Health, Budgets and Defibrillators

To the Town Council Office! …on Monday evening for the February meeting of Wivenhoe Town Council. With a Health Centre heavy agenda, it felt more like a working party of the Wivenhoe Health Group, except this meeting was open to the public.

Matters Arising from the Minutes of the January Meeting included Cllr Bob Needham asking if there has been any update in WivGigs forming a Wivenhoe Public Hard Association. Cllr Kevin Read confirmed that he has offered his services and the group has been formed.

Madam Mayor then announced that £10,000 of funding has been made available for new speeding signs in lower Wivenhoe:

“This seems like overkill. As a Council we ought to question this. It is a total overspend of the money.”

Cllr Reed clarified:

“The 20mph zone is officially not in place. We need signs for this. Can the money be channeled towards this?”

Madam Mayor added:

“The Neighbourhood Action Panel requested one sign. This has gone over the top.”

The rather rambling agenda item title of To Consider Any Points Raised by members of the Public of Which Written Notice Has Been Given [snappy] had one item. Here’s where you could get confused in thinking that this was a gathering of the Wivenhoe Health Group…

Wivenhoe resident Roger Mainwood had given the required written notice to address Full Council over some concerns about the way in which the Health Centre situation is progressing.

Or perhaps even *isn’t* progressing:

“Here we go again – the Health Centre. I thought that this ought to be on the agenda. There is the prospect that housing development is now part of the mix at the Fire Station site. WTC has a very strong position on the green break, as outlined in the Town Plan.”

Roger then explained with great clarity the strong pstance adopted by WTC in the Town Plan to oppose any further expansion of the town on the land between the Fire Station and the University.

“Given all that, are we giving Mr Gooch [the landowner] a hand in winning favour?”

Madam Mayor intervened:

“It wasn’t Mr Gooch that suggested housing, but we’ll leave it at that…”

Roger continued:

“Given the history of the Health Centre and the Cook’s site, I fear that we will never get a Health Centre. I would like to come up with some action. Of all the sites that have been looked at, Cedric’s seems to be the favourite. RBS are not selling.

Could the land by Millfields School be considered? In light of the housing project, this should now be considered seriously. I have questioned various people:

Richard Warner [Realise Health Ltd] said that this is a good site. He said that we would need to gain favour with the community and have them involved in the design and the outcome. He said that this was a non-starter two years ago. There may now be a change of heart.

Cllr Cyril Liddy [CBC] said that the Village Green status for the Millfields land has run into the ground. Cyril is quite supportive.

I have contacted Cllr Julie Young [ECC] – she has contacted Sue Jackson of CBC [Planning Officer.] Sue has confirmed that this is in the settlement boundary. We have to satisfy the Open Space argument though.

I think that Wivenhoe needs to make a decision.”

Good point, and very well made.

Chins were stroked, notes were taken and light bulbs visibly appeared above the heads of some Town Cllrs. Or maybe that was just the pre-meet Red Bull kicking into action?

Madam Mayor was the first to respond to the suggestion:

“Mr Gooch is not happy about housing on his land, having stood up at the public meeting. No one has come to us with concrete ideas involving houses. When it is bought to the Town Council then it will be discussed. Personally I think that ideas might change.”

It wasn’t clear if ideas might change about housing on the Fire Station site, or the idea of building upon the Millfields land.

Cllr Neil Lodge said:

“I don’t want to see any houses at the Fire Station. If we build at Millfields it is too small – we can’t expand.”

Roger added:

“Richard Warner has told me that you can expand on the site.”

Cllr Lodge continued:

“If we can raise the money then we can have the Fire Station and no houses. It is not impossible to buy the land. The Fire Station has a better bus route. It is future proof.”

Cllr Andrea Vaughan addressed Cllr Lodge:

“This is a very interesting idea. When you say the town can build, do you mean that RHL won’t be part of the equation?”

Cllr Lodge confirmed that this is exactly what he meant.

The million-dollar question – quite literally – came from Cllr Vaughan:

“How do we fund it then?”

Cllr Lodge looked towards the previous funding model of WTC buying the old police houses.

Seeing towards the wider picture, Cllr Needham observed:

“As we move more towards an age of community involvement, we as a Town Council are not in a position to make a comment. We could only respond if a public meeting is called.”

Cllr Read asked:

“Am I right in thinking that Elmstead Market Parish Council owns the land?”

Yes,” replied Madam Mayor.

