Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held at 8pm on Wednesday 20th April 2022 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllrs A Barnes (Chair), G Braeckman, M Caton, A Guney, L Prior, F Richards
ATTENDING Mrs E Philbrick – Trainee Deputy Clerk Mrs L Azure-Marxen – Committee & Project Support Officer
443 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr Khan gives his apologies for not attending due to a UDC meeting. Cllr Kavanagh gives her apologies for missing the meeting due to a family member in hospital. Proposed by Cllr Richards and seconded by Cllr Barnes it was unanimously
RESOLVED To accept Cllrs Khan and Kavanagh reasons for absence.
444 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
445 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 9th MARCH 2022
RESOLVED to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 9th March 2022 as a true and accurate account.
446 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTIONS POINT FROM PREVIOUS MEETING
358 Although UDC has granted permission to plant the Jubilee Tree at Mountfitchet Green, SMPC will still need to obtain a licence and take on all responsibility for the tree. The office will wait before applying for this specific licence as the lease on Mountfitchet Green (when obtained) will cover this.
The gardening contractor has struggled to find the tree type requested for the Jubilee tree. Even if he was able to source the English oak he recommended to wait on the planting until the Autumn, as the tree will establish better.
359 Cllr M Caton and the Clerk met with Peter Holt from UDC. Peter Holt would chase on the progress of the handover of Elms Farms and Walpole meadows.
362a The office looked into obtaining mental health and disability grants. Unfortunately, there are none applicable for the Mountfitchet Green project. Alternatively, the project officer has found a fence grant from the Football Foundation. This could potentially cover the whole costs of the fence, and release money towards the wheelchair accessible paths.
447 TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CHAIR See attached
Cllr Barnes read out his Chair’s Report.
Cllr Prior reported that a resident had contacted her regarding a moth problem on Mountfitchet Green. She has notified UDC Environmental Health.
448 TO RECEIVE A VERBAL REPORT FROM THE PROJECT OFFICER See attached
The Project Officer read out her report.
Cllr Braeckman asked if the Jubilee tree on Mountfitchet Green will have a dedication. The project officer informed the group that Cllr Dean will cover the cost of the tree and dedication plaque from his 2022 New Homes allowance.
449 TO RECEIVE INTERMENTS REPORT FROM THE CLERK
Bernard Crowson 8th April
Richard Shervington 19th April
500 TO APPROVE THE 3rd DRAFT OF THE PARISH CEMTERY RULES AND REGULATIONS
The Councillors were happy with the further amendments made to the draft.
The new rules will be reviewed every three years unless required earlier due to changes in circumstances or legal requirement. For any new cemetery the document will have a separate review. Before making the document public the layout will be made consistent and have a front page with logo, version number and review date. The document will be made available in an electronic form only. Proposed by Cllr Richards and seconded by Cllr Prior it was unanimously
RESOLVED to approve the draft for the Parish Cemetery Rules and Regulations
501 TO RECEIVE UPDATE ON PLAYGROUND INSPECTIONS AND MAINTENANCE
The project officer reported that there was nothing to note in the recent inspections. The Committee members discussed the structure of how the playground inspection reports should be presented at future meetings. As the line manager the Clerk receives weekly reports from Lucy, and these are available for the Councillors to see in the office. A consensus was reached that Cllr Barnes will read the playground inspection reports before an Open Spaces meeting and report back to the Committee members. It was also noted that all Parish Council playgrounds will undergo a full RoSPA inspection in May.
502 TO DISCUSS THE DEDICATION FOR THE PEACE TREE IN THE MEMORIAL GARDEN
The recently replaced tree in the Memorial Garden needs an updated dedication plaque. It was pointed out that it was important to include the history of the original dedication in the new wording. It was agreed to use the wording:
This tree was planted in January 2022 by Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council
as a replacement of a tree planted in 1985 to celebrate 40 years of peace.
May peace always prevail.
