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Maldon Town Council



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

MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 11th MAY, 2002 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE COMMITTEE ROOM, TOWN HALL.

PRESENT: IN THE CHAIR: CLLR. P. ROBERTS - TOWN MAYOR
Councillors: Mrs M. Curtis, Mrs E. Downes, Mrs V. Foster, W. Prior,
P. Roberts (Town Mayor), P. Rew (Deputy Mayor), Mrs S. Riesebeck and K. Smith.
Representatives: Mr S. MacPherson and Mrs G. Coppen, (Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society)
In Attendance: The Town Clerk, Planning Committee Clerk and one member of the public.
  1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR

Cllr. Mrs Foster proposed and Cllr. Mrs Downes seconded that Cllr. Mrs M. Curtis be Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.

RESOLVED: that Cllr. Mrs. M. Curtis be elected Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.
IN THE CHAIR - CLLR. MRS. M. CURTIS
  2. ELECTION OF VICE CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR

Cllr. Mrs Foster proposed and Cllr. Rew seconded that Cllr. Mrs. Downes be Vice Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.

RESOLVED: that Cllr. Mrs. Downes be elected Vice-Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.
  3. AN APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Cllr. T. Kelly.
  4. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON
30TH APRIL, 2002

Members received the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 and RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 be approved and signed as a correct record.
  5. ALLOTMENTS
 5.1. Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered a report, circulated at the meeting, regarding an allotment inspection undertaken by Cllr. Mrs Curtis on 31st May, 2002 which detailed the following:

Warwick Crescent

It was noted that the lilac tree could be pruned back a little (see minute 5.6[b]) as it was covering part of the path and some tenants had expressed their concerns regarding overgrown plots.

Plot Nos.
1a very weedy, no signs of cultivation, same as April
2a very weedy, no signs of cultivation, same as April
3a lots of sacks of rubbish at one end, needed to be monitored
4a very weedy, no signs of cultivation, same as April
6a very weedy, no signs of cultivation, new tenant May
6b overgrown, only signs of cultivation were old fruit bushes
8b new tenant March, some signs of cultivation
9b new tenant May, one part showed signs of cultivation
11a rubbish had been removed.

Brickhouse Farm

It was noted that to the right of the entrance gate it was very weedy and there were piles of rubble by the fence. The grass at the left hand end of the central path was 2 ft. high and many of the side paths also had long grass.

Plot Nos.
1 showed some signs of planting but for the most was very weedy
4 partly dug but the rest very weedy
15 large piece of polythene covered one part but the rest very weedy

Maldon Hall

The vacant plots on this site were very overgrown and needed to be monitored to prevent the problem of weeds spreading to the adjacent plots.

Plot Nos.
2a some signs of digging, new tenants May
3a half dug, new tenants May
8b half cultivated the rest weedy
16b some signs of digging but most of it was weedy
22b half weedy
25b weedy
26 very weedy
29 vacant
30a supposed to be vacant but covered in polythene
30b vacant
33a vacant
34a vacant
38a some wood and pallets on plot
39a vacant
39b vacant
46a vacant

Discussion ensued regarding the condition of the vacant plots and Cllr. Mrs Downes suggested that investigations should be undertaken regarding the cost of suitable membrane which could be laid on the vacant plots to suppress further weed growth. Cllr. Mrs Curtis also suggested that it would be helpful if overgrown vacant plots were strimmed prior to new tenants taking on the plots.

RESOLVED: that (a) the appropriate action be taken with regard to uncultivated plots as detailed in the report;

(b) investigations be undertaken regarding the cost of weed suppressing membrane;

(c) vacant overgrown plots be strimmed prior to occupancy by new tenants.
 5.2. Financial Statement of Account

Members received a report indicating that £9,307.40 remained in the allotment account this financial year.

