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Maldon Town Council


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

MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 20th AUGUST, 2002 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr Mrs M. Curtis
Vice Chairman: Cllr Mrs E. Downes
Councillors: T. Kelly, W. Prior, P. Rew (Deputy Mayor), Mrs S. Riesebeck,
P Roberts (Town Mayor) and K. Smith
Representative: Mr S. MacPherson (Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society)
In Attendance: Cllr. S. Savage, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
 28. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
 29. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 15TH JULY, 2002

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 15th July, 2002 be approved and signed as a correct record.
 30.

 30.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered a report regarding an allotment inspection undertaken by Cllr. K. Smith on Tuesday, 13th August, 2002.

Warwick Crescent
Plot Nos.
1a Badly overgrown - Cllr. Smith said that a tenant at the site had informed him that the plot had not been cultivated this year, (suggest final letter be sent)
2a Same condition as previous inspection - tyres dumped on plot, (suggest letter be sent)
4a Untidy, as before. Nothing has been done, (suggest letter be sent)
5c Rubbish sacks still on plot (letter be sent requesting sacks be removed)
6a Nothing been done since plot was strimmed
9b Still untidy and overgrown, (suggest warning letter be sent)
10a Very weedy, untidy needs strimming, (suggest warning letter be sent)
10b Untidy - garden waste dumped in middle, (suggest warning letter be sent)
Rear hedge needs to be trimmed. Members were informed that the Handyman was unable to undertake this work as the hedge was too high and it was agreed that a quotation should be sought from the Ground Maintenance Contractor to undertake this work.

Brickhouse Farm
Plot Nos.
1 No more work done since last inspection
4 Same condition as previous inspection, (letter of enquiry sent, tenant has been unwell)
6 Overgrown, tarpaulin on ground. Plot needs to be strimmed.

In response to a question regarding the length of time in which the skip would remain on site, Mrs Good stated that all Brickhouse Farm tenants had been sent a letter dated 26th July, 2002 which stated that the skip would be on site from Friday 16th August until Monday 26th August, 2002.

Cllr. Rew felt that it would be beneficial for the weeds to be strimmed around the perimeter of the site and volunteered to undertake the work himself. Mrs Vincent said that she would supply a petrol strimmer which Cllr. Rew could use.

Maldon Hall
Plot Nos.
3a Still weedy but work done by path
16b No work done - needs a strim, (suggest letter of enquiry be sent)
17 Lawnmower left on plot and very overgrown towards back, (suggest letter of enquiry be sent)
30a Still covered with polythene
30b badly overgrown, (suggest letter of enquiry be sent)
34a No work done by new tenant
34b No work done by new tenant
37a No work done by tenant, (suggest letter of enquiry be sent)
39a&b Badly overgrown - needs clearing

Path through plot 39a to burnt out box - no sign of "no dumping sign."

RESOLVED: that (a) a quotation be sought from the Ground Maintenance Contractor to cut the rear boundary hedge at Warwick Crescent;

(b) the appropriate action be taken regarding uncultivated plots, as detailed above;

(c) in all other respects the report be noted.
30.2. Financial Statement of Account

Members received a report indicating that £9,197.64 remained in the allotment account this financial year. It was noted that the invoice was still awaited in respect of the installation of the new water tanks at Maldon Hall.

RESOLVED: that the financial statement be noted.
30.3. Maldon Hall

Members were informed that an allotment tenant had expressed concern regarding barbecues being held at the allotment site on an adjacent tenant's plot. The tenant expressing concern had been requested to put his complaint in writing but a letter was still awaited. Mr MacPherson had also been contacted and he stated that he was unaware of any problems at the site.

Members agreed that tenants should be commended for using their plots as gardens and could not foresee problems if disposable barbecues were being used at the sites, especially if it encouraged them to stay and cultivate their allotments.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that no action be taken.
30.4. Warwick Crescent - Lease

Further to minute 20.4 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 15th July, 2002, a letter from Jenny Dale, Housing Support Officer, Plume Housing Association was circulated to members at the meeting. The letter stated that she was reluctant to agree to an 18 month notice period but would consider amending the lease to include a 15 month notice period.

