Abney Park Users Group Open Committee Meeting

Agenda for APUG open committee meeting ,6.30pm Tuesday 18th November 2014 in Abney classroom.

  1. Present and apologies
  2. Notes of last meeting (attached, please read and have comments ready so as to minimise this item)
  3. Wilmer Place
  • Judicial review outcome and appeal
  • Activities arising
  1. Hackney Gazette (et al) article: response.
  2. AP Trust: report back on Management Cttee (LBH Lease)

and Outreach Cttee (Salvation Army 150/AP 175)

  1. Biodiversity actions (as per last meeting)
  2. Upcoming activities:
  • Tree activities
  • Abney Fun Day, Sat Dec 13th; Ideas for APUG stall? Volunteers? tweeters?
  • Should we set up a Facebook page?
  • Planning for the Bio Blitz
  1. DoNM
  2. AOB

Notes of APUG open committee meeting Monday September 22nd 2014

  1. Present: Russell Miller, Jo Bloor, Connie Blackett-Ord, Alessio Kolioulis, Dermott Wynne, Matthew Gandy, Bernard Bourdillon (Trust), Alan Gartell (Trust), Sara Green (Trust), John Baldock (Trust staff)

Apologies: Gina Rackley, Gideon Corby, Les Climpson, Nick Perry,

  1. Notes of last ordinary meeting agreed; nothing urgent arising
  2. AGM feedback: agreed meeting had been quite well attended (19) and successful; next time we should try to get people to stay for ‘social’ afterwards.
  3. Wilmer Place
  • Event feedback: 6th September was very successful drawing large numbers and making £700 towards legal costs of Judicial Review. Walks and entertainment and general cooperation all worked really well. (Hey, we’re good at this!)
  • Judicial review: Appeal earlier this month to get sight of viability document – which determines how many ‘affordable (!)’ flats developer can ‘afford’ to put in (currently at 17% of total, much lower than ‘agreed’ LBH target of 50%) – was unsuccessful; this not crucial in regard rest of Jud. Rev. which will take place October 14th (see Stokey Local document sent out prior to meeting for more details)
  1. Upcoming activities:
  • Tree activities: RM will try to get funding to do clearing and compensatory woodland edge creation later in year, training volunteers for this.
  • Litter-Picking: Jo B has registered for the Keep Britain Tidy( Wombling free!) campaign and it was agreed to make a special effort to have a big tidy-up event on Saturday October 11th 10.30 – 12.30 using the KBT pack of poster downloads, bags etc. We’ll try to get the Wombles but whether or not, we should get more publicity by being part of the campaign. Edge – gardening’ sessions proposed will be postponed till GR can give use more info as to whether volunteers can help.
  • Ideas for 175th Abney celebrations : Anniversary is May 20th, a Wednesday; currently Trust is planning a Funday on weekend before or afterwards, plus series of talks on history, heritage, biodiversity value of AP, possibly in other venue (Abney Hall?) Trust keen for event to be over the whole year. Agreed we would be happy to provide speakers where appropriate; also Jo B said woodworkers keen to be involved in some form. MG raised issue of proposed BioBlitz – 24 hour nature event. Agreed this would be better later in the year (June/July) both from point of view of available flora and fauna and so as not to exhaust people with consecutive events. Further ideas welcome: to APUG or direct to Trust. NB next year also 150th anniversary of Salvation Army who have events planned.
  1. Abney Trust Behaviour Policy: LT had circulated this to Committee but apologised for not having copies at meeting. Currently in draft form from Outreach Cttee it outlines appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. General feeling was need for opening welcome sentence and more punchy bulleted points but overall OK. LT to circulate asap and anyone with comments to get back likewise.
  2. Vision for major developments and investment in Abney: this had been left till last as a long item. Varied discussion under some major headings; clearest, though not always easy, to see things in terms of short (5yrs), medium (10yrs) and long term (50+) ideas:
