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MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 19th AUGUST, 2003 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr. Mrs. S. Riesebeck
Vice-Chairman: Cllr. M. Bentley
Councillors: Mrs. M. Curtis, I. Mackenzie, W. Prior,
P. Roberts (Deputy Mayor), S. Savage, K. Smith (Town Mayor)
and J. Swallow.
Representatives: Mrs. G. Coppen and Mr. S. McPherson (Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society).
In Attendance: Cllr. Shrimpton, District Councillor Mrs. B. Keighley (arrived during the meeting), the Town Clerk, Administrative Assistant and one member of the public.
 25. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies for absence.
 26. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 15TH JULY, 2003

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 15th July, 2003 be approved and signed as a correct record.
 27.

 27.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered the report of Cllr. Mrs. M. Curtis regarding an allotment inspection undertaken at the beginning of August.

Maldon Hall Site

Very good overall appearance with most plots being well tended and in excellent condition. The only tenant on the site enquired about sheds which he did not think would be a good idea as they could attract breakins.
  
Gates and PostsGood
SignageGood
Main FootpathsGood
Plot MarkersSome Missing
Car park areaGetting weedy
Bypass boundary hedgeWeedy with metre high nettles - may need some attention to avoid complaints - monitor
  
Plots
8a A bit weedy but with manure on the plot - suggest monitor
8bPartly cultivated
12bNeeds strimming - brambles taken hold
16aCultivated but weedy
16bStarting to cultivate
19bNeeds strimming
20bNeeds some attention
21bWeedy
22bSome signs of recent work - monitor
23aWeedy in the middle
23bPile of weeds in the middle plus manure on plot - monitor
25aNo sign of cultivation this year
26A small area dug over but the rest grass
28bVery overgrown
29Part of ground covered
30aNeeds strimming
30bSome signs of cultivation at back, path side weedy
31 Some signs of work
34aNo cultivation, needs strimming
37aWeedy
39bArea to be coppiced - strim
40Part covered with plastic plus manure on plot - monitor
41Very weedy
  
   Warwick Crescent
  
Approach TrackBest I have ever seen it
SignageGood
Boundary hedgeA little overgrown - monitor
  
Plots
2a No sign of cultivation, very overgrown (Tenancy terminated 31st Aug. 2003
6a Very weedy and only a small area cultivated
10bMostly grassy
   Brickhouse Farm
  
GatesGood
FencesGood
SignageGood
New footpathA few weeds appearing
Compost binsAll along the side fence is now piled with compostable materials which is spoiling the appearance of the site. Also large amounts of rubble.
  
Plots
4 A bit weedy
6Some signs of cultivation, rest is very weedy
12Back of plot weedy
   RESOLVED: that the appropriate action be taken regarding uncultivated plots.
 27.2 Financial Statement of Accounts

Members received and considered a report indicating that £6,930.93 remained in the allotment account for this financial year.

RESOLVED: that the financial report be noted.
 27.3 Petition for Sheds - Maldon Hall Allotment Site

Further to minute 5.5 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 9th June, 2003, members received and considered a report regarding Maldon Hall tenants responses to the possible installation of sheds on the site. From the fifty five tenants who were sent letters only six responses were received, of which four supported the proposal but expressed concerns regarding the possible increase in vandalism at the site and two were against the installation of sheds.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that because of the poor response it be

RESOLVED: that no further action be taken.
Cllr. W. Prior arrived
 27.4 Brickhouse Farm - Clearance of Rubble

Further to minute 5.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 9th June, 2003 members were informed that a negative response had been received from the National Probation Service regarding Community Service workers assisting with loading rubble and debris into a skip at the Brickhouse Farm allotment site.

Members recalled that, due to previous problems of vandalism whilst a skip had been left at the site, it would be difficult for one to be left for more than a couple of days.

In response to a question from a member, the Town Clerk said that she had contacted the Parks Department regarding the availability of a tractor and trailer to remove the rubble. The Parks Officer had visited the site and stated that the entrance was too narrow to allow vehicular access. The Town Clerk stated that she had made enquiries regarding the hire of a mini digger at a cost of £90 per day which the Handyman could operate to assist with moving the rubble.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that because of the large quantity of rubble now accumulating at the site it would be necessary to hire a large skip. It was suggested that enquiries should be made to ascertain if skips fitted with lockable lids could be hired as this would deter vandalism.

Mrs Coppen stated that last year the tenants used wheelbarrows to load the skip and that if enough tenants and Councillors were available she felt that the task could be completed in a day. It was agreed that further enquiries should be made regarding the hire of a lockable skip and a letter be forwarded to Brickhouse Farm tenants detailing a date and requesting their assistance to form a Working Party to remove the rubble. It was noted that this should be at a weekend to enable tenants and Councillors who work during the week to become involved.

