Minutes of the LVRA Annual General Meeting 20th November 2016

David Rhodes

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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Top Club on Sunday, 20 November 2016

Present: Karen Hawden (Chair), David Hempsall (Secretary), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer), David Rhodes (Social Media and Liaison Officer); Ian Booth and Jim Riley.

Apologies: Diane Ewart-Jones and Darryl Nugent (Treasurer).

1. Welcome
1.1 The Chair welcomed those attending to the association’s seventh AGM.
1.2 Though the meeting was not quorate, the Chair decided to proceed with business.
2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of 22 November 2015
2.1 The Minutes had been published beforehand.
2.2 Jim proposed and Bob 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. Chair’s Report

4.1 Karen said that she had found her first year as Chair and interesting and positive learning experience.

4.2 She had learnt a lot, especially when attending the Planning Inspector’s Appeal concerning BB4 8QT.

4.3 She had begun to appreciate how LVRA might influence decision-making and was pleased that the association’s activity brought a sense of identity to the three communities in LVRA’s area of operation.

4.4 During her first year in office, she had been committed to a course which occupied one in four weekends: in the coming year, she expected to become even more involved in LVRA’s business as well as getting stuck into her allotment.

5. Secretary’s Report
5.1 The Secretary’s Report is shown in full as Annex 1.
6. Treasurer’s Report
6.1 As Darryl was unable to attend, Bob presented on his behalf.
6.2 The Treasurer’s Report is shown in full as Annex 2.
7. LVAA Chairman’s Report
7.1 The LVAA Chairman’s report on Badgercote Allotments is shown as Annex 3.
8. Social Media and Liaison Officer’s Report
8.1 The SMLO’s report is shown in full as Annex 4.
9. Footpath Officer’s Report
9.1 The Footpath Officer’s Report is shown in full as Annex 5.
10. Any Other Business

10.1 Ian suggested that as attendance was so slight – perhaps attributable to the routine monthly meeting’s having been held only the previous Monday – the AGM might follow the routine meeting held in November.

10.2 Ian formally proposed the motion which was seconded by Jim; it was AGREED unanimously; ACTION by the Secretary who would put the issue on the Agenda of the meeting scheduled for Monday, 12 December 2016 at the Top Club for formal endorsement as per the constitution.

10.3 Ian asked that appreciation of the work of officers be recorded in the Minutes.

11. Election of Officers

11.1 All officers had indicated their willingness to serve for a further period of twelve months.

11.2 All officers were re-elected nem. con..

12. Dates of meetings

12.1 The next monthly meetings meeting would take place at 20.00 hrs on Monday, 12 December 2016 and on Monday, 9 January 2017 at the Top Club.

13. Close
13.1 The meeting closed at 16.38 hrs..

Annex 1 Secretary’s Report

My report this year will cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time and it comes with four headings.

First of all, as regards planning issues, the hearing by Mr Mike Hayden of the Planning Inspectorate of Mr Howieson’s appeal took place and, as you may remember, the case was won. Have no doubt: it will reappear. Nonetheless, given that Rossendale Borough Council was criticised for the status of its strategic plan, Mr Hayden upheld the principle of there being no significant new building to the west of the A682 Burnley Road. This was an important judgment.

In chronological order, I have dealt with issues surrounding 2 Commercial Street (re-submitted in 2016), the Pet Crematorium, The Glory (ongoing with Mr Ainsworth’s appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against RBC’s Enforcement Order) and 801 Burnley Road (where the issues involve both planning and licensing authorities).

Secondly, issues this year include the transfer of the Post Office to the Premier Convenience Store (which involved a meeting with the proprietor and the PR manager of the Post Office), illegal parking in Crawshawbooth (in part attributable to the re-location of the Post Office). Re-establishing Loveclough’s identity with the Royal Mail (an issue which has involved me in over two years’ work and which – I hope! – is now approaching resolution). My thanks are due to Bob and Darryl who, in their different ways, made very considerable contributions, not least to establishing where the boundaries of modern-day Loveclough actually lie. And, of course, there is the Community Centre (support for which the association continues to offer).

Thirdly, publications this year include the periodic Limey Leader, the most recent issue being delivered to all households this month, and the future of which – as I indicated at the previous monthly meeting – will need careful thought. We have also issued a 2016 edition of the Directory of businesses. This too proved to be a Herculean task.

Fourthly, events this year have been a modest disaster. The fate of the Summer Fete is well known and answers to some hard questions need to be given. The Ladies’ Night at the Village Centre was thinly attended but still turned a healthy surplus for association funds.

