Minutes of LVRA Annual General Meeting 22nd November 2015

David Rhodes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Top Club on Sunday, 22 November 2015

Present: Derrick Bartlett-Smith (Chairman), Karen Hawden (Chair Designate), David Hempsall (Secretary), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer), Darryl Nugent (Treasurer), David Rhodes (Social Media and Liaison Officer); Barbara Ashworth, Julian Ashworth, Cllr Alyson Barnes, Ann Corkin, David Corkin, John Dawson, Stephen Glenholmes, Richard Green, Stuart Lewis, , Jim Riley, Trish Rhodes and Tony Winder.

Apologies: Ian Booth, Michael Dop, Diane Ewart-Jones, Lewis Pearson, Frank Pilkington, Neil Prestwich

1. Welcome
1.1 The Chairman welcomed all those attending to the association’s sixth AGM.
2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 17 November 2014
2.1 The Minutes had been circulated beforehand.
2.2 Bob proposed and Julian seconded acceptance of the Minutes as a true record of the previous Annual General Meeting.
2.3 The meeting APPROVED the minutes nem con.
3. Matters arising from minutes
3.1 There were no matters arising.
4. Chairman’s Report
4.1 The Chairman’s Report is shown in full as Annex 1.
5. Secretary’s Report
5.1 The Secretary’s Report is shown in full as Annex 2.
6. Treasurer’s Report
6.1 Whereas balances in November 2014 stood at £3,028.50, in November 2015 those had risen to £4,323.00.
6.2 The principal reason for the uplift, said Darryl, was profits flowing from the Summer Fete, advertising in the Limey Leader and proceeds of the Ladies’ Night.
6.3 The balances included £245.00 for the Footpath Fund, as yet unexpended.
6.4 Keeping the balances up would be important, given the need to replace the defibrillator battery in the not-too-distant future; the battery was currently displaying 25% charge: Stuart suggested alternative sourcing of batteries and Alyson concurred, suggesting that with 19 defibrillators in the area, there would be merit in bulk purchasing.
6.5 LVAA
6.5.1 Wearing his LVAA Chairman’s hat, Darryl was pleased with progress at Badgercote Allotments: in 12 months, an area of rough grass had been transformed thanks to support from Rossendale Borough Council, the Lottery grant and a lot of hard graft by the allotmenteers.
6.5.2 He hoped it would be possible to sell surpluses of produce on behalf of the association in due course and that Open Days were being considered.
6.5.3 Plans for 2016 included work on the margins of the site: for willow coppicing, for Incredible Edible (still committed to establishing a presence), apiary (an application to the Duchy of Lancaster for hives would be made), and establishing fruit bushes around the perimeter from which members of the public would be free to pick.
6.5.4 Dog-walkers seemed, by and large, to be respecting the allotments with very little fouling.
7. Footpaths Officer’s Report
7.1 The FPO’s report is shown in full as Annex 3.
7.2 In response to Bob’s report, Alyson said she shared Bob’s frustration that, so far as footpaths are concerned, legislation is sometimes counter-intuitive; she offered Bob whatever support she could.
7.3 Karen drew attention to Bob’s Christmas Walk, scheduled for 27 December, details of which would be posted in due course.
8. Social Media and Liaison Officer’s Report
8.1 The SMALO’s Report is shown in full as Annex 4.
9. LVEG Chairman’s Report
9.1 Steve reminded the meeting that LVEG did not exist twelve months ago.
9.2 Having been constituted, LVEG continued to work with Proffitts: whilst two applications for Lottery funding under the Awards for All banner had been rejected, a third attempt would be made; kin addition, support would be sought from Tesco’s Groundwork scheme to enhance the park play areas.
9.3 Two other applications for funding were under consideration for 2016.
9.4 LVEG now had premises on Badgercote Allotments, namely its own shed.
9.5 Litter-picking on the 2nd Sunday of every month was continuing with coordination with the Crawshawbooth group being established.
10. Any Other Business
10.1 Alyson expressed appreciation of the association’s work and, in particular, thanked Derrick for all his work.
11. Election of Officers
11.1 Having been duly nominated, Karen was elected to serve as Chair nem con..
11.2 Other officers, having declared their willingness to serve, were elected nem con..
12. Dates of meetings
12.2 It was AGREED that the practice of holding meetings on the second Monday of the month, instituted following the AGM 0f 2014, had proved very successful.
12.3 It was AGREED that the next meeting would take place at 20.00 hrs on Monday, 14 December 2015 at the Top Club.
12.4 It was AGREED that all future meetings would be held at the Top Club; ACTION by the Chair who would make a block booking.
13. Close
13.1 The meeting closed at 16.45 hrs..
 