A member suggested that the Scouts should be contacted to ascertain whether they would be willing to assist on the day if a donation was offered towards their funds.

RESOLVED: that (a) enquiries be made regarding the hire of a skip, preferably lockable;

(b) Brickhouse Farm tenants be contacted regarding the date for a Working Party to load a skip;

(c) the Scouts be contacted to enquire if they would be able to assist with loading rubble into the skip.
 27.5 Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society - Best Allotment Competition

Members were informed that the results of the Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society Best Kept Allotment Competition 2003 which was judged on 9th July, 2003 were available in the office and the winners were:

1st Plot 9, Maldon Hall - Mr E. Cook
2nd Plot 7a, Warwick Crescent - Mr F. Bayles
3rd Plot 46a and b, Maldon Hall - Mr. T. Hill

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 27.6 Comments from the Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society (MHHS)

Mrs. Coppen informed members that the formation of an Allotments Association had informally been discussed under Any Other Business at their last Committee meeting; an item regarding this matter will be included in their next agenda. During their discussions the view had been expressed that the Town Council should contract all allotment tenants to see if they wanted to form their own Allotment Association.

Mr. MacPherson expressed the view that the driveway to the Maldon Hall site was rather overgrown. The Town Clerk stated that she would ask the Handyman to clear this.

RESOLVED: that (a) the official response from the (MHHS) to the formation of an Allotment Association be awaited;

(b) the Handyman be requested to remove the weeds etc. from the Maldon Hall allotment site driveway.;

(b) the comments of members of the (MHHS) be noted.
 28. POETS' ESTATE - TENNYSON ROAD AMENITY AREA

Further to minute 8.2(c) of the Environment Committee meeting held on 9th June, 2003:
 28.1 Land Ownership

Members received and considered a response from Bright and Sons Solicitors regarding action that could be taken in respect of the section of the Tennyson Road amenity area which was not currently in the ownership of the Town Council.

The letter suggested that the Town Council could try and obtain possessory title but this would involve submitting a Statutory Declaration to the Land Registry stating that the Council had been in occupation and maintained the area from the early 1980's. Another suggestion was that, if the Town Council were to decide that the land should be divided into neighbouring gardens a plan would need to be drawn up and conveyances prepared. The parties taking such a conveyance regarding the section of land not in the Town Council ownership would be secure in the knowledge that the Town Council would not be claiming the land from them and in twelve years they should be able to obtain adverse possession themselves. Members were of the opinion that this might be the best course of action to take if it is decided that the area should be divided into gardens.

RECOMMENDED: that the response from Bright and Sons be noted and if it is decided that the area should be divided and incorporated into the gardens of adjacent properties appropriate conveyances be drawn up.
 28.2 Entrance Gate

Members received and considered the following two quotations for the installation of a gate at the entrance to the amenity area:

1. To supply metal gate and two metal posts   £240
To fit                                                                  £180.
Total                                                                  £420 plus VAT

2. To supply and fit 1 metal gate and 2 metal post plus padlock £895 plus VAT

The Town Clerk informed members that Polden Engineering, quotation 1, had undertaken previous work for the Town Council and members agreed to accept the quotation from Polden Engineering.

In response to a question regarding the necessity to obtain planning permission for installation of the gate, the Town Clerk stated that the principal reason for the gate to be installed was for public safety and it was hoped that an application would be approved. She explained that there had been a small fire recently in the amenity area and youths had been using the area for anti-social activities. The view was expressed that it was not a Public Right of Way but it was agreed that enquiries be made to the Maldon District Council regarding planning permission to install a gate.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the quotation from Polden Engineering in the total sum of £420 plus VAT to supply and fit a metal gate with two metal posts be approved;
(b) the Maldon District Council be contacted to ascertain if planning permission was required for the installation of a gate at the entrance to the amenity area.
 28.3 Future of the Amenity Area
As a result of the site meeting held on Saturday, 26th July, 2003 between members of the Town Council, residents of properties adjacent to the amenity area and members of the Poets' Estate Residents' Association, members considered the future of the amenity area.

Members expressed the view that, being such an isolated space, the only people who regularly visited the amenity area were youths who used it for consuming alcoholic drinks and other antisocial activities. In view of the fact that several residents had expressed an interest in incorporating parts of the amenity area into their gardens members felt that this should be pursued. The Town Clerk stated that it would be necessary to contact the District Valuer with regard to the section of land owned by the Town Council to ascertain its value and a planning application for Change of Use would have to be submitted to the District Council.

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Council pursues the distribution of the land to the interested neighbouring properties and in this respect:

(i) the District Valuer be contacted regarding the valuation of the land;

(ii) a planning application be submitted to the Maldon District Council for Change of use of the Land.
 29.

