Minutes, Reports & Agenda – 13 July 2022

Open Spaces Uploaded on April 28, 2023


Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 13th July 2022 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex

PRESENT       Cllrs A Barnes (Chair), A Guney, J Hudson, J Kavanagh, A Khan, L Prior, F Richards

ATTENDING   Mrs Ruth Clifford – Clerk

Mrs Laila Azure-Marxen – Committee & Project Support Officer

1 member of the press


Apologies received from Cllr Caton – away on holiday – and Cllr Braeckman – working. It was unanimously agreed:

RESOLVED    to accept apologies from Cllrs Caton and Braeckman




RESOLVED    to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 1st June 2022 as a true and accurate account.


69        Hogweed on Footpath 23 has been reported

74        On the agenda

75        In September the grounds maintenance contracts will be reviewed, and areas for rewilding will be considered as part of contracts for the next budget year. Cllrs to send any rewilding site ideas to Laila or Cllr Jones

76        The Clerk has sent request to discuss way markers to the landowners

The Clerk has reported footpath 23 and footpath by Five Acres to Highways.

There is a blocked drain on the Five Acres footpath. The office to report.

The Councillors discussed the difficulty communicating with Essex County Council. There is often no response from the County Councillors. It is noted that no drains have been cleared in Uttlesford in the latest report from Essex Highways. To make sure Uttlesford is included, it was agreed to ask Cllr Caton to write to Cllr Lee Scott to get the Highways Maintenance Schedule.

109      TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR – see attached

Cllr Barnes read out his Chair’s Report.

Regarding Elms Farm: Cllr Guney mentioned that the weeds growing on the open space are getting tall and need identifying. Also, the newly planted trees are all dead or dying. The Councillors discussed who is responsible, and it was agreed to write a letter to the management company and let the public know that it has been done.

The discussion moved on to Walpole Meadows. It was agreed that the Committee needs to hold the District Council accountable for any handover issues as they are not

enforcing their own agreements. The District Councillors will push UDC to make sure that the developers are held accountable as per the s106 agreement. They are responsible for maintenance for 12 months after sign-off from UDC – the sign-off dates need to be identified. The office is preparing statements about the handover process of Walpole Meadows and Elms Farm, and these will be made public on the website and shared in relevant local Facebook groups once approved.

Regarding the Skatepark: The Clerk congratulated Seann, who organises the Skate Jam. He has been approached by Uttlesford District Council to help with organising similar events around the district.


The 1-year tree work is almost finished, Mercer Tree Services will finish the last tree on Monday 18th. No further comments.



Robert Houghton – 7 June

Bridget Gott – 4 July

Robert Dellow – 8 July

Memorials have been approved for Sheila Funnell and Bernard Crowson


The Clerk tabled the recent RoSPA reports so that members could see what form these take. Based on the reports, the office is working on the draft metrics document which will identify all the high-risk items. The Clerk and the Deputy Clerk have been visiting playgrounds with Lucy to assess all items. For the metrics sheet they will use the traffic light system, with the highest priority items first to hopefully make it self-explanatory for the committee members. The Clerk will share the draft when completed.


The members discussed the received reports. On the Gardening 1 contract Cllr Prior raised concerns about “workload” being the reason for the late planting of the hanging baskets. The Clerk will clarify with GWB if the workload comment was related to staff illness. After some confusion regarding hedges/shrubs cutting in the “Bentfield, Central and Mountfitchet Estate” area, it is agreed to clarify and split up this section in the metrics document. It is agreed that the work for Gardening 1 contract has been satisfactory for this quarter.

Grass cutting 1 works have been satisfactory this quarter.

Gras cutting 2 works have been satisfactory this quarter.


Mr. Stiles gave his apologies, he has not been able to produce a footpath report due to Covid.


In September the grounds maintenance contracts will go under review, to include areas for rewilding. The committee members should consider public open spaces suitable for this.

Meeting closed 8.27pm


108      The office to report a blocked drain on Five Acres footpath

Cllr Caton to write a letter to ECC to retrieve the management plan

109      The office to write a letter to the responsible management company regarding the dead trees on Elm’s Farm

113      The office to clarify and split up the “Bentfield, Central, Mountfitchet Estate” section in the metrics


Chairman’s Report: Alan Barnes

I have a few points to report on that are not on the agenda or covered in Laila’s project update;

  1. We still continue with our efforts to resolve the issues around the Public Open Spaces at Elms Farm and Walpole Meadows.

After the recent improvements at Elms Farm, Anne, Laila and I met with Megan Cowell, an assistant landscape consultant from ECC, with an objective for her to put forward some potential designs for the 7 acre site. This area is very much a blank canvas and any designs put forward by Megan will be considered along with other ideas during the working groups considerations.  The meeting was very productive and covered areas like, access and pathways, car parking, woodland and wild flower meadow formation as well as ideas for encouraging wildlife back to the area.

