SHREWSBURY TOWN COUNCIL
Recreation & Leisure Committee
Meeting held at the Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury
At 6.00pm on Wednesday 1 June 2011
PRESENT – Councillors Mrs JM Brennand (Chairman), DS Carroll, T Durnell
(substituting for Cllr Roberts), I Jones, JMW Kenny, Mrs KM Owen & J Tandy
IN ATTENDANCE – Samantha Tharme (Team Leader – Traffic & Transport
Studies – Shropshire Council), Richard Harman (Traffic Engineer (Cycling) –
Shropshire Council); Nathan Mepham (Blachere Illuminations); Helen Ball
(Town Clerk); Gary Farmer (Operations Manager) & Mike Cox (Outdoor
Recreation & Asset Manager); 1 member of the press.
APOLOGIES – Councillors Roberts & Wagner
Councillor Mrs Brennand having been elected the Chairman of the
Recreation & Leisure Committee at the Annual Meeting of Council duly
chaired the meeting.
1/11 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
CODE OF CONDUCT
Councillor Personal Interest in CCTV and A-Board as he is the Lead
Durnell Member at Shropshire Council for both
Councillor Personal Interest in Apprenticeship Scheme as he is a Union
Jones appointed Councillor
2/11 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the Recreation & Leisure Committee meeting held on 30
March 2011 were submitted as circulated.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Recreation & Leisure Committee
meeting held on 30 March 2011 be approved and signed as a correct
3/11 MATTERS ARISING
Re Min 64/10 – Enforcement Training - Councillor Tandy enquired whether
all staff had received Enforcement Training. The Town Clerk reported that
with the exception of two staff all received training together. Those two have
since received one-to-one training.
4/11 CYCLE SHREWSBURY
Samantha Tharme and Richard Harman attended the meeting to present
proposals for the next phase of the cycle route along Smithfield Road towards
its junction with Raven Meadows.
It was reported that Shrewsbury was one of 79 places across the UK to
receive Connect2 funding to support programmes to make cycling and
walking easier. Funding has enabled a growing network of route in the north
of the town and connection to the National Cycle Network Route 81 along the
River Severn. New initiatives have included the Greenfields Greenway, the
Ellesmere Grange cycle path and the changes to the Welsh Bridge.
This project would allow the route to be extended further along Smithfield
Road. There were a number for justifications for the work to be done:
The size of the trees and the width of the footpath restricted space for
people to walk and cycle;
The Pedestrian Crossing on Smithfield Road was complex and needed
to be made safer;
Access to the bus station needed to be improved;
The Raven Meadows/Smithfield Road Junction tended to become
congested and enhancements to the junction would improve traffic
Widening the pavement between the Boxing Club and Severn Terrace
to provide a shared use route;
Changes to the kerb line and traffic lane markings;
New one-staged Toucan crossing across Raven Meadows;
New two-staged Toucan crossing across Smithfield Road;
New entrance to the bus station;
Repositioning of the traffic lights.
Members made the following comments:
Due to the changes made at Welsh Bridge, those large delivery
vehicles to the Quarry now had to take a circuitous route along
Smithfield Road and around Raven Meadows to cross over Welsh
Bridge. Concerns were expressed that the changes to the junction
may preclude those large vehicles using that route. It was reported
that this was being looked at by Mouchel to ensure that the largest of
roadworthy vehicles could use the junction.
Concern was expressed that there did not appear to be a
comprehensive plan to improve cycle routes across the town and that
individual schemes were perceived as being routes to no-where. This
was particularly relevant to this scheme as no plans had been prepared
to take the scheme towards and through the Chester Street gyratory. It
was reported that options appraisals were being carried out for the
Chester Street gyratory part of which was to improve pedestrian and
cycle flow through the junction.
Members questioned why the scheme could not be developed on the
southern footway where the footpath is much wider and there was
already a greater footfall than develop it on the northern side where
there were more obstacles. It was reported that it was felt a more
attractive route for people to use along the northern side of Smithfield
Members again raised their concerns about the Smithfield Road
Refuge and the ongoing confusion about the road layout, not to
mention congestion and traffic back-up over Welsh Bridge. It was
reported that traffic studies have shown that it is not the refuge that is
causing congestion but the roundabout and controlled crossing at
Frankwell. Traffic studies have also shown that there is no difference
in traffic congestion now to before the refuge was installed.
Members made reference to the need to protect the trees on the north
side all of which has a significant amenity value; therefore any work
would need to be approved by the Tree Officers.
Mention was made of the ability of any new traffic signals to detect
cyclists at crossings as the new traffic signals at Frankwell did not
change when a cyclist was waiting. It was reported that the new traffic
signals did require fine tuning to detect cyclists.
Members enquired on timescales so as to avoid peak periods and the
cost of the scheme. It was reported that the work would be done
September – November; there would be no lane closures during the
day with the bulk of the work being carried out between 7pm-11pm.
The cost of the scheme was £270,000, funded through the Connect2
RESOLVED: That a letter to Shropshire Council be drafted for members’
comment, outlining the Town Council’s concerns about the scheme.
