Harwich Town Council

The Guildhall,
Church Street,
Harwich. CO12 3DS

t: 01255 507211
e: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk
Hours: 9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Full Council Minutes 16th April 2014

MINUTES of the Meeting of the HARWICH TOWN COUNCIL
held at
The 1912 Centre, Cow Lane, Harwich
on Wednesday 16th April 2014 at 7.35pm

Present: Councillors Brown, Calver, Day, Fowler, I Henderson, J Henderson, King, Morrison, Nicholson, C Powell, F Powell, Thompson, Thurlow, and Todd
In the Chair: Councillor McLeod
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: 5 members of the public and 1 member of the press
Prayers were said by Rev Mann
170/13 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr Flavell
171/13 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
Cllr Nicholson declared an interest in item 9 in relation to the grant funding for the 4th Dovercourt Sea Scouts.
172/13 PUBLIC QUESTIONS
A member of the public had a question regarding bus services in Essex and the Mayor agreed to suspend Standing Orders at item 7 to allow members of the public to ask questions directly to First Essex representatives.
173/13 MAYORS ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Mayor gave an account of some of his engagements since the last meeting, which included attending the International Women’s day of Prayer, and awards ceremony at Anglia Ruskin University, A Harwich Sing performance at the Waterfront and a St Georges Day dinner.  The Mayor also reported on the fantastic year he’d had a d briefly mentioned the Annual Report which was recently published.
The Deputy Mayor reported that he had attended a curry night in Felixstowe and the Mayor and Mayoress’ Chain Gang function in Colchester.
The Mayor also reported on the activities of the Council over the last year
174/13 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED: That the minutes and confidential minutes of the meeting of the Town Council held on 5th March 2014 (previously circulated) be approved by the Chairman and signed as a true record.
RESOLVED: That the minutes and confidential minutes of the Extraordinary meeting of the Town Council held on 26th March 2014 (previously circulated) be approved by the Chairman and signed as a true record.
175/13 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
Cllr I Henderson referred to Min 162/13 – Potholes and reported on an accident which had occurred after after the midnight lights switch off, when a motorist hit a pothole.  He felt that Essex County Council (ECC) should be made aware of the issues being faced and asked to rethink their decision on the Part Night Street Lighting.
RESOLVED: To request the Local highways Panel (LHP) raise this with ECC.
176/13 FIRST ESSEX BUSES
Council welcomed Ray Winnett, Customer Services Manager for First Essex Buses and Steve Hartman to discuss recent and ongoing problems with services into and out of Harwich.  It was RESOLVED: to suspend standing orders to permit members of the public to ask questions directly.
Members of the public raised concerns about local services including buses which didn’t turn up, or diverted from their route, as well as occasions when passengers have been left alone on buses during driver handovers.  Further issues were raised, which were thought to be largely due to the closure of the Harwich depot, including the provision of replacement buses, and the representatives discussed how these issues could be addressed.   It as confirmed that the closure of the depot did not result in job losses. It was agreed for Cllr C Powell to act as a Community Liaison for members of the public to raise issues with him which would then be passed directly to First Essex.  Ray Winnett also offered to attend every council meeting to follow up on issues.  It was confirmed that the services and routes would be reviewed with the network planners and in the meantime, they would look to place some supervisory cover at Harwich, whilst discussions take place with general managers to ensure drivers keep to prescribed routes, services keep to time and run as they’re supposed to.Cllr I Henderson asked for First Essex to consult with HTC early in the process if services are likely to change so as to give the public the opportunity to be informed and HTC to respond on their behalf.
177/13 WORK PLACEMENT
Members considered a request from a local student to carry out a two-week work placement at Harwich Town Council between 30th June and 11th July 2014.
RESOLVED: To accept the work placement for the period requested.
178/13 VESSELS ENTERING UK WATERSCllr Todd reported that the MP had requested updates from the Dept of Transport on the consultation start date, which was still unknown.  Stenaline had estimated costs will rise by 35% and will have to switch to diesel as the scrubbers were not working as expected.  Lloyds reported that any company that hadn’t switched will face huge cost increases.  Cllr Brown raised concern for the economy as this law will have a knock-on effect for cruise ships.  Cllr Fowler informed members that information could be found on the EU web pages when searching for sulphur emissions.
179/13 MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 2nd April 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To accept the recommendations of the committee in relation to grant funding applications from 4th Dovercourt Sea Scouts, Harwich Society and Harwich Festival of the Arts.
180/13 ACCOUNTS
Payments and receipts, current balances, financial activity against budgets and earmarked funds were noted.
RESOLVED: to authorise payments as presented
181/13 BRIEF REPORTS BY MEMBERS

  • Cllr Todd reported attendance at a meeting of the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, who thanked HTC again for providing the shuttle buses for the cruise ship crews.
  • Cllr Thurlow reported all was well with the Harwich & District Pensioners Association and Age Concern, but that the RBL Vice-Chair had resigned and new contact details had been given.
  • Cllr I Henderson reported attendance at a meeting of the Port Liaison Committee where it was noted that Stenaline’s freight and car passenger ferry numbers were up, and that the port are reinstating the 2-birth gangway which had been damaged. He also mentioned concerns about fuel increases.
  • Cllr King reported on the improvements to the Harwich & District Community Association following the recent internal refurbishment and that work was ongoing.
182/13 CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED IN THE POST OR RAISED BY MEMBERS

  • Members noted notification of the impending modernisation of the post office at Reynolds Newsagents.
  • Members discussed the need to review the HTC domain following recent issues with HTC email accounts.
  • Cllr Thompson informed members of concerns from ward residents about the overgrown grassed area on Regimental Way and the difficulties in ascertaining ownership and responsibility for its maintenance.  Cllr Nicholson said he’d made enquiries and located the land owner and would request they addressed the issue and would follow up with TDC if the matter remained unresolved and it became a health issue.
  • Cllr I Henderson reminded members of the clean up day on 26th April and encouraged participation.
  • Cllr C Powell informed members that as part of the measures to commemorate WW1, the Council would be able to purchase sufficient poppies, as a reduced cost, to cover the area of the desired grassed area of Dovercourt Cliff slopes and gift some to local schools for their own sewing.
  • Cllr Calver informed members of the existence of an online petition against the Government decision to remove the statutory requirement for local councils to consider the provision of allotments.  The Clerk agreed to look into the implications (Data Protection) of bringing allotment tenants attention to this.  Other measures discussed were notices on each site or a link from the HTC website.  It was agreed to refer this to the Allotments committee to set a policy that the Council  is opposed to the disposal of allotment land now and in the future  and continue to remain under the ownership of HTC should the requirement be revoked.
  • Cllr Morrison informed members of a march to save the Clacton maternity unit on 27th April and encouraged participation.
  • Cllr McLeod informed members of his forthcoming ‘end of term’ dance at the Park Pavilion, for which tickets could be purchased from the Mayoress.
183/13 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of Harwich Town Council will be held on a date TBC 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 9.30pm.