Annual General Meeting 2018

Braiswick Residents’ Association

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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at Colchester Golf Club on Tuesday 13 November 2018 at 8.00 pm.

Present: 55 members (including Cllrs Jarvis and Barber), Cllr Anne Turrell, Graham Stehle (Chairman Colchester District Neighbourhood Watch)

1. Welcome and apologies
Stephen Pitt (SP) - Chairman 2017/18 - welcomed members and guests to the meeting.
Apologies had been received from Doctor and Mrs Vernon, Trudy Barrell, Jill Palmer, Diana & Rodney Fulford

2. Minutes of last AGM
The minutes of last year’s AGM had been placed on the Association website and hard copies were also available on the tables around the room. No matters arising or corrections on the minutes were raised by members and they were signed by the Chairman as a true record.

3. Hon. Treasurers report
Unfortunately Colin Hyoms, Honorary Treasurer, was unable to attend the meeting as he was unwell. In his absence Stephen Pitt presented the audited accounts for the year ending 30 April 2018.

Copies of the accounts were available on each table at the meeting and would also be appended to the minutes of the 2018 AGM. The figures for the past financial year were as follows:

Balance in the Current account at year end was £998.06 (£901.04 previous year)
Balance in the Deposit Account at year end was £1,774.08 (£1,773.17 previous year)

There had been little movement in the accounts over the last year – mainly printing costs and subscriptions coming in.

SP thanked Phil Holroyd FCA for once again preparing the accounts.

There being no questions from members, the accounts were approved unopposed.

4. Chairman’s report
SP reported on Braiswick issues and the work of the Association over the last year as summarised below:
• The committee of the Association continued to meet regularly over the past year and a copy of the minutes of the meetings can be found on the Association’s website.

• Although due to operational requirements and limited resources the Police are no longer able to attend Residents’ Association meetings, Grahame Stehle, Chairman of the Colchester Neighbourhood Watch is here to talk about the work of the Colchester Neighbourhood Watch (NwH). Information and advice on crime and crime prevention provided by the NwH is published as appropriate on the Association’s website.

• The Gladman’s housing proposals for Bakers Lane were turned down on appeal. Rob Waites represented the Residents’ Association and spoke at the Appeal.

• A planning application which related to 6 holiday chalets and associated camping at West House Farm Bakers Lane was received by Colchester Borough Council. Along with many residents the Association’s committee had concerns about the effects this proposal would have on the traffic situation in Bakers Lane/ Spring Lane and the incursion into a semi-rural area. The original application was withdrawn but resubmitted 1 November 2017 apparently without reference to the possible camping site. Although still showing on the Colchester Council Planning website as having a target decision date of 26 August 2018, it appears that a decision has yet to be made.

• The Gladman’s proposal for 97 houses adjoining Hill House Farm West Bergholt which was refused planning consent by Colchester Borough Council has gone to appeal. The Association objected to these proposals along with 165 other objectors!

• Potholes. The recent resurfacing of Bergholt Road has remedied the issue for that stretch of road however problems remain with the top of Bakers Lane which was not resurfaced with the remainder of Baker’s Lane and Spring Lane pending drainage remedial works. Some temporary repairs have been carried out but poorly executed

• The quality of the recent resurfacing to the main Braiswick road has lead to complaints from residents including difficulties for cyclists due to loose stones, lack of cats’ eyes and uneven surface.

• An application for a scheme to control commuter parking in Fernlea was submitted to the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) by the Association but too late to be included in the emerging programme. In any case the NEPP pointed out that the level of support from potentially affected residents did not meet the criteria used by the NEPP to validate applications (75-80%). However the door was left open for future consideration of extension of the yellow lines at the top of Fernlea.

• The proposal for a 20 mph zone in Fernlea is progressing and the Association understands that the scheme is being prepared for signing-off by the Port-folio Holder at Essex County Council.

• The new Braiswick School has received a ‘Good’ OFSTED report with an ‘Outstanding’ rating in several areas. This is a very good result for a brand new school. Residents and the school management continue to work closely together to resolve safety/ nuisance issues around speed of cars exiting the school site and thoughtless parking. As the school reaches capacity these areas could be a growing problem.

5. Election of Officers and Committee

John Bentley confirmed that he was willing to serve as the Association’s President for a further year and his re-election was confirmed by a unanimous show of hands.

