Present: Frank Readhead (chair), Daniel Block, Caroline Cawley, Ted Coney, Kevin Evans, Sheila Friend-Smith, Peter Hillman, Terry Overall, Liz Sayers (minutes), Ray Tinker
Shirley Overall, Simon Pittock.
These were agreed.
Apple ‘glitches’ had caused delays in going ‘live’. DB said traders had been kept informed via email. Pressure of DB and SP’s commercial work meant it unlikely that the App would go ‘live’ before Christmas although they would do their best and would also continue to keep traders informed on progress.
A suitable contractor is needed for installation. ECDC conservation officer’s ‘approved contractors’ list was suggested as a starting point. Need to liaise with Tracey Harding over preparation of tourist leaflet and launch. TC suggested making contact with King’s School about possibility of a plaque on Old Bishop’s Palace and with Ann Jarman, proprietor of the Old Fire Engine House. One of the plaques currently being manufactured will go on Hereward Hall, the former theological college on Barton Square. It was decided to wait until the current batch of plaques had arrived before contacting King’s principal Sue Freestone or Ann Jarman. TO to contact manufacturers to ascertain delivery date of current order.
KE said Ely Society had suggested the former magistrates’ court as a temporary venue for Ely Post Office but the idea was rejected as work already in progress to accommodate City Council offices. The court’s wooden planters were rotting. Shirley Overall has planted others as replacements if required which all agreed would enhance the frontage of the building during renovations.
Contractors have been brought in to make the building weather-proof but until work completed on Magistrates’ Court, the priority item, unlikely to be any development of Malting’s Cottage which will require funding by City of Ely Council. Meanwhile, although no firm date for re-opening of the Malting’s restaurant was available, Ely Cinema audiences continue to rise. CC reported ‘best ever’ numbers for the RSC live performance of Richard 11.
Amended planning application - showing the larger bin store which can accommodate 14 bins - is with ECDC. SF-S hoped a requirement for copies of the amended plan to be sent to Cambs. CC and the Church Commissioners, would not delay the Steeple Row project. SF-S and FR to liaise over written application for grant from ECDC/City Council to fund a project manager. SF-S thought the Perspective’s Steeple Row project might be incorporated into an ambitious and exciting plan by the Cathedral to enhance the former north transept and Cross Green, which might attract funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This was moved further down the agenda.
In the absence of FR on 18 February, PH agreed to act as vice-chair for that meeting.
The D & M group’s projects/key tasks had last been updated in 2012. These were:
a) Steeple Row project
b) Continued involvement in Ely Transport Strategies
c) Street scene, Signage and Retail Occupancy
d) Gateway signs to Ely City
e) Rail Station enhancements
f) Historic Buildings plaques
h) Retail/Business Loyalty Scheme and e-commerce
i) Making Ely Greener campaign
j) Christmas lights Switch-On evening
Following discussion it was agreed that h) retail/business loyalty schemes and e-commerce were better driven by traders. The Perspective had funded and promoted use of sustainable shopping bags as a key task of i) Making Ely Greener but it was thought that ‘greening Ely’ is now covered by the city’s environmental groups.
The meeting agreed the following D & M group projects should be submitted to the exec. committee:
a) Steeple Row project: Key task to obtain funding and commission work
b) Continued involvement in Ely Transport strategies: Key task to continue to influence car parking management, bus, cycling and walking routes, speed limits and HGV restrictions
c) Street Scene, Signage: Key task to monitor signage, seating, paving, lighting, decoration, etc. and influence city centre property owners/agencies, etc. in order to enhance appearance and prosperity of city centre and also appearance and amenities of outer areas of city
d) Gateways to Ely: Key task to continue to work with City and District Councils. Check for spares.
e) Rail Station enhancements: Key task to work with local authorities/rail and other groups to improve the station environment for regular rail users and tourists and to enhance work already achieved in the area e.g. garden, heritage and tourist information
f) Historic Buildings: Key task to install plaques and arrange to include on tourist map in collaboration with historic property owners, TIC and ECDC
g) Website: Key task to update and then maintain and develop website
h) Christmas Lights Switch-On: Key task co-operate to arrange annual evening of activities.
In addition: Bunting: TC and CC suggested decorating city centre with bunting in summer months (June, July, August) to create ‘feel good’/holiday atmosphere. Might be done in conjunction with City Council. FR asked for costings and actions needed in order to discuss further at January meeting.
Superserver: LS suggested approaching Ely News or Ely Standard to run an ‘Ely Superserver’ competiton. Readers invited to nominate ‘Superservers’ (who might be shop assistants, bank clerks, beauticians, waiters etc.). Competition then to run over 4-5 week period. Head and shoulders pictures of nominees published weekly. Picture spread of nominees on week 6 with coupon for readers to vote for their favourite Superserver. Objectives: promote and raise awareness of Ely’s retail/service businesses; to promote ‘feel good’ factor among nominees (often low-paid and seldom recognised); a community competition. Opportunity for newspapers to boost sales (nominations/final votes made on cut-out in-paper coupon). LS thought this might be best suggested to the Town Centre Forum and FR agreed to do so.
FR asked to be informed of anyone who was not on the circulation list but who should be. The minutes are sent to Tracey Harding at ECDC and to Tracey Coulson at the City Council for circulation to councillors.
DB had updated the website to include the cathedral Christmas Fair on 15-16 November. Perspective-sponsored leaflets with retail discount vouchers and other tourist information had been included in packs in linen bags with Perspective logo, which were given away to visitors on Saturday. These were very popular; the initial 1,000 quickly ran out and more had to be obtained from the TIC. Music, the Mayor, Town Crier, etc. had greeted visitors outside the cathedral and the city centre had been noticeably much, much busier than usual on both days. The bag give-away and Mayoral ‘meet and greet’ had been a terrific co-operative effort between cathedral, retailers, tourist office staff, Ely Museum, the Perspective and steered by a working group of the City Centre Forum. A promotional banner opposite the West Door of the cathedral encouraged visitors to the Fair to explore the city centre. This banner was not dated so can be used for other events.
It was agreed to drop Retail Occupancy as a standing agenda item.
Items to be drawn to attention of City Council/ECDC:
The light at the entrance to the Cloisters is not working.
The Cloisters clock shows the wrong time.
Seating around the Market Place tree is damaged.
Business rates: TC suggested approaching Jim Paice MP to gain support for reduction in retail business rates. Assuming the City Centre Forum would support such a campaign, an approach from the CCF might be more appropriate.
Possible Riverside and D & M merger: Suggested PH should attend a City Centre Forum meeting to ascertain how much involvement/influence the Riverside Group might have. He would then be in a better position to discuss with the Riverside Group its future direction and the possibility of merger with the D & M group. Thus informed, PH can then advise the Executive.
Library display: The Perspective’s display boards are at Ely Library and will remain until the end of November.
6.30pm Tuesday 14th January 2014 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely.