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MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON MONDAY 9th JUNE, 2003 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Councillors: M. Bentley, Mrs. M. Curtis, W. Prior,
P. Roberts (Deputy Mayor), Mrs S. Riesebeck, S. Savage and K. Smith (Town Mayor)
Representatives: Mr. S. McPherson (Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society).
In Attendance: Three members of the public, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
  
IN THE CHAIR - CLLR. K. SMITH (TOWN MAYOR)
  1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR Cllr. Mrs. Curtis proposed and Cllr. Roberts seconded that Cllr. Mrs S. Riesebeck be elected Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.

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

Cllr. Roberts proposed and Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck seconded that Cllr. Bentley be elected Vice-Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.

RESOLVED: that Cllr. Bentley be elected Vice-Chairman of the Environment Committee for the ensuing Municipal Year.
  3. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Cllr. J. Swallow.
  4. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 28TH APRIL, 2003

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 28th April, 2003 be approved and signed as a correct record.
  5.

  5.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered the report of Mrs. Good, Administrative Assistant regarding an allotment inspection undertaken on 3rd June, 2003.

Maldon Hall Site

The overall appearance of the site was very attractive and there was currently a waiting list for plots.
  
Gates and PostsHandyman currently painting gates and posts
SignageNew signs placed on notice board
Main FootpathsGood
Plot MarkersPlots to be re-measured in the summer when a check on plot markers would be undertaken
  
Plots
2a Tenancy terminated - New tenant
3aTenancy terminated - New tenant
16bPlot relinquished after letter forwarded requesting immediate cultivation of the plot. New tenant - suggested that the plot be strimmed to prevent the spread of seeds from the weeds
20bPart cultivated - suggested that a letter of enquiry be forwarded to the tenant
21bMonitor
22bPart cultivated - suggested that a letter of enquiry be forwarded to the tenant
23bPoor condition - suggested that a letter of enquiry be forwarded to the tenant
25Part cultivated and paths around plot badly overgrown - suggested that letter of enquiry be forwarded including a reminder that the paths surrounding the plots were the responsibility of the tenant
26Letter forwarded requesting immediate cultivation of plot. Some work had now been undertaken but suggested a letter be forwarded suggesting that the plot be strimmed at tenant's expense to prevent the spread of weeds
28bMonitor
30aPlot relinquished after letter of enquiry - suggested that the plot be strimmed before new tenant takes over the plot to prevent the spread of seeds from the weeds
31Monitor as plot still only part cultivated
33bStill weedy - suggested plot be monitored
   Warwick Crescent

The overall appearance of the site was very good
  
Approach TrackGrass needs cutting and suggested that the Essex County Council be contacted regarding this matter
Notice BoardNew notice board installed with new signage
  
Plots
2a Part cultivated - suggested that plot be monitored
10bLetter of enquiry forwarded last month. Some work undertaken but still extremely overgrown. Suggested that a letter be forwarded to tenant stating that the plot would be strimmed at the tenant's expense to prevent the spread of seeds from weeds.
   Brickhouse Farm
  
Boundary fence by main footpathPiles of stones and grass from plots dumped alongside the fence was increasing in size
SignageNotice board installed with new signage
Compost BinsBroken boards - suggested that the handyman investigate
  
Plots
4 Part cultivated - monitor
6Letter of enquiry sent - Plot was still in a very poor condition and suggested that a letter be sent stating that unless there were some signs of cultivation within two weeks the tenancy will be terminated
14Letter of enquiry sent last month - some cultivation - suggested that the plot be monitored
   Discussion ensued regarding the quantity of stones and rubble which were once again collecting alongside the boundary fence by the entrance gate at the Brickhouse Farm site. In response to a question, members were informed that this was accumulating as tenants were still removing rubble from their plots due to the site being developed over demolished farm buildings. Concern was expressed that the amount of rubble being removed from the plots had not decreased despite the fact that two skips had already been utilised at the site to remove such debris.

It was suggested that another skip should be hired over a weekend and that tenants be notified of the date to enable them to load the skip. It was indicated that in the past the skips had been left at the site for two weekends but last year there had been vandalism problems as the skip has to be left outside the confines of the site. The Town Clerk suggested that Community Services should be contacted to enquire if they would be able to assist with loading the rubble into a skip.

RESOLVED: that (a) plots 16b and 30a be strimmed at the Town Council's expense;

(b) a letter be forwarded to the Essex County Council requesting that the Lift Approach track, adjacent to the Warwick Crescent allotment site, be cut;

(c) a letter be forwarded to Community Services to enquire if they would be able to assist in loading rubble into a skip at the Brickhouse Farm allotment site;

(d) the suggested action be taken regarding uncultivated plots and in all other respects the report be noted.
 5.2 Financial Statement of Account

Members received and considered a report indicating that £6,691.05 remained in the allotment account for this financial year.

