Minutes of Town Partnership Steering Committee Meeting

Tuesday June 8th. 2021

Present: Cllr. H. Kane, B.Elliott, R.Walters, P.Messenger, P.Clegg, J.Law, M.Sheffield, D. Bensted, M.Boyce, C.Simpson, K.Edoh, C.Hammond.

Apologies:  D. Evans, T.O’Connor.

Chair: Paul Violet

Minutes taken by Paula Violet.

Minutes of the meeting on 11th. May were agreed.

Matters Arising. It was agreed to close 2 websites, but to retain the domain names. This has now been done. Anyone visiting these web pages will be transferred to the WATP website.

Waltham Abbey Church:

The Abbey Church has remained closed other than for the two Sunday services, and, from 26th May, the Wednesday morning service of Holy Communion at 10.30am, and funerals. On Saturday 29th May the first wedding took place in the Abbey since 2019 and Baptism services are expected to re-start as well. All these services are subject to current Covid restrictions. While congregational singing is still not allowed a reduced (six singers only) and socially distanced Abbey Choir has led the worship at the 10.30am Sunday service for the last four Sundays. Service bellringing restarted on 23rd May but restricted to six bells with safety precautions in place and for a maximum of forty-five minutes, and weekly bell-ringing practice will recommence this Wednesday, 9th June, under the same conditions. In planning to re-open further the Rector and Churchwardens are following guidelines from the Government and the Church of England.

Sub Committees:

Market: A new Fish monger is now in the market. He will be kept if support for him makes it viable, so do support him.

U3A: There are now 300 members. The photographic group remains strong and are refurbishing space at the Gytha Centre. Some groups have started to meet, and it is hoped to have an open meeting in July in the Town Hall.

Museum: The Holocaust exhibition has received excellent feedback. It relates the stories of the boys who were sent to a centre in  Loughton, after the Holocaust, and the stories of their achievements and how their lives developed. It is an exhibition well worth a visit with artefacts from the British Museum. It is on until September 4th

Work is in progress on the Hub and details got to cabinet in July.

Tourism: A meeting of the sub-committee was held on 20th May and the next is scheduled for 24th June. The last meeting noted the TIC is open and busy, it reviewed current activities and considered tentative plans for events later in the year.

Heritage: Plans continue for the Heritage Trail, and it is hoped open meetings of the group can resume soon.

WATTA: The regrettable decision has been made to cancel our August visit to Germany. They are hoping to visit for the Cavalcade in November. As it will be the first time we have seen them, (other than on Zoom) for two years, we hope to make it a special visit for them.

W A Signs: All 7 signs are now in place. There has been a lot of positive comments about them, which has been very heartening.  Enquiries were made to  Essex CC about the use of lampposts, but only temporary signs could be considered. Paul has now received a form suggesting he may apply for a permanent siting! He will complete the form and wait for a response.

Town Centre Manager: Paul M reported EFDC has funding available for companies to assist them with the re-opening post Covid restrictions.  It is important for Businesses to know of this. Click it Local is also available for Businesses to sign up to. An app is to be available to visitors allowing discounts and special offers whilst in the Town. It is hoped this will also link to the app currently being developed in conjunction with the Museum.

Paul V agreed to develop a Newsletter for retailers and will liaise with Paul M as to the content he considers will be useful. 

The question was asked about the grant available to Businesses who have closed. Cllr. Kane said all requests have been considered and paid.  A fuller report regarding this will be available at the next meeting.

Sun Street: there was discussion around the protection of Sun Street from cyclists as it is a pedestrianised area. Signage is only of value if it is read and adhered to. Notices on the floor require permission from highways. Decorative obstacles in the road could prevent a run through, but this is not possible as it would impede Emergency Services vehicles.

Festival of Light: WATP is giving Mark Boyce full support with this initiative.  Recent developments have included involvement in the Cavalcade of Light, expanded Christmas Windows competitions, Photo competitions, and Christmas lanterns among other things.  Mark will happily provide more information upon request.

EFDC app: as agreed WATP have donated £12,000  from the Section 106 fund leaving a balance of £16,000 in the fund available to WATP.

WA Town Enhancement Project continues.

WATC: Paul welcomes the positive interest that is being shown by the Council to the Partnership. This is a working relationship he is sure will continue.

AOB

Pastor Edoh said there is to be a Community BBQ at the Baptist Church and he will send details soon. 

Town Mead: The question was raised about repairs required to pathways at Town Mead. Jodie said tenders have been put out and costings considered. She hopes to report more fully on this at the next meeting.

Date of next meeting July 13th. 9.30am

The possibility of this being a meeting in the Town Hall was discussed. Jodie confirmed the Town Hall is now open for meetings. 

NB Since the meeting Jodie has confirmed the Chamber has been booked for this meeting.