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Minutes of Design & Marketing Meeting

Tuesday 25th October 2011

Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), Daniel Block, Nigel Clarke, Ted Coney, Philip Eden, Kevin Evans, Angela Moody, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, Simon Pittock, Frank Readhead, Liz Sayers (secretary)

1. Apologies

John Baker, Caroline Crawley, Peter Hillman, Suzanne Lindsay, Alan Mittins, Ray Tinker

2. Minutes of the 20 September meeting

These were approved.

3a. Bus service

Philip Eden presented additional item for discussion:

The meeting was asked to comment on the timetable presented for consultation by Paul Nelson, Cambs County Council (circulated prior to meeting).

a) Service should start earlier in order to provide transport for Sainsbury’s staff and other city centre workers
b) Bus taken out of service at school run times with a school contract included as part of tender process with the advantage of making it more economically viable in the long term.
c) A tender option for finishing the service earlier, say 1800, should be given in order to get best value and make service more sustainable in medium/longer term.

The direction of the loops should be reversed both on residential sections and to/from Sainsburys (via Barton Square, Back Hill, Broad Street, Lisle Lane and Prickwillow Road).

This would have the advantage of:

a) reducing the number of right turns around central core of Ely, and thus traffic delays with the time saved invested is greater penetration of Ely – see below

b) avoiding Brays Lane and reducing use of Egremont Street which are narrow/congested.

c) enabling the bus stop at Sainsburys to be outside Bell Holt, well clear of the Lisle Lane/Cresswells Lane/ Waterside junctions where there are road hazards making it difficult to locate a sensible bus stop and be more convenient for Bell Holt residents,

d) capturing demand from the older part of Ely around Back Hill/Barton Road.

e) serving an existing bus stop closer to Rail Station (Broad St/Back Hill)

The reversed Cam Drive loop route should be adjusted to run via St Mary's Street and Downham Road on the outward journey, and on reaching Lynn Road, once Thistle Corner roundabout is opened (which could be by Christmas) continue via Kings Avenue and Prickwillow Road to Newnham Street thus serving the new developments. Consideration needs giving to the future potential of the route, should further funding come on stream, including possible extension to Lancaster Way and North Ely, and maybe the Station and Little Downham.

3b. Christmas Lights and Switch-On

To raise further funds to help the Christmas Lights Switch On 'stand on its own feet' the Christmas Lights team will be bag packing in Waitrose between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, 5 November.

Extra help is urgently needed particularly in the afternoon (from 1pm). Everyone was urged to make the effort to spare a couple of hours.

On Switch-On night itself, Friday, 25 November, extra stewards are needed for marshalling in the Market Place area from 4pm until 8pm or part thereof and a minder for each of the open top buses between about 6.30 and 8pm.

3c. Eel Day/Diamond Jubilee weekend

Eel Day confirmed as 5 May 2012. Diamond Jubilee weekend events would not be confirmed until a decision on funding for a musical event on the evening of the Bank Holiday Monday (4 June), and possibly an event on Sunday 3 June, had been made by the City Council. The Choral Society planned a prestige concert on Saturday 2 June. The morning service on 4 June to be attended by HM The Queen was to be relayed to the Cathedral.

3d. Parking charges/Market Square parking

Following discussion, the general view was that in the light of the current economic situation, now was not an appropriate time to introduce car parking charges in Ely and that ECDC should be urged to conduct further consultations before making any decision.

A suggestion by Cllr Bill Hunt that the Market Square should be used for parking, was unanimously dismissed as unworkable. On market days, the only days when city centre parking is at a premium, the Market Square would be unavailable. The sundial would be ruined by 'white lining' and there were access issues. In ECDC’s Masterplan the Market Place was scheduled for development which made Cllr Hunt's suggestion all the more surprising.

