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.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in March 2010

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

1. Knowle Green Community Project. The steering group had met on 25th February and was very satisfied that progress was now being made. The architect has now been appointed and Groundwork will be the agent. There is an issue to be clarified on liability for costs before any planning application is approved.

2. An ad-hoc group of Trustee Directors (TDs) had considered possible cycle routes within Knowle. The outcome was not entirely satisfactory and it was agreed that the conclusions will be published in the July newsletter, seeking the opinion of members.

3. Plans for the public meeting on the planning application by Kimberley Developments for St Johns Close were discussed, including arrangements for a leaflet drop to all (or most) properties in Knowle and the subsequent considered submission to the Council by the Society on its findings.

4. The joint celebration in Knowle of the Golden Jubilee of the Society and Diamond Jubilee of the Queen is now a standing item for regular review.

5. A TD indicated that he would be making a proposal to the next meeting, allowed under clause 2.8.6. of the existing Articles of Association, for the nomination of one or more Honorary Members.

6. How to use the Society’s stand at the Knowle Park Festival was considered, with proposals to maintain an active and interesting presence at this important event.

7. A sound understanding of copyright in respect of the Society’s resources was required and the cost of taking formal advice is to be investigated.

8. Reports from committee chairmen were noted, most having been received electronically in advance of the meeting. Councillor Diana Holl-Allen gave a brief update on Council matters as they affected Knowle’s interests.

9. It was noted that the successor organisation to the Civic Trust, Civic Voice, which will be launched shortly, had now recognised our concern about subscriptions as they applied to very large societies like The Knowle Society and was offering a capped fee of 500 pounds, substantially less than previously would have applied to Knowle. It was agreed that the Chairman would provide TDs with a summary of the benefits which The Knowle Society might gain from membership, with a view to a decision being taken at the next meeting.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in February 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 was no news to report on the Knowle Green Community Project. The planned steering group meeting due on 28th January was postponed to 25th February.

2. A subcommittee has met to consider cycle routes in Knowle and after careful deliberation, found that very little could be commended, however proposal for two routes will be reviewed by the Trustee Directors before submission to the Council.

3.Some improvements in bus timings have been noted but the story was not all good. The Society is still pushing Centro to come back on its concerns.

4. The Civic Societies Initiative (currently balloting on a new name) being the embryonic replacement of the defunct Civic Trust has still not addressed the Society’s concerns about proposed membership fees which would hit The Knowle Society especially hard, so it is looking unlikely that the Society will be able to afford to consider membership of this new body.

5.The St John’s Close Redevelopment project is uppermost in the concern of the Society at this time following the public meetings held by Kimberley Developments on 15/16 January. It is understood that Waitrose met SMBC on 11 February but no formal application has been submitted yet. The Knowle Society will be reviewing all the relevant material and then arranging its own public meeting in which members and others can express their opinions and explore further issues and concerns that they may have on this proposal.

6. 2012 sees the Golden Jubilee of The Knowle Society and also the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. Over the next few months the Society will consider how best it might celebrate these events and support special community activities. The History committee proposes publishing a history of the Society at that time. The Trustee Directors reviewed several ideas for celebrations and the leading role it might take in seeing that something significant is planned. Contact with SMBC will take place to ensure that there is good coordination.

7. Problems with distribution of the newsletter this quarter, partly attributable to the bad weather, were discussed, including how feedback on the receipt of copies by subscribers could be monitored.

8. The awarding of Life Membership to especially deserving members was considered further along with variations on the idea. Proposals will be presented to members at the next AGM.

9. At the request of the Village Hall and as a major user, the Society will be submitting its physical requirements in any possible new Village Hall that might arise from any redevelopment project.

10. The Knowle Councillors (A Rebeiro in attendance) provided an update on Arden School classrooms, Milverton Road/Arden School rights of way, Waitrose, the planned Lodge Road crossing, tree replacements around Knowle and youth use of the Village Hall.

11. Reports were received from all committee chairmen on the work of their committees.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in January 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 was no news to report on the Knowle Green Community Project however activity was stirring again with a steering group meeting due on 28th January.

2.The Society was represented at a meeting with Centro on local buses when strong concerns on performance were expressed. The Society recommended that Centro should carry out a local questionnaire as is being undertaken in the north of the West Midlands area but should not be wholly dependent on the Internet for responses.

3. Following the demise of the Civic Trust with which the Society was registered, there has been considerable activity in setting up a new organisation called the Civic Societies Initiative, however The Knowle Society has major concerns about the funding of this organisation which would hit a society such as ours exceptionally hard because we have both a large membership and a very low membership fee. The Trustee Directors (TDs) have made their feelings known to the fledgling body and now await, with little expectation of success, the possible revision of membership terms to be more favourable to a society such as ours. Membership of this new body is therefore very unlikely and the Society will continue to work strongly with the continuing regional organisation WestMASA which was set up under the old Civic Trust’s auspices and which addresses our local concerns and need for mutual contact with other similar societies.

4. The TDs considered how the Society communicated with members and how member feedback and input is elicited and the routes available for that feedback. The TDs affirmed the paramount importance of member input and proposed some actions in support of this. It was also noted that TDs are representatives not delegates therefore they are elected to make up their own minds on issues to the benefit of Knowle rather than promote the opinions of others. The next newsletter will remind members of how they may contact the Society.

5.The St John’s Close Redevelopment project is uppermost in the concern of the Society at this time and following the public meetings being held by Kimberley Developments on 15/16 January, The Knowle Society will be reviewing all the relevant material and then arranging its own public meeting in which members and others can express their opinions and explore further issues and concerns that they may have on this proposal.

6. 2012 sees the Golden Jubilee of The Knowle Society and also the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. Over the next few months the Society will consider how best it might celebrate these events and support special community activities. The History committee agreed to look into the possibility of publishing a history of the Society at that time, something that many similar societies of similar age are also considering.

7. It was agreed that a change to the date of AGMs from 2011 onwards should be formally proposed at the 2010 AGM (as was first raised with members at the 2009 AGM).

8. Reports from the various committees were received and noted. A particular concern was expressed that some newsletter distributors had still not received their newsletters from their bulk distributor. Whereas the particular problems arising from the current icy and snowy spell were recognised, it was resolved that a mechanism for gaining feedback on the end distribution process should be explored, so as to enable timely rectification if similar delays were to arise in future. The need for a revised A5 promotional leaflet was acknowledged and action was agreed.

9. Under Any Other Business it was suggested that perhaps the Society should consider the awarding of Life Membership to especially deserving members. The TDs welcomed the idea and agreed to give further thought to the matter.

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in December 2009

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

1. KGCP – The Society will now take the lead in application for grants for this project.

2. Cycle Routes – The Society has submitted its response to SMBC in respect of its consultation on cycle routes. See news item on home page.

3. Christmas Lights – This event was considered a great success. The logistics and safety aspects were reviewed for future events.

4. AGM – New format very well received. Draft Minutes and Agenda to be published in the newsletter and website in advance of future AGMs.

5. The new Civic Society Initiative – The Society is considering its position with respect to membership of this new body.

6. Planning – Solihull MBC Planning Committee is expected to consider the marina applications this month. The Sainsbury planning application is likely to take place in January. Waitrose is expected to hold a public meeting in the same month. The Society is maintaining a close watch on all these projects and is playing an active part at each stage.

7. Community Services – Solihull MBC is to be approached about the worn out markings in the entries and exits of the car parks in Knowle.