PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

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These are draft minutes and as such may be subject to amendment before approval as a true record of the meeting
Due to constraints on space full reports and supporting documents have not been included in the minutes.  These can be found on the Parish Council website under Meetings, May 2022 Meeting Pack.  Paper copies are available from the Clerk.

Councillors Present   

I Lamont, Chairman.  

I Mitchell,  L Falconer, M Morrey, T Sheppard,  Dr C Posner, P Thompson, M Chick,

Cllr C Arthey, Babergh District.

9 members of the public.

Election of a Chairman

Cllr Lamont asked for nominations for Chairman.  Cllr Dr Posner nominated Cllr Mitchell, who indicated she was willing to serve.  Seconded by Cllr Falconer.  

Cllr Chick nominated Cllr Lamont, who indicated that he did not wish to be nominated if another Councillor was willing to serve.
Resolved that the Council elects Cllr Irene Mitchell as its Chairman, to serve for the term of one year.

Cllr Mitchell thanked the Councillors for their confidence in her ability to serve as Chairman.

Nominations for Vice-Chairman  

Cllr Thompson nominated Cllr Falconer, who agreed that she was willing to be nominated. Seconded by Cllr Dr Posner.  There were no further nominations.

Resolved that the Council elects Cllr Lizzie Falconer as its Vice Chairman, to serve for the term of one year.

The Chairman opened the meeting, giving the Councillors and Clerk the opportunity to introduce themselves to the members of the public present.  She thanked Cllr Lamont for his Chairmanship during an extremely challenging time, he had faced a huge agenda upon taking on the Chairman’s role.  In particular he had worked tirelessly on the Water Street project.  Congratulations were order for the success of this.

Public Forum
 

Mr Roy Mawford had written to the Parish Council through the Clerk requesting that a letter is written to the Chief Planning Officer at Babergh District Council to try to extricate either a decision or the withdrawal of the planning application submitted.  Mr Mawford was in favour of a resolution of the matter within a reasonable time and in as transparent manner as possible.

County Councillor’s Report, Cllr Robert Lindsay (Mr Lindsay’s report had been circulated to Parish Councillors and follows these minutes)

District Councillors’ Report, Cllr Clive Arthey

Cllr Arthey reported that he had been a Councillor for 31 years, 3 of those for Lavenham since the last review.  He added his thanks to Iain Lamont for his time served as Chairman, he had had lots to grapple with but had always kept him informed.

In respect of the Lavenham Press site and the possible response of Mr Mawford and the Parish Council. He had spoken to Philip Isbell today and reported that a three-way meeting could be arranged (Parish Council/planners/applicant) if it was considered that engagement would help air opinions and problems.  In his view a letter to the Chief Planning Officer would not be productive.

To be discussed further under agenda item 11a

Declarations of Interest

Both Cllrs Mitchell and Falconer declared an interest in agenda item 11a and the 2nd item under item 12.

Council agrees that both these matters should be brought forward in the agenda and that
Cllr Lamont should take the Chair.  Cllrs Mitchell and Falconer left the meeting room.

Item 12 Planning
Motion to vote on response to residents and communication with Babergh Planning

A copy of the residents’ proposed letter had been circulated to Councillors and the Chairman asked if there were any suggested amendments. There were none.

It was agreed that consideration of the application had dragged on too long and progress needs to be made.

Proposed by Cllr Dr Posner, seconded by Cllr Thompson, that the letter should be forwarded to the Chief Planning Officer. Carried.

Item 11a – Motion to vote on options for Water Street Car Park regulations

Cllr Mitchell has been working with Sarah Gilson from Babergh parking management and is keen to help.  A Legal Order is being drafted which will cover infringements/activities, abandoned vehicles etc.  A draft had been attached to the support papers.

For information, Cllr Dr Posner pointed out that the original business proposal under the CIL bid for the Water Street car park had said that the car park would aid parking pressure in that area of the village.

Councillors were asked to consider and vote on the motion.
Vote 1: proposal that the car park is reserved for residents only. No visitors (except for access to EV points)
Proposed Cllr Sheppard, no seconder.  No vote.
Vote 2: Proposal to allow residents to park permanently (subject to residents’ parking rules) and for visitors to have time limited parking.
Proposed Cllr Thompson, seconded Cllr Sheppard, 1 voted for, 3 against, 1 abstained. Defeated.
Vote 3: Water Street car park is run under the same rules as Prentice Street car park Parking Order (plus provisions for EV point 12 hour time limit) ie permanent parking rights for visitors & residents, no special arrangement for residents.
Proposed by Cllr Sheppard, seconded by Cllr Chick, 4 votes for, 0 against, 1 abstained.
Vote 3 carried.
There was no need to vote on the options for residents parking or restrictions.

