Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 28th July 2021 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT Cllrs A Barnes (Chairman), D Brett, M Caton, P Davies, A Guney, J Kavanagh, A Khan, F Richards and D Wallace-Jarvis.
Mrs R Clifford – Clerk to the Council
Mrs L Azure-Marxen – Committee & Project Support Officer
1 member of the public
133 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – None
134 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Cllr Khan declared an interest as a resident of Walpole Meadows.
135 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 26th MAY 2021
RESOLVED to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 26th May 2021 as a true and accurate account.
136 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON PROGRESS SINCE THE LAST MEETING
Laila had sent out with the agenda a progress report on projects (attached). Appreciation of the progress reports was expressed as this made it easier for the councillors to keep up to date with the ongoing projects. All action points have been done since the last meeting.
137 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT See attached
138 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON STANSTED IN BLOOM/ANGLIA IN BLOOM
Trevor Lloyd reported on the Stansted in Bloom competition. It has been extremely successful with a lot of entries. They had the award ceremony just before tonight’s Open Spaces meeting and the turnout was good. For Anglia in Bloom they will be submitting photos and text in 8 categories next week and will receive a decision in September.
SIB is losing two committee members and are now recruiting. Interested people have a lot of ideas, which will be good to move the group forward. Cllr Richards expressed thanks to Trevor Lloyd and the group for making SiB so successful, with more community engagement.
Trevor reported an issue with the flowers planted around town in Spring: Due to miscommunication the planters had not been watered by the gardening contractor. The contractor will replace the flowers and water them. It was also noted that many of the planters had reached end of life and will need replacing the next year. Cllr Khan will be happy to contribute to new planters in the South, and he will also ask Cllr Melvin Caton for a contribution.
a INTERMENTS: Carol Wardell on 14 July 2021.
b MEMORIALS – to consider the removal of clause 55.6 the Rules and Regulations relating to photographs/images on memorials
The Rules and Regulations are up for review in Autumn and currently do not permit images to be incorporated into the memorials. Via our MP, the Committee is asked to consider allowing images on gravestones. There is currently one grave with an image which was the cause for the Rules and Regulations to change 20 years ago. It was commented that the times have now changed, and that Stansted has a changing demographic. Images are a common practice in many other towns and cities. The Committee needs to recognise a changing world and be open to how the community wants to bury their dead.
It was discussed which size would be suitable to allow. Ruth will contact a stonemason to enquire about the minimum size and materials for the best imagery. The Council will later consider quality, size, shape and number of images allowed on a grave.
Having been proposed by Cllr Richards and seconded by Cllr Caton, 8 members voted in favour and one abstained. It was therefore
RESOLVED: To approve the family to have an image on the gravestone (of the deceased) following the stonemasons advice. The image should not be larger than the current gravestone image.
C TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON THE CEMETERY EXTENSION PROJECT
Laila gave a brief update of the cemetery extension – see attached update report.
Laila handed out a cost and time breakdown of the planning work, based on the project projections from CDS. In best case scenarios the planning costs will amount to just under £22,000 and worst case £40,000. The timeline for the planning process is as a minimum of 4-5 months so we may be ready to submit the planning application by the end of 2021. A preliminary pre app response from the EA on the tier 2 assessment submitted by CDS has been received.
The Council is asked to consider ideas for the cemetery for the upcoming design phase: we want to develop a cemetery with inclusive burial options. Cllr Richards volunteered to join the cemetery extension project.
a TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON NEWMAN’S PLANTATION
Laila gave an update on Newman’s Plantation in her report – see attached.
When the trees arrive in the Autumn we will have to rely on volunteers to help with the planting. It should be considered how to get volunteers for the planting. Cllr Brett said that the chosen species should be able to manage on their own, so we should not have to rely on volunteers to water them. They will require minimal maintenance. Cllr Brett expressed concerns about the residents adjacent to Newman’s Plantation who seemingly had been clearing the ground, tipping garden waste and even installed gates onto Parish land. He is concerned that these activities might damage the new trees. The Clerk will write letters to the residents of Jordon Close reminding them that gates opening onto Parish land is not permitted.
Cllr Khan suggested to investigate if the Council could get a grant from UDC Climate Change Emergency Fund, to help plant and maintain the trees. The office will contact Louise Pepper.
b TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON TREE SURGERY OF THE PARISH COUNCIL TREES
Laila gave a brief update – see attached update report.
