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MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 21st JUNE, 2004 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr. Mrs. S. Riesebeck
Vice-Chairman: Cllr. W. Prior
Councillors: Mrs. M. Game, I. Mackenzie, S. Savage, J. Swallow and Mrs. E. Williams.
Representatives: Mr. S. McPherson and Mrs G. Coppen (Maldon and Heybridge Horticultural Society).
In Attendance: The Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant.
 16. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. Shrimpton and Smith.
 17. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 18TH MAY, 2004

Members received and considered the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 18th May, 2004.

Minute 5.1 - Allotment Inspection
In response to a question, the Town Clerk stated that there was no information yet regarding the electricity sub-station.

Minute 7.1 - Tennyson Road Amenity Area
The Town Clerk informed members that a provisional date for the site meeting between residents and the Town Council had been set for 17th July, 2004 but the minutes of the meeting still had to be ratified by Council.

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 18th May, 2004 be approved and signed as a correct record.
 18.

 18.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered the report of Cllrs. Mrs. Game and Mrs. Williams regarding an allotment inspection undertaken on Saturday, 12th June, 2004.

Maldon Hall Site

Cllrs. Mrs. Game and Mrs. Williams informed members that they had enjoyed an in-depth tour of this site with Cllr. Mead who was an allotment tenant.
  
Gates and PostsGates from the flats to be painted by the Handyman
SignageGood
Main FootpathsOK
Plot MarkersOK- Handyman replacing missing markers
Car park areaOK
Bypass boundary hedgeOK
Water tanksNew water tanks satisfactorily installed on plots 26 and 33a
  
Plots
15-16aAccess path between plots needed to be cut
19aOvergrown - needs attention - weedy paths needed to be strimmed around plot. Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
12bNew tenant - Half plot now cultivated
20bPlot improved and tenant working on plot
21bOK
26New tenants - Very good
30aVacant plot - Very overgrown - Plot now strimmed
30bVacant plot - Very overgrown - Plot now strimmed
31Needed attention - Footpaths overgrown. Further letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant.
33bWeedy, needed attention - Further letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
36bVery good - well maintained
37bOvergrown - Letter of enquiry to be forwarded to the tenant
39bVacant plot - Tenant recently relinquished the plot
40aNew tenant - Plot now strimmed
40bNew tenant - Plot now strimmed
46bVacant plot - Tenant relinquished plot due to ill health
  
   Warwick Crescent

Cllrs. Mrs. Game and Mrs. Williams informed members that they had been unable to see through the rear boundary hedge to monitor the ditch. They felt that the plots were well attended by the tenants who were working very hard to reach such high standards of cultivation. They informed members that several tenants at the site had expressed concern regarding rumours that the allotment site was to be developed for housing. In this respect, the Town Clerk informed members that she had spoken to the Moat Housing Group, who the Town Council lease the site from, and had been informed that there was nothing on their foreseeable agenda in respect of the development of the site.
  
Boundary hedgeTo be cut after birds have nested - Rear path to be strimmed
SignageOK
GateTo be repaired by Handyman
Water tanksOK
  
Plots
1cNew tenant doing well
6aMonitor - untidy
8aMonitor - Weedy in parts
10aMonitor - Weedy and untidy in parts
   Brickhouse Farm

Cllrs. Mrs. Game and Mrs. Williams met the new tenant of plot 19 who had started to cultivate his plot but was finding it hard work due to the poor condition of the soil. It was noted that the new key system for the gate appeared to be working.
  
GatesOK
SignageOK
FencesOK
FootpathOK
Compost binOK
Water tanksOK
  
Plots
6, 7, 8, & 9Paths needed to be cut between the plotsPaths needed to be cut between the plots
4Needed attention - plot half cultivated
6New Tenant May 04 - Plots needed attention
12Started work on the plot
19New tenant - strimmed and started to cultivate plot
   RESOLVED: that the actions recommended in the report be undertaken and in all other respects the report be noted.
 18.2

Financial Statement of Accounts

Members received and considered a report which indicated that £9,100.46 remained in the allotment account for this financial year.