  • Paths: Agreed there should be an aim of having wheelchair access and viability for some/all paths which are currently impassable much of time. Which paths? Agreed that as we have no wheelchair access (or short-term possibility of it) from Church Street, then there should be a circular route to include the South Boundary and either New Ride or Chapel Ride. Differing views as to whether some or any of the more northerly paths should be made ‘buggy or clean shoe friendly’. More natural, untreated nature of these paths appreciated by many. What type of path surface where we envisage change? Woodchip? waterproof/tarmacked (as in Parks)? something in between (eg. Type 1 & whin dust as used in some ‘rural’ settings)? Agreed technical specs will be needed but general feeling that woodchip not good permanent solution and tarmac not favoured by most. Camber must be taken into account and essential to sort drainage. AG from Trust had approached City Bridge Trust but they will not do work which is responsibility of Local Authority which the current lease states. South Boundary needs work urgently. Planned that woodchip be used for Salvation Army access for next year. One general problem with woodchip is use of LBH vehicles which come in daily to close up Park; staff unwilling to patrol on foot. Thought to be given to this. Other points: significant trip hazards on concrete paths. Overall deemed preferable to fill in large holes (possibly with builders’ rubble left from wall repairs – this needs to be checked first) By and large feeling that diversity of paths preferred to any attempt at uniformity. Concerning disabled access from Church Street, thought is being given in the longer term to a ramp but this will involve a lot of engineering and money. Agreed: that RM will write asap on behalf of APUG requesting urgent moves on lease because of current impossibility of moving forward on this and other issues.
  • Chapel: In short term hoarding is imminently to be decorated by artists. This work in discussion with Trust. LBH will do some making safe work next year but need to do new survey as last is 2 years old and out-of-date!! Anger that more ‘available’ money being spent on this instead of building. Surveyors now appointed. After make-safe work hoarding should come down. Medium to longer term: no agreement on exactly what should be done: options: spire/no spire; complete refurb as multi-purpose building with walls, floors, doors and windows or sturdy walls and roof only as site for events/film shoots etc. As a listed heritage asset should it be completely refurbished? Dangers here in terms of ultimate protection against anti-social behaviour: currently the only buildings in ‘remote’ (ie not constantly overlooked) sites are being built like fortresses (with concrete and metal exteriors very hard to damage eg. on Hackney Marshes). How / could our site be protected? Ongoing funding implications of that on top of refurb? Derelict look is what makes chapel popular for many film shoots; this income would be lost if too pristine. Concerns that a high-profile HLF style bid (as eg. Clissold and others) could be aimed at bringing in a different demographic, ie hirers for swish events. No enthusiasm for this. It could also have implications for biodiversity eg. with issues of light pollution, types of acceptable paths etc. Often HLF bids require ‘landscaping’. It would be necessary to have great control of any large-scale project so as to obviate such potential hazards.
  • Funding: Can /should LBH make an HLF bid now before further dereliction sets in? Thought impossible (whether or not desirable) because until lease sorted, no-one will give money to site.
  • Biodiversity: MG reported further discussions with Natural England as to how to go about surveys for max effect in relation to SSSI bid. Royal Parks methods preferable. MG will follow this up and speak to others surveying currently. How SSSI designation would impact on management of site would depend on nature of designation (ie. what specifically is ‘of interest’ eg. invertebrate habitat in veteran trees). Possible to balance needs of biodiversity with management: major issue is awareness of impact of activities and balance in how they are carried out.
  • Landscaping possibilities requiring little or no funding : Some of these are underway or in planning already as efforts to compensate for potential damage from WP project (eg. woodland edge creation, changes to path edging)These need to be part of woodland management plan and strategic decisions will be needed too detailed for this meeting. John B expressed concern about possibility of any ‘landscaping’ which involved moving/disturbing any graves as these are an integral part of Abney. Dereliction is part of AP’s charm. Agreed discussion re biodiversity ‘actions’ too broad to continue tonight; next meeting to have this as major item on the agenda. LT
  1. DoNM: Tuesday 18th November; try an earlier start at 6.30pm . AOB – none

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