141 ELMS FARM
a TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ELMS FARMS PUBLIC OPEN SPACES
Progress has been made. An estimate was supplied to UDC by SMPC for the restoration of the POS at Elms Farm and the developers have agreed significant work on the site is needed
before handover. The developers will supply timeline and specification for the work within the next few weeks.
b TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ELMS FARM ALLOTMENTS
The Chairman and Clerk had a meeting with the Elms Farm Allotment Association (EFAA), who raised questions as to their function following the transfer of administration duties to SMPC. In addition, the EFAA raised issues on water supply, the toilet block (which is still closed), and inspection issues. On inspections they raised concerns about the lack of communication of inspection outcomes by the Council. They also asked for changes to the frequency of the inspections to match the growing season. The EFAA were informed that there were a handful of tenants who have received multiple warning letters. All tenants have the right to contact SMPC to explain why they haven’t maintained their plot. Some have been given extensions due to circumstances. Warning letters have been given to those who left plots unattended or use the plots as garden instead of for cultivation. The EFAA will be informed of the results after inspections in future although the exact procedure for doing this is still to be developed . In addition, SMPC will change the plot handover process, new tenants will get a tour of the allotment site and have a meeting in the office to go over the Terms and Conditions. Between tenants the plots will be maintained so it will be handed over in a reasonable condition.
c TO CONCIDER A CONTRIBUTION FROM THE ALLOTMENT BUDGET TOWARDS RESURFACING THE ALLOTMENT CAR PARK ENTRANCE
The car park entrance roadway is worn out and the narrow entrance makes it difficult for larger vehicles to access without damaging the kerb. A quote for £2,809 for widening and resurfacing the entrance has been received. The Allotment Association has agreed to contribute half of the cost from their own funds.
The office needs to check with the landowners before the work can starts. The Council will use funds from the Allotment account to contribute the other half. The account currently has £7,000. It was unanimously
RESOLVED to contribute half of the cost to re-work the entrance to the Elms Farm Allotments from the allotment bank account.
d TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON NOTICEBOARDS
Cllr Wallace-Jarvis has written the text for the information part of the map and will send it to the office for layout.
142 PLAY EQUIPMENT
a TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON MOUNTFITCHET GREEN
Laila gave an update in her report – see attached
We have received the pre-app advice from UDC planning concerning the need for planning permission for the installation of a zip wire. Advice given suggested that submitting for a Certificate of Lawful Development application should be made to determine if the zip-wire can be erected without planning permission. The advice is confusing as the zip-wire is not yet installed. Laila has contacted the planning officer to clarify if we should submit a planning application.
b TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON FORESTHALL PARK
Laila gave an update in her report – see attached
We have started the public consultation for Walson Way which will end on the 8th August. Laila will update the Council with the results.
On Wilkin’s Crescent we are still waiting to clarify if the playground is suitable for additional equipment. As explained in the update report there has been negative feedback on the recent public consultation from the residents facing the playground. Laila has submitted a pre-app advice application to clarify if the trim trail needs planning permission but is yet to receive a response. A resident also raised the concern that the trim trail is not suitable for the playground type (LEAP). Laila has been chasing Fiona Gardiner to resolve this question. Cllr Khan will chase UDC planning officers to find out if the trim trail needs planning permission.
We also need to establish if the swing and slide will be permitted with any LEAP restrictions. Laila will contact UDC regarding this.
c TO CONSIDER WHETHER TO CONTINUE WITH THE PROPOSAL FOR A TRIM TRAIL AT
RESOLVED that if the UDC says that we can put in the trim trail, or a planning permission is granted, that the Council will go ahead with installing a trim trail on Wilkin’s Crescent.
d TO DECIDE WHICH PLAY EQUIPMENT TO INSTALL AT REEVE ROAD
The councillors are asked to decide between the four options (trampoline, roundabout, play car and see saw) based on the result from the public consultation. The trampoline was a popular choice, but Laila pointed out that research says that children under 6 should not use trampolines due to their bone density, and this makes the item unsuitable for the playground type (LAP). The next popular choice is a roundabout. It was discussed if the roundabout could be a wheelchair friendly version, but it was pointed out that there is not room for a path, and it would make access difficult. A wheelchair friendly roundabout will be considered for another site.
Having been proposed by Cllr Barnes and seconded by Cllr Caton, with 8 members voting in favour and 1 abstention, it was
RESOLVED to install a roundabout on the Reeve Road play area.
