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Minutes

Meeting of the Parks, Gardens, Allotments and Open Spaces Committee on Monday 24th January 2022 at 7.00PM

 

Those present:   

  • The Estates Officer, Mr Robert Workman
  • The Administration Officer/ Minute Taker, Miss Emilie Perry

In attendance:

Councillors Harris, Hendrie, Holder, Keats- Rohan, Lester, Sinkinson and Whelan

Public attendance: There were 3 members of the public present

The meeting commenced at 7.00PM

488/21.TO ADVISE ATTENDEES OF THE PROTOCOL FOR THE MEETING

Councillor Holder advised attendees of the location of the fire exits should there be an emergency

489/21.APOLOGIES

Apologies to be received:

  • The Town Clerk/RFO
  • The Senior Officer
  • Councillor Kidley

Councillor Holford was not in attendance

490/21.DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

A Councillor with voting rights who has a disclosable pecuniary interest or another interest as set out in our Council’s Standing Orders code of Conduct (Item 13) in a matter being considered at a meeting is subject to statutory limitations or restrictions under code of conduct and his right to participate and vote on the matter (guidelines are available at the meeting and all Councillors have received a copy prior to the meeting):

No interests were declared

491/21.MINUTES

To resolve that the Minutes of the Parks Committee meeting held on the 4th October 2021 as set out on pages 89-96 of the Minute Book are a true record of this meeting and can be signed as such (previously circulated to members)

It was proposed by Councillor Lester, seconded by Councillor Whelan and RESOLVED THAT the Minutes of the Parks Committee meeting held on the 4th October 2021 as set out on pages 89-96 of the Minute Book are a true record of this meeting and can be signed as such

492/21.PUBLIC PARTICIPATION–NOTIFIED AND IMPROMPTU (Total 15 Minutes)

Members of the public who wish to speak at this meeting must email the Senior Officer at senioradmin@wallingfordtowncouncil.gov.uk

There was no public participation

493/21.ALLOTMENTS

The Estates Officer and Councillor Holder to update Members on the Highcroft development and the footpath running adjacent to the allotment site:

The Estates Officer reported that there would be four more raised beds implemented at the allotment site for accessibility for those who need it, and that the footpath plan is satisfactory.

It was proposed by the Mayor, Councillor Harris, seconded by Councillor Sinkinson and RECOMMENDED THAT the allotment agreement is put before Council as it is on the 14th February for approval

494/21.KINECROFT

To discuss charging for the use of the Kinecroft for events

It was proposed by Councillor Lester, seconded by Councillor Keats- Rohan and RECOMMENDED THAT this item be deferred to the Finance and     Properties Committee for discussion before being put before Full Council on the 14th February

495/21.BULL CROFT

(i) The Estates Officer to give an update on the recreation room site and recent meetings with Historic England

The Estates Officer reported that Historic England has approved the importing of soil to the site, and that a skip was arriving the following week        to clear the remaining debris. Mr Workman also reported that the geophysical investigations and grading/ levelling needed to happen on site as       a priority by the end of March in order to use the herris fencing at the Castle Ruins.

Action: The Estates Officer to obtain quotes from landscapers to make good and create a schedule of works for contractors at the Recreation Rooms site

496/21.CASTLE GARDENS

The Estates Officer to update on the following:

(i) Additional Reinstatement Insurance requirement for Castle Gardens, boundary and retaining walls, steps and bridges:

The Estates Officer reported that the structures mentioned above were deemed high-risk by the Council’s current insurer. He clarified that the reinstatement insurance for the steps, bridges and boundary/ retaining walls at the Castle Gardens would only be for reinstatement of those structures; there is currently public liability insurance in place.

Action: the Estates Officer to obtain at least one more quote for reinstatement insurance and to report back to Full Council

(ii) Castle Ruins Project – vegetation removal and safety fencing:

Mr Workman reported that a contractor had been approved to remove the vegetation around the Ruins and was hopeful that works would commence in the following 2-3 weeks.

(iii) Memorial benches, including the request by Lynda Atkins:

The Estates Officer reported that the benches at the top of the ramparts in Castle Gardens were being replaced currently; he reported also that the bench requested by Lynda Atkins in memory of her mother and father could likely not be placed where she had initially requested. Mr Workman informed Members that there was a section of the Castle Gardens that would not require scheduled monument consent to implement the bench and that Ms Atkins was happy for the bench to be placed here instead.

