Minutes of the LVRA Annual General Meeting 13th November 2017

David Rhodes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held at the Top Club on Monday, 13 November 2017

Present: Karen Hawden (Chair), David Hempsall (Secretary), Darryl Nugent (Treasurer), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer), David Rhodes (Liaison and Social Media Officer); Barbara Ashworth, Julian Ashworth, Richard Ball, Ian Booth, David Cairns, John Clements, Cllr Dorothy Farrington, Roger Fulton, Steve Glenholmes, Marie Hargreaves, Peter Holt, Michael Howard, Ken Iveson, Sandra Lawson, Lewis Pearson, Frank Pilkington, David Pilling, Jean Pilling, Neil Prestwich, Paul Spurr, Barbara St John, Barbara Walton, Eric Walton, Ann White and Chris Whiting.

Apologies: Cllr Alyson Barnes, Ann Corkin, David Corkin, Cllr David Foxcroft, Barbara Gerken and Margaret Rae.

1. Opening of the Annual General Meeting

1.1 Karen welcomed all those attending and opened the meeting.

2. Election of Meeting Chair

2.1 David proposed and Eric seconded Karen’s chairing the meeting.

2.2 The proposal was AGREED, nem. con..

3. Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting held on 20 November 2016

3.1 Bob proposed and Darryl seconded acceptance of the Minutes as a true record.

3.2 The proposal was AGREED, nem. con..

4. Matters arising

4.1 There were no matters arising.

5. Presentation of the annual reports

5.1 Chair

5.1.1 Karen highlighted the success of LVEG in promoting the refurbishment of Loveclough Park, drawing attention to a story which would appear in the Limey Leader in due course.

5.1.2 LVRA had monitored proposed planning issues, responding where appropriate as at (for example) 801 Burnley Road.

5.1.3 She commended the successful attempts to get Loveclough “back on the map”, specifically in dealings with the Royal Mail and the installation of the southern boundary marker stone.

5.1.4 Bob’s ongoing efforts as Footpaths Officer had brought particular benefits.

5.1.5 Bridges seemed currently to feature very prominently on the Agenda, specifically Folly Clough and Commercial Street.

5.1.6 The association’s various web presences were proving very popular, not east in drawing residents’ attention to issues of the moment.

5.1.7 The LVAA’s Badgercote allotments gave every indication of thriving with plans for greater community involvement now well advanced.

5.1.8 Karen thanked her fellow officers for their continuing efforts on behalf of the community.

5.2 Secretary

5.1 David H’s report is shown in full as Annex 1.

5.3 Treasurer

5.3.1 Darryl reported that whereas funds a year previously had stood at £3,390, they currently totalled £4,340.

5.3.2 On the face of it, the situation looked sound but the reality was rather different: funds had been enhanced by one very significant and generous donation and improved slightly by advertising revenue generated by the Limey Leader.

5.3.3 The situation had been helped by not running a loss-making fete but the reality was that there had to be greater income generating activity in future.

5.4 Footpaths Officer

5.4.1 Bob’s report is shown in full as Annex 2.

5.4.2 Paul thanked Bob specifically for his promoting the Folly Clough bridge issue.

5.5 Social Media & Liaison Officer

5.5.1 David R’s report is shown in full as Annex 3.

6. Election of Officers for 2017-2018

6.1 The Secretary reported that whereas current officers had all indicated their willingness to serve for a further period of 12 months, no additional nominations had been received.

6.2 Chris proposed and Richard B seconded a block election of officers: this was AGREED, nem. con..

6.3 Officers for 2017/2018 will, therefore, be: Karen Hawden (Chair), David Hempsall (Secretary), Darryl Nugent (Treasurer), Bob Nicholas (Footpaths Officer), and David Rhodes (Liaison and Social Media Officer).

7. Any other business

7.1 Future meetings: dates and location

7.1.1 It was AGREED the now usual pattern of utilising the 2nd Monday of each month should continue, so that meetings in 2018 would be held as follows: 8 January, 12 February, 12 March, 9 April, 14 May, 11 June, 9 July, 13 August, 10 September, 8 October, 12 November (including AGM) and 10 December.

7.1.2 The meeting AGREED that the Top Club remained the preferred venue; ACTION by the Chair who would liaise with Mandy to arrange for meetings to continue at the Top Club.

8. Close of the Meeting

8.1 Karen closed the Annual General Meeting at 20.16 hrs.

Annex 1 Secretary

LVRA is entering its ninth year of operation and is showing every sign now of being a mature organisation, able to cope with both long-running issues and short-term, one-offs.

