AGM 2015 Minutes

Braiswick Residents’ Association
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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Colchester Golf Club on Tuesday 10 November at 8.00 pm.

Present 36 members, Cllr Anne Turrell, Cllr Martin Goss, Cllr Dominic Graham, Cllr Ben Locker, PC Steve Walsom, Andrew Williams (Colchester Borough Council).

1. Welcome and apologies
Rob Waites (Chairman 2014/15) welcomed members and read the notice of the meeting.
He advised that apologies had been received from Dennis & Sheila Brown, Leonie Taylor and June Patey.
He also advised that if anyone present was not a member they could join that night and Colin Hyoms (Hon Treasurer) would be pleased to receive their subscription which remains at the sum of £2 per household. Only fully paid up members can vote at the meetings of the Association.

2. Minutes of last AGM
Rob Waites said that copies of the Minutes of last year’s AGM had been placed on the Association website. Also electronic copies had been distributed to those members for whom the Association held an email address. Hard copies were also available on the night. There being no matters arising John Jeffery proposed acceptance of the Minutes which Chris Law seconded. The Minutes were approved by a show of hands and signed.

3. Hon. Treasurers report
The Hon. Treasurer, Colin Hyoms, advised that copies of the accounts for the year ending 30 April 2015 were available on each table at the meeting and would also be appended to the minutes of the 2015 AGM. He then ran through the figures for the past financial year.

Balance in the Current account at year end was £381.11(£275.03 previous year)
Balance in the Deposit Account at year end was £1,771.48 (£1,770.70 previous year)
Colin Hyoms thanked Phil Holroyd FCA for once again preparing the accounts.
Acceptance of the accounts was proposed and seconded and approved by a show of hands.

4. Chairman/ Secretary’s report
Rob Waites delivered a report on events and issues affecting the area over the last year. For the purposes of the minutes these are summarised as follows:
• The past year had seen continuation of work by developers to design and seek approval for major schemes affecting Braiswick and the surrounding areas.
Work started in May on the first phase of the Chesterwell development on the northern part of the site, with 105 two, three and four-bedroom homes. The first homes will probably be ready for occupation in the next couple of months.
• Despite overwhelming opposition from local residents, a vigorous and well-argued campaign and legal challenges pursued in the High Court, the new Braiswick School partially opened at the beginning of September 2015 with a first intake of 60 children. With timing depending on demand, subsequent intakes will take the school to its current design capacity of 420 pupils.
Outstanding issues remain relating to the school which have yet to be satisfactorily resolved including the exit road onto Fernlea which has not been constructed in accordance with the approved planning consent details.
The issue of parking which will almost certainly arise as school numbers increase. Community use of the school premises could have a large negative effect on local residents although there are planning restrictions and requirements which will have to be met by the school. The Association will be active in monitoring the situation and supporting residents as necessary.
• In his capacity as a Fernlea resident rather than as Chairman of the Association, Robert Waites submitted via Anne Turrell an application for designation of Fernlea as a 20 mph zone. This followed a leaflet drop to all houses on the Fernlea/ Stonecrop development asking for support for the proposal. This would bring Fernlea into line with the similar zone already existing on Apprentice Drive. Commuter parking at the top of Fernlea has also been raised again with Essex Highways as part of the 20 mph submission.

• Works to the Spring Lane/ Bakers Lane Bridge were finally concluded when it reopened earlier this year. It was disappointing that carriageway repairs and resurfacing were only carried out close to the new bridge rather than, as hoped for, along the whole length of road. There remain potholes and road edge deterioration which do not bode well for the future. This matter will be kept under review by the Association.

• The problem of traffic at the North Station roundabout remains a perennial concern. Proposed and existing development proposals remain likely sources of aggravation in this respect. The park and ride scheme was seen by the authorities as an important relieving factor to Colchester’s traffic problems. The well publicised lack of use of the service at present suggests that much remains to be done to justify these hopes.

