Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in April 2011

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

1. Representatives from the Society had been invited to meet Kimberley Developments and had been advised, not consulted, about plans that are still under development. There was however a free exchange of information by both parties. The Society was bound to confidentiality, however it notes that many of the broad plans are already circulating widely within the village. It is the intention of Kimberley to hold another two day public meeting in the Village Hall (date TBA) prior to submission of a revised planning application.

2. The Society is pleased to have attended a planning meeting held in the Royal British Legion for the proposed event in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s accession to the throne and will be playing a full part in that event. It is planned to close the High Street for a festival on Monday 4th June 2012. This event is being arranged by an ad hoc association of local organisations and as such meets the ultimate objective of the Society in having put out feelers for such an event about a year ago. In having considered the seeding of such an event, the Society also had in mind its own Golden Jubilee in 2012; however now that the Queen’s celebration has a healthy life of its own, The Knowle Society will continue parallel plans for a set of additional events during 2012 in celebration of its own Jubilee and is currently applying for a prestigious BBC radio broadcast (no guarantees!) and a dinner, as starters.

3. Liaison with Arden School/Academy is developing well and it is hoped that the current young people’s photographic competition being run by the Society will lead to more fruit in the Autumn.

4. Two pitches have been booked as usual for the Festival in the Park on Sunday 19th June, though some disappointment was expressed at the choice of a Sunday for this event.

5. Village Plan – the Directors were updated on the government’s plans for the strategic planning process. The Society will have 6-8 weeks to comment on the second draft of the Local Development Framework (LDF) which hopefully will allow further changes to be considered at the Inquiry in the summer of 2012. In the light of this the Society will now put arrangements for a Village Plan on hold until around Summer 2012 and maintain a watching brief in readiness for picking up the baton then.

6. Arrangements for provision of voluntary help on Saturday afternoons at the Library is continuing slowly but progress is being made with an agreement between the Library Service and The Knowle Society and the appropriate documentation for the volunteers. It is expected that the arrangement will commence by early Summer.

7. The Treasurer had reported at the last meeting that he had lost £25 in the accounts but that these had now been found. The collective sigh of relief from the Trustee Directors was ‘like a rushing wind’!

8. The Planning committee reported that a revised application was expected for new housing in place of the former Knowle Building & Decorating Supplies premises. It was also indicated that there was some small hope that the Council’s Conservation Advisory Committee could be spared the chop and continue in some form. This is not known definitely and no response had yet been received to a letter seeking a reprieve sent to the Leader of the Council and followed up by letters from our local councillors. The situation is that the decision to chop the committee had not yet received formal ratification. No outcome of the marina public enquiry had been seen yet either.

9. A meeting is arranged with Freddie Gick on 10th May which will be attended by the directors of the Society and committee members, however any other interested member is also welcome to attend. Mr Gick is the Chairman of Birmingham Civic Society, Chairman of the West Midlands Association of Amenity Societies (of which The Knowle Society is a member) and the Deputy Chairman of the newly formed Civic Voice. The Society belongs to Civic Voice which is the successor to the now defunct Civic Trust.

10. The current Local History exhibition at the library had been visited by the family of it’s subject, Thomas Brierley Dodwell DSO DFC in its Local Wartime Heroes series. The family had expressed its delight with the exhibition.

11. Membership of the Society has recently dipped below 3000 (as often happens when the annual subscription round throws up members who have move away or died). Several new members have been recruited recently and the figure is very close to topping that magic 3000 again! A new membership secretary is being sought as Bryan Smart’s resignation through ill-health will become effective in the autumn.

12. Some discussion took place about the cost of postal subscription in respect of the bulk of the newsletter and whether the desire to reduce this cost would also be benefitted by publishing the newsletter in an A5 format as so many organisations have done in recent times. No decision was taken but the possibility will be explored further.