AGM 2013

Braiswick Residents' Association
email ku.oc.evil|cesarb#ku.oc.evil|cesarb

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Colchester Golf Club on Tuesday 29th October 2013 at 8 p.m.

Present 55 members, Cllrs Anne Turrell and Martin Goss, Dominic Graham, PC Steve Walsom, Police Sgt Lou Middleton, and Myland Community Council Chairman Cllr Pete Hewitt

1 Welcome and Apologies
Rob Waites as Vice Chairman welcomed Members and read the Notice of the Meeting.
Chris Law advised that apologies had been received from Edward and Julia Windmill, Pat and Harry Kerr, and Dennis Brown.
Rob Waites advised the meeting that if anyone is present who is not a member then they can join tonight for a subscription which will remain at £2 per household and that only fully paid up members can vote.

2 Minutes of the last AGM
Copies of the Minutes of the 2012 AGM were distributed to all members present and there being no matters arising John Bentley proposed acceptance of the Minutes which John Jeffery seconded. The Minutes were approved by a vote of hands and signed.

3 Hon Treasurer’s Report.
Colin Hyoms presented the accounts for the year ended 30 April 2013, of which a copy was distributed to all members present.
The accounts showed that 64 household paid £128 in subscription, 3 less than last year (2011/2012).
Accumulated fund £2,123.53 after expenses of £68.63 an increase of £14 on last year due to the printing, postage and stationary.
Balances at Lloyds Bank current account £353.61 deposit account £1,769.92.
Colin thanked the honorary auditor, Philip Holroyd for his help.
Mark Cole proposed acceptance of the Accounts which Chris Law seconded.
Accounts were approved by a vote of hands.

4 Hon Chairman/Secretary’s Report
In the absence of a Chairman and Honorary Secretary the Vice Chairman gave a brief report of the main issues arising over the past year.

• The past year has seen the continuation or appearance of significant concerns which will affect Braiswick and its residents for many years to come. The Chesterwell development between the Mile End and Bergholt Roads and up to the A12 border is the obvious major issue confronting Braiswick and Mile End. This also has the potential to 'heap coals on the fire' of the worsening traffic problem at the North Station Roundabout. There is also the more recent proposal from ECC to site a new primary school on land adjacent to Apprentice Drive and Fernlea.
• Alongside these major issues are many much smaller but nether-the-less important day to day matters which can cause annoyance and detriment and potential health and safety problems. Your Association has been active in these areas and has sought and continues to seek the best outcome for Braiswick.
• The Executive Committee has met regularly since the last AGM to transact the business of the Association and to discuss and review local issues. In between meetings members of the committee have been in regular e-mail contact to deal with issues as they arise.
• Close liaison with your elected representative on CBC and ECC continues to be a regular feature of the role of Committee Members together with, when required, direct approaches to relevant officers of the Local Authorities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Councillors present here tonight for their work and efforts on all our behalf's.
• Members of the Executive Committee have undertaken specific responsibility in the last year.
• Our President John Bentley continues his sterling work in perusing planning applications, alerting other members of the committee to any that are relevant to the Braiswick area on which they may wish to comment. He also continues to manage the BRA web-site. The web-site is a useful source of information and news relevant to Braiswick. It contains links to other organisations and sources of information, a record of all committee meeting minutes and a quick way to leave a message or comments on any matter for the committee's attention.
• Chris Law has been our Chairman for most of the past year, has been the Association's representative as Vice Chairman of the working group set up by the Myland Community Council to prepare the Myland and Neighbourhood Plan about which you will hear more from Pete Hewitt a bit later in the meeting. He also monitors and controls the BRA e-mail account ku.oc.evil|cesarb#ku.oc.evil|cesarb.
• Although not something that the BRA has been involved in and outside of his role on the Executive Committee, we are pleased to record that Stephen Pitt has been involved as Chair of the Playground Redevelopment Committee, in the scheme to improve the play area of the Bergholt Road playing field. Although outside the Braiswick patch this playground is none the less an asset to the area. It's taken close to 5 years, but the playground redevelopment committee have finally raised £90,000 to redevelop the playground. Stephen reports that local children, with the help of Queen Boudicca School have picked the winning design. Work should commence in 2-3 weeks and be completed in December 2013. Stephen and his fellow committee members are to be congratulated on this marvellous achievement.
• Other issues which committee members have been involved with either in support of your elected councillors or directly with CBC and ECC are as follows:
the continued delay in longer term works to improve the surface of Bakers Lane and Spring lane. Unfortunately it appears that these works are tied up with the proposed replacement of the Spring Lane Bridge which was originally to have been undertaken earlier this year. In the meantime there has been a noticeable build-up in traffic using this road.
Stop line and pedestrian line repaint at North Station exit.
Spring Lane/Bakers Lane speed signage.
Road Drainage Braiswick and Spring lane.
Continuation in the push for the re-provisioning of roadside salt bins at strategic points.
Condition of dilapidated fence to pond in Keepers Green.
Condition of footpath between golf course and Braiswick.
Suggested improvements to the list on the CBC web-site in connection with applications to undertake work to trees protected by TPO's
• Members will also be aware of the recently announced ECC review of bus services to which ECC afford financial support. The local bus services serving Braiswick are important to many residents and if members of the Association wish to make representations or comments they can either do so directly to ECC, through their elected council representative or via the Residents Association web-site link ku.oc.evil|cesarb#ku.oc.evil|cesarb.
• Members may be aware that there have been and are, subject to any nominations not to hand at this present time, problems with filling posts for Officers of the Association. This is regrettable and it is hoped that all the posts will be filled as a result of the AGM. However the Executive Committee as a whole are formally responsible for the management and administration of the Association and providing we retain a full and active committee the work of the Association will continue effectively. The rules of the Association provide for vacancies amongst the officers to be filled by the Executive Committee and in the event that this is the situation after the AGM, the committee will look to do this.

