Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), John Baker, Caroline Cawley, Ted Coney, Philip Eden, Kevin Evans, Peter Hillman, Frank Readhead, Liz Sayers, Ray Tinker, John Yates
Daniel Block, Angela Moody, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, Simon Pittock
These were agreed.
There were no matters arising.
John Yates reported that negotiations had re-opened between the City Council and ECDC on the future of the building.
In the absence of Terry and Shirley Overall there was nothing to report ECDC on the future of the building.
A story had appeared on the Cambridge News website and in the Ely Weekly News about the possibility of an ice rink coming to Ely at Christmas. In his absence through illness, Simon Pittock had sent this email update on the Christmas market/ice rink/Ely App/website and Ely Market Square.
"Christmas market/ice rink: I have repeatedly attempted to ring, email and visit in person with Jordan Day - he's a very busy man and I've yet to succeed! I'm on his radar now though and he's planning a follow up piece and has promised to call me to arrange to discuss it before he does.
Waitrose have expressed an interest in potentially sponsoring the event and I'm waiting to hear back from them any time now. They seemed quite excited by the prospect and keen to get involved with a local event so this is at least hopeful.
I have also found a potential private backer (I will not name them for the time being as I don't wish to appear to be pressurising them). They are exploring the prospect of potentially sponsoring or providing a capital loan/similar for a large scale market event, or if this is not feasible for a smaller scale event. There was an enormous amount of enthusiasm about the plan and they are looking carefully to see whether it is achievable from their end.
I had a meeting with Chris Flatman a fortnight ago to refresh the situation as regards the market. I said that we're aiming to at least have an ice rink and discussed the suggestion raised at the last meeting of getting the cafe extended out into a marquee so that the cathedral can operate refreshments. He was taking this to a meeting in the last week for discussion and I'm waiting to hear back.
Ely App: Daniel and I are planning to go to Thame next week if we can fit it in. I have made some good progress on the actual programming of the application itself too. There was obviously some discussion via email about the app and involving the 'town team' with promoting it - if people could discuss this and feed back any thoughts that would be great.
I contacted Tracey Harding to follow up my request for the map and also access to the internet, I'm waiting to hear back on both.
Website: The web hosting has now switched over to our system and is currently using a copy of the site which is now locked from further editing (as we no longer have access to the site through Internet Marketing's system). Daniel had hoped to have a new version of the website up in time for the meeting but unfortunately hasn't quite finished. Whilst not a complete redesign, he has dramatically restyled the site and made it look far more contemporary and stylish. This will tide us over until we can get around to the complete redesign, which is on a back-burner whilst the app and Christmas market are more pressing concerns. We will be able to add new minutes much more easily and keep the site up-to-date in its stop-gap form however.
I have registered social media accounts for the perspective and Ely App on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Flickr. These will remain hidden for the time being but are there ready for use in the near future.
Miscellaneous: During a conversation with my landlord a few weeks back I asked about the red-brick building on the market square which they also own and manage. Specifically I asked about their plans to improve the facade of the building and thought I'd feed back to the group (with their permission). They are actively pursuing plans to clad the building to completely conceal the unattractive architecture with something far more befitting of Ely's central square. It was also mentioned that they have submitted plans which are in the public domain to alter the configuration of the building. I agreed not to give any more details than I have shared here as some of it is sensitive but from the sound of things it will have an enormous impact on the character of Ely - very positive news!
Council officers had indicated that previous planning issues had been addressed by the revised plan. Final approval rests with ECDC planning committee.
The first meeting will be held on 30 May with the purpose of agreeing objectives and clarifying terms of reference. John Yates stated that the forum would have the status of a formal committee of the City Council.
Ted Coney offered his suggestions for the forum to consider:
1. Ensure that the future use of the former magistrates’ court augments Ely’s existing tourist attractions
2. Open the Old Palace to tourists with the agreement of The King’s School
3. Draw up a list of other Ely 'hidden attractions'
4. Make more of the potential of Cromwell House
5. Make sure City Council office has stocks of tourist information
6. Consider monthly car boot sale on Ely market square
7. Make maps available at all venues that tourists might visit
8. Promote awareness of the Ely App
9. Christmas market: promote locally/regionally/nationally
10. Delay introduction of car park charges until the economy improves
11. Develop Ely Festival
12. Encourage additional steam trains to stop in Ely and encourage passengers into city centre
13. Loyalty card scheme (already under discussion)
14. Independents’ day to promote benefits of independent retailers
The quality of the facilitator hired to conduct the masterclass had been so poor that the majority of those attending had left after the coffee break.
