Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), John Baker, Caroline Cawley, Ted Coney, Philip Eden, Kevin Evans, Peter Hillman, Suzanne Lindsay, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, Frank Readhead, Liz Sayers, Ray Tinker
Daniel Block, Simon Pittock, John Yates.
It was advised that 'former' be deleted from the sentence relating to the new tea shop, and that the sentence relating to the Old Palace should read ‘the Head and the governors ........open during school summer holidays'.
Liz felt it was difficult for the King’s School to be opened frequently for the public as it continues to have a full timetable throughout school holiday periods and. A request will be made. Access on Heritage day was suggested, but it was pointed out that this occurs in September in term time so would not be appropriate.
The school is having a service in the Cathedral on 25th January to celebrate the inauguration of the Old Palace as part of the school.
Suzanne admitted that she had failed to follow up on the missing lights in the market place, but since the Christmas lights had been put up several lights were found to be defective and the County Council are looking into the matter. As the lights have to be replaced to match existing lights there is a problem replacing them, but it is in hand.
Still no official news to report as formalities still to be completed.
All wording now sorted on the plaques, Shirley and Terry are working with the Cathedral to replace missing, damaged plaques on the Porta, Sacrist Gate and Steeple Row. Still looking for other signs of interest about the city. A request has been made to Poets House Collection for approval and possible sponsorship of their plaque.
Planning permission has now been granted and there is 5 years in which the project can start. Sheila suggested that as ECDC had the available money for the bin store this should be done as soon as possible. It was proposed that a small strategy group be set up to arrange finances and implement the scheme. John Yates and Kirsten Bennet( Chief Exec, ACRE)have already started some work on this and they will be approached to include members from the Design group. Philip Eden reported that £500.00 is available from Actions for Market Town as a result of the fact finding visit to Thame by Simon and Daniel.
No further report but disappointment that the Cathedral are not fully on board.
Concern was voiced that the online questionnaire about parking charges was worded assuming that those responding were in favour of the charges and that there was no space for further comments or views. Also, if further comments were sent to ECDC what provisions were in place to ensure that these points would be considered. Peter Hillman agreed to attend Neighbourhood panel (16th January) and raise the question.
Despite perceived buoyancy before Christmas there has been a further increase in shops ceasing to trade. The overall vacancy rate is 5.3% and there continue to be new ventures. Recent closures are ‘Fenways’, Mayer, Inkwell, Nuts and Stuff. Mole Architects have relocated from ADeC offices. On the positive side the tattoo parlour is extending into upstairs premises, Curtis Yarns have relocated from the kiosk to the High Street. Thing-me-bobs now trading under QD, Aldi will open on 7th March and Sainsbury are meeting their targets.
The formation of the Town Centre Forum by Ely City Council was discussed and whether the perspective/design group should be amalgamated with it. Consensus was that the groups were quite distinct and that as we fed into it via Simon Pittock we should remain as we are and continue to drive the current projects. Town Centre Forum to be added as a future agenda item.
Cyclist signage has disappeared from the ground at the river end of the path through Jubilee Gardens. Some of the solar lights in the pathway have failed.
Caroline wished it to be known that she had been misquoted in a recent article on the future of the courthouse. It should have read that she said 'although ADeC would love to have an Arts Centre the listed courthouse building would not be practical'. A costed survey has been done of the courthouse and a further meeting apropos its future is to be arranged.
It was suggested that the Neighbourhood panel be asked about any outcome from the public consultation about the proposed Tesco move.
Kevin requested that the group insurance cover be reviewed, especially in light of the Steeplegate development.
Maltings Restaurant provisions are currently under discussion.
May 4th is Eel Day. Shirley suggested a competition amongst younger age group children to design a post card suitable for Ely in Bloom use.
ADeC have started their campagne to raise £42,000 for going digital.
East Cambs have applied for a £10,000 grant from the arts council for this year’s Art Festival proposed dates are 16th -30th June, working around the Cathedral flower festival dates of 20th - 23rd June. Shirley suggested a stall at the Eel Day festivities to advertise the event.
6.30pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely