A meeting of the Enhancement and Preservation Committee of Eccleshall Parish Council was held on Wednesday February 5th at Eccleshall Community Centre, Shaws Lane, Eccleshall, at 8.10pm, following a meeting of the Planning Committee.

1). Present were:-

Councillor L. Dale (Chair) Councillor E. Amos Councillor R. Langford Councillor P. Mullee
Councillor G. Dale Councillor P. Stenning
Councillor R. Taylor Councillor C. Wilkins

Mrs S.J. Worden (Clerk)


Apologies were received from Cllr. P. Jones

2). Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday December 4th, 2019:-

The minutes, which had previously been noted by the Council were agreed and signed.

3). Matters Arising not covered on the agenda:-

There were no matters arising.

4). Updates on Risk assessments and asset surveys for 2020:-

The Clerk circulated updated copies of the asset survey sheets with the agenda for updating by Councillors. It was noted that the entry for picnic site on the annual checks sheet should be renamed to Elford Heath for clarity.
The Eccleshall sign on the Chester Road approach is partially overgrown with the climbing plant. The Ecclians will be contacted to let them know.

5). Croxton Playing Fields:-

The quote from Mr. Keyzor for the tree works has been accepted and work is expected to be completed prior to the start of the bird nesting season, after the Elford tree works. A date is pending.

6). Update on works at Elford Pool:-

Work on the ditch clearance and car park area has not yet been started due to the wet weather. Mr. Arblaster anticipates the removal of the heras fencing in March. Rob Keyzor is planning to undertake the remaining tree work around the pool prior to the nesting season.
Concerns were raised about the volume of mud within the fenced off area, and it was noted that work will probably be required to level off the area and allow grass to regrow/re-seed as necessary, but it will recover over time.

7). To consider any further works to the Pillar Clock:-

The Clock has been repaired at no additional cost to the quoted investigation works. The clock is expected to require re-painting next year.

8). Update on works to install new seating at Copmere, consideration of additional picnic table and to consider opportunity for voluntary tidying work, and to identify scheme of work in conjunction with volunteers.

The benches have been delivered to Copmere and Mr. Sheard will install them as soon as possible, now the weather has improved. It was noted that the picnic bench also needs replacing. In the first instance the Clerk will contact the Borough Council to ask if they have any redundant picnic tables they could supply free of charge. If there are none available, the committee resolved to recommend purchasing a new table for approval by the Council. The clerk will obtain prices.
The geocache volunteers have advised they would be happy to help to tidy up the area at Copmere, but as it is common land, they would need to do this under the umbrella of the Parish Council, liaising with a councillor contact to determine the scope of the work. The tidying is provisionally planned for May. The committee resolved to recommend this course of action, with Cllr. G. Dale leading the initiative. Other enhancements of the area were discussed, but it was noted that there is legislation governing what can/cannot be done with common land.

9). Update on refurbishing the BT phone boxes at Fair Oak and Croxton:-

The Clerk has been in touch with a blacksmith about the work that needs to be done on the door of the Croxton box. He advised it may be worth looking at it in conjunction with a carpenter to determine whether the hinges need to be completely removed from the casting, or if the door can be re-aligned and the warped wooden batons replaced for it to close. He advised it was not possible to determine a cost ahead of the works as it will depend on how difficult it is to remove the door if required. The Clerk has also spoke with Unicorn Restorations who specialise in refurbishing and selling phone boxes. They do not refurbish other phone boxes but are happy to provide help on what needs to be done to the PC boxes, from photographs. It was resolved to send photos to see if they have any suggestions before commissioning a carpenter/blacksmith for the door works. Unicorn will also provide a quotation for spares required for the boxes.

10). Bishops Court –

to report feedback on tree next to pavement. Mr. Keyzor has spoken with a contact in Highways who have advised there are 4 main options to consider:
• Whether any action is required i.e. surface significantly displaced and footway is well used.
• Whether the footway can be suitably reinstated by chipping off existing material and relaying with perhaps pruning off minor roots to facilitate this
• Whether the tree should be removed.
• Whether if any of the above are not feasible and a more detailed / technical design can be implemented such as a build out.

Highways officers suggested that the Parish Council install a path around the tree on Bishops Court land, and they will maintain their footway and make necessary repairs. The Council would be responsible for the pavement on Bishops Court, and the tree would remain in place. It was resolved for the Clerk obtain quotes for installation of a pavement in order for the Council to consider the feasibility of this course of action once the information is available.

11). Beech Road Play area:-

Stafford Borough Council has acknowledged receipt of the request to acquire Beech Road play area by Community Asset Transfer. The proposal will be considered and the Council has been advised that due to the meeting cycle, the earliest a report will be put to Cabinet is April.

Members discussed the issues raised in a recent Neighbourhood watch meeting about young people on bikes doing wheelies and the lack of suitable provision for them. It was noted that the Parish Council has looked into this in the past and was very supportive, but the issue was in finding suitable land, as areas in the middle of estates would probably not be popular with local residents.
It was commented that the Council should be insistent that any future developments include contributions to these sort of play areas, as well as parking.

The issue of parking and what areas of land that could be used for parking were discussed. It was also suggested that a parking survey should be completed in order to provide data to prove this is an issue. Lack of parking has been referred to in the SBC Local plan issues and options report. It was agreed to refer the survey proposal to the Traffic Management committee for further discussion.

A concern with the Eyeswells footpath was brought to the attention of the committee – that the access points allow for cyclists to use the footpath, which concerned a resident who felt it makes the path dangerous for pedestrians. This was referred to the footpaths committee for consideration.

12). Update on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day celebration plans.

Plans are ongoing for the celebrations and include:
Quiz Night on the evening of Thursday 7th May; Afternoon Tea with a singalong (transport provided) 2.30-4.30pm on Friday 8th May; Wartime show on the evenings of Friday 8th and Saturday 9th May. Any monies raised will be ringfenced towards a project for young people.

13). To consider the replacement of the tree on the Stone Road by the Burgage.

The recent car accident on the Stone Road knocked over one of the Flowering Cherry trees that were planted by the Parish Council some time ago. A 5ft. replacement tree will cost £60, plus a planting kit and installation costs. If the old roots need digging out, this may cost up to an estimated £150. A larger tree will cost more, if we wish to obtain one comparable in size to the other trees. In the first instance it was resolved to recommend the Clerk contact Stafford and Rural Homes to ask if the insurance claim with the driver will cover a replacement tree, and if not, the Council to approve the cost of replacing the tree. Cllr. Dale will look into the cost of a larger tree.

14). Correspondence:-

• Resident question regarding the reseeding of the verge on the Newcastle Road between town and the bus shelter. The area will be reviewed in spring once grass has grown to see if any reseeding is necessary.
• Correspondence regarding cycle trail in Bishops Wood. It has been advised that the land is managed by Forestry England on behalf of their landlord. It was Forestry England who dismantled the track as it was on private land with a lease that restricts public recreation and it was causing concern with regards to conservation of a number of priority species. Concern was also expressed at the creation of deep holes and timber features that would be a hazard to other cyclists that were not proficient off road cyclists. The committee acknowledged the reasons and understood why the trail could not be located in this area. It would be supportive and open to discussions with trail users if they were able to find an alternative location for the trail.

15). Items for next meeting:-

The committee can forward any items for consideration to the Clerk.

16). Date of next meeting:-

May 6th, 2020, Eccleshall Community Centre after the Planning Committee meeting.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 9.20pm.