Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Doddinghurst Parish Council held on Thursday 12th May 2022 at 19.30 in the Village Hall, Church Lane, Doddinghurst, Essex, CM15 0NJ.
Present: Cllrs. Mrs D. Dicker, Mrs D Rogers-Harrison, Mrs. J Le Page, Mr G Smith, Mr. P Arnell,
Mrs K. Pond, Mr A. Smith, Mr D. Potter and Mr R. McCheyne.
Also Present: Dist. Cllrs. K Parker & C Poppy
Mrs C Fuller – Clerk/RFO
Mrs C Tremain – Deputy Clerk
1. Election of Chairman and completion of declaration of acceptance. Cllr. Dicker was nominated by Cllr. Potter and seconded by Cllr G. Smith. Cllr. R McCheyne nominated himself and was seconded by Cllr. Pond.
Voting. Cllr. Capon proposed suspending Standing Order 3(s) to allow voting to take place by ballot. The proposal was seconded by Cllr. Dicker and all agreed.
Resolved to elect Cllr. Dicker as Chairman for the civic year 2022-23. Cllr. Dicker will sign the declaration of acceptance of office.
2. Apologies for Absence: Apologies received from Borough Cllr. Ms. C. Gelderbloem who was attending Kelvedon Hatch Parish Council’s meeting.
3. Declaration of interests in items arising on the agenda. Cllrs. Smith, Dicker and Le Page declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 21 as they are members of the Village Hall Committee.
4. Election of Vice Chairman. Resolved to appoint Cllr. G. Smith as Vice Chairman.
(Cllr. Arnell arrived at the meeting)
5. Constitution of Committees and Appointments to Committees Resolved to approve the Constitution of Committees as revised and previously circulated. The committee membership was established as follows: ▪ General Purposes Committee: Cllrs G Smith, Mrs J Le Page, Mrs. D Rogers-Harrison, P. Arnell, D. Potter, Mrs T. Brooks and R McCheyne. ▪ Planning Committee: Cllrs Mrs. Dicker, M Capon, A. Smith, D. Potter and R McCheyne. ▪ Finance & Resources Committee: Cllrs Mrs. D Dicker, G Smith, J Le Page, M Capon, A Smith and K Pond. ▪ Allotment Committee: Cllrs Mrs. D Dicker, P. Arnell, Mrs. J Le Page (plus three allotments holders). (It was agreed that Cllr. Pond would move from GP to FR)
6. Appointment of Key Council Representatives. Resolved to appoint as follows:▪ BBPCA – Cllr. Dicker ▪ Village Hall Committee – Cllr. Arnell ▪ BBC Parish Liaison Committee – no appointment ▪ Village Correspondent – no longer required ▪ Village Bus Club Chairman Mr D. Schuster
▪ Bus & Transport – Cllrs. Capon & Dicker ▪ BBC Planning Committee – to be decided on an ad hoc basis by DPC Planning Committee. ▪ Health Matters – Cllr Le Page ▪ Police Matters – Cllr G Smith ▪ Dagwood Trust – Cllr Potter ▪ Tree Warden – Mrs Gail Farrow ▪ Highways, Footpaths and PROW’s Cllr. Capon
7. Minutes of Parish Council Meeting on the 3rd March 2022
Resolved to approve the minutes with the following amendment to the wording of the
resolution at Item 13.
‘Resolution – To agree that DPC pays what it owes the Village Hall for utilities. If there is a
need or request for a grant, it would come to DPC separately.’
8. Clerk’s Report for March and April 2022:
1. The application to add Cllrs. Capon and Le Page to the Santander account has been sent.
2. 2 Deed of Grant transfer, 1 new burial, 2 new ashes interments and 1 ashes re-opener.
3. All allotment holders who wanted to renew have paid. Vacant plots are being filled and there is a very small waiting list. A skip was ordered for allotment holders to dispose of their allotment waste. They would like another, but this has not yet been agreed.
4. Prince Arboriculture’s annual tree survey has been carried out and works identified. The GP Committee has approved them and they will take place on 22nd June. Some of the trees are not on DPC land and will therefore be paid for by the Village Hall or Infant School. The tree in front of the Parish Office will be trimmed back to clear the telecom wires. A tree on Peartree Field fell in the storms but will be left on site for wildlife.
5. The GP Committee did not agree to the quotes provided for resurfacing the small car park and revised the specification. Revised quotes are awaited.
6. A national increase in staff salaries was back-dated to 1st April 2021 and has been paid to all staff. All staff are now paid in arrears.
