Chairman, welcomed all present and accepted apologies from several  who could not attend including Ian who is in hospital mending a broken hip and Alan who is unwell.  We wish them both a speedy recovery.

MINUTES of 30th November ’17 had been circulated and were adopted
NEWS:  *New containers for 2018. Have arrived!  4 large planters have been placed at the Hospital, two of them purchased by Rotary in memory of Lionel Francis.  All have been filled with compost and the sponsored areas planted.  All have sponsor signs attached.  There will be a ‘grand opening’ of the Rotary containers, date to be advised.  4 barrel planters have been delivered to Priory Hall, bought by their Landscaping Club, plus 4 bags of compost as a good will gesture. One more large planter will be placed outside the former HSBC building, now a Financial Advisor’s Office.  4 half barrel planters have been bought for outside the Library, two troughs have been received, one for Monklands Court and the other for Ronald Road and two ‘anging baskets will be placed at Hyacinth Tea Shops ready for summer planting.

*River Colne. Letter has been received from MP saying he is on the case.  A phone call from Environment Agency emphasised that they review the situation on a weekly basis and that the riparian owners are responsible for the river bed adjacent to their properties.  E.A. said they are still talking to the Mill Owner to try to find a way forward.  It was reported that an otter has been seen near to Town Bridge during the recent wet weather with river levels higher than usual.  *Torchlight Procession 2017. A letter was received thanking HiB for collecting for Mayor’s Fund at the procession and announcing that a total of £1007.38 had been raised for T.A.P.S.  *Calendar Update. It was reported that about 150 or so calendars 2018 remain unsold.  Discussion took place about the way forward with these Halstead Calendars and it was said that many would be disappointed if they are not produced.  Price for a smaller print run and from a different supplier will be sought before decisions are made.  Possible sponsorship for the calendars was discussed. *Greenstead Green/Gosfield. HiB has spoken with both villages recently and Greenstead Green has already started to put out some floral decorations.  Gosfield are keen to get started and have an enthusiastic team.  HiB will be speaking to Earls Colne, Black Notley and possibly Tiptree in the near future to encourage In Bloom participation.

EVENTS:   *Next RiverCare event  will be 4th February  Meet at 10am at Sainsbury’s Car Park. *The great British Spring Clean will be held on 2nd-4th March 2018 – HiB’s name has been registered already.

*Armed Forces Day/celebration of 100yrs end of WW1.  Royal British Legion Halstead Branch and Club intend to hold a ‘gala weekend’ with Empire Theatre showing a suitable film on Friday evening 29th June, an event in Halstead Public Gardens with stalls and arena shows from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday 30th and a dedication service for the new memorial bed in Halstead Public Gardens on Sunday 1st July with a Church Service to follow.  Anyone interested in having a stall or able to offer memorabilia or put on an arena event should contact the British Legion on with the title AFD 2018. *HiB AGM 2017.  As a registered charity HiB is obliged to have an AGM to present accounts and elect officers for the forthcoming year.  Date for the AGM was fixed for 23rd March if this is agreeable with the Halstead United Reformed Church.  It was agreed that Jim Davis from Halstead History Society be asked if he could speak.  *Halstead History Museum will be open to the public from Sunday 4th February at 1.30pm to 6pm and thereafter on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.  Museum is now located at Queen’s Hall and has new exhibits to show.  *Rivercare Annual Conference is planned for 21st April at Milton Park, Cambridge.  Sec. to lodge HiB interest.  *Flower Festival 2018.  Friends of St. Andrew’s Church, Halstead are planning to hold a Flower Festival following on from the successful Christmas Tree event in December 2017.  The Festival is planned for mid-July and flower arrangers and flower arrangements are sought from local individuals, clubs and businesses.  To register an interest speak to Roger Smith, David Hume or Tricia McNeeney ( – with the subject Flower Festival) as soon as possible.

ANGLIA  IN  BLOOM’18.  *Spring Launch is booked for 9th March 2018 at Scotsdales Nurseries near to Cambridge.  Please let Sec know by SUNDAY 18TH  FEBRUARY if you wish to attend – cost is £20 per person and we can work out transport nearer the time.  *AiB Entry 2018.  It was unanimously decided that Halstead will enter the Campaign 2018.  Entry form to be lodged with Anglia in Bloom Chair of Judges in the near future (cost £100).*Jobs to be done winter/spring: 1) Muck Spreader, Colchester Road.  Needs a good clean (there is a small bag of ‘soil’ beside the wheel that needs investigation!  2) Planters near to W.H.Smith need to be sanded down and re-painted.  3)  Loom needs repair 4) Bluebridge cart needs to be painted 5) Bench at Churchill Avenue has slats missing and needs cleaning/painting.  6) Some Street furniture is in need of refurbishment.  7) Trough at Dale Hire needs replacing (possibly use the one at present at Ronald Road)  8) a sponsor sign has been pulled off at Town Bridge.  Margaret T to investigate.

