Minutes, Reports & Agenda – 1 September 2021

Open Spaces Uploaded on April 28, 2023


Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1st September 2021 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex

PRESENT          Cllrs A Barnes (Chairman), M Caton, P Davies, A Guney, J Kavanagh, A Khan


Mrs E Philbrick – Trainee Deputy Clerk Mrs L Azure-Marxen – Committee & Project Support Officer      1 member of the public


Clerk to the Council gives her apologies for not being able to attend the meeting due to being away on holiday. Cllr F Richards gives her apologies for not being able to attend the meeting due to being away on holiday.

Having been proposed by Cllr M Caton and seconded by J Kavanagh, 6 members voted in favour. It was therefore

RESOLVED:       to approve Cllr Richards apologies for absence



RESOLVED        to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 28th July 2021 as a true and accurate account.


            125b – The Clerk has passed the information on to the Council

126a – Carried over to actions points in the next minutes.

128b – Cllr Khan contacted UDC regarding the trim trail and passed the information onto Laila.

Laila contacted UDC regarding the installation of the Reeve Road swing and slide at Wilkins Crescent. She did not receive a response but can gather the answer based on the information from Cllr Khan. The swing and slide will be allowed if they comply with British Standards. In addition, no planning permission is required unless they exceed 4 meters in height and 200 cubic meters in volume.

137      CHAIRMAN’S REPORT               See attached

The Council will write to former Cllrs D. Brett and D Wallace-Jarvis to thank them for their service to SMPC. D. Brett will continue as the Councils tree warden.

Cllr P. Davies asked about the working group for Walpole Meadows and volunteered to join Cllr Kahn and help progress the handover.


The Council assists Stansted In Bloom with financial support. Last year the Council donated £550, which was budgeted was prior to the establishment of the group. In the Current year SMPC raised £300 in the budget, which will be transferred to the group if the Council decided to donate it. The next indicative budget for 2022/23 currently allocates £200 but this will need to be confirmed. Cllr J O’Brien, the Chair of Finance and General Purposes, who was listening in on Zoom, asked to speak on this matter. His recommendation is to budget £150 for 2022/23, half of the £300 from the current year.

Cllrs agreed saying that eventually SiB was supposed to be financially self-sufficient. The Group is very good at finding external sources of funding, but if needed they can approach the Council for project funding.

Having been proposed by Cllr M Caton and seconded by Cllr J Kavanagh, 6 members voted in favour. It was

RESOLVED:       to approve the release of £300 to Stansted in Bloom for the current budget year. It was also approved to budget £150 for the year 2022/23

139      CEMETERY

a          INTERMENTS:  Ivy Botwright on 9 August 2021 – ashes interment           Kevin Field on 12 August 2021 – earthen burials


b          MEMORIALS – to consider a working group for the revision of the Rules and Regulations

At the last Open Spaces meeting the members discussed and approved the deletion of rule 55.6 in the Cemetery Rules and Regulation book. It was agreed that Cemetery R&R book would benefit from a general review as many of the section were outdated and that a working group should be established. The working group will discuss and propose a draft revision which will be reviewed by the office prior to reverting to the Committee. Cllr A Barnes propose to approach Cllr F Richards to lead the group. As she is absentee from the meeting she will be contacted by email. Cllr. P Davies volunteered to lead the group if Cllr Richards declines. Cllr A Guney is also joining the group.

Post meeting Note: Cllr Richards has agreed to lead the group.

140      TREES


If agreed this project will be an extension to the reforestation project already under consideration by the Council whereby new areas for potential tree planting are being identified. The Council have already considered possible land which could be suitable for reforesting and this project could be a good catalyst to engage the community and landowners to participate. There needs to be a working group to lead the project and identify land, contact landowners, etc. The working group will work with the Clerk to identify potential new areas of land. Cllr. A Guney volunteered to work with Ruth on this project. Although it is not expected to have the project finished by the Queens Platinum Jubilee, it would be nice to have some new trees in the ground by next year. For the project we need volunteers for the planting and watering. It was suggested to involve Stansted in Bloom.


The general tree survey undertaken earlier this year identified works needed on various trees across Stansted. The work on the 3-month timeframe has been scheduled for the end of September following the receipt of a work consent on the Conservation Area at Bentfield Green.

The 6-month work program could be undertaken at the same time as the 3-month work if the committee approve the quote. Laila presented two quotes from Mercer Tree Services: The more expensive quote (£8,250) covers everything recommended in the tree survey report, and the less expensive one (£4,750) covers the basic work needed and recommended by Mercer’s. The tree surgeon did not provide specific detail on the difference but ensured the office that it complies with health and safety. Laila will contact Mercer’s to obtain an itemized list for comparison of the two quotes before proceeding with the 6-month work.

Having been proposed by Cllr M Caton and seconded by Cllr J Kavanagh, 6 members voted in favour. It was

RESOLVED:       to approve in principle to accept the lower quote on the 6-month work if it covers required health and safety. Cllr Barnes and Caton will check if the list is satisfactory.


