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Minutes of Design & Marketing Meeting

Tuesday 20th September 2011

Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), John Baker, Frank Readhead, Ray Tinker, Nigel Clarke, Terry Overall, Simon Pittock, Daniel Block, Kevin Evans, Suzanne Lindsay, Ted Coney, Liz Sayers

1. Apologies

Philip Eden, Peter Hillman, Alan Mittins.

2. Minutes of the 17th May meeting

These were approved

3. Parking charges

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.

4. Ely Street Scene

Jubilee Gardens: ECDC display board in Jubilee Gardens still 'misted over'.

Planning applications: ‘Gaffer tape’ being used to secure planning application notices on lampposts. When notices are removed the tape adhesive lifts the paint. ECDC should be advised not to use gaffer tape and Town Rangers to continue to keep an eye out for unsightly string/plastic left behind once outdated application notices are removed.

Market Place: Workmen had failed to properly restore brickwork on Market Place, leaving unsightly concrete. Responsibility of Highways Authority to put right.

5. Steeple Row

Planning application had been submitted to ECDC. SF-S was confident that any queries raised by ECDC officers could be resolved and discussions were on-going.

6. Commemorative plaques

Terry Overall circulated wording of six plaques. He was asked to check whether foundry costs included VAT and to email SF-S with final costings – including installation costs – so that these could be agreed by the Perspective Executive.

7. Maltings Cottage

The new ECDC administration intended Maltings Cottage to be put to community/commercial use. The previous administration’s plans for the building to be used as a holiday let had been rejected.

8. Future of Ely Magistrates Court

A report from English Heritage was awaited and there would be no further progress until this had been received.

9. Christmas Market

Simon Pittock and Daniel Block reported they anticipated receiving costings over the coming month.

9a. The E-ly App

For the benefit of those who were unable to attend the previous meeting, SP explained the E-ly App project which will aim to provide a way to communicate information in many forms to residents, businesses and tourists in and around Ely, via mobile phones. It is envisaged this application would be free for download to iPhones and Android phones (and potentially others) and could be promoted both manually and automatically, for instance by sending Bluetooth radio messages to tourists' mobile phones on their arrival at the railway station.

The content could take the form of images, maps, standard or specifically designed web pages, video and audio. It would be designed so that it is possible to tailor the app to suit many different needs and activities into the future. Examples could include an interactive tourist map or shopping guide, local news and events, offers or vouchers for shops and restaurants, interactive tourism guides and much more besides.

The application would be able to determine a user's geographical position using GPS technology and to offer information tailored to specific locations. For example, when standing outside of the cathedral it could offer information about Ely Cathedral and also directions to Oliver Cromwell's house, or perhaps when standing near the entrance to the Cloisters archway, a list of the shops therein. The application could also feature other forms of interactivity, for example games or puzzles, should this be deemed appropriate. A similar app is in operation in Thame. SB/DP hoped to arrange a visit to Thame in October.

9b. The Hot Spot Box

SP also circulated details of the Hot Spot Box, an ultra-compact, inexpensive computer. It is contained in an aluminium case and is suitable for use indoors (or outdoors with some inexpensive weather seals). The main specifications are:

1. Low cost: £345-45 per unit, built by SP/DB from off the shelf parts.

2. Full computer on board, also capable of future expansions/projects.

3. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radio for communicating with phones, tablets and laptops with a range of 10-100m (depending on surrounding interference, buildings etc)

4. Low voltage: 6V supply making it safe even with damage sustained

These Hot Spot Boxes could be placed in strategic locations in Ely to provide the following possibilities:

1. Automatically communicate with mobile devices, advertise the iPhone/Android application to people (e.g. upon disembarking at the railway station)

2. Provide an off-line website (contained within the devices, rather than directly from the internet) with information on Ely etc. For devices which are not supported or for those who don’t wish to install an app.

3. Possibility to link units together to provide free or paid W-Fi coverage throughout the city centre and possibly non-central locations (e.g. the railway station)

4. Opportunity to offer competitions, vouchers and other information to people on the street 24 hours a day. This could include surveys, e-suggestion box etc.

SF-S congratulated SP/DB for instigating such an imaginative and innovative project and asked them to prepare costings that could be considered by the Perspective Executive. The understanding was that AMT would match funding.

10. Retail occupancy

•   Lollipop Animation vacated premises in The Passage.
•   Raven Music to open shortly
•   Caitlin’s High Street coffee/snacks had closed. Sign stated re-opening 'the same but different'
•   Restaurant to move into High Street premises formerly Curry’s
•   Sue Ryder charity shop to move into vacant shop in The Cloisters
•   Sanctuary Housing premises in St Mary’s Street: planning application for a boutique hotel
•   St Mary’s Pharmacy opened in St Mary’s Street: independent pharmacy/helpful service and advice reported
•   Jar-Jars nightclub on Fore Hill: refurbished premises much improved street scene
•   Mayer on Fore Hill now selling clothes as well as accessories
•   Archant, owners of Ely Standard, had closed the newspaper’s Market Street reception office. Burrows Bookshop in The Passage currently taking classified adverts.

11. Any other business

•   Fittings in Fore Hill to be ‘stress-tested’ for bunting etc.
•   Simon Pittock reported lack of Ely information on display at Cambridge Tourist Information Office and general ignorance of Ely among TiC staff. The understanding was that ECDC’s tourism budget included payment for information etc in Cambridge.

12 Next meeting

Tuesday 25 October 2011 at 6.30pm at St Peter’s House.
Perspective AGM 29 September 7pm at City of Ely Council chamber.