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 5th March 2014

MINUTES of the Meeting of the HARWICH TOWN COUNCIL
held at
The 1912 Centre, Cow Lane, Harwich
on Wednesday 5th March 2014 at 7.40pm

Present: Councillors Brown, Calver, Day, Flavell, Fowler, I Henderson, J Henderson, King, Morrison, Nicholson (until 9pm), C Powell, F Powell, Thurlow (until 9pm), and Todd
In the Chair: Councillor McLeod
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: 1 member of the public and 1 member of the press
Prayers were said by Rev Mann
149/13 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr Thompson
150/13 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
None
151/13 PUBLIC QUESTIONS
None
152/13 POLICE BRIEFING
Insp. Willis gave a brief update of policing issues in Harwich and Dovercourt. He stressed that it had been a challenging year with an increased in recorded crime, but with some good successes. He referred to the recent incident regarding foreign nationals who were suspected to have jumped into the sea from a Stena vessel having been deported from the UK. He affirmed his commitment to policing in Harwich and confirmed that he will continue to monitor crime levels, and in particular in relation to the Part Night Street Lighting, which has now been effected. He further confirmed that he was up to full staffing levels. Cllr I Henderson passed on his thanks to PCSO Ray Aylott for conducting a talk at a local school on internet awareness.   Cllr J Henderson asked if CCTV was assisting with the fight against crime; Insp. Willis confirmed that it is certainly a core part of any investigation.Insp. Willis accepted an invitation to attend the Annual Parish Meeting in April.
153/13 MAYORS ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Mayor gave an account of some of his engagements since the last meeting, which included attending the opening of the newly refurbished Salvation Army shop, and art exhibition at the Fryatt Hospital, the Pride of Tendring Awards, Mayor’s Charity Ball at Sudbury and the newly refurbished Community Association. He reported that the Mayoress’ Cockney night raised in excess of £500 towards her chosen charities. Cllr Todd reported attending a concert in Ipswich in the capacity of Deputy Mayor, and also that he’d met with a representative of Fred Olson who noted how pleased they were with HTC’s efforts to enhance tourism in the town.
154/13 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED: That the minutes and confidential minutes of the meeting of the Town Council held on 22nd January 2014 (previously circulated) be approved by the Chairman and signed as a true record.
155/13 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
Cllr Flavell expressed his disappointment to a response from TDC following a request for them to publish a timetable for action regarding reinstating 20 Market Street after it was devastated by fire almost 2 years ago. Cllr I Henderson felt the lack in enforcement action was due to insufficient resources.
RESOLVED: To write to TDC’s Chief Executive, copying the Council Leader, to express concern that HTC’s requests/letters are either not receiving a response or the response is inappropriate, and to intervene to ensure this doesn’t happen.
156/13 BDUK PROJECT
TDC’s Michelle Gordon gave an update on the progress of the Superfast Fibre Broadband project being implemented in and around Harwich and Dovercourt. She confirmed that 17 cabinets had been updated, which equates to around 7000 properties in Harwich having been upgraded, with 3 further cabinets to be added to the programme. She confirmed that not all properties will benefit and there will be other programmes available to those properties, but she reported that some more Government funding would be allocated to this to ensure 95% coverage, and that business areas are a priority.
157/13 AUDIT OBJECTION
Councillors discussed the outcome of the objection to HTC accounts placed a member of the public in 2013.   The Clerk gave some insight into the processes carried out to assist the complainant with their enquiries and the ‘person hours’ spent on investigating the objection and assisting the External Auditor. The Clerk cited the audit opinion of the External Auditors that HTC had acted in accordance with proper practices and no matters had been brought to their attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements had not been met. She further confirmed that the objection, which was subsequently withdrawn, had not impacted on their audit opinion. The Clerk also reported that the total cost incurred in conducting the investigation as a direct result of that objection was £2520. It was suggested that someone may wish to ask the complainant if they would like to make a donation equal to £2520 to local charities.
158/13 TOURIST SIGNAGE MAP
Cllr Flavell asked members to consider purchasing another tourist signage map to be erected on the building occupied by the Amusement Arcade on Low Road, Dovercourt, at an approximate cost of £165. Cllr Day confirmed that there was sufficient funds in the Economic Development budget to cover this.
