Minutes January 2011
KIRKBY STEPHEN TOWN FORUM
Minutes of the Meeting held on Monday 10 January 2011
Present: Mike Walker, Ann Sandell, Joan Johnstone, Derek Thompson, Shiela Haughey, Andrea Hines, Glenys Lumley, Liz Hall, Tina Galloway, Debbie Hylton, Libby Bateman, Leanne Harbage, Barbara Dowson, Jeff Scott, Raynor Shaw
1. Appointment of Chairman:
Glenys Lumley agreed to take the Chair for this meeting. New members were welcomed and introductions made.
2. Apologies for absence:
John Thompson, Jacqui Semple, Jacqui Scarr, Andrew Griffiths
3. Minutes of the meeting on 8 November 2010:
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record.
4. Matters Arising (not otherwise included in the agenda):
a. There has been little feedback on the revision to the town map. Artwork for reprinting the town maps is still available to view in the Community Office. Members were asked to suggest additions and modifications before we finalise the maps.
b. The Forum sent Kenneth Morrison a £20 book token in recognition of his willingness to read the Charter Proclamation over the last three years, and has received his thanks.
c. Extended parking restrictions are being progressed between the Town Council and Highways.
d. Although the Pennine Young Farmers’ Club has expressed interest and support for the Hay/Straw sculpture idea, the headquarters of the YFC had forbidden members to participate. With hay and straw at a premium price due to the weather conditions this was probably not a suitable idea for 2011. Further ideas would be sought to try to get visitors into the villages around Kirkby Stephen. Action: All
e. The extension of invitations to the Forum to the UECP futures network was carried out. Libby Bateman was reluctant to extend the invitation to all business contacts, but will mention the Forum in the next newsflash when invitation to the business networking event are sent out. Action: Libby Bateman
f. Stickers have been printed for the remaining Plusbus Walking route brochures, explaining that the walks are still possible although the bus service is no longer as published.
g. Other actions were covered on the agenda.
5. Treasurer’s Report:
Joan Johnstone informed the meeting that the general fund stood at around £900, a similar level to previous years. The Christmas tree / Window competition had an income of £506, but expenditure of £562, due to the expense of prizes. This was little different to last year. The Forum has paid rental for the Masonic Hall of £150 for the pantomime, but expect reimbursement of half of this from the players. The Santa event is believed to have £100 excess which will be returned to the funds.
The Town Council has paid the Forum insurance premium through a direct debit, and will be reimbursed from the Forum funds. This needs to be changed in future due to different treatment of the two organisations for VAT.
Action: Mike Walker
6. Christmas Lights:
The overall response to the 2010 Christmas lights was positive with the Christmas tree and the lights along the north end of Market Street being described as spectacular. The lights on the church tower were specially appreciated. We had been lucky with the weather for both erecting and dismantling the lights, and with no rain, the waterproof fittings were unchallenged.
Because of a deliberate decision to continue to use up the old incandescent bulbs still in stock, power costs were significantly higher than last year, but these will diminish as we move towards low energy bulbs in the future.
A meeting of the lights team will be convened within the next two weeks to review the position and plan for 2011. The Forum suggested that we should concentrate now on the south end of town to make improvements there.
Action: Mike Walker/ Shiela Haughey
Shiela Haughey agreed to continue to coordinate the activity but it was noted that funding from Eden District Council would not be available in future. A further fund raising campaign may be needed to procure further LED bulbs and new harnesses, although it was acknowledged that there is still prize money in the Calor fund earmarked for Christmas lights. Action: Mike Walker/ Shiela Haughey
The Forum asked that their congratulations be passed on to the lights team for a super display in 2010.
7. Christmas Switch-on:
The switch-on of the lights went well, although it was disappointing that we were not able to make Rory’s speech any louder.
The Forum discussed the possibility of extending this event, to encourage local shopping, and more visitors. December 2010 was very quiet because of the poor weather. The Forum will consider this during the year.
The UECP Shop Locally leaflet was thought to be excellent, and the banners will be available for future years. It is difficult to assess its impact as the weather was a major problem in 2010. Consideration is needed on how to encourage shopping locally throughout the year, based on the Christmas Campaign. Action: Libby Bateman
8. Santa Event:
The Lion, The Witch, The Wardrobe & Santa event was held on the weekend of 4/5 December 2010 in the King’s Arms yard, with a craft market in the ballroom. Although beautifully staged, the weather and lack of visitors in Kirkby Stephen meant that the weekend was not as successful as it should have been. Over 100 children visited Santa, and the craft market was successful on Saturday, but less so on Sunday.
The Forum agreed that consideration should be given to coordination of future events with the switch-on of Christmas lights, and consider the length of the event either reducing it to one day, or extending it to a longer festival.
The Forum extended its thanks to Ann Sandell and Jackie Scarr for the efforts they made in organising this event.
