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MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON MONDAY 6th OCTOBER, 2003 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr. Mrs. S. Riesebeck
Councillors: Mrs. M. Curtis, I. Mackenzie, S. Savage and J. Swallow.
Representatives: Mr. S. McPherson (Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society).
In Attendance: Cllr. Shrimpton, the Town Clerk, Administrative Assistant and one member of the public.
Absent: Cllr. M. Bentley (telephone call received the following day submitting his apologies as he had to work)
 35. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr. K. Smith who was undertaking an official Mayoral duty. Members were advised that Cllr. W. Prior was delayed and would be arriving later.
 36. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 19TH AUGUST, 2003

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 19th August, 2003 be approved and signed as a correct record.
 37.

 37.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered the report of Cllr. Bentley regarding an allotment inspection undertaken on Sunday, 28th September, 2003.

Cllr. Bentley felt that the three allotments sites were in good condition despite the hot and dry weather which had been experienced during the summer months.

Maldon Hall Site

Most plots were very good, overall appearance excellent.
  
Plots
36a Unkept
39b Needs Strimming
  
   Warwick Crescent

The hedges adjoining the boundary fence between the allotment site and King Street required to be cut back as they were encroaching over the main footpath. Members were informed that the Handyman had already been requested to undertake this work.

It was reported that there were a large number of garden tools, boxes and compost bins etc. being left on the back footpath of the site which were blocking access to the water tanks, footpath and rear hedge and were causing a hazard to tenants and making access for the maintenance of the hedge very difficult. Members were informed that an item regarding this matter had been included in the Autumn Allotment Newsletter. It was suggested that a letter be forwarded to the allotment tenants whose plots were adjacent to the rear hedge reminding them that any items relating to their allotment should be incorporated within the confines of their plots.
  
Plots
2a No cultivation. New tenant last month but unable to dig the plot over as the ground was too dry.
10bNo change since last month. Members were informed that a letter had been received from the tenant explaining that he had recently moved and had been renovating the property however, he would now be spending more time on his plot.
   Brickhouse Farm

The rubble and compostable rubbish was near to the top of the fence in places. The plots were very dry.

RESOLVED: that (a) the appropriate action be taken regarding uncultivated plots;

(b) tenants at the Warwick Crescent site be contacted regarding items being removed from alongside the rear boundary hedge and placed within the confines of their plots;

(c) in all other respects the report be noted.
 35.2 Financial Statement of Accounts

Members received and considered a report, circulated at the meeting, indicating that £7,849.79 remained in the allotment account for this financial year.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk advised that the charges from Essex and Suffolk Water were in respect of the water supply to tanks at the allotment sites and did not include sewage charges.

RESOLVED: that the financial report be noted.
 35.3 Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society (MHHS)

Further to minute 27.6 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 19th August, 2003 members received two responses from the MHHS regarding the proposed formation of an Allotment Association. The letters stated that as only a small percentage of their members (6%) were allotment holders they were not prepared to become involved in the formation of an Allotment Association. However, should an Allotment Association be formed in the future they should be able to find someone to be a representative for the Society on the committee.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the opinion of allotment tenants should be sought regarding the formation of an Allotment Association.

RESOLVED: an item be included in the Spring edition of the Allotment Newsletter seeking the views of allotment tenants on the formation of an Allotment Association.
Cllr. Prior arrived at 7.36 p.m.
 35.4 Brickhouse Farm - Clearance of Rubble

Further to minute 27.4 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 19th August, 2003 members considered a report regarding alternative methods for the clearance of rubble and vegetation which had accumulated at the site. It had been suggested that a Working Party, comprising of members and tenants, be held during the weekend of 25th and 26th October, 2003 to clear the debris into a skip.

The view was expressed that this work should be undertaken by an outside contractor and not attempted by a Working Party and it was suggested that a quotation be sought from the Ground Maintenance Contractor to undertake the clearance work. Discussion ensued and it was agreed that if the quotation, including skip hire was below £500.00, the Town Clerk authorise the work to proceed. Should the quotation be above £500 a Working Party of Councillors and tenants be arranged to undertake the work.

As a member of the District Council, Cllr. Prior declared a personal interest in the above matter.

It was also suggested that if the Working Party takes place the Maldon District Council be contacted to enquire if the District Council Green Waste Collection Service which visits the Brickhouse Farm site on Saturday morning, could be utilised to dispose of any green waste.

