The AGM for 2008 took place at the Village Hall on 10th June.
The following is a collection of the reports of the various sections.
The accounts section is abbreviated.
In many ways 2007/8 has been an unremarkable year for WVCA, with steady rather than spectacular progress being made across a broad front.
On the plus side, our finances remain on a very sound footing, completion of the pedestrian refuge(s) and footpath widening scheme at Broadcut is a welcome achievement after many years of effort and the Hall continues to provide excellent facilities, is well used and generates significant revenue. The Flood Emergency Plan has been updated, the Parking Survey conducted, preparations for Fete 2008 are well advanced and thanks to the efforts of the Editorial Team, the OIAW remains an excellent publication of which we can rightly be very proud.
Progress in other areas however, has been frustratingly slow. Efforts to bring the Watermeadow under WVCA's ownership for the benefit of future generations have seemingly met with indifference from the owners and screening of the riverside fence to the FBC Depot, which ought to have been a straightforward affair, took almost 12 months to complete, despite WVCA's best efforts and a generous financial contribution. In similar vein, achieving an owner's consensus to the restoration and repair of the Old Wall at Waterside Gardens has been a protracted issue and we are still some way from being in a firm position to proceed, despite the offer of significant WVCA and FBC subsidies in support of the project.
On a cautionary note, you will be aware from the spring edition of the OIAW that FBC's current draft of the Local Development Framework (LDF) document - previously known as the Local Plan and which seeks to earmark land usage in the Borough over the next 20 years - has identified three potential development sites within the village. We have already raised initial objections to the development of any of these sites, but unless these proposals are dropped from the next iteration of the plan, then I fear that "fighting the LDF" will become an increasing pre-occupation and challenge our resources in years to come.
Updates on progress towards achieving our specific aims for 2007/8 are detailed separately within the AGM report.
And finally, I am very pleased that all of this years Trustees have agreed to serve for another year and am delighted to welcome Margaret Ward to the Executive Committee for 2008/9.
It has been a successful years WVCA income (from the hall) has kept pace with inflation plus sufficient to carry out improvements to the hall and to subsidise some of the events. A grant was received from Hampshire towards the cost of Air Conditioning and another was received to help with the voluntary work on the environment (river bank etc.). It all helps. The reserves are healthy and are sufficient to cope with possible major disasters.
As last year, we continue to subsidise the weekly bus service - annual subscriptions - Once In A While - information flyers - carol service - children's party and some village social events.
I thought the fete was excellent. Not only was it very entertaining but the financial loss on the afternoon events was more than made up by the evening 'Music on the Meadow'. WVCA finances are in good shape. Last year's National Savings Treasurer's account had to be closed so I have taken advantage of the rise in interest rates to invest part of the reserves in fixed interest one year bonds - one starting last August at 6.32% and one in March at 5.31%. The remainder is deposited in a saving account at the Charity Bank currently giving 5%. Gift Aid, which most members have signed up to, recovers some £300 back from the taxman. This will be a little less next year as the chancellor has reduced the percentage return from April. The stock market has affected us as some funds are invested through the charity bank in UK Equity Funds. An investment of £21,000 is now £22,600 but it has been as high as £26,000; of course there are dividends as well. As always with the stock market one must look over several years.
Aim: To maintain the hall in an "as new" condition, market it to its full potential and make efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
Above is the stated aim of the Hall Sub Committee and I feel this year that we have made a number of improvements to the Hall not only to enhance what we already have, but also to make it a more marketable and pleasant facility for our users. Below I have listed some of the things we have undertaken, this is by no means exhaustive but are some of the more major items of work. Of course the day to day maintenance continues under the stewardship of John Wilcox and for this we as a sub Committee are very grateful, to both him and his staff. It would be very easy to sit back and take all the credit for all that is good with our Hall, but this would be unjust. Much of the work outlined below is discussed and agreed in Committee but the actual work of obtaining quotes deciding what is needed, and the actual supervision of the job itself is undertaken by John and I personally offer my thanks to him for all his hard work.
This year we completed the installation of the air conditioning units as mentioned in last years report. Thanks should go to Hampshire County Council for a grant towards a 1/3 of the cost of this work.
