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Minutes of Meeting February 2022


Minutes of a meeting 23rd February 2022  7.30p.m. at Royal British Legion Club

 Chairman, welcomed all present and accepted apologies from those who could not attend.   Meeting followed AGM 2021.

Minutes of meeting of 23rd January 2022 had been circulated and were adopted.

UPDATES.  *David has booked the Con Club for Friday 14th October as agreed.  Annie and Mike will assist with entrance and raffle.  *Van has been booked at just insurance and diesel costs from EA Van Hire, Weavers’ Court.  *Footpath from Kings Road to Doctors’ Surgery – this footpath was put in by developer who has now no interest.  BDC say that they can’t manage it; HTC is exploring possibilities but no agreement so far. Post meeting note:  Billy offered to cut back the brambles to make the footpath safe.  Work to be done on Sunday 27/2.  *Holy Trinity School Gardening Club- Chris says that this will be up and running very shortly and has asked if HiB could purchase a polytunnel for their use.  Officers have agreed to this spend and all agreed that this would be good use of funds. *Total for calendar sales 2022 now stands at £453.00 profit – not sure if there is any more to come in from Phil the Egg Man and there will be further cash from Thelma.

NEWS:  *We are due to receive the first part of the Community Grant from Colchester Road Co-op in April having been accepted for funding from 2022.  A team member has donated £270 to HiB as she is in awe of the work done by volunteers.  * We were asked to support the Halstead Horticultural Society by sponsoring their schedules again this year, this has been agreed.  *We have booked in for a free event to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee on Saturday 4th June.  This will be similar to the Christmas Fayre and we will be selling plants as well as some hand-made items. It was suggested that we might sell some table decorations made under Joan’s guidance.  Possibility to be explored.  We will be based opposite Costa as usual.

ANGLIA  IN  BLOOM Campaign 2022. 4 places have been booked and paid for to attend the Spring Launch of Anglia in Bloom on 24th March at Hyde Hall.  Jenny Brimley has asked for one place, and Annie has said she would like to attend.  Margaret E and Margaret T also asked for places.  At present there are just 4 places available – team will be told if more places can be booked. * BDC has asked if we will enter the Public Gardens, the Cemetery, Mill Chase and possibly the River Walk.  HTC will be asked if they would like the St. Andrew’s churchyard to be entered. (These ‘additional categories’ will all be judged virtually we understand and there will be a cost of £20 per entry).

EVENTS.  *Community Litter Pick – Sunday 27th February. Meet 10.30 at Sainsbury’s Car Park.  *Jubilee Events:  As well as the Fayre on Saturday there may be other events taking place.  To be advised.

*Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean Event will take place this year from 25th March to 10th April.  There will be our usual Community Litter Pick on 27th March and the working party on 5th April will also be a litter pick event.  Chris is to send note to local paper and post on Facebook.  *We have agreed to take part in the Flower Festival to be held at St. Andrew’s Church on 8th/9th/10th July.  The theme is ‘Songs of Praise’ so I’m sure that Joan has thinking cap on!  She will appreciate ideas on this theme. *Margaret T has been told that there will be a Fete in Halstead Public Gardens on 25th June to celebrate the Royal British Legion. 
WORKING  PARTIES Joan  gave a resume of the planting for summer 2022 with some themed areas for the Jubilee celebrations namely the ‘badge bed’ in Halstead Public Gardens and the Loom garden.  Joan asked team to collect small white bottle tops and milk bottle tops for the Badge Bed.  The colours in Town Centre and other areas will be red/gold/cream – regal colours.  Working Parties for the next month will be: 1st March (St. David’s Day and Pancake Tuesday!) Halstead Public Gardens and Bluebridge.  Tuesday 8th March Public Gardens and Bluebridge.  15th March Deadheading.  22nd March Clearing the River Bank near to Peter Robertson’s  29th March River Bank again 5th April Litter Picking for the Great British Spring Clean.  Margaret E also noted that some work will be required in car park near to Thelma as a tree has come down. 

HIB GOING FORWARD  Joan and Julia attended the Town Council meeting on 14th February where a report was before Council to give HiB money to purchase in sub-contractors for necessary work.  Julia spoke during Public Question Time and said that money was not what was required from Council but support will be necessary if Halstead in Bloom is to continue with entry to prestigious In Bloom campaigns.  There was a proposal to re-write the Partnership Agreements and a meeting has been called for further discussion on this matter on 3rd March.