RESOLVED: that the financial report be noted.
 5.3 Brickhouse Farm Open Space - Litter Bin

Further to minute 99.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 28th April, 2003 members were informed that the District Council's Environment Department were considering the installation of a litter bin on the Brickhouse Farm footpath / cycleway.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 5.4 Allotment Inspection Rota 2003 - 2004

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 written report to the meeting. It was helpful if the inspection was undertaken 10 days prior to the meeting to enable the report to be circulated with the agenda which was forwarded to Councillors on the Tuesday or Wednesday prior to the meeting. It was also noted that should members be unable to carry out their inspections they were responsible for organising another member to attend on their behalf.

Members therefore considered the following inspection rota:

15th July 2003                Cllr. Mrs. S. Riesebeck
19th August 2003           Cllr. Mrs M. Curtis
6th October 2003           Cllr. M. Bentley
17th November 2003     Cllr. S. Savage
22nd March 2004          Cllr. W. Prior

It was agreed that copies of plans of the allotment sites be forwarded to new members of the Committee.

Cllr. Roberts informed members that he would be willing to undertake an inspection should a member be unavailable.

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

(b) should members be unable to carry out their inspections they should be responsible for organising another member to undertake the inspection on their behalf;

(c) copies of plans of the allotment sites be forwarded to new members of the Committee.
   Maldon Hall Site - Proposed Coppicing of Native Trees

Although this item had not been specifically included on the agenda members agreed that as the Maldon Hall allotment site was on the agenda the item should be considered.

A letter was circulated at the meeting from a Maldon Hall tenant requesting that the Committee consider allowing native trees such as hazel and sweet chestnut to be planted on the waste area of land adjacent to plot 39b. The trees could then be coppiced and used to provide support stakes for himself and the surplus offered to neighbouring plotholders.

Mrs. Good stated that this particular area was still in a poor condition and not suitable for cultivation. She felt that a coppicing scheme would only enhance the site as well as providing stakes produced by an environmentally friendly method. It was noted that she had made enquiries of the Parks Department who had informed her that whips (1 metre high trees) cost approximately 40 pence each for a bulk order.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the Parks Department, Maldon District Council should be contacted to enquire about the cost and provision of hazel and sweet chestnut whips and also the supply of bark mulch. It was agreed that, subject to confirmation of cost, the Town Council should provide the native trees to enhance the area.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council provides the whips and the tenant the remaining materials to enable the planting of the area adjacent to plot 39b Maldon Hall site.
 5.5 Maldon Hall Site - Petition

Members were informed that a petition, signed by 20 Maldon Hall allotment site tenants, had been received in the office requesting permission for sheds to be installed on plots for storing equipment and to give shelter in adverse weather. It was noted that rule 7e of the Council's Rules to Allotment Gardens stated that, "The tenant shall not erect any building or other permanent structure whatsoever upon the land save for boxes for the storage of garden tools", and would therefore require to be amended should members agree to the tenant's request; furthermore in this event members might wish to stipulate a maximum shed size.

The Town Clerk advised that as the allotment site was outside the town's development boundary, planning permission would be required from the Maldon District Council for the erection of each shed by the individual plotholders costing approximately £100.00 per application.
7.55 p.m. At this stage the Chairman adjourned the meeting to enable members of the public to make comments on this matter.
   One member of the public reported that there was a problem with vandals breaking into tool boxes on the site and consequently some tenants had felt that sheds would be a more secure option.

It was also suggested that the Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society (MHHS) be approached regarding the formation of an Allotment Association.
The meeting re-convened at 8.00 p.m.
   The Chairman suggested that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon Hall tenants who signed the petition explaining that to erect a shed on each individual plot would require planning permission and this would be subject to the standard fee. It was also felt that the MHHS should be contacted regarding the formation of an Allotment Association.

Discussion ensued regarding this matter during which the view was expressed that all allotment tenants should be contacted regarding the erection of sheds before a final decision is made.

