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					Witham Town Council
Town Hall,
Newland Street,
Witham,
CM8 2FE.

Tel: 01376 520627
Fax: 01376 501358
Email: townclerk@witham.gov.uk
Web: www.witham.gov.co.uk


                                      MINUTES

Meeting of:     Environment Committee

Date:           Monday, 23rd May 2011

Present:        Councillors:       J.C.       Goodman       (Chairman)
                                   A.S.       Bennett
                                   O.A.       Biyi
                                   C.F        Coughlan
                           Dr      R.L.       Evans
                                   S.J.       Goodfellow
                                   M.C.M.     Lager
                           Mrs     J.M.       Money
                                   W.J.       Rose
                           Mrs     C.         Thompson
                                   R.         Williams

Also in attendance:

                Councillors:       P.         Horner
                           Mrs     P.M.       Lee

        APOLOGIES

3.      MINUTES

                                RESOLVED That the Minutes of the Meetings of the
                                Environment Committee held 14th March and 16th May
                                2011 be confirmed as a true record and signed by the
                                Chairman.

4.      INTERESTS

        Councillor W.J. Rose declared a personal interest in Minutes 11 – River Walk
        Cycleways, 12 - Health Facilities – Maltings Lane, and 15 – Emergency Planning,
        as he is a Member of Braintree District Council.
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.


     Councillor R. Williams declared a personal interest in Minute 13 – Mill Lane, as a
     resident of Guithavon Valley and later in the Meeting at Minute 17 – Witham Area
     Partnership Scheme, he declared a personal interest as his residence abuts
     Guithavon Street.

     Councillor Mrs J.M. Money declared a personal interest in Minutes 11 – River
     Walk Cycleways, 12 - Health Facilities – Maltings Lane, and 15 – Emergency
     Planning, as a Member of Braintree District Council.

     Later in the Meeting at Minute 7 – Witham’s Recycling Centre, Councillor M.C.M.
     Lager declared a personal interest as a Member of Essex County Council and at
     Minute 11 – River Walk Cycleways, he declared a personal interest as a Member of
     Essex County and Braintree District Councils.

     Later in the Meeting at Minute 12 – Health Facilities – Maltings Lane, Councillor
     Mrs P.M. Lee declared a personal interest as she is a resident of that estate.

5.   QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

     The Chairman asked the members of the public present if they wished to comment
     on any item on the Agenda.

     Mr Bob Ward, Maldon Road, Witham, spoke of his concerns that the Civic
     Amenity Site (Recycling Centre) would be closing. He said that rumours had been
     circulating so he had contacted Essex County Council and it had been explained
     that because of increased kerbside recycling the usage of the site was being
     reviewed. Mr Ward explained that closure would result in an increase in fly tipping
     or nuisance bonfires. Witham residents would need to drive either to Braintree or
     Chelmsford to dispose of their waste. Mr Ward said that he had contacted
     Councillors and received total support. He had started a petition with over 350
     signatures so far. He had also contacted the MP and a meeting had been arranged
     with the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Environmental
     Services. He asked for support from the Town Council.


     Councillor Phil Barlow, Braintree District Council, said that he was gratified that a
     response had been received from Essex County Council that a meeting would be
     arranged to discuss Mill Lane but he was unclear whether this meeting would
     include residents. He said that this issue had been raised at the Traffic Management
     Liaison Meeting and he understood that the three groups representing Braintree,
     Halstead and Witham have been abolished. He said that his was a sad loss of local
     voice as there would no longer be any input into highway matters. This, in his
     opinion, was a retrograde step, out of keeping with localism.

     Councillor Barlow supported the objections to the rumoured closure of the Civic
     Amenity Site. He considered that this would be a foolish waste of money.
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.

     Mr Steve Hicks, Malyon Road, Witham, gave his support against any closure of the
     Recycling Centre but suggested that the site had been earmarked for something else.
     He volunteered to be a member of the River Walk and Whetmead Management
     Working Group and to continue with his involvement with the Closed Churchyard.


     The Chairman thanked everyone for their comments and with Members’ approval
     brought forward the item on Witham’s Recycling Centre to Minute 7.

6.   PLANNING APPLICATIONS SUB-COMMITTEE

     The Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Applications Sub-Committee held 14th
     and 29th March; 12th and 26th April; and 3rd and 17th May 2011 were received.

                              RESOLVED That the Minutes be received.