  1. On this last item, I have been recently asked by the S-106 officer at UDC if the Elms Farm POS remedial work was now satisfactory. I will consult with other before committing but this question may be indicative of a potential handover from Crest.
  2. I have been contacted by two residents of Elms Farm concerning the future ownership and current condition of the bank and tree line behind the houses on the easternmost part of the development. It has been established that this area will revert to SMPC on transfer although Crest will maintain this area until then.
  3. On Walpole Meadows, the recent problems with uncut grass and unemptied dog bins were the result of the contractor walking off site over a dispute. This has now been resolved and, hopefully, things will return to normal. The issue of flooding to an adjacent property and the poor drainage from the POS, playground and pathways will be addressed by Bloor during August by the provision of additional drainage channels which will flow into the ditch running down footpath 12 between Pennington Lane and the B1383. The ditch itself will be cleared of debris. The French drains installed about a year ago will be dug up and remade with addition drains put in where necessary. The success of these remedial works will be monitored.
  4. I had an on-site meeting with two representatives from Bentfield School concerning access, security and raised bed design on their allotment on Walpole Meadows. They are very keen to occupy a whole plot and expect daily usage by children from the school. Because of the special needs of some pupils, the school is looking for the provision of paving, fencing and security gates through sponsorship and gifts. The school will be approaching Bloor Homes directly and we have approached Human Roots concerning the provision of sponsorship opportunities and expertise. If Councillors know of other sources that may donate or support in other ways, please let me know.
  5. I can report that the technical issues concerning the cementing in of the new support post for the knight sign at the High Lane round-a-bout have been overcome and the sign itself is currently undergoing minor repairs with the hope it will be back in place shortly.
  6. I can report that over all categories, there were 42 entrants to the SIB competition this year and I would like to thank all those that supported or were involved in this years competition. The winners will be announced at the prize giving on 20th The judging of Stansted’s entry into the 2022 AIB competition will take place on 20th July with results being announced  later in the year. Again I would like to thank all those involved in helping on the day and in putting our presentation together, in particular Trevor Lloyd’s authorship and Dan Schanker’s IT and presentation skill were invaluable.
  7. You may have noticed the green bag at the base of the recently planted “Peace” tree in the memorial Gardens. It is a watering device that we are using to help the newly planted tree survive during the current hot spell. The tree was showing signs of distress and I have held off getting the replacement plaque engraved until we see if the tree will survive,
  8. And finally, this year’s Skatejam will be held on Sunday 4th Seann is our link with this activity and his expertise has been request by Cllr. Luck at UDC to help in other similar events across the district. This event is well supported by competitors and the public and I would request that as many councillors attend the event as possible. Report Ends


Committee & Project Report Officer’s Report: Laila Azure-Marxen

Cemetery No updates.

Play equipment

Mountfitchet Green The disabled friendly swing has been inspected is now open to the public. While our contractor waited for the inspector to come available the swing poles were damaged and will need some paint refresh. Our contractor will sort this. A new picnic bench and two seats has also been installed. The newly installed items have been well received by the residents. The wheelchair friendly picnic bench has been ordered this week.

Trees and hedges for the Green has been applied for via Essex Forest Initiative. We will know if we are fully successful at the end of June/beginning of August.

The fence application is still ongoing as we are waiting for UDC to produce the lease document.

Foresthall Park Two seats on Walson Way Green have been installed.

The toddler roundabout on Reeve Road have been installed and inspected and is now open.

The trim trail has been installed on Wilkin’s Crescent but is still awaiting inspection. We will update the public when its ready to be used.


Public Open Spaces Tree planting Tom Moat from Essex Forest initiative is currently sourcing funds to cover all the trees we have applied for. As we are not able to contribute any funds, they have approached Stansted Airport. In case they are not fully successful Tom Moat recommends that we create a shortlist for sites. We will know more end of July/beginning of August.

Tree surgery Mercer Tree Services was to start the the 1-year work on the week commencing 4th July. I have chased an update, but assume the work progressed as scheduled.

Planter by Dog and Duck I am still waiting on a support letter from Cllr Ray Gooding for the Essex Highways application.

Report Ends


You are summoned to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE which will be held on Wednesday 13th July 2022 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted, Essex where the following business will be transacted:

1          To receive and approve apologies for absence

2          To receive declarations of interest

3          To approve the minutes of the Open Spaces meeting held on 1st June 2022

4          To receive an update on action points from the last meeting

5          To receive a report from the Chair

6          To receive a report from the Project Officer – to follow

7          To receive Interments report from the Clerk

8          To receive draft metrics sheet on playground inspections – to follow

9          To receive the quarterly report on the gardening and grass cutting contracts – to follow

10        To receive an update on footpaths – to follow

11        Matters to be considered for next agenda

Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 6 July 2022