Minutes of the 2015 Annual Public Meeting

Annual Public Meeting of the Alexandra Park Friends

25 June 2015, 7pm.

Bowls Club, Alexandra Park 

Present: Julian David (Chair); Collin Carr (Vice Chair), Geoffrey Lee (Treasurer), Jane Allan, Andrew Lawrence, Mark Shelford (Councillor), Don Grimes, Margarida Dolan, Angela Trenchard, Gareth Bunn, Virginia Williamson, Clyde Hunter and Stuart Reid
Apologies: Judy Boyd, Sue Evans, Lesley Baker, Ann Prosser, Paul Pearce, (BaNES).

1 Introduction and adoption of agenda

Julian David (Chair) welcomed all those present. Agenda adopted. 
This was the 6th annual public meeting of the group which started out as the Alexandra Park Forum but is now known as Alexandra Park Friends.

2 Chair’s report – see attached.

The chair paid tribute to David Bellotti, until recently one of the Liberal Democrat Councillors for our ward, who died recently after a relatively short illness. David was an active supporter of APF from our start in 2007 and rarely missed a meeting.
He highlighted the very successful Picnic in the Park last Sunday (21 June). Although Judy Boyd was not able to attend the APM, the chair thanked her for her hard work.
The meeting recorded our thanks to Lesley Baker for acting as secretary for three years. The chair thanked Geoffrey Lee (treasurer), Collin Carr (vice chair) and Vicki Skelsey for auditing the accounts.

3 Treasurer’s Report

Geoffrey Lee presented the accounts (see attached). There was £1,704.72p in the current account at 31 December 2014. There were no questions from the floor.
To accept same: Proposer Julian David
 Seconded: Andrew Lawrence

4. 2015 Picnic in the Park

A great success. Treasurer will itemise monies in due course.

5. Election of Officers

Secretary: Sue Evans.
  Proposer: Virginia Williamson
    Seconded: Geoffrey Lee
All agreed. No objections, no abstentions
Treasurer: Geoffrey Lee.
  Proposer: Andrew Lawrence 
  Seconded: Collin Carr
All agreed. No objections, no abstentions
Events Chair:   Judy Boyd. 
Proposer: Don Grimes
    Seconded: Angela Trenchard
All agreed. No objections, no abstentions
Vice-Chair: Collin Carr
.   Proposer: Geoffrey Lee    
Seconded: Virginia Williamson
All agreed. No objections, no abstentions
Chair: Julian David. 
  Proposer: Jane Allan    
Seconded: Collin Carr
All agreed. No objections, no abstentions.
Julian David made it clear that this would be his last year as chair.

6. Parking and traffic

Gareth Bunn on behalf of the Bear Flat Association reported on what they had been doing about these ongoing problems.
 50+ cars in the park during term time mainly belonging to staff and pupils from Beechen Cliff School (BCS). This is causing apparent damage to the infrastructure e.g. verges. It creates difficulties for visitors and residents. The new Parks Management Structure have asked for a consultant’s report which will most certainly recommend moving cars out of the park. However as there are users of the park who need cars (allotments, bowls club and petanque) a complete ban may be reduced to a time controlled park system e.g. 4 hours. It would be a help if BCS could ban all pupil parking.
BCS has 50 parking spaces but 120 staff and 1247 pupils. The school’s new 5yr plan includes parking for 115 cars with new entrance in Upper Kipling and old entrance becoming the exit. However there is no planning approval for this and no money to implement if given.
BCS is part of our community so working together perhaps one or more of the following would help in the short term.

a) Permission for staff to stay in park until new facility built. Cars to be identified with school issued windscreen stickers.

b) Use P&R from Odd Down with a stop at Bear Flat.

c) Park within Poets – but where? 10-12 cars already park in the link between Shakespeare and Kipling and, at 12.30pm on the last count carried out in April 2015, 96.4% of all parking spaces were occupied including the total in the Park. 
Outside the control of the school is the volume of parents driving their children to the school and this has increased noticeably this year. Also aggressive driving is becoming a problem. Stats collected show an increase eg. Driving up and down Shakespeare Avenue

2013:   07.30am – 9am, up = 196, down = 35

2015:   07.30am – 9am, up = 275, down = 39
Suggest that no cars are allowed in the upper avenues – 7.30 – 08.30.
 As there are no safe drop off points on Wellsway this would mean having drop off points along Chaucer Road.
Finally the BFA want to make our roads safer for all road users. More changes are needed which will need to be enforced.
Stuart Reid, President of Bowls Club, pointed out that 4 hours is not long enough on their match days. Ideal time would be 1pm -7pm. It was pointed out that evenings are not so worrisome.
If sticker system is the order of the day, Collin Carr commented that if pupils park with school stickers they should be fined.
Virginia Williamson said that the Allotments Association thought 4 hours would be ample for them.
Mark Shelford commented that if drop off points in Chaucer become a reality that there would be the need for zebra crossings.

7. Bowls Club

Stuart Reid, President, reported that the Bowls Club held a 10 year lease from the Council and this will run out in April 2016. The Council maintained everything – club house, the bowling green etc. Under proposals for a community asset transfer, these costs will become their financial burden. Their plan is to open the clubhouse facilities to the community and make them available for hire. Several problems that need to be sorted out, such as the poor water pressure which causes problems with the toilets, but their solicitor has told the Club that they have been offered a good lease.

8. A.O.B.

Mark Shelford was given a quick resume on the following which may also interest those who were unable to attend:
a) Bio-diversity plan? Long grass? In practical terms it means leaving more areas unmown and introducing other habitats to increase number and species of bugs etc.
b) Protection of the pillars? Three suggestions had been put forward before the local elections; i) sacrificial bollards put up; ii) Re-align pavements so visually it narrows the road. Iii) Remove reference to Alexandra Park in the school address (it was reported that this has now been amended to read Kipling Avenue). 
Mark Shelford will enquire as to what is the current position on the first two items.
c) B-B-Q tables/pit in the park. Local thoughts? 2014 survey of residents only a few supported the idea. Parks said that they wanted to review the usage of those put up in Victoria Park.
d) Joy riders in the park. Everyone would like the T-bar back again with keys given to the relevant groups e.g. bowls club. Apparently the lock was changed on the T-bar but no-one received new keys. 
Mark Shelford to find out what the current position is.
Virginia Williamson asked that no more hard surfaces be made in the park. She also wondered if the vegetation had been sprayed down the Beechen Cliff path behind Shelley Road as it was very distorted. No-one could given any information on this (after the meeting Angela suggested that the problem could be insect attack)
School will start monthly newsletter to inform residents about events. BCS is trying to support local resident groups and offering to help. They recognise that it is a two-way street.
BCS made bird boxes and benches for the park. Perhaps make a couple of larger ones for owls?
Signage to the park is under review by the Park Management.
The meeting ended with Julian David thanking Gareth Bunn for his report on the parking problems. He also thanked Collin Carr for taking on responsibility for the action days and for taking the lead on the Beechen Cliff steering group and on the proposed viewing platform. This may require some fund raising by APF. Mark Shelford asked that Collin forward him his outline specification. Finally, he thanked the Bowls Club for hosting the meeting
Meeting closed at 8.30pm

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