Waltham Abbey Town Partnership.

Minutes of the virtual meeting held Tuesday April 13th. 2021

Present: Cllr. H.Kane, T.O’Connor, R.Walters, M. Boyce, B.Elliott, C.Simpson, C. Tarrier, C. Simpson, M.Sheffield, A.Ako-Nai, J.Law, D.Evans, D.Bensted.

ApologiesP. Messenger

Chair: Paul Violet

Minutes taken by Paula Violet.

Minutes of the last meeting were agreed. There were no matters arising.

Waltham Abbey Church

The Abbey Church re-opened on Good Friday for private prayer between 10am and 4pm, with a service at 1pm, and on Easter Sunday for three Eucharist services at 8.30 and 10.30am and 12.30pm. The other three churches in the benefice, St Lawrence Ninefields, St Thomas Upshire and Holy Innocents High Beach also resumed public worship on Easter Day. By special dispensation, the Abbey bells were rung on Easter Sunday morning.

On Sundays going forward the Abbey Church will have two Eucharist services at 8.30 and 10.30am: attendees are limited to 50 and attendance must be booked in advance with the churchwardens. The wearing of face coverings remains mandatory and there is no singing. The 10.30 service each Sunday is being filmed and streamed on the Abbey website. As well as their public services High Beach/Upshire churches are maintaining a Zoom service at 10.30am on Sundays.

Otherwise, the Church is open only for baptisms, weddings, and funerals with a limited number of attendees and by arrangement with the Parish Office.

Following the news of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip on Friday, the Union Flag was lowered to half-mast where it will remain until the day of Prince Philip’s funeral service, and at 6pm the traditional ringing rite of the Nine Tailors took place: a bell was tolled nine times and then a further ninety-nine times in commemoration of Prince Philip’s age. On Sunday, to remember the life of Prince Philip and to commemorate his death, prayers were offered both the 8.30am and 10.30am services. 

Sub- Committees

LRVP Most venues are now re-opening. Endurance runs are booked,  and Health runs will resume. White Water Centre is open, and the Wildlife Discovery Centre is opening, but to meet Covid restrictions it will be necessary to book a visit. A picnic is to be planned at Clayton Hill. Volunteers have been supporting the maintenance of the sites.

Museum Plans are in place to reopen on May 17th. It will have to be Covid compliant and how numbers are to be managed is being considered.  Work continues on the proposed merger with the Library and consultations with other groups will be taking place. The Festival of Culture has 2 further weeks to run and then evaluations will be collated to support the planning of future events. A power point of ideas for images is being prepared for the Heritage Trail Boards. Grateful thanks to the contributors and more contributions are welcome.

U3A Groups are starting to open with small numbers. There is a monthly Zoom meeting when guest speakers are invited. There are in excess of 300 images available for the Wildlife exhibition and reducing them to a manageable number is proving difficult as they are all of a high quality.

Tourism At the last meeting of the group the Art Trail was discussed with the plan for it to go ahead in the Summer. The TIC is now open.

Heritage Trail  Obtaining permission to site the Boards remains a problem. The Romeland Board siting went to EFDC for permission. The recipient of the information was fascinated by the concept and content of the Board and is now interested in the project.

S106 Monies  When Tesco went into Waltham Abbey, they gave the Partnership a fund of £65k. The use of the money was very specific (Signage etc)  and it has been held by EFDC. Over the years it has been used for various projects, and now leaves a balance if £28k.  Money is needed for the Heritage Trail, but accounting for that there should be a residue.  Epping Forest are developing an App. which will highlight all areas of the District, and the Waltham Abbey section will link to the Heritage Trail.

Paul proposed to the group that the Partnership donates £12k to the development of the app.

He had previously confirmed with EFDC that this would be an acceptable use of the funds.

Cllr. Kane suggested it must come with the caveat that the app contains at least 20% of the coverage dedicated to Waltham Abbey. She also stressed there should be full acknowledgement to WATP for the donation. Cllr. Kane remarked that she feels WA is sometimes overlooked by EFDC and so full recognition must be accepted on receipt of the donation. Clive felt 40% coverage more appropriate. Tony added £30k has already come from the  Art Fund so a further £12k would be really beneficial.

Paul put the proposal to the meeting that £12k is donated on the understanding that the App contains up to 40% coverage of WA and full acknowledgement of the donation is credited to WATP. He  asked for agreement by a show of hands, and it was unanimously agreed.

Locality Fund. The Signs are now completed after many months of negotiation and planning. The problem now is their siting. Mark has completed a comprehensive set of CGIs where Boards could be placed. The Museum wall has been suggested, and the wall of the Baptist Church has been confirmed.

Land owned by the Church alongside Cornmill stream has been suggested as has the wall of the old Court House. (Clive agreed to contact the owner). Mark agreed to make CGIs of more possible locations. 

Could the Council maintenance team support the erection of the Signs?  Jodie agreed to enquire. Clive suggested he had a group of contractors who could help with the fixing of the signs around town.

Festival of Lights This group is chaired by Mark Boyce but fully supported by the Partnership. It is currently at the “ideas” stage . The Festival is planned to be centred around the Cavalcade and continue during the week leading up to the Christmas Market. Having the element of lights, it will encourage visitors to the Town in the evening and hopefully be fully supported by the Tourism Group. Owners of shops, houses and buildings will be encouraged  to light up their property.  Group members include residents from Ninefields and Roundhills. All ideas / suggestions will be gratefully received. Funding will be an issue.

AOB To celebrate the opening of non-essential shops the Market is to be extended to non – essential traders , private vendors, and Charities. The need for Public Liability insurance to sell in Sun Street has limited the number of stalls able to attend. The Market will need to close at 2.30pm to allow time for respect to be paid to HRH Prince Philip whose funeral is to be at 3pm.

Paul thanked everyone for their attendance at the meeting. 

Date of next meeting     Tuesday May 11th. 9.30am.