The Hall license has also been changed this year giving us much more flexibility with our ability to offer bars to hirers without the constraints of the TEN system. Thanks to Keith Barton in this regard and for agreeing to be the license holder.
Much of the door furniture has been changed this year in line with the "as new" condition within the aims. In this regard we will also be changing the curtains in the 2 lower Halls later this year.
With regard to marketing, as well as the air conditioning we have also added a big screen to the main Hall, updated the sound system and will soon be making the Hall a wi-fi zone. All these things make the Hall a much more attractive venue for potential hirers and gives us wider scope to attract new users. We have also placed the Hall on a number of websites with a view to bringing the Hall to a greater number of casual users. All in all though it should be stated that we have a large number of regular users and the main Hall in particular is extremely well utilised.
The carbon footprint and the sensible use of resources is something we are all becoming more aware of, John Wilcox is encouraging regular users to turn off unnecessary lights and to turn down the heating where appropriate. A bin is also available for recyclable waste. I feel there is still more we may be able to do in this regard and I think this may be something we will have to give more thought to in the coming year.
Finally I would just like to give my thanks again to John and his staff for their help throughout the year, and for the often unseen work that they do.
Over the next year or so I intend to continue to build upon an ever-growing list of attractions for the Village hall.
Future events will hopefully include a wide mixture of entertainment including comics, cabaret, murder mystery, and live bands just to name a few.
I recently attended the Hog the Limelight showcase and saw a brief glimpse of some of these acts. I also have other sources for supplying entertainment including now a big national agency that supplies most of the bands for places like the Chicago Rock Cafes all over the UK.
I will be trying to encourage younger people to take an interest, which might mean thatsome events will have to be tailored for younger people.
Cost will be a factor as most acts from Hog the lime light are all around the 400-700 pounds area and clearly ticket prices will have to be thought about as we only get 500 pound a year from hog. This amount can either be used in one hit or split up that is down to us.
I'm hoping that if we can host a couple of good events then we will get more support and better turn outs which then will keep ticket prices down. Until this happens WVCA might have to bear some of the cost but, hopefully, with bar profits from some events will help.
2007/2008 has not produced anything particularly exciting with very little new development and just the few minor home improvements.
However, the WVCA representatives have attended the local CATS meetings sponsored by FBC to make sure the village is properly represented. There have been three meetings so far attended by local and county councillors, members of the Police, Fire and Rescue and a good response from the general public.
A detailed response has been submitted to FBC regarding the LDF (Local Development Framework) setting out objections to the possible development of the remaining small parcels of green space that still remain within the village.
The largest single issue is the Local Development Framework - the LDF. This set of planning policies and proposals will underpin development and land use in the Borough and it seeks to answer questions like where new houses, community facilities and business areas should be built to cope with expected growth. A Structure Plan exercise of this nature does take place about every ten or twenty years and we have been here before. The difference this time is that there is a much closer link between regional 'aspirations' and local ones.
What is referred to as the Core Strategy defines the criteria to be used when evaluating or approving development - e.g. whether boxes have been ticked for infrastructure and it has to align with national and regional policy as laid down by the South East England Regional Plan (SEERPLAN). The building blocks of this Core strategy are being rolled out in stages, the last of which was the 'Preferred Options' stage. We reported on this at last year's AGM and outlined our responses in the public consultation. Our perception then was that the most significant threat came from the possibility of the SDA this side of Wickham.
Now we are further down the track and have moved on to the Site Allocations stage of the LDF, marking the boundary from the general to the more specific. For Wallington itself there are seven named. Of these three of the sites are within Fort Wellington, Fareham Heights and the SITA area and need not concern us unduly. The potentially problematical ones are for housing or housing/business:
- Gauntlett's Field
- The land between Pinks Hill and the Motorway slip road
- The field at the junction of Standard Way and North Wallington
- The small field adjoining SITA. (Not housing but business use)
We have responded by objecting to the inclusion of all four based on a variety of reasons including green field status, breach of strategic gap, housing density, traffic and access considerations, visual intrusion - as appropriate to the site.
It should be made clear that these entries only reflect developers 'wish lists' at this stage - there are no new plans actually lodged. Also it is important to note that the SE Plan report panel does not provide any scope for new development on green field sites in the Borough. So to this extent there is no immediate cause for alarm. However it has to be said that an endorsement (or hint of it) from FBC about any site might make it more difficult for us to oppose a future application. For this reason it is important to make our feelings known and that is what the consultation process is about. We urge everyone to participate whenever given the opportunity.
