Minutes of meeting Tuesday 7th November 2023

Little Totham Parish Council


Minutes of Meeting, Tuesday 7th November 2023


The Parish Council met on Tuesday 7th November in the Evangelical Hall, at 7.30 pm.




Chairman N. Lawrence

Vice-chairman J. Hughes


Councillors: V. Hare, R. Siddall and S. Venton                                                                            Parishioners: 2


23.85 Apologies for Absence: Councillors T. Gritton and A. Philpott sent apologies.


23.86 To invite Councillors to declare an interest in matters on the Agenda. None were declared.


23.87 Minutes 03/10/23

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 3rd October 2023 be approved and confirmed.


23.88 Update for parish newsletter

Chairman Lawrence had written October’s update paragraph which had been published. Councillor Venton will provide the text for November.

RESOLVED Councillor Venton to send paragraph to the Clerk.


23.89  a) Planning applications

23/00920/FUL Change of use of agricultural building to a café at Chigborough Farm – Councillors support this application.

23/00996/HOUSE Single storey garage extension at ‘Seasons’ School Road – No objections to this application from Councillors.

OUT/MAL/23/00651 Outline application for the erection of two detached single storey light industrial units at Beckingham Business Park – Councillors discussed this application and agreed reasons to object. Councillors Siddall and Hughes will call in this application.

b) Planning decisions

No planning decisions received from MDC.

RESOLVED The Clerk to submit responses to MDC planning.


23.90 Common land

Chairman Lawrence brought to the meeting a small selection of the many golf balls that he has collected recently from the back common where an unknown person has been unofficially playing golf. This is a potential hazard to dogs and people using the common. Councillor Venton will mention this in his update for the newsletter.

Chairman Lawrence also circulated some printed photos that he has taken of dumped rubbish on the common near to the goalposts which is an ongoing problem.

Councillor Hughes is back in contact with Richard Mabbitt regarding land and title ownership.

Councillors discussed whether to send letters to residents where their boundaries have encroached onto the common land but it was agreed not to do so at this time.


23.91 Local Authority Treescape project

Councillor Siddall reported that the trees will be delivered on 15th January 2024 to Sawyers Field car park and planting will then take place on 16th, 17th and 18th January. There are 15 specimen trees, some of which will be planted on the green and some near the war memorial with plaques for Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and King Charles.

Councillor Venton confirmed that he had cut back all of the vegetation from the far side of the pond which was overgrowing into the neighbouring property as the house owner had raised as a concern at the last meeting.

The pond survey which was carried out has confirmed the presence of Great Crested Newts which is positive from an ecological perspective but reduces the likelihood of funding being available for pond improvement works.


23.92 Play equipment repairs

Councillor Venton reported that he has received a quote of £1500 from Playdale to replace the swing timbers. Councillors agreed that this was too expensive so a local carpenter will be approached about shaping the timber which Councillor Venton can then install as an alternative to using Playdale.


23.93 Events

a) Remembrance service

Councillor Siddall will provide the speakers, print the service sheets and do a reading. Chairman Lawrence will lay the Parish Council’s wreath first and then Councillor Siddall will lay his as Leader of MDC.


b) Christmas

Councillor Lawrence reported that he had obtained a price of £250 for a 25ft Christmas tree for the village green. Councillors agreed that a smaller tree would be acceptable. Longer term it would be a good idea to plant a tree for subsequent years. Local children and residents will be invited to hang decorations on the tree.

RESOLVED Councillor Siddall to check prices for trees from Tom’s Farm Shop and Councillor Venton to inform residents in the parish update for the newsletter.


23.94 TCWG and speedwatch

Tru Cam patrols had been carried out on three occasions during October and one driver was caught speeding.


23.95 Invoices presented for payment


LT Evangelical Church         hire of hall                                                  £20.00

Skippers                                   2nd quarter ground maintenance       £414

EALC                                         Precept training                                       £90

MDC                                         2nd quarter tru-cam patrols                  £291.82


23.96 Correspondence

The Clerk had investigated the possible defibrillator grant but this was for parishes with no existing devices. All correspondence had been circulated to Councillors.


23.97 Update from District Councillors

It has been decided that the Local Plan will be reviewed. Any major development in the north of the District is unlikely because there is less land available and it would put additional pressures on neighbouring Braintree District.

There will be more joined up working with other local authorities in the county to help with budget pressures, which are significant in some areas because of levels of homelessness. MDC has to find £600k worth of savings this year and then £200k for next year.

Level 2 devolution is being driven by Essex, Southend and Thurrock Councils as there are more benefits for these authorities from this process.

MDC is running a residents and business survey to help plan for the future, this can be completed online from the MDC website.

Free parking in town for Christmas shopping will be repeated this year and the market in Butt Lane has been re-established and is running every Thursday.


23.98 Public questions

One of the parishioners present raised the following points:

Her disappointment at the harsh cutting on the common which Councillors had discussed at their last meeting.

Due to lack of participation in the village tidy up event, she suggested volunteers could be allocated certain areas in the parish to look after on a regular basis and report any problems. Councillor Gritton had represented the parish council at the tidy up event.

She noted that dog mess around the village seemed to be increasing again.

She reported that she has been reattaching the mosaic pieces on the bollards near to the pond as they are being removed and discarded.





There being no further business the meeting was closed at 8.55pm







                                                                            Signed by the Chairman…………..…………………………




Christmas Tree

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