The Councillors were thanked for their discussions.  The Legal Order and Parking Notice are to be finalised and will be voted on at the next meeting.

Councillors Mitchell and Falconer returned to the meeting.

The Minutes

The Chairman asked if any amendments were required to the minutes of the April meeting, none were raised.  It was prop. by Cllr Falconer,  sec. by Cllr Thompson that the minutes of the meeting held on 7th April 2022 are approved. Carried.  

Apologies for absence    Parish Councillor Rob Macro, County Councillor Robert Lindsay, District Councillor Margaret Maybury.  
 
Update on Casual Vacancies

There was one outstanding Casual Vacancy for which the Council was allowed to co-opt.  The second vacancy was in the process of being advertised and the Returning Officer would advise on this after 9th May.

Matters Arising – Cllr Dr Posner reminded the Council that there was an agreed cut off point by which all documents and support papers should be available in order for them to be included on the agenda.  All reports should be received by the Clerk at the latest on the Friday in the week before the meeting date.  These comments were noted.

11b  Motion to approve Employee Policies including Annual Appraisal Policy

Cllr Lamont had put in much work to prepare these papers but it was agreed that there may be issues which need more discussion.  It was agreed that a small working group would meet to discuss these further and make a recommendation to the full Council at the June meeting.

11c  Motion to approve Data Protection Policy

Cllr Chick considered that this should be handled in the same way, reviewing the policy to ensure that we are compliant with what is written.

Planning

Planning Applications Received:
DC/22/02100 - Howlett Of Lavenham, Sudbury Road, Lavenham, Suffolk
Application under S73 for Removal or Variation of a Condition following grant of
Planning Permission DC/20/05776 dated 07/05/2021- Erection of replacement
commercial garage building (following demolition of existing building). Erection of 5no.
dwellings and construction of 2no. vehicular accesses. Town and Country Planning
Act 1990 - To vary Condition 2 (Approved Plans and Documents), Condition 7
(Access Visibility Splays) and Condition 10 (Parking and Turning) The external
appearance of the workshop and dwellings has been revised.
Prop. Cllr Sheppard, sec. Cllr Dr Posner, recommend approval.  Carried.

DC/22/01882 - 14 Shilling Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10  9RH
Householder Application- Erection of garage, construction of new drive and
replacement of front gates
DC/22/01904 - 14 Shilling Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 9RH
Application for Listed Building Consent - Erection of garage, construction of new drive
and replacement of front gates
Prop. Cllr Sheppard, sec. Cllr Falconer, recommend approval.  Carried.

DC/22/01822 - 42 Water Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 9RN
Notification of works to trees in a Conservation Area - Reduce 1No. Sweet Cherry
(T1) by up to 1.5m all round.
DC/22/01821 - 21 High Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10 9PT
Notification of Works to Trees in a Conservation Area - Reduce 1No Hawthorn (T1) by
up to 1.5m all round. Reduce 1No maple (T2) by up to 1.5m all round
DC/22/02032 - 10 Bolton Street, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 9RG

Notification of Works to Trees in a Conservation Area - Fell 10No. Conifer Trees. Fell
1No. laurel Bush. Fell 1No. Hawthorne Bush.
All 3 tree works applications, prop. Cllr Sheppard, sec. Cllr Chick, recommend approval. Carried.

Planning Decisions Received:
DC/22/01764 1 Granary Cottages , Prentice Street, Lavenham – permission granted for Erection of single storey extension (following part demolition of existing conservatory)
DC/22/01419   Ponders, Barn Street, Lavenham - Works to Trees in a Conservation Area - Fell 3no Leylandii (T1, T3 and T4) and 1no Silver Birch (T5), and lightly trim 1no Yew (T2), Babergh District Council as Local Planning Authority, hereby gives notice that it DOES NOT WISH TO OBJECT
DC/22/00917  Monkshood , 31 High Street, Lavenham – Listed Building Consent for Lime plastering to external gable, minor repairs to the chimney stack, roof and front of No 31-32, and renew the limewash of the front of that building, the same colour as the existing

Babergh DC licensing team had advised that The Nook Readers Café & Bookshop have applied for a Pavement licence outside of their premises. There had been a 7 day turn around for this application, too short for consideration at a meeting.  Cllr Mitchell said she had looked at the site and commented as a parishioner, raising concerns about compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act and the width of the pavement if a car was parked between the premises and the kerb.

