Minutes, Reports, Agendas – 26 May 2021

Open Spaces Uploaded on April 27, 2023


Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 26th May 2021 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex

PRESENT Cllrs A Barnes (Chairman), D Brett, M Caton, P Davies, J Hogg, J Hudson, J Kavanagh, A Khan, J O’Brien, F Richards and D Wallace-Jarvis.


Mrs R Clifford – Clerk to the Council

Mrs L Azure-Marxen – Committee & Project Support Officer

3 members of the public

49        APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE         –           None

50        DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST    –           None


                        RESOLVED        to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd March 2021 as a true and accurate account.


            No matters arising.

53        CHAIRMAN’S REPORT  See attached

54        CEMETERY

a          INTERMENTS:  Ruby Margaret LAWRENCE 22 March 2021

Sheila Mary FUNNELL                29 April 2021

Brian REAVELL                          6 May 2021

MEMORIALS:    Maureen CHILDS  additional inscription 12 May 2021


Laila gave a brief update of the cemetery extension – see attached update report.

Cllr. A Barnes, Ruth and Laila met with Justin Smith from CDS Group on site this morning. The meeting was very informative and provided a useful insight into the upcoming stages of the project. Mr. Smith expressed concern about the site because of tree roots, the possibility of groundwater, ecological and archaeological concerns. We will approach this in stages, not moving on to the next unless we know it is feasible economically. Water is the biggest concern at the moment and the next step will be to test for groundwater. CDS will do preliminary trial digging to see if there is groundwater at burial level. If no groundwater is found they will do a full Tier 2 assessment. CDS will charge SMPC proportionally if groundwater is found. This first phase of testing will take around 4 weeks. The whole process will be lengthy: If all goes well it will be 6-8 months to get the necessary planning permission and before ground preparation can begin.

Cllr M Caton suggested that the Council should start looking for alternative land in case the offered land is deemed unusable. It was explained that there is no other available land around St. Mary’s Church, so the Council would need to look somewhere else in the village. The Council will know if this will be necessary when the first phase of testing is completed. Cllr J Hogg raised concerns that the land on offer looks small compared to the existing cemetery. Ruth explained that there would be around 35 years’ worth of burials with an efficient layout.

Not on the agenda:

Cllr P Davies raised the subject of a damaged gravestone in the Cemetery. Somebody has contacted him twice regarding the stone being chipped. Ruth will speak to the grass cutter. The grass cutters are normally very careful and if they were aware of any damage, they would have reported it.

55        TREES


The Council had a tree survey undertaken on Newman’s Plantation a year ago and the required tree work was undertaken within the recommended time period. There was a number of trees, around 8, which needed to be reinspected within 12 months. Ruth has reminded the tree surgeons and is waiting on quotes on the work.

Planting of trees: Cllr D Brett had previously recommended a number of native species for planting. The trees from Essex Forest Initiative are 30-60cm (1-2 years old) so Cllr Brett recommends getting 100 trees. Laila will contact the EFI so the planting can begin in the autumn. The planting and maintenance of the trees could become a volunteer project. The Council will consider making it an “adopt a tree” project, reaching out to residents, asking them to help with planting and ongoing maintenance. This could be done via the Link and social media.

Cllr J O’Brien asked about the boundaries of Newman’s Plantation. On the Parish Online maps, it looks like the boundary goes on to Church Road and stops between Churchill Corner and Jordan’s Close. Is it part of the Plantation? It might have potential for tree planting. Ruth will investigate if this strip is owned by the Council or UDC.


Laila gave a brief update – see attached update report.

As soon as we receive the final report from the arboriculturist, we will contact qualified tree surgeons for quotes for the trees that need urgent work. If within budget, the office will circulate an email to the Councillors, so we don’t have to wait on a decision until the next Open Spaces meeting.