In response to a question from Cllr. Prior, the Town Clerk stated that the expenditure to the Maldon District Council in the sum of £1,623.91 was for damage caused to the Scout building and alarm at Brickhouse Farm when the Town Council's contractor was installing the pathway at the Brickhouse Farm allotment site. However, the contractor had reimbursed the Town Council as detailed in the Income section of the report.

In response to a question from Cllr. Savage, the Town Clerk advised that the two expenditure items to Essex & Suffolk Water (Brickhouse Farm) were for separate periods and were the first water accounts to be received for this site.

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

There were no members of the MHHS present at the meeting.
 19. MALDON IN BLOOM WORKING PARTY MEETING HELD ON 2ND JUNE, 2004

Members received and considered the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 2nd June, 2004.

Cllr. Savage, Vice-Chairman of the Working Party, presented the notes of the meeting and stated that, Cllr. Una Norman, from Burnham in Bloom, had been present at the meeting and had been surprised by the number of different representatives who were in attendance at the meeting. He also stated that this had been the last meeting prior to the judging of the town.

Note 2 - Election of Vice Chairman for the Ensuing Municipal Year
In response to a question from Cllr. Savage regarding the omission of a seconder for the election of the Vice Chairman, the Town Clerk stated that it was not necessary to record this in the minutes.

Note 7.a - Hanging Baskets
The Town Clerk informed members that the number of hanging baskets on buildings this year had now risen to 136 as the Post Office had requested two.

Note 9.c - Improvements to West Square
Cllr. Savage confirmed that the Planning Application in respect of the Town Sign and Planter had now been considered by the Town Council Planning Committee and comments forwarded to the Maldon District Council.

RECOMMENDED: that the notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 2nd June, 2004 be approved.
 20.

 20.1
GREEN WHEELIE BIN SERVICE

Concessionary Enquiries and Comments

Further to minute 9.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 18th May, 2004 members received an email response from the Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council. The response stated that during the first year of operation the Waste Management Team would monitor the comments made by the public regarding the Green Wheelie Bin service. It also stated that there were no plans to employ a contractor to clean the bins but details of such contractors were available in the telephone directory.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 20.2 Close of Applications for Wheelie Bin Service

Members were informed that a letter had been received from the Waste Management Officer, Maldon District Council stating that after the successful launch of Maldon District Council's new Green Waste Wheelie Bin service it was now closed for new applications. The new service had proved to be so popular that the scheme was now running at full capacity and they were therefore unable to process any new applications.

Cllr. Swallow enquired if it was against the Law to light bonfires and was informed that bonfires are permissible providing they do not cause a nuisance.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the leaflet regarding bonfires be forwarded to Cllr. Swallow.

(b) the information be noted.
 21. QUALITY BUS PARTNERSHIP

Further to minute 13 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 18th May, 2004 - Information had been received that, because of financial cut backs from 1st June, 2004, the No. 31 Bus Service would cease to run to Burnham on Crouch after 7.40 p.m. and the last bus from Burnham on Crouch to Maldon would be 8.20 p.m. The Dengie Village Link service funded from Government Grant had been reduced by 60% and in view of this and because usage of the service was low at night, all Dengie Village Link services would cease at 8.00 p.m. There would also be some slight amendments to these services during the day. Members were informed that copies of the amended timetables were available in the office.

Members expressed their disappointment that these services were being reduced as in such a rural area many residents relied heavily on public transport and the cancellation of services would cause severe problems for people attending evening classes in Maldon and pupils from local schools attending after school events. It was suggested that it might be better to cut out an earlier bus and replace it with a latter one to enable people to get home from evening events.

Cllr. Prior reported that, as a result of consultation and a survey undertaken by the Essex County Council and local bus companies there was likely to be further cuts scheduled in local services to Braintree and Woodham Walter as these services were found to be under utilised.

Cllr. Savage felt that as government policy was to encourage the increased use of public transport, a letter should be forwarded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Essex County Council expressing the Town Council's concern regarding the reduction in grant funding for local bus services and suggesting that grant funding for rural public transport systems should be increased rather than reduced.

