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Minutes of Design & Marketing Meeting

Tuesday 17th April 2012

Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), Angela Moody, Daniel Block, Frank Readhead, John Baker, John Yates, Kevin Evans, Ray Tinker, Shirley Overall, Simon Pittock, Ted Coney, Terry Overall.

1. Apologies

Caroline Cawley, Liz Sayers.

2. Previous meeting's minutes

Ray Tinker had sent apologies which had not been noted. Minutes of the 20th March, 2012 meeting were agreed with this amendment.

3. Matters arising

•   The closure of Raven's music shop had been previously reported, it transpires this is not the case.

•   Suzanne Lindsay wrote to inform the group that due to time constraints she would no longer be able to attend meetings. The group wished to express sincere thanks for her efforts over the years.

4. Maltings cottage update

ECDC have offered terms for the lease of the building to Ely City Council which were in turn rejected. Negotiations are ongoing but there are no significant developments to report as yet.

5. Commemorative plaques

The process is ongoing, there was no significant further development to report.

6. Christmas Market

There was still no progress on finding a potential sponsor/backer for the event. Simon Pittock has been pursuing several supermarkets on this matter but as yet has had no response. It was suggested that Simon make contact with Jordan Day at the Ely Weekly News who had picked up on the ice rink attraction and may be running a story on this. The Cathedral are running a craft market in December, it was decided that we should make every effort to coordinate and ensure the two attractions ran at the same time, and to explore the route of offering the Cathedral the opportunity to run a refreshments facility from their existing cafe.

7. Steeple Row update

At this time the group is still awaiting a revised plan to include the necessary changes to the designs. Until this is received the process is unable to move forward.

8. Retail Occupancy

•   St. Mary's Street – a new sandwich shop has opened in the premises previously occupied by 'Dotties'.
•   A funeral parlour has been proposed by a private company, to be located on Fore Hill.
•   Part of the premises occupied previously by 'Two Ticks' is undergoing redecoration at this time.
•   A new health food shop has opened on Newnham Street, following the closure of 'Julian Graves'.
•   Extensive refitting is under way in the premises previously occupied by 'Currys'.
•   Development work in in progress to the rear of Fore Hill adjacent to the car park access path.
•   A licence for outdoor trade is in development for Ely, to cover matters including on-street displays, seating areas etc. Local businesses have expressed a good deal of interest in this scheme.
•   It was reported to the committee that the national average vacancy rate was 11% and that Ely is faring considerably better at just 3% vacancy.

9. Environmental walkabout

It was reported that Nick Ball has looked at parking issues, poor signage, road markings etc.
Ely City Council are seeking to take responsibility for environmental walkabouts, including in Chetisham, Prickwillow, Stuntney and Queen Adelaide, as well as Ely proper. It was agreed that the Perspective should now focus on areas which will not be covered by the walkabouts and that any observations should be fed back to those responsible for the walkabouts so that they may take any appropriate actions as necessary. A walkabout was scheduled for June 19th 2012 with two sub-groups to start at Downham Road and St. Mary's Street.

10. Further comments on the impact of Sainsbury's on traffic

It was reported that there will be a public workshop on May 23rd, 2012 – (apologies I did not note exact details of when/where - SP). There will be an afternoon and evening workshop.

Members expressed concern that the new bus is not serving areas as well as it could and about poor advertising. It was felt the ability to use bus passes should be promoted more heavily.

11. Any other business

•   The issue of steam trains visiting Ely was raised again. The A1 Tornado will be stopping in Ely at the beginning of May, operated by Steam Dreams. This will be the only stop in Ely this year whilst other locations enjoy much more frequent visits, and will only be for passenger collection. The group felt that although this issue had been raised before, it had gained no real traction. It was felt that as so much of what the group does is focussed towards promoting and marketing Ely, that this issue must be actively pursued by us and others.

It was the decision of the group to officially raise this issue with all parties and council departments who would have involvement with driving this issue forward. Whilst there may have been sticking points and problems in the past, it was the group's desire to attack this from a fresh angle with the sole aim of getting more steam trains to bring tourists into Ely, and to add another valuable asset to Ely's attractions.

•   Daniel Block mentioned that some aspects of the Perspective's business group, now defunct, were still showing a presence on the internet under the Perspective branding. It was discussed and agreed that this material should be removed as it no longer served an active purpose.

•   Angela Moody voiced concerns over inadequate dog waste bin facilities and maintenance and agreed to write with a list of specific instances and suggestions to Elaine Griffin-Singh.

•   Ted Coney reported from ADEC that the most recent exhibition at the Babylon Gallery had attracted over 2000 visitors. The coming exhibition is titled "Natural Ryhthm". Receiving equipment is scheduled to be installed, enabling live event screenings at the Maltings.

12. Date of the next meeting

6.30pm Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at St Peter’s House, Broad Street, Ely