Reference was made to the fact that the District Council had been asked to look into the transfer of this area of land to the Plume Housing Association with the housing stock in 1995 and in view of this

RECOMMENDED: that the letter from the Plume Housing Association be noted.
30.5 Amendment to Rules and Tenancy Agreement

Further to minute 20.5 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 15th July, 2002 members received and considered a copy of a revised Allotment Tenancy Agreement (Note 4) and Rules to Allotment Gardens (Rule 10) which stated that,
"Should it be reported as a result of an allotment inspection, that a plot has become overgrown and, after a letter of enquiry has been forwarded, no suitable reason for the condition has been submitted to the Town Council, the plot will be strimmed and the tenant charged at the current rate for strimming as stated in the Ground Maintenance Contract."

In noting this particular change to the Allotment Rules and Tenancy Agreement members expressed the view that these documents were in need of updating.

RESOLVED: that investigations be undertaken regarding updating the Rules and Tenancy Agreement and the matter be discussed at a future meeting.
 30.6 Weed Suppressing Membrane

Further to minute 5.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th June, 2002, members were informed that weed suppressing membrane was available for approximately £150.00 per 4 metre x 50 metre roll (220 sq. metres).

Members were informed that advice regarding the use of weed suppressing membrane had been sought from the Parks Supervisor who felt that areas such as plots 39A and 39B at the Maldon Hall site (total size 221 sq. metres) would require two or three treatments of weedkiller to prevent the re-growth of stinging nettles on the plots before a membrane could be laid.

Members expressed their concern regarding the use of weedkiller at the allotment site and it was suggested that it may be possible for the plots to be strimmed and the weeds destroyed by using a blow torch.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that further investigations be undertaken regarding clearing these plots by use of a blow torch.
30.7 Best Kept Allotment Competition 2002

Members received and considered a letter from the Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society regarding the following results of the Best Kept Allotment Competition.

1st Mr Cook Plot 9, Maldon Hall
2nd Mr Brunt Plots 11a/11b, Warwick Crescent
3rd Mr Lee Plot 25b/28a, Maldon Hall

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
30.8 Warwick Crescent - Water Tank

Members were informed that it had been reported that one of the water tanks at the Warwick Crescent allotment required attention as it was filling extremely slowly and it was suggested that a plumber be requested to undertake the repairs.

RESOLVED: that a plumber be requested to undertake repairs to a water tank at the Warwick Crescent.
 31.

 31.1

  a.
CHURCHYARDS

St. Peter's Churchyard

Refurbishment (Local Government Act 1972, s.215)

Further to minute 95.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 members received and considered a report detailing members comments in respect of the specification, drawings and approximate costs from Sarah Green, Essex Landscape Consultancy which had previously been circulated to members of the Committee.

Discussion ensued and the following points regarding the design and the specification were raised:

* the paths around the perimeter of St. Peter's Church were too straight and rigid and in places not wide enough to allow pushchairs/wheelchairs to pass the buttresses which protrude from the building;

* the entrance to the churchyard should remain in its existing location, hence there would be no requirement to demolish and rebuild the boundary wall;

* a diagonal path be included from the entrance to the churchyard across to the rear of the garden in the vicinity of the cross design;

* the Lynch Gate be omitted from the plan;

* there is no mention in the specification regarding the necessity to recycle Green Waste or that fires would not be allowed on site;

* further details were required regarding the location and type of lighting to be used to illuminate the site.

Members agreed that the above points, together with the other comments detailed in the report, should be forwarded to Sarah Green and her response and revised specification be submitted to the next meeting.

It was suggested that to keep costs down the ground work and wiring for lighting should be undertaken simultaneously.

The Town Clerk informed members that tree work to the Holm Oak had recently been undertaken but the contractor had been unable to complete the work to the other trees detailed in his quotation due to difficulties with access to the site because the railings at the top of Market Hill had now been replaced. The Contractor had advised that he would be forwarding a revised quotation for the remainder of the tree work.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk stated that various sources of grant funding may be available for this project once a detailed specification had been produced and tenders for the work obtained. She said that she had already contacted the Heritage Lottery Fund who had advised that they would consider funding this type of project and that grants may also be available from the Countryside Agency and the Essex Environment Trust.

The Town Clerk stated that she had contacted Essex Landscape Consultancy regarding the costs for employing their services to oversee the project and Ms. Green had advised that this would cost no more than £1,000.00. It was suggested that the Maldon District Council should be approached to enquire if they would contribute to this expenditure.

