Gardens & wildlife

RHS Minutes 2019-10-16 AGM

Minutes of the 2019 AGM of the RHS - 16th Oct at Richmond House.

Tea, cake and coffee and the agenda attracted 38 people including Cllr Pete West and 11 of the 12 committee members (Jan still being unwell).

Annie reviewed the year's activities, drawing attention to a volunteer sign-up sheet for Playsafe volunteers, whilst describing the Playsafe days, associated adult activities (Plant Sale, Book Swap), adjacent events (Dog Show and Jumble Trail), community clean up with help of Good Gym volunteers, the May Festival play performed in Jan and Rusty's garden ('Clean' by Sam Chittenden), a potential Blue Plaque for 101 Round Hill Crescent (first hospital dealing with mental health issues for poorer women in Britain), Coffee mornings at Max and Rosi's Roundhill pub, Seasonal singing and Advent windows (Signing up list for advent windows available). Max and Rosi agreed that this year's seasonal singing could end at teh Roundhill. During all this Rob Stephenson received a rather lovely book of photographs covering the history of RHS actions over most of the last 20 years (Lovely thought, thanks very much RS) and Annie received a thank you and round of applause for all her great chairing as well as other involvement, plus a big bunch of dried flowers and a card.

Barbara summarised key points of our years accounts: £1753 came in and £670 went out. Reporter adverts brought in £610, Blue Plaque brought £522 and incidentals (Playsafe, plant sales, Singing, Jumble Trail, coffee mornings, garden Party, etc) garnered £621. Outgoings included Printing the Reporter £390, Seasonal singing money to charity £175, Dr Bike £60, BHHC subscription £35. We have £5636 in the bank.

Rob spoke about the Blue Plaque and the £200 received from the B&H Heritage Commission, and received support from the meeting to renew the BHHC subscription. The meeting also supported Rob's remaining on the B&H Comemmorative Plaque Panel as their representative.

During the Year we needed to examine our constitution with regard to setting up a new account and sub-group working on Greening, see later) and noted how the 'off the shelf' document was both over-lengthy and written in a very legalese style. Miriam undetook a re-drafting and editing job which the committee had discussed, amended a little and brought to the AGM for approval. After explanation and discussion the new constitution was agreed unanimously.

Annie told us who is leaving the committee (Annie herself and Vivien Eliades) or giving up a specific committee role (Barbara Harris ceases to be Treasurer), and told us of people who have agreed to take on Treasurer (Andrew Partington) and Chair (Miriam Stephens) roles. We then sought new committee members from the audience, and received the following who were nominated and seconded:

Jane Davey, Jo Alexander, Max Aben & Rosi Lawrence (job share)

The new committee was voted on as a single vote including the 3 officer functions (previous committee of 12 less Annie and Vivien, plus the 3 above, with Miriam as Chair, Andrew as Treasurer and Rob as Secretary).

Andrew outlined the Council's plan to install 200 electric car charging points (associated with lampposts, but not threatening our cast iron ones) and noted that none have been allocated for the Round Hill area. The Council is responding to stated demand, so anyone thinking of getting an electric car and not having off-road parking should ask Council to provide one near their home. There was some discussion of Chicken and Egg situation. Cllr West pointed out that the money was all from Government, not Council, funds, and there is no certainty of further future funding.

Although our promised Council Officer (Larissa Reed, Executive Director of Communities, Neighbourhoods and Housing) failed to appear or send a substitute we discussed the Veolia refuse transfer station fire and the lack of adequate feedback from both the Council and Veolia.

Pete West was upset at the complacency of the Fire Brigade who stated there was no toxic material in the waste - but how could they know? The gates being locked delayed access to the fire - the site is not staffed 24 hours. Refuse is stored on site overnight, something we have been told is not done.

The site is and has always been too small for the works carried out, has never had state of the art negative air pressure odour control as promised originally, and the only solution is to move it to a less populated place with space for better equipment. Pete West said the Greens favour Hangleton Bottom, as it is bigger and edge of town, and is already a registered waste handling site.

It was proposed that we write to the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee asking them to hear a deputation from us at their November meeting. Robin Morley also suggested we should ask to view the original risk assessment documents for the plant.

The highlight of the evening was a presentation and discussion led by Jane Power and Dominic Furlong on their ideas to Green parts of Round Hill. They have made contact with several parts of the Council and other bodies, and received generally a good response to their ideas for:

1 increasing the amount of planting at the existing road closure on Richmond Rd beside Mayo Rd. The fire brigade state they do not need a way through that point. Seating is another idea, but perhaps seating which can be folded up and locked overnight to detract from heavy late night gatherings. Bug hotel, mini-library box also suggested.

2 Reducing the very flared opening of Crescent Road onto Princes Crescent from the present 75 feet. This would help pedestrians feel safer and perhaps create space for a community garden. Initially Council's E,T & S committee have offered to white-line the splay area to indicate its for pedestrians. Mark Strong (at a meeting) suggested he could offer ideas to Jane.

3 On the broad paved space near the Ditchling Rd bus stop (and the bus shelter itself). Planting/creating planting spaces protected by raised edges will reduce pavement parking and give more soft landscape. A green roof to the bus shelter has been well received by the bus company - in fact they have a meeting at 2pm on 28th Oct at the bus shelter with reps from the company. Max of Roundhill pub wondered if they might grow some herbs for their kitchen there, others raised a spectre of pollution - without details.

It was recognised that anything created would need to be managed and maintained by Round Hill folk, and Jane and Dom are seeking potential volunteers for both design, build and maintenance stages - asking if they have any useful skills. Maude also noted that her allotment group have a good supply of native spp plants we might access. Dom and Jane have joined B&H Green Spaces Forum, as 'Round Hill Green Spaces'.

Robin Morley proposed that we give £1000 to Jane and Dom for the project, perhaps using it to seek matched funds. This was unanimously agreed. Recha Gries raised the issue of Sainsbury's beds, saying she had tried planting in them, but nothing grew. Maude Casey suggested we might obtain some Veolia green waste compost for them. Jane concluded by saying their biggest issue is identifying who in teh Council can give permission, fundraising, she thought, might be less of an issue. She did expect to pay for some professional advice and planning.

Eva drew the raffle and three prizes were awarded, a bottle of booze, something else? and the pinnacle: two tickets to the Duke of Yorks cinema (thank you the DoY picturehouse).

There was no Other Business but attendees were invited to stay and chat, sign up on the several lists available (Electric car charging points interest, Playsafe volunteer list, Greening Group volunteering, and Advent Window interest list) buy gift cards and donate to the Blue Plaque as well as eat more cake. We sold 20 packs of cards raising £50, £7.10 was donated towards the Plaque and cake/tea sales raised £20.50.

Return to the list of RHS MINUTES on our Committee Page

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