It was agreed that a mock-up plaque and costs would be presented at the next meeting.
503 TO RECIVE AN UPDATE ON FOOTPATHS
Cllr Barnes gave his thanks to Mr. Stiles for again producing his report. In the report the Coronation Shelter on Chapel Hill is highlighted as in need of refurbishment, and Mr. Stiles had suggested to spruce it up for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Cllr Prior suggested that Councillors do the cleaning and painting. The condition of the shelter and amount of repair work necessary will need to be assessed and the work, ideally, completed before the Jubilee weekend. As the next O/S meeting in not until 1st June, the assessment and recommendations will be circulated outside of the meeting for councillors consideration.
Replacement posts for the Manor Road noticeboard have been ordered, and the reinstalment will take place as soon as possible. Cllr Barnes also mentioned that the noticeboard by Mountfitchet Green will need refurbishment and possibly moving. The office also needs to follow up on the noticeboard for Elms Farms. This will be added to the next agenda.
Footpath 23: Hogweed is growing again. The Clerk will report it.
The path by Norman’s Court connecting to High Lane has many potholes, making it difficult for elderly resident to walk it. SMPC has not been able to identify ownership of the path and will need to contact District Cllr Gooding to determine next step.
504 MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NEXT AGENDA
Concerns was raised about the “For Sale” sign on Parish Council land on High Lane. This has been a recurring issue, with no resolution.
Meeting closed 9.23pm
502 The office to make a mock-up and source costs of the new tree dedication plaque
503 Cllr Barnes to take photos of the Coronation Shelter and circulate
The office to follow up on the noticeboard for Elms Farms
The Clerk to report the Hogweed on Footpath 23
The office to contact Cllr Gooding regarding path by Norman’s Court.
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;
- I am pleased to report that our efforts to resolve the issues around the POS at Elms Farm and Walpole seem to be making headway at last. Emmer Blazeby has confirmed that Crest have initiated corrective land works at Elms Farm and have contracted NAIO Environmental Ltd, through their agents ManCo, to commence works include specimen tree replacement, whip management and replacement, weed killing and mechanical rotavating. The land will then be de-lumped and scrapped to even out the surface and improve future landscaping opportunities. This first phase of the corrective action should take a further two weeks. NAIO have also been contracted to provide long term maintenance of the whip line by weedkilling, mulching and both short and long term watering.
- Emma Blazeby also undertook a site visit to the Walpole allotments following a request by SMPC to UDC that they consider an early transfer of the allotments ahead of the other areas on Walpole Meadows. She reported that currently she is not prepared to sign off on the allotments due to their unsatisfactory condition, she also remarked that Crest were unlikely to pay separate legal costs for these and the other POS areas on Walpole. She is trying to arrange a further site visit with Bloor Homes, our north District Councillors and UDC Officers to resolve these and other issues.
- Our ongoing communications with UDC have failed to yield any significant financial movement concerning the terms and conditions of any lease arrangements for Mountfitchet Green. However, I do expect a final and positive position on this matter to be agreed in the near future. A leasing arrangement will be advantageous to SMPC as it removes the need for licences to be obtained for each and every improvement we want to introduce on Mountfitchet Green.
- Following a final mulching of the specimen and other new trees planted at Newman’s Plantation, I think we can finally conclude this project is, for now, finished. This work has included, tree felling, ground clearance, tree and whip planting, steaking, guarding and mulching and I would like to thank all those involved in this project including Officers, volunteers and Councillors. I hope the level of supports we received on this project will be matched on other similar projects in the future.
- The Knight sign at the lower street junction with the B1383 at Walpole Meadows is still under repair. Unfortunately the delay was due to illness although work has now recommenced. I would like to thank District Councillor Dean for paying for this repair from his new homes allowance.
- Laila and I will be meeting with Tom Moat of the ETI tomorrow to explore opportunities within and around the village for tree/hedge planting and general reforestation. Others wanting to involve themselves in this project are welcome to join us.
