Report of Parish Council Meeting – 10th December 2014

There was a meeting of the council for Foxearth and Liston on Wednesday 10th December with Cllr. Clive Waite in the Chair and about 35 local residents present.

The Chairman opened proceedings by referring to the antagonistic atmosphere that had prevailed at recent meetings during which offensive remarks had been addressed to him and other councillors. He warned that the Council would not hesitate to invoke relevant Standing Orders to silence or exclude offenders or to close the meeting if warranted by the circumstances.

The Chairman expressed a warm welcome to Braintree District Councillor Iona Parker who would stand as candidate for the Stour Valley North constituency in the May 2015 local elections in place of Cllr. Julian Swift.

Minutes: There was considerable discussion between councillors concerning the minutes of the previous meeting (7th October) with reference to  a statement by the Chairman. The minutes as presented were eventually approved on a casting vote.

Flood management: The Chairman reported that the grill installed at the western end of the culvert in Foxearth appeared to have eased the problem in that area. However a resident pointed out that a serious situation still existed further down the road where a scan had revealed substantial damage to the  structure of the culvert. He had installed a pump to deal with rising water that threatened his property and stressed that  proper drainage must be provided as a matter of extreme urgency. The Chairman explained that a scheme was on a long list of County priorities and the Parish Council had no powers to do other than press strongly for action – which it would continue to do.

Solar Farms – Belchamp St Pauls: No further information was available on the appeal by the developers against the rejection of their application for these farms. The Chairman expressed the view that it could be a year before the appeal was heard. In the meantime it was understood that another application had been received involving another site.

Correspondence: The Clerk distributed copy letters from two residents complaining about intemperate, offensive and totally unacceptable language used in a circular letter from, jointly, David. Busby and Clive Waite. This had been written in response to a message from the parishioners of Liston to the residents of Foxearth about proposed developments at Stafford Park. One of the residents expanded upon her complaint – receiving support from the floor and from some members of the Council – expressing the view that apologies should be forthcoming.

Dissolution of the Foxearth and Liston grouping order: The Chairman reported that this application by the Liston Residents Association was in the hands of the District Council. Cllr. Clayton  stated that in a recent poll of Liston residents 76% were in favour of separation.

Public Question Time: A resident asked why it had been necessary to remove trees and hedges in connection with the redevelopment of a house site in Huntsmans Lane altering the appearance of the countryside and destroying wild life habitats. The owner explained that very extensive surveys had shown that trees had to be taken out in order to remove a power cable; as many trees as possible would be replaced.. A Liston resident enquired about various aspects of the way the business of the Council is run particularly with regard to emails and access to the document depository. He felt that it was quite improper that the Chairman should have access to councillors’ private emails.

Grants for 2015/2016: Grants as follows were considered and approved

Foxearth Parochial Church Council                      £600

Liston Church Appeal Fund                                  £200

Foxearth Village Hall Charitable Trust              £1,500   Approved on a casting vote

Foxearth & District Local History Society           £250

Precept for 2015/2016: This was approved as presented by the Clerk with the deletion of training expenses as Mrs Griffiths would be on maternity leave until August/September.

Password for PC Computer: As the Clerk was the sole password holder the Essex Association of local Councils had advised that a second holder should be designated. It was agreed that a document listing the password should be lodged with a lawyer for safe keeping.

Next meeting: 4th February 2015 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall.

Ken Nice.

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