Phil Campbell (Chairman) welcomed 30 members and visitors to the Annual General Meeting.
Apologies: Barbara Barker, Eleaner Woosey.
Minutes of the meeting of 5th November 2014:
Peter Hubbard proposed that the minutes be accepted as a true record – this was seconded by Ian Dodsworth and passed unanimously.
Secretary’s Report: John Dent
The 2014/15 winter programme of lectures was well received by all who attended the events. The annual lunch was held at the Trout Hotel on 22nd April 2015 where the after dinner speaker was from the Lakes Distillery. The annual day trip was to Hoghton Tower and Samlesbury Hall on the 17th June 2015 and was enjoyed by all who went.
Our President Lord Egremont hosted an afternoon for members to visit the Castle on the 27th August 2015 and provided refreshments in the apartments. This was enjoyed by all who attended. We now have a good working relationship with our president Lord Egremont. Lady Egremont designed the planting scheme for Kirkbank and sponsored the plants. We have also been working with the Town Manager, Joe Broomfield on plans to improve the river confluence area.
The Trust has continued to comment on the various planning applications as and when appropriate and is using the “Building for Life” method of assessment. We continue to be pro-active by talking to the developers before any submission for planning permission. We are currently in contact with the planning consultants with regard to the Lidl & WCF development on Station Street. We have also taken up various valid comments with the appropriate authorities with some success.
We are involved in the pilot scheme for Local Listing in Allerdale and have developed the system of nomination forms and assessment processes. A number of properties have been trialled and a report will be considered by the Council’s Executive Committee shortly.
We have also nominated the Memorial Gardens and Harris Park as Assets of Community Value. Allerdale BC have accepted them and placed them on their list.
Fifteen members participated in the survey of Cockermouth’s Grade II listed buildings for English Heritage.
The Trust continued to have involvement in the Main Street repairs and carried out a snagging exercise on 12th November 2014 but is exasperated at the lack of progress and concerned that the Main Street drain outlet has not been completed. We had a meeting with Cumbria County Council but we are still not impressed with their management of the scheme. We campaigned strongly against the introduction of on-street parking charges by Cumbria CC and were rewarded with a successful outcome.
The annual “Walk of Pride” was held on 10th July 2015 with a generally positive assessment. We were able to help the Town Spring Clean Day organised by Joe Broomfield on Friday 26th June 2015.
The Trust continues to be a member of the North West Association of Civic Societies (NWACTS) and of the national Civic Voice. Members of the Executive Committee have attended various meetings organised by Civic Voice and NWACTS including the Civic Voice AGM on 23/24th October 2015. We entered the artworks in Lowther Went and the new Hospital for the new Civic Voice Design Awards but were not successful although the artworks were commended by the assessor.
We hosted Carlisle Civic Trust committee members for an information meeting and a walk round the town. We attended a meeting in Wigton to give advice on forming a new Civic Trust there.
We have met with the new MP Sue Hayman to discuss aspects of Cockermouth.
We continue to participate in the WWI Commemoration Committee.
The Trust has continued to host a website. Publicity throughout the year has been quite good with regular articles in the “Times & Star”.
Proceeds from the sale of the various publications this year have continued to ensure that our membership fees remain affordable, keeping the recent rise to a minimum. The “Walks from Cockermouth” booklet has been checked for accuracy by walking the routes and a revised version produced.
The Trust participated in the “Heritage Open Days” event in September for the seventh year. Six premises, including a Roman Papcastle exhibition, were open on the day plus one lecture.
The Trust has taken various groups round the Town Trail including a party from Higham Hall. The “Britain from Above” project concluded with a guided walk round the Town Trail. Two groups of schoolchildren from Tapton School in Sheffield have been taken on flood related tours. We assisted Joe Broomfield host a visit of people from Hexham looking to learn lessons from our Market Place development. In addition, Castle visits have been hosted in support of the Summer Festival, Georgian Fair and Cumbria Tour Guides in addition to the Heritage Open Days.
Membership today stands at 96. Currently 62 members are on the email list which saves the Trust printing and postal costs.