 29.1
MALDON TREE WARDENS

Tree Wardens News

Members received and considered a letter from the Landscape Officer, Maldon District Council regarding the latest edition of Tree Warden News.

In response to a request from the Chairman, Mrs Good explained that the letter highlighted the main issues reported in the Tree Warden News. She stated that it would be extremely difficult for a Hedge Tree Survey to be undertaken in Maldon as there were very few hedges around the town boundary which had not been flailed and this practice destroyed any hedge trees. There were also details of Seed Gathering Sunday and National Tree Week where communities could organise events.

Mrs. Good stated that she was aware that two wardens were hopefully attending the Regional Tree Warden Forum being held in Suffolk. She also stated that the role of a Tree Warden in Maldon was different from that of Tree Wardens in the surrounding villages where the majority of trees were in a rural setting. Maldon was predominantly an urban locality and areas with trees such as the Promenade Park and West Maldon Community Centre were managed and maintained by the District Council.

RESOLVED: that the letter be noted.
 29.2 Activities

Members received and considered a report regarding the town's Tree Wardens. The report indicated that Tree Wardens' meetings had been poorly attended and currently the only positive task being undertaken were the production of reports to the Planning Committee on applications for work to trees covered by either a Tree Preservation Order or to trees located in the Conservation Area. Members were requested to consider ways in which the town's Tree Wardens could become more active.

Discussion ensued and it was suggested that the District Council should be requested to improve and replant the Family Wood at West Maldon Community Centre as a project for National Tree Week.

RECOMMENDED: that the District Council be requested to consider replanting, improving the Family Wood at the West Maldon Community Centre during National Tree Week.
 30. FARLEIGH AT ST. CLARE'S HOSPICE -'LIGHT UP A LIFE'

Members received and considered a letter from the Fundraiser, Farleigh at St. Clare's Hospice requesting permission to site the "Light up a Life" Christmas tree in St. Peter's Churchyard within the first week in December. It was noted that a further letter has been received indicating that the service for the 'Light up a Life' campaign was scheduled to be held on Tuesday, 9th December, 2003.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council have no objection to the Christmas tree being sited in St. Peter's Churchyard for the 'Light up a Life' campaign at the beginning of December.
 31. PARISH PATHS PARTNERSHIP (P3) TRAINING COURSE 2003

Members received and considered a letter from the Rights of Way Officer, Essex County Council regarding training courses organised by the Parish Paths Partnership (P3) scheme.

The Chairman suggested that as Footpaths Representative Cllr. Swallow may find it beneficial to attend. Cllr. Savage also stated that he would like to attend.

However, in view of the cost per delegate and as the course offered five separate training days, it was suggested that Cllr. Swallow notify Cllr. Savage of the courses he cannot attend.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Town Council reserves a place on the five day Training Course offered by the P3 Scheme at a total cost of £50 per course;

(b) Cllrs. Swallow and Savage liaise regarding attendance at the five day courses.
 32. LONGSHIP WAY

Members were informed that a letter had been received from a resident of Longship Way expressing concern regarding dogs fouling on the green and enquiring if a notice could be erected banning dogs from this area. Members noted that without a byelaw being introduced it was not possible to enforce the banning of dogs on an area.

It was suggested that the Animal Warden, Maldon District Council should be contacted to enquire if signs regarding dog fouling penalties were located at the Longship Way amenity area. If such signs were not in place it was suggested that they be erected and that the amenity area be monitored. It was also suggested that the resident should be requested to keep a record of when she observes dogs fouling on the amenity area.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Animal Warden, Maldon District Council be contacted regarding dog fouling signs at the Longship Way amenity area and monitoring the area;

(b) a letter be forwarded to the resident of Longship Way requesting her to keep a record of dogs fouling on the amenity area.
 33. WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

Members received and considered information from the Essex Association of Local Councils regarding ways in which the Town Council could become involved in the Environment Agency's World Environment Day to be held on 4th June, 2004.

It was suggested that the Town Council could organise a Litter Pick around Footpath No.1 and the Safeway Store, however, as World Environment Day was not until June, 2004 it was

RESOLVED: that the matter be deferred until the Environment Committee meeting to be held on 17th February, 2004.
 34. QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

With regard to the Tennyson Road amenity area, a member of the public asked whether in view of the plan to enclose and eventually sell of the amenity area, the Council would provide another amenity area in the vicinity. The Chairman responded that the Town Council was not considering such provision. (amended at the Town Council meeting held on 15th September, 2003 minute 71.2 refers)

The meeting closed at 8.20 p.m.

Cllr. Mrs S. Riesebeck
Chairman

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



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