• Crime continues to have a very low impact on Braiswick. The committee monitors the situation via regular crime updates received from the Colchester Police Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor, Angie Pearson. Useful information and links relating to crime prevention provided by Angie are placed on the Residents’ Association web-site.

• The Local Government Boundary Commission proposals reducing the number of Colchester Borough councillors to 51 and dividing the borough into 17 wards is being implemented. Braiswick will be split from the Mile End council ward and linked to Lexden and outlying villages. As from the 2016 elections, the new Lexden & Braiswick ward will comprise Lexden, Braiswick, Aldham, Eight Ash Green and West Bergholt. New Braiswick Park will remain with the Mile End ward.

• Colchester Borough Council is consulting on a new Local Plan to cover the period 2017 -2032. This will provide the future strategy for the district setting out what development will take place and where, to 2032 and beyond. Consultations and preliminary studies have taken place and developers and other interested parties asked to suggest potential sites for future development although with no guarantee that these will be included in the new plan. Much remains to play for by those wishing to develop and for those who feel that enough is enough. Next comes public consultations on the preferred options for the draft plan to be published in March/ April 2016. The association will pay a keen interest in the draft proposals when published.

• The Executive Committee has continued to meet regularly to transact the business of the Association and to discuss and review local matters. In between meetings members of the committee are in regular email contact to deal with issues as they arise.
Close liaison with the elected representatives on CBC and ECC is an important aspect of the work of the committee together with, when required, direct approaches to officers of the local authorities. The Association’s appreciation of the time and effort Councillors put in for the benefit of the community was put on record.
• The Association’s President, John Bentley, continued to scrutinise planning applications which may affect the Braiswick area, alerting the committee to any which may need comment. He also continued to manage the Braiswick Residents’ Association website which provides information and news relevant to Braiswick. It contains links to other organisations, 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, who has been Honorary Secretary for the past year, continued to be the Association’s representative on the working party set up by the Myland Community Council to prepare the Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan. Chris provided a brief update on the situation later in the meeting. Chris has now stood down from the committee and appreciation was expressed for the work and time he had put in over the last few years on behalf of residents.

• The AGM invitation notice made a request for additional residents to consider putting themselves forward for the committee. The constitution of the association provided for 7 voting members including officers and for the past year there were only 6 members with the possibility of it dropping to 5 with Chris Law’s resignation. Whilst the committee could still operate with only 5 voting members it was both beneficial and conducive to production of new ideas and a more lively debate if there were the full number of committee members.

• The upcoming reorganisation of the Borough wards boundaries will require councillors to cover larger areas and electorates than ever before. This makes it even more important for residents’ associations to provide a focus for the collection of issues and problems enabling them to be brought more readily and effectively to the attention of elected council representatives. It helps them and it helps the residents.
Rob Waites said that by way of a plug for the existence of the Braiswick Residents Association, Braiswick was not included within the remit of Myland Parish Council due to it already being covered by a strong residents’ association. The £2 per year per household membership subscription represented a healthy discount over a number of years on the parish precept charged to residents of the parish council area.
Rob Waites urged that, if residents were not putting themselves forward for election on the night, they considered the matter further and if interested contacted him on the email address given in the notice of the meeting or leave a message on the association web-site.
• That concluded the annual report of the Executive Committee.
There being no comments or questions on the report it was formally approved by a show of hands.

