Chairman’s Report at the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday 10th May 2017
The year has seen some battles fought with varying success. On the downside, despite everyone’s best efforts the supermarket at Rocks Green was given the green light and after all the effort put into the street survey on our part, the Council have announced an almost indefinite delay in publication due to the inevitable cuts.
Not all is doom and gloom, the Council have suddenly come up with an officer responsible for the Cobbles where previously there was silence; he even has a small ring-fenced budget and we are now waiting on the utilities to make good their earlier protestations of support with hard cash. A site in Broad Street has been chosen for a trial repair and liaison with Treasure’s is ongoing regarding training up a suitably skilled workforce.
We also joined the local and indeed nationwide clamour in opposition to the business rate increases which would see the town become another faceless High street dominated by chain stores. Hopefully sense has now prevailed.
Following the streetlight survey the Council joined us in a meeting where it was understood that our concerns were taken on board and that a programme of improvement is due in around three years time when we will be given a choice of Heritage lighting for the conservation areas. A similar survey and assault on the proliferation of Council signage is also in hand.
As Alan Layng, our extremely adept Treasurer will shortly confirm, the Society’s finances are in healthy shape, even allowing for the dent made by work on the Jubilee Garden.
As to the Garden, work has already been carried out in two tranches, the first to secure and repair the perimeter walls and more recently the footprint and foundations for the hard borders have been laid out. Further work at the end of this month will see the “beds” available for planting. Further work in raising capital for the paving and seats is ongoing and if anyone wishes to make a contribution, Alan’s door is always open or indeed that of Ian Bott our Garden C.E.O. Finally, on this matter we regret the recent tragic death of one of the original garden designers, Nicki Lewis Smith and our aim is to plant a memorial tree as part of the overall scheme.
Stanton and team have once again produced an excellent Heritage News as the second part to a river themed edition. The Autumn issue is probably going to concentrate on the Town walls. This is to reflect an approach to the Society made by the Town Walls Trust to assume the role when their present work is done. This publicity is continued by the website which is enhanced and cared for by Anthony Shuster, further promotion has been provided by the publication of a new brochure with a Blue Plaque quiz.
Another season of successful talks has concluded for which we have Jane Hunt to thank for tracking down and persuading the speakers whilst the visits programme is proving ever popular with all tickets sold for the Perrycroft garden visit and a great deal of interest expressed in the proposed visit to Compton Verney
In other areas, our attempts to establish a network of Shropshire Civic Societies is proving rewarding as is work with the Conservation Advisory Committee. Individual work by our Vice Chairman Tony Mahalski has seen repairs and redecoration to the posts and chains around the Castle Gardens and repainting of the fountain and cannon railings, whilst Valerie Thomas retains a hawk like interest in planning matters.
I would like to draw your attention to a meeting of the Georgian Group with Rosemary Yallop and David McKinstry, in The Castle Beacon Rooms on Wednesday 19 July at 6 pm. (Doors open at 5.30 pm). Matters covered will include the ongoing work of The Group and its role as a statutory body in England and Wales with an opportunity to learn about local Regency architecture in the borders. There will be questions, hopefully answers, and a glass of wine. The tickets are £15 with details on the flyers available or alternatively Rosanna Lockhart, 44 Mill Street, Ludlow SY8 1BB (01584 879987)
Finally, the Society continues to grow in membership and influence, its popularity demonstrated by the exceptionally good Christmas Drinks Party, for which thanks to all concerned. Thanks are also due to Juliet Diamond who manages to organise behind the scenes and prevents events such as this from being utter chaos.
I want to warmly thank John Farley who is standing down, he has been a keen member with a history of valuable contribution. His recent work on the somewhat tedious minutiae of the Town street lights has been outstanding and has placed us in the consultation loop with the Council on its forthcoming lighting programme. Once again John thank you very much
That concludes the Chairman’s report and we shall now hear that of the Treasurer, after which he or myself will attempt to answer any questions.
Ludlow Civic Society
51 Julian Road
Ludlow SY8 1HD
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