Present: Dick Baxter (Chair), Charles Hattersley (Secretary), Peter Gotham (Treasurer), Sue Gordon-Roe, Nick Levine and Sue Woodsford. Apologies from Ros Bates and Kate Hurst.
1. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
The secretary had not received any reports of bicycle incidents.
2. Review major events on the Common
- Strawberry Fair. Everybody felt this was a happy and well run event.
- Midsummer Fair. Not such a success but not a nightmare. The main issues were noise from Rides, pollution from 10+ big diesel generators, breaching of Ft St George footbridge closure on Saturday, breakage of sewer near the restaurant and litter disposal. FoMC made a formal report to the Council making these and a few other points. The Council held a shake-down stakeholders meeting on 12 September and discussed these points. Let’s hope that the issues are addressed next year.
- Bonfire night. This was uneventful.
- Other events. Similarly uneventful.
3. Review state of the Common
- Parking. Generally much more compliant and within bounds of reasonability. Nick commented that in the evenings there seem to be higher number of taxis which could be associated with disabled patrons. Photographs, even if low resolution, of registration plates would be desirable.
- Thistles, nettles, brambles. This was raised by a farmer who lives part time in Ferry Path, particularly wrt thistles. Council had responded. No conclusion was reached but mowing took place which seemed to be event driven rather that planned wrt agricultural principles. We need to press council for a response and plan.
- Cattle. This year they seemed to on the common for longer and in greater numbers. General approval was voiced.
4. Review state of the Community Orchard
- Mowing. A general discussion about Health and Safety of those using mowers and strimmers was promoted by Peter who promoted the purchase and use of steel toe capped boots, relevant goggles and gloves. No accidents have occurred to date but compliance should obviate this happening. There was a lengthy but inconclusive discussion about the ride on lawnmower which has not been operational this year. It requires some welding done on the blades. However the question about its suitability for the orchard terrain was mentioned by Dick. The meeting felt it might be a waste of time doing such repairs if that is the case. Further discussion should be held as it is an expensive asset. The council have offered to mow the orchard three times a year but again not to any plan. Charles agreed to pick this action up with cooperation with Dick and Hugh who do most of the mowing.
- Tree pruning. The pruning regime was discussed after Nick wondered if it was being done according to any particular practice. Dick advised that the pruning was not done as per a commercially cropping orchard.
- Hedges and furniture. Not discussed.
5. Report changes made to FoMC computer environment
Nick advised that he had sorted out the Ravensbrook supplied free use of the server for charitable organisations which should provide another 10 years or so of servic. Mailing lists all good including one for Committee members as well as FoMC announce to members.
6. Report from Secretary
10 new members to date.
7. Report from Treasurer
Peter provided an up to date assessment of the positive state of affairs. He is keen to investigate whether there are benefits from becoming charitable status.
8. Thinking about next year's Committee and AGM
Charles and Dick are keen to step down but stay on Committee to ensure continuity. Their replacement from within the Committee or wider afield should be considered and to that end we agreed a next meeting on 14 or 15 January 2020. The mowing of the orchard continues to be in need of some committed 'younger?' new blood under the supervision of the orchard manager. A request via FoMC announce earlier in the year recruited one some perhaps we should ask again with a 'job description' to define the need?
Charles Hattersley (Secretary)
29 November 2019.