4th July 2006

Coe’s Meadow Management Committee



Minutes of Committee meeting in Village Hall on Tuesday 4th July 2006


Those present:   Ted Wood (Chair), Rachel Duncan, Simon Harris, Ken Mills and Jeff Wright. There were 18 members of the public present.







These were received from Steve Cant and Irene Dickinson.



Minutes of the previous meeting held 22nd March.
The minutes were approved.



Matters arising



1.      Securing tree trunks in car park area.
Still outstanding but not urgent at present time.

KM and TW


2.      Opening of meadow.
As no reply had been received from David Monk, and whilst the basket ball court was still under review it was agreed to postpone such until next year.



3.      Urban Forestry – final certificate
Work has now been completed by Urban Forestry but at this stage James Blake has failed to provide the final certificate to allow Urban Forestry to create final invoices. KM to follow up again.


Ken Mills


Noise reduction from the basket ball court.

a) Sports surface noise reduction material
SC had found out the address of such material laid in a play area in Ipswich. TW had visited the site as well as KM & JW on a separate day. TW believed there was a slight reduction in the noise level whereas KM / JW felt there was a 50% reduction. The difference may be down to the latter visiting on a hot day. The noise of the ball bouncing on the sports surface was described as more like a “thud” than the “slap” on the asphalt. Further research had been made into “soft” balls and into backboard sound attenuation.

Members of the public were invited to speak. One suggested a fence to re-direct the noise away from nearby homes; this has been investigated and found to be very expensive. The backboard in the Sudbury Sports Centre was cited as being a good example of how the sound could be reduced from that source.

The committee agreed that we should install this sort of sports surface. Precise action will depend upon the outcome re moving the court. (See 5 below.)

b) Curtailment hours during the summer
The Parish Council, whilst not enthusiastic about a curtailment of the hours for playing basket ball, had asked the committee to draft a letter to be sent to all residents. It had been felt right to consult with those playing about which hours of the week would be least constraining; the feeling amongst them had been such as to lead to a further consideration of the issue and to the attendance at the meeting of many of the basket ball players and their parents.  The committee stressed that this was to be a temporary curtailment whilst final plans were made and implemented. It was stated that there were perhaps some 8 households affected by the noise if sitting in their front gardens; many, but not all would be able to sit out at the back of their houses relatively free from the noise. The members of the committee had previously expressed their views and were generally (but not unanimously) against a curtailment.       

Members of the public were invited to speak. It was clear that many members of the public had come to the meeting because they were upset about the earlier attempt to curtail the basket ball play. Generally, the players did not feel they used the basket ball court so very many hours. Parents pointed out that the children were in school for much of the day and that after homework etc the children should be out in the fresh air. Some felt that a curtailment would be the singling out of a particular section of the community. Others pointed out that the noise of traffic, of lawnmowers and other garden machinery is intrusive but a ban on these is not considered sensible.

The practicality of operating such a curtailment was also considered by the committee as well as a more general notice for the use of the meadow (See item 8 below). The committee concluded that it was inappropriate and impractical to put in place a curtailment, even of a temporary nature.      























Review of estimates for moving the basket ball area.

A specification had been drawn up for the construction of a basket ball area in a location in the wildflower area behind the goal (specification as per existing court); this had been sent out to three contractors for their estimates. One had declined – the other two submitted as follows:-
a) Removing the post & net and re-installation in new area. Re-instating existing court area to grass.                                  Cant - £2280      Wiles - £1100
b) Laying down new playing surface in bitumen macadam including edging to new court.                                                        Cant - £4148      Wiles - £4160
c) Extending existing gravel pathway from near pond to new court area, including edging.                                                     Cant - £2170      Wiles - £1573
                                   Totals                    Cant - £8598      Wiles - £6833

These were both considered to be quite expensive and would additionally require the sound deadening material to be added. It was accepted that the noise could not be totally eradicated and that the committee’s role was to balance the requirements of local residents and those playing basket ball and other games. Moving the basket ball area would not of itself remove all the noise from children playing. The committee believed that the right approach is to incorporate as many measures as practical to reduce the noise coming out of the court in its present position.

TW will write to the Parish Council giving the costs from the above tenders, but recommending that the court is not moved, but that the sound deadening material is built onto the existing court. (This was a unanimous decision of the five members present although ID had stated in a letter to the committee that it should be moved.) Additionally, the committee will investigate further the possible use of softer balls, and measures to reduce the noise from the ball striking the backboard. Additionally, it was proposed that the hoop and backboard be turned around onto the south side of the court i.e. the side nearest the picnic tables: whilst this will increase the cost a little it will overcome the problem of players tramping through the wildflower and daffodil areas, and reduce the possibility of balls striking walkers on the lime avenue.

