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MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 7th MAY, 2003 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Councillors: Mrs. M. Game, I. Mackenzie, W. Prior, Mrs. S. Riesebeck, S. Savage, T. Shrimpton (Deputy Mayor), J. Swallow and Mrs. E. Williams
Representatives: Mr. S. McPherson and Mrs G. Coppen (Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society).
In Attendance: Cllr. Mrs. M. Curtis, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
  
IN THE CHAIR - COUNCILLOR T. SHRIMPTON (DEPUTY MAYOR)
  1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR

RESOLVED: that Councillor Mrs. S. Riesebeck be elected as Chairman of the Environment Committee for the 2004 / 2005 Municipal Year.
  2. ELECTION OF VICE CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR

RESOLVED: that Councillor W. Prior be elected as Vice Chairman of the Environment Committee for the 2004 / 2005 Municipal Year.
  3. APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Cllr. Smith who was attending a family event.
  4. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 22ND MARCH, 2004

Members received and considered the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 22nd March, 2004.

Minute 84 - Minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 17th February, 2004

Minute 78 - Parish Paths Partnership
The Town Clerk stated that to date no response had been received from the Maldon District Council regarding Footpath No. 40.

Minute 85.1 - Allotment Inspection
The Town Clerk stated that a response had been received from the Moat Housing Group requesting additional information regarding the exact properties where rubbish had been found to be accumulating in the ditch behind the boundary hedge at the Warwick Crescent allotment site. Upon further inspection of the site it was found that this task was impossible to undertake at present due to the fact that, since the initial inspection the boundary hedge had come into leaf and become extremely thick, it was impossible to see through the hedge.

The Chairman suggested that the matter be monitored when future Allotment Inspections were being undertaken.

In response to an enquiry regarding Tree Wardens it was stated that this matter would be discussed later in the agenda.

RESOLVED: that (a) the situation regarding rubbish accumulating in the ditch to the rear of the Warwick Crescent allotment site boundary hedge be monitored during future allotment inspections;

(b) in all other respects the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 22nd March, 2004 be approved and signed as a correct record.
  5

 5.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered the report of Mrs. J. Good regarding an allotment inspection undertaken on Friday, 7th May, 2004.

In response to a question regarding why the allotment inspection had been undertaken by Mrs. Good, the Town Clerk stated that as it had not been known who would be serving on the Environment Committee when the inspection was required to be undertaken it was the usual procedure for the Administrative Assistant to undertake the initial inspection of the Municipal Year.

Mrs. Good was pleased to inform members that apart from a small plot at the Warwick Crescent site all plots were taken but a student from the Plume School had now shown an interest in the Warwick Crescent plot.

Maldon Hall Site

Most plots were very good, overall appearance excellent.
  
Gates and PostsOK
SignageGood
Main FootpathsOK
Plot MarkersOK- Handyman replacing missing markers
Car park areaOK
Bypass boundary hedgeOK
Water tanksA new water tank had been installed by a tenant adjacent to plot 33a.
  
Plots
12b New tenant
20bWeedy - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
21bWeedy - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
26New tenant
29bNew tenant
30aNew tenant - Plot to be strimmed
31Very weedy - footpaths surrounding plot badly in need of cutting - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
36aWeedy, no sign of cultivation - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
36bWeedy, no sign of cultivation - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
39bVery weedy - New tenant - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
40bNew tenant - Plot to be strimmed
   Mrs. Good informed members that an enquiry had been received for an additional water tank to be installed adjacent to plot 26. The tenant who had recently installed the tank adjacent to plot 33a had stated that he would be willing to install another tank, free of charge, provided that the Town Council purchased the tank and service box. Members recalled that the cost of the previous tank had been £104 and it was agreed that an additional tank should be purchased to be installed by the tenant.
   Warwick Crescent
  
Approach TrackGrass needed to be cut - Cllr. Swallow reported that this had subsequently been undertaken.
Boundary hedgeOvergrown - Quotation from Parks Dept. £400 to cut rear and side boundary hedges
SignageOK
GateRepairs needed on the gate - Handyman to obtain the cost of materials to construct a new gate
Water tanksOK
Mrs. Good informed members that a quotation of £400 had been received from the Parks Department to cut the boundary hedges. It was noted that this had to be done manually as there was no access for mechanical equipment on this site.

Members were also informed that several enquiries had been made regarding the installation of additional water tanks at this site and it was noted that there were currently four water tanks located along the rear boundary hedge.

Discussion ensued and it was suggested that investigations should be undertaken regarding the various options available at the site for the installation of additional tanks.