Ms Tharme & Mr Harman were thanked for their attendance; they
subsequently left the meeting.
5/11 CHRISTMAS LIGHTING
It was reported that following a request by members to look at improvements
to the Christmas lighting stock, officers had been working with Blachere to
look at options. They had been made aware of the Town Council’s existing
revenue budget for installation and repair and had been asked to base
proposals on a similar sum.
Nathan Mepham, Blachere’s Projects Manager gave a presentation to
members. He reported that Blachere was one of the largest manufacturers of
Christmas Lights in the world, working out of 40 countries with a £300m
turnover. Whilst some of their prestigious sites included Disneyworld and the
Eiffel Tower, 45% of the domestic work was from Parish & Town Councils.
The firm offers a range of services including full project management, supply
(either purchase outright or hire), installation and storage. Work complies with
ISO9002 and the Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme.
During his walkabout of the town, a number of areas were flagged as needing
infrastructure repair work as some of the fixings did not comply with the Code
of Practice for the Installation, Operation and Removal of Seasonal
He had also looked at areas beyond the current spread of Christmas Lighting
Displays to maximise impact.
A number of mock-ups were presented, with members having an opportunity
to look at other lighting displays on offer.
(i) That a Christmas Lights Working Group be established to
review the proposals;
(ii) That Councillors Brennand, Carroll, Jones, Owen & Tandy be
appointed to the Working Group;
(iii) That the Working Group meet as a matter of urgency to enable
proposals to be presented to Full Council in July;
(iv) That in the meantime, officers suspend any preparatory work
on the existing Christmas Lighting Stock, pending approval by
Mr Mepham and his colleague were thanked for their attendance; they
subsequently left the meeting.
6/11 BMX FACILITIES
Members considered a report by the Outdoor Recreation & Assets Manager
into the provision of BMX facilities on Town Council owned land.
There were currently tracks at:
Greenfields Recreation Ground
Springfield Recreation Ground
Little Harlescott Lane
The majority of facilities were not planned, merely adapted by custom and
usage. No facility was subject to formal ROSPA inspections and there were
no revenue budgets attached. Of late a number of Local Joint Committees
had allocated capital money for improvement, but there was an expectation
that the Town Council would maintain improved facilities
Members made reference to facilities within their wards and the community
benefit which was derived. It was reported that the Town Council did have a
duty under the Occupiers Liability Act to ensure its facilities were safe and the
need was pressing for these tracks to be brought into the formal inspection
process as all other Play Areas and MUGAs.
Officers reported on initial discussions with Walford College regarding the
setting up of an Apprenticeship Scheme and it was felt that were the Town
Council to go down such a route, ongoing maintenance and inspection of
these facilities could be supported by Apprentices. The Town Clerk reported
that a formal proposal will be considered by the Personnel Committee in June.
(i) That the Town Council supports the establishment of BMX
Tracks on its sites;
(ii) That the maintenance and inspection of BMX Tracks follow
similar lines to existing Play Areas and MUGAs;
(iii) That the necessary revenue budget and staffing requirements
be presented to the Finance & General Purposes Committee
and Personnel Committee for consideration.
7/11 PROGRESS REPORTS
(i) CCTV – Quarry – It was reported that the trenching work external to the
Dingle had been done and work was underway hand digging the trench for
cabling amongst the mature trees. Once that has been done, digging out for
the CCTV base will be done. It is anticipated that the camera will be hooked
up to the main CCTV system by the summer. It was also reported that
officers had raised the subject of additional cameras with the Shropshire
(ii) Butcher Row Toilets – It was reported that the Town Council had
approved the plans and the architect would submit the plans for planning
permission once the tree report had been received, which was hoped to be
completed by the end of the week.
(iii) Toilet Refurbishments – The time locks for the external doors for Hills
Lane and Abbey Foregate had been ordered.
8/11 SHREWSBURY IN BLOOM
Members were in receipt of the minutes of the Shrewsbury in Bloom minutes
of 13 April and 11 May 2011. It was acknowledged the level of work involved
in ensuring the floral displays are always to a high standard. Some
Councillors had taken the opportunity to visit the Weeping Cross Greenhouse
to see first hand the size of the horticultural operation. It was reported that
because of the warm spring, displays are two weeks ahead of schedule and
despite the current economic climate the sale of commercial hanging baskets
is likely to beat last year’s high.
In considering the minutes, members raised again the poor condition of the
Heathgates Roundabout. Officers reported that they too had raised their
concerns, concerns also shared by the Highways Officers. Of particular
concern had been no plan to install a refuge for maintenance vehicles;
significant health and safety issues had been raised for grounds staff to
maintain the island. A meeting is planned to identify snagging issues and
address long-term maintenance.
(i) That the minutes of the Shrewsbury in Bloom meetings held on
13 April and 11 May 2011 be accepted and approved;
(ii) That the Council’s thanks be sent to the Operations Manager
and Greenhouse Staff for arranging the Open Day.