Cllr. Savage also expressed concern that the report received from the Planning Inspectorate regarding the Maldon District Draft Replacement Local Plan had suggested that town car parking should be reduced. He felt that the reduction of local public transport would signify an increase in vehicles wishing to park in the town.

RECOMMENDED: that letters be forwarded to (a) the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister expressing concern regarding cutbacks in local bus services due to the reduction of grant funding for public transport;

(b) the Essex County Council enquiring as to whether consultation was undertaken regarding the loss of the last nightly bus service.
 22. WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY - 5TH JUNE, 2004

Further to minute 87 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 22nd March, 2004 members received a verbal report from Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck regarding the litter pick organised for World Environment Day.

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck informed members that she together with Cllr. Prior and the Town Clerk had undertaken a litter pick along the footpath from the West Maldon Community Centre to the Safeway Store. Due to the fact that staff from the Safeway Store had earlier undertaken a litter pick of the area they had found the footpath relatively clear. In this respect those present had cleaned part of the ditch which ran behind the Safeway Store and the Wycke Hill Business Park.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
 23.

 23.1
ALL SAINTS' CHURCH - TREE WORK

Lime Tree

Members received and considered a quotation in the sum of £30 plus VAT from the Ground Maintenance Contractor for the removal of epicormic growth from the base of a Lime tree, All Saints' Churchyard.

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation in the sum of £30 plus VAT from the Ground Maintenance Contractor be approved
 23.2 Letter from All Saints' Parochial Church Council

Members were informed that a letter had been received from the Chairman of Estates, All Saints' P.C.C. enquiring if work could be undertaken to the following trees in All Saints' Churchyard:

Yew tree, Church Walk - remove branches which were close to the building and others overhanging the pathway

Flowering Cherry, Silver Street boundary - prune to allow access to flag pole

Members were informed that whilst visiting the site it had been noted that the Whitebeam on the Silver Street boundary of the churchyard was overgrown and it was felt that additional pruning should be undertaken to improve visibility to the road signs.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that quotations be sought for work to be undertaken to a Yew tree, Flowing Cherry tree and Whitebeam tree in All Saints' Churchyard and should these quotations be more than £300 they be considered at the next Environment Committee meeting.
 24.

 24.1
PUBLIC FOOTPATHS

Footpath 40 - High Ways Act 1980 s.26

Members considered the following proposal from Cllr. Savage regarding a new definitive footpath:

"To ask Maldon District Council to make the new "Avenue of Remembrance" in Promenade Park a new definitive footpath in its own right. This would provide a more accessible access to Footpath 40 which has steps down and up whilst adjacent to the bank of the Delph Ditch, rather than a diversion which would receive much opposition."

Cllr. Savage informed members that this matter had been brought to his attention when considering the Planning Application for works in the Promenade Park. Footpath 40 had been blocked by an earth embankment where the footpath exits the Promenade Park and joins the access road to the Civic Amenity site to prevent unauthorised parking. Subsequently this had made disabled access to the footpath extremely difficult. He felt that by making the "Avenue of Remembrance" a new definitive footpath it would become accessible to all and conform to the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act. He also stated that his concerns regarding the blocking of Footpath 40 were being pursued with the relevant authorities.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council enquiring if they would consider applying for the new "Avenue of Remembrance", Promenade Park to become a new definitive footpath;

(b) a copy of the above letter be forwarded to the Parish Footpath Officer, Essex County Council.
 24.2 The Maldon Millennium Way

Members were informed that a request had been received from Kevin Ascot, The Ramblers Association enquiring if the Town Council would consider taking steps to get The Maldon Millennium Way, a waymarked route which had become a well established and popular route, included on the Ordnance Survey maps of the area.

Cllr. Savage circulated a copy of the District Council Millennium Way leaflet which indicated that the route covered 22 miles of road and footpaths around Maldon. The Chairman expressed the view that if the route was to be included on a map it would help to promote Maldon as a tourist centre for walkers.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Footpaths Officer, Essex County Council suggesting that details of The Millennium Way be included on Ordnance Survey maps of the area.
 25. QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

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

Councillor Mrs. Sharon Riesebeck
Chairman

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



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