Julian David (Chair) introduced the meeting. Apologies were given by Geoffrey Lee (Treasurer) and Simon Memory (Parks Dept)
2. CHAIR’S REPORT
Julian gave his review of the year’s activity using the aims of the Forum as follows:
a. Improving the condition of the Park: this has included maintaining contact with the Parks Dept, working to secure a Management Plan through the Green Flag Award application. Chasing progress on new initiatives eg new bins
b. Encouraging local users and residents to help in the maintenance of the Park. This includes the establishment of the volunteers group, with litter picking days, the Spring wildflower planting day and some general gardening days.
c. Encouraging local organisations to help with b) including liaising with the school for litter picks.
d. Promoting wider use of the Park’s facilities including the organisation of the 2011 Festival, the 2012 picnic. The Forum is also investigating better disabled access to the parks facilities.
e. Access to the Park. The Forum has been involved with consultation over Park opening and closing hours.
f. Review of Parking. This topic is ever present on the Forum’s agenda, but a position statement has been agreed and at the moment no further action is to be taken.
g. Communications. The Forum now has a website, regular newsletter, notice board, and is now on Twitter. Elise and Nicola were thanked for their help in setting these up. Julian to find ways of communicating with those who do not use email.
Julian thanked the Headmaster of Beechen Cliff for his support, and those volunteers who have contributed their labour in the park this year.
3. TREASURERS REPORT
The accounts were approved. Don Grimes (Event Organiser) stated that the Picnic in the Park is hopefully fully funded thanks to the support of Fidelis Agency (Bear Flat) and a grant from the Widcombe Association. Thanks were offered to V Skelsey the accounts Auditor.
Julian proposed certain amendments to the constitution as follows:
Election of officers – the addition of a Treasurer
Provision of maximum time officers can serve on the Committee
The establishment of the Volunteers Group to be known as the Forum, with the renaming of the current Forum the Liaison Group
The revisions to the Constitution were adopted.
The role of the proposed Bear Flat Residents Association may need to be considered at a future date.
5. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Julian thanked all officers for their work over the past year, particularly Jan Prior, who due to other commitments would not be standing again.
Chair Julian David was elected as the Chair
Secretary Lesley Baker was elected Secretary
Treasurer Geoffrey Lee was elected Treasurer
Events Co-ordinator Don Grimes was elected Events Co –coordinator
6. PICNIC IN THE PARK
Don Grimes outlined the proposed activities for July 1st, including tree climbing, 6 bands, bar and barbeque, and the Widcombe Mummers. He made a plea for cake donations, and raffle prizes. Also volunteers to man the gates.
7. MANAGEMENT OF BEECHEN CLIFF
Clle Bellotti outlined the Council’s plans for the future improvement and maintenance of the Cliff. £500,000 has been set aside in the Council’s budget for this, and discussions are currently taking place with the National Trust as to whether the Trust might be involved in the cliff’s future. The Trust has indicated that if t his is the case, they may be able to fund an interpretation centre at the panorama point.
8. FUTURE PLANS
The implementation of the Green Flag Award management Plan would set the scene for future improvements eg, better signage, benches etc. It is also a priority to record the Park’s bio diversity, and the social history.
The main issues involved are funding for improvements and active community support.
9. APPLICATION FOR A CAFE IN THE PARK
It was made clear that to date there has been no application to the Council for either business use or a planning application for a cafe in the Park. However, an individual has expressed an interest in opening a cafe in the park, and this informal proposition has been the subject of consultation (by way of a questionnaire) by the Forum in their regular Newsletter. Some attendees were unhappy with the wording of this questionnaire, which they felt lacked all the required information on which to make a valid response. It was agreed that those people replying, regardless of their response, would be sent a more detailed email outlining the proposer’s current proposition.
There would be a further public meeting rganized by the Forum before the response would be sent to the Council. It was stated that the Council would be unlikely to agree to any proposition which did not have the full backing of the community.
10. ANY OTHER BUSINESS