(i) Extended Opening – The Outdoor Recreation & Assets Manager reported
on the current trial to extend the Market to a Thursday. Traders had been
given the opportunity to trade on a Thursday rent-free to establish whether
there was a public demand. So far 25% of traders were taking part in the 6-
(ii) Lighting – The Outdoor Recreation & Asset Manager reported on plans to
replace the lighting bulbs. This project was proving difficult given the
accessibility of the lighting fixtures due to the market stall layout and
scaffolding was to be hired. It was planned to replace all the bulbs rather than
just those that had blown, but a request was made to investigate possible
lighting alternatives to facilitate long-term maintenance.
(iii) New Market Trader Competition – The Outdoor Recreation & Assets
Manager report on a request by the National Market Traders Federation for
the Town Council to be involved in a national competition designed to attract
new market traders. The Town Council has been asked to accommodate a
new trader and provide start up incentives of free and subsidised rent. The
NMTF would in turn provide free insurance and mentoring support. It was
hoped the new trader would start in June.
(i) That the report of the Outdoor Recreation & Assets Manager
(ii) That the Officers consider new lighting schemes and report
back to the Committee;
(iii) That the Town Council’s involvement in the New Market Trader
Competition be agreed.
(i) Events – The Outdoor Recreation & Assets Manager presented members
with a revised diary of events within the Quarry for 2011. He had also
detailed any attendance figures he had received from promoters.
(ii) Bands Programme – The Outdoor Recreation & Assets Manager detailed
the programme of dates for the Sunday Afternoon Bands in Quarry
programme; so far the events had proved very successful.
(iii) Summer Concert – It was reported that whilst the Status Quo Concert
was proving successful, take up of the 80s Concert was poor and had been
cancelled. Members expressed concert that this was the second year in a
row that there had not been a Saturday Evening Concert and people were
feeling let down, particularly given the campaign to remove the decibel limits
from the Entertainment Licence. Members felt that it was probably time to test
the market to determine what interest there was from other promoters.
Members enquired whether the staging would still be there over the weekend
and if so whether a more community minded free event could take place.
(i) That the Events programme for the Quarry be noted;
(ii) That a specification be drawn up for the Summer Concert
(iii) That the promoter of the 2011 Summer Concert be contacted
with a view to hosting a community event.
(i) Bowbrook Lease – It was understood that a Covenant existed on the land
at Bowbrook which required permission to be sought from the previous owner
to alter the use of the land. Shropshire Council’s Legal Department were
endeavouring to find the previous owner.
(ii) Ongoing Complaint – The Town Clerk reported on a currently unresolved
formal complaint regarding treatment of an allotment holder by an Allotment
Association. She reported that she and the Operations Manager would meet
with the Allotment Association shortly to discuss the complaint.
(iii) Bonfire – The Town Clerk reported on the need to issue the various
Associations with Guidelines on the use of bonfires. Councillor Kenny
advised that some Associations like Monkmoor already had a policy; therefore
it would be useful to learn of the individual Associations’ positions.
(iv) Meeting with Allotment Associations – The Town Clerk reported that a
meeting had been arranged for Tuesday 21st June 2011 at 4.00pm at which
all Allotment Associations had been invited to send representation. It was
hoped to develop regular meetings with Associations to share best practice,
issue guidance and develop the capacity of the Associations.
RESOLVED: That the Town Clerk’s report on Allotments be noted.
12/11 GROUNDS MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS
The Operations Manager reported on a number of small grounds
maintenance contract which had been successfully tendered for. These
included a number of Primary Schools, a Secondary School, Parish Council
land and grounds to libraries and youth centres. These had been won with
little promotion and a number had been won as a result of school networks.
Whilst this work had been absorbed within current work programmes, if
members wished the facility to be suitably marketed there would be a need to
review work patterns and resources. The Operations Manager also reported
that the Schools Framework list was to be reviewed in the autumn and should
the Town Council be accepted onto the list, further opportunities may arise.
(i) That the Operations Manager’s Report into Grounds
Maintenance Contracts be noted;
(ii) Those Officers investigate and report back to the Finance &
General Purposes Committee and Personnel Committee on
resources required to market the service more broadly.
13/11 NATIONAL TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN
The Operations Manager reported that the Town Council had worked with the
Tree Officers at Shropshire Council to submit a bid to the Big Tree Plant and
had secured £32,704 over 4 years. Plans were being drawn up with Officers
in the Countryside and Highways Departments to develop a number of
projects over the coming years. It was anticipated that all of the money would
go towards funding trees and not administration. Members were encouraged
to consider any need for treeplanting schemes within their wards.
Members were in receipt of a Policy prepared by Shropshire Council into the
use of A-Boards. It was reported that the Borough Council had a zero
tolerance of A-Boards but over the last two years the use within the town has
escalated and is as a consequence causing traffic flow issues.
Councillor Durnell, in his capacity as a Shropshire Council Lead Member
reported on the problems incurred and detailed how officers over a number of
disciplines were looking to rectify matters.
Members referred to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle. The town
worked well without guidelines and such rules are creating more problems
than the problem they were supposed to address.
RESOLVED: That the Town Council’s concerns about the A-Board
Policy be communicated to Shropshire Council.