143 WELCOME BACK FUND – TO RECEIVE A REPORT FROM THE CLERK RELATING TO THE PURCHASE OF ITEMS SUCH AS PICNIC BENCHES, SEATS, ETC.
The Clerk had sent out a report about the grant received from the UDC Welcome Back Fund. The Clerk needs to find 3 quotes on each item specified in the report, to present to Uttlesford before receiving the grant.
RESOLVED It was agreed to delegate authority to the Clerk, Chairman of the Council Cllr Caton, and Chairman of Open Spaces Cllr Barnes to decide on the final choice of equipment.
144 TO CONSIDER A REQUEST TO INSTALL A GATE OPENING ONTO THE BIRCHALLS PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
A resident has requested to have a gate installed, opening from their back garden onto the Parish Council public open space on Birchalls. It was commented that it is the same principle as on Newman’s Plantation, where the Council does not allow gate access from people’s gardens onto the land. Having been proposed by Cllr Barnes and seconded by Cllr Richards, with 8 votes in favour and 1 abstention it was
RESOLVED to refuse an access gate to Parish Council owned public open space on Birchalls.
145 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON FOOTPATHS
The report from Mr Stiles, Footpath Representative, had been circulated ahead of the meeting (attached). It was noted that numbering permissive paths was a good idea. Cllr Wallace-Jarvis also suggested coding the path types with different colour waymarkers.
146 MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NEXT AGENDA
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 responsibilities.
Meeting closed 21.40
125b The Clerk to contact a stonemason to inquire about the best size and shape for imagery on gravestones
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
128 b Cllr Khan to chase up planning officers at UDC to determine if the trim trail requires planning permission and establish any LEAP constraints.
Laila will contact Planning at UDC to establish if the swing and slide will be permitted in the Wilkins Crescent LEAP.
Project Update Report: Laila Azure-Marxen
Update report on Open Spaces projects
Open Spaces Meeting 28 July 2021
By Laila Azure-Marxen, Committee and Project Support Officer
6c – Update on the cemetery extension project
The Gemmill’s have agreed to extend the land by 6,5 meters so we can avoid the root system of the trees by the fence line. As a condition for this extension the Parish Council will take on the responsibility of the trees by the fence. Cllr Daniel Brett have visited the site and reported that the trees look in good health, but that we should be aware of the possibility of branches falling on gravestones when the trees mature.
CDS Group finished the trial digging on the 22nd June and found no still water. They have submitted the full Tier 2 Risk Assessment report to the EA, for pre-app advice. The EA will take 6-8 weeks to finish the pre-app, and the cost is estimated £800-1000. It was submitted on the 8th July.
Hopefully the pre-app comes back positive, and we can proceed with planning work by the end of August.
7a – Update on Newman’s Plantation
We have submitted the application for 100 trees to be planted. The Essex Forest Initiative is still assessing the application, and we will hear more closer to planting season in Autumn.
7b – Update on Tree surgery
We have decided to go with Mercer Tree Services for the surgery of the trees listed in the Tree Inspection report. Some of the 3-month work priority trees is in a conservation area (Benfield), so I have submitted a tree works application. The result of the application will be in around the 23rd August, by which Mercer Tree Services will hopefully be able to start the work.
The tree inspections were primarily done in beginning of March and the 6-month priority work will be coming up in September. I have asked Mercer Tree Services to quote on all the 6-month trees, so they can do the work while already in the village.
I have also submitted tree work application for two TPO’s on the 6-month work priority list.
8d – To receive an update on noticeboards.
The office will place the order for the noticeboard over the course of the Summer and we will wait for the information to be put on it.
We have started funding applications for Mountfitchet Green and Foresthall Park. We are applying to the Essex Community Initiative Foundation (CIF), for up to £10,000 pr project. We will submit both Mountfitchet Green and Foresthall as projects and we will aim to submit the application by 1st September, with a deadline on the 17th September.
I have also started applications for the funding schemes All England and Reaching Communities.
9a – Update on Mountfitchet Green
I have submitted the project for the Essex Lottery, a funding scheme where residents can support our cause by buying lottery tickets. We will get a cut and the supporters will have the opportunity to win a cash price. I am still waiting to hear if the application is accepted.
We now have a local community contact who will write a letter for the CIF application, giving proof of our community engagement. She will also be essential for assisting us with the public consultation, on the feedback on the layout/plan.
We are finalising the layout and will be inviting the local’s community to participate in a feedback session on the 11 or 12th August. After this we will revise the plan and evaluate if we need more public consultation.