RESOLVED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the tenants who signed the shed petition informing them that all allotment tenants are to be contacted regarding this matter and if the Town Council agree to their request they would be required to obtain planning permission from the Maldon District Council, subject to the standard fee for the erection of sheds on their plots;

(b) all allotment tenants be contacted regarding the erection of sheds on allotment plots and a decision be made by the Council when responses have been received;

(c) enquiries to made to the Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Association regarding the possible formation of an Allotment Association.
  6. MALDON IN BLOOM - WORKING PARTY MEETINGS

(a) Notes of the Meeting held on 23rd April, 2003

The view was expressed that, although it was very pleasing to learn that all the available baskets were utilised, it was disappointing that there were still noticeable gaps, particularly at the top end of the High Street, where the major High Street branches of shops, banks and building societies were situated. It was felt that it would be beneficial for these premises to be targeted during next year's campaign.

(b) Notes of the Meeting held on 4th June, 2003 (copy circulated at the meeting)

Members noted that the refurbishment of Market Hill Garden had now been completed apart from the installation of a bench and litter bin. It was agreed that letters should be forwarded to the Plume School students who undertook the project thanking them for their excellent work which had made a notable improvement to the area.

Cllr. Savage informed members that he had reported to the District Council Planning Department that a JCB undertaking demolition work in Downs Road had broken the kerb stones in the vicinity of the Downs Road pavement. The Town Clerk said that she would speak to the Essex County Council's Highways Department regarding the matter.

RESOLVED: that (a) letters be forwarded to the Plume School students who had undertaken the refurbishment of Market Hill Garden congratulating them on their excellent workmanship.

(b) Essex County Council's Highways Department be contacted regarding broken kerb stones on Downs Road;

(c) in all other respects the Notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meetings held on 23rd April and 4th June 2003 be noted.
  7. LONGSHIP WAY AMENITY AREA

Further to minute 95 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 25th March, 2003 members received and considered a report regarding a request from the Maldon Youth Council for the installation of a seat and litter bin on the Longship Way amenity area subject to the views of the local residents being sought. The report indicated that after a large letter drop undertaken by the Youth Council, twenty three responses had been received, of which fifteen were against the suggestion of placing a seat and litter bin in this location and eight were in favour.

It was reported that the majority of the people in favour of a seat being located on the amenity area did not reside in Longship Way.

Discussion ensued and when put to the vote it was agreed that a seat and litter bin should not be installed on the Longship Way amenity area.

It was reported that resulting from the letter drop, a resident of Narvik Court had requested a site meeting with Councillors to discuss vandalism and problems that had occurred in the vicinity of Footpath No. 1 and Safeway Stores.

The view was expressed that before a site visit was considered it would be helpful for the resident to list his complaints in writing and forward them to the Town Council.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) no further action be taken regarding the installation of a bench and litterbin at the Longship Way amenity area;

(b) the resident of Narvik Court be invited to submit a list of his areas of concern in writing prior to a site visit being arranged.
  8. POETS' ESTATE RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION (PERA)

Members received and considered a report detailing the following matters for consideration by the Town Council:
 8.1 Parish Trees and Bulbs

Members recalled that it had been agreed that the Town Council's 2003 annual supply of Parish trees and bulbs from the District Council should be allocated to the PERA. In this respect members noted that a letter of thanks had been received from the PERA which stated that the trees had been now been planted with one in memory of an Estate resident who had died earlier this year. A commemorative plaque had been ordered and it was hoped that Councillors would be able to attend a photo shoot when the plaque was installed.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 8.2 Improvements

As result of a site meeting held on 25th April, 2003 between representatives of the PERA, Essex County Council, District Council, bus company and Town Council at which Cllr. Roberts and the Town Clerk attended, members noted the report of the Town Clerk regarding the following comments detailed in a letter received from Alison Woollard, Chairwoman of the PERA.

a. Lay-by at Bus Stop in Masefield Road

The PERA had requested that the Town Council consider including the provision of a lay-by at the bus stop in Masefield Road on the list of items to be supported by the locally determined highways budget.

b. Post Box

The PERA requested that a post box be provided in the vicinity of the shop at Dryden Close. In this respect the Town Clerk reported that she had contacted the Royal Mail who were considering the request.

c. Amenity Area at the Rear of Tennyson Road

The report of the Town Clerk stated that half of this amenity area had been transferred to the Town Council from the District Council upon formation of the Town Council in 1987. Although extensive enquiries had been undertaken by both the Town Council and PERA it was not known who owned the other section of land.

