Environmental Management 29th June

MINUTES OF A SITE MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON TUESDAY 29th JUNE 2021

PRESENT: Cllr. Fletcher (in the Chair), Cllrs. Fermor (in part), Kings and Pethurst.

Parish Warden – Ivor Hatcher.

APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Fairweather and Smith.

Cllr. Warne had informed the Clerk she wished to resign from the Committee due to other commitments.

Declaration of Interests, Dispensations and Predetermination:

Members are required to declare any interests, dispensations or predetermination on items on this agenda in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct. Members are reminded that changes to the Register of Interests should be notified to the Clerk.

1/21: Election of Chairman & Vice Chairman:

Cllr. Fairweather had accepted the position of Chairman at the Annual Meeting of the Council, but as his personal circumstances had changed, at the June Full Council, he advised members that he was stepping down. 

Cllr. Fletcher nominated Cllr. Kings to take on the role, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

Cllr. Kings took the Chair and nominated Cllr. Pethurst as Vice Chairman, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

2/21: Allocation of Sites for Responsibility:

Members volunteered to take responsibility for the following sites:

Allotments:                 Cllr. Pethurst

Crane Valley:              Cllr. Fletcher

Jubilee Field:               Cllr. Fermor

Regal Car Park:           Cllr. Kings

Ball Field & Jockey Lane Car Park    Cllr. Pethurst

Cllr. Smith had indicated prior to the meeting that he was happy to continue being responsible for the Tanyard Car Park.

3/21: Issues from Inspection of Grounds:

a) Ball Field – Lockable bollards

The Parish Warden explained that it was becoming increasingly difficult to lift the heavy oak bollards in and out of position to allow vehicular access onto the field. Members agreed that for health and safety reasons, the bollards should be replaced with a slim metal fold down type of lockable bollard. The Parish Warden advised that we also needed some for the Cemetery at Golford to prevent unauthorised vehicles driving over the grassed areas and a multiple purchase would attract some savings. It was agreed to delegate the decision on the design and type of bollard to Cllrs. Kings and Pethurst in conjunction with the Properties and Burial Grounds Committee to allow the purchase for both locations to be made at the same time.

b) Ball Field – Request from KCC for summer event.

A request had been received from KCC on behalf of the Tunbridge Wells Reconnect Summer Holiday Event. They had asked to use the field on 12th August between 11.00am and 3.00pm for a small friendly family event. Cllr. Kings proposed the request be approved subject to confirmation that no entrance fees are charged and the area is cleared of any rubbish created from the event. This was seconded by Cllr. Fermor and agreed.

c) Allotment Tank Repairs:

The Clerk advised that we had received several complaints about the condition of the water tanks. It was suggested that as a minimum, the valves should be replaced and the housing inspected. Cllr. Fermor advised that her husband was an irrigation expert and would be happy to look at the tanks and advise what repairs are necessary.

d) Request to cut back overhanging tree.

A request had been received from the tenant of plot No. 32. An overly large cherry tree is overhanging his plot so a significant amount of light to his allotment, is being lost. It was agreed that as the Tree Warden, Cllr. Fermor would inspect the tree and advise the Chairman as to the best course of action.

e) Allotment Hedge at the rear of 42 Oatfield Drive

We had received an email from the occupant of 42 Oatfield Drive regarding the hedge on the other side of his boundary fence and a self-seeded beech tree that has forced its way through the trellis on his fence. His preference would be for the hedge to be removed however if this is not acceptable then he would like permission to cut back anything overhanging his garden. On inspection, Members felt the hedge should remain and we should continue to maintain our side and the height of the hedge. Permission should be granted for the occupant to dispose of any cuttings that arise from him cutting his side. With regard to the tree branch protruding through the fence the Tree Warden will inspect this, at the same time as the cherry tree on plot 32 and liaise with the property owner as to the most appropriate course of action.

f) Allotment Competition criteria and categories.

The competition judge this year, Guy Pullen, had provided a document detailing the criteria and a guide to the marking process, he intends to use, which is as follows:

  • The quality of the crops, flowers, fruit and vegetables                      out of 100 points
  • The condition of the plot – weeds, pest problems etc                        out of 90 Points
  • The general appearance of the plot                                                     out of 80 Points
  • Encouragement of wildlife                                                                 out of 70 points
  • Composting                                                                                         out of 60 points
  • Ingenuity in overcoming local problems                                            out of 50 points
  • Good use of space                                                                               out of 50 points

It had also been suggested that we introduce a category to differentiate between tenants that have more free time on which to work on their allotment. It was agreed to leave the categories as they are at present.

g) Condition of Allotment Plots:

On inspection several of the plots were identified as needing attention. The Clerk advised one had been reallocated today. She agreed to contact the tenants of the others and discuss the condition of their allotment.

4/21: Play Equipment Review:

The ROSPA report from last year had identified the tower unit on the Ball Field as being close to needing replacement. The Parish Warden monitors the equipment on a weekly basis; however, it is becoming evident that it is no longer economical or feasible to repair. The Clerk advised that we are expecting £15,000 from a S106 contribution and we have £7,250 in earmarked funds. Quotes for three different types of suitably large pieces of equipment had been sought and ranged between £26,500 – £46,600. The quotes included installation and safety surfacing but not removal or disposal of the existing equipment. It was agreed that the Matrix K2 from Wicksteed and the Suspended World Structure from Proludic should be further investigated to see if there was sufficient room available to site the equipment, before a decision is made. The Clerk would contact the providers and request a site visit. As the purchase is above the Committee limit and would involve using cash reserves, the final decision would need to be approved by Full Council.

5/21: Issues from Car Parks:

a) Tanyard Car Park – Kings Head Well:

Cllr. Fletcher had raised concern that the wall around the well was beginning to distort due to self-seeding sycamores. It was agreed that Land Registry enquiries should be sought to establish the ownership of the land on which the trees are growing.

b) Tanyard Car Park – boundary vegetation.

Members agreed that the boundary vegetation had again become out of control and required cutting back to a hedge height of no more than 2m and maintained as such. The Clerk would seek quotes and submit an application to TWBC for permission to undertake the work as the location is within the Conservation Area.

6/21: Any Other Environmental Management Issues:

a) Wilkes Field

Cllr. Fletcher asked the Clerk to ensure the area allocated for the Community Centre is weed killed by the grounds contractors and the hedges cut back to stock when possible, as detailed in their specification.

b) Area behind the public toilets in Crane Lane:

We had been contacted by a couple who had been doing some voluntary work in the garden of the Congregational Church. They had raised concern at overhanging brambles, the rubbish that had accumulated and the unpleasant smell being emitted from the area behind the closed public toilets. The Clerk had attended and discovered that human excrement was the probable cause of the smell.  A quote of £549.20 had been received from a specialist cleaning company. Cllr. Kings proposed the quote be accepted and actioned as soon as possible, on health and safety grounds, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed. It was decided not to cut back the brambles as they act as a natural deterrent to anyone entering the area behind the toilets. Cllr. Kings would also make enquiries with a fencing contractor on a suitable structure to prevent entry from the open end of the passageway.

c) Green Canopy Project – Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Members discussed the national project to plant trees in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It was agreed that a suitable piece of land would need to be found and that an article in the Cake asking residents to identify available land would be a good idea.

 d) Felled willow tree in Crane Valley:

The Parish Warden had raised concern at what should be done with the willow tree that Kent High Weald Project had recently felled in the Crane Valley. The Clerk had spoken to KHWP and established they intend to use some of the tree to build a leaky dam across the stream, towards the end of the summer and the remainder would be left to rot down.

7/21: Items for Information:

No items were raised.

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