Annex 1 Chairman’s Report

Whilst as an organisation we are only a small cog in the wheel of today’s democracy we do make a difference. Over the last 6 years we have been an active partner with the council and have supported several of their measures as a critical friend and not as with some residents as “nimby’s”

Over the last year, many will have noticed our campaign to relocate the Post Office, replies to several planning applications and appeals and our organising the summer fun day and the Ladies Night.

One of our first campaigns to assist in getting our name out there was to organise our Footpath Officer Bob’s walks, to let people know our area. This has been a success in many ways enabling people to know the area. Everyone that has been on one has said how enjoyable they are with many pictures ending up on Facebook. Unfortunately the numbers attending have not been great, so perhaps Bob’s Christmas Walk will get more members out there. Please pass the word.

It is good to know that the defibrillator has not been used but it won’t be long before we need to replace the batteries. Apparently there is also a defibrillator now placed at Harvey Longworth.

This year we have had the allotments up and running. our gardeners having their first crop. At lot of hard work has been put in by Darryl to help purchase equipment and transport sheds greenhouses and much more. There will be more later from our allotment chairman Darryl.

The Glory has been subject to several comments from our members with the actions of Mr Ainsworth causing concern and annoyance even after we gave him our support in his application.

Two years ago at our AGM we said that the developers would be back and put in appeals against the refusal of planning decisions. There are three at Bristol at the moment and our Secretary has been very busy replying with the relevant paperwork to back up the council and try to keep the west side of Burnley Road free of building.

Another building application has been put in to Lancashire County Council regarding a proposed development of the Pet Cemetery. The details have just been released and will be put on the agenda for the next meeting.

Our Summer Fete was another success (apart from keeping our legs crossed) and raised awareness and a profit. David did another good and profitable job by organizing with Lara Hewitt a second Ladies’ Night. We plucked success from potential disaster at the Bonfire Night; our grateful thanks for all that he has done must go to Steve Counsell.

The Limey Leader has turned out to be a great asset to us. There is another Directory planned for early next year so if you have a business in our area or know someone that has who would like to be listed, please contact our Secretary.

One of the other significant advances we have made this year is the extra assistance given to us by David Rhodes who has taken over as Social Media and Liaison Officer, updating our website and managing our Facebook and Twitter accounts. David has even been known to keep members up to date as the meetings go on.

As this is my last day as Chairman, I would like to ask our members to support our committee in all their endeavours and to say Thank you to all helpers, from those that give an hour now and then to those for whom it is almost a full time job.

Derrick Bartlett-Smith

 

Annex 2 Secretary’s Report

It’s been another very busy 12 months. I’ve despatched 22 letters, just over 1300 e-mails and issued 7 Press Releases. Another statistic: I’ve written just over 20,000 words on the association’s behalf for one purpose or another.

Last year, I said: “A year ago, we were anticipating not so much a battle as a protracted campaign over BB4 8QY – a.k.a. the Howieson/Luxton proposal to build 15 houses – and how right we were with the third application now submitted.” Here we are two years on with Mr Howieson’s appeal now lodged with the Planning Inspectorate. For my part, I am delighted that we chose to engage with Mr Howieson and his agent Mr Luxton. We’ve learnt an enormous amount from seeing the whole process through and it will serve us well when the next developer whose plans are hostile to the interests of residents hoves into view.