13.  Finance and Strategy

Invoices paid between meetings (to 30/04/22):  
Glasscubes Limited, Team subscription NP2 £662.40 (from NP2 budget): Toolport GMBH, pop up marquee for Jubilee  £499.00:  Road Traffic Solutions, traffic management for Sunday Jubilee event  £570.00:  Ward Signs, 3 steel plaques for Jubilee tree planting  £456.00 (all from Jubilee budget)

Invoices received/for payment :
UK POS, A1 poster A board  £83.34:  Traffic Safety Products, 100 red traffic cones  £335.99:  Sweco UK Ltd., groundwater monitoring Gas Works site  £780.00:  Zoom, monthly remote meeting charges  £14.39:  JPB Landscapes, April grounds maintenance & street cleaning  £2,684.58:  Karzees Ltd. hire/cleaning of temporary toilets Prentice Street & Church Street £732.00:  Kinex, phone a/c April  £57.03:  British Gas, Church Street toilets electricity  £22.65:  Suffolk Assn of Local Councils, 6 modules whole Council training  £720.00: Seago & Stopps, payroll services q/e 05/04/22  £110.40:   Payroll  £820.12:  ICS, Church Street toilet cleaning & consumables (May) £522.28:  Petty Cash £100.00:  Birketts LLP, professional charges Gas Works site Land Registry Searches  £68.00.
Direct Debit payment: Paya Group,  monthly service fee  £43.08.
 
Direct payment to Parish Council:
from Babergh District Council, Parish CIL payment April 2022 £78,438.09: 50% 2022/23 Precept  £43,716.50.
Donations collected from car parks for April: £674.35.

Prop. by Cllr Thompson, sec. by Cllr Chick, that the financial transactions are approved. Carried

Income & Expenditure report for April not yet available.

14.  Project Updates

a.    Lavenham NDP review group
A report from the group was included in the meeting papers and Mr Mawford will be presenting a briefing to Parish Council members on 12th May.  The Chairman asked for support in attending as this group of committed parishioners, led by Roy Mawford, is putting a lot of time and effort into the review.

Lavenham is lucky to have a Neighbourhood Plan, many communities do not and have suffered from unwanted development.  Cllr Dr Posner remarked that this is one of the most important activities of this Council, of utmost importance.  The group meets weekly and carries out a tremendous amount of research.  Cllr Sheppard said that when the NP is formally ‘made’ (adopted) it becomes part of planning guidance.  The original was based on the wishes of residents put together following exhibitions and questionnaires to seek approval.

b.    Gas Works site
Good progress continues to be made with the gas holder refurbishment.  BNP Paribas will vacate the site by 1st June ready for the official opening.

c.     Prentice Street toilets
Cllr Lamont reported that there are still ongoing problems getting a new electricity meter installed as the removal of the old meter does not appear to have been properly reported or recorded on the system which means that a new supplier is unable to quote without a new MPAN.  The meter was disconnected in February 2021 by UKPN.

Clerk wrote to TotalEnergies, the supplier, to complain about the delay, they replied that they would allocate the complaint to a handler within 21 days. Cllr Mitchell found the email address list for Directors of the company, contacted them, and now we appear to have the correct disconnection certificate.  We are now seeking a new provider.

The additions to the ramp have been completed, Cllr Mitchell inspected this, Mr Heeks was present on site and took photographs.  It is fairly evident that a Blue Badge parking space will be lost because of the ramp.  Cllr Mitchell explained the history and to be fair Babergh has refunded the costs which have arisen out of the failure in respect of land ownership.

d.    Open Spaces
Cllr Dr Poser said there is nothing further to report this month.  There had been a change of mind by two members of the group as to a possible location of allotments.  Hopes that by the next meeting the group will come up with an alternative suggested location.

In respect of the proposed hedging on the road boundary of First Meadow, Babergh would supply the plants, 15-20 volunteers will be need to plant them.

e.    Traffic Working Party
Cllr Mitchell and District Councillor Margaret Maybury had met on 22nd April prior to the Parking Strategy meeting on 28th April.  No significant progress had been made except to confirm methodologies and aspire to assist Babergh and them us.

At the Parking Strategy meeting Babergh officers had agreed that Lavenham suffers with parking stress and any action taken in the car parks has a knock on effect. Need to be in close contact with SCC before doing anything to the car parks.