Finally, I have been kept in the loop over the Loveclough marker stone which was delivered this last week in a snow storm. Snaps of this – and its installation – will, no doubt, figure in the next issue of the Limey Leader. None the less, I regard the project as a metaphor for the association. Delivered in a storm – the association being formed in the storm of controversy surrounding RBC’s draft strategic plan in 2009 – the LVRA established sound foundations, is now securely upright and is – I think -regarded as a permanent fixture on the local scene. Certainly both residents and council officers now turn to the association for its input on any number of issues and that is a very, very healthy state of affairs. I think it appropriate in this setting to ask those of you who have a glass to hand to raise it and to join me in saying: Long may it continue!

David Hempsall

Annex 2 Treasurer’s Report
Balance at bank 4059.83
Cash on hand 117.00
———–
4176.83
Less monies held on behalf
Of Goodshawfold pride and 500.00
Footpath Fund 125.69
———–
Nett Balance £3551.04
———–

The balance approximates to that at the time of the previous AGM.

The lack of income from the Summer Fete, and lower rates of advertising in the Limey Leader account for most of this. However the bank balance is quite healthy at over £3500.00.

I would make two recommendations:

We investigate the possibility of a 2017 Summer Fete together with a discussion regarding additional events which, apart from being to the benefit of the community, generate income. Secondly we re-evaluate the Limey Leader with a view to formulating a strategy for regular advertising. With these in mind I would recommend the meeting seeks volunteers to help develop an events programme for 2017 and other members who would undertake to approach businesses to secure advertising in any of the four editions of the Limey Leader. No offer of help is too small.

To cover costs each 12 page issue needs 5 quarter page ads. Any additional advertisements are profit.

Darryl Nugent

Annex 3 LVAA Chairman’s Report
There is little to report other than to reiterate the items mentioned at the regular meetings. The allotments are progressing satisfactorily with only one Easy Access plot remaining vacant. Despite the climate and altitude, tenants have reported a good harvest.
The association plans to start development of the land outside the site for community use. Offers of help/involvement will speed up this process. The allotment association goes into 2017 with a healthy bank balance which will be directed towards funding a community building in due course.

Darryl Nugent

Annex 4 Social Media and Liaison Officer’s Report

At the 2015 AGM, I said that I wanted to increase awareness of the LVRA through the Facebook page, Twitter and the website. The figures show a steady rise in engagement with the community through social media platforms.

At 2014 AGM we had 347 Facebook followers, in 2015 that figure had risen by 45% to 502. Over the last year there has been a further increase of 20% and as of today we have 606 Facebook followers.

At 2014 AGM we had 44 Twitter followers, in 2015 that figure had risen by 125% to 99 and today we have a slight increase to 116 Twitter followers. I did not expect a marked increase in Twitter followers as this platform is a much more niche application. There is a limit of 144 characters so therefore more succinct and immediate in its effect. Although lots of people use Facebook on their smartphones, Twitter is an app for the person who is really on the go. It is important to maintain presence on this app though and I will continue to Tweet including links to Facebook and website posts.

I am also thinking of expanding onto Instagram to share some of the lovely photos we already publish regularly on Facebook.

Last year I said I would look at the website presence of LVRA and LVAA and following the cessation of hosting service by Dean Bartlett-Smith due to a sudden job change, Darryl and I sat down to find the best package that suited our needs. We now have full control and responsibility for the LVRA and Badgercote Allotments websites and I have spent some time redesigning the look of the LVRA site and how it can be navigated.

Facebook posts regularly point to pages on the website such as the meeting minutes and any events or articles of interest.

I recently did a short interview with Edmund Dixon who is one of the LVAA allotmenteers and also a published poet. It is articles such as this which help to promote the vast talent and beauty of the Limey Valley.

We also have a very useful page to assist residents in understanding the criteria which can be considered when lodging an objection against any planning development or applications which have been submitted.

I will be turning my attentions to the Badgercote site next and together with Darryl we will see if there is a need to redesign and/or expand on the information published.

Last year I said we would look at live broadcast of meetings, that idea has been carefully considered but rejected for the moment. This is in the main because it does not currently align with the way we want to promote the LVRA. Ideally we need people to physically come to the meeting and we already offer the opportunity for those who are unable to attend to contribute by way of live Facebook posts during meetings. Non-attendees are invited to message in live to the meeting so their questions or points can be raised at the appropriate point. We have had some use of that facility on a couple of occasions so it seems sufficient to continue with just that option at the moment.

Last year, I also said I would look at publishing a page devoted to walking in the Limey Valley with some downloadable GPS files and maps. That is something that I am still working on and I am hoping to have something published around spring 2017.

I am aware that I have been criminally underusing the notice boards this year and that is something I aim to rectify in the coming months.

So lastly, some housekeeping…. you can find us on

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David Rhodes

Annex 5 Footpath Officer’s Report

I remarked at the end of my report to the 2015 AGM “that The New Year will no doubt throw up new challenges” and indeed it has proven to be so. The first item which affected me in the New Year was the wholesale dismissal of “Bob’s Walks” which was voted out even by members who do not walk – “a strange state of affairs”! Considering the amount of work I had put into the venture I really did think that the walks deserved a second chance – however that was not to be and “Bob’s Walks” were duly consigned to history. However the resulting vacuum was quickly filled as I had a Modification Order on Footpath Rawtenstall No4 to complete which had turned into a tour de force – a task Councillor Barnes stated quite correctly at the time as “like plaiting fog”.