5 Election of Officers and Committee
President and Vice-President
The Rules of the Association provide for the election of a President and Vice-President. These officers are non-voting members of the Committee but by virtue of the fact that they are usually long-standing supporters of the Association are able to offer the Executive Committee the benefit of many years experience and knowledge of the area and its issues. The candidates for these 2 posts, John Bentley and John Spurr most certainly fulfil this requirement. Both are former Chairmen of the Association and John Bentley is the current President. It has thus been proposed that JohnBentley be re-elected as President and John Spurr elected as Vice-President for the forthcoming year. These appointments were confirmed by a full show of hands - no one against.
Other Officers
We currently have no nominations for the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Hon-Secretary. So far as the Hon Treasurer is concerned, Colin Hyoms has agreed to stand again for this position. There being no other nominations for these Officer positions it is proposed Colin Hyoms is re-elected as Hon Treasurer. This appointment was confirmed by a full show of hands - no one against.
Executive Committee
The Rules of the Association provide for a total of 7 voting members of the committee including officers. At present we have 5 members of the previous committee who have agreed to stand again for re-election:- Chris Law, Rob Waites, Janice Hyoms, John Jeffery and Stephen Pitt. We also have 1 new nomination for membership of the committee in Ian Stevens. There being no other nominations tonight i can declare that these persons are elected unopposed. These appointments were confirmed by a full show of hands - no one against.

6 Ward Councillors
Cllr Anne Turrell apologised for the absence of Scott Greenhill due to work commitments and then addressed members on general matters relating to Colchester as a whole.
• Colchester Borough Council is fast running out of money.
• ECC - Rodney Bass is the new cabinet member for Highways and has changed the way road issues are actioned. Roads are now prioritised as follows:- Priority 1 - NAR, Priority 2 - 6 roads ie Braiswick, Turner Road, Boxted Road, Mill Road, Severalls Lane and Axial Way (road leading from A12 junction towards Highwoods, Priority 3 - others.
• Highways work by reporting on website, each report is given a number and can then be tracked.
• Residents can only escalate a problem through Anne Turrell, they will not talk to anyone else.
• White Lining is not a priority unless there is a safety issue.
• Highways are aware of the need to correct Speed Signage in Bakers Lane.
• Salt Bins in Fernlea - Anne Turrell promised that we will have salt in Fernlea this winter
• ECC are short of funds and cuts have been made to youth work and children's centres.
Cllr Martin Goss addressed the members advising
• The Spring Lane bridge replacement has not yet been started and the traffic regulation orders expire in December 2013. ECC have been asked to confirm a new start date but as yet are unable to do so. Martin Goss will keep chasing.
• The proposed New Braiswick Primary School is an ongoing issue and chased regularly, the suggestion is that the entrance should be off of New Braiswick Park. Expressions of interest are being sought from interested parties to operate as a free school. Montessori have shown interest. It is to be a 420 place school with the possible addition of a nursery school and open in September 2015.
• Money from Persimmon Homes for the Tufnell Way Pedestrian Refuge have now been collected and this should be carried out in 2014.
• There is a meeting arranged this week with a drainage expert to discuss the flooding in Spring Lane.
• ECC are being chased to correct the speed signage in Bakers Lane but have yet to confirm a date.
• The Bergholt Road Play Area revamp should hopefully commence shortly and subject to weather be opened by Christmas 2013.
• There has been an increase in complaints about stationary traffic on North Station Junction. ECC believe that no problem exists but the traffic lights are being checked as it appears that only a few cars are being let through at peak times on some junctions.
The Councillors then took questions
• John Bentley asked which category Bakers Lane/Spring Lane fell into and was told Priority 3.
• John Jeffery reported that branches were hidden under the flood water in Spring Lane and could prove hazardous. Anne Turrell said that she will report to ECC.
• A member asked why the Spring Lane Bridge repairs resulting in the closure of Bakers Lane would take 6 months. Anne Turrell to investigate.
• Chris Law enquired if resurfacing of Bakers Lane would be carried out at the same time that the Bridge work is carried out. This is still to be confirmed.
• Chris Law also commented on the access to be used by Construction vehicles on the New Braiswick Primary School. Anne Turrell and Martin Goss met with the ECC in September 2013 looking at the route but no update was available.
• Ian Stevens asked if a study has been taken to show if Fernlea is suitable for Construction Traffic. Again there is no update on this