Not on the agenda:

Cllr J Hogg inquired about how to find the TPO on the oak tree on Pennington Lane. He could not find the record of it in UDC. He knows that there should be an TPO on it as his neighbour has received emails about it. Ruth asked for these emails to be forwarded to her, so she can investigate.

56        ELMS FARM


We have had meetings with Emma Barry to go over the issues associated with the Public Open Spaces, and she is in negotiation with Crest over this. We have also met with GWB, the landscaping company, to get an estimated cost of getting the land back into a reasonable condition. We have provided Emma Barry with the estimate and are now awaiting for response from Crest. Crest is keen to get the land signed off, but we have stressed to Emma Barry that she should not sign anything before she gets the agreement from SMPC. The strips of trees on Dairy Lane, which are dead or dying, will not be handed over to the Council but will be the responsibility of a management company.

Cllr. A Khan comments that its necessary to align the Council’s expectations with UDC officers, so they don’t sign anything off without the Council’s approval. We need to hold the developers accountable. Ruth will send an email about the Council’s expectations to Adrian Webb.

The Elms Farms working group will be reconvened when handover is nearing completion.

b          ALLOTMENTS

The Men’s Shed charity will be occupying the second community plot and we are preparing the necessary Terms and Conditions documentation. If they accept, they will hopefully be starting their work in June-July. We are trying to reduce for plots by utilising the additional land around the periphery of the site. This would allow new ½ and ¼ plots to be added. We are also looking into a strip system for those who want a smaller piece of land. There has also been interest from a second bee man.

Kieran Olivier, from Human Roots, has proposed ideas for the land next to the toilet block: A mud kitchen for the children to experiment in. Also, a series of brick structures for the plot holders to prepare and swap food. This will also be an area for the community to organise events. The Council will need to give consent on the project for Kieran to find funding.

Cllr F Richards commented that she supports the idea, as it makes Stansted more inclusive and engaging for children. Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis also supports the idea but is concerned about people bringing and disposing of prepared food, as it could attract pests. This will be included in the Terms and Conditions. Cllr J Hogg also supports the idea in principle but is concerned about the project being replicated at Walpole. The projects and Terms and Conditions will be different for each allotment site.

RESOLVED        The Council will give support in principle to the idea of additional inclusive areas. However, before a final go-a-head is given by SMPC the support of the Elms Farm Allotment plot holders will be ascertained.

Emma will send out an email to consult the plot holders about the project.


The Elms Farm map will show the Public Open Space and how the footpaths link up, along with information of the flora and fauna. The map and information board will be 2xA3. The council have received £500 from District Cllrs which will cover one board. The content of the information part of the board is still to be decided. Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis will contact Jono Forgham and investigate who own the rights of the information he produced for the Indie.

If there are any suggestions for where to locate the notice board and map please send it to Ruth, however, it should be located on Council land. The map and information should also go on the website. There might be additional funds to be found at Bishop Stortford’s Footpath Association for a 2nd board, Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis will look into this.



There have been ongoing concerns about the condition of paths, drains, etc on Walpole Meadows and these have been passed on to Emma Barry. Bloor Homes seems reluctant to correct the faults. Cllrs A Khan and G Sell will put pressure on UDC officer, so they can pressure Bloor. Ruth will CC Cllrs Khan and Sell in emails to Adrian Webb, to keep them updated on the process.

b          ALLOTMENTS

We are pushing for Bloor to transfer the allotments ahead of the other Open Spaces on Walpole Meadows as it is possible to get “parcels” signed off before Walpole Meadows is handed over. We are looking to get water troughs installed to avoid water waste. One of the plots has been given to Bentfield School. This will be the community plot. There is potential for 14 half plots, maybe 12 if Bentfield School takes on a full plot.

It should be noted that what we are asking for in the handover isn’t necessarily included in the planning consent. But we are appealing to Bloor to rotovate the plots again, create shed bases, etc. There are 3 parking spaces allocated for the allotment, Bloor is still to mark them up.

