Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in December 2010

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

1. There is no news to report on the proposed ‘Waitrose’ development, except that a revised proposal is envisaged by Kimberley Developments which would not involve replacement of the Village Hall but was thought possibly to utilise the old bowling green. It is understood that further community consultation will be sought by Kimberley before submitting new plans.

2. Plans for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Society’s Golden Jubilee in 2012 were discussed, including the opportunity to work closely with the expertise and funding that exists from the village’s celebrations at the Millennium, in 2002 (Golden Jubilee) and in 2005.

3. Youth involvement continues to be a top priority for the Society. Following recent advice from Solihull MBC’s Youth Service and the newly formed Civic Voice, the Trustee Directors considered a photographic competition and the use of social websites as desirable ways forward. Newly formed links with Arden would also be explored to seek the school’s input and advice.

4. Switching on the Christmas lights was felt to be another successful occasion. The event was reviewed and a few points were noted for subsequent years. Numbers were thought to be similar to last year.

5. Finding a suitably qualified and available person to lead the proposed Village Plan was seen as an urgent requirement; the need for a Village Plan was becoming more inevitable each day.

6. The Society’s offer of help in supporting Knowle Library has been verbally accepted in principle by SMBC and remains to be worked out and taken forward.

7. Last month’s AGM was felt to have been a successful event and that the format was right.

8. It was reported that a planning application can be expected to convert the premises of the former Knowle Decorating & Building Supplies into housing. A conversion from office to retail use is also expected for the old Soden’s shop as an extension of the bridal-wear shop.

9. Community Services concerns centred on the current proliferation of A-Boards in the High Street and parking on the bends of St Johns Close.

10. More offers of stewards to help with the Boxing Day walk were needed.

11. A grant application for the Knowle Green Community Project was currently being prepared; the budget for the scheme has been reduced; a meeting was imminent to consider which trees should be retained in the scheme and decisions are needed on the incorporation of the new illuminated service indicator panels.

12. It was noted that the new Localism bill has the potential for a significant impact on the Society and its role in the community.

13. The benefits of professional input to the design of the website and a more ‘newsy’ and less wordy newsletter were raised but no decisions were taken.

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.