RESOLVED: To fund the cost of purchasing the Tourist Signage Map as part of HTC’s efforts to encourage tourism in the area.
159/13 CCTV AT DOVERCOURT STATION
Members considered a recommendation from the F&GP Committee to enter into a joint venture with TDC to install CCTV at Dovercourt station, which would be partly funded by TDC to the cost of £2261, with HTC funding £2520.
RESOLVED: To agree to fund £2520 towards the venture using underspends from the Staffing budget.
160/13 MEMBER CHANGE TO POLITICAL AFFILIATION
Members noted a change in political affiliation of Cllr Hugh Thompson, from The Conservative Party to the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) with effect from 24th January 2014.
161/13 ANNUAL REPORT
Cllr Nicholson asked members to consider publishing an Annual Report, to provide information on the Council’s activity and future plans, to be made available at the Annual Parish Meeting.
RESOLVED: To proceed with producing an Annual Report, to be compiled from contributions to its content by The Chairman of the Council, Chairs of each committee, Working Parties and The Clerk.
162/13 POT HOLES
Cllr McLeod raised the issue of increasing numbers and severity of potholes appearing in the area and suggested HTC ask TDC to seek to take back from the County Council, the responsibility for the repair and maintenance of local highways.
RESOLVED: To invite TDC to request Essex County Council devolves to it the power to repair and maintain the highways in Harwich and Dovercourt, together with the necessary funding to enable it to do so.
163/13 DOG FOULING
Cllr J Henderson raised concern over dog fouling in the area and cited information obtained from TDC, which confirmed that only 2 Dog Wardens were employed to cover the entire district and any Cllr Henderson proposed that HTC write to TDC to inform them that dog fouling is at an unacceptable level and request they advise HTC what action they intend to take to ensure that levels of fouling are greatly reduced in time for the tourism season.
RESOLVED: To write to TDC.
164/13 ESSEX HEALTHY SCHOOLS AWARD
Cllr Calver informed members that in this year’s awards honours, 5 local schools had revalidated their Healthy School Status of which two, All Saints Primary School and the Harwich & Dovercourt High School, had achieved higher level “Enhanced Healthy School” status.
RESOLVED: To write to the schools commending them on their achievement and success and congratulating them on behalf of the town.
159/13 VESSELS ENTERING UK WATERSCllr Todd reported that Bernard Jenkin MP was still awaiting a date for the consultation to commence and was expecting some communication from the MEP soon. Cllr Calver asked if the implementation date would be delayed accordingly and Cllr Todd responsed that it would not and that it was still intended to implement to new regulations in 2015. He further confirmed that requests for an extension cannot be submitted officially until the consultation opens.
160/13 MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 5th February 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
FURTHER RESOLVED: To accept the recommendations of the committee in relation to grant funding applications from the Rock School, Mayflower Project, Harwich Society and HADMET.
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Confidential minutes of the meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 5th February 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
161/13 MINUTES OF THE LAST ALLOTMENTS COMMITTEE MEETING
RESOLVED: that the minutes of the meeting of the Allotments Committee held on 18th February 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the Confidential minutes of the meeting of the Allotments Committee held on 18th February 2014 (previously circulated) be received.
162/13 ACCOUNTS
Payments and receipts, current balances, financial activity against budgets and earmarked funds were noted.
RESOLVED: to authorise payments as presented
163/13 BRIEF REPORTS BY MEMBERS

  • Cllr Flavell reported his attendance at the Harwich Conservation Panel and the Harwich Festival of the Arts Committee, who had their website up and running, which would enable festival goers to purchase tickets online.
  • Cllr C Powell reported on the lack of response to the letter written by HTC to First Essex Buses regarding the recent reduction in services in the area, aswell as some other significant changes in the timetabling. He confirmed that complaints can be reported to the transport watchdog ‘Passenger Focus’. The Clerk agreed to submit comments to ‘Passenger Focus’ since a response had not been received direct from the bus company.
164/13 CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED IN THE POST OR RAISED BY MEMBERS

  • Cllr Flavell mentioned that the Sub-postmaster will be retiring from his post on 15th March and suggested that HTC send a letter of thanks for all his commitment and dedicated service over the years.
165/13 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of Harwich Town Council will be held on Wednesday 16th April 2014 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 9.25pm.