I am still awaiting the pre-app advice on the zip-wire but have been ensured that it will be send to me prior to the meeting.
We are still in negotiation with UDC on the lease of the Green.
9b – Update on Foresthall Park
For the funding applications we have combined Reeve Road, Wilkin’s Crescent and Walson Way into one project to improve the play spaces/recreational areas in Foresthall Park.
The Council will need to decide on the Reeve Road play equipment. The results of the public consultation and the quotes have been provided for you to consider.
At Walson Way we are planning to do a call for ideas of the recreational space. This will be shared on social media, the Council website and on the noticeboards.
Regarding Wilkin’s Crescent: An informative letter was handed out to the residents of Wilkin’s Crescent describing our proposal to install a new trim trail. We have received some negative feedback, being that the residents do not feel the item is appropriate for the location. Along with a pre-app advice application, I have enquired with Uttlesford Planning on an alternative location and the Officer recommends moving the trim trail behind the play area.
One resident has commented that since the play area is a LEAP, we cannot install a trim trail on the outside of the fenced off play area. The trim trail is for the age group 7-12, while the LEAP is for children who are beginning to go out and play independently. I have enquired with Uttlesford regarding this but have yet to receive a response. This issue is not something that will be addresses in the pre-app advice and I have chased Fiona Gardiner for advice on the matter.
As the idea for the trim trial is Council led, with the intensions of improving the play opportunities for the children in the area, we should consider if the project has too many constraints and will have too much of a negative impact on the neighbours. Report Ends.
Chair Report by Alan Barnes
I only have a few points to report on:
- Following much chasing I am now hopeful that we are finally making headway on the Elms Farm POS and I look forward to reconvening the Elms Farm working group in the near future.
- We have commissioned restoration and maintenance work on three significant and distinctive direction road signs in the north of the village. This work was funded from the new homes allowance donation from Cllr Dean. If members know of similar signs that may benefit from a similar treatment, please bring then to Ruth’s attention.
- Now occupying the second of our two community plots, I would like to welcome Let’s Talk Stansted to our Elms farm allotment community. I know we all wish them every success in this new initiative and hope that all those involved will benefit from this new venture.
- Following several grass cutting issues over the last month within the Parish I was pleased to read in Augusts Link an explanation of our problems and strategy which I hope will go some way in informing our residence that this is a key but challenging activity for our contractors and staff.
- At last week’s Full Council meeting Ruth and I were questioned about the planting strategy on the planter at Blythwood Gardens. After a magnificent tulip display in spring the display was left to die off and the bulbs have since been removed for replanting on FHP. At the moment the bed is empty but this autumn will be replanted with shrubs and herbaceous plants underplanted with bulbs.If you are asked about this planter please pass on this information.
- And finally, I would like to thank Laila for her project update which I hope will provide members with background information on the status of some of our major projects that will facilitate and shorten discussion. Report Ends.
SUMMONS You are summoned to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES which will be held on Wednesday 28th July 2021 at 7.30pm in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted, Essex
1 To approve apologies for absence
2 To receive the minutes of the Open Spaces meeting held on 26th May 2021
3 To receive an update on progress since the last meeting
4 To receive the Chairman’s Report
5 To receive an update on Stansted In Bloom/Anglia In Bloom
6 Cemetery a) Interments – to receive a report from the Clerk
- b) Memorials – to consider the removal of clause 55.6 the Rules and Regulations relating to photographs/images on memorials
- c) To receive an update on the cemetery extension project
7 Trees a) To receive an update on Newman’s Plantation
b) To receive an update on tree surgery of the Parish Council trees
8 Elms Farm a) To receive an update on Elms Farms public open space
b) To receive an update on the Elms Farms allotments
c) To consider a contribution from the allotment budget towards resurfacing the allotment carpark entrance
d) To receive an update on noticeboards
9 Play Equipment a) To receive an update on Mountfitchet Green
b) To receive an update on Foresthall Park
c) To consider whether to continue with the proposal of a trim trail at Wilkin’s Crescent
d) To decide which play equipment to install at Reeve Road
10 Welcome Back Fund – To receive a report from the Clerk relating to the purchase of items such as picnic benches, seats etc.
11 To consider a request to install a gate opening onto the Birchalls public open space
12 To receive an update on footpaths
13 Matters to be considered for next agenda
Ruth Clifford, Clerk to the Council – 21 July 2021