7.   WITHAM’S RECYCLING CENTRE

     Councillor M.C.M. Lager declared a personal interest as a Member of Essex County
     Council.

     A report concerning the future of Witham’s Recycling Centre was received.

     Members were horrified with the suggestion that the Recycling Centre might close
     as it is a well used facility. Braintree District Council is spending £150,000 on the
     Green Heart of Essex Campaign to keep the district clean and tidy and to close this
     facility would jeopardise the work done so far. The suggestion was made that pre-
     emptive action should be taken and that letters should formally be written to Essex
     County Council and Braintree District Council expressing our grave concerns
     regarding closure and that members of the public should be encouraged to sign the
     petition. It was agreed to galvanise public opinion so that the centre remains open.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and

                                     That the Town Council vigorously opposes closure
                                      or curtailed hours at the Recycling Centre
                                     That support be sought from local District and
                                      County Councillors, adjourning parish councils,
                                      Maldon District Council and residents’ associations
                                     That the Town Council supports the petition to
                                      Essex County Council and, if appropriate, a copy be
                                      sent to Braintree District Council.
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.

8.   RIVER WALK AND WHETMEAD MANAGEMENT WORKING GROUP

     (a)       APPOINTMENT

     Nominations were called for Members to serve on the River Walk and Whetmead
     Management Working Group for the Civic Year 2011/12 and to consider co-option
     onto the Working Group.

     Members spoke of the valuable contribution made by Barry Fleet as the Chairman
     of the Working Group and a suggestion was made that both he and Steve Hicks be
     asked to join the group.

                              RESOLVED That the following Members be elected to
                              serve on the River Walk and Whetmead Management
                              Working Group for the ensuing Civic Year –

                              Councillors    A.   Bennett
                                    Dr       R.L. Evans
                                             J.C. Goodman           (ex-officio)
                                             M.C.M.Lager            (ex-officio)
                                     Mrs     P.M. Lee
                                             W.J. Rose              (ex-officio)
                                     Mrs     C.   Thompson

                                     (4 + 3 ex-officio)

                              RESOLVED That Barry Fleet and Steve Hicks be asked
                              to join the River Walk and Whetmead Management
                              Working Group.

     (b)       MINUTES

     (i)    The Minutes of the Meeting of the River Walk and Whetmead
     Management Working Group held 20th April 2011 were received.

                              RESOLVED That the Minutes be received and noted.

     (ii)      A report on the Development of a Management Plan was received.

     Members welcomed the report but were concerned that there would be insufficient
     time to prepare the presentation of the Plan for the next Environment Committee
     Meeting on 4th July 2011. Concern was also expressed about the need to seek
     clarity regarding responsibility of certain areas on the River Walk and to achieve a
     sustainable balance between flora and fauna with leisure/public recreation.

     The Deputy Town Clerk explained that he was working on the report and was
     confident that he could achieve a draft plan in time for the next Meeting. He
     recognised the need to ensure balance between the natural environment and the
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.

      public. He added that this would be a ‘living’ plan that would evolve and he would
      be willing to discuss any concerns that Members have.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and a draft plan
                              be presented at the next Environment Committee Meeting
                              on 4th July 2011.

9.    TREE WARDENS

      A report was received and nominations sought from Members to serve as Tree
      Wardens.

      Members agreed the importance of seeking Tree Wardens and asked that, if terms
      allow, Barry Fleet be asked to continue as the Tree Warden for Chipping Hill and
      Central Ward.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and

                                     Councillor Dr R.L. Evans be nominated as the Tree
                                      Warden for North Ward
                                     Councillor O.A. Biyi be nominated as the Tree
                                      Warden for South Ward
                                     Councillor W.J. Rose be nominated as the Tree
                                      Warden for West Ward
                                     That Barry Fleet be asked if he would wish to
                                      continue as the Tree Warden for Chipping Hill and
                                      Central Ward.

10.   CLOSED CHURCHYARD

      A report was received regarding Members required to take an active interest in the
      Closed Churchyard.

      Members discussed the best solution as to whether to have experienced non-
      Members of the Council being involved or for Members to gain that experience.
      After much discussion it was agreed that in addition to Councillors being involved
      that Steve Hicks should be co-opted too.

                              RESOLVED That Councillors C.F. Coughlan, M.C.M.
                              Lager and R. Williams; and Steve Hicks be actively
                              involved with the Closed Churchyard.