Whoops.

But it’s always good to finish the unofficial Wivenhoe Health Group meeting with a happy ending and some optimism looking forward.

Cllr Lodge said:

“Anything is possible, but it needs to be paid for.”

Madam Mayor concluded:

“We won’t abandon the idea – we will look at everything that comes up.”

Which back on the Full Council agenda for WTC was Reports from Members of the County and Borough Councils.

Except none were present.

Whoops, whoops.

Cllrs Liddy, Ford and Young had sent their apologies in advance, as well as written reports from the two Borough Cllrs.

Madam Mayor expressed a disappointment that Cllr Young wasn’t present:

“I wanted to ask her how much the library refurbishment cost. It seems unnecessary.”

The report from Cllrs Liddy and Ford covered the passing of the Planning App for the change of use from business to a restaurant down at Cook’s, as well as mention of a cross-ward partnership when it comes to divvying up the ward purse.

Each Borough Cllr has £2k to spend as part of the Borough Council’s Olympic legacy.

Yeah, figure.

In Wivenhoe this means that £3,077 has been allocated so far our of the £4,000 Quay ward pot of Olympic gold. It’s genuine community co-operation with a long list of hyperlocal groups being read out.

The pen couldn’t keep up quick enough, but if your Olympic Legacy Bingo Card includes Transition Town Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe in Bloom, Radio Wivenhoe, the Scout & Guides and Jubilee Benches, then hands should be up in the air and BINGO should be bellowed out.

Cllr Vaughan questioned if the CBC guidelines allowed for cross-ward pooling of the cash.

Cllr Needham noted:

“We have spent a lot of time on cross-ward working. We shouldn’t oppose.”

Transport Correspondent Peter Kay then delivered his report. This included a reference to the proposal of sighting the Health Centre on the Millfields land:

“This is completely inaccessible for anyone in lower Wivenhoe without a car. You would have to catch two busses. The Fire Station site may be further away, but it is more accessible.”

Planning matters returned down to the bottom of the town and an update from Cllr Read on Cook’s:

“I spoke with Taylor Wimpey today. We are still waiting for a lease on the dinghy park and the car park. The Fisherman’s Store is still to be finished. I have been told now that this should be done in four weeks. Cycling racks are being installed. We have a waiting list for the dinghy park. I would like to propose an annual fee of £175 per bay.”

This wasn’t put to the vote. Cllr Lodge stepped in:

“There is no paperwork for this. I can’t vote on something that I know nothing about.”

Madam Mayor suggested that a vote could take place in the March meeting.

Cllr Needham then turned towards the Wivenhoe Community Assets forum:

“We held a well-attended public meeting. Peter Hill has been appointed as the Chair. We are continuing to work on the registration of assets of community value. CBC has stated that Wivenhoe are taking the lead on this.”

21 signatures, Comrades. 21 signatures

Finance updates confirmed that the proposed precept budget has been put to CBC. WTC is stating that this is a 32.34% increase, whereas CBC has it listed in the agenda for Full Council next week at 25%

Either way, it’s a steep rise.

Madam Mayor stated that a newsletter will be delivered to every household as soon as CBC rubber-stamps the decision on Wednesday.

Sticking with money related matters and a price review for users of the William Loveless Hall (where else?) will take place on 1st April.

No joke, etc.

Much like a proposal from Age UK Colchester for a little financial leniency in its use of the Willie Loveless. Full Council heard how the coffers are tight for the Colchester charity right now. It uses the WLH once a month for a dining club.

Madam Mayor suggested that a six-month rent-free period could be offered. This was passed unanimously, after a little local difficulty about paperwork being presented before a vote could be taken…

The agenda then raced towards the Police Houses and how the work on the temporary car park at the back is falling into shape.

Cllr Asa Aldis added the Neighbourhood Action Panel feedback:

“CBC has decided to change the process. We will now have zoned areas. The proposal is that Wivenhoe will merge with St Andrews and St Anne’s. There is not a lot that we can do. Top of our wish list now is to join the NAP up with Neighbourhood Watch.”

Joined up thinking KLAXON, etc.

And finally a defibrillator drew the meeting to a close.

Back to health, etc…

Nothing to do with the fire Station / Millfields, but a request by the Co-op to help pay for a 24 hour access defibrillator outside the store. An estimated sum of “£10 – 30 per annum” has been made by the Co-op. This was passed unanimously.

Heart rates back to a normal level.

And relax.

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