Looking back to the Minutes of 12 months ago, some issues have been and come and gone whilst others remain with us. Amongst the former – been and come and gone – were re-establishing the identity of Loveclough both with the Royal Mail and with an appropriate marker stone on the southern boundary. Tick; tick. There was on the table a proposal to house a convenience store at 801 Burnley Road. Residents were opposed, LVRA represented their views and eventually the application was defeated. Tick. Some issues remain with us. Two appeals made to the Planning Inspectorate against RBC’s decisions affecting the re-development of The Glory were rejected; implementation of the inspector’s rulings by the developer is yet to be completed. The future of St John’s was up for debate; it still is. The state of Folly Clough bridge was brought to the association’s attention as a matter of concern; it still is.

As ever with an organisation like ours in which our views are sought on matters of planning, we’ve won some and lost some. We lost on proposals to build behind 2 Commercial Street. We won only a partial victory when plans for three dwellings adjacent to the CPA Bowling Green were rejected but revised plans for two dwellings have recently been approved, though there remain significant issues touching the Commercial Street/Loveclough Fold bridge and its use by heavy vehicles.

There have been genuine successes. I’ve already mentioned 801 Burnley Road. LVRA was party of RBC’s objections to the proposed re-development of the Pet Crematorium, plans for which were rejected. Equally, association support for Steve Forsythe’s plans appear to have held some sway. It was interesting to learn from Steve that when composing his plans, he was advised to seek the association’s view on what he was proposing. That I think shows how, over the past eight years, LVRA has demonstrated that it is not nimby-ish and that it is an organisation to which planners can turn in the expectation of a considered response.

This was exemplified when LVRA made its submission to RBC on the council planners’ Proposed Local Plan for Rossendale. LVRA’s submission was acknowledged on the very day of its receipt and reassurance on some very specific issues given by Principal Planner Adrian Smith who had spoken at the RBC Roadshow which toured the borough, including a session at the Top Club.

Some issues have come on to our Agenda and await resolution. Of these, the most worrying is the devastation wrought to the former Colebrand site. I would wish to reiterate my – our – appreciation of the rapid response by RBC’s officers which has, for the time being at least, arrested the depredations.

Some issues seem insoluble. The state of Folly Clough bridge may yet find its Saviour, be that an individual or a collective. Issues of traffic management go on and on and are bound to do so if drivers – as they seem to in this area – include a high proportion of the thoughtless and wholly selfish. I remain worried for the association’s long-term future, given the reluctance of residents to contribute in either or both of time and money to fund our work. The generosity of the very few allied to income generation via the Limey Leader is appreciated but doesn’t constitute a sound foundation for what officers would like to see: that is growth, rather than simply staying as we are.

The Limey Leader continues to generate interest in the immediate hinterland. Whilst it cannot match the instantaneous responses elicited by our splendid Social Media and Liaison Officer’s electronic postings, the Leader continues to offer a user-friendly outlet which, besides reaching the technophobes amongst us, allows some degree of editorial comment. Look out for the forthcoming issue and, in particular, the full story of Richard and Oden’s medal discovery with its very, very happy ending.

In closing, let me express my appreciation of the work of my fellow officers. They have been immensely supportive (as always) and residents can feel genuinely assured that on the issues which affect us all, their interests are being – and will continue to be – very well served.

Annex 2 Footpaths Officer

Over the last twelve months I seem to have been producing an average of two reports per meeting with the AGM being the “crème-de-la-crème” with four reports in hand. Besides writing the above mentioned reports I have also penned 1059 words for Limey Leader Footnotes column and replied to 9 enquiries about the local footpath network. I have also compiled 5 Public Rights Of Way reports to Lancashire County Council detailing problems with the footpath network, along with time spent doing background research in the year on my latest Modification Order and some forward investigation on the next.

In May I was instrumental in the final procurement of the Loveclough Goodshaw village sign. And as stated in earlier reports to this meeting I have also been pleased to represent the LVRA at Civic Pride and CAST events. Alongside the above I have attended the various meetings in relation to Folly Clough Bridge, a project which has steadily grown in momentum over the year, and have been involved with the background work that all committee members do in relation to the various matters that affect our community and Association.

Besides turning into a proverbial scribe I have from time to time remembered that my primary role is “Footpaths Officer” and have had a number of very quiet strolls around what I term my patch. I have no intention of providing a verbal blow by blow account to the AGM of my various activities. But in line with requirements from LCC last year to supply a schedule of activities undertaken for the PROW scheme for the period May to May I have provided a very abridged version of this schedule which runs with the LVRA year from November to November. I have included a copy of this at the end of my report as Note 1 should anyone be interested to read what I have been doing on my official days out.

