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Maldon Town Council



Town Council Offices,
Town Hall, Market Hill,
Maldon, Essex,  CM9 4RL.

MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 30th APRIL, 2002 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.

PRESENT: Chairman: Councillor Mrs. M. Curtis
Vice Chairman: Councillor Mrs V. Foster
Councillors: Mrs E. Downes (Town Mayor), T. Kelly (Deputy Mayor), P. Nickolls, W. Prior and Mrs S. Riesebeck.
In Attendance: Mrs G. Coppen and S. McPherson (Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society), the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant.
91. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence was received from Cllrs. P. Rew and K. Smith

92. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 11TH FEBRUARY, 2002

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th February, 2002 be approved and signed as a correct record.

93. ALLOTMENTS

93.1 Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered a report regarding an allotment inspection undertaken by Cllr. Kelly and Mrs. Good on 20th April, 2002.

In accordance with minute 16.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 16th July, 2001 the water meters at the allotment sites were read as follows:

Maldon Hall - 178.64 (last reading 128)
Warwick Crescent - 740.493 (last reading 734)
Brickhouse Farm - 34.07 (last reading 30)

Cllr. Kelly felt that members should not expect Officers of the Town Council to undertake the reading of the water meters because of their location.

Maldon Hall

The report detailed a meeting with a tenant regarding the condition of plots and accumulated rubbish in the area behind the garages.
Cllr. Kelly felt that the rubbish needed to be cleared from the site and suggested that the DSO be contacted and requested to clear the rubbish.

It was also suggested that it would be beneficial for the redundant water tank on plot 12 to be relocated and linked to the water tank on plot 8b subject to the tenants approval.

Cllr. Kelly felt that to improve the appearance of the site and to deter unauthorised entry, the small broken picket fence and posts to the rear of the garages, between the gate and the bypass, should be renewed. It was felt that the handyman should be requested to undertake this task. Also, quotations should be sought for the gaps in the bypass boundary hedge to be infilled with Hawthorn to thicken the hedge and deter tipping. Cllr. Kelly said he was of the opinion that the Essex County Council should be contacted again to request that the boundary fence between the allotments and the bypass be replaced.

It was noted that many of the paths between the plots were not being maintained to a satisfactory condition and that an item regarding path maintenance should be published in the next allotment newsletter.

Members noted the following comments:

Plot 2a / 3a Untidy - Make enquiries regarding these plots
Plot 16b Monitor
Plot 26 Very poor condition - letter of enquiry
Plot 31 Very poor condition and contains a quantity of rubbish - enquire if a smaller plot would be more suitable.
Plot 35a Untidy (tenant to relinquish plot after he removes the daffodil bulbs)
Plot 35b Poor condition - suggests tenant is offered a smaller plot as the whole area is in very poor condition and difficult to cultivate.
Plot 45b Poor condition - letter of enquiry
Plot 46b New tenant - Very good condition - a letter to congratulate the tenant on his efforts.
Plots 39a / 39b Vacant - Due to extremely poor condition of the area it is suggested that the area be flattened and grassed over.
Plots 33A, 34A
and 34B Vacant - very poor condition

Warwick Crescent
The site was generally found to be in good order.
Plot 1a Monitor
Plot 2a Monitor
Plot 4a Monitor
Plot 11b A letter be forwarded to the tenant to congratulate him on his unusual herb garden.
Plot 11a Rubbish dumped on plot possibly from houses in King Street. Suggested that the Ground Maintenance contractor be requested to remove the rubbish.

Members were informed that whilst undertaking the inspection, a tenant expressed his concern regarding the condition of the boundary hedge between the allotment site, Warwick Crescent. It was noted that there were many structures containing tools, compost etc. beside the hedge which would obstruct and make it extremely difficult to cut the hedge and grass pathway. Subsequently the DSO had been contacted regarding the maintenance of the hedge and expressed the view that any work at this site was extremely difficult because of the restricted site access.

Cllr. Kelly said that extensive Ivy growth in the hedge was restricting the growth of the original Blackthorn and Hawthorn hedging and suggested that quotations be sought from the DSO for the Ivy to be thinned out to encourage the growth of the thorn hedge. It was also felt that any excess growth around the water tanks should be cleared by the handyman.

Cllr. Mrs Downes expressed her concern that the Town Council had never been consulted when the ownership of the Warwick Crescent allotment site had been transferred from the Maldon District Council to the Plume Housing Association. She requested that investigations be undertaken with regard to the future usage of the land as set out in the new Draft District Plan and suggested that negotiations be undertaken to extend the Town Council's lease of this area of land.

Cllr. Kelly stated that the area was specified as a designated amenity area and as such it should be covered by restricted development rights.

The Town Clerk stated that she would investigate the terms of the lease and report back to a future meeting.

The view was also expressed that slow worms were present on the site and it was suggested that Essex Wildlife Trust be contacted to enquire if there were any protection orders in respect of slow worms which could be imposed on the site.

Brickhouse Farm

Cllr. Kelly suggested that it would be beneficial for a formal compost bin 12' x 6' to be installed in the corner of the site as he felt that composting should be encouraged. A copy of the site plan showing the proposed compost area was available at the meeting.

Discussion ensued and some members felt that compost bins would be filled with invasive plants which were unsuitable for composting and that it may be necessary for two compost bins to be installed. Concern was expressed with regard to unauthorised use of the bins but as there is restricted access to the site this should not be a problem. It was agreed that investigations be undertaken regarding the possibility of the handyman constructing two compost bins.
Plot no. 1 Monitor
Plot no. 4 Monitor
Plot no. 6 Extremely poor condition - letter to be sent enquiring if the plot is still required as there is a waiting list for plots and it is unfair to adjacent tenants.

Cllr. Kelly suggested that a notice board could be attached to the fence rather than free standing and to improve the appearance of the site bulbs could be planted alongside the internal fence.

Mrs Coppen informed members that she was the tenant of Plot 1, and that she had recently been indisposed and unable to dig the plot.

RESOLVED: that (a) quotations be sought from the DSO for:
(i) the removal of rubbish from behind the garages at Maldon Hall;
(ii) infilling gaps in the boundary hedge with Hawthorn at Maldon Hall;
(iii) removal of the Ivy from the boundary hedge at Warwick Crescent;
(iv) the removal of rubbish next to plot 11a , Warwick Crescent;
(v) the planting of bulbs alongside the boundary fence, Brickhouse Farm;
(b) that the handyman be requested to undertake the following:
(i) construction of two compost bins at Brickhouse Farm;
(ii) removal of excessive growth from the water tanks at Warwick Crescent;
(iii) replace the small picket fence and posts to the rear of the garages at Maldon Hall.
(c) the opinion of the tenant of plot 8b, Maldon Hall be sought regarding the redundant water tank being linked to the existing water tank on this plot and subject to agreement quotations be sought for the linking of the water tanks;
(d) investigations be undertaken regarding the extension of the Warwick Crescent allotment site lease;
(e) the views of the Essex Wildlife Trust be sought regarding slow worms which inhabit the Warwick Crescent site;
(f) in all other respects the report be noted.

93.2 Financial Statement of Account

Members noted that the invoice for the installation of four water tanks at Maldon Hall site for the approximate sum of £2,400.00 was still awaited.

RESOLVED: that the financial statement be noted.

93.3 Brickhouse Farm - Surfacing of Main Pathway

Further to minute 73.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 8th January, 2002 members received and considered a report detailing three quotations for the surfacing of the footpath at the Brickhouse Farm allotment site:

Discussion ensued and it was felt that it was unnecessary to tarmac the pathway and that further investigations should be undertaken regarding the specification from David Moore to ascertain if the Terram membrane was porous enabling surface water to drain through.

RESOLVED: that further investigations be undertaken with David Moore regarding their specification for the resurfacing of the footpath.