*Route for 2018.  Much discussion took place about the proposed route.  The ‘special entries’ were discussed (these are some of the elements that judges will expect to see, although they will also need to be shown community working, art in the landscape, involvement of young people, etc. etc.) and the list is attached.  These are not set in stone, but are a working brief and can be changed if thought not to be suitable or if a better candidate is put forward.   PLEASE can you put your thinking caps on and work out a route to include these.  We have just 2½ hours to get round, including all the stops to speak to people (most important!) and the travelling between places.  We need to avoid ‘grot spots’ or places that can’t be tidied up before judging (i.e. private areas) and we need to get the route in place as soon as possible so that any remedial work can be identified and done in good time – especially weed killing, cutting back before foliage grows up, etc. etc.  We need to think of a meeting point so that judges can be given a drink, comfort break and a short presentation before setting off on the tour and also need to think of where we can end the tour and have a reception for the judges before they leave us.  Email your ideas to me and I will collate and email out before the next meeting so that we can plan our route surveys to take to Councils, Greenfields, etc.

WORKING  PARTIESFor all working parties meet at 2p.m. on Town Bridge unless advised otherwise:  30th Jan.  Halstead Public Gardens, clearing and tidying.  6th February. Litter Pick.  13th February possible some work on River Walk, Parsonage St.  Following weeks to be decided.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS:  Dates for selling events 2018: Cake Stall. 31st March.  Plant Stall. 26th May.  Plant sorting/summer planting. 2nd/3rd June.

*Margaret E. 1) asked about the web site which is not functioning at present.  Shane Exley has been contacted and said that he needs to do some work.  He will be contacted again and other arrangements made if necessary.  2) Lights in New St. Bulbs have been changed and are now too bright.  Oliver said that he has had difficulties with the new bulbs also.  Problems have been noted and Halstead TC is writing to ECC Highways to discuss.  3) Clovers.  Braintree DC has tracked down the developer who has responsibility for this area and discussions are taking place about maintenance.  Braintree DC will effect a one-off blitz to clear and tidy the walkway up in the near future.  4) Pigeon Poo.  Some pavements have been cleaned and some preventative measures are now in place. Watch this space! 5) Trinity Court graffiti and litter/rubbish has been reported and hopefully measures will be taken to clean the area.  *Joan has been in contact with Ian who seems to be in good spirits and has asked that some wheeled transport be provided for him so that he won’t miss working parties!  A reinforced wheelbarrow was suggested!!  Margaret T said she had visited Ian and it was thought that he may be moved from the Hospital as soon as he is able to walk a little.  *Margaret T said that the seats in wild life garden and Halstead Public Gardens have been surveyed and it is hoped that some remedial work will take place. 2) Margaret and Christine are planning to organise a monthly litter pick for youngsters – although adults will be welcomed to take part!  This will probably be on the last Sunday of the month.  Details to be finalised and will be emailed round.  *Annie spoke again about the damaged post with wires showing in Hedingham Road.  This has been reported.  *Fiona mentioned some uneven and loose paving slabs.  Further details to be sought and defects to be reported.  *Oliver queried whether the entry bed in Braintree Road would have to be moved.  No information as yet. *Carol spoke about an overflowing rubbish bin on Sudbury Road (Post meeting note:  Request made and bin cleared by 10.30am on Friday 26th! Well done BDC). *Julia has spoken to Blacks Estate Agents, Weavers Court who are keen to sponsor HiB (Post meeting note: A cheque for £150 was received 26/1, letter of thanks will be written).   Central Piling, Bluebridge has contacted HiB with a view to sponsorship and some physical assistance.  Both offers gratefully received.
There being no other business the meeting closed at  9.45  p.m.
Next team meeting on   Thursday 22nd February 2018     7.30p.m. at Halstead Icing.
All welcome
Contacts:  Margaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443
Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail
Joan Gibson, plants and working parties. 01787 473070