7.30pm Wednesday 2nd November 2016
Phil Campbell (Chairman) welcomed 30 members and visitors to the Annual General Meeting.
Apologies: Vic Emmerson
Minutes of the meeting of 4th November 2015:
Peter Hubbard proposed that the minutes be accepted as a true record – this was seconded by Ros Earthy and passed unanimously.
Matters arising: None.
Secretary’s Report: John Dent
The 2015/16 winter programme of lectures was well received by all who attended the events. The annual lunch was held at the Hundith Hill Hotel on 4th May 2016 where the speaker was the Town Mayor. The annual day trip was to Carlisle and Lanercost Priory on July 5th 2016 and was enjoyed by all who went.
The Trust has been working with the Town Manager, Joe Broomfield on plans to improve the river confluence area and this should be achieved in the next few months.
The Trust was concerned about the lack of repairs to the Derwent riverside path behind Wordsworth House. Using a grant from the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Recovery Fund and in partnership with Allerdale council contractors the repairs have been successfully completed.
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 made submissions to the planning authority with regard to the Lidl & WCF development on Station Street, the Low Road Commercial development and the Premier Inn development on the Shepherd’s Hotel site as well as numerous other developments. 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. Unfortunately the Council has ruled that properties within the Conservation Areas would not be considered despite the official Good Practice Guide stating they can be.
The Trust was disappointed that the Town Council turned down the proposal for a Neighbourhood Plan without consulting the residents of the town. We therefore organised a Public Meeting to gauge support of a Plan and as a result of this a Neighbourhood Plan Forum was established with the Trust providing the Co-Chairs.
We nominated the United Reformed Church as an Assets of Community Value but Allerdale BC declined to place it on the list.
The Trust continued to have involvement in pressing for the Main Street and Market Place repairs to be completed but is exasperated at the lack of progress and concerned that the Main Street drain outlet is only now being worked on.
The Trust was disappointed that the Town Council has once again refused to have a town flag.
We were able to help the Town Spring Clean Day organised by Joe Broomfield on Friday 23rd March 2016 which concentrated on removing debris from the flood-hit memorial Gardens.
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 21st/22nd October 2016.
The Chairman of the National Civic Voice, Freddie Gick, visited us on 15th March 2016 and met members before being shown round the town.
The Trust is participating in the national War Memorials Condition Survey and a workshop was held by Freddie Gick during his visit.
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.
The Trust participated in the Wordsworth Daffodil Day organised on 2nd April by the Cockermouth Rotary Club. The Trust participated in the “Heritage Open Days” event on 8th – 11th September for the eighth year. Seven premises were open in Cockermouth on the day plus one lecture. The 250th Anniversary of the birth of John Dalton marked by walks and exhibitions in Eaglesfield was a special addition to this year’s event.The Trust has taken various groups round the Town Trail including Leyland Historical Society and Keswick U3A Group. In addition, Castle visits have been hosted in support of the National Civic Day, Cockermouth Live, Derventio Archaeology Group and Keswick U3A History Group in addition to the Heritage Open Days.
Membership at the end of the 2015/16 year stands at 105. Currently 71 members are on the email list which saves the Trust printing and postal costs and keeps those members right up to date.
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.
Clearly, the big issue for Cockermouth in the past year was the major flood as a result of Storm Desmond in December 2015. The town has again proved resilient and recovered well. However, work still has to be done and there remain questions for the future such as insurance and the future frequency of such events. We have contributed in small ways to the recovery, such as the clearance of debris from the Memorial Gardens and the reinstatement of the footpath on the town side of the Derwent. An obvious concern has been the collapse of the castle mound putting the castle walls at risk. We are pleased to see that a repair to the mound has been designed and work is under way.
We remain a member and a strong supporter of Civic Voice. It provides a powerful focus and influence on civic issues at national level.
We have put a significant amount of work into developing a ‘Local Heritage List’ for Cockermouth and have nominated around 20 aspects. Unfortunately, we remain at an impasse with Allerdale BC who currently will not consider anything within a Conservation Area. Clearly this is an issue that needs resolution in the coming year.
We were very disappointed that the Town Council voted to reject the concept of a Neighbourhood Plan for Cockermouth. We believe that such a plan could benefit the future of our town and we recognise that there is significant community support. We have therefore established a Neighbourhood Forum with the objective of providing evidence to convince the Council to change its mind. Hopefully, the actual development of the plan will be a theme that we will become involved in.
A national Civic Voice campaign this year has been to undertake condition surveys of war memorials as part of the WW1 100th anniversary commemorations. As part of this, we have been inspecting & reporting the condition of memorials in our locality.
The Heritage Open Days event this year was our most successful to date. We introduced the theme of John Dalton 250 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of our famous son’s birth, which fell in the same week as HODS.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the formation of the then Cockermouth & District Civic Society in September 1967. We do intend to celebrate this anniversary.
2017 is also the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the first Conservation Area. Civic Voice is seeking to utilise this anniversary as an opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate the standing of Conservation Areas and we hope to participate in some way.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions over the last year, elected officers and members. We still need to broaden our membership base so please do help by advertising what we do to friends and neighbours. It was sad to see the ‘mothballing’ of Workington Civic Trust this year, not something we want to happen to us!
Treasurer’s Report: Ian Dodsworth
The financial year was much as anticipated.
At the year end our Bank Balance was up from £3747 to £3954. Excess of income over expenditure was £216.
The Stock of Books was down from f4410 to f4058 reflecting the books sold during the year.
The main income was from book sales at £770 and membership subscriptions of £558.
Our membership subscription was increased in this year from £5.50 to £7.50 and will remain unchanged for 2016/17.
Shirley Campbell proposed that the accounts be accepted as a true record and this was seconded by Brian Coley 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 Ros Earthy and passed unanimously.
The current committee members, Shirley Campbell, Darren Ward, Duncan Keeler, Brian Coley, Ros Earthy, Margaret Coley and Elizabeth Silman were happy to continue. Their election was proposed by Georgina Dent and seconded by Kath Keeler and this was passed unanimously.
There was no additional business and the meeting closed at 7.44 pm.