Report of Parish Council Meeting 4th February 2015

There was a meeting of the Parish Council for Foxearth and Liston on Wednesday 4th February with Councillor Clive Waite in the Chair. The Chairman welcomed Mr Kevin Money, temporary clerk during Mrs Griffith’s maternity leave.

At this penultimate meeting before the local elections in May there was a continuation of the acrimonious argument typical of the last meeting involving councillors and residents. Contentious issues raised were the alleged inappropriate use of his casting votes by the Chairman, the procedure for the declaration of interests (pecuniary and non-pecuniary) about which differing expert opinions seem to have been received, the accuracy of minutes and access to members’ private emails. In public question time one resident recalled that at the last meeting it had been strongly asserted that Messrs. Busby and Waite should apologise for a letter circulated by them in response to a circulated message from Liston residents about possible developments at Stafford Park. No apology was made at the meeting but the minutes record that a written apology had been issued by the writers. Several residents complained about the intemperate and offensive content of their letter. The resident stated that he had seen no apology and asked where it might be accessed. The Chairman said that an apology had been issued but was unable to recall the precise details. The Council passed a resolution disassociating itself from the letter.

The Leader of Essex County Council, Cllr. David Finch, was pleased to report that County had a lower Council Tax rate than Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk local authorities and that for the fifth year there would be no increase in Council Tax in the year 2015/16. Library services – 73 permanent, 10 mobile – would continue unchanged. Additional capital funds of £23million for flood relief (priority of numerous schemes yet to be decided) and £50million for highways had been allocated. In the last year 16% more schools had been designated as excellent and additional capacity had been created in primary schools. Greater use of LED technology would produce economies in street lighting costs.

Mr Keith Robson – a resident with wide experience of IT systems – offered to assist the Council in IT/email matters; he was thanked and this was noted for the future.

With regard to the application made by the Liston Residents’ Association to dissolve the Foxearth and Liston grouping order it was reported that this would be going out for wide consultation with a closing date of 20th March 2015.

An appeal by Mr Richard Morris against a decision by the Clerk to refuse to allow disclosure of emails sent from councillors’ private email accounts was rejected.

A financial statement showing expenditure to date against budget provision was received.

The next meeting  would be on Thursday 26th March and the Annual Meeting of Electors would be on 28th May – both at 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall

Ken Nice

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