RESOLVED: that (a) members comments regarding the design and specification for the refurbishment of St. Peter's Churchyard be forwarded to Sarah Green, Essex Landscape Consultancy;

(b) the Maldon District Council be approached regarding financial assistance to employ the services of the Essex Landscape Consultancy to oversee the project.
  b. Public Noticeboard

Further to minute 7.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th June, 2002 members were informed that the replacement public notice board donated by the Rotary Club of Maldon had been installed in St. Peter's Churchyard and that a thank you letter had been forwarded to the Rotary Club.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
31.2 St. Mary's Churchyard - Lopped and Felled Trees

Members received and considered a letter from Mr. N. Cowlin, Landscape Officer, Maldon District Council regarding lopped and felled trees in St. Mary's Churchyard.

The Chairman informed members that both she and the Town Clerk had independently visited the churchyard and were dismayed at the severe damage which had been caused to the trees. She explained that the resident of the adjacent property had recently renewed the boundary fence between his property and the churchyard and in the process had removed trees from both his property and the churchyard and the debris had been left in situ in the churchyard.

It was suggested that a letter be forwarded to the residents of the adjacent property requesting that they remove the debris immediately from the churchyard or the Town Council would have the area cleared and an invoice for the costs, including an administrative charge, would be forwarded to them.

It was noted that as the property was in a Conservation Area permission should have been obtained from the Maldon District Council before any work to trees had been undertaken. It was felt that the legal issues raised by the Maldon District Council should be supported by the Town Council.

RESOLVED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the owner of the property adjacent to the churchyard expressing concern about the removal of the trees and requesting that they remove the debris from St. Mary's Churchyard or the Town Council will undertake the work and forward an invoice, including an administrative fee, to them;

(b) a letter be forwarded to the Landscape Officer, Maldon District Council advising of the Town Council's action regarding this matter and supporting any legal action that the Maldon District Council take regarding damage to these trees in a Conservation Area. (Local Government Act 1972, s.215)
31.3 All Saints' Churchyard

a. Quinquennial Report
Members received and considered a report regarding information from the Estate Manager, All Saints' Church in respect of a Quinquennial Inspection of the churchyard and grounds undertaken by David Whymark. Members were reminded that the churchyard was the responsibility of the Town Council and in this respect received a list of items outlined in the Quinquennial Inspection Report which required attention.

The Town Clerk informed members that quotations had been sought for the work to the tombstones and the removal of Ivy.

It was suggested that the Conservation Officer, Maldon District Council be approached to enquire if the enhancement work being undertaken at Church Walk would include repairs to the railings.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) quotations be sought for the work in the churchyard detailed in the Quinquennial Report;

(b) the Conservation Officer, Maldon District Council be approached regarding work to the railings, Church Walk.

b. Proposed Enhancement to Church Walk, Maldon
Further to minute 17 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th June, 2002 members noted that the enhancement works to Church Walk were due to commence on 7th October, 2002 and would last for approximately four weeks.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
32 PEDESTRIAN CROSSING, THE CAUSEWAY, MALDON

Further to minute 12 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 11th June, 2002 members received and considered the response from Heybridge Parish Council regarding a proposed pedestrian crossing on the Causeway.

It was noted from the response that the Parish Council were not in favour of a pedestrian crossing in the location suggested by the Town Council, in the vicinity of Tavern Garage.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
33

33.1
AMENITY AREAS

Longship Way

Members were informed that the trees at the top of Longship Way required some attention and in this respect received and considered a quotation from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council in the sum of £40.00 plus VAT to remove suckers from an Ash tree and to kill an adjacent stump.

RESOLVED: that the quotation in the sum of £40.00 plus VAT from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council for tree work at Longship Way Amenity Area be approved. (Open Spaces Act 1906, s.9)
33.2 Tennyson Road

Further to minute 22 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 15th July, 2002, members received and considered correspondence from the Poets' Estate Residents' Association regarding proposals for the Tennyson Road Amenity Area (copy circulated to members at the meeting). It was noted from the correspondence that the Residents' Association were going to try and ascertain the ownership of the other half of the area and as there were no specific problems associated to the area it was

RECOMMENDED: that no action be taken until further details regarding the ownership of the other half of the area have been obtained by the Poets' Estate Residents' Association.
34. PRIMROSE MEADOW

Further to minute 77 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 8th January, 2002 members received and considered a response from P. Smith, Property Services, Essex County Council regarding the proposed letting of Primrose Meadow, Mundon Road, Maldon to the Town Council for recreational use.

