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Minutes of Design & Marketing Meeting

Tuesday 21st May 2013

Present: Frank Readhead (chair), Daniel Block, Caroline Cawley, Ted Coney, Kevin Evans, Lis Every, Peter Hillman, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, Simon Pittock, Liz Sayers, Ray Tinker

1. Apologies

John Baker, Sheila Friend-Smith, Veronica Poultney, Liz Wainwright, John Yates.

2. Minutes of the 16th April meeting

These were agreed.

3. Matters Arising


4. Ely Ace

Simon and Daniel reported that the stall at Eel Day had been a great success, with nearly all the costs of staging a stall being recouped in sales, and with a banner and other items that can be reused in future. ElyAce has been invited to take a stall at Aquafest but Simon and Daniel will be unavailable to man the stall, so volunteers were requested to run the stall. Kevin Evans and Liz Sayers volunteered to help.

Simon mentioned that the city wifi situation was being discussed, but specifics would have to come at a later date. 13th July was mentioned as the likely launch date for the ElyAce project, and the treasure trail idea was recommended as a good angle for publicising the launch and interesting local television. The possibility of a stall at a Saturday craft market was mentioned.

5. Commemorative plaques

Shirley reported that the documents for planning permission have been submitted and a decision is expected within 8 weeks. Ted Coney asked whether there should be a plaque for the Old Palace and Shirley noted it as a potential site for a future plaque.

6. Ely Court House

Lis Every provided an update on the current situation. The City Council does not yet own the court house but it is progressing quickly. The plan is for the City Council to have offices to the left of the court (as you walk in), and discussions are ongoing with Ely Museum regarding the possibility of extending the Heritage Trail to the court house, and using the court for educational purposes. Other rooms may be available for hire.

Kevin Evans mentioned the Perspective's discussions last year in response to the Portas Report, regarding the future use of the court house, were there to be a chance to influence a decision. It was suggested that Kevin circulate the relevant points to group members for perusal and for everyone in the group to have a chance to visit the court house and understand the possibilities and restrictions before having a full discussion of ideas. Frank Readhead proposed a meeting could be arranged to take place at the court house for dedicated discussions.

Ted Coney expressed the importance of tourism and education for linking together with the existing experiences at Ely Museum and Cromwell House. Caroline Cawley suggested the court house should be registered as a filming location. It was also suggested that part of the court house could be turned into accommodation for security/caretaking of the property. There was a generally positive feeling about how progress is now being made, and for the future potential of the court house.

Ray Tinker suggested the court house be made a major agenda item in September when the ownership has been signed over and people have had a chance to visit the court house. Kevin Evans had visited the court house in Beaumaris last year, which is being well run as a historical tourist attraction. He suggested contacting the curator to learn from their experience. It was also commented that the potential for Maltings Cottage is more open now that the City Council are looking to relocate to the court house.

7. The Maltings

There was no new information on ongoing developments. Frustration was expressed that the toilets were not made available on Eel Day and that there was a missed opportunity to sell beverages. It was suggested that Shirley Overall contact Richard Hobbs for clarification on whether the council have split the letting of the building or if Compass are subletting part of the Maltings.

8. Ely Bags

Frank Readhead reported that the suggestion for Ely retailers to stock the canvas shopping bags for sale posed some logistical difficulties, as commented by Andrew Olley. Simon Pittock reported that discussions had taken place at a working group offshoot of the City Centre Forum – around 20 retailers have confirmed they are happy to stock the bags, and the working group had suggested a price of 75p per bag, with 50p being fed back into projects promoting the city, and the retailer retaining 25p to use as they wished.

There followed some discussion of these points and it was generally agreed that a lower price of 50p would be preferable, and perhaps collected in 'charity boxes' rather than via individual retailers' takings. It was suggested that the bags could be sold at a stall at Aquafest as a 'special offer' at 50p and at events taking place on the Market Square throughout the summer, and to decide the best course of action from September depending upon the success of this approach.

9. Business plan

Details to be confirmed.

10. AGM

It was confirmed that anyone is welcome to attend the AGM. There followed a discussion about why the AGM was not more widely publicised and, more generally, how to attract new members to the Perspective. There was general confusion regarding the current state of the Executive group and some frustration that decisions were not being communicated from the Executive group, particularly involving circulating financial reports, issues of conflicts of interest and whether legal conditions of being a voluntary entity were being met. It was decided that this should be raised at the AGM and as an item at the next Design & Marketing meeting.

11. Retail Occupancy

•   Ruiz Gallery closing

•   Work ongoing in USA Chicken site

•   Pound Shop closing

•   Judith Fisher opening a women's clothing shop on Market Square

•   Microbrewery coming to Fore Hill

•   Lloyds Pharmacy possibly moving next to St Mary's surgery

•   Post Office possibly closing in High St

Both the final points are to be queried via Doug Perkins as there was concern about the possible consequences of these developments

12. Any other business

•   Simon Pittock reported back from the City Centre Forum. Richard Hobbs had been present as a representative of the tourist office to hear comments regarding concerns about promotion of Ely through the tourist office. Comments had been made at the meeting regarding promotion of Ely, 'joined up thinking', linking retail to tourism, promotion of Ely in Cambridge and further afield, potential conflict of interest of locating the Tourist Information Centre at Cromwell House, possible future ideas (such as a 2 day Ely tourism 'pass') and an Ely brand. In addition to the City Centre Forum, a smaller working group had met specifically to discuss tourism, development and marketing, which was reported to have been a very positive first meeting. In response to this report there was some discussion revolving around frustration at past missed opportunities for promoting Ely, but also comments were made that these issues are being addressed and that there are positive developments in terms of aiming to collect more data regarding footfall and visitor numbers etc… There was a general feeling that Ely really needs to be promoted better elsewhere.

•   Ted Coney and Caroline Cawley reported that a Riverside Experience is going to be promoted soon in an effort to draw groups of visitors to the various attractions at the riverside.

•   Peter Hillman suggested that the empty shop on Market Street could be approached as a potential site to stage a commemorative display for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1 next year. Peter volunteered to contact the landlord individually. Shirley Overall said that Ely In Bloom could potentially do something to mark the occasion too.

•   Shirley Overall raised the question of whether a city 'walkabout' was planned. It was felt by the group that the previous 'walkabout' reports should be addressed to see how much progress had been made, before planning the next one.

•   Ray Tinker gave apologies for the next meeting.

Date of the next meeting

6.30pm Tuesday 2nd July 2013 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely. To be chaired by Frank Readhead.