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Minutes of Riverside Meeting

Thursday 17th November 2011

Present: Andy Bryne (Maltings), Margaret Haw (Minutes), Ted Coney, Malcolm Green, Pat Hillman, Peter Hillman, Mark Mehaffey (ECDC), Helen Moore, Pat Simmonds, Liz Wainwright (Chair), John Yates, Angela Moody and Peter Webb (IWA).

Local residents – George and Rachel Peacock, Patricia Beattie and Bryant F Watson were welcomed as first-time attendees and Cllr Richard Hobbs, Allison Condor and Liz Knox were welcomed as guests from ECDC.

1. Apologies

Mike Rouse, Ian Burton-Palmer, Shirley and Terry Overall, Margaret Bowles, Caroline Cawley and Mervyn Day.

2. Ely Master Plan and Country Park

Allison Condor, who joined ECDC in July and has a previous background in Countryside and Woodland Management, outlined development proposals for Ely Country Park for the next two years (2011-13). These plans were approved by ECDC's Community and Environment sub Committee on 1st November 2011. She explained that for the last 2 years the main infrastructure on the site was completed, but from now on the focus would now be on improving signage, enhancing the Country Parks value as a natural area, implementing a routine maintenance plan, developing two signed access trails to enable people to confidently use the whole area, re-surfacing at the Fisherman’s car park, providing cycle racks at the entrance to pocket park and remedial works to the slide and play equipment area. ECDC are already working with the Wildlife Trust this autumn on a project to improve the wildflowers on Ely Commons and to look at the potential for the old Pill Box as a bat habitat. Costings should be in by January. When the weather is right ECDC had planned to roller the loose surface at Springhead Lane, however local volunteers have now swept the loose chippings to one side of the path which has resolved the access problems. The entrance near 'Sainsbury's' will be re-instated when they have completed. The slide is taped on the advice of the HSE. It is difficult to secure the entrance to Fisherman’s car park since it is the only entrance for emergency vehicles and for emptying the bins, and whatever you do to try to secure the entrance, if people want access experience shows they will remove any barrier installed. There is no funding to pay for staffing to lock and unlock the car park at night, but maintenance on the CCTV within the car park has now been completed to monitor this area.

3. Minutes

Minutes of the meeting held on 13th October were approved after noting that Caroline Cawley had sent her apologies.

4. Matters arising

None not on Agenda

5. Reports

No report

Natural Environment
LCPRE performed a successful litter pick two weeks ago. The illegal tent has been removed from the top common. Despite the fact that there are a number of dog litter bins provided, dog mess is a problem and some bags are just thrown into trees and bushes. Liz Knox (ECDC) promised to organise a general press release with advice on the legislation and enforcement, as a way of encouraging bag and bin use, not forgetting that ordinary rubbish bins can also be used for this purpose.

Although it is the 'quiet' season, moorings are still being checked and regulated daily.


Friday 18 November at 7.30 - Friends of Jubilee Gardens will be holding their main fund-raising event at St. Peter's Church, when Wendy Cope, local poet will be the speaker and will be signing. A range of books and other items will be on sale. Refreshments will be available. £10 tickets are still available on the door.

The report from ADeC (item 9) includes most of their events.

Sat. 19 Nov. 1.30 to 4.30 - at The Maltings there will be a Craft Fair, featuring goods made by Ely residents and a few other carefully selected exhibitors.

Sunday 20 Nov - LCPRE will hold the autumn Bird Race from 8am to 12 midday starting at Kiln Lane. Hot food at finish.

Tomorrow, Friday 18 November - Ely Wildlife Trust have a talk in Vernon Cross Room of the Museum by Cliff Carson of the Middle Level, entitled 'Managing Wildlife of the Middle Level'. They also have a local walk from 11am - 1pm on 31 December from the Barton Road Car Park.

Please also note that Ted's Family Portraits will close on 11 December until next Spring.

A Christmas Wine Tasting will be held instead of a Perspective Christmas dinner this year. (full details by separate e-mail).

The Ely Lights Switch-on event will be next Friday, 25 November starting at 4.30 - lights on at 6.45.

6. Future Organisation of Riverside

John Yates reported that the City Council is in receipt of information from ECDC and is reviewing it, which may take some time.