11.   RIVER WALK CYCLEWAYS

      Councillor M.C.M. Lager declared a personal interest as a Member of Essex County
      and Braintree District Councils.

      Councillors Mrs J.M. Money and W.J. Rose had declared personal interests.
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.


      A report was received concerning the maintenance of cycleways on the River Walk.

      Members agreed that this issue needed to be resolved and that Councillor M.C.M.
      Lager is uniquely placed to take this matter forward. Members were concerned that
      in the meantime members of the public could be injured.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and Councillor
                              M.C.M. Lager be asked to take the matter forward.

12.   HEALTH FACILITIES – MALTINGS LANE

      Councillors Mrs J.M. Money and W.J. Rose had declared personal interests.

      Councillor Mrs P.M. Lee declared a personal interest as she is a resident of the
      Maltings Lane estate.

      A report was received regarding the health facilities on the Maltings Lane estate.

      Members discussed the transfer of the land in relation to the Section 106 Agreement
      and provision of a health care facility. Members considered the situation to be
      unacceptable and that investigations should be undertaken to ascertain what action
      could be taken to fulfil the agreement.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and
                                 That the Section 106 Agreement be studied to
                                  ascertain exactly what is required of the District
                                  Council and developers
                                 That the matter be taken up with Braintree District
                                  Council using the auspices of District Council
                                  Members on the Town Council
                                 That the Primary Care Trust be approached
                                  regarding provision of health care facilities on the
                                  Maltings Lane estate
                                 That the issue be raised at the next Maltings Lane
                                  Forum.

13.   MILL LANE

      Councillor R. Williams had declared a personal interest.

      Councillor M.C.M. Lager declared a personal interest as a Member of Essex County
      Council.

      A report was received concerning the meeting with residents and officers from
      Essex County Council to discuss traffic issues in Mill Lane.
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.

      Members agreed that it would be appropriate for two Ward Members to attend the
      Meeting and that Guithavon Valley should be included in the discussions. Concern
      was expressed regarding the length of time it had taken to move this issue forward.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and that once the
                              date of the meeting is known, Ward Members and residents
                              affected by the traffic issues be contacted.


      Whilst the above item was being discussed Councillor Mrs P.M. Lee left the
      Meeting.


14.   TREE PLANTING

      A report was received concerning the town wide Tree Planting Scheme.

      The Town Clerk reported that he had recently inspected the open spaces with Colin
      Frost and that whilst the Town Council was rightly committed to the tree planting
      project it was necessary to be selective in where trees are planted.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and noted.

15.   EMERGENCY PLANNING

      Councillors Mrs J.M. Money and W.J. Rose had declared personal interests.

      A report was received regarding Emergency Planning.

      Members agreed that the Town Hall Office should deal with such matters.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and the Town
                              Hall Office undertake the review.

16.   FUTURE PROGRAMME

      Members discussed the future programme for the Environment Committee. It was
      suggested that the Town Council should be proactive and drive matters forward.

      The following matters were identified –

            Continuing improvements to the River Walk, Whetmead, James Cooke
             Wood and Closed Churchyard
            Opportunity to link in with the Green Heart of Essex
            Litter bins
            Tree Planting
            Environmental Improvements on estates and by Spa Road shops
            Opportunity to seek CHIP funding and grants through Jubilee Millions
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held 23rd May 2011. Continued.

            Transfer of open spaces from Braintree District Council, including the War
             Memorial Gardens

                              RESOLVED That the items identified be put into the
                              future programme of work for the Environment Committee.

      EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

                              RESOLVED That under the Public Bodies (Admissions to
                              Meeting) Act 1960, the public and press be excluded from
                              the Meeting for the following items of Business on the
                              grounds that publicity would be prejudicial to the public
                              interest.

17.   WITHAM AREA PARTNERSHIP SCHEME

      Councillor R. Williams declared a personal interest as his house abuts Guithavon
      Street.

      A report and quotation were received.

                              RESOLVED That the report be received and noted.

18.   PUBLIC DOMAIN

      It was agreed that the item discussed in Private Session should not be moved into
      the Public Domain.

                              RESOLVED That Minute 17 – Witham Area partnership
                              should remain in Private Session.


      There being no further business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 9.45 p.m.




      Councillor J.C. Goodman
      Chairman

      MS/GK/1.6.2011

				
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