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Minutes from GCCG Meeting 22/09/2015

Tuesday, 22 Sep 2015

Minutes from GCCG Meeting 22nd September 2015

Chairman’s Welcome
PO opened meeting and explained the planned agenda would be amended to allow JR to speak and then be free to go. Minutes etc would be dealt with after JR had left.

SMBC Countryside Report - John Rowland
JR from SMBC addressed the meeting and explained his role of supervising the 38 countryside sites in the Stockport area. He is now doing this job singlehandedly due to cutbacks. He confirmed the preferred contractor for maintenance work was SK Solutions. The machinery for clearing the grass/cuttings has now been sold off from the council in order to raise funds so there will be no future help with this. Due to cutbacks (and further cutbacks planned over the next four years), grants and external funding are the only sources of income.  Cheshire Wildlife Trust together with SMBC have a 3-5 year project to give assistance to various local areas and JR confirmed that Gatley Carrs is on their list.  He is also organising groups of local volunteers to help on tasks.

With regard to the Wild Flower Meadow, JR explained that though spraying the thistles with weed killer hadn’t been overly effective, spraying with anything stronger would inevitably kill everything else off also in the meadow so this wasn’t an option. He mentioned that some areas including Chadkirk had grazed specific areas, and this would help and also would be eligible for funding but there may be a problem with dogs with this option.

With regard to the pond, JR explained that in order to improve the water quality, an input of fresh water would be needed. He pointed out that a true wildlife pond did not have fish in it, as they ate all the amphibians and invertebrates so in some areas the fish had been removed to encourage the wildlife.

JR also advised that if maintenance tasks we have planned are covered by our insurance, we are free to go ahead with them, particularly as three of our members have successfully completed the leadership and risk assessment course. If we get people in as contractors, then we need to ensure they have public liability insurance. In conclusion, as a general principle, we need to go through JR for approval.

JP asked if someone was going to visit the Carrs to review the Woodland area as we were due for a visit but JR said no visit was planned.

PO asked JR for a list of people to contact for funding and advice and JR said he would forward this on. Ian Bate (Green Space Project Officer) had not replied to emails so JR said he would chase this. Stockport has an in-house ecologist, Kate Guanaccio (also Emma Marsden) who could give general advice.

PO asked if we could have a schedule of when maintenance tasks would be carried out. JR replied that there was no point in this, as, due to staffing issues, they were not able to keep to their planned schedule. JR said that the meadow was due to be cut in October but no date was given.

EB asked about the dog waste bin, which had been removed by SK Solutions. JR replied that a replacement bin should have already been installed and as this hadn’t happened, he would chase this up the following day. He pointed out that all bins now were for general rubbish and not specifically dog waste, as all was disposed of together.

Attendance and Apologies
Peter Owen (PO), Emma Burrows (EB), Sharon Matthews (SM), Sue Pilling, Dave Colleavy, Chris Nield (CN), John Byrne, John Pollard (JP), John Rowland (JR), Linda Cullen, Michelle Inwood, Edith Smith, C Cunliffe, Stan Johnson, Arthur Broadbent.

Apologies received from Alan Butler (AB), Angela, Nigel and Rach Bent, Margaret & Derek Brennan, Jim Arkwright, Heidi Limb, Fiona Campbell

Minutes from last meeting
Minutes of meeting from 08/07/15 agreed and signed off.

EB reported on the missing dog waste bin (see above).

Matters Arising
JP queried the revised constitution point 7 (i.e. meetings only open to members of GCCG). He felt that the constitution should not appear to be exclusive and was concerned that this may affect future grants for the group. PO replied that as membership was open to all, this was not exclusive and there was no point in having membership otherwise.  Meetings will always be open to all members and potential new members. JP pointed out that a vote should not have taken place on this until the next meeting, so it was agreed that a vote would be held then in regard to this. A printed version is to be circulated for approval. Once approved, PO to sign and hold on file.
Treasurer’s report
In the absence of AB, PO reported that the balance had been £3594.69. There were some deductions from this, namely for public liability insurance (£191.20), hi-vis jackets (£71.00) and strimmer (£312.00), which left a remaining balance of £3020.49.

Bird Report
Chris Nield once again gave thorough account of the bird life on the Carrs over the last couple of months. July was generally quiet but on 10th July she spotted a hobby, which was particularly noteworthy as it is the first time one has been spotted on the Carrs. There was a slight increase in birdlife in August, which brought the total number of species spotted since March to 45.

A full version of this report is available on the website.

Chris also suggested that as there had been a large increase in dragonfly numbers on the Carrs over the summer, that these should be included on the website.

Subscriptions report
Angela Bent away  - no report.

Wildlife and nature report
JP gave a detailed account of the wildlife on the Carrs. He noted that he had recorded 33 different flowers in the WFM (13 of which were from the original planting). 50% of plants in the WFM were invasive so some of the fencing needs to be repaired/replaced to prevent dog disturbance.

JP also mentioned the wildlife recognition website As well as this website being useful for wildlife recognition, there is some useful data recorded from the Carrs (June 14 and July 15.)

JP’s full report is available on the website.

JP also proposed that we had an Autumn Walk on Sunday 18th October, which would also mark the 10th anniversary of our nature reserve status. This proposal was approved and the event will be publicised.

Teddy Bears Picnic
PO reported on the Teddy Bears picnic, which had been a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by us and all who attended. The event made £104 after all deductions. There was still some stock of sweets remaining worth £40, to be used at a future event. He thanked SM for organising the event, Nadeem Bokhari for taking the photos and Derek Brennan for making the wonderful video. It was noted that for future events the photographers need to be wearing hi-vis jackets and a clear notice to allow for any objections from parents.
A full report of this event is available on the website.

Forthcoming events
SM announced plans of the Halloween event on 24th October and confirmed JP’s Autumn Walk on the 18th October. PO confirmed that the large scout marquee would be available to us to use at the Halloween event.

GVP Christmas Fayre
EB announced that the GVP Christmas Fair was on the 21st November and that we would have a stall, so asked for volunteers to help with this. Hopefully this would be an opportunity to sell calendars as well as attract new members so we need to proceed with compiling the calendar as soon as possible.

Tool Course
Dave Colleavy reported on the tool course that he, Alan Butler and Heidi Limb had attended. This had been much enjoyed by all three of them, and would be invaluable for future tasks on the Carrs.

It was decided that a task day was needed to repair the fence around the WFM. Hay raking will also need to be done once the grass has been cut.

JP asked about a bird table seed rota – this still needs to be organised.

John Byrne asked about a storage container price  - PO to follow this up.

At the December meeting we need to make an application for the Green Flag award for next year.

Chris Nield said she would be donating a strimmer to the group.

Habitat boards need to be installed. Alan and John to assist.

The next meeting was confirmed on Tuesday 15th December 2015 at 7.30pm.

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