9. Shop Advertising Boards:
Although some designs were created by Raven Graphics, the Forum believed that these did not meet the needs for a flexible system, allowing change of tenancies to be made easily. A number of ideas were considered for flexible signs, and Sarah Harvey (Cerberus) and Martin Richter were suggested to assist. It was agreed that the sub-committee would consider how to move forward and report to the next meeting.
Action: Leanne Harbage, Debbie Hylton and Ann Sandell
10. Use of New Technology:
Mike has progressed the Bluetooth / WiFi audio-visual trail for the Poetry Path. Meg Peacocke, the poet, has been approached to explore her reading her own poems, and this has been arranged for 28 January. Royalty payments will be discussed with her at the same time. Mike has photographed each stone, and will continue throughout the year to build up photographs of the stones in the relevant month for the poetry. We will probably require an introduction and guide to the walk, and it was also suggested we might use an actor with a local accent for this.
It was agreed that this could be funded from the Calor prize money and this will be raised with the funding Committee once detailed specifications have been finalised. Action: Mike Walker
Other proposals for a guide to the Church, and possibly the Stainmore railway would also be explored.
11. Future of Kirkby Stephen TIC:
Eden District Council have proposed cost cutting measures which could mean closure of the TIC for Winter 2011-12, and complete closure from summer 2012 onwards. There was considerable discussion on this topic, with most Forum members supporting efforts to work with the Town Council and Eden District Council to maintain the service for the benefit of the community. Libby Bateman suggested that funding might be available to prepare a Business Plan.
Meetings with Gordon Nicholson, Leader of EDC, were being held the day following the Forum meeting
The Forum agreed that the secretary should write in support of the development of the TIC through local bodies once details of the possible options were clearer.
Action: Mike Walker
Comments were made that further commercialisation of the TIC to improve turnover should not be at the expense of existing businesses, with a focus on complementary rather than competitive services. It was agreed that Barbara Dowson, with previous experience of running the TIC, and now running the Bookshop, might be involved in consideration of future plans for the TIC. Action: Barbara Dowson
12. Action for Market Towns Convention Venue for 2012
Kirkby Stephen has declared an interest in hosting the Action for Market Towns convention in 2012. A formal application will be needed during October 2011, but some preliminary work may be needed before then. The basic needs for the Convention are a meeting place for 250 people, 8 separate meeting rooms, accommodation for 250 within a 110 mile radius, and a regeneration story to tell. It was agreed that possible venue / accommodation providers should be alerted to the possibility of hosting the Convention in October 2011. Ann Sandell agreed to mention this in the next Accommodation Newsletter from “Walkers are Welcome”.
Action: Ann Sandell
It was suggested that the Grammar School would be appropriate for the major meeting venue, and it was agreed that we should advise the School of our thinking.
Action: Mike Walker
13. “Walkers are Welcome”:
Ann Sandell informed the Forum that the annual report and December newsletter have recently been circulated, and copies are included with these minutes.
Postcards have been produced for accommodation providers to include in bedroom packs to publicise Kirkby Stephen and promoting the Kirkby Stephen web-site and Walker are Welcome. These were distributed to members at the meeting, and further copies are available from the Community Office.
Libby Bateman informed the meeting of the further publicity planned for the area, including a lorry wrap on a road vehicle, and promotion at Westmorland Services based on the Secret Britain publicity.
14. 2011 Events:
Suggestions have been made to the Forum that a Food & Drink Festival be held during 2011. Jeff Scott told the meeting that the King’s Arms would be repeating its successful Real Ale & Cider / Folk Music weekend on 29/30/31 July, which attracted 2500 visitors in 2010. The Forum considered whether it would be appropriate to piggy-back onto this with a food themed event. The King’s Arms ballroom is currently available during this weekend, and could house demonstrations, food stalls etc. There was a view expressed that we should avoid direct competition with businesses in Kirkby Stephen, concentrating on producers of foodstuffs not available in local businesses. Further ideas should be sent to Jackie Scarr or Ann Sandell for consideration at future meetings. Action: All
As there is also a Flower Festival planned for 2011, and the Stainmore Railway 150th Anniversary it was felt unnecessary to arrange anything further before Christmas 2011.
15. Insurance – Notification of Events:
Until details are confirmed it is not necessary to make further notifications to the insurer.
16. Any Other Business:
Eden Arts have sent publicity information on their concert events at Penrith Leisure Centre. Details are available at http://www.edenarts.co.uk/
The Best in Eden event will include information on all events throughout the year, although still publicise mainly those held in July and August. Any event organisers should contact Eden Arts to ensure inclusion.
17. Date of next meeting:
It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Monday 7 March 2011 at 1900, as the secretary is unavailable on the usual date. Subsequent meetings will be held on the second Monday of odd months unless advised otherwise.