93.4 Allotment Notice Boards

Further to minute 73.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th February, 2002 members received and considered three quotations for unglazed, external landscape notice boards - size 800 x 744 mm to include the following header "Maldon Town Council" and fixing posts, to be located at the entrance to the Brickhouse Farm, Maldon Hall and Warwick Crescent allotment sites.

Cllr. Kelly expressed the view that it may be more practical for metal posts to be used instead of wooden or aluminium.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that the quotation from Top Signs in the sum of £380.00 for three external 800mm x 744mm notice boards with wooden posts be approved.
(Small Holdings & Allotments Act 1908 ss26)

93.5 Allotment Tenancy Agreement

Members were informed that information had been received regarding Section 30 (2) of the Allotments Act 1908 which stated that:

The council may, on giving one month's notice to the tenant, determine an allotment tenancy of the tenant who resides more than one mile from the parish where the allotment is provided. The council is not obliged to determine the tenancy, but simply has an option to do so.

In this respect members were informed that, as there were vacant plots on the allotment sites, three allotments had been allocated to residents of Heybridge Parish which currently had no allotment sites. This should not cause a problem unless all plots were being cultivated and additional requests for plots were being received from residents of Maldon.

Members considered whether the following clause should be included in the Town Council's Tenancy agreement:
"should a tenant reside more than one mile from the town for which the allotments are provided, the Council may, on giving one month's notice to the tenant, terminate the tenancy agreement."

Cllr. Kelly expressed the view that any tenant should be given one years notice to vacate a plot.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that no further action be taken regarding amendments to the Maldon Town Council Allotment Tenancy Agreement. (Small Holdings Allotments Act 1908 ss 28)

94. MALDON IN BLOOM

Members received and considered the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 27th February, 2002.

Cllr. Nickolls stated that the whole area of St. Peter's Churchyard was still being left in a state of devastation every Saturday evening and he thought it had been agreed that the damaged seats and the lattice fence in the Millennium Garden would be removed from the site; he noticed they were still in situ.

The Town Clerk reminded members that it had subsequently been agreed that the opinion of the Youth Council should be sought before the removal of the seats. She reported that the Youth Council had no comment to make regarding this matter and arrangements would now be made for the removal of the benches and fence.

RESOLVED: that the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 27th February, 2002 be noted.

95. MILLENNIUM GARDEN /ST. PETER'S CHURCHYARD

95.1 Specification for Refurbishment

Further to minute 86.2 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th February, 2002, members were informed that to enable quotations to be obtained for the refurbishment of the area it would be necessary for a specification to be compiled and in this respect members received the report of Sarah Green, Essex Landscape Consultancy, Essex County Council detailing charges for compiling a specification.

Mrs Coppen reported that when previous works had been undertaken in the churchyard it had been necessary for the area to be monitored by the Maldon Archaeological and Historical Group (MAHG)

In view of this it was suggested that the MAHG be contacted to enquire if they should be in attendance when work was being undertaken in the churchyard and Ms. Green, ECC be advised of this.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk advised that the commemorative plaque on the Millennium Garden wall had recently been reinstated and would not be removed during the refurbishment.

The Town Clerk also advised members that she had received notification from the Lotteries Board that a preliminary application for grant funding had been approved subject to suitable details and quotations for the refurbishment being received.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the quotation from the Essex Landscape Consultancy in the sum of £1,381.00 to produce a specification to enable quotations to be sought for the refurbishment of St. Peter's Churchyard be approved;
(b) the Maldon Archaeological and Historical Group be contacted to enquire if their members needed to be on site whilst work was being undertaken in the churchyard.

95.2 Tree Works

Further to minute 86.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th February, 2002, members received a report detailing three quotations for specified tree works in St. Peter's Churchyard:

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the appointed tree surgeon should be informed of the sensitive nature of the area.

