HALSTEAD IN BLOOM
               Minutes of a meeting 28th September 2023 at 6.00p.m. at Royal British Legion Club
Chairman welcomed all present and accepted apologies from those who could not attend.

Minutes of the meeting of 31st August 2023 had been circulated and were adopted.
UPDATES:  *Garden at Hospital. It is understood that a meeting has taken place and that another is scheduled for Monday 2nd October.  HiB has asked to be kept informed.  *Environment  Agency. At last meeting it was said that the email to our MP in response to comments from HIB would be read.  The full transcript can be passed on if required, but basically ‘E.A. is saying that the river is now in its natural state and that wildlife is thriving.  E.A. is denying all responsibility for the banks of the river, riparian owners are responsible for keeping watercourse channels and banks clear of rubbish and debris and E.A. does not own any land in the vicinity of Town Centre.  It is said that inspections will be made looking for blockages and that if there is a threat of flooding action will be taken.  It was pointed out that some advice has been given to the Halstead River Action Group regarding vegetation management and that if desired this can be continued.’  The riparian owners of the river banks/watercourse channels in the Causeway area are the owner of the Mill and ECC Highways – there are other owners along the river in the Halstead region.  It was asked the ECC Highways be contacted regarding the banks adjoining The Causeway.  EA should be advised that there are dead reeds blocking part of the river downstream from Parsonage St. Bridge and there are two fallen trees across the river upstream of the Chapel Street Bridge, will be reported. *Town Centre Regeneration. HiB has been told that contractors have been engaged and decisions have been made about planned works.  Outside W.H.Smith the tree will be retained with the paving and cobbled area having some remedial works. The existing seats are to be refurbished and it was planned that the existing planters would be refurbished.  HiB has pointed out that these planters are rusted through and has offered to purchase new, water retaining, planters – this has been accepted.  HiB has also offered to purchase a new bench that will be placed outside Age Concern Shop.  It is understood that railings in the Town Centre are to be repainted, that there is to be a new wayfinder monolith somewhere near the existing bus stop and that planters in the forecourt of the former Post Office will be replaced.  At Market Hill the existing benches will be refurbished and HiB has offered to purchase a new, large planter to replace the two existing, rusting one that are there at present.  It is understood that some bicycle racks will be placed in Chapel St. Car Park.  Various lamp columns will receive attention.  It is not known when these works will take place.*Con Club Quiz. Halstead Con Club held a quiz on 8th September.  HiB entered a team and they did really well, coming third over all!  Proceeds of the Quiz – £648 – were donated to HIB.  Letter of thanks was written.  *Sudbury Road.  Vegetation on the footpath from Churchill Avenue up and trees/bushes hanging over the pavement from Churchill Avenue down to Fenn Road were reported at last meeting and it was hoped these defects could be reported online.  However, this proved impossible.  Sec contacted our local Essex County Councillor and he has reported these defects which are now being investigated.  *Seats in Halstead Public Gardens. HiB has been assured that materials are in hand to refurbish the seats and that suitable weather conditions are now awaited.  *Trinity Court Troughs have now been emptied and Eastlight Homes has been told that HiB can no longer plant and maintain them.  *HALSTEAD bed, Colchester Road.  It was decided that to plant this bed would be counterproductive as it will be too difficult to maintain.  It was decided to put stones on the letter and suggested that perhaps school children might like to paint stones that can be placed here.  Plants that Grow has offered to purchase stones – sample of a painted stone was shown.  Holy Trinity School is keen to take part – post meeting note: Richard de Clare School will also like to help.  *Surgery vegetation. Has not yet been trimmed.  Margaret C noted that the willow tree on the corner of the plot is now overhanging the pavement causing people having to walk into the road – or get wet!  Will be reported. 
ANGLIA IN BLOOM 2023:  Certificate has been received for SILVER  GILT award for virtually judged St. Andrew’s Churchyard.  Judges comments were read and these can be discussed with judges at the Autumn Seminar that will take place on 26th October at the Guild Hall, Bury St. Edmunds.  Cost will be £20pp and there will be a picnic box lunch. Numbers must be advised by 14th October.
PLANT  STALL will be on 7th October, outside Solar as usual.  It was decided that we will have calendars for sale on that day also.  We could do with one more seller from 10-11 and another from 12-1 if anyone can assist, please.  Donations of plants can be brought to the stall from 8.45 onwards.
QUIZ Will take place on 27th October at Queens Hall.  Posters advertising the event will be produced.  Cost will be £5 pp with maximum 6 people per team.  It is hoped that we can get publicity for the event, Annie will be the contact for the Quiz.
EVENTS: *Next community litter pick is planned for 29th October.  *Next River Clean event will take place on 1st October. *McMillan Coffee mornings – There will be a coffee morning at Richard Edwards LLP, Rosemary Lane, on Friday 29th September from 9am and there will also be a coffee morning at Courtauld Sports Ground on Saturday 30th September.  Donations of cakes, etc. will be gratefully received and if you can attend that will be a help to those seeking to support people living with cancer.  *Halstead Christmas Fayre will be 25th November from 10am to 4pm.  *Halstead Torchlight Procession 2023 will be 6th December. Volunteers to shake collection buckets will be required.  *Perrywoods Garden Centres is to offer a loyalty card entitled Blooms.
