Annual Public Meeting of Alexandra Park Friends
on Wednesday 3rd July at 7pm
at Alexandra Park Bowls Club
- Chair Report
- Finance Report
- Apologies were received from Mike Davies, John Yates and Geoffrey Lee.
- Chair’s Report
Chairman Collin Carr welcomed local Councillor Alison Born to the meeting and congratulated her and her colleague Winston Duguid on their recent election.
Thanks were also given for the work of the retiring Councillor Mark Shelford who was very helpful and supportive to the park and advocated for us.
This year’s achievements:
We were awarded Green Flag status for 2018-19 as a result of ongoing improvements in the park, most importantly the restriction of parking.
The parking scheme is now in place – although there are still underlying issues to resolve. However, parking in the park has been reduced to an acceptable level.
We now have two Observation Tables, although one of them was vandalised within 24hrs of being installed. It has been replaced with a more robust one.
Picnic in the Park 2018 – the seventh – was a great success despite coinciding with the Widcombe Street Party.
Alexandra Park Friends are now affiliated to the Bear Flat Association.
The Friends have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B&NES Council. This aims to give Friends’ Associations a clearer definition of their role in relation to that of the Council.
The Wild Flower Seeding Day in April this year was also a success and the borders are looking lovely. After the children sowed the seeds, they enjoyed a generous variety of cakes (thanks to our bakers!) and drinks.
The Friends have continued to meet once a month to carry out litter picking and general maintenance work, and have a work plan for the coming year.
The park now has 12/13 bird boxes and an owl box was installed in autumn 2018. Special thanks were given to Gary Luton, who brings his ladders to help with the annual maintenance and cleaning of the boxes, and to John Yates, our local RSPB man, who gives us feedback and advice. Some of the boxes now need repairs.
We would like to install more bird boxes, especially for sparrows, to encourage a sparrow colony in their favoured area. It has been suggested that we install a swift tower, so we will investigate suitability and costs.
The Friends aim to plant shrubs with berries and blossom around the hedges to encourage birds, insects and other wildlife. Bath in Bloom have given us a grant of £100 to help with the costs of this. John Yates is keen for the Council to leave even more areas of grass uncut to encourage wildlife.
Landscaping the main viewing area. The Beechen Cliff Steering Group has now been disbanded, having overseen the expenditure of £500,000 on the cliff and surroundings over five years. Around £30,000 of the fund remains for the landscaping of the main viewing area of the park and we understand that the design and planning of this is underway.
We understand that the Council is planning to revamp the children’s play area, with a special emphasis on equipment for disabled children.
Improving the area around the main gate. A group of residents at the top of Shakespeare Avenue are pressing for this. We believe that the original iron gates still exist and may be in store somewhere, and could be reinstated.
There are concerns in relation to new parking restrictions. The notices do not make clear that the first hour’s parking is free. We should press for clearer information. Additionally, there is no way of paying without a mobile phone. There was an original plan to revamp older parking meters but this was dropped. There is also signage overkill, which is obtrusive and unnecessary.
The condition of the verge between road and grass has deteriorated, causing potholes. There appears to be no money in the Council’s budget to rectify the situation.
School safeguarding and its impact on the park. The school has put more solid gates at the entrances to the park but the boys are making new holes in the hedge or squeezing around the sides of the gates.
Although the Friends have a wider group of supporters behind them, few people attend meetings and there is no-one coming through to take over positions of responsibility. The current officers have now been in place for four years.
Future relationship between council and Friends:
We hope to continue a fruitful and co-operative relationship. We saved the council money by stewarding the spectators watching the firework display on the Rec, and in return some of the fees connected with Picnic in the Park were waived.
Thanks were given to the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer of the Friends committee and to the Friends as a whole for all aspects of the work they do in the park.
This was read by Andrew Lawrence on behalf of Treasurer Mike Davies.
The Alexandra Park Forum
(Alexandra Park Friends)
Treasurers Report (Summary)
The following statement concerns the financial year 6th April 2018 to 5th April 2019
The balance carried forward from 2017 / 2018 financial year was shown to be the sum of £ 2609 – 36 at 6th April 2018.
The main source of income for the APF is Picnic in the Park, with a small amount of income from other sources such as Bath in Bloom.
Picnic in the Park netted a final income of £ 2057 – 56. This sum being made-up as follows:
Programmes and Raffle £ 1156 – 76
Games £ 54 – 80
Advertisers £ 710 – 00
Sponsors donations £ 136 – 00
Donations: Bath in Bloom £ 100 – 00
Together with the balance brought forward from 2017 / 2018, the total income for the financial year 2018 / 2019 was: £ 4766 – 92
The majority of APF expenses related to Picnic in the Park; the total expenditure for the 2018 event was £2012 – 92
On-going expenses £ 455 – 02
The total expenses for the year 2018 / 2019: £ 2467 – 94 thus leaving a working balance of £ 2298 – 98p
I submit these accounts as a true statement of the APF financial status at 6th April 2019.
Questions from the Floor
Esperanza Isaac asked whether the Friends could encourage donations when we publish newsletters, etc. Julian David responded that this would only be appropriate for capital projects and suggested that we set up a capital projects fund.
Esperanza also mentioned anti-social behaviour in the park and at the top of Shakespeare Avenue, and suggested more lighting and cameras in the park. Those present did not feel that lighting would stop anti-social behaviour, and it would be detrimental to wildlife and unpopular with other residents (as was the lighting at the Beechen Cliff School sports pitches). The police patrol from time to time. Locking the park is also a problem, because whoever is locking has to make sure that no cars are locked inside. CCTV cameras would need to be attached to a security unit, and drugs are a police problem, not something that the Friends can deal with. We know that one resident living close to the park has contacted new Councillor Winston Duguid.
Christopher Isaac asked whose responsibility the fence/hedge between the park and the school was. It is the school’s responsibility to stop its pupils making holes in the fence. The Friends can’t do anything other than point out damage to the school and Council.
Julian David suggested that we build strong and co-operative links with the group who have taken on the lease for Lyncombe Farm Fields. The leaseholders comprise representatives from The Widcombe Association, Greenway Association and the Bear Flat Association.
Esperanza offered a Christmas tree to the park. We recommended that she contact Denise Hart at the Parks Department.
Election of Officers:
As there were no alternative nominations, the current officers will continue for a further year.
Collin Carr as Chairman
Mike Davies as Treasurer
Sue Evans as Secretary.