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation from RBS Tree Surgery in the sum of £595.00 plus VAT be approved and that he be notified of the sensitive nature of the site. (Local Government Act 1972 s215)

96. MARKET HILL GARDEN

96.1 Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society

Further to minute 76 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 8th February, 2002 members recalled that it had been suggested that local community groups be contacted regarding the re-planting of Market Hill Garden.

Members were informed that a letter had been received from the Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society stating that they were unable to commit themselves to this project due to the project's logistics and their existing commitment to the Friary Walled Garden.

Members were informed that a response was still awaited from the Maldon District Council regarding the possibility of this becoming a joint project with Plume School pupils, similar to the work previously undertaken at Leech Memorial Garden.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the Plume School should be directly contacted to enquire if they have any students who would be able undertake this work under supervision.

RESOLVED: that further investigations be undertaken with the Plume School and DSO to ascertain if they are able to re-plant the Market Hill Garden as a joint project.

96.2 Quotations for Re-Planting of Market Hill Garden

Members received and considered a report detailing quotations for the specified re-planting of Market Hill Garden and agreed that whilst further investigations were being undertaken with the Plume School this matter should be held in abeyance.

RECOMMENDED: that the matter be held in abeyance.
(Public Heath Act 1875 s.164)

97. POETS ESTATE

97.1 Amenity Area - Drainage Rings
a. Thank you Letter
Members noted that a thank you letter had been received from the Poets' Estate Residents Association in respect of the installation of four drainage rings at the amenity area to the rear of Longfellow and Coleridge Roads.
b. Additional Drainage Rings
Members were informed that a request had been received from the Poets' Estate Residents Association for the installation of an additional four drainage rings at the amenity area as they felt extra rings would considerably improve the site. The residents had stated that if the Town Council agreed to purchase additional rings they would be willing to contribute half of the costs. Members recalled that the drainage rings had cost £58.99 each, total £235.64, plus £75.00 for the soil to fill the rings.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the letter from the Poets' Estate Residents
Association be noted;
(b) four additional drainage rings be purchased for a total cost of £235.64 plus £75.00 for soil to fill the rings;
(c) the offer made by the residents to contribute half of the cost be accepted.

97.2 Parish Trees and Bulbs

Members recalled that for a number of years the Maldon District Council had provided free parish trees and bulbs; the suggestion had been made that, should the District Council make the same offer again this year, the Poets Estate Residents Association be contacted to ascertain if they would like bulbs planted on the Estate.

RECOMMENDED: that should the Maldon District Council offer free parish trees and bulbs the Poets' Estate Residents Association be contacted to ascertain if they would like bulbs and trees planted on the Poets'Estate. (Open Spaces Act 1906 s.9)

98. BUS SHELTERS

Further to minute 16 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee held on 18th June, 2001 members received and considered a report which detailed information regarding the fifteen year contract with Adshel for the replacement of all existing shelters and the provision of four additional bus shelters within the town.

Members were informed that as no action regarding the placement of shelters had been undertaken by Adshel they had been contacted. Adshel had responded stating that due to the downturn in advertising throughout the world, they had been forced to cut back their development budget and as such there would be no new builds for this area within 2002 but they hoped that the situation would improve.

The report detailed a letter from a member of the public requesting that the bus shelter outside Oliver's Shoe Shop, which had been removed as part of the High Street improvements, be replaced. A local shop keeper had also expressed his concern regarding this matter.

Members were asked to consider the replacement of the bus shelter outside Oliver's shoe shop which had originally been intended to be replaced by Adshel. Members were reminded that the sum of £2,000.00 had been included in the 2002 / 03 Estimates for bus shelters and that the Essex County Council had advised that grants were available towards the provision of bus shelters i.e. 50% of the cost up to a maximum of £800.00. New bus shelters cost in the region of £2,500.00

Cllr. Kelly expressed the view that as the bus shelter had been removed by the Essex County Council they should be requested to reinstate the shelter and that the member of the public be advised of the Town Council's course of action.