As the outgoing Chairman, Stephen Pitt handed over to Rob Waites to deal with the appointment of the Chairman for 2018/19. Stephen Pitt agreed to undertake the duties of chairman for a further period. There being no other nominations Stephen was returned unopposed although Rob Waites requested a show of hands to confirm that members were happy with the reappointment. This was overwhelmingly given. Rob handed the meeting back to Stephen as the returned Chairman for 2018/19

Other committee members
There had been no nominations received prior to the meeting for members wishing to stand for election. Stephen Pitt asked if any members present on the night wished to join the committee. As there were not the following were returned unopposed to serve on the Executive Committee for 2018/19:

Rob Waites (Hon Sec.), Colin Hyoms (Hon. Treasurer), Janice Hyoms, David Mehigan, Trevor Welham and John Jeffery

6. Colchester District Neighbourhood Watch

Grahame Stehle, Chairman of Colchester District Neighbourhood Watch (NhW), had been invited to the meeting to talk about the work of the Neighbourhood Watch.

• He first became involved seven years ago as the Scheme Coordinator for Great Horkesley – a responsibility which he still undertakes. Since then the membership in the village has grown from 20 to 252 – more than 20% of the homes.

• In 2014 he met with the police to talk about re-launching NhW in Colchester. At that time there were just a handful of schemes operating independently in Colchester with an unknown number of members but estimated to be around 200 at most. Now in Colchester there are 90 schemes and 3,552 members.

• Scheme Coordinators receive reports of crime for the whole of Colchester and details of where the next ‘Hot Spots’ based on police intelligence and trends are expected to be. Also information about how to prevent crime, report crime, and where to seek help. They in turn advise members of crime in their local area and what members can do to avoid becoming victims themselves.

• Grahame read out examples of the sort of information given in the crime reports and also explained the ‘Hot Spot’ maps.

• Sometimes the Police, through Scheme Coordinators, ask NhW members for any information they may have on a specific crime.

• The NhW works in partnership with Colchester Police, the Safer Colchester Partnership, Crimestoppers, the Youth Enquiry Service, the Fire and Rescue Service and a number of active Councillors. Grahame meets regularly with all of these.

• On-going issues are:

• Getting members to report crimes and suspicions of criminal activity;
• Continuing to increase the number of schemes and scheme members;
• Not letting any scheme fall by the wayside;
• Succession Planning.

• Councillor Lewis Barber has agreed to be the NwH coordinator for Braiswick

• The main job is to increase the number of NwH members and Grahame had placed leaflets and forms on the tables around the meeting giving information and would work with Lewis on this.

7. County & Borough Councillors

a. Councillor Anne Turrell (AT) (Essex County Council Mile End Division) discussed the following issues:

• AT has spoken to the Port-folio Holder at Essex County Hall concerning the Fernlea 20 mph scheme and received confirmation that it will be signed-off.

• AT floated the idea of a mini-roundabout at the junction of Fernlea with the main Braiswick (B1508) road. She felt that this might reduce issues with speeding on the main road and also ease the situation at the top of Fernlea by allowing the peak school traffic to exit onto the main road more easily. She asked for views on this to be forwarded to the Residents’ Association. It would require an application to be made to the Local Highways Panel.

• A133 Ipswich Road/Harwich Road improvement scheme. AT understood that necessary utilities diversion work was still affecting traffic flow. Also the on-going works to strengthen the Waitrose car park retaining wall. These works need to be undertaken prior to the contractor starting to work on the 2 new roundabouts and other road works. The work is programmed to finish in 2020 although ways of speeding this up work are being investigated.

• Works to calm traffic in Mill Road are on-going

• Road salt supplied by the Council is available from AT for use on public roads and pavements (not private drives etc.). This can be obtained via the Residents’ Association.

• Wheelie Bins. The local Liberal Democrats are undertaking a survey to ascertain residents’ feelings about having wheelie bins to replace the current black bags and green waste sacks. Anne made the point that the survey results should not be taken as determining that Braiswick would or would not get wheelie bins. An informal poll taken by a show of hands at the meeting showed little support for wheelie bins. Anne asked residents to respond to the letters delivered to Braiswick households.

AT dealt with the following questions:
(i) Q. What will be done about the state of the road at the top of Bakers Lane as mentioned earlier in the meeting?
A. AT confirmed that something would be done and will let the Residents’ Association know

(ii) Q. Road surface of the main B1508 – will something be done to remedy it.
A. AT said she had complained to ECC. The cat’s eyes would be replaced.

(iii) Q. The number of heavy lorries using the Bergholt Road/ B1508 had noticeably increased. Was there any reason for this?
A. AT said that as the road was a ‘B’ category highway there was little legally that could be done about this.

(iv) Q. Following on from the last question – were these lorries being redirected?
A. AT said that if residents can get details of the companies concerned she will take it up with them

(v) Q. Are not wheelie bins inappropriate for elderly or physically challenged residents who may have to move them some distance?
A. AT said persons in this category can apply for assisted collection.

b. Councillor Brian Jarvis (BJ) (Colchester Borough Council Lexden and Braiswick Ward ) discussed the following issues:

• BJ referred to the magnificent turnout for the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Town’s War Memorial. It was something the Town could be proud of.

• On the subject of wheelie bins, BJ said his experience was that Braiswick did not want them.