Heavier traffic in Broad Street causing difficulty for pedestrians crossing the road. Consideration needs to be given to additional pedestrian crossing(s) possibly near Ship Lane. On-going problem for pedestrians crossing Broad Street at junction with Back Hill and for vehicles turning right out of Broad Street.
• Philip Eden reported bus timetables had been revised. From 10 June Cambridge bus will no longer go through Landbeach/Waterbeach, thus reducing travel time between Ely and Cambridge.
• The Ely city bus, funded by Sainsbury’s and operated by Norfolk Green, was proving popular but more needed to be done to boost awareness of the service which will also include Prickwillow Road/Kings Avenue which had not been included when the first timetables were printed. New timetables expected soon.
• Only one of the 60 Steam Dream trains would be stopping in Ely this year. The group agreed it was important that every effort was made to encourage these steam train passengers to visit the city centre and this should be something that ECDC tourism team should make a priority. Tracey Harding has subsequently written: "In response to a recent e-mail concerning the Cathedral Express visit to Ely, we will once again (as we have always done) provide costumed guides on 7th June to welcome the visitors and hand out our mini guide. If anyone would like to join the welcoming party then please let me know."
• Frank Readhead raised concerns of those residents – approximately 100 - living in the vicinity of the St Mary’s Street hotel and conference/wedding venue (formerly Sanctuary Housing offices). Residents fear unacceptable noise and disturbance if the hotel is successful in its application for a drinks licence until 1am. John Yates said the City Council had raised objections to any licence extension beyond 11pm.
• A letter in the Ely Weekly News had drawn attention to an overgrown flowerbed next to the Babylon Gallery. The correspondent had suggested that Ted Coney should desist from writing letters to the paper and weed the bed. Ted said he had no time and disliked gardening and had written a letter in response. Liz Sayers and Caroline Cawley volunteered to weed the area. Ted’s response (that he had five paid-for jobs and three voluntary jobs and therefore no time for gardening) appeared in the Weekly News on 17 May.
• Celebration of Business Exhibition: Over 150 companies are exhibiting at the event in Ely Cathedral. The exhibition will be unmanned all week (from Friday 25th June) but exhibitors are encouraged to attend the B2B networking event during the afternoon on Thursday 31st June and to stay on for the Reception starting at 6pm with wine and canapés and key note speakers the The Rt Rev Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, and Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. More information at www.elycathedralbusinessgroup.org.
• Emily Smith in concert at St Peter’s Church, 24 May; Opera from Glyndebourne: The Cunning Little Vixen. The first live satellite screening at Ely Cinema on 10 June at 6.30pm; Reworking the Image: Stitch Links, six contemporary textile artists exhibit at the Babylon Gallery from 19 May-1 July. Further details of all these events and more at www.adec.org.uk.
Saturday 2 June
Jubilee Country Show
Campus Field, Angel Drove, 10am-5pm
Diamond Jubilee Concert
Ely Cathedral, 7.30pm
Sunday 3 June
Service of Thanksgiving
Ely Cathedral, 10.30am
Big Jubilee Lunch
Jubilee Gardens, 1pm-4pm
The Barns Jubilee Picnic
High Barns Play Area and Larkfields, 12.30-5pm
Monday 4 June
Party in the Park
Cherry Hill, 4pm-10.30pm
Flower, Food and Craft Market
Market Place, 10am-4pm
Tuesday 5 June
Screening of Service of Thanksgiving live from St Paul’s Cathedral, Ely Cathedral 10.30am
Cromwell – King in All But Name Tour
Oliver Cromwell’s House at 11.30am and 2pm
Royal Celebrations and Ely Exhibition at Ely Museum.
Exhibition celebrating Ely’s royal connections running all weekend.
Further information about Jubilee Weekend at www.visitely.org.uk
Meet at Ely Railway Station or at the entrance to the woodland walk off Downham Road (between the two roundabouts). Everyone is encouraged to join one of the two groups.
There will be no meetings in July or August.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 18 September at 6.30pm at St Peter’s Hall.