We will continue to watch events very closely and prepare our objections carefully.
The past year has been quite successful on environmental issues. Progress has been made on several fronts including screening of the council yard, good community involvement in the river clearance and scrub clearing by the river and controlling ivy on trees etc. Thanks are due to every one who joined in and helped.
Special mention should be made of the grant from O2. We successfully applied for a £1000 grant from the company and it will be sufficient for completing the proposed improvements to footpath and entrance to die water meadows. This work will begin in earnest in the near future. Unfortunately I have not been able to attend third Sunday Work parries due to an injury but I hope to start again soon. Please look out for posters etc. that will announce when the work will start. Rest assured help will be needed with this project. If you want to get involved please don't be shy; get in touch with Arthur Hackney or myself.
The dreaded Himalayan balsam is growing too well this year. If you are wondering why there is so much of it about, well it probably began with an accident. Some of it may have started many years ago by a lady from the village who was on holiday and saw some pink flowers growing along a riverbank, and she thought to herself that they would look pretty back home. So she collected seed and when she returned home she scattered them feely where they grew to a nice pink carpet of flowers. Some of them were spotted early and removed but, like many such escapes, not all were caught It is not an uncommon story.
Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera
Also known under the names: Indian Touch-Me-Not, Policeman's helmet, Ornamental Jewelweed, Pink Peril, Poor Man's Orchid and it is from the Balsaminaceae Family.
It was introduced to Kew Gardens in 1839 as a greenhouse plant, where it escaped to the wild and is now naturalised in the British Isles, ft is very invasive and should be removed when found. It is in the same genera as the bedding Impatiens or Busy-lizzies, but grows much taller - up to 2 metres high. One plant can produce about 800 seeds a year, which usually have a close on 100% germination rate. Dense stands suffocate other plants so that when it dies away in the winter, riverbanks are left bare and more liable to erosion. Hence we need to eradicate it
If anyone wants to help on the balsam issue your help will be welcome so please get in touch. As with previous years we will also attack it at the river clearout which this year will take place at 10.00 on Sunday 21 st September (High Tide is 0339 so Low tide will be about 10 o'clock). This will be ideal for completing the job in time for a lunchtime pint at the White Horse!
Once in a While and Website
The three issues of the Once in a While for 2007/8 have been produced within budget. This was thanks mainly to Farley’s Printers holding their prices but also due to careful management of contents – for example we have kept to 36 pages per edition and we seek to make every page ‘count’ whether text or graphics. The magazine’s style has changed for the last five issues and we hope to make it appealing to the widest readership. Its purpose is always to entertain and to inform and it continues to carry articles of general interest alongside those about more serious village matters. We are also fortunate to have had some cracking pictures by professional photographers from time to time.
The magazine is an expensive production – as the accounts show, the cost for the year was £2290. This represents three editions of 430 copies per issue. Historically the cost of the OIAW was covered by the subscription income. This balance slipped in recent years, partly because of the increase in number of pages but also the use of colour since 2000. Actually the shortfall was slightly reduced last year and we hope to do even better this year with the (modest) increase in advertising fees. We do, of course, carry columns for various village interest groups which most would agree is wholly appropriate but it does add to the size and cost of the publication. Everyone would surely agree that the most important thing is to publish a magazine of a quality which we can be proud of and which reflects well the association’s purposes and competence. We think that issues are well received but welcome any suggestions about possible improvements.
Not so encouraging is the situation with regard to the WVCA Website. This had stoutly been kept running by Nik McCartney for a number of years until growing work commitments made it difficult for him to continue. We have to acknowledge that he was not supported (by the Exec) as well as he should have been e.g. with enough up-to-date material etc. The upshot was that the site was temporarily closed down before Christmas and the intention was that, when restored, it would come under the wing of the OIAW Editorial – the purposes being not dissimilar. We are fortunate enough to have the help of a local company for planning a new site and it is hoped to have it up and running soon. It is intended to have a format that enables easier input to encourage submission of material so that the site may become more dynamic and current.
The Editorial Team