RESOLVED: that (a) a quotation be sought from the Ground Maintenance Contractor, Maldon District Council to clear the rubble and vegetation from the site;

(b) (i) should the quotation from the Ground Maintenance Contractor be above £500 a Working Party be organised for the weekend of 25th - 26th October, 2003 and a skip/s be hired to remove the rubbish;
(ii) if the Working Party takes place the Maldon District Council be contacted regarding the availability of the Green Waste Collection Service at Brickhouse Farm on 25th October, 2003 to dispose of any green waste.
 35.5 Comments from the Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society

There were no comments.
 36.

 36.1
WARE POND

Notes of the Site Meeting held at the Ware Pond on 26th August, 2003

Members received and considered the notes of a site meeting held at Ware Pond on 26th August, 2003.

In response to a question, it was noted that the Maldon District Council, Planning Enforcement Officer had confirmed that Countryside Properties were conforming to Condition 14 of planning permission FUL/MAL/02/00185 which refers to water supply to the Ware Pond. Reference was also made to the installation of steps at the entrance to the Ware Pond and it was reported that these were not shown on the original plan and the matter was now with the Enforcement Officer, Maldon District Council.

In response to a question regarding the repair of the gate hasp on the access gate to the pond the Town Clerk stated that the Handyman was dealing with this matter.

RECOMMENDED: that the notes of the Ware Pond site meeting held on 26th August, 2003 be approved.
 36.2 Update on the Ware Pond

Members received a verbal update from Cllr. Savage who advised that he had contacted various authorities regarding the Ware Pond in relation to the Countryside Properties development.

Lengthy discussion ensued during which reference was made to surface water being discharged from the development into the Ware Pond and the fact that the developer would have to obtain the permission of the Town Council prior to this happening. Members expressed the view that such permission would not be granted if an application was received.

Reference was also made to the fact that the Ware Pond is very old and historic and in answer to a question it was reported that it was not an ancient monument. Members felt that investigations should be undertaken to try and obtain a recognised status for the pond to protect it for the future.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to Countryside Properties stating that if they were to submit an application it was unlikely that the Town Council would give permission for surface water to be discharged into the Ware Pond;

(b) if any future applications are received for developments within this area the Town Council requests that a condition be imposed prohibiting the discharge of water into the Ware Pond;

(c) investigations be undertaken to ascertain if, to ensure its protection, a recognised status could be obtained in respect of the Ware Pond in view of the pond's historic value.
 37. PROVISION OF ACTIVITIES FOR YOUTHS IN MALDON

Further to minute 83 of the Town Council meeting held on 15th September, 2003 members received and considered a letter from District Councillor Stichbury regarding the provision of activities for youths in the town.

The Chairman stated that the majority of the amenity areas and open spaces in the town were not the responsibility of the Town Council and she requested member's suggestions for areas which could be utilised to facilitate equipment for youths between the ages of 13 to 16 years. She informed members that she had approached local youth groups who had stated that any facilities would need to be near the Town Centre as they felt the Leisure Centre was too far away.

Members agreed that a skateboard park or play area suitable for older youths would benefit the town and suggested locations were Primrose Meadow - Mundon Road, West Maldon Community Centre or Longfields all of which were in central locations.

It was also suggested that the Maldon Youth Council be asked for their comments regarding this matter.

The Town Clerk informed members that there had recently been several articles in local government publications regarding facilities for youths including skateboard parks and these were available in the office for inspection should members be interested.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that (a) letters be forwarded to the Maldon District Community Services Team and District Councillor Stichbury advising that the Town Council support proposals to improve facilities for youths especially the provision of a skateboard park or play area suitable for older youths and suggest the following locations:
Primrose Meadow - Mundon Road
West Maldon Community Centre
Longfields;

(b) the views of the Maldon Youth Council be sought regarding this matter.
 38. MARKET HILL GARDEN - ROCKS

Further to minute 93 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 25th March, 2003 members recalled that it had previously been agreed that the situation regarding loose and dislodged rocks at the front of Market Hill Garden be considered once the refurbishment work to the garden had been completed. As the refurbishment had now been completed, the situation regarding the loose rocks required immediate attention as it had been reported that rocks were being moved from the garden and placed them on the pavement on a regular basis. It was reported that the Landscape Officer, Maldon District Council had suggested that the rocks could either be cemented in place or any unnecessary rocks be removed and the area planted with ground covering plants such as large leafed Ivy.

A member reported that on his way to the meeting he had found a large rock on the pavement and returned it to the garden; he was of the opinion that the rocks at the front of the garden were unsafe.

Discussion ensued and it was suggested that quotations be obtained to concrete the rocks in place at the front of the garden.