(iv) Music in Castle Gardens:

The Estates Officer reported to Members that having consulted a solicitor, it was found that the freehold of the Castle Gardens was bequeathed to Wallingford Town Council, so the terms of the 1977 lease did not stand- meaning that concerts may continue in the Castle Gardens

497/21.OPEN SPACES

(i) The Estates Officer to update on Market Place Electrics:

The Estates Officer reported on some unsafe electrics in the Market Place; the sockets at the electrical points were not IP rated and had been signed off as ‘satisfactory’ by the Council’s current electrical contractor. Mr Workman reported that as the sockets did not meet regulations, access to the sockets for market traders in particular had been blocked and a new electrical contractor has been appointed to rectify the issues.

(ii) Members to note additional tree works:

  • Removal of tree falling towards Footbridge by Castle Mound
  • Pollarding Sycamore at South End of Kinecroft
  • Pollarding Lime Trees by Council Offices
  • Christmas Tree Removal

Members noted these tree works.

(iii) The Estates Officer to update Members on the bins outside Bean and Brew:

Mr Workman reported that Bean and Brew had acquired a second bin on the rest garden over the COVID pandemic; this bin was to be removed shortly and the remaining bin was to be moved behind the tree, and the bench adjacent to the tree was to be moved into the centre of the garden

(iv) Members to discuss the locations and bulb types for spring flowers to be planted in late 2022 in reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Estates Officer reiterated that the Council would need scheduled monument consent to plant bulbs in the Bull Croft, and that Historic England would require a reasonable archaeological reason to plant them.

It was proposed by Councillor Sinkinson, seconded by Councillor Whelan and RESOLVED THAT Councillor Sinkinson will collaborate with the Parks Foreman and give plans to the Estates Officer and The Wallingford Historical & Archaeological Society for planting bulbs in the Bull Croft Park

Action: Councillor Sinkinson and the Parks Foreman to draw up a plan for bulb planting in the Bull Croft and pass on to the Estates Officer and The Wallingford Historical & Archaeological Society

498/21.CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIONS

(i) Councillor Holder to update Members on low mow areas; Members to discuss potential new low-mow locations:

Here Councillor Sinkinson left the meeting

Councillor Holder reported that the Kinecroft and Bull Croft areas were already established; the Friends of Cholsey and Wallingford Green Spaces and Wallingford Wildlife Group were planning to discuss further potential locations in an upcoming meeting.

The Estates Officer and Parks Foreman suggested wider expanses such as the area between the trees at the south end of the Kinecroft and expressed the importance of keeping them managed and tidy.

The triangle area next to the Earthworks on the Kinecroft was mentioned; it was RECOMMENDED THAT this subject is put before Full Council to approve going after a legal bid to adopt the land

(ii) The Estates Officer to update Members on a composting trial and location: in or near Castle Gardens:

Members considered composting sites in the non-scheduled section of the Castle Gardens, or the grassed area next to Castle Lodge. It was confirmed that there will be budget available for composting in the new financial year.

The Parks Foreman expressed a concern that it may not be the best financial option for the Council; the equipment currently used to cut grass leaves the cuttings behind which means they are not collected and deposited to create a base for composting. He suggested that vegetation that was not appropriately growing at the Kinecroft could be thinned out and composted- he agreed that it was positive step but advised Members that it would need to be a financially viable operation.

(iii) Members to discuss possibility of and potential locations for sowing wildflower seeds:

Councillor Holder reported that this would also be discussed at the meeting with the Friends of Cholsey and Wallingford Green Spaces and Wallingford Wildlife Group.

499/21.MOORINGS

(i) Members to note the moorings riverside work completed by Greenford:

Noted by Members

(ii) Members to discuss matters regarding Winter Moorings:

This item was deferred to the meeting of Finance and Properties on the 31st January 2022

500/21.ESTATES AND PARKS TEAM

(i) Councillor Holder to give an overview of achievements from the Estates Officer and Parks Team:

Members thanked Mr Workman, Mr Gilbey and the Estates/ Parks Team for all of their hard work.

(ii) Councillor Holder to report on the biannual walk-around that has been carried out alongside the Estates Officer and Parks Team:

Councillor Holder reported on the bi-annual walk-around that was carried out the previous week of the Council’s land and open spaces. It was established that St. John’s Green needed to be included, as well as the grassed bank at the end of Castle Street adjacent to the housing estate.

(iii) The Estates Officer to give a tractor service update:

The Estates Officer reported that the tractors were due to be serviced in the ensuing week and that they will have flashing beacons put on them to abide by Health and Safety requirements. He went on to report that the Estates/Parks Team were planning to run down the reserve of red diesel, dispose of the current storage tank and start to run the machinery on white diesel instead.

