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Minutes of Design & Marketing Meeting

Tuesday 18th September 2012

Present: Sheila Friend-Smith (chairman), John Baker, Ted Coney, Simon Pittock, Frank Readhead, Liz Sayers, Ray Tinker

1. Apologies

Daniel Block, Caroline Cawley, Shirley Overall, Terry Overall, John Yates.

2. Minutes of the 15th May meeting

These were agreed

3. Matters Arising

Simon Pittock reported back on pertinent issues which were discussed in the City Centre Forum meeting which had been held the previous week. These included discussion about improving the activities / night-life in Ely's city centre, including making more use of the market square which stands empty for much of the time. Retail occupancy discussions were also relayed to the group.

4. Maltings Cottage

It was reported that Ely City Council are approaching readiness to take control over the use and maintenance of the cottages at this time.

5. Commemorative plaques

There was nothing to report in the absence of Terry or Shirley Overall.

6. Christmas Market

Simon Pittock has an upcoming meeting with potential backers for a 2012 ice rink event. He had also been in contact with the owner of a “Zorbing” attraction who was willing to run the inflatable balls on water along side the ice rink. It was also suggested that St John's Ambulance should be contacted for the event given the potential for incidents on the ice rink and inflatable attraction.

7. Steeple Row

Sheila Friend-Smith confirmed that the tree report is now complete and that the officer in charge of tree protection/maintenance has agreed them. An architect's plan for the new bin store area has still not been completed due to some difficulty in the design process. Until this is completed the process cannot proceed.

8. Retail occupancy

•   The Ely Beads shop which had been set to close will now reportedly continue trading.

•   The sandwich shop on St. Mary's Street has now closed.

•   The coffee shop on High Street has closed (formerly located in the Cloisters Kiosks).

•   A sandwich/cake shop has opened on Chequer Lane (either in/next to the tanning studio).

•   The knitting shop on St. Mary's Street has closed; an Italian gentleman's barber shop will replace it.

•   The Prince Albert pub on Silver Street is undergoing a change of management.

•   A funeral parlour has opened on Fore Hill.

9. Environmental walkabout reports

It was reported that the woodland walk had been left to deteriorate too much, suffering in places from vandalism and littering. Concern was also raised that the ditches were not receiving the full maintenance programme which is due every 4 years, which should include amongst other things a full digging-out to remove debris and build-up of soil and other matter.

The station walkabout identified a number of issues which the walkabouts have raised in the past. Money has been made available for improvements at the station and already new sign boards with directions and a "Welcome to Ely" have been installed outside the main entrance. A railway users' forum has also been set up.

Liz Sayers has agreed to speak to Jordan Day to see whether he can assist in motivating volunteers to take an interest in the maintenance of the city, in particular the areas around where they live. This would include tasks such as litter picking, weeding, planting flower beds and so on.

10. Future priorities

The group considered which issues it wanted to prioritise in the future, and where relevant, the funding necessary for those priorities.

The ongoing activities included Steeple Row, the commemorative plaques and the Ely App. The group will submit a request for £1000 towards equipment which will enable a Wi-Fi network to be installed around the city centre to the Perspective Executive.

The group agreed to launch a new initiative which would aim to encourage people to look after, improve and maintain their own local environment (following on from the reports from the walkabouts conducted in June.) Several ideas/suggestions were brought to the fore, including that some resources already exist which would help this aim. For example, Veolia can arrange a special collection given notice to take away rubbish / organic matter, and that ECDC can provide gloves and other equipment for gardening purposes. Liz Sayers will spearhead this campaign beginning by contacting Jordan Day (as mentioned previously).

11. Any other business

•   Update on the Courthouse:
The building has now been upgraded from grade 2 to grade 2*, which will add further restrictions to what can be altered on the site. Frank Readhead reported that whilst running, the court incurred costs of around £10,000 per annum in rates and £25,000 for maintenance.
The Cambridge records department are considering the viability of relocating to the courthouse premises and potentially extending the building to meet their needs. A steering group is being established and momentum is gathering around this building/issue.

•   The commemorative plaques have to date received partial permission for a number of locations. The chair wanted to reiterate that funding is available now for these to go ahead and that barring any further complications, these plaques should be created and installed as soon as is possible – even if the smaller order increases the cost.

•   Liz Sayers gave apologies in advance for the next meeting.

Date of the next meeting

6.30pm Tuesday 16th October 2012 at St Peter's House, Broad Street, Ely