Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in November 2010

A brief report of matters discussed at the most recent committee meeting. Feedback on Society matters is welcomed on our online ‘Forum’.

1. Gary Masters is organising a meeting with interested village organisations to initiate a village celebration in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and The Knowle Society’s Golden Jubilee.

2. The Society is determined to set up a youth section but has had setbacks to its initial approach; the Chairman will now be approaching SMBC to explore an alternative approach.

3. All arrangements are in hand for the Christmas Lights event to go ahead using the same successful formula as last year.

4. Following a meeting with the Dorridge & District Residents Association (DDRA) it was agreed that it would be more appropriate for the Council’s Core Strategy to be recommending Village Plans rather than Village Design Statements for places such as Knowle and Dorridge. Leighton Jones will seek a meeting with the relevant SMBC Liaison Officer to put forward this idea.

5.Planning – Concern was expressed about the Council’s lack of robustness in handling infringements of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and also noted that Murco had lost its appeal to keep the present over-sized ‘totem-pole’ sign at its garage on Kenilworth Road.

6. The proposed sites for housing development in 2021-6 were discussed with particular concern about the lack of timely provision of infrastructure such as schools, medical facilities and roads.

7. It was noted that SMBC considers that there is little value in continuing to retain the line of the proposed relief road.

8. A proposal to create allotments at the site of the old Thacker’s Nursery was dismissed by SMBC on cost grounds. The Society is now going to explore other creative methods of initiating community action on this worthy project.

9. The History section had captured the sad closure of Knowle Decorating & Building Supplies with a photographic record.

10. The Quiz Night was reported to have been fully attended and an outstanding success, despite the erudite questions set by the Society’s Chairman.

11. Groundwork is no longer acting in the matter of the Knowle Green Community Project but the grant bid and planning application will both now be undertaken by the architect instead.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in October 2010

A brief report of matters discussed at the most recent committee meeting. Feedback on Society matters is welcomed on our online ‘Forum’.

1. The formal notice of the Society’s AGM reported that there would be six vacancies for Trustee Directors – this should have read five vacancies.

2. Gary Masters agreed to lead the initiative for a village event (including closure of the High Street) in 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s 60th anniversary on the throne and The Knowle Society’s 50th. He will be approaching as many village organisations as possible to inform and to encourage involvement.

3. Youth Committee: Initial ideas, names and useful local connections continue to be considered as the Society seeks to set up this new committee.

4. A report was received of a meeting between representatives of the Society and Arden (the new name for Arden School) represented by its head teacher and governors. The Society was assured that the school intends to remain a ‘village school’. The meeting was constructive and although the Society’s concerns on the change to academy status were not accepted by Arden, those views were recognised and respected. It was agreed to give Arden space in the next newsletter to comment on its change of status.

5. Heritage Weekend: It was agreed that the Society’s activities had not been successful this year and that planning and publicity needed to be advanced much earlier than was the case this year.

6. It was agreed that the new Civic Voice organisation, of which the Society is a member, would be given some prominence in next year’s Festival in the Park event.

7. Village Plan: Nothing new to report, the ad hoc committee would report on this new proposal in the Spring.

8. Big Society – Knowle Library: The Society had received 11 expressions of interest in helping in this area of volunteering.

9. The Society’s planning committee was due to meet Gary Palmer of SMBC the next day – this periodic meeting was considered to be of great value and the new Local Development Framework (LDF) would be a major topic on the agenda.

10 Reports were received from each committee, informing the Directors of their activities. It was noted particularly that the popular Boxing Day walk was in need of one or two more offers of help with stewarding this year. It was also suggested that the quarterly newsletter could usefully make a regular report on the changes in retail (and other) premises in Knowle; this would be a service to members and also provide an historical record. It would also be a way of supporting the life of the village and its new enterprises.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in September 2010

A brief report of matters discussed at the most recent committee meeting. Feedback on Society matters is welcomed on our online ‘Forum’.

1. It was reported that:

a) Arden School was proposing a cycle route and footpath that bordered the school’s playing field.

b) The Society had pressed for speedy decision making on the Kimberley Developments planning application. Kimberley has since advised the Society of the reasons for the delays and that there was no intention to reduce opposition by dragging out the process. It is understood that revisions to the proposed scheme are being considered.

c) initial efforts to establish a Youth Section were progressing slowly

d) final arrangements for the Heritage Weekend (11 Sept) were all in place – efforts this year to be confined to the Local History Centre opening and High Street guided tours being led by Colin Smith.

2. It was agreed:

a) to request High Street closure for street celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the Golden Jubilee of The Knowle Society on Saturday 2nd June 2012. The celebrations will be led by Knowle Society with the inclusion of all village groups.

b) that the switch-on of the Christmas Tree and Village lights would be on Monday 29th November. Difficulties with the new arrangements last year were reviewed and an action was agreed to approach the Church on relevant issues.

c) not to participate in the first national Civic Voice ‘Civic Day’ in 2011 as this would follow too closely on the Knowle Festival in the Park, which was a major presentation of the Society within the community and a prior major commitment of the Society.