Further to minute 85.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 22nd March, 2004 Mrs. Good reiterated that at present it was impossible to ascertain the location of the accumulating rubbish behind the boundary hedge, Warwick Crescent.

Reference was made to the sub-station on the site and the fact that it may be possible to obtain a rent from the Electricity Company for the use of the land. The Town Clerk stated that the allotment site was leased by the Town Council from the Moat Housing Group and that she would ascertain if the sub-station was included in the leased area.
   Brickhouse Farm
  
GatesOK
SignageOK
FencesOK
FootpathHandyman to spray paths and remove the weeds
Compost binOK
Water tanksOK
  
Plots
1 Weedy - Plot to be monitored
6New Tenant
12Needed work to be undertaken - Plot to be monitored
   Mrs. Good informed members that a tenant had been found for the area of land to the rear of the compost boxes (plot 19). This tenant had also been willing to cultivate the strip of land between the gate and the compost bins which had recently been cleared of rubble. Mrs. Good also informed members that the new padlock had been purchased and tenants were being provided with a key for a £5.00 deposit. It was anticipated that the padlock would be changed at the end of the month.

RESOLVED: that (a) an additional water tank and service box be purchased for installation by a tenant in the vicinity of plot 26, Maldon Hall allotment site;

(b) the quotation from the Parks Department in the sum of £400 to cut the boundary hedge at the Warwick Crescent allotment site be accepted;

(c) the ditch to the rear of the Warwick Crescent allotment site continue to be monitored during allotment inspections;

(d) the actions recommended in the report be undertaken and in all other respects the report be noted.
 5.2 Financial Statement of Accounts

Members received and considered a report indicating that £8,820.25 remained in the allotment account for this financial year.

In response to a question regarding waiting lists it was reported that there were currently waiting lists for both the Maldon Hall and Warwick Crescent allotment site.

RESOLVED: that the financial report be noted.
 5.3 Allotment Inspection Rota - 2004 / 2005

Members recalled that prior to each Environment Committee meeting it was customary for a member of the Committee to undertake an inspection of the allotment sites and submit a written report to the meeting. It was helpful for the inspection to be undertaken 10 days prior to the meeting to enable the report to be circulated with the agenda which was generally forwarded to all Councillors on the Tuesday prior to the meeting. It was noted that should members be unable to carry out their inspections they were responsible for organising another member to attend on their behalf.

Members considered a suggested rota and after amendments for holidays it was

RESOLVED: that the following rota for allotment inspections be approved:

21st June, 2004                 Cllrs. Mrs. Game and Williams
2nd August, 2004              Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck
7th September, 2004        Cllr. J. Swallow
1st November, 2004         Cllr. S. Savage
25th January, 2005           No inspection
8th March, 2005               Cllr. W. Prior
11th April, 2005                Cllr. I. Mackenzie
 5.4 Allotment Newsletter

Members recalled that an Allotment Newsletter was circulated to all tenants on an annual basis and in this respect members considered the following suggested topics for inclusion in the next newsletter:

· A reminder that it was the tenants responsibility to trim the footpaths surrounding their plots
· The availability of free manure
· Tenants views on the formation of a Maldon Allotment Association

It was also suggested that a reminder regarding the Maldon District Council Green Waste Collections should be included in the newsletter.

RESOLVED: that the above topics be included in the next Allotment Newsletter.
 5.5 Comments from the Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society (MHHS)

In response to questions from Mrs. Coppen, the Town Clerk stated that the Handyman would shortly be spraying the weeds on the central pathway at the Brickhouse Farm site and that there was no agreement on any of the sites regarding which particular footpath surrounding plots was the responsibility of the tenant.

It was also noted that pot holes were appearing at the entrance drive to the Maldon Hall site and it was agreed that these be filled.

RESOLVED: that (a) investigations be undertaken regarding maintenance responsibility of footpath surrounding tenants' plots;

(b) the pot holes in the entrance drive to the Maldon Hall site be filled.
  6. MALDON IN BLOOM WORKING PARTY MEETING HELD ON 7TH APRIL, 2004

Members received and considered the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 7th April, 2004.

Cllr. Savage presented the notes of the meeting and stated that the maximum number of baskets had been allocated to local businesses and retailers this year although there had been a disappointing response from national businesses and retailers which the Town Centre Manager would be investigating.

In response to a question the Town Clerk stated that a positive response had been received from the Maldon District Council regarding a donation for the In Bloom campaign. She also stated that a planning application had now been submitted for the re-location of the Town Sign and installation of a planter at West Square.

