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Minutes of Design & Marketing Meeting

Tuesday 19th February 2013

Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), Daniel Block, Ted Coney, Kevin Evans, Peter Hillman, Frank Readhead, Ray Tinker, John Yates

1. Apologies

John Baker, Suzanne Lindsay, Simon Pittock, Liz Sayers.

2. Minutes of the 15th January meeting

These were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Ted Coney wrote to the King’s School asking that the Old Palace be made available as a visitor attraction. He said the initial reaction was positive. Sheila Friend-Smith will e-mail Mark Hart to further this initiative.

Other matters arising are covered in the following agenda items.

4. Steeple Row

Jane Kennedy is arranging for an outline budget for the project, once that is obtained a fund raising committee will be formed. It is intended that the bin store be undertaken in advance of the main works. ECDC have been asked if they will fund it, and a reply is awaited. John Yates will arrange for the repair of the broken litter bin.

5. Maltings Cottage

The lease for The City Council was signed this week and the architect was briefed this morning.

6. Ely Court House

The City Council have expressed a desire to take possession of the building, but the necessary funding may not be available. The Ely Perspective has indicated their interest in obtaining the facility. As yet the purchase price for the property is unknown and thus it is difficult to make a firm commitment.

7. Commemorative plaques

No report.

8. The Ely App

Due to other commitments there has been negligible progress. The launch is now expected to be in the summer.

Daniel Block will liaise with John Yates on the provision of a wi-fi system.

It was noted that The Ely Standard carried an article about Caroline Bailey of the Spar Shop and her interest in wi-fi. John Yates is in discussion with her.

It was also noted that the YourEly website has been launched and that The City Forum is to be relaunched with a different set of representatives and a wider focus.

9. Retail occupancy

Ted Coney reported that The Sports Shop has moved out of Ely; The Inkwell Shop has new occupants and the old Sue Rider shop has been let. It was also noted that Argos plan to close their Ely shop and that Aldi plan to open on 14 March.

John Yates explained that internet shopping is changing peoples shopping habits and the effect is being felt in Ely. It is therefore necessary to provide a more social type of shopping experience within the city.

John also explained that the two new modern lighting columns in the market place were a temporary provision pending the supply of more suitable equipment.

Ted Coney suggested that either Millets empty store or that of John Borland be made available to ADEC during the festival.

10. Future programme and the future format of the Perspective

There was a proposal that the Riverside Group and the Design and Marketing Group merge. Initial discussions identified both advantages and disadvantages to such a merger. It was agreed that John Yates organise a joint meeting on 19 March when both groups can discus the matter.

John Yates explained that the relationship between The City Council and ECDC was changing and the responsibilities of the City Council were developing. The role of The Perspective as a campaigning body will need to change to suite this developing situation. It was noted that there were other recent changes that may require us to reconsider our objectives.

11. Any other business

Sheila Friend-Smith explained that she had served as Chair for some years and intends to relinquish that role. She invited members to volunteer for the Chair.

Ray Tinker reported that a steam train will be visiting Ely during the Cathedral Flower Festival, and that it will be stopping at both Cambridge and Ely. He argued that TIC needs to encourage more excursion trains to visit Ely.

It is considered that the newly published "Visit Ely 2013 Guide" is heavily biased to promoting B&Bs and provides insufficient space to promoting the tourist attractions within Ely.

Sheila Friend-Smith reported that the "Isle of Ely Arts Festival" is to take place not withstanding that they failed to acquire a grant. The start date is not yet confirmed although it will be in mid June and the event will finish on 30 June. At present they only have £1500 in funds. The events will not be limited to Ely and other areas of the District, including Soham and Burwell will be hosting events. Toppings have 4 authors lined up to take part in the festival.

Date of the next meeting

6.30pm Tuesday 19th March 2013 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely. To be a joint meeting with the Riverside Group.