This year, as last, we’ve issued four Limey Leaders. The association is grateful to Dave Hughes for his ongoing commitment to printing the Leader at mate’s rates and to those who go out in all weathers to deliver the journal free to every household. Over the past year, there has been a subtle change in our stance. In the most recent issue, for instance, you may well have detected the first signs of a campaigning approach which is, of course, an entirely logical development of the LVRA’s stance over BB4 8QY. I refer to the two articles in the recent issue, on illegal parking in the village and on the wholly mistaken transfer of the Post Office’s business to an unsuitable location. You will be interested to learn that we have been approached by the Post Office whose officials are seeking a face-to-face meeting with association officers. My view is that a meeting should go ahead and that here is considerable merit in Bob Nicholas’ suggestion that the meeting be on open to the public. Watch this space.

I’ve been pleased to include a new section in the Leader, that of LVEG whose battle to secure some funding for the refurbishment of Loveclough Park in ongoing. Over the year, I’ve continued to service the LVRA, the LVAA (from which I have now stepped down as Acting Secretary) and the Fete Steering Group. This last is to be congratulated on the enormous success of our summer event and on the truly superb contribution they made to the recent Bonfire Party at the Top Club by providing hot food to the revellers. Well done!

I’ve also done other bits and pieces representing the association with outside bodies ranging from – of course – the Development Control Committee to the Rossendale Flood Forum. That meeting was well worth my attending and I learnt a lot.

Of all the issues I flagged last year, however, none has given me greater pleasure than to see the increasing involvement of residents of Penny Lodge in all aspects of our work. John, Neil, Michael and Stuart have become stalwarts of the association and long may that continue. It’s been really good to have them aboard.

Two years ago, I got an enormous amount of flak for daring to suggest that over the coming years and with the impact of austerity only barely being felt, measures taken by central government would bite harder and harder and that non-statutory services currently provided by local authorities would increasingly fall to community groups like ours to run if, indeed, they were to survive at all. Well, that’s exactly where we are now: we’ll all have read about the proposed reduction in library services across the land. It’s going to get worse. I shall make one prediction and it is this. Whether we like it or not, the association will have to become increasingly political if it is to serve the interests of its community. By that, I don’t mean party political but let me give one, current example. When something like what is currently being proposed to reduce further numbers in the police service, it is not a party political point to raise your – indeed our – voice in protest. In future, from time to time, I think the LVRA can afford to raise its eyes above the local horizon and speak out – as and when appropriate – when broader issues impinge upon the welfare of this locality.

It’s time for me to wind up. I shall do so by making reference to our retiring Chairman. I know, I know: no one could call Derrick retiring! The fact is that just over six years ago, he put his reputation – such as it is! – on the line by opposing the council’s plans for our area as outlined in the draft Core Strategy. He and I are, I think, the longest serving members of that original, core group which got together, took soundings and together produced Option 4. Initially, I think Derrick was a bit suspicious of this very recent incomer with a funny accent. Over the years, we’ve worked together as colleagues and – I like to think – good mates. Derrick can look on the LVRA as his “baby” which in the intervening six years has come a long way and accomplished a bit too. In congratulating Derrick on all he’s achieved for his community, I’m sure he will agree with me that the association will need to identify new and sometimes different routes when it comes to promoting the interests of our area of operation. I know that Derrick feels that it is time for someone with a fresh approach to come in and identify just what those routes may be. That being so, I look forward enormously to working with Karen – should you decide to elect her! – in the future.

David Hempsall

 

Annex 3 Footpaths Officer’s Report

Item 1 This last year began on a quiet note with as usual my preparation of the coming year’s walks. It did not remain that way for long, as it was increasingly evident that in order to bring some semblance of common-sense to the unfolding footpath situation in Loveclough Fold I would have to place a modification order on Lancashire County Council to sort out the definitive path through the area. This work of course went hand in hand with various other LVRA activities that fall both in and out of my remit. This included preparing the annual walking programme of 8 summer walks. I reported 7 serious footpath defects to LCC which came to light during my footpath survey, and helped with some 27 various footpaths enquiries from members of the community. One other important task, which I am sure will be a benefit to the area in the future, was to get the LVRA included into LCCs’ public rights of way scheme. With all the communication required regarding my various activities I have sent in the last year some 194 emails.