5. Myland & Braiswick Neighbourhood Plan
Chris Law said that for the past 3 years the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group (NPWG), comprising 3 Myland Community Councillors, himself representing the BRA and 4 Residents, have been working on the plan (NP). Generally they have been meeting every 4 weeks with additional sessions as required to work on specific items.
Throughout this period of time Pete Hewitt has been the Chairman and Chris Law Vice Chairman of the working group.
Over the last 12 months a considerable amount of work has been undertaken by the NPWG.
On 23rd March 2015 a consultation period for Version 1 of the NP was initiated with copies placed on the BRA & MCC websites giving all residents an opportunity to comment. This period closed on 8th May 2015.
After some minor amendments, on 15th May 2015 a 2nd consultation period for Version 2 of the NP was initiated, again with copies placed on the BRA & MCC websites giving a further opportunity to comment. This period closed on 26th June 2015.
During October 2015 a ‘Submission Version’ of the NP was formally endorsed by both MCC & BRA at their respective Committee Meetings.
The NP is now in its final form and remains available to view on the BRA website. It is programmed to be submitted to Colchester Borough Council this month (November 2015) for a 6 week period of consultation with the Statutory Bodies.

Following this the next stages of the NP process with indicative timescales are:
• Independent Examination Feb/Mar 2016
• Referendum Apr/May 2016
• Adoption May/June 2016

This plan, when adopted in 2016, will become a material consideration which will have to be taken
Into account in the determination of any planning applications within the neighbourhood plan area.

Chris Law referred to a further matter of which both MCC and BRA are also aware relating to a small area of land proposed for development at St Botolph’s Farm in Braiswick. This was submitted by a potential developer in response to the CBC 2015 ‘Call for Sites Exercise’ referred to by Rob Waites in his report. MCC and BRA anticipate being included in discussions with CBC and developers if this site becomes a development option.

6. Election of Officers and Committee
In recommending on behalf of the Committee that the membership reappoint John Bentley as President of the Association, Rob Waites paid tribute to John’s long record of service to the Association and Braiswick at large. The committee regarded itself as fortunate that John chose to continue to offer it the benefit of his advice and experience.
The meeting unanimously approved the appointment by a show of hands.
Rob Waites not having put himself forward for the post of Chairman for 2015/16, it had been proposed that Stephen Pitt would be appointed Chairman of the Association for this period. There being no other nominations, the appointment was confirmed by a show of hands. At this point Stephen took over as Chairman of the Association and the AGM.
Other Officers
Rob Waites had been proposed for the post of Honorary Secretary and Colin Hyoms had agreed to stand again as Honorary Treasurer. There being no other nominations the appointments were confirmed by a show of hands.
Executive Committee
With 3 voting officer positions having been filled, there remained 4 available executive committee posts to be filled with Janice Hyoms and John Jeffrey having already confirmed their willingness to stand again. On the night, David Mehigan confirmed his willingness to join the committee and there being no other nominations these appointments were confirmed by a show of hands (*see note at end of minutes in connection with the remaining Executive Committee post).