- As you may have seen on social media, Stansted in Bloom will be running again this year. Trevor Lloyd has taken on the organisation of this year’s competition and has pulled together new and ex-SIB team members in its organisation. Any support Councillors can give to this activity would be much appreciated.
- Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge and thank Lois and George for their efforts in the organisation and day management of the recent Council facilitated Litter Pick. With over 40 volunteers taking part not only did this activity collect a remarkable amount of rubbish from around the village but, hopefully, it raised the awareness of Stansted residence to the benefits of a cleaner environment. Hopefully this activity and result will encourage others to involve themselves with the Stansted Litter Pickers going forward. Report Ends
Committee & Project Report Officer’s Report: Laila Azure-Marxen
Cemetery There are no updates for the Cemetery extension.
The Zip-wire was installed successfully but needed a few adjustments in the first week. The wire was sagging due to settling and was tightened. Regular tightening of the wire might be needed the first 6 months. The local children are enjoying the new piece of equipment, so we can consider it a success.
The disabled swing has been ordered. We have no update on the delivery, but our contractor is chasing the supplier.
We are delaying ordering the fence, as there is a possibility to get the fence funded via the Football Foundation. I am awaiting additional quotes before the funding application can be submitted. The football goals will be ordered along with the fence when this has been resolved.
Repainting of the MUGA has been ordered but cannot be scheduled before the weather is more consistently dry and warm.
The picnic benches and seats has been ordered.
UDC is currently drafting the lease for Mountfitchet Green.
The National Lottery Application for phase 2, which include wheelchair accessible paths, have been submitted and we are awaiting a response.
The Trim Trail for Wilkins Crescent have been ordered. Fortunately, we received an extension of the £3,500 UDC grant until the end of September, by when the trim trail needs to be installed and paid for to claim the grant.
The toddler Roundabout for Reeve Road has also been ordered. Due to rising material prices the roundabout and the trim trail has increased by £1,750. We have requested and received additional money from the s106 to cover this.
The old slide and swing from Reeve Road have been installed on Wilkins Crescent last Monday.
The seats for Walson Way have been ordered.
On Saturday 9th April two residents and Cllr Barnes spend the morning spreading additional mulch around the newly planted trees. We can now consider the project finalised, although we will keep an eye on the health of the trees and act accordingly.
Tree planting on public open spaces
Tomorrow, on the 21st we are meeting with Tom Moat from Essex Forest Initiative to discuss planting of trees and shrubs on several public open spaces around the village. The aim is to make the village more attractive for residents and wildlife. This will hopefully include hedging and trees for the playground project on Mountfitchet Green.
The Jubilee tree planting on Mountfitchet Green have been pushed to the autumn, as it was too much of a risk planting it in March. By planting it in the autumn the tree has a better chance of establishing well and will need less watering.
District Cllr Alan Dean have donated funds to plant a Jubilee tree on the Rec. This will be ordered at the same time.
Tree surgery – 1 year
The 1-year tree work in last years tree survey is being planned. Five individual trees and two groups of trees need work. Some of these have TPO’s or are in a conservation area. I have submitted tree work applications to UDC, some of which has already been approved. Mercer Tree Services have been contacted to schedule the work.
Planters The licence for the planter by the Dog and Duck is still to be issued. We have chased Highways several times but have had no response. Report Ends
NOTICE OF MEETING
You are summoned to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE which will be held on Wednesday 20th April 2022 at 8pm 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 9th March 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 verbal report from the Project Officer
7 To receive Interments report from the Clerk
8 To approve the draft for the Parish Cemetery Rules and Regulations – attached for members
9 To receive an update on playground inspections and maintenance
10 To discuss the dedication for the peace tree in the Memorial Garden – examples attached for members
11 To receive an update on footpaths – report to follow
12 Matters to be considered for next agenda
Ruth Clifford, Parish Clerk – 14 April 2022