7. Slipway

The consultation period ended on 1 November. The legal department are putting a statement to the Land Registry to get possession of that land. Once legal possession has been obtained, maintenance of the area will fall on the Council which is looking into how it can be improved, especially to reduce the rat population by using vermin treatment in a safe manner in a public area. Cllr Hobbs explained that ECDC may decide to pass the responsibility to the City Council but that would be dealt with by the legal department. One option might be a barrier across the slipway to restrict the birds coming out of the water easily at that point. This option will be looked at from a legal point of view and reported back to the group. It is anticipated that access for all boat users on to the water would require an Environment Agency Key.

The conservation office has approved the new signs (on show at the meeting). The duck feeding sign has been taken down and there will be a press release when the new signs go up. The public will be encouraged to feed ducks on the water with floating pellets (not bread), rather than in a designated area. This should disburse the birds, mainly geese, and break their habit over the long term. Mark will spend more time at the riverside but it is intended to educate people and it is hoped use of legislation will not be necessary and will only be used for persistent illegal feeding.

Local residents expressed their concern that such harsh measures and strongly worded notices were unnecessary and would put visitors off coming to the riverside. Cllr Hobbs said the Council was willing to listen to any suggestions and compromises in order to improve what used to be a spectacular area of the riverside.

After discussions, it was agreed that 12 signs would be too many along the river front, this should be reduced to a suitable but effective number (6) notices would be installed to start with as a trial period – one at each end (High Bridge and the car park) and 4 spaced out at suitable intervals in between – to be reviewed every three months. This may only need to be a temporary arrangement.

8. Jubilee Gardens

There are plans for planting 200 more hydrangeas in place of viburnum. The recent working party, which was the last this year, was the largest turn-out and time was spent tidying the sensitive garden. Thanks were expressed to Andy (Maltings) for providing refreshments.

9. The Maltings

1600 Christmas Party places have been booked. Lead has been stolen from the roof. The Chair offered to have a meeting with Ted (for ADeC) and Andy (Maltings) to sort out the problem concerning staff referred to in Minutes of meeting on 13 October which Andy said had misrepresented the situation. The organisers of the Antiques Fairs had not returned to The Maltings as they had proved unprofitable. The closure of the restaurant for the winter was still a concern although it was agreed that it was not down to the current Manager but an issue with the contract between ECDC and the Company. It was noted that the building is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm.

10. The Maltings Cottage

Proposals go in on Monday and await a decision by City Council. ECDC will conduct a limited public consultation.

The Cottage has recently been broken into and flooded as a result of copper pipes being stolen.

11. ADEC

Live events
Wednesday 23 November – The Vagina Monologues, The Maltings.

For our Spring programme we have a welcome return for Jeremy Hardy. Folk superstars The Unthanks are now confirmed along with TV comedian Josie Long. We are in discussion with other artists to bring top quality music and comedy to the Maltings and St Peter’s on the Riverside.

Mayor's Christmas Spectacular; To get you in the Christmas mood on Sunday 4 December with performances at 2pm and 3.30pm we are promoting The Snowman, a family Christmas concert with Ely Sinfonia. The profits from this concert will go to support The Mayor's Charity, ADeC and Ely Sinfonia. Family tickets are £21 for five, £7.50 adults/£5 concessions and are on sale through ADeC at

Ely Cinema
we’ve had a good few months with some great attendances for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Jane Eyre. Our second alternative content screening of the Bolshoi Ballet is coming up at the end of the month with Sleeping Beauty on the 27th November. Our first screening was very well received and we are now investigating the cost and practicalities of installing a satellite dish to allow us to stream live performances of the National Theatre’s programme on our big screen for 2012.

Babylon Gallery
Our delightful Christmas Selling exhibition Unwrapped opened on Saturday 12 November and continues to Friday 23 December. We've got some great art and craft on offer at nice affordable present giving prices.

Big Jubilee Lunch 2012
Date is now confirmed Sunday 3 June 2012. ADeC will be helping to organise and promote this national event. More details to follow.

12. Ely in Bloom

Shirley and Terry had been very busy taking cuttings and planting spring bulbs in High Street, the Buttermarket, etc and planting wallflowers in the Station Garden. Helen Yates had kindly taken over looking after the triangle near the Maltings.

13. Date of Next Meeting

Thursday, 12 January 2012, 7pm at the Maltings.

14. Any Other Business

(i) The issue of provision of bushes round the tree outside Waterside Antiques will be followed up by John Yates. Liz will resend to John Yates, a copy the email response she had received by the Highways Dept.

(ii) Of the four electricians contacted for the electric cabinet, only one was interested. A detailed brief and response had been forwarded to John Yates and additional meetings will be arranged to finalise the specification.

(iii) The Z brickwork has been completed.