|The agenda circulated before the meeting was adopted. The chair, Julian David, welcomed everyone.
|Julian David outlined the year’s activities which he put into five categories.
Last summer, following an application by the council, the park received a Green Flag Award. As this was the first time that Alexandra Park had been put forward, it was a notable achievement which would not have been possible without a strong and active friends group. As part of the application, a management plan has been produced which provides a framework for future maintenance and development of the park.
On the negative side, the Forum had been informed that there were cuts in the Parks Department funding which would lead to a decline in maintenance. Later in the meeting, Councillor Bellotti refuted this and said that there should be no significant change. The chair will clarify the position.
The Forum now organises a regular monthly ‘community action day’ to undertake tasks such as little picking, preparation and maintenance of the wild flower areas, minor maintenance, bulb planting. Other groups have also been encouraged to get involved. Beechen Cliff School organises a weekly Friday litter clear up by the school and have made a new bench which is now in place. Under the Community Business Challenge, where employees are given a day off to work on community items, part of the cliff fence has been painted and another day painting the play areas has been planned.
The Forum has helped promote use of the park by organising events such as the highly successful Picnic-in-the-Park (the next one on 30th June) and other events such as the Spring Event held in April. As a result of the Green Flag management plan and the Disability Discrimination Act, access for disabled people to the park and many of the seats has been significantly improved.
The chair reported that not much progress had been made this year. Indeed the situation had recently deteriorated significantly due to the building works in the school. However he had been assured that these would be finished by mid-August and that next academic year parking by users and visitors to the school would be back to previous levels. The Forum will continue to press the school to find a long term solution. The Forum was aware of the work being done by the Bear Flat Association on parking in the roads adjacent to the park and would monitor any proposals they might put forward to ensure there was no adverse effect on the park. It would also keep an eye on the creeping commute parking problem in the area.
The Forum distributed two bulletins this year to every household in the surrounding area and now publishes a quarterly electronic newsletter which goes to 280 members. The Forum also uses “twitter” and has 406 followers. The website continues to be developed. The Forum maintains communications with Greenway, the Widcombe Association and the Bear Flat Association.
Summing up, the chair said that he thought the main achievements were –
Overall he thought that the park remains a good place to enjoy the quiet and beautiful surroundings.
The Chair closed his report by thanking all the volunteers who had helped during the year and the Forum’s elected officers, Lesley Baker (secretary), Don Grimes (chair of the festival sun-committee), Geoffrey Lee (treasurer) and the Forum’s auditor, Vicki Skelsey.
He paid particular tribute to Don Grimes, who was stepping down, for all his hard work which had resulted in two highly successful events and what looked like being a third on 30th June.
|The treasurer presented the accounts which showed a balance of £2,196.46 on account although this included the sum of £700 advertising towards this year’s Picnic in the Park.The treasurer put a proposal to alter the accounting period. At present it stops half way through the calendar year which falls in the period of the festival and makes presentation of sensible accounts difficult. Instead, he proposed that the period should run from the 1st January to the 31st December. This meant that at next year’s APM the accounts will cove that period 1st January through to the 31st December 2013.The accounts were approved nem con as was the proposal to amend the accounting period.
|APPOINTMERNT OF OFFICERS
|Councillor David Bellotti took the chair to for the election of Forum officers for the forthcoming year. As there were no other nominations and the existing officers were willing to continue, the chair, secretary and treasurer were re-appointed for a further year.As there were no nominations for chair of the festival sub-committee and the present incumbent did not wish to continue, this post was left open. The Forum committee will consider how to organise future events.A new post of vice chair was introduced to which Collin Carr was nominated and duly appointed.
|CHAIR OF EVENTS SUB COMMITTEE REPORT
|The chair of the events sub-committee, Don Grimes, outlined the plans for the forthcoming Picnic-in-the-Park on 30th June and appealed for more volunteers to come forward to help with such things as manning the gate, helping with the raffle and a host of others things that go towards making the day a success.As this was his last year as chair of the sub-committee, he thanked the members for their dedication, hard work and support.
|CHAIR’S CLOSING COMMENTS
|The chair closed the meeting by looking to the future. There was plenty of work that could be done by the volunteers, irrespective of the level of activity by the Parks Department and he called for more people to join the group. He also reported the possibility of an “orientation” table to be installed by the main viewing area.The meeting closed at 19.53 hrs.After a short break the chair introduced Wendy Stott, the local area manager for the National Trust, who gave an interesting and informative talk on the reasons why the Trust had decided not to proceed with an agreement to manage Beechen Cliff and adjacent fields. She was followed by Councillor Katie Hall who outlined some other possible options.
July 4th 2013