RESOLVED: that the financial statement be noted.
 5.3. Allotment Inspection Rota

Members were informed that prior to each Environment Committee meeting it had been customary for a member of the Committee to undertake an inspection of the allotment sites and subsequently submit a report to the next meeting. Members noted that it would be beneficial for the inspections to be undertaken at least one week prior to the meetings to enable the report to be circulated with the agenda and it was proposed that this practice should continue. It was also noted that if members are unable to carry out their inspections they should be responsible for organising another member to attend on their behalf.

Members therefore considered the following allotment inspection rota:

11th June, 2002 Cllr. Mrs M. Curtis
15th July, 2002 Cllr. Mrs E. Downes
20th August, 2002 Cllr. K. Smith
9th October, 2002 Cllr. Mrs V. Foster
18th November, 2002 Cllr. T. Kelly (read water meters)
25th March, 2002 Cllr. W. Prior
28th April, 2002 Cllr. Mrs S. Riesebeck

Cllr. Mrs Downes requested that copies of the June and April inspection reports be forwarded to her prior to the July inspection.

RESOLVED: that (a) the rota as listed above for allotment inspections be approved;

(b) if members are unable to carry out their inspections they be responsible for organising another member to attend on their behalf.

(c) copies of the April and June inspection reports be forwarded to Cllr. Mrs Downes.
 5.4. Maintenance - Various Sites

Further to minute 93.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members received and considered the following quotations from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council:

Maldon Hall Allotments
a. To remove the rubbish from the rear of the garages adjacent to plots 2a and 3a £135.00

b. To clear gaps in boundary hedge and infill with Crataegus monogyna £160.00

Warwick Crescent
a. To remove the Ivy from the hedge would be nearly impossible and very labour intensive. The Ivy cannot be weed treated with a herbicide without damaging the hedging. Recommended that the Ivy be left as it is as it is a good habitat for small birds.

b. Remove illegally dumped rubbish from plot 11a - £30.00. (It was noted that this had already been cleared)

Brickhouse Farm
Plant 1000 Daffodil bulbs along right hand boundary fence £130.00

It was noted that all quotations are subject to VAT at the current rate.

Cllr. Rew expressed the view that the quotation to remove the rubbish was excessive and suggested that the handyman be requested to remove the rubbish from behind the garages.

The Town Clerk said that in view of the fact that large quantities of rubble had again been collected from plots at Brickhouse Farm it may be beneficial for a skip to be hired to enable the rubble to be removed from the site. She also suggested that people undertaking Community Service could be asked to fill the skip.

Cllr Rew stated that he felt that the Brickhouse Farm allotment tenants would once again be prepared to load a skip themselves provided they were given prior notification of when the skip would be on site.

With regard to the planting of daffodils at Brickhouse Farm members agreed that this matter should be deferred until the Autumn after the rubble had been removed.

RESOLVED: that (a) the Handyman be requested to look at the rubbish behind the garages at the Maldon Hall site;

(b) the quotation from the Parks Supervisor , Maldon District Council in the sum of £160.00 plus VAT to clear gaps in the boundary hedge and infill with Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn) be accepted;

(c) a skip be hired to remove the rubble from the Brickhouse Farm site and the tenants be notified of the date;

(d) discussion regarding the planting of daffodils at Brickhouse Farm be deferred until the Autumn.
 5.5. Brickhouse Farm - Surfacing of Main Pathway

Further to minute 93.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members were informed that David J. Moore had confirmed that the use of a Terram membrane would prevent weed growth and was porous, allowing surface water to drain away.

Members were reminded that the quotation from David J. Moore in the sum of £1,452.00 plus £144.00 to supply edging boards had been received six months ago and that Mr Moore had stated that there would now be a slight increase in this sum due to increased material costs.

Discussion ensued and it was noted that the quotation was for the area inside the gate, up to and including the central path. Members also felt that tenants should be reminded, in the next newsletter which will be sent out with the allotment rents in August, that they were responsible for cutting the grass pathways between their plots.