The report also included comments from Sergeant Richard Miller (Community Policing) who stated that this area was now being frequented by youths and that evidence of anti-social behaviour had been found at the site.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk stated that the Town Council's solicitor had advised that to obtain a statutory declaration for the possessory title of this portion of land, evidence of maintenance undertaken by the Town Council was required. The Town Council were now undertaking a maintenance programme for the area which included a bi-annual trim of the shrubs and the application of weedkiller. Members felt that further enquiries should be made to the Town Council's solicitor regarding the possibility of obtaining possessory title of the land.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that as this amenity area was in such an isolated location and was becoming a hidey-hole for youths, investigations should be undertaken regarding the possibility of the land being incorporated into residents' gardens notwithstanding that this would be against the Town Council's general policy regarding amenity areas.
(Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998)

The Town Clerk suggested that the District Council be contacted as she believed that a similar problem had occurred in Burnham and residents had subsequently incorporated the vacant land into their gardens.

d. Dog Fouling Bins

Members considered a request for dog fouling bins to be installed at the grass areas at the eastern end of Shakespeare Drive and the pathway leading from Spencer Close to Knox Close. It was noted that £200 had been included in the 2003 /2004 Estimates for the provision of dog bins on the Poets' Estate and that the District Council would empty bins provided by the Town Council. It was noted that the cost of a bin and post was approximately £110.

e. Grass Cutting

Members considered a request to provide an additional cut for the grass areas of the Estate during August. Members recalled that it had previously been agreed that the grass areas should not receive an additional cut during August to ensure that the habitat for butterflies was preserved.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the situation should be monitored and reviewed during August.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the Essex County Council, Transportation and Operations Services requesting that a lay-by at the bus stop in Masefield Road be included in the Locally Determined Plan;

(b) the Town Council's solicitor be contacted regarding obtaining the possessory title of that part of the amenity area at the rear of the Tennyson Road, which was not currently in the Town Council's possession and the Maldon District Council be contacted for information regarding the transfer of amenity areas to local residents in Burnham;

(c) a site meeting be arranged with Poets' Estate residents whose properties adjoin the Tennyson Road amenity area to discuss the possibility of incorporating the area into their gardens;

(d) the Town Council provides two dog bins to be located on the Poets' Estate at the approximate cost of £110.00 each and the District Council be requested to empty them once they are installed;

(e) the situation regarding grass cutting on the Poets' Estate be monitored and reviewed in August
  9. SITING OF TELEPHONE MASTS

Further to minute 103 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 28th April, 2003 some members recalled that it had been suggested that the Committee should look at expanding the existing Planning Policy No.17 regarding siting of telephone masts to include "land owned by the Town Council".

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that no further action should be taken regarding this matter and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Council's Planning Policy, no.17 as follows should not be amended:

17 The installation of telephone masts or equipment on Listed Buildings owned by the Town Council will not be approved.
 10. ST. GILES LEPER HOSPITAL

Members received and considered notification from English Heritage stating that because of the importance of the St. Giles Leper Hospital, which is a Grade 1 Listed Building, they wish to revise the scheduled area "to include the grassed over fenced area surrounding the monument where below ground foundations of the hospital building and associated archaeological deposits will have survived."

Cllr. Prior requested a copy of the notification report from English Heritage.

RESOLVED: that (a) a copy of the notification be forwarded to Cllr. Prior;

(b) the notification report from English Heritage be noted.
 11. DYKES CHASE

Further to minute 7 of the Annual Town Meeting held on 16th April, 2003 members considered an enquiry from a member of the public requesting that the Town Council considers contributing towards maintenance improvements for Dykes Chase - a private road which runs the length of the Leech Memorial Garden which was the responsibility of the Town Council.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that no action be taken.
 12. BTCV AND MALDON DISTRICT COUNCIL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS PARTNERSHIP

Members received and considered a letter and information from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) which advised that their partnership with the Maldon District Council, working on environmental projects, was in its second year. The correspondence provided background information and detailed the achievements and aims of the partnership.

The view was expressed that the Handyman and Parks Department undertake most of this type of work for the Town Council and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted for future reference.
 13. DOG FOULING - BEELEIGH ROAD

Members received and considered a report regarding a letter received from a resident of Beeleigh Road who had expressed concern in respect of repeated dog fouling in the vicinity of Beeleigh Road which they had observed was in evidence when children were being taken and collected from the local primary school. The resident suggested that it would be beneficial for a dog fouling bin to be installed in the vicinity of West Chase.

Discussion ensued and members agreed that this was a serious problem and that a letter should be forwarded to both the Maldon District Council's Dog Warden and Senior Waste Management Officer suggesting that the area around Beeleigh Road should be monitored.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the appropriate officers of the Maldon District Council be contacted and requested to monitor the Beeleigh Road area during the morning arrival and afternoon school collection times in term time.

(b) the resident be informed of the action being taken.
   Meeting closed at 8. 20 p.m.

Cllr. Mrs S. Riesebeck
Chairman

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



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