The current charge that all allotment holders pay at the beginning of their tenancy is £20. Recently the process on handover between tenants has been changed incurring additional costs including site clearance and preparation and the current fee does not sufficiently cover these additional costs. Other Councils have a £50 admin charge, and it is recommended that we adopt a similar amount.

Having been proposed by Cllr M Caton and seconded by Cllr P Davies 6 members voted in favour. It was

RESOLVED:       to increase the allotment tenant admin charge from £20 to £50.



The Office has completed a public consultation process on the Walson Way site as to its future use as a recreation and exercise area and the public were asked for their ideas for making the site more community inclusive. The public consultation was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the site as is with the addition of some seating around the edge so that residents can enjoy the wildlife that the SUDs bring to the area.

Cllr A Khan believes that in future a wider consultation is needed in order to get a bigger cross-section of the residents’ views as this consultation mostly reflected only the immediate neighbours in the vicinity. For now, the seats will be a good option, although the Council should gather further views from the residents on Foresthall Park.

Having been proposed by Cllr A Khan and seconded by Cllr J Kavanagh, 6 members voted in favour. It was

RESOLVED:       to install new seating on the Walson Way open space


Since the decision made on the 28th July the Council has received further public consultation results on the installation of new play equipment at Wilkin’s Crescent and Cllr A Barnes asks the Council to review the decision made on the last meeting and it was agreed. Overall, the consultation results show both support and objections to the proposal, however, and based on all consultation results the Council does not feel that the decision needs to be changed. The Council sees that the installation of a trim trail at Wilkins Crescent would be of great benefit to the children of Foresthall Park, which neither has play equipment for older children or an abundance of other suitable locations.

Having been proposed by Cllr A Khan and seconded by Cllr J Kavanagh, 6 members voted in favour. It was

RESOLVED:       to confirm the decision made on the 28th July to install a trim trail on Wilkin’s Crescent.


No updates on footpaths have been received. Office to send reminder to Mr. Stiles.


The members were asked to start thinking about projects to include in the next budget year. The ideas should be forwarded to the Clerk by the end of October, together with a brief rationale for the suggestion. These can then be considered by the Finance and General Purposes committee in November and the Full Council in December.


The Council should consider a map of grass cutting responsibility. Laila has already mapped out the Parish Council grass cutting areas but could also map out UDC and Essex areas of responsibility.

Meeting closed 21.23


136       Actions points carried over from the minutes on the 28th July 2021

126a     The Clerk to send letters to residents of Jordon Close reminding them that access gates to Newman’s Plantation and tipping of garden waste is not permitted.

The office to contact Louise Pepper regarding the Climate Change Emergency Fund

140b     Laila to contact Mercer Tree services to obtain a complete itemized list of the two quotes, so Maureen Caton and Alan Barnes can decide on going ahead with the 6-month work schedule.

143       Office to send reminder to Mr. Stiles on update on Footpaths.


Chairman’s Report: Alan Barnes

I only have a few points to report on that are not on the agenda:

  1. Laila and I had a recent Zoom meeting with our preferred collaborator on the cemetery extension project at St Mary’s. The meeting with CDS covered the promising results from the Tier 2 risk assessment and advice as to the further studies necessary in order to prepare for the required a planning application. Project cost estimates are provided in Laila’s report by CDS but are subject to change depending on what is found when the key geophysical study commences. The viability of the project is under constant review.
  2. My latest communications from Emma Barry at UDC on Walpole Meadows were on 20th July and 13th August when she reassured me that Ben Smeeden was aware of the POS deficiencies at Walpole , particularly the drainage issue, resolution of which is being chased by Maria Shoesmith and the Environmental Enforcement team. She also insured me she will be inspecting the site before any sign off and that she will keep us updated. Despite numerous requests no agreement that SMPC would be involved in any handover inspection has been given by UDC. This is very disappointing and we will keep pressing our case via our District Councillors.
  3. I met with District Councillors Dean, Khan and Sell on 22nd August and briefed them on the POS deficiencies at Walpole and the lack of any useful communication from UDC with respect these being put right before sign off. All Councillors agreed to again raise these points with the Officers at UDC and press them for an agreement that there will be no sign off before there satisfactory completion. As both a Parish and District councillor, Cllr Khan has agreed to lead the Walpole Meadows working Group going forward with the objective of ensuring residents get what they were promised and that SMPC is not left with the job of putting thing right after sign off.
  4. Similarly, reassuring messages have been received from UDC on the Elms Farm POS with quotes like “I am confident this will be resolved” and “that work will start in the coming weeks” being received from UDC with no obvious progress to date. We had hoped to be in a position to start developing this POS by now and it will be very disappointing if we miss out on another planting season because of the failure of the developer to deliver on promises.
  5. There has been good progress on actions identified with the EFAA to improve communication on inspection results, solve water supply issues, the cutting back of encroaching weeds and on the commissioning of the toilet block.
  6. And finally, it is disappointing that we have lost two further members from O/S with the resignation of Councillors Dan Brett and Daphne Wallace-Jarvis from SMPC and I would like to acknowledge their work to date. Their loss will mean that more responsibility will fall on the other members of O/S, particularly in the areas of countryside and footpath control, until replacements are found. Report Ends



By Laila Azure-Marxen, Committee & Project Report Officer

Cemetery Extension

We had a meeting with CDS Group on the 20th August 2021, discussing the next steps in the planning process. To progress to the next phase in the planning work, they recommended that we start the most critical surveys/work highlighted in the pre-planning app from Uttlesford.