ANY  OTHER  BUSINESS.    Colin said that he has been told informally that the Local Garden Competition 2022 will not be judged by independent judges as has been the case in previous years.  Margaret, Helen, Billy and Karyn explained that they had one meeting so far and thought it would be better – as there were only 6 entries in 2021 – to try and have a more relaxed and information competition with less rigid criteria.  This would be tried for one year and if the idea didn’t work then something else would be tried for the future.  Karyn said the team were trying to encourage everyone of all ages to take part and brighten the environment.  Colin was assured that the competition would be judged fairly but Colin was not happy that it would not be independently judged.  The Local Garden Competition team will meet again before next HiB meeting and the L.G.C. team will give further information then.  Annie noted that the area in front of the former Premaberg building has been cleaned and tidied with paving slabs put back in better positions.  Fiona noted that most of the litter bins that are hung on lampposts do not have lids so that in windy conditions the contents tend to blow away and cause litter.  Fiona asked if this could be addressed clarification will be sought.  Fiona also noted that many street signs are in a dirty and unkempt state.  (This is ECC Highways responsibility).Linda asked where matters of Highway/Pavement defects can be reported and was told that there are reporting facilities on the Essex County Council web site, or ring Halstead Town Council and they will report.  Linda also spoke about the seats that HiB installed at the rear of the Hospital and said they were well used and still looked clean and tidy.  Cigarette bins are being fully used.   Jean asked if the Local Garden Competition this year will include allotments and was told that it will. Margaret T noted that there is part of an inspection box from the electricity sub-station near to the Town Bridge lying over the railings.  Will be reported.  It was asked if any decisions had been made about Halstead Hospital’s future and it was said that meetings had taken place but no decisions had been made.  Clinics and outpatients departments at the front of the building will remain but the wards at the rear may be sold if they cannot be re-used.  Ian asked if there was any news on the proposed Town Centre Revamp but as yet no further meetings had taken place.  Julia explained that the bench that HiB removed from Kings Road/Parsonage St. and repaired and refurbished was offered to HTC to replace the broken bench in St. Andrew’s Churchyard.  It had somehow been put forward as a ‘Jubilee Bench’ and there had been some resistance from public and Councillors for this.  HTC may have another use for the bench to replace another broken bench outside Queen’s Hall.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 8.45 p.m.

Next team meeting on Thursday 31st March 2022. 6.00p.m. at Royal British Legion Club, The Causeway.  

All further meetings will be on last Thursday of the month at RBL Club starting at 6pm unless otherwise notified.

 Contacts:  Margaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443;  Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail; Joan Gibson, plants and working parties. 01787 473070     

 Facebook: halsteadinbloom.   

Instagram @halsteadinbloom
Join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road)   and note HiB as your preferred charity


There is a Community Litter Pick planned for the last Sunday in each month. Meet at Sainsbury’s Car Park (Chapel Street) at 10.30am. We have some litter sticks and High Viz Vests but please bring your own gloves and wear suitable clothing.

Newsletter.30th December 2020

Good day to you,  the end of another month and of course coming to the end of the year.  I’ve heard it said that 2020 was ‘a year like no other’ but I feel that’s lazy talk; surely each year is unique?  As we look back to this time last year would we have believed some of the events we have experienced in 2020?  New words like lockdown, furlough, social distancing, etc. have enriched our vocabulary and new ways of communicating have come to the fore.  There have been some dark times, but some brighter moments too; and we are still here to tell the tale!

I must pass on seasons’ greetings to all from David Tarbun; he continued with his plan not to send Christmas cards and to give the money saved to charity, but he does want to wish all a happy and healthy new year.  The wishes are reciprocated, David thank you for all your support.

Our December Community Litter Pick, scheduled for 27/12, couldn’t be held for obvious reasons although some of the team did go out for daily exercise, litter sticks and bags to hand.  It is hoped that the January event – booked for Sunday 31st January – will go ahead; meet at 10.30 in Sainsbury’s car park.  If Tier 4 rules are still in place then please don’t come to meet but if you are able then there will be litter to collect I’m sure!  Your daily exercise on your own or in ‘bubble’ groups (another of ‘those’ words!) will be great and pick your own spot to clear.
The Keep Britain Tidy Group is soon to launch their appeal to help turn the tide on the plastic pollution that’s choking our planet.  The appeal can be heard on BBC Radio 4 on January 3rd – look for the Charity Appeal on Radio 4 website or published programme details.

Another charity appeal is Freemarket Radicals looking to promote new cultural and heritage activities to support Halstead’s economy.  They say that markets and fairs used to bring people to local areas and visitors would then spend money in local shops and hospitality venues and they want to explore the possibilities of bringing this back.  The project is supported by the National Lottery Emerging Futures Fund and feedback from residents is requested to gauge what can be done, and what is required/needed.  There is information at and a survey form at

You will have seen in the local press that there is a move by Braintree DC with Halstead TC to make some improvements in our High Street.  It is reported that lighting will be improved and street furniture renewed.  HiB will be asking if any new plant containers can be of the water retaining type to help with maintenance.  The containers favoured by HiB are made from recycled plastic and have been found to be robust and long lasting.  It will be great if any new benches can be replaced with those made of recycled materials, we will put forward our suggestions to the consulting team if requested.