I stated in my report to the 2015 AGM (accurately at the time) that I was preparing one MO. However, this situation changed at the very last minute when LCC raised concerns that the information presented may be misinterpreted and the MO could fail on reasons that, although the evidence submitted was accurate, it was not absolutely clear. Therefore I was advised to present two MOs, one as a deletion order to take the path out of the river, and the second an additional order to place the said path on the river bank (where in reality it already exists). I took a break, then a very deep breath and unpicked the work I had already done. This, although time consuming and exasperating, did give me a chance to include some last minute evidence that had come to light, but as a consequence the posting of the MO was delayed by several months.

The MOs as presented to Lancashire County Council were as detailed and as accurate as I could possible make them and amounted to a total of 369 pages of evidence, which constituted 81 Evidence Of Use On Foot documents (4 pages each), 4 pages of copied selective evidence, 5 photocopied pages of actual evidence documents along with 13 maps, 15 pages containing 29 photos and 8 pages of written evidence containing 5,546 words to support the MOs. In my reports I often make light of the situation – but it is in fact extremely serious. The path in question is an ancient track way and the only viable link between footpaths to the North and East of Loveclough Fold and the paths to the South and West, and simply cannot be allowed to be lost. As I compiled this report the process continues and history will show if I am any good at plaiting fog!

One thing very often leads to another and the MOs did have one positive spin off and that was to help with a subject that had been coursing through the veins of the LVRA for some time – that of the village boundary and a marker stone identifying the areas of Loveclough and Goodshaw, along with defining a separate postal area for Loveclough. During preparation of the MOs I had access to maps of this area going back to the mid 1600s, and these provided the foundation for a map of Loveclough which in Rossendale is possibly unique. The final map in no way can pretend to be based on historic boundary lines and really makes the best of a bad job. Indeed the historic boundaries have disappeared under bricks, mortar and tarmac and today Loveclough largely decapitates the ancient manor of Goodshawbooth! But the job was done and the rest as members know is being brought to a staggered but hopefully successful conclusion.

During this last year a major footpath survey of the area around Willows Farm and Folly Clough was undertaken. A total of 11 stiles, 9 sign posts or way marker posts are missing with a total of 5 blocked footpaths. It is a small but significant area and its current state reflects some of the wider issues with the footpath network, which the survey I started in the winter of 2013/14 brought to light. This survey quickly revealed a considerable number of problems with the footpath network and in the area from Dunnockshaw to Goodshaw (9 square kilometres) within the Limey Valley watershed produced the statistic that of the 63 paths shown on the map just 22 could be said to be in regular use, and also showed that the footpaths on the east side of the valley are used disproportionately more than those on the west.

One factor that is crystal clear is that LCC does not have the resources to meet the work revealed and even if the LVRA had the resources we do not have the expertise or manpower to tackle some of the larger jobs. But recently, through the good offices of our Liaison Officer, I was directed to make contact with the Rossendale Ramblers who have formed a partnership with Martins Countryside Contractors, who do footpath work for LCC and other unitary authorities. The great benefit is that they have the manpower, machinery, expertise and insurance plus the all-important contacts with LCC to get jobs done. All that is missing from this equation is the necessary funding – this is a task I have already started on and will make it a priority in the coming year.

And this brings me very nicely to the footpath fund. Members will from time to time be aware of mention that expenses have been withdrawn from the footpath fund. The footpath fund comes from an annual payment made from LCC as the LVRA is in the Public Rights of Way Scheme. The money is for expenses incurred in any activity regarding the footpath network that we engage in. The first payment was made in 2015 but no expenses withdrawn – that cannot be said for this year as I have made extensive withdrawals!! A full and detailed account sheet is provided with this report. And finally I would like to thank the members who have turned out to support the work on the footpaths over the year.

Source

Details

Method Income Outgoings Balance
Opening Balance

0

0

0

Lancashire CC Grant 04/2015 AP 0942892 BACS

245.00

245.00

Lancashire CC Grant 04/2016 AP 1176118 BACS

200.00

445.00

Bob Postage for Modification Order Cash

11.00

434.00

Bob Postage all notices of intent X9 £1.73 each Cash

15.57

418.43

Bob Two bags of cement Cash

13.14

405.29

Bob One 60mt Tape (for FP Survey work) etc Card

25.00

380.29

Bob Fixings for sign post Card

30.61

349.68

Bob Strimmer from Screw Fix Card

174.99

174.69

Bob Safety equipment Card

49.25

125.44

Closing balance 2016

125.44

Bob Nicholas

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