(iv) Members to discuss the possibility of purchasing an electric utility vehicle to replace one of the tractors, using S106 and grant funding:

Members discussed the suitability of an electric vehicle as opposed to a diesel-fuelled vehicle with regards to manual handling; the Parks Foreman    reported that the SALTEX show takes place in September and vehicles are often discounted for trade there.

It was RECOMMENDED THAT further investigation is done into this item before bringing back to this Committee in April.

501/21.RIVERSIDE WORKING GROUP

Councillor Whelan to give an update:

Councillor Whelan reported on the application being submitted to designate Wallingford Beach as bathing water. She reported that she had been in touch with a Mr Rees from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) in Crowmarsh who has offered water-testing services which UKCEH would provide as a gesture of goodwill. Councillor Whelan reported that an outside tap has been requested on the riverbank side of the Crowmarsh swimming pool, and that she had also been in touch with a Mr Barnes at the Environment Agency regarding moorings and the Thames Path. It was  established that National Trails will repair the Thames Path. Councillor Whelan reported on the ladder and cleats at the moorings; the welder Chris Brown had retired and the local welding shops had not come back to herself or Councillor Cattermole regarding the required works.

Here Councillor Lester wished it minuted that Wallingford Town Council thanks Chris Brown for all of the works he has carried out over the years for the Council, and that the Council sends its well-wishes to him.

Action: the Local Government Officer to make contact with Chris Brown and convey Council’s thanks

502/21.ELECTING NON-COUNCILLOR MEMBERS

Members to approve Councillor Holder inviting two non-Councillors to join the Parks, Gardens, Allotments and Open Spaces Committee

This item will be heard in the confidential session

503/21.JUBILEE PLANS

(i) To receive an update from Councillors Holder and Lester, and the Parks Foreman:

Councillor Lester reported that a picnic was to be held in the Castle Gardens on Sunday 5th June accompanied by live music, and the day may potentially finish with a firework display over the river. She reported that she was in touch with the Museum and the Railway and awaiting a response regarding collaboration for the celebrations, but in the meantime had begun to arrange for a peal of bells to be rung out in celebration of Her Majesty’s Jubilee.

(ii) To agree the location and type of tree to be planted by the Mayor at the end of March:

It was established that the Jubilee tree has its own budget and shall be discussed at item 17.

Councillor Whelan reported that she was currently in touch with the crew who manage HMS Gloriana, suggesting that the craft could potentially head up a flotilla on Wallingford’s stretch of the Thames on the 5th June.

504/21.QUEENS GREEN CANOPY

Councillor Keats- Rohan to give an update:

The Parks Foreman here advised Members that the ideal time to plant trees was autumn/ winter. She went on to report that Oxfordshire’s current     treescape is at 9% tree cover. Councillor Keats- Rohan suggested to Members that Wallingford’s biggest opportunity here may not lie with trees but hedges- especially along the river.

The Estates Officer reminded Members that the Jubilee tree could only be planted in a small section of Castle Gardens without requiring scheduled    monument consent; Members discussed flowering trees and the Parks Foreman recommended a Verdun oak, which is Her Majesty’s favorite tree.   The Estates Officer also suggested a Regal Prince oak which is a hybrid tree and well-adapted to many different environments.

It was RECOMMENDED THAT the Parks Foreman and Estates Officer along with the Queen’s Canopy Group conduct more tree research and come back to Full Council in February with their findings.

Action: The Estates Officer and Parks Foreman to work alongside the Queen’s Canopy Group in researching trees further and bring their findings     back to Full Council on the 14th February

505/21.FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

Members to consider any future agenda items:

  • Market Place use – The Mayor, Councillor Marcus Harris
  • Community Gardens/Low mow – Councillor Holder
  • Queens Green Canopy (rolling item)
  • Gate in Castle Lane
  • Lidl Bench and Notice Board Update – Councillor Lester
  • Allotment updates
  • Update on flooding by the Coach and Horses
  • Climate change update
  • Update on water fountain following 13th July 2020
  • Moorings signs
  • Tree Management Plan and independent tree survey
  • Consider future use of the Rec Rooms site

506/21.EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To resolve that due to the confidential nature of the items about to be transacted, members of the press and public are asked to leave the meeting:

It was proposed by Councillor Lester, seconded by Councillor Holder and RESOLVED THAT due to the confidential nature of the items about to be transacted, members of the press and public are asked to leave the meeting


Here Members of the Public left the meeting


9.25PM: Members took a short break

9.35PM: Members resumed the confidential session


CONFIDENTIAL SESSION CONTINUES ON PAGE 190


9.45PM – the meeting ended