2014 AGM Chairs Report

Chairs report for 2013/4.

We have a had a good year! Many new members have joined us, we now stand at 218. I think this is down to the high profile we have had in being part of New Deal for Beeston: the official name of the group (including people from outside the Civic Society) is Continuum.

We have spent a lot of time promoting ourselves and you will see from the Treasurers Report that we are down in our funds this year. This is because we were approached, as were many others, by The Hope Church to help them fund a new van for their good works. They needed the last few hundred pounds to buy a new van and in return have we our name painted on the side. To me this was a no brainer! For £400 we have our logo and name painted on two sides of the van and it flits about all over Nottinghamshire and surrounds on its collections of food from as far as Lincolnshire and is seen about Beeston area on a regular basis. Many more people now know and have heard of Beeston Civic Society!

We have had some excellent speakers and well attended public meetings, we hope to continue this in our next season. We are trying to keep to talks that are relevant to Beeston and District and our interests, I hope you will agree that we have done a good job this year thanks to Eileen. We had to have an extra meeting to talk about Beeston Town Centre, we have played quite a large part in this having four of our members as part of this Continuum group. For now, whilst we wait for the new town centre to be completed there is nothing happening with Continuum although I did see in Beeston a small group of students in white coats(?) bearing the name ‘The Built Environment and Architecture’, walking around the Square recently with clip boards. For those of you who do not know, thanks to Prof Martyn Polikoff, this department has taken on the challenge, with the blessing of our council, to design a vision for Phase 2, which is the area that will be left after the tram is finally completed, (where the Fire and Multi storey carpark used to be). I am sure we all have our own vision for this but hopefully with suggested plans acceptable to the Council in place, they will be able to go to developers and say, this is what we want our town to look like, not be fobbed off with a replica of what they are re-building now! The possibilities are endless. We have done quite a few questionnaires and the main thing that comes out of them is that local people want a cinema/theatre/art space, good shops and greenery.

The Blue Plaque Scheme has finally come to end with a magnificent 34 plaques now found around the area. Many, many thanks must go to the Blue Plaques committee led by its Chair Peter Robinson for all the work and research that has gone into this scheme. There has been extensive coverage in three issues of Bygones and at some point there will be a booklet with a trail. We are pleased that finally the TEN BELL has had a makeover, still in its place outside of Sainsbury’s but there is nothing we can do about that, at least it has a new plaque and had a clean up with the promise that from now on it will be looked after by Sainsbury’s.

The next project the Civic Society is embarking on is Local Listing. It is for everyone to get involved in this, it is not about Listed Buildings and Grades 1, 2 and 3 but about places, houses, buildings that are a good representation of their kind and need to be earmarked. We will ask you in due course to be part of this, all it entails is walking about and taking note of what you see, the finer details have not yet been decided.

Heritage Weekend was a triumph for us yet again and many thanks must deservedly go to the small band of three, Eileen, Barbara and Joyce who did most of the work for this. There was a very comprehensive booklet printed and we distributed 10.000 copies of this across the county. Once again the Chilwell Barracks visit was oversubscribed then delayed by illness but went ahead at a later date. We hope to have a talk in our next season.

Beeston Carnival was very good for us and quite a few new people joined that day. We had a very interesting stand which attracted attention and we had our questionnaire asking people what they want to see happen to Phase 2 of Beeston Square.

We are still very active in looking at planning applications and this year have made many representations to the planning committee. We must Thank Barbara who for the last 20 years has been mainly responsible with Caroline for meeting with the council to look at plans, she is not taking the lead on this now but will still be part of the subcommittee. With the advent of the internet those meetings do not happen now as the plans are emailed weekly (anyone can sign up for this) and remarks can be emailed back. From this meeting though, we have formed 2 subcommittees, overseen by Caroline, for a)Planning and b)Conservation, more people can get involved in these sub committees , without having to be a committee member, if they so wish and should contact Caroline through our email.

Magazine. Many Thanks to Karen Attwood for the quarterly magazine, always full of interesting articles and comments.

Website. Thanks to Owen we now have a thriving website and we also have a Twitter account. Members can join through our website and pay via paypal as indeed can any current member who does not pay by Standing Order. Any photos you have of Beeston will be gratefully received for the picture gallery. Please keep looking and send any remarks to us that you wish to make. We had a very successful poll about the town centre on there and the result formed part of the Councils own poll.

We must mention our current venue, John Clifford. I want to ask you, the members, what you feel about it, are you happy there or would you prefer to be back in the centre of Beeston? The Pearson Centre is very central but more expensive. The Committee think that it would be worth us moving there as there are different sized rooms we could use, refreshment facilities, easy car parking (Sainsbury’s) and close by the main residential part of Beeston. The Beeston Library is not an option I am afraid, it is not large enough for some of our public meetings and there is a problem with the time of ending our meetings. We will of course need to take a vote on this.

Lastly, our membership fee. This has stood at £7.00 and £10.00 for some considerable time and if the general consensus is that members would like to be back in a more central venue we will need to increase the subscription. We have looked at other comparable societies and we are quite a lot below them in what we charge, for our membership you get 8 free monthly meetings and 4 magazines per year. I would like to put forward a vote to increase the subs for next year, 2105/16 to  £10 &15. If we did increase this fee, we could also make each member a member of Civic Voice and the benefits that comes from that which includes one free entry ticket to both The National Trust and English Heritage, these tickets are not limited to your use but any friend or member of your family may use it. For those of you who joined this year, thank you, and may I tell you that those of you who joined in June or after do not need to pay again until next October 2015, I hope you will consider doing a Standing order as this makes it easier for our Treasurer.

May I ask those of you who do not pay by Standing Order to pay your subscription fee at this meeting or the next. Anyone not doing so will no longer receive the Magazine and emails. You can send a cheque to our Secretary: 4, Penryn Cres, Chilwell, Nottm. NG9 5NZ.

Anyone interested in joining us in any capacity should contact Eileen through the society email address:   beestoncivicsociety@gmail.com

Website address:   beestoncivicsociety.org.uk

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