RESOLVED: that (a) the quotation from David J. Moore in the approximate sum of £1,452.00, plus £144.00 for edging boards, to undertake the resurfacing and edging of the pathway at Brickhouse Farm be approved;

(b) tenants be reminded in the next newsletter that they were responsible for the cutting of the pathways between their plots.
 5.6. Warwick Crescent

a. Slow worms
Further to minute 93.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 members received a response from the Essex Wildlife Trust regarding possible protection orders for slow worms. The response indicated that under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it was illegal to kill, injure or offer slow worms for sale but also that increased protection was provided by the more recent Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.

b. Overhanging Lilac
Members were informed that a tenant had reported problems from overhanging lilac bushes along the main pathway. In view of this members agreed that the Handyman should be requested to trim the bushes.

RESOLVED: that the Handyman be requested to trim back the lilac bushes overhanging the pathway at the Warwick Crescent allotment site.

c. Cats
Members were informed that a complaint had been received from an allotment tenant regarding the feeding of cats by a resident of King Street at the rear of his garden on the allotment site, which was attracting numerous blue bottles during the summer months. The complainant had repeatedly asked the resident to stop this practice as they found cultivating their allotment plot an extremely unpleasant and totally unacceptable experience.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that there was very little that could be done but it was suggested that the resident be requested to feed the cats within their own garden and not on the allotment site as the food may attract vermin.

RESOLVED: that the resident be requested to feed cats within their own property.
 5.7. Maldon Hall

Members were informed that a complaint had been received from a tenant regarding the loss of crops from his plot (8a) which was located next to the entrance gate at the Maldon Hall site.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that tenants be notified in the next newsletter to be watchful and to notify the Police should there be cause for concern regarding the theft of produce from their plots.
 5.8. External Notice Boards

Further to minute 93.4 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April 2002, members received and considered a report regarding a misunderstanding in respect of the cost for external notice boards and were requested to rescind minute 93.4 and reconsider the matter.

Members agreed to rescind minute 93.4 and Cllr. Mrs Downes suggested that Tony Turner, Mundon be contacted regarding the manufacture of notice boards. The Town Clerk also stated that she was aware that Mayland Parish Council had a local contact and it was

RESOLVED: that (a) minute 93.4 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 be rescinded;

(b) further investigations be undertaken regarding quotations for notice boards.
 6. MALDON IN BLOOM

Members received and considered the notes of the Maldon In Bloom Working Party meeting held on 1st May, 2002.

In response to a question from Cllr. Rew, the Town Clerk stated that retailers who had requested hanging baskets for their premises were asked for a donation of £28.00 per basket towards the cost of filling and watering the baskets and other companies, such as Wavespec, had made donations towards the Maldon in Bloom campaign to help finance the boat and flower tubs.

Cllr. Rew expressed the view that as the District Council were responsible for the car parks it was their responsibility to install planters at the entrances. He also stated that the Town Council had a policy not to sponsor roundabouts within the town as this also was the responsibility of the District Council and they should be notified of this policy.

In response to a question from Cllr. Rew the Town Clerk stated that the Poet's Estate Residents Association had contributed half towards the cost of the additional rings for the amenity area.

RESOLVED: that (a) the District Council be notified that the Town Council has a policy not to sponsor roundabouts in the town;

(b) the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 1st May, 2002 be approved.
 7. MILLENNIUM GARDEN / ST. PETER'S CHURCHYARD
 7.1. Archaeological Search

Further to minute 95.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members received and considered a response from the Maldon Archaeological & Historical Group. The response indicated that during any excavations in St. Peter's Churchyard would be prepared to undertake a watching brief.

Cllr. Rew enquired if there would be a cost involved in the watching brief and suggested that it may be beneficial for photographs to be taken whilst the tree stump was being removed. It was noted that the tree work may take place over a weekend and Cllr. Rew offered to take the photographs.

RESOLVED: that (a) the Maldon Archaeological & Historical Group be requested to undertake a watching brief of St. Peter's Churchyard whilst excavations are being undertaken;

(b) Cllr. Rew takes photographs whilst the tree stump is being removed.
 7.2. Grant Aid

Further to minute 95.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members recalled that a quotation in the sum of £1,381.00 had been received from the Essex Landscape Consultancy for the production of a specification for refurbishment works at St. Peter's Churchyard. In this respect members received and considered a letter from Nigel Cowlin, Landscape Officer, Maldon District Council offering grant aid of £500.00 towards the Essex Landscape Consultancy fee on the production of a receipted invoice.

