MINUTES OF A HOYLAKE CONSERVATION AREAS ASSOCIATION GENERAL MEETING HELD AT THE HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ON 28 JANUARY 2015
Present: Chairman, Committee and 32 local residents. Messrs Alan Chape, Mark Howard and Philip Barton (Independent Planning Consultant)
- Welcome & Introductions. The HCA Chairman, Christopher Moore, introduced himself to the meeting and thanked all those attending as well as those who had tendered their apologies, notably Cllr Gerry Ellis.
- The New Wirral Conservation Forum. Mr Alan Chape (Chairman) gave a useful and informative presentation about this newly formed body which represents all 26 designated Conservation Areas on the Wirral. Its aim was to preserve and enhance conservation throughout the Wirral by working with Wirral Council, encouraging conservation groups to be more pro-active, to pool skills, knowledge, experience and good practice across the borough and to arrange networking using a regular supply of information and workshops. The Forum set out to be a collective voice which could exert stronger influence than was possible by individual conservation groups. Meetings had already been arranged with Council officers in the face of the current budgetary constraints with strong representations made to safeguard the Conservation Team and the Tree Preservation Officer which were being considered for disbandment. Mr Chape’s presentation was well received and the Forum gained the wholehearted support of the meeting. Further details are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Beacon – An Arts, Cinema & Heritage Centre for Hoylake? Mr Mark Howard, a leading member of a project group to establish a centre on the site of the former Hoylake Lifeboat Station and the Council owned adjacent land gave an inspiring vision of The Beacon as an exciting commercial venture to improve the range of activities in the town. The site was on the boundary of the Kings Gap CA. Although there were many obstacles to overcome, good progress had been made with various potential partners. Again, the presentation was warmly received and gained near unanimous support. More information from: hoylakebeacon.org.uk
- Chairman’s Report. The Chairman apologised for not having arranged a general meeting since late 2012 but the Committee had continued to work on the Association’s behalf to safeguard conservation matters in the Kings Gap and Meols Drive designated areas. For administrative ease, it was explained that both these CAs were looked after by a single committee which, for brevity, was called the Hoylake Conservation Areas Association. The Chairman summarised the main planning applications on which the Committee had been involved – always aiming to take a balanced and informed view on conservation principles within the planning process. Both CAs had Character Appraisals which described the principal features and their historical context. The Kings Gap appraisal was now lamentably out of date and it was hoped that the Committee would be able to assist the depleted Council staff in completing this task. Conservation is not just about preservation, although there are many special design features well worth celebrating and safeguarding. It is also about sympathetic enhancement as standards change and home owners seek to improve their property. Our representations had not always been successful but the Committee continued to exert their best lay skills to ensure that conservation was afforded due priority with appropriate conditions applied as necessary. A main issue was the lack of knowledge about conservation amongst homeowners, estate agents and conveyancing solicitors. Hence, a leaflet had been produced (made available at the meeting) for wide distribution in order to try to rectify this. The leaflet included the boundaries of the two CAs, gave broad information about living in a conservation area and steering people to the HCA and other useful websites. In addition, an application form to become a member of the Association was included.
- Confirmation of Committee. The meeting approved the re-election of the HCA Committee members as follows: C T Moore (Chairman), Mrs Kitty Whitford (Hon Treasurer), Mr Ron Cotton, Mrs Elizabeth Davey, Mrs Gill Norton, Mr Miles Meredith Jones, Mr Roger Tucknott and Mrs Yvonne Sanne. Cllr Gerry Ellis as a local Ward Councillor was an ex-officio member.
- Financial Report. Mrs Whitford presented her financial report. Since May 2012, the main expenditure had been £167.98 for hosting and registration costs of the HCA website to leave funds of £618.97 in the HCA account. Apart from a small amount of subscription income, these funds had been transferred from the preceding Meols Drive Residents’ Association on the administrative merger of the two CAs. The meeting agreed to the retention of these funds to be used solely for the furtherance of the aims and objectives of the HCA Association, that is the protection of both Meols Drive and Kings Gap CAs. The modest printing cost of £81.99 for 1000 leaflets would be an eligible expense. Collection of subscriptions had been a notoriously unreliable and difficult activity. For that reason, it had been decided to include membership application forms in the new leaflet and to effectively start again in seeking support from local residents with annual subscriptions set at £3 per person or £5 per family. This was endorsed by the meeting. Finally, the meeting approved a donation from HCA funds of £50.00 towards the costs of the Wirral Conservation Forum. Mrs Whitford was warmly thanked for her report.
- Closure of the Meeting. After renewed thanks for the support of all those who had attended, the Chairman closed the meeting. A subsequent query about the impact of fracking on the Wirral was deemed to be beyond the Committee’s knowledge or ability to consider.
C T MOORE 25 February 2015
Chairman, for HCA Committee