Discussion ensued regarding the necessity for additional shelters throughout the town and members felt that a shelter at Wycke Hill was required. It was suggested that a letter be forwarded to businesses on the Wycke Hill Business Park enquiring if they would be prepared to sponsor a bus shelter at Wycke Hill.

The Town Clerk advised that Adshel had installed a free bus shelter in Cherry Gardens.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Essex County Council be contacted requesting that they reinstate the High Street bus shelter outside Oliver's shoe shop;
(b) the member of the public be advised of the Town Council's course of action;
(c) a letter be forwarded to businesses at the Wycke Hill Business Park enquiring if they would consider sponsoring a new bus shelter at Wycke Hill.

99. AMENITY AREA - LONGSHIP WAY

Members received and considered a letter from a resident of Longship Way regarding his concerns in respect of the felled Oak tree stump which had been left in situ on the Longship Way amenity area.

Cllr. Kelly informed members that he had been in contact with the resident and it would appear that the situation had improved and that the Police had been made aware of the problems in the area and were now including the area on their patrols. It was suggested that it would be beneficial for litter bins to be installed on the amenity area.

The resident had also advised that to deter children climbing the Oak tree next to his house he had covered the base of the tree with oil. Members felt that the views of the Tree Officer should be sought regarding this matter.

Members agreed that the Oak tree stump should remain in situ and that the situation should be monitored.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the resident be informed that the Oak tree stump would be left in situ and the situation would be monitored;
(b) the advice of the Tree Officer be sought regarding oil being placed on trees.
(c) investigations be undertaken regarding the installation of litter bins.


100. SATURDAY GREEN WASTE COLLECTION SERVICE

Further to minute 73 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th January, 2002, members received and considered correspondence from Ben Brown, Senior Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council regarding minor changes for the Saturday Garden Waste collection service from which it was noted that this now included the Brickhouse Farm allotment site.

Discussion ensued regarding the fact that the West of Maldon lacked a collection point. Cllr. Kelly expressed the view that such a collection should not take place at the West Maldon Community Centre as it would cause too much mess and it was suggested that the Maldon District Council be requested to consider another collection point at the West of Maldon.

RECOMMENDED: that the Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council be contacted regarding the possibility of a Green Waste Collection at the West of Maldon.

101. THE PARISH PUMP

Further to minute 156 of the Town Council meeting held on 11th March, 2002 members recalled that former Town Councillor Alison Lamb had been nominated to receive copies of the Parish Pump magazine and as she had now resigned from the Town Council members considered the appointment of a member to receive copies of the magazine and liaise where appropriate.

RECOMMENDED: that the Chairman of the Environment Committee be nominated to receive copies of the Parish Pump magazine and liaise where appropriate.

102. DOG BINS

Further to minute 88 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th February, 2002, members received a response from the Head of Environment Services, Maldon District Council which stated that the street-cleansing contractor had been notified of the Town Council's concerns regarding the emptying of dog bins at St. Giles Crescent and that the new contract stipulated that the bins were to be emptied at least once a week.

Cllr. Mrs Foster reported that the bins in St. Giles Crescent were now emptied on a regular basis.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.

103. SPRING CLEAN
Members recalled that in past years during the month of April, the Town Council had taken part in the Keep Britain Tidy Group, National Spring Clean Campaign and were informed that the campaign would not be running this year. In view of this members considered whether the Town Council should organise a Spring Clean in Maldon.

Members expressed the view that several areas of the town needed to be cleaned. It was suggested that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council stating that the Town Council were concerned that litter was causing a problem in certain locations and that the Street Cleansing contract should be modified to include the following areas:
The vicinity of Safeway Stores,
King Street
Manse Chase


RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Town Council does not organise a Spring Clean Campaign this year but participates in the next National campaign;
(b) a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council regarding improvements to the Street Cleaning Contract to include the areas mentioned above.

Meeting closed at 8.50 p.m.



Councillor Mrs M. Curtis
Chairman




Signed…………………………………….. Date………………………………...


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