The table below show the high priority planning work, which is essential to begin as soon as possible. We will still do the required surveys one by one to avoid spending unnecessary funds. CDS recommend starting with the geo-physiological survey/archaeology, as it will be critical to identify if there is a need to do any field excavations. If this is required, it will be the costliest part of the project.

Planning work Requirement Priority fee
Stage 0      
Tier 2 Risk Assessment report Pre-planning requirement High, Completed £4,800 – invoice paid
Stage 1      
Pre-app Historic England This pre-app is a requirement in the Pre-planning app from Uttlesford, as we need to establish the level of investigations required. High fee still to be confirmed
CDS group HE pre-app submission fee   High £450
Site Location plan Planning requirement High £250
Stage 2      
Written Scheme of Investigation for Archaeology Might not be required. Will be based on the pre-app advice from Historic England High £2,000
Field Evaluation for Archaeology Might not be required. The cost will rise with the size of land. High £6,000
Preliminary Ecological Appraisal Pre-planning app requirement. To determine of there is any endangered species in the area (great crested newt, bats, etc.) High £1,900


These are only the most critical surveys to be dealt with. There probably will be more surveys, as well as a design process with additional costs attached.

Playground improvement projects

Foresthall Park

Wilkins Crescent – We did the public consultation on the proposed addition of a trim trail, and the swing and slide. The residents were asked to give opinion and pick their favourite modules to include in the trim trail design. Most of the residents on Wilkin’s Crescent is still not pleased with the proposal and have raised additional issues around anti-social behaviour. I have sent out the results of the consultation to everyone. As the result is roughly 50/50 in support, and the negative feedback is more identifiable than the support, it will be difficult to show community support in the CIF grant application.

Based on the votes on the trim trail design I picked 8 modules and got a quote for £15,330 incl. delivery and installation. We were originally quoted £13,020 for a more basic design.

Walson Way – We did a public consultation on the use of green space next to the playground, proposing gym equipment and benches but the consultation was open to other ideas. There was an overwhelming response to leave the space as is, or only installing benches around the edge of the space to avoid disturbing the wildlife and recreational use. I have sent out the results of the consultation for the councillors to review. For the CIF application I suggest focussing on enhancing the green space as a green space.

Reeve Road – Considering that the playground is a LAP, which is targeted under 6-year-olds, I have sourced a roundabout which is designed for this age group. The roundabout presented in the public consultation was for 4–12 year-olds, and we did get some negative feedback on the targeted age. By choosing a toddler roundabout we will (hopefully) avoid further complaints and the risk of having to remove the item. It will also ensure that older children are not attracted to use the LAP. The quoted cost of the toddler roundabout is £3,996.82, including delivery and installation.

Cllr Ray Gooding have contacted me regarding complaints from residents on Reeve Road. The residents were concerned that their views were not included in the decision-making process of the new play equipment.  I ensured Cllr Gooding that the Council had considered all comments and have decided on an item which complies with planning permission.

Mountfitchet Green

1st public consultation – on the 11th of August Cllr Barnes and I met up with a handful of residents on Mountfitchet Green to discuss the proposed layout. The turn-up was descent, with a mix resident representing the community. The experience was good, and we had the opportunity to show our ideas on the site and have a face-to-face conversation with the residents. They gave several suggestions for changes, identified areas of concern, and sparked new ideas to make the space suitable for the majority. Following the consultation, we have revised the layout.

2nd public consultation – 24th August– 5th September

The 2nd consultation was released on social media, letters delivered to homes facing the Green, put up on local noticeboards and on the Parish Council website.

This consultation aims to get the local users of the playground to give feedback on the revised layout. As the consultation is still on-going, I will send the results to you when ready. Please see the public consultation with the layout on the next pages. Report Ends


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES which will be held on Wednesday 1st September 2021 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted, Essex

1          To approve apologies for absence

2          To receive declarations of interest

3          To receive the minutes of the Open Spaces meeting held on 28th July 2021

4          To receive an update on action points from previous meeting

5          To receive the Chairman’s Report

6          To consider funding for Stansted In Bloom for 2022

7          Cemetery         a)         Interments – to receive a report from the Clerk. b) To consider a working group for the revision of the Rules and Regulations

8          Trees                a)         To consider the tree planting project “The Queen’s Green Canopy”, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

b) To consider quotes from Mercer Tree Services for work needed on the 6-months-priority trees

9          To consider increasing the deposit for the allotment tenants from £20 to £50

10        Play Equipment a)         To decide whether to install equipment on Walson Way   b) To consider reviewing the resolution passed on the 28th July relating to Wilkin’s Crescent, item 142c

11        To receive an update on footpaths

12        Budget 2022/23 – to ask members to start considering projects for discussion at the next meeting

13        Matters to be considered for next agenda

Ruth Clifford, Clerk to the Council- 26 August 2021