Members noted that the strip of land on Market Hill which was the responsibility of the Hill House development had now been tided up.

RECOMMENDED: that the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 7th April, 2004 be approved.
  7.

 7.1
POETS ESTATE

Tennyson Road Amenity Area

Further to minute 76.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 17th February, 2004 members were informed that letters had been forwarded to the nine properties adjoining the amenity area to ascertain if they were interested in incorporating an area into their garden. A reply had been requested by 14th May, 2004 and seven responses had been received of which six were interested in the proposals.

A plan showing the location of the adjoining properties was circulated to all members for information and it was noted that the Town Council only owned the half of the area adjoining the footpath. The report also stated that in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972 s.127 the consent of the Secretary of State would have to be obtained should the land be sold for less than the amount suggested by the District Valuer.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that a further letter should be sent to all residents of the adjoining properties offering the land at the lower price contained within the District Valuer's letter and requesting that it they were interested they should attend a site meeting to consider how to divide the land as it would appear that one or two residents had shown an interest in the same area.

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to all properties adjoining the Tennyson Road amenity area offering the land at the lower cost suggested by the District Valuer and inviting them to attend a site meeting to consider the matter further.
 7.2 Poet's Estate Resident's Association - Licence to Plant

Further to minute 75 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 17th February, 2004 members received a copy of a plan from the Poet's Estate Residents' Association, identifying the areas on the Estate which they would like to be included in the "Licence to Plant". Members recalled that it had been agreed that the Town Council should apply for the Licence on their behalf and in this respect the Statutory Undertakers had been contacted and when responses had been received the application would be submitted to the Essex County Council.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
  8. CHURCH WALK - ADDITIONAL LIGHT

Further to minute 69 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 12th January, 2004 members recalled that it had been recommended that the views of owners and tenants of the properties in Church Walk be sought regarding the installation of an additional Parish Light in Church Walk. Members were informed that positive responses to the installation of a light had been received although not all of those who had been contacted had responded.

Concern was expressed regarding the location of a Parish Light because of the Yew tree situated in the churchyard alongside the path which would seriously restrict the light emitted from a Parish Light.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that the location of an additional light could not be decided until the planning application for the extension at All Saints' Church had been considered as, should this application be approved, there may not be the necessity for a light to be installed and in this respect it was

RECOMMENDED: that the matter be deferred until the planning application for the extension at All Saints' Church had been considered.
  9.

 9.1
WASTE MANAGEMENT

Kerbside Recycling Service

Further to minute 80 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 17th February, 2004 members received a response from the Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council regarding the kerbside recycling service which indicated that green refuse sacks could not be collected in conjunction with the green wheelie bins as the wheelie bins were only emptied from properties who were registered in the scheme. Green sacks presented for recycling would need to be registered in the same way as the wheelie bins and then only picked up on an irregular basis making the cost of such an operation extremely high for such little return in volume of green waste.

Members noted that the penultimate paragraph of the letter mentioned that concessionary enquiries were being registered and it was suggested that the Waste Management Officer be contacted to explain the meaning of this comment.

A member expressed the view that the wheelie bins became extremely smelly in warm conditions and it was noted that in other areas a separate contractor followed the waste collection and steam cleaned the bins for an additional charge. It was also suggested that smelly bins could be washed out with a hose pipe.

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council requesting

(i) an explanation of, "registering concessionary enquires";

(ii) enquiring if consideration had been given to a separate contractor being employed to steam clean bins for an additional charge paid by the householders.
 9.2 Glass recycling Bank, Constitutional Club

Further to minute 81 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 17th February, 2004 members received a response from the Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council. The response stated that the District Council would be taking no further action regarding the installation of a glass recycling facility in the car park of the Maldon Constitutional Club, Fambridge Road as they were making a private arrangement with a glass recycling company and no longer interested in a public facility.

RESOLVED: that the response be noted.
 10. FLORAL DECORATIONS CONTRACT

Members were informed that that the Floral Decorations contract expired at the end of 2004 and included floral decorations at the following locations:

War Memorial                 summer and winter
Moot Hall                         summer
Town Hall                         summer
White Horse Lane
Public Conveniences        summer

A copy of the Floral Decorations Specification was circulated to all members and they were requested to consider whether they wished for floral decorations to continue at these locations and whether tenders should be sought for the three year period 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Discussion ensued regarding the proposed planters at West Square and whether they should be included in the contract. It was noted that the floral boat at the lower end of the High Street was financed from the Maldon in Bloom Estimate Head and money had been included in this Estimate Head to cover the West Square planters.

