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Saturday 6 October 2012

Minutes of Residents' Association AGM 1st October 2012

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Burton Green Residents’ Association held on October 1st 2012 at the Village Hall.

Rona welcomed everyone and, in particular Cllrs. Ann Blacklock, Michael Coker, John Whitehouse, Nick Hillard and PC Peter King.


Apologies had been received from Cllr Ian de Worringham, Cllr Archie Taylor, Cllr George Illingworth, Cllr Vaughan Owen, Mike and Deirdre Vernon, Diane Swindells, Caryll Green and Liz Saxon.

Martyn Stacey of WDC sent his apologies: he had been scheduled to make a presentation about keeping our village tidy.

Minutes of the last meeting and Matters Arising 

The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting of October 3rd 2011 were accepted. 
Proposed: Marlene Hills
Seconded: Judi Hibberd

Rona queried whether in future it would be sufficient to circulate the previous AGM minutes via the Burton Green website and the village email system to save printing costs.  This was agreed. Anyone needing a hard copy should contact Rona.

Matters arising were to be covered by agenda points.

Chair’s Report

A report had been circulated in advance via the Bugle so that time could be made available for questions.

The Chair, Rona Taylor, explained the focal points for 2012 had been:

  • Continued opposition to HS2 (this was to be covered later)
  • Creation of a separate Burton Green Parish Council
Now Burton Green had its own Parish Council following a petition organised by the Residents’ Association over a year ago. There had been some uncertainty about the role of the Residents’ Association and Rona outlined the different responsibilities.

Rona was keen to highlight Burton Green’s vibrant community and individuals’ community activities. She pointed out articles in the previous week’s edition of the Kenilworth Weekly News which detailed community involvement in Speedwatch scheme and the community defibrillator.
  • Parish Plan
Following a mandate from last year’s AGM, a Parish Plan was to be drawn up. This was to be explained by Kathryn Stewart later in the meeting.
  • Jubilee Celebrations
The celebrations organised by the Jubilee Committee had included something for everyone and the whole weekend had been deemed a success.
  • Communication
The Bugle was the main means of communication and Mary Webb would be taking this as an agenda item.

Public meetings regarding HS2 had also been held. Questionnaires had been collated concerning the perceived impact of HS2 on Burton Green. A Public Meeting had also been organised by the residents’ Association at which the Parish Plan had been launched.
  • The Association had also been active in taking up issues of concern (either to individuals or residents as a whole) with regard to transport, potholes, verges, water supply, speeding and security.  Terry Heyes had given a talk on the latter and demonstrated various equipment available
  • Cycle Forum
John Whitehouse had sought Burton Green representation on the newly established Cycle Forum. Nick and Sue Hogue of Cromwell Lane had joined the forum.  They were unable to attend the AGM but Nick had sent a report as follows:

“Our remit is to consider all matters relating to cycling that may benefit residents in the area.

- We have concluded 4 of 6 meetings and ultimately will putting forward our recommendations to the WDD for their consideration in December. Our final recommendations to them will be determined in November

- Topics discussed so far include:
a) Abbey Fields: possible cycle route through AF while protecting its multi-use nature.

b) Greenway: Cycling education (signage, bells, giving way); completion of the resurfacing.

c) Built Environment: dangerous junctions; contraflow cycling, off-road cycle paths repair; cycle parking in the town centre; identification of town cycling routes.

d) Shared Space: identification and guidelines for areas used by cyclists, pedestrians, disabled et al.

e) Education: formal training sessions; cycling safety issues (what is mandatory, recommended and other options ); maps and literature; consider input from Sustrans and other countries' approach to cycling issues.


1) The government has pledged to implement any innovative measures on cycle safety made by a cross party inquiry into cycling launched on the 20th Sept.

2) £15 million has been made available to councils to improve cyclist safety at road junctions. Councils may apply for a share but on a quid pro quo basis, i.e. government will only match each pound spent by a council up to their approved limit.”

Treasurer’s Report/Election of Independent Examiner

The Income & Expenditure Account and Balance Sheet are attached separately.

Marlene reported that BGRA had had a busy year. Subscriptions had been increased this year to £3 per house and Mary Webb and the collection team, who did sterling work, collected £713 to 31 August 2012. Thanks were extended to Mary and the team.

Mary Webb had redesigned the Bugle and had been able to sell £272 of advertising space to assist with production costs. In addition, the Parish Council donated £250 thus making the Bugle almost self financing.

The Parish Council had initially voted to give £250 to BGRA towards the Jubilee weekend but as funds were not necessary, Marlene had requested that this sum be earmarked towards fund raising for the defibrillator unit which, with the kind agreement of the Village Hall committee, would be located at the Village Hall. This sum, along with the Jubilee surplus and Parish Plan surplus, was held in the savings accounts specific to the causes for which these donations were made.

Marlene had been offered £885 of funds towards Burton Green’s Jubilee celebrations, which she gratefully accepted on our Community’s behalf.  These funds went towards the many activities organised over that weekend, including paying for public liability insurance for the public event held at the school (thanks to Lesley Tacon for organising this) 

Burton Green Jubilee events started with special funds raised from the “Live and Local Arts on the Doorstep.”Regarding the Jubilee weekend, the Residents’ Association and the Greenway Trust held a successful Art on the Greenway and thanks were expressed to David and Jill Lines and Diane Swindells.  A number of works of art were sold generating 10 per cent commission on the sales. The total of funds raised that day were split three ways between the Residents’ Association, Burton Green Village Hall and the Greenway Trust (Kenilworth to Berkswell).  Each of those good causes received £98.93 and letters of thanks had been received. Thanks were due to the Stanworths for allowing the jubilee beacon on their land to conclude the weekend’s celebrations.

The Residents’ Association held a remaining sum of £278.24 from the special Jubilee donation funds received. This was held specifically for the Residents’ Association’s next major Parish event.

The joint Parish Councils - before Burton Green Parish Council became independent - had awarded £200 towards the Burton Green Parish Plan survey. A small portion of this had been spent leaving a remainder of £157.75 to be allocated in due course specifically towards the Parish Plan. 

Total income for the year including the above was £3,429.12 and expenditure was £3,415.34. Expenditure included costs incurred towards the Parish Plan £155.25, AGM expenditure and room hire to the Village Hall and the printing of the Bugle.
 A donation of £250 was voted by the BGRA towards Deirdre Vernon’s successful  “Made in Burton Green” exhibition for specific purchase of item/items which were not be to be sold for profit purposes and with the knowledge that the residue from this donation would be earmarked towards the 2014 exhibition.

The sum of £350 held for Greenway Trust had now been paid across.
Marlene reminded everyone that most money was either thanks to donations or subscriptions and as such were classed as public monies.

BGRA’s  current account assets were £695.04 less creditors of £364.19. However, one of these creditors, WEAVE, who presented an invoice of £300.00 for Jubilee supplies, would now have this invoice paid by Live and Local Arts on the Doorstep and so this sum would not now be paid by the Residents’ Association. 

There remained £685.99 especially in the deposit account for funding given for an exact purpose. The total left in the deposit account after this was £814.18.
The accounts presented (attached) had been independently inspected by Peter Tacon who was thanked for his work.

Thanks were given to Marlene as she was now stepping down from the role of treasurer.

Election of Independent Examiner
Peter Tacon again agreed to act as Independent Examiner.
Proposed:  Eileen Nisbet
Seconded: Jerry Marshall
Unanimously agreed.

Election of Committee members

Janet Hickinbottom, as Joint Secretary, conducted this agenda item.

The constitution required that the officers and three committee members should stand down.  Rona Taylor, Mary Webb, Marlene Hills, Janet Hickinbottom and Judi Hibberd, were re-elected.
Proposed: Andy Jones
Seconded: Faith Ward
Unanimously agreed

Marlene Hills stood down as Treasurer.  Terry Heyes had agreed to stand.  He would be free to take up this position at the end of December until which time Rona and Mary would manage the finances.
Proposed: Marlene Hills
Seconded: Helen Hehir
Unanimously agreed

Others remaining on the committee were Andy Gibbs, Bron Putnam, John Nisbet and Faith Ward.

John Levett was standing down after 15 years’ service on the BGRA committee.  He was thanked for his outstanding service to the community which would continue in other roles, such as Neighbourhood Watch.

Parish Plan

Kathryn Stewart explained the Parish Plan was an idea representing a shared vision. It was to be an aspirational plan owned and written by the community.  It would centre on a questionnaire. Residents would be asked to respond about such matters as what they valued; what needed changing/retaining; what they wished to see in the next 10 years. Community feedback would be vital.

A public meeting had already offered a wealth of ideas. A steering group had been formed but more volunteers would be very welcome. The challenge was to create a short but comprehensive questionnaire.

The questionnaire would cover issues of transport; environment; business and retail; activities and leisure; school and youth; crime; services; information and communities.

It would be important to obtain a response rate of over 70% so assistance would be needed in collecting in questionnaires.

HS2 Overview and Update

Andy Gibbs explained that two themes were underway:
Stopping HS2.  This involved getting information out into the wider world via press articles and by influencing politicians.  Much of this work was not visible but there was plenty going on. Judicial reviews of the process were underway with hearings in December and reports at the start of January 2013.  All matters such as the consultation on compensation and announcement of the Y route were being deferred until after the judicial reviews. The ongoing matter of Heathrow and the decision on the third runway would impact on HS2 and the ultimate chosen route.

If the line went ahead, it would be necessary to obtain the best solution for Burton Green and work on this was underway especially regarding a bored tunnel. One bi-lateral meeting had been held with HS2 Ltd and a second was scheduled for the end of November. It had been agreed such a tunnel was technically possible but it had to be evaluated against other possibilities and other actions along the proposed route. A further forum meeting was to be held in November. It had been stated that there was no longer a design freeze but Andy was sceptical that many changes would be made after that time. He explained the process of applying for a judicial review if the tunnel idea was rejected to challenge the fairness of the application of the criteria.  There would be only two months available to do this and the estimated cost was £20k.

In the short term, fund raising activities were continuing and an HS2 Information Day was to be held at Kenilworth School on October 20th. Andy thanked everyone who had contributed in any way to supporting the opposition to HS2.

The next Action Group meeting was scheduled for October 15th.

Rona thanked Andy and the action group. The Residents’ Association wrote in January to Justine Greening inviting her to Burton Green and only after the letter was re-submitted in March was a reply received in May. A second letter had been sent in July raising concern about the lack of bi-lateral talks. A reply was a reply received explaining bi-lateral talks had been set up and reassuring us that they would continue until the hybrid bill was presented to parliament.. On behalf of residents Rona had again written to the new Secretary of State inviting him to the village and a response was awaited.

Village Hall          
Kathryn said it had been a great year for users and hirers: although there had been a drop in the overall number of user groups, there remained 29 regular user groups. In a report to HS2 Ltd, the committee had been able to say that 14346 people had used the hall over the previous year. The Village Hall website had received over 10000 hits. The hall had recently celebrated its 30th birthday in its current premises.

Kathryn was pleased that the hall received so much community use with 29% of booking being from the locality and 53% of users being from the village. An increase in community related bookings and shared events had resulted in a drop in income and running costs had also increased significantly.

HS2 Ltd wanted to know why users chose the hall and so a survey was to be carried out.

Rona thanked the village hall committee who played vital part in the community.

Police Matters/Neighbourhood Watch

PC King reported that all crime was down in Kenilworth, including Burton Green. Burglary and vehicle crime was down significantly.

He publicised Foodie Fortnight in Kenilworth from September 30th to October 13th as a local celebration of food.
Nov 3rd: Rotary Club fireworks.
Nov 11th:  Remembrance Sunday.
Residents were reminded of the 101 non emergency number 24 hours a day.

PC King had joined the Board of Governors of Burton Green School. He thanked Andy Jones for offering to sell crime prevention materials in his shop, Town & Country Furniture Ltd.

PC King referred to the community alert system which had broadcast information regarding suspicious incidents around the county of the “Nottingham door knockers” who were ex offenders.  He reminded residents that door to door salesmen should have a pedlars' certificate. Some door knockers were linked to distraction burglaries. People should report any suspicions on 101 number unless they felt in immediate danger in which case they should dial 999. It was worth getting on the community alert system relating to burglary, house burglary and vehicle crime locally.

He reported that a small team of 5 “Specials” had helped boost the man hours of the local force.

Residents should remain vigilant. Scrap metal dealers remained a problem but there was to be a force initiative soon.

John Levett thanked Peter and his team for their attention to Burton Green.  The police were reliant on the eyes of residents for what was going on.

Community alerts were forwarded by John via the village email system. A newsletter produced in Kenilworth about Neighbourhood Watch matters was also circulated.

A trading standards lecture had been arranged and residents had been warned to be very wary when using Internet shopping and banking.

County Councillors’ Report

Cllr. John Whitehouse WCC said the Council was coming to the end of its four year term and things were beginning to wind up.  A large savings programme had been undertaken and the council was now awaiting its December financial settlement, which was not expected to be good.

It was likely that a decision would be taken to turn off most lights in Warwickshire for part of the night time to save money and energy. The creation of clear skies as a result was to be welcomed by many. Burton Green lights were to remain on during the night.

The Council was working as part of 51m group to stop HS2 but still trying to liaise with HS2 Ltd.  The County Council had made an official complaint about the way HS2 Ltd was handling matters at the fora.

The Monday and Thursday bus services through Burton Green had been greatly welcomed but problems had occurred recently because of the Thursday bus being full by the time it reached the village.  It was planned that a larger bus or a second bus was to be provided. Cllr. Whitehouse would welcome feedback.

The footway in Red Lane had been cleared by community offenders. Peter Hallam said he had received good feedback from residents.

He was pleased that funding had been made available for the Community Speedwatch initiative in Burton Green and speed surveys would be carried out on all approach roads.  Cllr. Whitehouse hoped these would show a reduction in speeds since the last survey. It was excellent that so many residents had offered to support the initiative.

The route of the Greenway to the university was soon to be officially opened.  Stoning of the surface from Berkswell back towards Burton Green was underway and it was planned to add a hard surface from Coventry Road to Cromwell Lane. Volunteers and rangers had started work on clearing the footpath from the bend in Red Lane to the Greenway.

The Community Forum had money still available and the next round of applications was open till October 25th.

Kenilworth Centre AT Abbey End was now an independent charity. Radio Abbey broadband radio station was soon to be relaunched as a community radio station and would be accessed via www.kenilworthcentre.com

District Councillors’ Report

Ann Blacklock WDC declared it a pleasure to work with Burton Green residents who were always so positive. She referred to savings that were being made at the council and the fact there were still more to be made.

Cllr. Blacklock’s particular roles were with planning and young people. She had helped in the setting up of the Greenway Trust.

Any problems regarding waste collection and street cleaning would be dealt with by Martyn Stacey who could be contacted via contactus@warwickdc.gov.uk   

WDC was considering a mass of responses to formulate the draft Local Plan and this would then go out for consultation. The final plan would go government for inspection and if approved would be adopted in 2014.

Next year’s challenges included the reduction of the allocation of council tax benefit and this would put pressure on to local authorities.   

Waste management contracts had been reviewed. Sita was to continue waste collections. Other companies were to do street cleansing and grounds maintenance.

Cllr. Michael Coker, WDC reiterated the importance of getting the Local Plan right and that much hard work was involved. The waste contracts had been reviewed to save £600.000 per year and he did not envisage that the lower expenditure would result in a decline in services.

Car parking charges were to be frozen again in a bid to encourage more people to use the car parks.

Cllr. Coker was also a parish councillor in Kenilworth and he distributed brochures about Foodie Fortnight.

As independent chair of the HS2 Forum for Burton Green, Stoneleigh and Kenilworth, he had asked twice if residents wished to split the forum and have a separate one for Burton Green.  This had been declined but he continued to receive requests to split and so was circulating a letter to all groups involved to obtain their views.

Parish Councillors’ Reports

Ian Cox, Vice Chairman of the Parish Council explained that Archie Taylor, Chairman, was unable to be present because of another commitment.  He said that the new council was still bedding in but that a permanent clerk had been appointed and a website was being constructed. They had submitted a response to the Local Plan.

Bugle/Residents’ Subscriptions

Mary Webb explained that four editions of the Bugle were produced each year with Bugle Bulletins issued if any urgent matters arose. Thanks were extended to those who advertised in the Bugle, helping to support publication costs. Mention was made of residents who had achieved the ages of 90 and 100.

Mary said as editor she was always looking for articles of interest, old photos etc.

She explained the process of collecting the subscriptions and was happy to receive any outstanding contributions.

She had been pleased to be granted money from the Community Forum towards the defibrillator equipment.

Mary was thanked for her hard work.

Village School

Faith Ward, a resident and member of the school’s governing body, presented the head teacher’s apologies.  She outlined some of the school’s recent activities and encouraged residents to look for information on the school’s website www.burtongreenschool.org.uk

A clothing bank was to be placed in the school playground and money raised would be donated to the school.

Greenway Trust

Nick Hillard, chairman of the Greenway Trust explained the development of the Connect2 project.  The Trust was now promoting the Greenway to all users including walkers, horse riders and cyclists.
All steering group members were present at the AGM.
An educational programme had taken place on the Greenway and photos were on display. Trees from the Woodland Trust had been planted, Burton Green had organized a scarecrow trail and a bat walk had been held.  A further fundraising evening was to take place at the Marsala Club on October 15th. All were welcome.

The Trust was trying to collate diaries of all who were using and promoting the Greenway.

Dog waste remained a problem and it was not viable to place dog waste bins along the Greenway.

Any Other Business and Date of Next Annual General Meeting

The community mosaic was to be officially “launched “on Saturday October 13th at 3p.m. with children from the school. This would be followed by afternoon tea in the Village Hall.

Residents were urged to join in activities and that they could contribute at any time without joining the committee.

Marlene mentioned her history and archaeology group. She had applied for funding to carry out a community event with “geophys” centring on 13th archaeology in the village. It was hoped to involve residents in drawing, photography and writing up. Anyone interested should get in touch with Marlene.

Thanks were extended to the residents who had attended.  The next Annual General Meeting would be held on Monday October 7th 2013 at the Village Hall.

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