Not on the agenda:

There is a metal fence with bollards in the ditch by the wood bridge. Breheny needs to come back and remove it or maybe the Consortium.



Laila gave an update on Reeve Road – see attached update report. The old play equipment will be installed in the week of June 7th.

Cllr J Kavanagh asked for a timeline on the project. The equipment was removed back in 2015 because some of the items were too tall for the original planning permission. All the items have been in storage since 2015. Two items, a slide and a swing, will not be going back in and one new item will be purchased to replace them.

We are currently carrying out a public consultation on the new piece of play equipment. We have asked the residents on social media and the Council website to give opinion of four options (a trampoline, a play car, a roundabout, and see saw). We have had some good response so far. The consultation will end on the 4th of June. After half term we will also consult the children via the local the primary schools.

Ruth asked Cllr A Khan if he could look into how much is left in the s106 Community fund for Foresthall Park.


Not much progress has been made with Mountfitchet Green, and we are still awaiting on response from UDC regarding the lease. The money for the zip-wire has been allocated and we are looking into updating the whole area with benches, etc. but we cannot start any work before we get an agreement of terms on the lease. Cllr M Caton offered to chase UDC regarding the lease and will contact Dawn French.


Wilkin’s Crescent will take priority at the moment, and Walson Way will be revisited later.  Laila has not been able to find any more suitable alternatives for Wilkin’s Crescent, so we have to reconsider how to do a public consultation on the new piece of play equipment.



Wicked Ridge Twitch: Someone have cut back trees and the cuttings are spilling onto the path. Ruth will discuss with Lucy.

New path from Foresthall Park: It needs strimming as it’s almost impassable. Cllr P Davies will coordinate with Cllr D Brett to clear the path.

Footpath between Water Lane and Blackbridge: The Network Rail Community Liaison Manager is not answering messages, so it is suspected that he has moved on. We need to start the process of over again so we can get them to clear the access.

Water Lane: Tree cutting dumped on path. Ruth will notify Essex Highways.


Trevor Lloyd gave an update on Stansted in Bloom (SiB). The Knight signs are back in place. The grass at High Lane is still in rough condition as the contractor, Amhurst, is waiting for a written permission from Essex Highways to do work on the site. County Cllr Ray Gooding is chasing Highways for an official approval. SiB needs it to be sorted within the next month because of the second phase of planting.

They need the area cleared as the weeds and grass can have an impact on establishment of the new plants. The Stansted In Bloom competition is going ahead as planned and they have entry forms available on the website, FB page and in Lower street shops. Members of SiBmwill be handing out leaflets about the competition, putting them in mailboxes if they see a nice-looking garden in the town.

SIB has also been refreshing the planters around the village with new flowers from Sally Folie’s Garden Centre.

There is an increasing awareness and support of SiB in Stansted. They have produced a sticker for residents and shop owners to buy and support SiB. Stickers are already up in shops on Lower Street. The community support will be good for any future funding applications.

Anglia in Bloom is digital, and SiB will be entering Stansted with photos sent in by the residents.



Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis and others identified potential land for green corridors and tree planting. We need a short list of both for the NDP document. Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis will send a top 5 of green corridors and tree planting sites (of significant size). The Council needs to consult the landowners before putting the potential tree planting sites in the NDP. The short list will make this more achievable with the upcoming deadline.

Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis makes the point that the Council should include a definition of Green Corridors to support the choices made in the NDP document. Cllr J O’Brien commented that footpaths can be useful to help migrating wildlife, and we could identify Public Rights of Way to facilitate this.


Cllr P Davies suggested to create a town map in a more interesting design. A new town map and ideas will be added to next Open Spaces agenda.

An update on the pink pond was requested. The pond has been treated and the pink bloom is gone, however a green algae are now growing, which will be tested and identified when it has grown sufficiently. Dan to put out a post out on social media about the pink pond.

Revisit initiatives for dog poo problem.

Meeting closed at 9:38 pm.


55a  Laila will contact the Essex Forest Initiative so the planting can begin in the fall.

56a Ruth to send an email about the Councils expectations to Adrian Webb.

56c Cllr Wallace-Jarvis to contact Jono Forgham and investigate who owns the rights for the information he produced for the Indie.

Cllr D Wallace-Jarvis investigate potential funding from Bishop Stortford’s Footpath Association.

58a  Cllr Caton will chase UDC regarding lease.

Cllr A Khan to look into how much is left in the s106 fund for Foresthall Park.

59a  Cllr P Davies will coordinate with Cllr D Brett to clear the path.

62    Dan to put out a post about the pink pond.


Chairman’s Report: Alan Barnes

I only have a few points to report on that are not covered in the agenda.

  1. This is our first meeting since 03/03/21 due to the cancellation of our last meeting because of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. This is also our first face to face meeting for over a year and I would like to welcome member back.
  2. I would particularly like to welcome some new members. Paul Davies was elected to the Council in May this year and I would like to welcome him to Open Spaces along with Ayub Khan and Jamie Hog who have moved from the dark side of F&GP and into the light of O/S. All these guys have skills that will benefit O/S considerably going forward. I would also like to thank John Hudson who has moved the other way for his contributions to O/S over the years.
  3. Along with Jonathan Harding we have also lost Ton Van de Bilt from O/S and the Council. Until we get replacements Laila and I will take responsibility for the various playground updates although Jonathan will still be contributing.
  4. The Clerk, myself and others have been meeting both internally and with external groups including Emma Barry from UDC on Elms Farm and Walpole Meadows Gareth Broard from GWB on Elms farm reconstruction and Justin Smith from CDS on the Cemetery extension.
  5. I would like to thank District Councillor Dean for his contribution of £1500 from his New Homes allowance. This money has been earmarked to restore the various non ECC responsible sign and finger posts particularly in the older parts of the village and other projects. I think, in total, our District Councillors have contributed around £3500 for village improvements in 2020/21 with part of that money being spent on the Knight sign at the north entrance of the village which has been restored and is now reinstalled. This along with the additional planting and further ground improvements to come will make a big improvement to the that junction.
  6. You may have noticed we have left off of this agenda some items traditionally included e.g. litter. This was done for both brevity of the agenda and that discussions should focus on other items. However, although not included it is the responsibility of councillors to bring to the attention of the council any issues raised or noticed by them or others and for these items to be recorded and actioned. Report Ends.



Committee & Project Support Officer: Laila Azure-Marxen

Tree Survey

The Tree Survey has been mostly completed at this stage, with the final part done on the 19th-21st May. We are still awaiting the final report, and after this I will source quotes from tree surgeons to start work on the most critical trees identified. The tree surgeon will initially focus on trees with work needed done within 3 months and 6 months trees physically close to these. We will wait to treat the rest in timely manner.

Along with the tree inspection we have also had a Tree Stock Assessment made for the graveyard at St. Mary’s Church and all of Foresthall Park. The maps are still to be finalised.

Play Equipment

Reeve Road

The Reeve Road equipment has been transported back to the Stansted area, and is now in storage at Chris Mortimer. Chris had inspected the equipment and will take on any repairs needed. They aim to install the equipment after half term, in mid-June. We have informed the residents by letter.

It is still to be decided what will replace the old slide and swing. I have been sourcing new play equipment fitting for the space and I am still waiting on quotes from a few companies and Chris Mortimer. A public consultation letter is being finalised to be sent out to the Reeve Road residents, with the four different options for them to give opinion on.

Foresthall Park

I am also sourcing different play equipment options for Wilkin’s Crescent and Walson Way, Wilkin’s Crescent taking priority.  Same as Reeve Road, we will go out for a public consultation on each area. The old slide and swing from Reeve Road will most likely be installed on Wilkin’s Crescent, so there will only be a need to install one new item on this location.