RECOMMENDED: that quotations be sought for concreting the rocks at the front of Market Hill Garden.
 39. TENNYSON ROAD AMENITY AREA

Further to minute 28 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 19th August, 2003 members were informed that planning permission would be required to erect a gate at the entrance of the Tennyson Road amenity area. In view of this a planning application for the erection of the gate and change of use in respect of the land was in the process of being submitted to the District Council. Members were advised that the gate contractor had now supplied an illustration of the gate which enabled the application to be submitted.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 40.

 40.1
GRITTING BOXES / SALT BINS

Report from Cllr. Prior.

Further to minute 82.4 of the Town Council meeting held on 15th September, 2003, Cllr. Prior reported on the funding arrangements for gritting boxes / salt bins which were being re-defined and the provision for such facilities could become the responsibility of town and parish councils.

Cllr. Prior advised members that he had received no further information regarding this matter.

RECOMMENDED: that the report of Cllr. Prior be noted.
 40.2 Location of Salt Bins in Maldon

Members were informed that a letter had been received from the Area Manager South, Transportation & Operational Services - Highways, Essex County Council requesting confirmation regarding the location of salt bins in the town to enable the time it takes to fill the bins with salt during the winter to be improved.

The Town Clerk informed members that she had spoken to the Essex County Council who had confirmed that they would be continuing to re-fill the salt bins in the town. Members stated that they were aware of bins being sited at the following locations:

Market Hill - junction with Cromwell Hill
Chelmer Terrace
Downs Road - adjacent to No. 23
The Hythe, near to the junction with Church Street (amended - minute 90.3 of the Town Council meeting held on 27th October, 2003 refers)

It was suggested that it would be beneficial for a salt bin to be provided at Beeleigh Road where elderly residents had problems leaving their properties in icy conditions and it was also noted that there had previously been a salt bin at Warwick Crescent.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Area Manager South, Transportation and Operational Services - Highways, Essex County Council (i) stating that salt bins were located at the following locations:
Market Hill - junction with Cromwell Hill
Chelmer Terrace
Downs Road - adjacent to No. 23
The Hythe, near to the junction with Church Street (amended - minute 90.3 of the Town Council meeting held on 27th October, 2003 refers)

(ii) enquiring if it would be possible for the salt bins previously located at Warwick Crescent to be replaced and for an additional bin to be installed at Beeleigh Road.

The member of the public retired from the meeting at 8.30 p.m.
 41. ANNUAL TREE SURVEY

Members received and considered a report, including quotations, from the Ground Maintenance Contractor in respect of the annual survey of trees on land which was the responsibility of the Town Council.

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation from the Ground Maintenance Contractor, Maldon District Council in the sum of £262.00 plus VAT in respect of works to be undertaken resulting from the annual tree survey be approved.
 42. ST. MARY'S CHURCHYARD

Members were informed that emergency work had been undertaken to a Conifer tree in St. Mary's Churchyard which had fallen into St. Mary's Lane. The work to remove the tree had been undertaken by the Ground maintenance Contractor, Maldon District Council at a cost of £88.00 plus VAT after consultation with the Chairman of the Committee.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 43. HYTHE QUAY - REFUSE

Members were informed that as a result of Cllr. Mackenzie receiving a communication regarding excessive amounts of refuse which had accumulated on the Hythe Quay and in front of the Queens Head Public House it had been ascertained that the problem had occurred as a result of the Maldon Barge Match. Although four refuse bins had been provided they had proved to be insufficient when fourteen barges were moored at the Quay.

Some members expressed the opinion that it would be beneficial for the refuse bin storage area to be enclosed making the area less unsightly and that the Maldon District Council should be requested to supply additional rubbish bins when events were scheduled to be held at the Quay. The view was expressed that by enclosing the area the ability of the CCTV camera located in the area would be hindered.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council requesting that when events were scheduled to be held at Hythe Quay the bins should be emptied after the conclusion of the event or more bins should be provided during the summer months.
 44. SEED GATHERING SUNDAY

Members received a Press Release from the Maldon District Council in partnership with the BTCV and The Children's Fund regarding a seed collecting event for Seed Gathering Sunday which was being held on Sunday, 12th October, 2003 at Hazeleigh Woods between 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m.

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.
 45. QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

There were no questions from the press and public.
   The meeting closed at 8.40 p.m.

Cllr. Mrs S. Riesebeck
Chairman

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



ITEMS   (copy, report herewith)  are available for inspection at the Town Hall during normal office hours.

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