7. Ward Councillors
Councillor Anne Turrell (AT) Essex County Council discussed the following issues which had been raised by constituents:
i. The condition of the main Braiswick/ Bergholt Road. The Braiswick Road is a priority 2 road in ECC parlance which means that it is inspected every 3 months for defects. The Highways Department have confirmed to AT that parts of the Bergholt Road will be resurfaced probably in 2017/18 but only where required due to condition. They consider other areas of Bergholt Road and Braiswick to need only pothole repairs as and when required.
Ii. Vehicle noise due to the condition of the A12 road surface. This has been complained about by a Braiswick resident who has previously raised it direct with ECC. AT has investigated this matter but has been told by Highways Department that there is nothing they can do about it.
iii. Proposed termination of no. 63 bus service serving New Braiswick Park. This concerns many residents and also parents using the bus for the ‘school run’. AT has taken this up with the Bus Company but is not hopeful that any changes will be made.
iv. AT confirmed that the application for a 20mph safety zone on Fernlea is with the ECC panel for consideration. However she warned that it would not be a quick process and can take up to 2 years.
v. Traffic problems at North Station. Use of the Park & Ride service has admittedly been patchy but often these schemes take a time to become established.
Finally AT mentioned the bags of road salt with which she has been supplied by ECC for distribution to residents living close to particular trouble spots. As notified to the Residents’ Association, these were available.
The following questions were raised on the night by residents:
John Bentley -the long-standing pot-hole in the main road opposite Achnacone Drive. The responsibility for repairs had been pushed to Anglia Water by ECC but so far nothing has been done. AT asked JB for more details and said she would pursue it.
John Jeffrey – uneven road coming up hill from West Bergholt near 30 mph sign. Although repaired it is worse than it was before. AT said that this had been reported by another resident and that she was taking it further.
Chris Law – pointed out that the no. 63 bus service formed an important part of the new Braiswick School’s ‘Travel Plan’ which has been approved by ECC. Discontinuation of the service had a major impact on its validity. AT said that she had already taken this up with the relevant authorities.
John Spurr – Tufnell Road refuge. AT said that this had already been raised with her and she was seeking information from ECC on the programme.
Councillor Ben Locker (BL) Colchester Borough Council discussed the following issues which had been raised by constituents:
i. BL had supported the opposition to the school exit road being routed through Fernlea
ii. Proposed discontinuation of the no. 63 bus route
iii. The continuing lack of the pedestrian refuge at the Tufnell Way/ Bergholt Road junction
iv. The condition of the Fernlea Road surface
He had contacted Will Quince (MP) on issues ii – iv and Will has written to Rodney Bass (ECC Cabinet Member for Infrastructure) in respect of item iii and Eddie Johnson (ECC Cabinet Member for Highways) concerning item iv.
BL said that he fully supported the application for a 20 mph speed zone on Fernlea but also made the point that speed restrictions should be enforced on the main road. Traffic exiting from Fernlea was at risk due to excess speed of some vehicles on the main road. This risk would be exacerbated by the increased use of Fernlea by school traffic.
BL also discussed the budget of £2000 allocated to each councillor to be spent on community projects. He has arranged a ‘pitch for cash’ event to be held on 11 December at Colchester Rugby Club. ‘Fliers’ had been produced to publicise the event. The purpose was to identify worthy ward projects which could be considered for some funding.
Councillor Martin Goss (MG) Colchester Borough Council discussed the following matters:
i. Due to the forthcoming ward boundary changes which would see Braiswick moved from the existing Mile End Ward to the new Lexden & Braiswick Ward this would be his last year representing Braiswick. He also explained that he was currently Chair of Colchester Borough Council’s Local Plan committee.
ii. MG confirmed that consultations are underway for the Local Plan revisions due to cover planning strategy for the period 2017 – 2032. Currently his committee is looking at issues relating to potential development along the borders with the neighbouring Tendering and Braintree Council areas.
iii. The proposed discontinuation of the no. 63 bus service. MG has contacted the bus company management and suggested that the 66 bus route be diverted along Tufnell Way. They have responded by saying that this would not be possible due to the need for additional drivers.
iv. Traffic issues at North Station roundabout. Pressure continues to be applied to ECC to make improvements. As part of the Chesterwell development Mersea Homes are required to fund necessary local infrastructure improvements to minimise future adverse impact. However MG said that improvements at North Station are required now.
v. The Braiswick boundary. Chris Law (CL) had seen recent information which suggested that the new ward’s boundary would include the north side of Tufnell Way. MG agreed that if this was so it would not make practical sense and he would look into it.
vi. CL asked whether if Tendering and Braintree Councils reduced their proposals for future housing it would fall on Colchester to make up the shortfall. MG said ultimately it would be a matter for the Government Planning Inspector to adjudicate on this and it would be evidence based rather than a political decision.
vii. John Jeffrey said that before any future housing the infrastructure should be provided to cope with it. MG agreed and said that forward funding of improvements was the key. This would come either from developers and/ or consortia of local authorities, central government and perhaps bodies such as the NHS. This should not be just for roads but other important services such as schools and hospitals.
Councillor Dominic Graham (DG) Colchester Borough Council said that most current local issues of concern had already been dealt with by colleagues who had spoken before him thus he did not wish to go over the same ground again.
i. He informed the meeting that he was the Colchester Borough Council portfolio holder for Street and Waste Services. This included acting as the Council’s representative on the Essex County Council’s Highways Panel.
ii. As part of his portfolio responsibilities DG said that he had attended a recent meeting with ECC on infrastructure matters. This was with the objective of trying to ensuring that essential upgrades to transport links are put in place, such as dualling the A120 and the trebling of the A12, before development including new housing is implemented.
Iii. Colchester Borough Council was also looking at better ways of waste collection.
iv. Brain Jarvis asked if public consultation on waste collection was to go ahead. DG confirmed that there would be public consultation early next year, and all residents will be invited to contribute to the discussion. The updated new policy will be published on the Council’s web-site to facilitate this consultation.
v. John Jeffrey made the point that collection of a maximum of 4 bags of green garden waste was allowed in summer but up to 8 bags in the winter. He wondered why as this seemed counter-intuitive. DG said that he would look into this (**see note at end of minutes for update on this item).