Chairman’s Report: Phil Campbell
Our Secretary has already reported on the detail of our activities over the last year. I would just like to focus on some achievements & key issues for us in the coming year.
We put in a significant amount of effort into opposing the intent of Cumbria County Council to introduce on-street parking charges in Cockermouth, and were clearly pleased with the outcome. To help achieve this outcome we had to resort to formally requesting information from the council under the Freedom of Information Act. It is of concern that current Government proposals to limit the scope & charge for such requests will significantly curtail our ability to undertake similar requests in the future.
We have now made significant progress in developing a ‘Local Heritage List’ for Cockermouth as the pilot area for Allerdale BC. This will continue over the next few months, hopefully through to Allerdale BC adopting it. Now is the time to shout if you wish to nominate anything for the list. Duncan Keeler is taking the lead for us on this.
You will be aware that we have now successfully nominated 2 ‘assets of community value’. We currently have 3 further assets under consideration for nomination.
We continue to keep a watching brief on two County Council projects, the Main Street Storm Drain and the making good and adoption of the Market Place street infrastructure. We have received assurances that both projects will be completed in the early part of the New Year, but still lack full confidence. We are specifically concerned about the council’s intent over the newly installed mosaics.
You will be aware that we have been expressing concern about the rate of approvals of new housing for Cockermouth and our fear that this will not be sustainable and will lead to a significant change in the character of our town; specifically the Allerdale Plan calls for around 550 homes between 2011 and 2030, around 650 have already been approved. There are other applications in the pipeline such as at Papcastle, plus proposed new commercial developments. Clearly, this continues to be an area that we need to continue to focus on.
We have had a long term interest in improving the area at the confluence of our two rivers. Allerdale BC are now on board & we hope to see improvements there this coming year.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions over the last year, elected officers and members. Thanks in particular to Brian & Margaret Coley for arranging the lecture programme for this coming year. I would also like to thank Victor de Quincey for his contribution to the WW1 Commemoration by designing the plaque for the garden by Gote Bridge. I don’t normally specifically mention our officers, but both the Treasurer & Secretary do a lot of work on our behalf behind the scenes. Ian for example not only looks after the accounts, he chases & collects membership fees and manages the book sales. So a big thank you to both John & Ian.
The Chairman invited questions or comments from the floor.
Tom Hughes stated that he was concerned that a number of trees would be felled on the proposed Lidl Supermarket site. He was told that Allerdale BC was responsible for the preservation of trees. However it is not possible to object until after an application is made. Cockermouth Civic Trust would be consulted at that time.
Peter Hubbard stated that he was against yet another supermarket setting up in the town because of the detrimental effect on the local shops. He was told that it was not possible to object until after an application for planning permission has been submitted. He was told that he could object at that time as an individual. Cockermouth Civic Trust is being kept informed of the plans by the Lidl consultants prior to the submission.
Treasurer’s Report: Ian Dodsworth
The financial year was much as anticipated.
At the year-end our Bank Balance was up from £3557 to £3747.
The Stock of Books was down from £5080 to £4410 reflecting the books sold during the year.
During the year it was decided to purchase a Printer for £86. This has cut our printing costs and will continue to do so by offering more options.
Our Membership subscription had remained at £5.50 for over 10 years and it was decided to increase this for 2015/16 to £7.50. This covers the increase in our outgoings due to the Civic Voice annual membership fee.
Duncan Keeler proposed that the accounts be accepted as a true record and this was seconded by Mary Bradbury and passed unanimously.
Election of Officers and Committee Members:
The present officers Phil Campbell (Chairman), Ian Dodsworth (Treasurer) and John Dent (Secretary) were happy to continue in their roles. There being no other nominations, David Cornwall proposed that the officers be appointed and this was seconded by Duncan Keeler and passed unanimously.
The current committee members, Shirley Campbell, Darren Ward, Duncan Keeler, Brian Coley, Ros Earthy and Margaret Coley were happy to continue. Elizabeth Silman agreed to join the Committee. Their election was proposed by Duncan Keeler and seconded by David Cornwall and this was passed unanimously.
Any other business:
There was no additional business and the meeting closed at 7.45 pm.