It was thought that it had been a productive meeting but there needs to be an integrated plan, going around the village to familiarise with the problems.  The officers accepted that Lavenham has problems unique to Lavenham, there did not seem to be any ideas as to how any improvements could be paid for.  The discussions after the presentation had been most useful.

Babergh will now be carrying out consultations direct with the public in drop-in sessions.

The Traffic Working Party had forwarded photos of parking problems to Babergh.

f.     Jubilee events

Cllr Falconer reported that arrangements going really well, interest shown in broadcasting from the Big Lunch as an example of a quintessential English village. Some wonderful people have come forward to give information.

Good supply of new cones arriving next week, leaflets will be distributed to request people to move cars from the Market Place.

Table bookings now at 410, people need to make contact soon or be disappointed.

Trees arriving tomorrow, 6 to be planted by the Parish Council, need to get into the ground as soon as possible.  Plaques on order. 

Planting ceremony has to be arranged.  One Yew has provided by the Church has already been planted in the Churchyard.

Within budget at the moment, helped by sponsorship of the trees and the cost of the plaques being covered by Cllr Margaret Maybury’s Locality contribution.

Enquiries to be made in respect of additional temporary toilet facilities.

g. Communications Working Group

Cllr Chick reported that a meeting of two members of the group had taken place, there are big challenges to be faced.  Firstly the Parish Council does not speak or listen where most people go to seek information.  The website must be simplified, purely to inform, how to contact, how things are responded to and linked to the goals of the Council.  The present website is poor, do we alter the one we have of rebuild completely.  Need a new platform, define clearly what the website will and will not do.  The information must be kept up to date with back up for when Cllr Chick is away.   

It would be good to have a report for discussion as soon as possible, hopefully by the next meeting, so the Council can move ahead.

Correspondence received from:
Notification of Women’s Tour Cycle Race passing through Lavenham on Monday 6th June. It is hoped that any bunting or flags can be retained on buildings from the Jubilee events to add to the atmosphere.  The race will enter the village from the Brent Eleigh direction then turn from Water Street into High Street and onwards in the direction of Bury St Edmunds.

Email from Sharon Bayliss asking for support via the feedback survey of top parking issues, names and addresses of interested parties for the next phase of consultation and asking for any further questions following their presentation on Thursday 28th April.  Reminder that the survey should be completed by 10th May.

Notice from Babergh D C, the CIL application bid round is now open and will close on the 31st  May.

Letter of thanks for the donation to support Forest School sessions from Rory Michael, Head Teacher, Lavenham C P School

Programme of meetings and date of next meeting


The Parish Council will continue to meet on the first Thursday of each month, except that the June meeting which would have been held on 2nd June has been postponed until 9th June due to the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.  Also the July meeting has been rescheduled from 7th July and will now be held on Thursday 14th July.
The Annual Parish Meeting will take place on Wednesday 25th May, 7.30 pm in the Village Hall.

Matters to be brought to the attention of the Parish Council

It was felt that generally it would be good if communication between the Parish Council and various other groups and organisations in the village could be improved, especially with regard to special events are happening.  It would be good to see how the Jubilee brings people together and how this could be built on.

Part 2

Motion to exclude the public (Standing Order 3d)

The Chairman read Standing Order 3d.

Proposed by Cllr Falconer, seconded by Cllr Sheppard, and carried.

“The Council resolves to exclude the public for the remainder of this meeting.  The reason for this proposal is the business to be discussed is of a confidential financial nature”.

EV Charging

Guidance issued by the National Association of Local Councils in March 2022 outlines the complex legislative framework that allows EV charging.  In summary, this late guidance reveals that only Councils with the General Power of Competence can trade. Lavenham Parish Council at the moment does not have this power.  The criteria for this power is that two thirds of the members of the Council be elected and that the Clerk holds a qualification such as the Certificate in Local Council Administration. (CiLCA).  Parish Councils without GPOC may make other legal arrangements to offer EV charging.
    
The Council resolves to instruct the Clerk and the Chairman to seek professional guidance to establish an entity to ensure that EV charge points in the Gas Works site can be operated without delay, and that all net surplus funds arising from the sale of electricity are donated to Lavenham Parish Council in perpetuity.
    
Organisation of the Council
    
The Council resolves to work towards adopting the General Power of Competence following elections in May 2023.

The Finance and Strategy Working Group will be open to all Councillors to attend in order to discuss financial matters and develop recommendations to the full Council meeting.  Meetings of the Group will take place monthly between full Council meetings.    


The meeting closed at  10.10 pm.