The LVRA is now into its third year and second full year of the Lancashire County Council Public Rights Of Way scheme receiving in May a payment from them for servicing the footpath network. This is not a gift; work is expected to be done on the footpath network in return, preferably by a group rather than one person. This year in some respects has been an improvement over last year, with more positives than negatives and from my point of view more variety. Over the last eighteen months I have been helped with advice and implementation of Footpath Law by my new best friend at LCC Linda Andersen the county’s Public Rights of Way / Public Information Officer. Linda has been a great help supplying me with useful information in a polite and courteous manner.

As mentioned above the LVRA receives a payment for the services I undertake on the footpath network and this year it amounted to £250.00 paid May to May. In line with previous years this money is paid directly into the LVRA general account and ring fenced for any expenses occurred with relation to my activities. But due to virtually no expenses being drawn in the first year, 2015, our Treasurer and I keep the accounts from November to November in line with the LVRA’s. This year after synchronising our abacuses we agreed that the opening balance was £125.44 and the closing balance £253.93 with £121.52 being withdrawn from funds. A full record of income and expenditure from the footpaths account is shown here:

Drawings Balance

Balance from 2016

125.44

0

125.44

Lancashire CC Grant 04/2017 AP 1425041/2017 BACS

250.00

375.44

Wood various projects    

19.63

355.81

5 Ltr of petrol £1.19

9.05

346.76

4 Bottles of 2 stroke oil £ 2.39

9.56

337.20

Shelf Kit for storing strimmer

13.26

323.94

Shelf for tools

13.61

310.33

Combi lock for shed

9.87

300.46

Collapsible bag for green waste

7.48

292.98

Two gate return springs

22.99

269.99

Five bags of chippings

16.07

253.92

Total Drawings  121.52  
Closing balance 2017  

253.92

Note 1

Month Work Time *
November 2016 Survey 26 Km paths 9 hrs
December 2016 Fixed stile plus new marker signs 11 hrs
January 2017 Replacing steps on ladder stile + new top platform 18 hrs
February Survey 21 km paths fixed 7 way marker signs 8 hrs
March Survey 38 Km path 9 way marker signs fixed 13 hrs
April Survey 2.5 km path
Minor problem with ditch crossing
1 hr
10 hr A&E**
May No work 0 hr
June Dealt with ditch crossing.
Surveyed 5 km path
12 hrs
July Surveyed 23 km paths 6 way marker signs fixed 13 hrs
August Worked with LVEG on park
Surveyed 38 km paths 3 marker signs
2 hrs
13 hrs
September Footpath work on FP113 + other clearance work 9 hrs
October Footpath clearance work near Park
Checking on work for 2018
2 hrs
9 hrs
*Time taken over month
**Not recorded as work
153.5 Km 95.38 Miles Paths
Surveyed
120. HR Time Total


Annex 3 Social Media & Liaison Officer

Our Facebook followers have continued to increase, albeit a little more gradually this year, by just under 9% from 606 at last AGM, to 659 today. At the 2014 AGM we had 347 followers which is an increase of 89% over the last 3 years.

As I have stated previously at the monthly meetings these increases usually follow posts about crime or suspicious individuals. This continues to encourage engagement with the community through social media platforms and the widespread sharing of information usually over a very short period of time.

One example is the recent post about suspicious males going door to door allegedly carrying out guttering work, not just in the Limey Valley but throughout the Rossendale valley.

The post was widely shared throughout the locality and within 48 hours the post had been viewed by 12,205 different Facebook users. Without a doubt our most successful post to date.

We did our first live Facebook broadcast a couple of months ago with the kind permission of Adrian Smith from Rossendale Borough Council, of the session here at the Top Club where he presented RBC’s approach to the government’s demand for new housing within Rossendale and the subsequent ‘local plan’ under consultation. I was also able to video the session and then publish it for those who were unable to make the meeting or watch the live broadcast.

I plan to utilise this facility again, but wholly dependent upon occasion and demand.

Over the last year we have seen an increase from 116 Twitter followers of just over 6% to 123. At the 2014 AGM we had 44 followers which is an increase of 179% over the last 3 years.

All of our Facebook posts are automatically shared through our Twitter account however I do occasionally tweet information which does not appear in our Facebook feed.

Last year I stated that I was thinking of expanding onto Instagram to share some of the lovely photos we already publish regularly on Facebook. Unfortunately I have not had the time to do this yet, but with a proposed lengthy holiday from amateur dramatics which will start in Spring 2018 I intend to devote much more time to undertaking these types of projects.

The website has been in our full control for just over a year now, which has made publishing information and updating pages much easier and quicker and as yet we have not had any technical difficulties or server downtime.