8. Community Police Officer
P.C. Steve Walsom (Community Police Officer) and his colleagues in the Neighbourhood Policing Team cover the Highwoods, Mile End, St John’s and Braiswick areas.

Steve said that this would be the last Braiswick Residents’ Association meeting he would be attending as he was retiring.
As was reported last year by Steve, changes to the police service in Colchester have continued with major cuts in funding due in the near future. In Essex as a whole, Police Community Support Officers were being cut from over 260 down to the 60’s. Some of the remaining PCSO’s were being funded by parish councils. It is likely that Colchester will have only 6 PCSOs.
Steve also reported that the Community Police Officers will not in future be allocated individual patches but would instead work as a team. Response to incidents will be prioritised based on risk and threat level etc. Steve said that ‘incidents’ do not necessarily refer to a crime as the police are often the first port of call and get non-urgent telephone reports and issues which are not really for the police to respond to.
Braiswick remained a very low crime risk area. Steve said that there were around 250 incidents per month in the Mile End ward of which only about 10 were in Braiswick. Braiswick remains a safe place to live – indeed Colchester as a whole remains a relatively safe place to live.
9. Colchester Borough Council Zone 3 Manager
Andy Williams (Zone Manager Community Services) introduced himself and the work of his team.

Colchester has been split into 7 zones and Braiswick is currently part of Zone 3 which, apart from Myland, also comprises Highwoods, St John’s, West Bergholt, Eight Ash Green, Fordham, Wormingford, Little Horkesley, Great Horkesley, Boxted, Langham and Dedham. Andy is line manager for 2 other zones in addition to Zone 3.

Apart from himself as Manager the Zone 3 team comprises two wardens and four operatives. Many different types of issues are dealt including graffiti, litter, litter bins, dog waste collection, the mechanical sweeping of pavements etc , maintaining street name plates, dumped cars, fly-tipping, environmental clean-ups and the inspection of children’s play areas. Education of the public on these issues is also part of the remit which can take the form of community based events. Liaison with ward councillors is an important feature of the work.

The preferred means of contact for residents wishing to report issues requiring attention or general enquiries is via Colchester Borough Council Customer Services or the CBC web-site e.g. (

10. General Open Discussion
No further issues or concerns were raised by the members attending and thus the business of the evening was concluded

11. Close of Meeting
The Chairman for 2015/16, Stephen Pitt, thanked members for attending the AGM, the guest speakers for their contributions to the evening and the Golf Club for the use of its facilities and its staff for their help. The meeting was declared closed at 09.10 pm.

Subsequent to the meeting
Trevor Welham agreed to fill the vacancy on the Executive Committee
DG later confirmed to John Jeffrey that 4 bags were allowed in the summer due to the current capacity of the service. 8 bags are allowed in winter as the amount of green waste recycling is usually lower therefore there is more capacity to process it.

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