At the end of the meeting a petition, signed by 51 villagers, was handed to the Chairman against moving the basket ball area from its present position. It also proposed a number of alternative uses for the monies involved; an analysis of this will be sent to the Parish Council. 














Ted Wood

All members


Water levels in the pond.
SH advised that the water level is low in the pond and proposed the committee investigates a means of taking rainwater off the pavements etc from Vicars Orchard and channelling it through a reed bed (on the avenue side of the pond) into the pond. This would inevitably require permissions from the Environment Agency, Anglia Water and the Highways Department of ECC. The committee had no idea of the possible cost of such a scheme but believed that as it would be environmentally friendly grants might be available for this work. SH is to investigate further and report in the future.   






Simon Harris


Review of planting scheme along Limes Walk
SH reported the need to remove thistles and other weeds which were choking the grasses recently planted, and looked to a working party to address this. It was noted that the creeping thistles need to be pulled to avoid them multiplying. It was agreed to meet at 4pm on Saturday next for this job and for SH to arrange a further working party for other weeding etc.



Simon Harris


Suggested notice to users of the meadow.
TW tabled suggested wording for a notice in which users visiting the meadow are welcomed and then invited to enter into a voluntary agreement as to how they will use the meadow. This was based upon one seen in Australia but could be adapted for use on Coe’s Meadow. The committee felt this to be appropriate particularly regarding the respect to be shown to other users and to nearby residents.

Members of the public were invited to speak. It was pointed out that the Parish Council could not absolve itself of responsibility if the user was not acting irresponsibly. Some youngsters felt bad about some of the wording which perhaps reflected a more urban source of the original notice. Others recommended a phrase regarding bad language. Generally the notice, which should be permanent, was well received and was regarded a better way of promoting a more respectful use of the basket ball area than a curfew or mandatory notice.

The committee decided they would incorporate this into the general notice board (see item 9) as well as at other entrances to the meadow.



Production of notice board
JW presented drawings for the proposed notice board together with a quotation for the supply only of the wooden sections at £1985 ex VAT. The lockable glazed cases, which would contain permanent notices regarding Coe’s Meadow (including acclamation of the funders) as well as parish notices, will cost approximately £2000. This is based upon individual unit list prices; it may be possible to achieve a discount as there will be 6 such cases. Additionally there will be a cost to assemble and stain the notice board. This notice board, which is double-sided, will replace the smaller one currently used by the village for parish news. JW also tabled draft text for the wording describing how the meadow came about and for the acclamation of the funders. SH asked if he may propose some amendments in due course. The committee approved the proposal and asked JW to proceed with the ordering and installation of the notice board.







Jeff Wright


Financial review and further grants
KM tabled a statement showing the current financial situation. There are commitments to Urban Forestry for completion of the contracts with them. When these are invoiced and paid there will be just £290 of funding to draw down from the Doorstep Greens grant. KM suggested this be used as “payment” for voluntary work i.e. about 60 hours work during this summer. After this all the main grants will be exhausted. A further grant offer has been made by Doorstep Greens specifically for the notice board and the sports surface; this will provide £2100 to the notice board and £2800 for the sports surface. The committee has built up a balance from the voluntary work funding of nearly £5000, but after this it will be necessary to raise further funds. TW advised that EET had suggested funds may be available, and that he would speak to the relevant person this month. 







Ted Wood


User survey.
KM advised that he had completed the Doorstep Greens annual monitoring form for 2006, and that with it had come a sample questionnaire for a user survey to be conducted some time this summer and again for the following three years.

It was agreed that the survey should take place in the summer holidays on a Sunday between 10am and 7 pm. The date chosen was 20th August; as well as the committee members some members of the public agreed to help. KM will call upon their services nearer the time with copies of the questionnaire.  






Ken Mills


Any other business

1.      Goal Posts
The posts have been taken down temporarily to allow the worn areas to grow following reseeding. This has been partially successful but the areas really require more soil infilling. The areas were badly worn in part due to the heavy studs used by a group coming from Sudbury. There was some discussion about the erection of the posts on Church meadow but this had been strongly objected to by a local resident. JW suggested that a possible solution was a mobile expandable set of posts which could be locked and thus could be made available to residents of the village only. JW will investigate further and report at a future meeting.

2.      Resignation
The committee has received a letter of resignation from Rachel Duncan; her husband is taking a contract in Germany and the family are moving there next month. TW thanked Rachel for her work on the committee and wished her and the family all success and happiness in their new life in Germany.

Jeff Wright


Next meeting.
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 15th August in the Village Hall. TW to make the booking.

Ted Wood