Halstead TC has made progress with the Riverside footbridge but work has been hampered by a lack of building materials and latterly by the high water levels.  Hopefully matters will be resolved and the Bridge can be opened soon to enable good trade for local businesses when the current restrictions (another of those phrases!!) are lifted.

On the subject of the river: with the recent heavy rains it has been reassuring to see that the flood defence at Box Mill worked and kept Halstead from disastrous floods.  The high water level and current restrictions has meant that not much can be done by volunteers to keep the channel clean, but it is obvious that there will be some debris to clear when waters subside.  Environment Agency made it known that some money has been set aside for planting on the stretch of river between Town Bridge and The Mill in the Spring and discussions are taking place between the Halstead River Improvement Group (HRIG) Environment Agency, Essex Wildlife Trust and HiB as to what might be suitable.  It is hoped that some grants may be available to carry out further sympathetic tree trimming work while maintaining shade for aquatic life – of the horse chestnut trees alongside Weavers’ Court in particular – and any ideas you may have on how to ‘disguise’ the sewer pipe would be welcomed.  Planting to soften the hard concrete/metal banks would be desirable, all plants used will be native to the area to help with conservation and give habitats for wildlife.   Further information on plans for the above will be posted on HRIG Facebook page.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is promoting a scheme ‘Roots of Remembrance’ urging us to plant a tree in memory of those lost to the current pandemic.  Free trees are available from the Woodland Trust – applications must be made by 5th January – and the RHS ask that they are mentioned in any application so that a map of remembrance trees can be made and published.  Details can be seen on the RHS website –
As I said last month there will be no Britain in Bloom campaign this year, but the RHS will be launching a campaign with applications invited from the regional In Bloom teams (Anglia in Bloom in our case) for five entries from each region.  There will be no physical judging; it will be on photos, text, video, etc. and in specific areas.  The scheme is called Community Champions and I think that details are still yet to be refined.  We don’t know, as yet, if Halstead will be put forward by Anglia in Bloom and we don’t know full details of the campaign – watch this space!

Anglia in Bloom hasn’t yet declared any parameters for the 2021 campaign, but I guess that there won’t be any physical judging – or at best there will only be limited contact by judges.  This will mean that there will be another ‘virtual campaign’ but I don’t have any details at the moment.  If you have any suggestions I can put forward, please do let me know.

It is very difficult at the moment to make any plans – personal or for the HiB group – but I can say that the summer bedding plants have been ordered, and it looks now as if there will be no trade barriers to us receiving them.  I think there may be some more paperwork to contend with and we will assist in any way that we can with this.  We hope to collect the plants from growers at the end of May ready for planting on 30th/ 31st May and onwards. 
You may have noticed that one of the troughs on Town Bridge is missing at the moment – last weekend someone obviously decided that it would look better in the river.  Fortunately it fell on the only piece of riverbank still visible above the water and it has been rescued and will be replaced as soon as the brackets have been straightened out and repaired.  The plants, too, were rescued and are a bit bruised but seem to be recovering; they will be replanted.

We do still have a few calendars 2021 for sale at £4 each.  They comprise 13 months so are relevant until 2022!  We also still have about 20 face shields in stock.  If you require any of these items please speak to one of the team or use the contacts below.

I think that’s all the news for now.  The HiB trustees wish you a happy, peaceful and above all a healthy New Year.    The team and HALSTEAD will be Blooming in 2021!!

Please, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments don’t hesitate to contact us – details below.          
All the best, stay safe and keep well.alsteaH Hal

 Halstead River

Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070. Trustee Annie Rees.  Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email

Facebook: Halsteadinbloom.  Instagram: HalsteadinBloom


Halstead  in   Bloom


Entries are now invited in the categories listed below.

Competition is open to all residents of Halstead


A £30.00 first prize and a second prize of £20.00 will be awarded in each category, certificates will also be given to each entrant.

Closing date for entry is Friday 12th July 2019 Judging will take place 20th or 21st July.

□  Front Garden
□ Back Garden

□ Patio/Container Garden

□ New/Makeover Garden

□ Allotment

□ Kitchen Garden
□ Young Person’s Garden (Under 15)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Entries are also invited for the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood category.

No prizes in this category;   certificates will be awarded by the RHS

Complete contact details overleaf and post to :  Secretary, Halstead in Bloom,

Old Woodyard, Southey Green, Sible Hedingham, CO9 3RN


The winter plants have been removed – look out for the summer plants that are coming soon!

Four fantastic Young Bloomers came out on HiB’s monthly Litter Pick on Sunday.

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