3e. Park and Ride bus

There was general surprise that ECDC had decided to stop Ely's Saturday park and ride service in the run-up to Christmas when the assumption was that the service would be at its busiest. The decision appeared to have been made without firm evidence on who was using the service (locals or tourists) and exactly how many journeys were made. Philip Eden proposed, seconded by Terry Overall, that the Perspective should fund the remaining five or six weeks in November/December at an estimated cost of around £2,000. The general view was that this would not be an appropriate use of the Perpective's funds and, assuming the Executive Committee’s support, the chairman, Ian Burton-Palmer, should write to ECDC deploring the premature cessation of the park and ride service and urge that it be continued until Christmas. The letter might also refer to the group’s view that now was not the appropriate time to introduce parking charges in Ely and any suggestion of allowing parking on the Market Place should be rejected.

4. Perspective AGM

SF-S reported that the Steeple Row Project remained the Perspective’s priority.

5. The Ely-App

The Executive had agreed that a cheque for £300 should be made available to Simon Pittock and Daniel Block of apexwebworks to continue development of the Ely-App.

The application they had submitted for funding via Action for Market Towns (AMT) has now been approved and SP and DB will be arranging a date to visit Thame in Oxfordshire to learn from that market town’s experience. They have also secured the domain name for use when the application is ready.

Shirley Overall suggested Ely Volunteer Centre might be able to help source additional grant funding.

Ian Burton-Palmer was keen to arrange a launch for the project in late January/February.

Current tasks:
•   Outline project and explain benefits of the Ely-App to Ely Traders’ Association (chairman Barry runs Cloisters Antiques)
•   Source internet connection access points
•   Continue liaison with Tracey Harding

George Peacock arrived at meeting. He commented that some content on Perspective website was out of date. SF-S agreed to speak to Bill Bateson to extract Perspective from contract.

6. Ely Street Scene

The unsightly refuse bin on the Buttermarket was still in place. LS to email Tracey Harding to request its removal to rear of the area.
Bunting in High Street would be removed when Christmas lights erected.

7. Steeple Row

Planning application had been submitted to ECDC. SF-S reported that the tree impact assessment requested by ECDC tree officer had been completed the previous week and a report sent to the planning department. She was hopeful that the intervention of the ECDC leader would resolve the outstanding Highways issue.

8. Commemorative plaques

SF-S pointed out that the Steeple Row project needed to be ‘signed off’ before funding could be released by the Executive for the plaques.

9. Future of Ely Magistrates Court/Maltings Cottage

A report from English Heritage was still awaited and there would be no further progress on the future of the court building until this had been received.
The City Council had 'registered an interest' in Maltings Cottage and a business plan was scheduled to be considered on 7 November.

10. Christmas Market

SP and DB were asked to circulate a list of requirements to see what might be available locally and assist with any presentation to a potential sponsor. A company had been identified which would be willing to supply a wheel/carousel/ice rink free of charge which might provide an 'anchor' if the event were lower key (i.e. with fewer stalls) than originally envisaged.

John Yates arrived at the meeting

11. Retail occupancy

•   Dotty’s shop (formerly Caitlin’s) in St Mary’s Street had closed
•   Caitlin’s in High Street which had been shut for over a month had reopened as Coffee Speed
•   Following closure of Coffee Mill in Market Street, premises to re-open as fish and chips/takeaway
•   Former Cargo shop in The Cloisters being refitted for Sue Ryder

12. Any other business

•   Rotten step on bridge on footpath to Queen Adelaide repaired
•   Notice in The Maltings restaurant noting closure over winter, reopening in Spring. JohnYates said restaurant and rooms available for hire on request and prices very reasonable.

13. Date of next meeting

Tuesday 15 November 2011 at 6.30pm at St Peter’s House.

14. Christmas celebration

Tuesday 13 December Ely Perspective Christmas Wine Tasting (about seven wines to take us through the day starting with early morning wine to go with present opening!) with Sanket Patel of Anglia Wines at St Peter’s Church Hall. Tickets for Ely Perspective members and partners are £10 each. Please book by calling into Anglia Wines (between Burrows newsagents and Lamb Hotel) and paying for your tickets by 1st December.