Minutes of a meeting of the OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 6th October 2021 in The Mountfitchet Exchange, Crafton Green, 72 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex
PRESENT M Caton, A Guney, J Kavanagh
Mrs Ruth Clifford – Clerk to the Council
Mrs L Azure-Marxen – Committee & Project Support Officer
2 members of the public
1 member of the press
As Chairman of the Open Spaces Committee was not able to attend this week meeting the Committee needed a chairman in their absence. It was proposed by Cllr F Richards and seconded by Cllr A Guney, and was unanimously
RESOLVED: to approve Cllr M Caton to be Chairman for this meeting
188 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr A Barnes gives his apologies for not being able to attend the meeting due to holiday. Cllr P Davies gives his apologies for absence due to a Conservative Party Conference. Cllr A Khan gives apologies for absence, he had to attend an extraordinary meeting at the District Council.
RESOLVED: to approve apologies for absence from Cllrs A Barnes, P Davies and A Khan.
189 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST – None
190 TO RECEIVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 1st September 2021
RESOLVED to accept the minutes of the meeting held on 1st September 2021 as a true and accurate account.
191 TO RECEIVE AN UPDATE ON ACTIONS POINT FROM PREVIOUS MEETING
126b The Clerk has sent letters to Jordon Close Residents
The office still needs to contact Louise Pepper regarding the Climate Change emergency fund. Laila will do this.
140b Laila has contacted Mercer Tree Services
143 Mr Stiles has been contacted for his report
192 CHAIRMAN’S REPORT See attached
Cllr M Caton read out Cllr A Barnes Chairman’s report. After reading the report the Clerk added the following: A resident of Stansted has asked for an update on the flowerbed by the Knight sign on Blythewood Gardens. Our contractor GWB sent an email to confirm the flower bed plans he had agreed with Cllr A Barnes in March 2021. The plan is to plant a mix of Lavender, early spring flowering bulbs and some mixed herbaceous, as well as a splash of winter colour in form of winter pansies etc. They will start planting the border in three to four weeks.
Winifred Pigrum – 10th August
Doreen Crowley – 9Th September
MEMORIALS – none
a TO CONSIDER REPLACEMENT TREE IN THE MEMORIAL GARDEN
Laila explained that one of the trees in the memorial garden is dead and Cllr A Barnes suggested replacing it. Our tree warden Mr D Brett suggests planting a cherry tree to match the one on the other side of the garden and choosing a draught resistant specimen. It should also not be too mature as this was probably the cause of the current tree dying, as it could not establish well. For any new tree he recommends seeking advice from a stockist and have a plan for watering and maintenance for the first growing season. It is suggested that the Environmental rangers could undertake watering. Laila will contact GWB for a quote on a replacement tree.
RESOLVED to replace the tree with a draught resistant cherry tree
b TO DECIDE ON THE FORMATION OF A WORKING GROUP TO OVERSEE THE REFORESTATION OF NEWMAN’S PLANTATION
As explained in the project update report (attached) and the chairman’s report we are in the process of planning reforestation of Newman’s Plantation. Due to change in the tree packs offered Essex Forest Initiative (EFI) is ordering us 300 trees instead of 100. This will be a mix of native species. We are planning to plant the trees in January, as we want to work around felling some Ash trees in the Plantation. For the planting of the new trees, we need to organise volunteers, and further need a plan for what to do with the surplus of trees. EFI allow us to give them away to residents or plant them elsewhere in Stansted. It was suggested that some of the trees might could be used for the Queens jubilee project. It was also noted that it is a shame that the timing is not better, so the trees to be used for reforesting Elm’s Farm.
There is a lot of logistics which needs to be considered, which is why we need a working group to oversee the project. The working group would consist of 3-4 people. It was suggested to invite Daniel Brett to be in the working group. Cllr J Kavanaugh volunteered to join the group. Laila is going to send out a request to members to join the group.
To get volunteers for planting, it was suggested to contact local groups with interest in the environment, like the Gardening Club. The allotment tenants could also be contacted, as they would have less to do that time of year. Emma will be asked to send an email requesting volunteers.
195 TO RECIVE AN UPDATE ON FOOTPATHS
Mr Stiles sent us an update report. Cllr J Kavanaugh commented on FP13 Cambridge Road to High Lane. The path is partly surfaced, and it is unclear who’s responsibility it was to surface the path. It will need to be investigated if it is Bloor Homes or Amhurst who did the work, and if they have any responsibility to resurface the whole path.
FP39 Chapel Hill to FP38 has a lot of overhanging from hedges and needs path clearing. Lucy, the Environmental Ranger, has previously cut back the hedges, but more work needs to be done. The Office will ask Lucy to trim back the hedges more.
To office will write Mr. Stiles and thank him for sending us the report.
196 TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK FROM COUNCILLORS ON POSSIBLE CAPITAL PROJECTS FOR 2022/23
The Clerk has not received any feedback on capital project for the budget year 2022/23, so this item on the agenda can not be covered. Laila will send the Councillors reminders to send their ideas to the office by the end of October.
197 TO ELECT A VICE CHAIR OF THE OPEN SPACES COMMITTEE
Cllr F Richards proposed Cllr J Kavanaugh to be Vice Chair. This was seconded by Cllr A Guney. It was unanimously
RESOLVED to elect Cllr J Kavanaugh to be the Vice Chair of the Open Spaces Committee
198 MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR NEXT ANGENDA
The budget for 2022/23 will be on the next agenda, along with any capital project come proposed. Cllr P Davies suggested a review the design of the Town map be considered.
