Present: Frank Readhead (chair), Daniel Block, Ted Coney, Kevin Evans, Liz Sayers, Patricia Simmonds, Ray Tinker.
Sheila Friend-Smith, Malcolm Green, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, Simon Pittock, John Simmons. Daniel Block volunteered to take notes.
These were agreed.
FR reported that Paul Stannard had emailed to confirm he is happy for a new leaflet stand at the station, but that the Executive group had advised caution because DB had received information that more senior managers at the station expressed uncertainty at the lifespan of a new stand with imminent renovations going on at the station (particularly the ticket office). DB is awaiting further information and will follow up.
DB reported that other work had prevented him from spending much time on ElyAce, and that the calendar system had required further attention due to having to incorporate repeat events and offers before launch rather than after.
FR mentioned that the Perspective website had been discussed by the Executive group because it required some attention and had become out-of-date in terms of the information displayed. DB confirmed that it would not take long to remove items that should no longer be there, and FR and KE will look at the website to advise which parts should be removed. DB asked members for suggestions of items that they would like to see added to the website, such as ongoing projects and recent achievements like the plaques.
Action: FR, KE, DB
FR reported that he and SF-S are to meet a new representative of the Heritage Lottery Fund to talk about Steeple Row. FR intends to enlist the services of a quantity surveyor to evaluate the project. TC asked if the project would be enough to improve the area, with particular consideration of the stubborn existence of visible bins. FR is still to verify whether the bins are obstructing a highway. TC suggested that David Learner of Mr Simms might be a good candidate for encouraging neighbouring shops to use the binstore. DB asked about whether the screen proposed in early Steeple Row plans could be revived.
Action: FR, SF-S
No further information in the absence of SO and TO.
DB reported back on the previous month's City Centre Forum seminar, which saw a workshop discussion on city signage, a footfall survey report from Andrew Olley and the new Shopping & Eating Guide and special offers leaflet. There was discussion of the continued funding of the leaflet with some members suggesting it should be sustainable independently of the Perspective. KE suggested the participating shops could contribute, although DB (who has spoken regularly to the shops) believes that would not work as most shops would drift away from the project. There was discussion over the effectiveness of the leaflets and how success can be measured. It was also suggested that maybe it could be incorporated into Ely-i magazine if Bridget Hickish was interested in taking on the project. LS will look into printing costs. FR commented that he agreed with a comment made at the seminar that Ely now has a series of separate publications designed to attract visitors but all have different designs and no cohesive branding. DB mentioned that this point has already been answered by Lis Every (City Centre Forum chair) and reiterated that branding was a project that was deemed too large for the Forum to take on at first, and whilst it has not been discarded as an idea, the considerations of cost, a consultation process and the many diverse uses and stakeholders make it a difficult prospect.
A decision has been made on the gate design, which will be a simple classic design. Group members welcomed this news.
FR reported that Malcolm Green is keen on this but is currently away. SF-S, FR and MG met Cathy White who is positive about the idea. She is keen for primary schools to become involved. KE commented that Helen Moore has run groups themed on nature with children. The question of the Fore Hill corner was raised. FR had forgotten to ask Cathy White, and will pursue.
LS has spoken to Wendy at Ely News who is interested in featuring the idea with reader nominations to be submitted. LS will talk again to Wendy. LS mentioned a previous idea of Ely 'grot-spots' (identifying untidy parts of the city which require some work) which has not happened yet. TC wondered if the opposite approach would be better – showcase well kept parts of the city. He wondered if this could be a use for the LovEly idea.
The group discussed the closure of the Ely Society (for the benefit of LS who had been away) and what might happen to its activities, including the publishing. FR will verify the implications of Perspective taking on planning and then email members.
The Maltings Cottage was discussed, with TC commenting that he had wanted a clearer answer at the Annual Parish Meeting on the intentions of the City Council for the future of the cottage. KE and FR thought it had been made clear that the cottage will be part commercial use and part community use. FR suggested writing to the City Council on 8th May (after the election) to ask about their plans for the cottage.
There was nothing further to report on new projects.
An AGM is to be held as the May meeting on the 19th May. FR announced his intention to stand down as chair, as he had advised he would 12 months ago. A new chair will be decided at the AGM. Suggestions for AGM agenda items are welcomed from group members in advance of the next meeting.
TC asked whether historical pictures could be added to new city signage, like the example shown by LS of Kendal at a previous meeting. DB advised the budget for signage is around £12k, which probably would not be enough to accommodate such additions. There was discussion of the 'unofficial' heritage signs which have been spotted in the city, including one for Waterside Antiques on the corner of Lisle Lane and Waterside.
RT commented that some hanging attachments had been removed from lamp-posts and are now missing.
DB suggested the June meeting should be another city 'walkabout' to identify areas which could be improved.
Babylon Gallery wall
TC asked whether there were plans to repair the damaged wall near Babylon Gallery. Members thought Mike Rouse had been asked to look into it.
LS commented on the activity around the building works on the slipway, and the adjacent grassy area might become a duck feeding area again. TC hoped that if this is true, The Maltings could again be a base for providing duck feed.
DB reported that having looked through old Perspective meeting minutes, it was interesting to see the changing shops of Ely through the years, and maybe retail occupancy should be revived as an AOB item to continue this record. TC will provide details that were missed during the months this was not on the agenda.
• It was noted that Time 2 Vape has opened on Buttermarket, with Ely Gin Company hopefully following soon, and Wood Green are working on the old Millets building.
Patricia Simmonds and Liz Sayers offered apologies in advance of May's AGM.
6.30pm Tuesday 19th May 2015 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely.