The 31st AGM of The Hadleigh Society
Held in Hadleigh Old Town Hall on Wednesday 14th August 2013 at 8 p.m.
1. Apologies for absence
19 members. Apologies from the Tryons, John Bloomfield, Richard Bawden.
2. Minutes of the 30th AGM
Accepted. Noted that the Town Council is still being held up from holding consultation events.
3. Treasurer’s Report - Chris Drake
Accounts to 30th April 2013
I am happy to say that it has been another boring year on the financial front with no nasty surprises. In spite of Margaret’s sterling work as Membership Secretary there has been a drop in membership figures and thus some of the reduced income (ignoring deposits paid for the trip on SB ”Victor”). We showed a surplus on the year and can comfortably cover our routine costs. Subscription rates are always under review because of the time taken for changes to produce results. No change is proposed this year but I cannot promise the same for next year.
Apart from the drop in membership variations in income and expenditure between the past year and the year before are mainly explained by idiosyncrasies in the way bills are presented and paid. On the expenditure side we saved by not having a stand at the May Show but the deposit paid towards the trip on SB “Victor” counterbalanced this. We again had a donation from Sue Andrews with respect to sales of her Hadleigh Historian magazine.
As always, expenditure from the Fighting Fund is dictated by activities on the Tesco front. There was a revised planning application and some costs were incurred sending information packs to Babergh councillors but the major expenditure was A3 size posters for display in the High Street. It is handy to have cash available quickly to meet urgent needs but if it should come to legal fees it would not go far.
My thanks go to Paul Garrard of Walter Wright Chartered Accountants for his help once again in the preparation of the accounts.
If you have any questions relating to the Accounts for 2012/2013 I will attempt to answer them.
4. History Group Report – Sue Angland
The History Group has finished gathering information for its project on 'Hadleigh during the Great War', and we have spent our last few meetings putting together a script for our forthcoming presentation in December. We wanted to concentrate on what was happening in the town during that period and how everyday life was affected, if at all, by national events.
Well, not only were hundreds of troops billeted here on a regular basis, but we have discovered that the town wholeheartedly supported the war effort in many ways. 'Collecting' seems to be a word that crops up frequently. The town collected money for all sorts of good causes and the children were put to work collecting dandelion seeds, herbs, ivy and horse chestnuts. In the autumn of 1917 nearly a whole ton of chestnuts was collected by the schoolchildren for the Government.
So if you want to know exactly what those chestnuts were used for, you'll have to come to the meeting on 9th December.
5. Planning Report – Jan Byrne
If I look at the AGM reports over the last 14 years much of what I am going to report will be repetitive.
These are some of issues relating to planning that the Committee have dealt with.
Sue Angland represents the Town Council on the Babergh Core Strategy and has report back to us the progress on this, which I believe is due to come out for consultation soon, parts of it being with the Government Inspectorate.
Consent has been given for 5 small properties behind 109 / Cinch in the High Street. The last bay of Cinch is to be demolished to slightly widen the road. The flat above Cinch renovated for letting, and the small houses either side of the roadway. I have been asked if this is an underhanded way of getting on to the Riverside site, but, if Tesco were to be built that roadway is identified as the escape route in the case of the water meadows flooding. However once the houses are built in no way could that roadway be wide enough to permit commercial access to the Tesco site. Remember with the first application which was refused they needed to knock down the whole of Cinch and part of the refusal for the planning application was because we were able to prove that large lorries could not safely turn in and out of the site.
As we know, Morrisons arrived and did not require planning consent except for straightening out the entrance road, and two porches which were refused.
Strong rumour is saying they Morrisons are about to put in an application for a filling station, but as yet that is not confirmed.
We did not object to the enlargement of the shop at the Lady Lane garage.
Graham, Sue, Jane and I attended a day conference, Independence day, at Frome in Somerset. We spread ourselves around amongst the various working parties, and it was quite useful for gathering information, and also for dispensing our own version of ‘doom and gloom’ The Towns that had been successful in fighting off the supermarkets were all on the same side as their District Councils, however our position was quite different as we are opposing Babergh Officers wishes. Interestingly though all of the main supermarkets came up at some time during the discussions the one that people objected to because they appeared to play dirty are ‘you know who’
We have had a number of telephone conversations and e-mails from different parts of the country asking how we have led our campaign and seeking our advice.
So to our current situation on the Brett Works / Riverside site. WE are still waiting for Babergh to announce the date of the meeting to discuss the current Tesco application.
When the last application was refused Babergh made it quite clear to us that the only information or objections that they took in any way seriously were from professional organisations, and as you know one Councillor stated during that meeting that although 90% of the population did not want a supermarket on that site it was not a planning issue. We have got the message and have managed to raise the monies to fight this application through professionals
The position has of course changed with the opening of Morrisons, and we have recorded footfall figures to show the effect that has had on our High Street. However this time we are not working alone, at last the Chamber of Commerce has decided to oppose the application and we are now working together, sharing information, expertise and using our monies for different reports to obtain the maximum effect. The Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a new Traffic report and a new retail report. We have a leading academic in Professor Hallsworth covering the aspect of the short and long term effect of supermarkets on High Streets, and a Q.C. Paul Stinchcombe is covering the legal aspects, such as the District Plan now being totally out of date since the arrival of Morrisons and Babergh apparently ignoring the current national requirements on planning. Both of these people hope to be available to speak when the planning application is eventually heard.
Babergh has now appointed a new case officer to deal with the application, Gareth Durrant having left, and their solicitor leaves at the end of the month.
Tesco have also appointed a new P.R. organisation for the application. Babergh’s case officers and Tesco P.R. organisations appear to change at the same rate, with each application whether it has been heard or not.
We have not undertaken any public demonstrations, our time being spent in reading and re-reading the documents supporting the Tesco application, dissection the information and passing it on to the organisations undertaking the professional reports. The great difference between us and Tesco being that we know the town and we want the professional organisations to have our solid information as opposed to national guess work figures.
When we know the date of the meeting we will be distributing some new posters to use in the main streets so that the Babergh members cannot be off seeing how the town feels, just in case they do not already know.
Needless to say that when we send major documents to the planning department we also send copies to the councillors on the planning committee, and will send a final document when the day comes. We hope that some of them will read the information and not just accept the précis that is produced by the Babergh Officers.
6. Society Representation on Other Bodies
7. Chair’s Review
We have had a stable year with membership staying fairly static and good attendance at meetings.
I hope you will agree that the selection of speakers and their topics has been very interesting. I am always surprised that when we produce the list of speakers there are some that appear to be my personal favourites and others I think will be less interesting, and am then amazed that my choice is wrong and my 'less interestings' turn out to be superb.
This year we decided not to have a stand at the May Show, but committee members were able to attend the show and enjoy it without having had to work hard before the show and then dismantle it. It also saved as a fair amount of money at a time when speakers are becoming more expensive.
Sue and Jane attended a meeting of the Ipswich Society at which Griff Rees Jones was the guest speaker, and he used Hadleigh as an example of a town under threat but fighting off the ‘invaders’.
At members request we organised an outing this year, and thus floated up the Orwell on a sailing barge last Saturday. There were more family and friends than members, but it was an interesting and amazingly relaxing day. You missed a good day out. Thank you Chris for undertaking the organisation.
The committee has continued to meet regularly to organise meetings and of course to produce the Christmas Mince pies and wine, and the AGM Cheese and wine. We share out the various roles between us, although Chris has maintained the Treasurers post for some years, thankfully, and thank you Chris.
It is very difficult in any organisation to find a Secretary. Graham has undertaken the role, and committee members have taken it in turn to produce the minutes of the meetings. Graham also keeps the web site up to date and produces newsletters and posters. Margaret is our membership secretary and Sue arranges the printing and distribution of the posters. Many thanks to all three. The other three of us do what we are told to support any member of the committee, so what I am really saying is we all work well together which is great. Pity we haven’t any more nominations for committee members to join us.
I would ask you please to thank all of the members of the committee for their time which is given freely and with amazing good humour, without them we would not exist.
We do receive a number of requests through the web site from people wishing to know more about the History of Hadleigh or family research, and they are dealt with by whoever seems to be the appropriate person.
You will have noticed over the last few months that the Community News gave us the opportunity to put forward our views on the Supermarket Development, and on a couple of occasions also asked us to take the front page. It seems to have been well read by the number of people who have personally commented to us on it, and hopefully has got the truth out to residents. I have not written anything in the last two additions as it really seemed to be ‘going over the top’, but when we know the date of the meeting, and if there is the time, then Kelvin Avis with give us the space to put forward our case again, and introduce any new information. I would like to thank Sue and Graham who have corrected and edited my attempts and journalism, usually on a Sunday afternoon at the very last minute.
Next year’s programme is almost fully booked and we hope you will continue to find the meetings of interest.
8. Constitution amendment
REVISED TEXT FOR: OBJECTS
The Society is established for the public benefit for the following purposes.
The Hadleigh Society realizes these aims by:
In furtherance of the said purposes but not otherwise the Society through its Executive Committee shall have the following powers:-
9. Election of Officers and Executive Committee Members
Present committee all willing to continue. Approved.
Cheese and wine served
© The Hadleigh Society