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.