7 Community Police Officer
PC Steve Walsom brought along his Sergeant and advised that the Neighbourhood Policing Teams were struggling due to the Government cuts and that 4 officers cover North Colchester which includes Mile End, Highwoods, St Johns and Braiswick. Crime is Braiswick is very low and most of the issues are minor. Parking is the main issue mainly on New Braiswick Park and a few minor family/neighbour issues.
A member reported dangerous off-road vehicle parking in a front garden on Bergholt Road with the rear of the vehicle, which has a tow bar, overhanging the pavement resulting in difficulty for people to pass especially disabled or partially sighted - 29" is required for wheelchair access. PC Walsom is aware of the situation and will investigate and speak to the person concerned.
A member from Braiswick stated that she had been disturbed by someone trying to gain access to her property via the back door. This happened at about 4.50pm on Friday and reported to the police but did not get a ring back until about 6.00pm. She was told that as it was crime scene that nothing would be done.
John Jeffery asked why no fingerprints were taken from the back door as the trespasser may have been on the police database. PC Walsom reiterated that there was no crime scene.
A member raised the issue of cycling on pavements. PC Walsom stated that, cycling on pavements is not allowed and an offence and, the Police were trying to educate people regarding this matter.

8 Neighbourhood Plan Working Group Chairman
Pete Hewitt advised that the turnout who attended the Town Hall Planning Committee meeting on 26th September re the Mersea Homes Chesterwell Planning application was very good and he thanked all those from Braiswick who attended to support the campaign against the application. An 8 page letter has been sent to Eric Pickles.
Pete Hewitt then proceeded to address the members on The Myland and Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan as follows:-
"The look and feel of our town and the neighbourhoods we live in are shaped by the Borough Council’s Local Plan, currently called its Core Strategy. When these Local Plans are devised they are subject to a period of public consultation before being independently inspected and adopted. I don’t know for certain, but I imagine not many of us individually take part in that consultation. Perhaps we feel too far removed to influence the outcome.
Once adopted the Local Plan becomes probably the most material consideration when the Borough Council decide on planning applications.
I know however that some organisations, such as Myland Community Council, do comment and try to assert influence. Influence can also be attempted via documents such as a Design Statement and / or a parish Plan. Myland has both of these, and I believe this Residents Association was represented in the Design Statement by Fluer. Both of these documents have been adopted by the Borough Council…but…only as guidance, they are not material considerations in Planning terms in the way that the Borough’s Local Plan is.
However, under the Localism Act if you have a Neighbourhood Plan that has gone through its own process of inspection and adoption, it too becomes a material planning consideration, and what’s more, according to The National Training Strategy for Town and Parish Councils, it supersedes the Borough’s Local Plan as long as, in general terms, it is aligned with it.
This means then that we will have a plan local to Myland and Braiswick. It will be our plan, for us, the communities plan for the community. But here I think lies the challenge…making it our plan but at the same time aligning it with the Borough’s Local Plan. I will come back to this shortly.
It is not a simple task to produce and have a neighbourhood plan adopted. It has to evidence that it is what the community wants, it has to be independently inspected and it will be subject to a referendum by all households in Myland and Braiswick. It will have to achieve at least 50% support from those who decide to vote.
So apart from the status angle, why go to the bother?
Perhaps I can answer that by looking at what our Neighbourhood Plan might include according to the National Association of Local Councils:
• The development of housing, including affordable housing and including brining vacant or derelict housing back into use. – The development of housing per-se will not, I suggest, feature in the Plan. This is more than amply catered for by the Borough’s Local Plan. It is more likely the case that the Plan will lay the foundations for Myland and Braiswick to practice ‘the right to buy’ enabling vacant or derelict buildings to be brought into use to meet community needs not otherwise being catered for.
I would like to add here that our tactic has been to delay the Chesterwell site until we have our Neighbourhood Plan in place but that rests with Mr Pickles dept.
• Providing for business to set up or expand their premises. – A feature that emerged in both the Design Statement and Parish Plan is the requirement to help reduce commuter travel need and time and to boost business enterprise by providing for example, small local workshops, flexible local office accommodation and local business incubator units. Reliable high performance broadband is also essential.
• Transport and access issues (roads, cycling, walking, disabled). – We are all aware of the transport problems we face. The Plan will need to consistently and persistently look for and encourage effective transport solutions. Myland and Braiswick are committed to the protection and enhancement, and of course safety, of footpaths and public rights of way for access, relaxation and health and well-being.
