Present: Frank Readhead (chair), Daniel Block, Caroline Cawley, Ted Coney, Kevin Evans, Sheila Friend-Smith, Malcolm Green, Pat Hillman, Peter Hillman, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, Simon Pittock, Veronica Poultney, Liz Sayers.
Helen Moore, Patricia Simmonds, John Simmons, Ray Tinker, Peter Webb.
DB volunteered to take minutes.
These were agreed.
FR announced the Executive had agreed that the Riverside Group and the Design & Marketing Group should merge to become more effective. The new group will be named the Action Group pending any better suggestion. FR suggested the group simply be ‘Ely Perspective’ for the next month to give members time to think about other suggestions.
FR said it would be a good time to elect a chair for the new group, but members are happy for him to continue in the role, with Peter Hillman as vice chair.
SP and KE presented a series of photographs resulting from members conducting a 'walkabout' in Ely City centre on 15th and 16th March, observing areas of concern about the condition of building exteriors, litter, uncleanliness and street furniture. Areas covered were the Market Place, Three Cups Walk, Fore Hill, High Street, Steeple Row, the Cathedral Greens, St Mary's Street, The Cloisters and Market Street. Specific points of discussion were as follows:
• TC asked about the unsightly tree stump at the bottom of Fore Hill. KE said an upcoming meeting with the tree officer would cover this.
• A chance meeting with a High Street business owner highlighted problems of security, anti-social behaviour and issues along Steeple Row and the new bin store.
• The possibly illegal parking of vehicles at the Sacrist Gate was discussed at length, with a decision to write to the Cathedral about it.
• The poor state of the public toilets around the Cathedral is a matter of particular concern with their proximity to the main tourist attractions giving a poor impression to visitors.
• TC noted the choice of fluorescent lights in the Kings School barn archway near the Porta is not in keeping with these historic buildings.
LS suggested a campaign to improve the cleanliness of Ely might be a good idea. SO suggested the walkabout results be presented to the City Centre Forum, to bring them to the attention of local business owners. SP will make the walkabout photos available online for group members to view, with additional historical results and any items spotted by Pat Hillman on a Riverside walkabout. All contributions are welcome.
Ely Railway Station
KE asked about any news of the station renovations. SP will attempt to find out new information.
KE asked about progress of the new restaurant Ta Bouche due to open at The Maltings. PH confirmed it is due to open in April/May. However, it is likely to be closed on Eel Weekend again. MG confirmed the new Boathouse restaurant is aiming for an Easter opening, but this is not certain. VP will check the progress of Ta Bouche.
SO asked for news about the relocation of Ely Post Office, but there is none yet.
SP distributed a shortlist provided by Lis Every from City Centre Forum of projects identified by the February seminar and follow up meetings for improving Ely. Possible funding sources and groups to execute tasks are also listed. The information is up for discussion and CC offered to distribute a new independent shopping leaflet using ADeC's existing distribution routes in surrounding villages.
SP commented on the enthusiasm of City of Ely Council and City Centre Forum for Ely Perspective to work with them and take on tasks better suited to the group than to the Council.
DB and SP reported on progress of ElyAce, which is imminent, with the website to be populated with up-to-date business data presently and for businesses soon to be given the opportunity to add to the existing information, edit and provide further material (photos, logos). KE asked about the previous idea of providing bluetooth alerts at Ely Railway Station. SP confirmed this was still an intention, but would be installed after the app is live and any problems are ironed out. ElyAce users may photograph any problems (broken lamppost, litter etc...) and submit through the app.
SO and TO have spoken to Chris Jones about installing the plaques (which have now been made). Sue Freestone of Kings School has asked to be present when their plaque is installed. TC suggested we ask Sue Freestone about having a plaque on the Old Palace and said Ann Jarman might pay to have one on The Old Fire Engine House. TC asked for this to be done quickly so these could be included on an accompanying leaflet.
A donation for the cost of one of the plaques with a thank-you card have been given to Ely Perspective by Mrs Usher. TO confirmed photos had been taken at the foundry, and local press will be contacted by TO and SO. The cost of fixing the plaques is yet to be paid and FR offered to photograph one fixing for publicity.
The Tourist Information Centre is to be contacted regarding an accompanying leaflet, which was agreed when the plaques were originally planned. Other local historical points of interest will be included on the leaflet.
City of Ely Council is still going through the procedure of planning applications.
MG confirmed the cottage is now weather-tight and already looks much better.
Tender documents for the project are being sent out. Ideas for improving the effectiveness of the new bin store have been discussed, including placing a planter near its entrance. MG and SF-S are to meet to clarify ownership of Steeple Row with a view to ensuring that bins are not left there in public view.
Already covered in point 4, but PH followed up by saying the last Riverside meeting's minutes will be circulated following this meeting. He also gave a summary of the last meeting:
• Ownership of moorings was discussed.
• MG welcomed new planters in Jubilee Gardens.
• MG reported that some Riverside Eel Trail markers have disappeared.
• PH mentioned a new heronry and rookery are coming to the Riverside.
• PH reported Mike Rouse had mentioned the North Ely Country Park. FR has been invited to a consultation meeting in April on behalf of Ely Perspective.
• Pat Hillman mentioned new flower beds being installed in Jubilee Gardens.
Riverside Matters will be added to future agendas.
SP gave details of a new idea which had been discussed by the Executive. A Community Action Fund for Ely could set aside Ely Perspective funds for use in small improvement projects suggested by members of the public. Ely Perspective can thus connect better with the community, raise the group's public profile and usefully use existing funds. The possible methods of launching a campaign and how it relates to the issues highlighted by walkabouts were discussed, when TO asked how landlords can be contacted. SP confirmed that ECDC and City Centre Forum are working on this now. MG mentioned that many business properties might fall within a Conservation Area and consequently might be required to be maintained properly. FR volunteered to investigate the legal side of this situation.
Wording for additional commemorative plaques will be on April's agenda.
Ely In Bloom
Ray Tinker communicated from an Ely In Bloom meeting to the group that Ely In Bloom is to be placed in the Street Furniture Committee for finance purposes. Ely Perspective will be invited to join the working group for promotions.
We can have a stall at this USAF station on Indepence Day, 04 July, in cooperation with the City Council, which SP will follow up.
It was agreed that all earlier budgets will be re-examined and, for example, the £1500 ring-fenced for the slipway will be released.
6.30pm Tuesday 15th April 2014 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely.