Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held on Wednesday 6th September 2023 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllr J Kavanagh (Chair), Cllrs A Barnes, G Braeckman, M Caton, A Guney, A Khan, A Love and T van de Bilt
ATTENDING Mrs Ruth Clifford – Parish Clerk, Mrs Laila Azure-Marxen – Projects Officer (via Zoom), 1 member of the press (via Zoom)
151 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Prior – work.
This was unanimously approved
152 TO RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
153 TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 12TH JULY 2023
RESOLVED To approve the minutes of the meeting held on12th July 2023 as a true and accurate account
154 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTION POINTS FROM THE LAST MEETING
120 – Take a recommendation to Full Council regarding any new play areas installed by developers. This has been proposed to Uttlesford and they will discuss it at a liaison meeting.
121/122/123 – Biodiversity Working Group to meet to start discussions on the items listed. The working group has met and any recommendations from them will go on a future agenda.
123 – Clerk to contact the resident and confirm the Parish Council’s stance on the weeds by their property. The Clerk is in contact with the resident and is in discussion with the biodiversity working group to move forward on the issue.
155 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR, CLLR JO KAVANAGH
Chairman’s Report – 6 September 2023
Cemetery and Churchyard
The Clerk and I met with the gardening contractor to review the quarterly metrics report, after which Gareth and I visited the cemetery and churchyard. This took place the day after the grass was scheduled for a cut, and our observations are noted in the monitoring report.
We have not received any complaints regarding the grass cutting in this area.
Written reports from the various groups will come to the committee once there are recommendations to discuss and decisions to make. I have received the first report from the Biodiversity group. It would be appreciated if these could be available for the next meeting on 11 October as there may be budget implications that the office and F&GP committee will need time to work on.
Walson Way Playground
Works to install the metal framed swing started on 14 August. This was publicised on Facebook and on our website.
Stansted in Bloom/Village Trail
I’d like to thank to Cllr Jones for hosting the event and providing tea/coffee and cake, and thanks go to The Linden for supplying the prize to the winning entry. The results were announced on Facebeook and our website on 18 August. do I need to mention anything else? Maybe thank the SiB working group for getting the sponsorship to re-print the leaflet?
We have received reports of a few dead or sick trees around Stansted which will be attended to. A survey of all the parish’s trees is due next year.
It is disappointing to report that since its siting at Windmill Fields, the new planter has been knocked off its concrete base by a lorry, and was vandalised by graffiti a couple of days before the bank holiday fete. Our thanks to one of the Millers, a local resident, who cleaned it off ahead of the event.
Laila, together with Cllr Love, undertook the scheduled inspections last week. Letters are being sent to tenants as appropriate.
S106 AGREEMENTS RE ELMS FARM AND WALPOLE MEADOWS
It has been very quiet since out last meeting in July. The Clerk has requested updates from UDC, but so far there is nothing to report.
Allotments – I can report that we have now heard from Bloor’s legal team regarding the transfer of ownership of land to the parish council; UDC have authorised the transfer.
Fencing of the play area – however, there has been no progress with the fencing following the RoSPA inspection.
There has been no further updates from Emma Blazeby, and still nothing from Dist Cllr Gooding regarding meetings he is proposing relating to this site.
I have visited the site and noted the condition of the trees which were planted, most of which as mentioned previously by Cllr Guney are dead.
Cllr Barnes asked if Essex Forest Initiative was responsible for watering the new trees on the Rec as one tree seemed dead. The Project Officer informed that EFI water their stock 7 times a year. The dead tree is the Oak planted by the Parish Council, and due to a miscommunication with the gardening team, it seems that watering of the tree has not been done all Summer. This was raised at a recent meeting with the contractor.
It was confirmed that all the sick or dying trees recently looked at by the Tree Warden have been scheduled for surgery. The EFI trees will not be included in the arboricultural survey taking place in 2024 as they are the responsibility of the EFI for another two years. The urgent tree work referred to above will be undertaken as soon as possible – this applies to two trees by Coopers Alley and one on Windmill Fields.
Cllr Khan raised that the allotments on Walpole Meadows are overgrown again. The Clerk will inform the s106 officer at Uttlesford DC.
Cllr Guney enquired about the thefts and lock situation on Elms Farm Allotments. The office met with the Chair of the Allotment Association and have dealt with the issues.
156 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE PROJECTS OFFICER
No report was supplied as there was nothing of note to report.
Cllr Barnes inquired about the Coronation Shelter. The Clerk reported that she is in contact with stone masons on updated quotes for the plaque. It was discussed to have the shelter cleaned as it is already looking dirty. The office will discuss with Lucy.
157 TO RECEIVE CEMETERY REPORT FROM THE CLERK
A report was circulated to members ahead of the meeting.
The Clerk confirmed that there are a few vacant plots left in the Cemetery, but they will try to fit more in if possible.
158 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM SUSTAINABLE STANSTED
No report was submitted by the group. Cllr Barnes enquired about the biodiversity audit the group is planning, as this is something the Parish Council should participate in. The Project Officer informed that the group had been looking into quotes. Sustainable Stansted have been invited to be part of the biodiversity working group.
159 TO RECEIVE QUARTERLY REVIEW ON GARDENING AND GRASS CUTTING CONTRACTS
The report was circulated to members ahead of the meeting.
A short-term adjustment for maintenance of St Mary’s Churchyard has been discussed with GWB. The working group (Cllrs Braeckman, Prior, Jones and Lynda Dale from St. Mary’s) are working on recommendations for a long-term solution to include in the next new contract.
160 TO CONSIDER A REQUEST FROM A PARISHIONER TO ADD MORE BENCHES TO THE RECREATION GROUND
A resident who frequents the Recreation Ground has requested more benches, as some seats have been removed due to old age and being beyond repair. There is no budget for benches and no-one has expressed any interest in donating one. The Clerk asked the Committee to consider if they want to include new benches in next year’s budget or decide to wait for benches to be donated. It was agreed to review the current stock and their location at the next meeting.
161 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE REPORT ON FOOTPATHS
Mr Stiles did not supply a report this time, as he had no issues to report. The Committee members are encouraged to walk the local footpaths and report any issues directly to the office. The Interactive Map on the Essex Highways website can be used to identify path numbers.
Hogweed is still an issue by the Brook. This has been reported to Essex multiple times over the years. Unfortunately, the issue is persistent. The metal pipe sticking up on the pavement on Chapel Hill has been reported to Essex multiple times. Cllr Ray Gooding and Lee Scott are on the case.
Meeting closed at 8.03pm
155 The Clerk will inform s106 of the condition the allotments on Walpole Meadows
156 The office to discuss cleaning the Coronation Shelter with Lucy
160 The office to do an inventory of existing benches and their condition
Members of the Council you are hereby summoned, and members of the public and press are hereby invited, to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE which will be held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 6th September 2023 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex where the following business will be transacted:
1 To receive apologies for absence
2 To receive declarations of interest
3 To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 12th July 2023
4 To receive an update on action points from the last meeting
5 To receive a report from the Chair, Cllr J Kavanagh
6 To receive a report from the Projects Officer – To follow
7 To receive Cemetery report from the Clerk
8 To receive report from Sustainable Stansted – To follow
9 To receive quarterly review on gardening and grass cutting contracts
10 To consider a request from a parishioner to add more benches to the Recreation Ground
11 To receive an update report on footpaths – nothing to report
Parish Clerk 31st August 2023
Any intention to record, film or take photographs during a meeting must be notified to the Clerk prior to the start of the meeting.
Zoom details for the meeting:
ID: 858 0785 9375