• The development of schools, places of worship, health facilities, leisure and entertainment facilities, community and youth centres and village halls. – It is fully acknowledged that the Myland and Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan must major in this area if the communities it serves are to be supported by economic, social and environmental sustainability. Community engagement events in the past generated a clear picture of what residents would like to see provided. We now need to build on that.
• The restriction of certain types of development and change of use, for example, to avoid too much of one type of use. – Community comment has focussed very much on the issues of over-development in terms of the housing growth and urbanisation of the area. Within this the view in particular was the desire to restrict any further construction of blocks of flats.
• The design of buildings. – Personally I am not a fan of the Northfields housing design or the NAR blocks of flats.
• Protection and creation of open space, nature reserves, allotments, sports pitches, play areas, parks and gardens, and planting of trees. – Green-field open space has featured at the top of community engagement exercises in regard to what residents value most about Myland and Braiswick. Inevitably urbanisation through the release of land has brought with it significant loss of that green open space together with its integral biodiversity habitats. Similarly sports venues have been dramatically reduced and the park land at Severalls will be severely diminished. Efforts to contain the loss of key assets and to see the provision of adequate green space will feature strongly in the Plan.
• Protection of important buildings and historic assets such as archaeological remains. – We have started work on identifying buildings that are regarded as important to Myland and Braiswick. The retention of features from a historical and/or community valued perspective all contribute towards our sense of place. Close by I can think of Moat Farm Dyke, Pitchbury Ramparts and now the important Iron Age site at the other golfing venue down Bakers Lane.
• Promotion of renewable energy projects, such as solar energy and wind turbines. – We are already making comment about features such As solar energy in developments.
Now, all these lead to this idea of sustainability and the three elements that underpin it, i.e. Social, Economic and Environmental. However, I prefer to translate these elements into a phrase I like to use and that is ‘a sense of place’ – does where I live give me a sense of belonging, or wanting to belong, does it give me an appreciation of my surroundings, for example when I walk to the fields, pass the church, pass the school where my kids went, visit the pub and so on.
Our challenge will be to transform urban sprawl into neighbourhoods with that sense of place.
Can we then look at these from a local, Myland and Braiswick point of view and yet be compatible with the Borough’s Local Plan. I think we can by taking the Borough’s policies and translating them into Myland and Braiswick versions. Here are a couple of examples I have tinkered with.
• Housing – The Borough has three key policies covering Delivery / Density / Diversity. I think we could have one that says, “The Myland and Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan will seek to ensure that housing is managed and delivered sensitively against the neighbourhood local character. It will address sustainability needs across all age ranges and related dwelling types. If necessary the ‘right to buy’ will be exercised to satisfy those needs not otherwise provided for.”
• Transport – The Borough has a number of policies that cover Accessibility and Changing Travel Behaviour / Walking and Cycling / Public Transport / Roads and Traffic / Parking. I think we could say, “The Neighbourhood Plan will continue to seek pro-active partnership with Colchester Borough Council and Essex Highways to seek effective solutions to known, anticipated and future transport network issues. The Plan will support initiatives that effectively promote a shift towards walking and cycling and the use of public transport. The Plan will seek to determine a balanced approach to development and supporting transport network enhancements that enable a smooth transition towards the envisaged urban growth in North Colchester.
But, what the Plan actually includes will depend on the results of community engagement.
The Working Group is made up of two or three Myland Councillors, Chris Law from your Residents Association and three or four residents. We are about to embark on the community engagement via a questionnaire that will be delivered via The Mylander Magazine which will be delivered to Braiswick on this occasion. There will also be an on-line version on the Myland Community Council website."

9 General Open Discussion
John Spurr asked what is the position in respect of the NAR Link Road. Martin Goss confirmed that it is on schedule to finish in Spring 2014.

10 Close of Meeting
There being no further matters Rob Waites thanked all of our Guest Speakers for attending and providing a comprehensive and informative address, the Golf Club for the use of their premises and the bar staff for their work, Members for attending and the Executive Committee for all their hard work.
Meeting closed at 9.25 pm

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