The response indicated that the County Council had lodged a formal objection with the Maldon District Council regarding the designation of Primrose Meadow as formal recreation land in the Maldon District Local Plan and they were not prepared to comment or let the area long term until their discussions with the District Council had reached a conclusion.

Discussion ensued and it was suggested that a letter be sent to the Maldon District Council confirming previous representations that the Town Council are opposed to any development of this site and have approached the Essex County Council for lease of Primrose Meadow for use as football pitches etc.

The letter should also make reference to the fact that Councillors were concerned to note, from the Essex County Council letter, that detailed negotiations regarding this land were being undertaken between the two authorities.

Members recalled that the original proposal submitted to the Essex County Council had been to lease Primrose Meadow for use as football pitches to help alleviate the shortage of pitches in Maldon. The response from the Essex County Council dated 3rd December, 2001 had indicated that it was their normal practice to let playing fields for the duration of the football season. Members suggested that a letter should be forwarded to the Essex County Council to enquire if they would re-affirm their offer to lease the land for a football season.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council: (i) confirming previous representations that the Town Council are opposed to any development at Primrose Meadow and the land should be utilised for formal Public Open Space for pitches as designated in the Draft Local Plan, (ii) expressing concern that negotiations are being undertaken with the Essex County Council regarding designation of this land in the Draft Local Plan;

(b) a letter be forwarded to the Essex County Council requesting that they re-affirm their offer to lease Primrose Meadow for a football season.
35. PARISH PATHS PARTNERSHIP TRAINING COURSES 2002

Members received and considered a letter from Lisa Keenan, Public Rights of Way Assistant, Essex County Council regarding Parish Paths Partnership Training Courses. Members considered whether they wished to attend any of these courses at a cost of £50 for the full programme of six courses or £15.00 per course.

Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck indicated her interest in attending the following courses:

* Introduction to Map Reading and Surveying
* Public Rights of Way Legislation and Responsibilities
* Practical Skills and Risk Assessment for Maintaining Public Rights of Way
* Practical Conservation Projects and Environmental Legislation

It was suggested that it would be financially more beneficial to apply for the full five day programme. This would enable other representatives to attend the remaining courses and that they should be offered to members at the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September, 2002.

The view was also expressed that it would be better if courses were held during weekends as many Councillors were restricted from attending courses which were held during working hours.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck attends the Parish Paths Partnership Training Courses 2002 to be held on 2nd, 4th 9th and 16th or 18th October, 2002 at a cost of £50.00 per full programme;

(b) an item regarding the remaining courses be included on the agenda for the Town Council meeting to be held on 30th September, 2002.
With the consent of the Chairman, the committee considered the following item raised by Cllr. Kelly which had not been included on the agenda:
36. HEDGE CUTTING - FOOTPATH NO.1, MALDON

Cllr. Kelly said that members may be aware of the report published in the Maldon and Burnham Standard regarding the cutting of boundary vegetation adjacent to Footpath No 1. He informed members that this was the public footpath which ran from, Wycke Hill to Fambridge Road and that it had recently been cut back by contractors working for the Essex County Council.

He expressed his dismay at the manner in which the work had been undertaken destroying trees and hedges which had been specifically planted 8 years previously to enhance the area.

Discussion ensued regarding this matter and m embers agreed that a formal letter of protest should be forwarded to the Essex County Council, Transportation and Operational Services detailing the following concerns in respect of the hedge cutting alongside Footpath No.1:

* the footpath had not been closed whilst machinery had been used to cut back the vegetation. The Town Council were unaware of an application for a temporary footpath closure of Footpath No.1 and felt that this closure should have been more widely publicised.

* the inappropriate and dangerous manner in which the hedge had been cut and it was suggested that for public safety Flail Mowers should not be used to cut back hedges alongside Urban Footpaths and Cycleways

* the unnecessary destruction of flora and fauna and wildlife habitat including trees which had been planted 8 years previously to enhance the footpath and it was suggested that if any of these trees subsequently died they should be replaced.

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Essex County Council, Transportation and Operational Services detailing the Town Councils concerns regarding the cutting of the boundary hedge alongside Footpath No.1 and detailing the above.
The meeting closed at 8.57 p.m.

Councillor Mrs M. Curtis
Chairman

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



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