RESOLVED: that the offer of grant aid in the sum of £500.00 from the Maldon District Council be accepted.
 7.3. Replacement Notice Board

Further to minute 52 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 10th October, 2001 members received and considered a plan for a replacement public notice board, donated by the Rotary Club of Maldon, to be located in St. Peter's Churchyard.

RESOLVED: that the Rotary Club to informed that the Town Council has no objection to the replacement of the public notice board in St. Peter's Churchyard.
  8. LANDFILL CREDIT SCHEME (LTCS)

Further to minute 25 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 16th July, 2001 members recalled that it had been agreed that the Town Council should support the Essex Environment Trust and make representations to Central Government requesting that the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme be retained in its existing format.

Members received and considered a further letter from Keith Derry, Chief Executive, Essex Environment Trust urging the Town Council to submit a response to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation paper on the future of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme.

Members were reminded that the Essex Environment Trust had provided grant funding for the Moot Hall and were also considering some funding for the refurbishment of St. Peter's Churchyard.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Council forward the recommended response to DEFRA in support of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme.
  9. AMENITY AREAS
 9.1. Oak Tree - Longship Way

Further to minute 100 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 , members received a response from Lee Southwell, Tree Officer, Maldon District Council regarding the Oak Tree, Longship Way which stated that the repeated application of engine oil to the base of the Oak tree must stop as the oil would kill root hairs and subsequently kill the tree through contamination of the soil water. He also recommended that a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) be served on the Oak tree.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that (a) the resident of Longship Way be requested to stop placing oil on the base of the Oak tree;

(b) a request be made to the Maldon District Council for a T.P.O. to be served on the Oak Tree, Longship Way.
  9.2. Amenity Area Off Tennyson Road

Members were informed that the area off Tennyson Road which in the Ground Maintenance Contract currently received one annual strim and hedge cut, was in an overgrown state. To improve this area members were requested to consider increasing the number of strims and hedge cuts.

Discussion ensued and members agreed that the area should be cut bi-annually but to prevent any unnecessary attention being drawn to the area it was felt that the work should be undertaken during term time only.

RECOMMENDED: that the Ground Maintenance Contract be amended to include the strimming and hedge cutting of the amenity area, Tennyson Road on a bi-annual basis to be undertaken during term time.
10. SATURDAY GREEN WASTE COLLECTIONS

Further to minute 100 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members received a letter from Ben Brown, Senior Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council regarding the overall tonnage of green waste recycled in the District.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
11. MARKET HILL GARDEN

Further to minute 96.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members were informed that in response to letters forwarded to the Plume School and Mr. David Taylor, Parks Team Leader, Mr Taylor had confirmed that he would liaise direct with the Plume School and would also involve the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) in the replanting of Market Hill Garden. It was envisaged that it would cost approximately £1,000 to cover the cost of materials and supervisory labour, and the work could commence during Autumn. Members were reminded that £3,800 had been included in the 2002 / 03 Estimates and that previous quotations received for this work had been circulated at the meeting held on 30th April, 2002 and were all in excess of this figure.

RESOLVED: that Mr Taylor, Parks Team Leader, Maldon District Council be requested to liaise with the Plume School and the BTCV to undertake the re-planting of Market Hill Garden for the approximate sum of £1,000. (PH. Act 1875 s.164)
12. HEYBRIDGE PARISH COUNCIL

Further to minute 6.2 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 20th May, 2002, members received and considered a letter from Heybridge Parish Council regarding potential sources of funding and the development of cycle links between Maldon and Heybridge.

Cllr. Mrs Downes expressed the view that crossing the Causeway on a bicycle was extremely dangerous and it would be helpful if a pedestrian crossing were to be installed in the vicinity of Tavern Garage allowing access to the Elms Farm area of Heybridge.