I have been looking into different funding schemes for play equipment and will be starting the applications when the public consultation is completed, and we have a proper number of quotes to include. Right now, I am waiting for several of the funding /grant schemes to reopen for applications.

Mountfitchet Green

The UDC have suggested a lease on the grounds so we can install new play equipment. I have enquired about the details of the lease, including maintenance of the grounds, asking UDC to clarify if they will cover some of the maintenance cost. I am still awaiting the details on this from Claire Shelley, who will be the main contact on this. She has put the Legal Team on the case, and we will hear back as soon as possible.

Cllr Alan Barnes recently did a public consultation on Mountfitchet Green and spoke to families using the area. There is still a great need to improve the whole area – both functionally and aesthetically. The zip-wire was still highly appreciated, the residents also suggested benches for picnics, more handicap friendly play equipment and additional football goals for the green space in between the play area and the MUGA. We will try to get a contact person in the area, who can help us clarify the residents needs and develop our ideas.

The long-term plan going forward, if the lease permits it, will be to update the whole Green. It will be a project that improves and makes the space more inclusive, with great benefit to the community. Alan Barnes is currently formulation the project and I will be gathering documentation to support any future funding application.

Cemetery Extension

The process has been delayed due to an inquiry about getting additional land, which, unfortunately, was not possible. With this knowledge we have now proceeded to choose a consultancy company to lead the initial risk assessment and advise us on the following phases. CDS Group is meeting with Ruth, Cllr Alan Barnes and myself on the 26th May to discuss the details of the first phase (Risk Assessment) and look at the site. We will start with a Tier 2 Risk Assessment as several sources, including the EA, indicated that the land will require this. Skipping the Tier 1 Assessment will reduce the cost, and hopefully the first phase will only be around £5000 if there aren’t any surprises waiting. Next, we will evaluate the cost of the next phases and what surveys needs to be done to start the planning application process.

I have researched funding schemes for the cemetery project. It has been quite difficult to find any, as most grants is for improvement of church buildings and historical graveyards. There is the option of Crowd Funding Lotteries, where the funder buys tickets to support a case – something we also can use for the playground projects. Other funding options is private donations, a fundraising event or business donations, which could be monetary, materials or work. Report Ends.





You are summoned to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE to be held at 7.45pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021 in the Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex when the following business will be transacted:


1          To elect a Chairman of the Committee

2          To elect a Vice-Chairman of the Committee

3          To appoint the Tennis Club Representative

4          To appoint the Parish Public Footpath Representatives

5          To appoint the Parish Tree Warden – vacant


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE to be held at 7.50pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021 in the Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex when the following business will be transacted:


1          To elect a Chairman of the Committee

2          To elect a Vice-Chairman of the Committee

3          To appoint the Health Matters Representative

4          To appoint the Police Liaison Representative

5          To appoint Neighbourhood Watch Representative


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the HIGHWAYS SUB-COMMITTEE to be held at 7.55pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021 in the Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex when the following business will be transacted:


1          To elect a Chairman of the Sub-Committee

2          To elect a Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee

3          To co-opt Mr Peter Jones and Mr Ray Woodcock


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the PERSONNEL SUB-COMMITTEE to be held at 7.58pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021 in the Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex when the following business will be transacted:


1          To elect a Chairman of the Sub-Committee

2          To elect a Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the WINDMILL SUB-COMMITTEE to be held at 8.00pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021 in the Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex when the following business will be transacted:


1          To elect a Chairman of the Sub-Committee

2          To elect a Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee 


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the EMERGENCY PLANNING SUB-COMMITTEE to be held at 8.02pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021 in the Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex when the following business will be transacted:


1          To elect a Chairman of the Sub-Committee

2          To elect a Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee

3          To co-opt Mr Peter Jones and Mr Iain Rankin

Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 6 May 2021