Item 2 Five years ago our Chairman asked me to do “some walks” for the LVRA. This would provide an ongoing activity, healthy exercise, a social outlet, and fly the flag for the LVRA. The walks did not materialise by magic; all the walks required a good deal of work in planning, preparation and surveying. In the course of work associated with the preparation and execution of the walks I did indeed get plenty of fresh air and exercise having covered some 383 miles. A total of 43 walks (i.e. those not affected by the weather, illness or cancelled) were available. Disappointingly 50% had no attendance and the average attendance on walks has just been 3 walkers. It is clear that the sum of effort in relation to result is somewhat on the negative side. I will shortly be in touch with my colleagues on the committee regarding the situation. I am personally disappointed, but rather reluctant to bin the walks as I believe possibly with a different approach they could be more successful.

Item 3 One job this year has consumed a great deal of my spare time, that being at first the daunting prospect of preparing and serving of a Modification Order on Footpath No.4 Rawtenstall in Loveclough Fold on Lancashire County Council. The footpath situation in Loveclough Fold is in a nutshell a very complicated issue. The whole business has been summed up very nicely by Cllr Alyson Barnes who likened it to “plaiting fog”. The circumstances were made more complex because at the eleventh hour LCC decided that due to the intricate nature of the footpaths in the Fold and in the interest of clarity I should present two MO’s. One would prove that a footpath had never existed in the Limey River and delete the definitive path put there by mistake! The second would provide proof that the path on the South East bank of the River Limey some 2 to 3 metres to the side was in fact the correct location for the definitive path through the area.

After going back to the drawing board, (and taking a very deep breath) I unpicked all the evidence and after doing a great deal of reorganising, two MOs have arisen and been finally completed. The evidence presented to LCC resembles a small book, with some 5,284 words of accompany text and 17 maps. 21 photographs make up the central part of the evidence presented along with 87 evidence of use on foot forms giving a grand total of some 287 pages.

The MOs will hopefully lead after over half a century to the footpath situation in Loveclough Fold relating to the definitive path being resolved. I do anticipate some resistance from Dwell Developments but I believe that the evidence submitted to be strong enough to have any objection overturned. This is of course only the start of what could be a very long drawn out process lasting possibly several years. It will definitively not be over till the fat lady sings and I will be with her all the way!

Item 4 Over the year I have commented at various meetings on the on – off situation with LCC regarding works with the footpath network. There are a good many factors why although started with good intent the works have been to the most part stalled. One has simply been that I have found myself overstretched time wise – the others are a combination of communication difficulties with LCC, and land owners. Obtaining the correct tools has proven to be looking for a needle in a haystack as LCC would not provide them. A typical example of the situation is that just the simple act of placing a signpost takes weeks to get the utility clearances.

However having learned a great deal from my experiences this year, and hopefully not having to place any more MOs, I intend to implement a different approach to the job of footpath sign placement and indeed any other work that needs doing to be one step ahead of the game. The New Year will no doubt throw up new challenges and problems, but I’m optimistic that it will be a good and productive one.

To all the following a big thank you for helping with the Modification Oder so far!!

From the LVRA

David Hempsall

Lewis Pearson

Cllr Alyson Barnes

And all members who signed the Evidence of Use on Foot Forms

From the Ramblers (Rossendale and Bury)

Arnold Sampson (Footpaths Officer)

Chair: Ed Husband (Chairman and Footpaths Officer)

And all members who signed E.U.F.F.

Everyone within Rossendale and far afield who filled in a E.U.F.F

Burnley Mountaineering Club

Clitheroe Climbing Club

Lancashire climbing Club

Pennine Footpath Society

Staff at Lancaster University

Staff at Rawtenstall Library

Staff at Lancashire County Council for guiding me through the maze

To anyone I may have overlooked.

