Minutes from GCCG Meeting December 17th 2019
Chairman’s welcome PO welcomed everyone and was delighted to see such good numbers in attendance. He expressed best wishes to all for the festive season and introduced Jamie Leeson from Fields in Trust who would present to the Group later in the evening.
Attendance and Apologies
Attendance: Peter Owen (PO), Alan Butler (AB), Michelle Inwood (MI), Fran Heron (FH), John Pollard (JP), Pete Phethean (PP), Clare Phethean (CP), Bettina Taylor (BT), Christine Haigh (CH), John Haigh (JH), David Johnson (DH), Ruth Wilson (RH), Chris Nield (CN), Joe Huyton (JH), Linda Huyton (LH), Chris Mullin (CM), Alan Musgrave(AM), Derek Brennan (DB), Margaret Brennan (MB), Stan Johnson (SJ), Iain Roberts (IR), David Jefferies (DJ), Elizabeth Latimer (EL), Karen Jarmany (KJ), Chris Inwood (CI), Jamie Leeson (JL), Fields in Trust
Apologies: David Fairlie, Linda Cullen, Joan McKerlie, Charles Booth, Jim Arkwright, Sue Pilling, Emma Burrows, Stuart Priestley, T.Eyers, Edwina Beher, Councillors: Keith Holloway, David Meller, John Pantall, Sheila Bailey.
Minutes from last meeting
Minutes were submitted from previous meeting and approved later in the meeting by the Group.
No matters arising the minutes were approved and signed.
MI submitted her report to the meeting with a brief summary of activity in the last quarter.
GCCG Treasurer’s report for Dec 2019 meeting (17 Sep – 15 Dec 2019)
15 Dec 2019 balance £1439.47 Incomings
Duck food sales £20.00
Room hire £15
Pet shop £14.99
Sign & display £54
Repairs to boardwalk and sundries £210
Annual insurance £201.60
PP presented the following information:
Currently we have 90 paid up memberships. 89 of them have already been renewed during 2019 and therefore their subscription fee will not be due again until next year. 1 membership is due to be renewed by the end of December.
50 of the memberships are single memberships with a £5 subscription fee.
40 of the memberships are family memberships with a £7.50 subscription fee.
In September there were another twenty-odd or so names on the subscriptions list , comprising members who had not paid their subscriptions since 2018 or earlier. The membership records did not contain full contact details for a number of them. PP contacted all of them he was able to, asking if they wished to renew their subscription. A small number did so, but the majority did not respond. The latter have now been archived and the membership list now contains only the 90 memberships detailed above.
Fields in Trust presentation; by Jamie Leeson ( J/L) and update on progress with SMBC. Jamie provided a very well detailed explanation of the mechanics of how FIT operates and outlined the various proven benefits of protecting green spaces. He was able to prove how this gives local authorities a return for no investment by documented, statistical proof of the health benefits provided by protection of green spaces. Giving substantial reductions in GP attendance numbers, hospital visits and “well-being”, by improving health and encouraging exercise. He outlined clear, successful, results in various local authority areas and, as an example, gave a detailed insight into the substantial benefits gained in Liverpool and once operational their willingness to recognise the benefits and their expressed wish to spread this to over 300 potential sites.He repeated his previous offers to meet with Stockport council officers to demonstrate these benefits, which after gathering detailed statistics yielded a proven list of cash and health benefits.
A lively question and answer session ensued. Several members commented on the strength and value of different parts of JL's presentation.
CM speculated that a simpler route to protection of the Carrs site might be for us to seek to have it designated as a village green. JL pointed out that this would provide protection, but not the flexibility of usage offered by Fields in Trust status.
AM reminded the meeting that the Carrs had been used as a refuse tip for a time in earlier years. Perhaps it would be useful to test the ground for toxic substances in and below the topsoil, since such toxicity could be presented to Stockport Council as an argument against re-purposing the site. He might be able to identify former colleagues in the chemical industry who could offer advice. The meeting welcomed his reflections and the possible support from experts.
PP commented that Stockport Council's handling of our FIT application had been shameful and that their three years of obfuscation and delay perhaps merited a new approach from ourselves. He asked JL if we might usefully combine with Friends of other Stockport green spaces for a joint lobbying of the council. JL's view was that patience, and our single application as a sort of 'test case', was still the best approach for now. Then would there be merit in our undertaking a media campaign to garner public support and pressurize the council? Again, JL advised patience and delay on such action. Should we then make recourse to the council's complaint procedure? CP then expressed a strongly worded view based on experience with other councils that Stockport would not play ball until an official complaint was begun. JL yet again advised patience. Other members expressed dissatisfaction with Stockport council's procrastination. PP proposed that we should begin a formal complaint just after our next quarterly meeting in March if Stockport Council had not played ball in the intervening three months. A vote secured support for this proposal from the meeting.
Development Manager – North, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
020 7427 212
Chris Neil gave her report for the last 3 months.
Wildlife and Nature report
John Pollard gave his report as detailed below:
AB thanked everyone who helps out with site upkeep during this quarter, including the members who replenish the bird tables and feeders every day. Bill Forrester again provided timber and labour for repairs and Jim Arkwright again helped out a great deal. The rail near the dipping pond was repaired. Fencing was moved to reduce the size of the wildflower meadow. Purlins on the pond boardwalk were replaced with the help of Nigel Firth after it became apparent that they were rotting.
Because of repeated bad weather and poor footing in mud near the pond, the willow-cutting morning was postponed and then cancelled until further notice. AB is confident that a new date can be set when volunteers can safely work on the willow-cutting.
Four or five new bird boxes need to be made and mounted in the woods.
A member pointed out that puddles and mud were a problem in the car park. AB explained that there is a large pile of bark chippings to one side which can be used by membersto fill in problem areas.
PO returned to discussing some progress on along-held plan to install a disabled footpath form the car park to the dipping pond. He had now secured permission for the path from the Public Rights of Way Officer and on that basis had agreed a specification with John Rowland (JR) and was now seeking updated quotes from a couple of approved contractors. Once these are received then a concerted effort of fundraising would need to commence as the cost was likely to be in the region of £15K to £17K.
PO also expressed his thanks to David Jeffries for assisting in discussing access adjacent to his land with JR, PO and PP are both pursuing funding applications from a variety of sources.
PO had submitted a “wish list” to Brother UK via their “Brother International Environment Volunteering Future Opportunity Scheme”, this potentially would provide both funding and manpower.
PP has submitted a bid for £500 to Stockport Local Fund to support projects to increase membership numbers and footfall on the Gatley Carrs site. CP explained that we need to have a safeguarding policy in place and 3 safeguarding officers. CM volunteered to act as a safety officer.
There was no other business.
Proposed next meeting - Tuesday 17th March 2020 at 7.30pm.