Discussion ensued and members agreed that the Essex County Council should be asked to include a pedestrian crossing on the Causeway in the Locally Determined Plan. It was also suggested that the Heybridge Parish Council contacted to request their support for a pedestrian crossing in this area.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a request be made to the Essex County Council, Transportation and Operational Services for a Pedestrian Crossing to be installed on the Causeway;

(b) a letter be forwarded to Heybridge Parish Council requesting their support for a pedestrian crossing on the Causeway.
13. ST. MARY'S CHURCH LANTERN

Members received and considered a quotation from Maldon Glass in the sum of £44.82 to supply and fit replacement glass in the gate lantern at St. Mary's Churchyard which had been damaged by vandals.

In response to a question regarding the type of glass detailed in the quotation, the Town Clerk said that enquiries would be made to ascertain if the replacement glass would be toughened or laminated. Members agreed that, should the replacement glass be suitable, then the quotation from Maldon Glass be approved.

RESOLVED: that subject to confirmation that the replacement glass would be ssuitable the quotation in the sum of £44.82 from Maldon Glass be approved.
14. ST. MARY'S LANE - DRAINAGE

Further to minute 129.2 of the Council meeting held on 28th January, 2002 and the Environment Committee meeting held on 8th January, 2002, members received and considered a report from Cllr. S. Thain regarding the drainage problems in St. Mary's Lane.

The report suggested that the land could be brought into Town Council ownership to enable the path to be returned to its full width for public use allowing safer access to the Hythe for wheelchairs and pushchairs and at the same time providing a suitable drainage scheme to divert the seepage and make the area safe.

Discussion ensued and members felt that enquiries should be undertaken to find out which Authority undertook the recent upgrade of the path. Members expressed their concern that should the Town Council become the owners of the path any future financial burden would then become their responsibility and it was felt that this could be very considerable.

It was suggested that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council informing them that the steps are water logged and becoming unsafe and requesting that they look into the matter.

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council requesting that they take action regarding the condition of the footpath and steps.
15. ST. GILES RUINS - RAILINGS

Members were informed that the picket fencing at the Norfolk Close end of St. Giles Ruins had been broken down again, allowing easy access to the Ruins. In view of this members received and considered a quotation from Tom Polden Engineering in the sum of £720.00 for 3ft. high railings to be located along this section of the boundary fence.

Discussion ensued and members expressed the view that alternative quotations should be sought for railings as it was felt they should be at least five to six feet high to deter access to the ruins.

Cllr. Mrs Downes suggested that enquiries be made with J. Dash, Latchingdon and the Essex County Council to enquire if they have any redundant school railings which may be suitable.

RECOMMENDED: that further investigations be undertaken regarding railings for the boundary of St. Giles Ruins.
16. BUS SHELTER - HIGH STREET

Further to minute 98 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 members received and considered the response from Adshel which stated that when the High Street bus shelter had been removed from the site it disintegrated.

The Town Clerk informed members that grants were available from the Essex County Council for bus shelters and that there was £2000.00 available in the 2002 /03 Estimates. It was also noted that the Town Council were permitted to install bus shelters without obtaining planning permission.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that investigations should be undertaken regarding the cost of a suitable bus shelter to be located in the High Street which is in a Conservation Area.

RESOLVED: that quotations be sought for a replacement bus shelter to be located in the High Street.
17. PROPOSED ENHANCEMENT WORK TO CHURCH WALK, MALDON

Members recalled that the Conservation Officer, Maldon District Council had previously informed the Town Council that enhancement works were to be undertaken at Church Walk. In this respect members received and considered a request for permission to temporarily divert the footpath for the duration of the works. A map showing the diversion was available at the meeting.

RESOLVED: that the Maldon District Council be informed that the Town Council has no objection to the temporary diversion of the Church Walk Footpath to enable enhancement works to be undertaken.
The meeting closed at 8.30 p.m.

Councillor Mrs M. Curtis
Chairman

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



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