And last but definitely not least my wife Kathryn, for lots of encouragement, tea and biscuits and putting up with being a modification order widow.

Bob Nicholas
 

Annex 4 Social Media & Liaison Officer’s Report

The internet (as we know it today) started to be used for things other than military and academia circa 1995. In the 21 years that have passed, it has been estimated to have grown 100 times in size. You can push a button and within milliseconds send a photograph or email thousands of miles across the world. But the LVRA’s aspirations are not quite so grand…. Our goal is to connect with the whole community in a variety of ways and of course that means embracing the digital age and everything that comes with it.

I took over the role as SMAL officer in March 2014. Despite the acronym, it is far from a small job, but of course that can be said for every role within the LVRA. How do you make somebody become interested in their local area and what goes on outside their front door? The answer is within the infamous saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. So my role is to try and use the social media platform to promote the LVRA, its own and partner activities (LVAA, LVEG, local organisations) and engage with as many people as possible.

As I reported last year, the association deals with planning and development issues and other events that on occasion have been time-critical and required the immediate dissemination of information and appropriate action. The LVRA Facebook page and Twitter feed have been instrumental in spreading the word quickly.

At the last AGM I reported that we had 347 Facebook followers and I am really pleased to report that the number has risen by 45% and we are now at 502. This rise has been specifically due to four specific incidents:

  • Hapton Way domestic burglary August 2014

  • Lives & Landscapes consultation

  • Development at BB4 8QY.

  • Crawshawbooth Post Office “consultation”: in the interests of accuracy I will enclose the word “consultation” in quotation marks, as I and many others thought the term both laughable and improperly used.

Highlights of Facebook postings during that time have been:

  • Annual promotion of the “Kids in Rossendale” charity event in the village organised by Paula Riley

  • Promotion of the LVRA 2015 Summer Fete.

  • Bobs walks photo albums

  • BB4 8QY development

  • Top Club Bonfire

  • The Glory

  • The Hapton Way Burglary

  • Crawshawbooth Community Centre birthday

These are the incidents which have created the most engagement such as views, sharing and comments.

We’ve also promoted:

  • The Corner Cafe

  • Offers and events at The Village Wool Shop

  • Other local events including Rakefoot drop in mornings

  • Riley’s Butchers, Bowowmiaow, Valley Choir and The Corner Cafe for their individual successes in various awards ceremonies

  • Valley Academy’s productions, not that they need it! There are lots of local children involved and the shows are very popular usually selling out in advance.

As to Twitter, whereas in November 2014, we had 44 Followers, by November 2015 there were 99 Followers, an increase of 125%. All Facebook posts are automatically transferred to the Twitter feed.

On 7th November 2015 I posted: “Food tent ready and a few early attenders…… Will we run out of Hot Dogs?” which was ‘favourited’ by a local developer already known to us! The cover photograph of our Facebook and Twitter accounts are changed regularly to show varied views of our local area and promote LVRA events.

Turning to the Website, last year I said that I wanted to:

  • Provide links to download online documents – now utilised for booking forms and planning objections

  • Provide links to download other files such as GPS waypoint files for Bob’s Walks, something I’m still looking into.

Future ideas include a live audio/video broadcast of our meetings via the internet – for those who are unable to attend the meetings due to infirmity or unavailability. Current “participation” exists in the format of live tweets and Facebook posts during meetings. This enables any reader unable to be physically present in the room to message me with any questions or issues they wish to put before the meeting. This is something that will be discussed at the next LVRA monthly meeting to gauge other residents’ and officers’ views and to ascertain any potential legal issues which may affect such activity.

I will continue to spread word of the work that the LVRA is doing through Social Media but it is crucial that the existing members sign up to our feeds and share with friends, family and other like-minded individuals.

You can find and follow us at Facebook, Twitter and our very own website.

David Rhodes

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