payments and receipts, current balances, financial activity against budgets and earmarked funds were noted.
RESOLVED: to authorise payments as presented.

  • Cllr Flavell attended a Harwich Festival of the Arts meeting and thanked Council for the recent letter of congratulations to the committee. He confirmed there is a new Artistic Director (Roderick Earl) who has many new ideas for next year’s festival.  He reported income was up by £10k this year
  • Cllr King requested an update from HDCA as no meetings had been held in several months.  She reported that the main hall has been decorated, as well as the kitchen.  The next AGM will be announced shortly.  Cllr Todd also confirmed that HDCA are awaiting quotes for the decoration of the outside of the building.
  • Cllr C Powell attended a meeting at Weeley for offsite emergency plan for Carless.  Enables all emergency services to work together.  Most people are volunteers.  Also mentioned the event Getting Ready for Winter at the end of October at the Park Pavilion, which will bring many agencies together who will be deployed in the event of a local emergency.  Particular interest is with ensuring that communications aren’t lost in the event of an emergency.
  • Cllr Brown attended the Kindertransport event.  Also attended HIPLC meeting today and found it informative and interesting.  Stena said passenger and freight numbers up.  DFDS will be stopping their Harwich to Esbjerg route from the end of September.  There are 42 cruise liners booked in for next year (6/7 are transit calls) and may see an increase during winter with some smaller ships.  Repairs to the damaged berth are almost complete.   There have been delays and cancellations with offshore wind progress.  They are going ahead with energy saving (led lighting).  Bathside Bay – they are looking at an extension but due to the judicial review it will be put on hold until November.  Cllr Fowler confirmed that the loss of DFDS will see job losses.  Cllr I Henderson asked if an HTC town plaque could be given to the captain of the last ship to sail out of Harwich.  Cllr Calver said the vase in the Mayor’s Parlour came across from Esbjerg to Harwich on the first ship and said send the plaque to the people of Esbjerg from the people of Harwich along with a letter from the Mayor would be a suitable gesture. RESOLVED: to send a town plaque and letter to the people of Esbjerg.
  • Cllr I Henderson referred to a letter received from the Chief Executive of Hutchison Ports thanking everyone for their contribution and hard work leading to the success of this year’s cruise season.  He read the letter aloud.
  • Cllr McLeod said the Chamber of Trade and Commerce doesn’t seem to be functioning.  He asked if HTC could stop being required to assign a representative.  Cllr Flavell said they should be speaking to the local traders to provide possible funding towards the flowering pots in the town since there was likely to be unspent funds available.  Cllr I Henderson said we should be seeking more information about their status rather than withdrawing our representation.  Cllr Calver said that given the current situation he proposed that HTC writes to Colin Crawford to request an update on the present operational state of the Chamber of Trade and Commerce, the present funds situation, and what activities are proposed for the expenditure of those funds to support local business. RESOLVED: to send a letter to Colin Crawford.

  • Cllr Day read a letter from the Mayflower Project regarding proposals to complete a mural on the site’s perimeter wall and requesting HTC’s support. He asked if any councillors who are members of the Mayflower project could attend the meetings and report back to HTC meetings. Cllr Calver felt it more appropriate for the Mayflower Project to request an HTC representative. Cllr Day offered to speak to the trustees about that.  Cllr J Henderson asked what funding had been given so we know what we’re supporting.  Cllr Day confirmed none as yet.  Cllr Calver proposed to write a letter to confirm that HTC has no issues and would welcome murals as described going on the building. RESOLVED: to write a letter.
  • The Clerk read an email from Ian Taylor (TDC) in response to a request from HTC for a dispensation to open the town centre car park free from 9.30am instead of 11am on Fridays. Cllr J Henderson said she had responded on a district level and read aloud her response to Ian Taylor, and asked if we could ask again for them to reconsider the dispensation. RESOLVED: To appeal directly to the portfolio holder with a view to understanding the potential advantages that HTC is proposing.
The next meeting of Harwich Town Council will be held on 22nd October 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 the meeting at 8.41pm.