RECOMMENDED: that tenders be sought for the Floral Decorations contract for the three year period 2005, 2006 and 2007.
 11.

 11.1
LEECH MEMORIAL GARDEN

Willow Tree

Members received and considered a letter from the Tree Officer, Maldon District Council regarding the Willow tree located in the Leech Memorial Garden which he felt, because of its dangerous condition, required to be reduced by 30%. In this respect members received and considered two quotations from tree surgeons for the proposed work.

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation from R.B.S. Tree Surgery in the sum of £290.00 plus VAT be approved.
 11.2 Repair to Entrance Gate

Members were informed that two gates at the Leech Memorial Garden were in need of repair and that the cost for the Handyman to purchase the necessary parts would be approximately £25.00.

RECOMMENDED: that the Handyman undertakes repairs to gates at the Leech Memorial Garden for a cost of approximately £25.00.
 12

 12.1
PARISH FOOTPATHS

P3 Focus Group meeting - 8th May, 2004

Members received and consider a verbal report from Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck regarding her attendance at the P3 Focus Group meeting held on 8th May, 2004.

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck informed members that topics for discussion at the Forum included Tool Sharing, Risk Assessment, Communication, Area Representatives and Enforcement. Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck stated that the Essex County Council P3 Scheme gave grants for the purchase of both small and power tools which could be used to repair or cut back footpaths and the Scheme also provided training in the use of such tools.

Grants were also available for the printing of leaflets detailing local walks but it was noted that the District Council already provided such leaflets for Maldon. It was also reported that the local Rights of Way Officer's were Chris Brown and Chris Stern and that they should be contacted should there be any enforcement issues. With regard to volunteers working on footpaths the Town Clerk reported that the Town Council's insurance covered such volunteers.

RESOLVED: that the report of Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck be noted.
 12.2 Footpath Survey

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck updated members on the Footpath Survey which she was in the process of undertaking. To date she had walked the following footpaths

No.1         Strimmed but had some overhanging branches
No.8         Overgrown and needs to be cut back
No.10       Ditch behind West Station Yard blocked with leaf litter also overgrown and required to be cut.
No.33       No problems but muddy
No.35
No.36
It was suggested that letters should be forwarded to residents regarding overhanging branches on footpaths.

Cllr. Shrimpton informed members that earlier in the year he had walked Footpath No. 54 and had felt that it was in poor condition.

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck said that there were still several Parish Footpaths to be walked and should any members wish to walk a path she would be only too pleased for their assistance.

RECOMMENDED: that the report of Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck regarding the Footpath Survey be noted
 13. QUALITY BUS

Members received and considered a letter from the Transport Development Manager, Essex County Council regarding Quality Bus Partnerships. The letter stated that the County Council had adopted a Road Passenger Transport Strategy which supported the introduction of Quality Bus Partnerships as described in the Transport Act 2000. It stated that with the benefit of County Council subsidy, Bus Service 90 which operated between Maldon and Witham, now had low-floor buses which assisted with wheelchair and pushchair access to the bus. Additional journeys had also been introduced to meet specific train arrivals and departures at/from Witham station. The Essex County Council wished to promote this service as a Quality Bus Partnership and welcomed the Town Council's support. It was also proposed that the Bus Service 31 which operated between Chelmsford, Maldon and villages on the Dengie Peninsular should become a Quality Bus Partnership.

Cllr. Prior expressed concern that, due to County Council cutbacks and reduction of available grants there was a possibility that the 31 service would be reduced, particularly in the early morning and late evening, and that there was the prospect of taxi-buses being used in place of the existing service. Members felt that this matter should be investigated further as Bus Service 31 was the only public transport link from Maldon to Chelmsford.

Discussion ensued regarding the final paragraph of the letter which referred to the introduction of raised kerbs and it was agreed that it would be beneficial for this issue to be considered further by the Road Safety Working Party.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the Transport Development Manager, Essex County Council regarding future plans for Bus Service 31;

(b) the next meeting of the Road Safety Working Party considers the issue of raised kerbs in the High Street.
 14. TREE WARDENS

Further to minute 88 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 22nd March, 2004 members were informed that as a consequence of advertising in the local press two people had volunteered to become Tree Wardens.

Mrs. Good explained that the District Council Tree Officer had been contacted regarding the provision of information packs for the new Tree Wardens and he had been surprised to learn that there were Tree Wardens all over the District. It was suggested that he investigate this matter and consider organising a training event for Tree Wardens in the near future.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 15. QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

There were no questions from the press or public.
   The meeting closed at 8.59 p.m.

Councillor Sharon Riesebeck
Chairman

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



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