• Gladman’s proposals for Bakers Lane – although the developer’s legal team was strong, the rejection of the appeal was argued and won on the merits of the Council’s and objectors’ case. BJ said that the sooner the new Local Plan for Colchester was approved the better as an up to date plan provided better protection against unwelcome speculative applications.

• Lexden Bridge Hamlet. The completion of the scheme seemed to drag on and on! Still awaited was the signage which would say something like ‘Please drive carefully through Lexden Bridge Hamlet’. This was still with ECC.

• ‘Jumbo’. This time last year the hope was that an agreement would be reached with the owner as part of the establishment of an ‘arts’ area in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Mercury Theatre. There has been no such agreement yet. In the meantime the owner has a legal responsibility to maintain the edifice as it is a ‘listed’ structure of architectural/ historic importance and very prominent.

• Curzon Cinema in Queen Street is now open and in BJ’s opinion provides a very good addition to the Queen Street area.

• The former Crouch Street cinema – the current planning application for redevelopment has been withdrawn and a new application is expected.

• Essex County Hospital – proposals are awaited for development of this site.

• Student accommodation etc. proposed for Queen Street. The current application has been withdrawn and is to be resubmitted. BJ said that the type of accommodation and provision would not be affected rather the layout revised.

• BJ reminded residents that each councillor has a ‘Locality Budget’ allocated to them of £2000 which can be used to facilitate small local projects. Schools can also apply. BJ said that the Residents’ Association could put forward suggestions for this.

c. Councillor Lewis Barber (LB) (Colchester Borough Council Lexden & Braiswick Ward) discussed the following issues:

• LB agreed that the main Braiswick/ Bergholt road works had been badly handled and inadequately advertised. The amount of grit on the roads was unacceptable especially for cyclists and there was 6-7 miles of it. He has had a meeting with ECC to improve the planning of future such works. He has also asked Colchester Council to arrange a sweep even though it is an ECC responsibility following on from the road works.

• New Local Plan for Colchester. LB referred to Section 1 of the draft new Local Plan which deals with the new garden communities. This hadn’t been supported by the Planning Inspector at the planning enquiry. Colchester Council and its partners have to rethink many issues.
Section 2, providing the specific policies and allocations for Colchester Borough, has not yet been submitted for Planning Inspector scrutiny and cannot be done so until Section 1 issues are resolved. This leaves Colchester Council in a difficult position as developers can argue that the Local Plan has reached the end of its life and there is no new one in operation. This leaves Colchester open to speculative development.

• Wheelie bins – LB doesn’t agree with these and thinks that they are expensive and unnecessary.

• LB requested that the Neighbourhood Watch forms left on the tables be completed as it was an important opportunity to improve security in the area.

Lewis dealt with the following question:

(i) Q. What were the red lines that had appeared around various places on the road surface at the top of Bakers Lane for?
A. LB said that as mentioned earlier the road surface at the top of Bakers Lane had not been repaired as surface water drainage works were required first. The lines mentioned were in conjunction with the design stage for the works. The main works would hopefully be done next year.

8. General Open Discussion.

(i) Q. A question was raised about the apparent inadequacy of the phasing of traffic lights at the North Station roundabout which led to a build-up of traffic.
A. AT said that the main problem was that the roads leading to the roundabout were not capable of taking the amount of traffic currently using them. Thus at peak times the roundabout cannot cope. She said that she is forever complaining on behalf of residents and the traffic engineers fiddle with the timing etc. But it doesn’t really help. ECC are still working on their transport strategy for North Colchester including North Station.

(ii) Q. A Fernlea resident queried why the Association thought that an extension of yellow lines and a parking scheme was required in Fernlea. They made the point that the problems only occurred for about 20 minutes twice a day and it seemed unreasonable to disadvantage Fernlea residents by restricting their parking just for this.
A. Rob Waites dealt with this question. In response he replied that peak school traffic had not been reached yet as the school would not be at capacity for a year or two. The real problem was commuter parking at the top of Fernlea coupled with school traffic and thoughtless drivers who do not give way to on-coming traffic (even when the on-coming traffic has priority) or who stop opposite parked cars rather than leaving a gap to allow traffic entering Fernlea to proceed. There had already been reports of minor road rage incidents and potentially head on crashes. The current response of the NEPP reported earlier n the meeting meant that no action was likely to be taken in the near future to further restrict parking in Fernlea.

9. Close of Meeting
In closing Stephen Pitt said that he hoped the meeting had been informative and thanked the speakers for attending. He suggested that residents kept an eye on the Association’s website for news and passed on any issues which were causing concern. The Association’s email and website addresses were printed at the top of last year’s minutes. In conclusion he thanked the Golf Club and staff for their hospitality and the use of their lounge.

The meeting was declared closed at 9.15 p.m.

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