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CALENDAR 2024:  We will be selling now each Saturday, and from 27th October each Friday and Saturday from now until Christmas.  If you haven’t yet registered as a seller please let me know!  We are OK for 30th September and for 14th   and 21st October but have vacancies on Friday 27th October from 10am onwards NO STALL ON 28TH AS THIS IS PLANT SORTING. There are various vacancies from Friday 3rd November onwards.  Any help will be appreciated!
WORKING  PARTIES:
 For Tuesday 3rd October Please meet at St. Andrew’s Churchyard, bring secateurs, forks etc. or if preferred there is weeding to do at Weaver’s Court.  On Thursday 5th it will be time to start removing the summer bedding and getting ready for winter planting.  We will, as usual, be giving away summer bedding for free.  For other working parties Joan will message on WhatsApp. On Saturday 28th October please meet at Halstead Auto Electrical, Parsonage St., for sorting of plants (not so many in winter!!), all plants will be collected from Greenstead Green.  Sunday 29th will be planting – those setting out from 9am at Town Bridge, planting will be from 10.30am onwards.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
   *Margaret E noted that there are trees overhanging the pavement in Parsonage Street up near to the three large tubs.  It’s thought that this is from school premises and will be reported.  Margaret also noted that in Butler Road some vegetation has been cut back but the cuttings have not been taken away.  Will be reported.  *Carol noted that the shrub beds at entrance to Churchill Avenue are in a very poor condition and need  attention.  These are BDC responsibility, will be reported.  Carol also asked if she can remove plants  from Sudbury Road entry bed and trim the box hedging.  It was agreed that this can now be done. * Helen asked if meeting times could now revert to starting at 7pm.  It was agreed that a poll be taken to see if this was universally desirable (it has been ascertained that RBL Club can accommodate this revised time).  Please let us know your thoughts.  *Debra noted that there is now a new dog bin in the Box Mill area and thanked BDC for this , Debra also noted the Braintree workers were litter picking recently – thank you again!!  *Wendy said that she would prefer the existing 6pm start for meetings, particularly as we are now entering winter.  *Jean said ‘vegetation’!!! She feels that now some overgrowth is getting out of hand citing the Courtaulds Close exit as now being a health and safety hazard when exiting the Close onto Parsonage Street.  This has been reported to Eastlight Homes but will be reported again.  Jean also noted overhanging trees/bushes near to the bus stop in Colchester Road opposite the Co-op shop.  It isn’t known from where these overhanging branches originated but will be reported. *Margaret C said she has recently seen a young lad litter picking and when she spoke to him he said that ‘he just enjoys the work’.  Margaret felt that he should have a high-viz vest and be thanked for his work.  *Annie reported that The Original Factory Shop is keen to sponsor the large tub outside their premises – will start from 1st June ’24.  *Margaret E noted that we have recently lost David Tarbun who has been a loyal and hard working supporter of HiB for many years.  It has been the suggestion of Mike that the proceeds of our forthcoming quiz night be given to a charity in David’s name.  It was universally agreed that Mike’s suggestion is an excellent idea and we will ascertain where the money should go. *Mike noted that there is a broken bracket on a trough on railings outside Sainsbury’s .  This will be inspected and a new bracket made or old one repaired (it is expected they will have to be removed if railings are to be painted?) *Ian asked if a letter of thanks could be sent to Greene King for their displays outside The Bull, Halstead.  Winter planting is now in place.  Will be done.*Joan asked if Billy would be able to cut the grass at Weavers’ Court again to allow for access to the troughs along Solar Wall and baskets on the Fence.  Joan said that there had been many positive comments about planting in this area so felt that we should continue to plant here.  Joan asked for help to decorate Christmas Trees in Holy Trinity Church for the day of the Christmas Fayre.  Joan commented about the planting around the WWII memorial in Halstead Public Gardens and felt that the addition of some poppies might help the area – it was explained that this is BDC land and we can’t do anything without their permission.  It was agreed that forces personnel names can be put around the memorial and the WWI memorial at appropriate time (28th October to 11th November).  Joan asked for more Plant Stall posters, will be supplied!.

Margaret E said that apparently one person purchasing a ’24 calendar had commented on the ‘hole’ for hanging and said it wasn’t sufficient.  Margaret recommended that if any such comment be made in future some hold reinforcing stickers be proposed.

Carol had brought some leaflets advertising the new season of Empire Theatre productions (they will be available on stalls.

*eThere being no other business meeting closed at  7.15  pm.

Next meeting is Thursday 26th October 2023   6pm at Royal British Legion Club.
All welcome. 
Contacts:  Margaret Eskins, Chairman: 01787  269443; Joan Gibson, plants/working parties: 01787 473070.  Julia Smith, Secretary 07762587141 email;: jaygrey@btinernet.com
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