9. Financial Reports
Noted and approved:
a) Financial Reports for March and April including the Clerk’s Report.
b) Schedule of Payments for March and April 2022.
The Clerk reported that the first half of the Parish Precept was paid on 31/3/22, ie in the previous financial year. Cllr. Poppy stated this was because of the timing of the Easter bank holidays.
10. Calendar of Meetings for 2022/23
Resolved to approve.
11. Internal Auditor for 2022/23
Resolved to appoint Michael Raistrick.
a) Resolved to approve the Clerk’s authority to respond to planning applications on behalf
of the Council in line with Planning Committee instructions.
b) Resolved to note the latest schedules of Planning Applications received and decisions
taken up to end of April.
(Cllr. Pond left the meeting – unwell)
13. Feedback from Committees
a) Communications Working Group – 30th March 2022
Resolved to approve the subscription to the services of Netwise to update and restructure
the Council’s website and maintain the provision. Initial cost £400, and £200 per annum.
c) General Purposes Committee – 20th April 2022
Cllr. G Smith reported that he has information the current Stansted Airport consultation. He has been in touch with local police to establish a link with the Council. The Rural Policing Team has been depleted but another is due soon and he will arrange a meeting with them. Gigaclear has re-sited its control box to a safer location, and there is an offer to the Council and the Village Hall of free phone and broadband if we are classed as a Community Hub.
d) Doddinghurst Bus – 25th April 2022
e) Cllr. Capon reported that Essex County Council has stated that Brook Lane is a non-maintained highway, ie a private street with full private access.
f) Cllr. Capon reported that he had attended the Parish Security Meeting on 7th April.
The Clerk was asked to progress the offer of dedicated email addresses for all councillors.
14. Public Participation
Cllr Poppy reported that the Conservatives lost two seats in the recent borough elections, and that Brentwood Borough Council is in a ‘dire financial situation’.
Information on the Council’s insurance policy with BHIB was circulated with the agenda. The current policy expires on 31/5/22. Resolved to renew with BHIB from 1/6/22. Total premium £1,205.94.
16. EALC/NALC Annual Subscription
Resolved to renew for 2022-23 for the total cost of £620.95.
17. Chairman’s Allowance
Resolved at £500 for 2022/23.
18. Clerk’s Emergency Fund
Resolved at limit of £1,000 for 2022/23. The Clerk was asked to investigate obtaining a Barclaycard so that staff did not have to use their own money to buy items for DPC when BACS or invoicing were not possible.
19. Parish Office Refurbishment
The Project Officer’s update report dated 5th May was noted and all actions approved.
20. Parish Security
Members noted the Clerk’s Report on the services of, and a meeting with, S-Type Security. After discussion it was resolved not to take up the offer of a free one-month trial at this time as the Council had not budgeted for additional security and it did not seem appropriate to
take up the trial without the means to progress the matter. It was agreed to defer any further decision until the means of financing the matter could be resolved.
(Cllr. McCheyne left the meeting)
21. Village Hall Grant
The Chairman and Treasurer of the Village Hall Committee had calculated the cost of DPC’s share of electricity used over the past three years up to 31/3/22 at an average rate (averaging differing standing charges and unit charges) plus VAT and including other charges (green charges etc) at £1,050.44. Resolved to accept this figure and it will be paid on receipt of an invoice from the Village Hall. Going forward, the Village Hall will send DPC a quarterly invoice for electricity costs.
No agreement or further discussion on the issue of cutting the Village Hall Field or a Village Hall Grant. It was resolved that a meeting was required between the Village Hall Chairman, Cllr. G. Smith and the Clerk on these issues so that a recommendation can be put to the Village Hall Committee and the Council on a way forward.
(Cllr. Poppy left the meeting)
22. Suspension of Standing Order 3(x)
To allow the meeting to extend beyond 2 hours.
23. Platinum Jubilee Event
Cllr. Le Page reported that the event on Sunday 5th June is all organised but more help will be needed on the day, eg putting out tables, bunting etc. Cllr. Potter offered to help.
24. Other Urgent Information
25. Exclusion of Press & Public. Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960
In view of the confidential personnel business to be transacted, it was resolved to exclude press and public.
26. Deputy Clerk Working Hours
Resolved to increase the Deputy Clerk’s working hours from 9 to 14 per week to reflect additional work around the Council’s Communications/Website and increased frequency of Planning Committee meetings.
The meeting closed at 21.50
Minutes signed: Date: 9th June 2022