Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on Wednesday 20th January 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom.
Councillor Linda Mendez - Deputy Mayor
Councillor Mark Bolitho Councillor Lenny Brandon
Councillor Jackie Brennan Councillor Richard Griffiths
Councillor Caron Juggins Councillor Hazel Laming
Councillor John Percival Councillor Tristan Wiltshire
Carrie Lloyd (Town Clerk)
Sam Frake (Head of Operations)
Ali Ogilvie (Head of Estates)
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Lee Newman (work).
Members noted the advice from NALC.
The Mayor expressed her concern that the Council had not voted on the correct motion and the Town Clerk suggested that the Mayor discuss this as part of Members’ training due to take place in early February 2021 with an independent solicitor.
Councillor Brennan suggested that Members should be submitting their apologies directly to the Town Clerk and it should not be Group Leaders submitting apologies on behalf of Members. The Mayor advised that she would like to be included in any advice of apology for non-attendance.
The Mayor advised that she would write to Councillor Newman asking him to contact the Town Clerk and the Mayor with his apologies in future.
There were none.
Mr A Upson, Mr N Upson and Mr J Brindle asked Members about the s.106 funding held by the Borough Council for Sport (particularly football), the potential siting of a football ground at Birchwood Playing Fields, Cllr Richard Griffiths’ motion and concerns at the length of time the matter was taking overall.
The Mayor advised Mr Brindle that it would have been useful if she could have seen his plans as suggested 18 months ago. Mr Brindle advised that he had made them available on social media and held a presentation in Birchwood Leisure Centre for 3 days. The Mayor advised that she was not on social media and was not able to attend the display. Mr Brindle undertook to recirculate his presentation to all Members along with an email of support he had received from Sport England.
The minutes of the meetings held on 29th July 2020, 12th August 2020, 26th August 2020 and 21st October 2020 were approved and will be signed by the Mayor once CoVid restrictions have been lifted.
Cllr Griffiths raised a query regarding an action from the Minutes of the meeting held on 4th March 2020 and it was agreed to deal with this outside of the meeting.
Members noted the actions and progress made.
Three sketches had been prepared for submission to Council relating to a Community Stadium facility at Birchwood.
This proposal was for use for Community Sporting and Leisure activity covering sports that are played outdoors or even on occasions for sports generally recognised as indoor sports but can take pace externally during summer periods.
Men and women’s football, boys and girls football, the same for rugby, hockey, and boxing and wrestling in the summer. The Stadium would be a comfortable sitting area whilst activities are taking place on the pitch.
Scope was available for all sporting organisations to be able to develop their own activity as far as they want to take it, some, such as boxing could take place on our stage.
Some organisations might want to set up annual events, there is a lot of scope.
I believe we will be able to obtain funding through the S.106 route, and, perhaps, extensions to the sides of the proposals could be obtained through sponsorship.
I am aware that there may have to be some changes to accommodate land ownership between the Town Council and Birchwood and de Havilland Playing Fields Trust.
I move that the Council advertise for Architects/Engineers/Quantity Surveyors so that all the necessary approvals and prices can be obtained for consideration.
The motion was seconded by Councillor Brennan.
Councillor Juggins expressed a wish to see more public consultation before more money was spent on architect fees, Councillor Wiltshire wished to see the business plan for any proposal prior to committing any funds to any scheme, Councillor Brandon was against the motion.
Councillor Griffiths explained that he wished to utilise the £400,000 s.106 grant available not the one set aside for football in Hatfield. He amended his motion to request authority to go out to various agencies to see if what costs would be involved without committing the Council to anything and report back to a future meeting of the Council. Councillor Brandon expressed his concern with a councillor acting on his own, without Officers being involved in potential contract negotiations.
On being put to the vote 5 Members were in favour of the motion and 5 members were against the motion. The Mayor used her casting vote and the motion was LOST.
MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR JACQUELINE BRENNAN
Over many months there has been discussion in Hatfield Town Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council on sustainable transport (specifically cycling). Also, we have discussed the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan to start the process of identifying what we do and don’t want in Hatfield.
I propose that we link the two ideas together and start the Neighbourhood Development Plan by considering what we want in Hatfield by way of dedicated cycle provision. We have some cycle paths but they don’t connect up. Some are too narrow and do not meet new requirements. In the longer term this will make part of our contribution to the possible removal of the subways and providing reduced traffic (or no traffic) flow along Queensway as the number of dwellings in town increases dramatically.
This motion is a starting point to a process that could take quite a long time. If we never start we will never have a Neighbourhood Plan. In future, the plan may give us access to new funding or a more forceful voice in discussions about the Town Centre developments.
The motion to be voted on is “This council will establish a group of interested people from the local community to define the Neighbourhood for the plan and to identify the cycling initiatives to investigate”
MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR EAMES-PETERSEN
Adding to the Motion from Cllr Brennan, I wish to request that Members add to the Neighbourhood Plan the following items;
1) Four areas of Hatfield have been suggested as " Conservation areas" whilst I have been a Town Councillor and I believe have restrictive covenants on land
A) Old Hatfield
B) The Ryde
C) Ellenbrook and College Lane areas
D) Lemsford village - with the old water mill , Lemsford Springs
We could ask how these can be incorporated in a Neighbourhood Plan for Hatfield.
2) "Preserving tasteful character and limiting housing development in Hatfield". After the Borough Council has granted planning permission over the last 20 years for 10,000 houses but without proper community and infrastructure development, we need the adequate infrastructure added now e.g. a new secondary school, a new GP practice and road development, to develop appropriate community.
3) sustainable transport development
Liaison with County and Borough Councils for better cycle paths, electric charging points, public transport, bus routes and electric buses and school buses.
Councillors Brennan and Eames-Petersen agreed to cojoin their motions as follows;
Councillor Juggins seconded the motion
This Council will establish a group of interested people from the local community to define the Neighbourhood for the plan and to identify the initiatives to investigate. These may include cycling and sustainable transport, Conservation Areas and infrastructure requirements for current and future housing developments.
RESOLVED that to motion be carried.
(Action: Town Clerk/Cllr Brennan)
Members considered the recommendation of the Resources and Policy Committee held on 13th January 2021 that the precept be set at £900,951 (£74.05 at Band D).
A recorded vote was requested;
Councillor Eames-Petersen – IN FAVOUR
Councillor Linda Mendez - IN FAVOUR
Councillor Mark Bolitho - IN FAVOUR
Councillor Lenny Brandon - AGAINST
Councillor Jackie Brennan - IN FAVOUR
Councillor Richard Griffiths - IN FAVOUR
Councillor Caron Juggins - IN FAVOUR
Councillor Hazel Laming - IN FAVOUR
Councillor John Percival - IN FAVOUR
Councillor Tristan Wiltshire - IN FAVOUR
Noted that the next meeting of the Council is 31st March 2021.