3. Written reports had been received from Committee chairmen and from Councillor Rebeiro. In most cases these reports were received with no further discussion except that a proposal by Solihull Police to set up an online forum and asking the Society to invite members to partake was discussed. Unfortunately insufficient information was available at the time however enquiry after the meeting enabled the matter to be aired in the forthcoming October newsletter.

4. The Knowle Community Green Project (redevelopment of the area around the bus stop on the junction of Station Rd and Warwick Rd) is going through an important phase of applying for planning permission and grant application but has been complicated by the financial difficulties of the Architect.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in May 2010

A brief report of matters discussed at the most recent committee meeting. Feedback on Society matters is welcomed on our online ‘Forum’. The report for June’s meeting will be late or skipped.

1. SMBC has invited the Society to participate in a meeting on cycle routes within Knowle, which it is happy to accept, however that meeting has since been postponed.

2. Some members have pressed the Society to engage with Kimberley Developments on possible changes to its current planning application. The TDs did not consider that this was the appropriate action at this time but would ask Kimberley if it wished to consider such a move.

3. Proposals for honorary life members of the Society were considered and would be put to the members at the next AGM.

4. Arrangements for a full involvement with the Festival in the Park on 19th June were agreed.

5. Issues of copyright had been further researched and relevant material gives the Society renewed confidence in the use of its resources.

6. A bold proposal to create a youth committee within the Society was considered and will continue to receive further thought. It was not expected to be an easy or assured development but was seen as a worthy objective to pursue that was in line with the eductaion objects of the Society. Ultimately the Society might not benefit directly from new blood but it did see that it would be a valuable contribution to the civic movement generally. An approach will be made to an identified possible leader of such a committee to sound out the idea. Natural Environment and the proposed development by Kimberley were seen as good areas where youth involvement could be initiated.

7. It was reported that a public enquiry will now be set up on the matter of the refused planning application for canal moorings at Jacobean Lane. It was reported that SMBC has lost alll the initial public objections; the Sociey will be reiterating its initial objections. It will also be inviting members through its newsletter to let it know of their points of view.

8. The Trustee Directors approved purchase of a stock of linen bags with the Society’s logo and a local scene to be sold at close to cost price at forthcoming public events and as publicity for the Society.

9. The TD’s received with great regret the news of the death of Jean Laughton, a bulk distributor of the newsletter.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in April 2010

A brief report of matters discussed at the most recent committee meeting. Feedback on Society matters is welcomed on our online ‘Forum’.

1. Planning Applications for St John’s Close by Kimberley Developments – The Directors received a report from the Society’s Planning Committee which had assessed the applications, the input from the public meeting and the feedback from both response forms and the Society’s web Forum. The Planning Committee held both extremes of personal opinion on the applications but its chairman paid tribute to the professional manner in which the matter was considered and the fact that the committee came to a unanimous decision on the response that it was recommending to the Trustee Directors (TDs). The TDs accepted the report and authorised that it be submitted to the Council as the Society’s official response. As soon as the report has been sent to the Council it will also be released on the Society’s website. In addition to the official response there will also be supporting information from the Society that expresses additional opinions which are not admissible as formal responses to a planning application but reflect some of the more subjective views. Meanwhile the Society will be making formal enquiry from the Council on the ownership of land for the Village Hall and bungalows. It will also be considering seriously creating a Village Plan (a.k.a. Village Design Statement) as a positive preparation for any revision to the applications that might be possible should the current plans be rejected by the Council.

2. Golden Jubilee 2012 – The Society was investigating suitable memorabilia with a local flavour that would help the community celebrate the Society’s Jubilee year.

3. Copyright – The TDs agreed to take fixed price legal advice on copyright to assist it in the management of its archives and publications.

4. Planning – In addition to the major activity on St John’s Close the committee had remained active in more routine planning matters. In particular it was trying to persuade the Council to make two policies: on retention of retail rather than service properties in the village and on lighting of shop premises. It was also reported that local residents had expressed gratitude to the Society for its assistance in the matter of the temporary classrooms at Arden School. Reassurance had been received that the classrooms would be removed by the end of April and that the site would be tidied and the hedge replaced.

5. New storage and display facilities in the Local History Centre had now been installed and were very well received by the stewards and everyone who had seen them.

6. Progress on the Knowle Green Community Project (bus shelter replacement) was now moving apace. The TDs discussed the probable need to set up a separate company to manage the handling of any grant monies. A report on the process needed to enable the Society to handle such funds will be produced by the Secretary for further discussion.

7. The Society had previously decided that it would not join the new Civic Voice (follow-up to the defunct Civic Trust) as the membership cost was prohibitive for a large Society like ours. Since Civic Voice had now offered a subscription cap of 500 pounds p.a. and recent material emanating from the embryonic organisation was showing signs of being of a high quality and very relevant to the work of The Knowle Society, the TDs now decided to make application to join for one year initially.