Spring planting for 2023 will need to be considered for the next budget, but the spring planting for 2022 is already covered by this financial year.
Christmas lights is covered by Finance and General purposes. The lights are usually a community initiative which the SMPC contributes to.
Meeting closed 20.00
Carried over from previous meeting
126b Laila to contact Louise Pepper regarding the Climate Change Emergency Fund.
194a Laila to get quote from GWB on replacement tree
194b Laila to contact Daniel Brett about joining working group
Laila to contact all O/S committee members on considering joining the working group.
Emma to contact the allotment holders on volunteering for the tree planting in January.
195 Footpaths Office to send thanks to Mr. Stiles
FP38 to FP39 Lucy to cut back any overhanging hedges
FP13: Office to follow up on the responsibility of resurfacing, is it Bloor or Amhurst?
196 Laila to send reminder to Councillors to send ideas for capital project by end of October
Chairman’s Report: Alan Barnes
I apologise for not being present tonight but I am away for a late COVID postponed celebration of my wife’s birthday. I only have a few points to report;
- Unfortunately the Stansted In Bloom committee as constituted has ceased to exist following the resignation of its committee officers. A new committee will be formed under a new group name and with a brief more focused on garden and flower competitions with other non-core activities returning to SMPC. The new group will have no formal reporting links with SMPC and will seek separate means of funding although grant applications will still be considered by SMPC.
- The contract for grass cutting within Stansted is up for renewal in spring 2022 and a process of appointing a contractor will commence in 4Q21. A working group should be formed to work with the Clerk in order to define what areas require cutting going forward, set specifications, to evaluate applicants and to review any quotes submitted. If you are interested in being involved in this group please come forward.
- As reported by Laila, CIF grant applications for Foresthall Park and Mountfitchet Green have been submitted to UDC in order to part fund our various play equipment enhancement programs within Stansted. Until we know the outcome of these applications both projects are on hold. We hope to have a decision in December and, depending on that decision, the final scope of the work will be fixed and equipment ordered.
- I have circulated to O/S members the latest UDC information as the POSs at Elms Farm and Walpole Meadows. Both sites still need a considerable amount of remedial work to be undertaken before we can consider any handover. However, work on Elms Farm has recently started and I look forward to reforming the working group shortly so that ideas on what the POS may look like in future can be discussed ahead of any transfer to SMPC.
- Having received further advice and more detailed cost estimates from CDS for the necessary work prior to the submission of a planning application for the extension to the St Mary’s cemetery, a strategic review is underway with all options for the continuation of this project under consideration.
- The Newman’s Plantation tree restocking exercise will commence in Jan 2022 with the delivery of 300 whips from the Essex Tree Initiative. A working group to oversee the necessary planning, storing, planting and disposal of any excess needs to be formed in order ensure that this initiative is successful. Report Ends
Project update report: Laila Azure-Marxen, Committee & Project Support Officer
Cemetery There is little to report on the cemetery project. We are looking into options on getting more land and will being the surveys when it has been cleared what is possible or not.
Tree surgery It has been agreed to do the 3-month and 6-month tree work at the same time, and Mercer Tree Services has been informed that we are ready to start the work. Unfortunately, Mercer’s are very busy and short staffed at the moment, so it is still unknown when they can begin the work. But we have everything ready so whenever they have time, the work can begin.
Newman’s plantation The reforestation of Newman’s Plantation in moving forward. To receive the species and amount we want, we have committed to “tree packs” from Essex Forest Initiative. This means that we will receive around 300 native trees. As we will only need around 100-150 to reforest Newman’s Plantation we will have a surplus of trees, for which we need a plan. EFI allows us to give them away to residents, but we should also explore other option, like planting trees in other areas of Stansted.
For the planting of the trees, we need a plan for: Engaging volunteers for planting, watering, and maintenance for the first growing season. On request we can get a representative from EFI to come help on planting day – this will be for guidance on planting and maintenance, so we get it right.
Recently we had a tree survey done on Newman’s Plantation and the report recommends having 6 Ash trees felled within the next 3-6 months. As we don’t want to disturb newly planted trees, we aim to have these felled before any planting takes place. I have agreed to have the new trees from EFI delivered in January as this will give us time to arrange for the felling. The trees must be planted between November and March. I have requested quotes on the tree surgery.
Play equipment The funding applications for Essex CC Community Initiatives Fund, UDC Community Project Grant and The National Lottery Reaching Communities has been sent off. We have applied for both Mountfitchet Green and Foresthall Park. We will know if the applications were successful some time in December.
Due to the nature of the funding applications, we cannot start ordering or installing any equipment until the funds have been granted. Report Ends
SUMMONS You are summoned to attend a meeting of the OPEN SPACES which will be held on Wednesday 6th October 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 1st September 2021
4 To receive an update on action points from previous meeting
5 To receive the Chairman’s Report
6 Cemetery a) Interments – to receive a report from the Clerk
7 Trees a) To consider replacement tree in the Memorial Garden
- b) To decide on the formation of a working work to oversee the reforestation of Newman’s Plantation
8 To receive an update on footpaths
9 To receive feedback from Councillors on possible capital projects for 2022/23
10 To elect a Vice Chair of the Open Spaces Committee
11 Matters to be considered for next agenda
Ruth Clifford, Clerk to the Council – 29th September 2021