Draft Minutes of the Conservation meeting of
2014-04-22 at 19:00 in “The Stocks”

[The last amendment to these minutes was made on 2014-04-24.

Comments, omissions or corrections to these minutes can be sent to JP onhttp://conservation.ecclesfieldgroups.com/james.gif. As a test, these minutes include verbatim notes taken during the meeting. Members are welcome to say if they want me to revert back, or choose a different style.

Readers please note that since I don’t type fast enough to capture everything that was said, I can only capture extracts, which I then have to tidy up. Nothing in this document should therefore be taken as exact speech - hence my use of italics, rather than quotes – JP]

Letters refer to standing items, and numbers new items, in the agenda of the same date, which can be seen at conservation.ecclesfieldgroups.com/minutes. ]

A. Chair: Ian Deans (ID) chaired this meeting.

B. Attendance: RT, ID, DM, LS, BS, MM, AM, RM, AH, KM, JP, and SP signed into the meeting. Apologies were received from KF. A total of 40 people receive emailed agendas and minutes.

Matters needing action

Z. Date of the next meeting

The next meeting will be on May 27th (fourth Tuesday), at 7 o'clock in the Stocks.

1. Insurance

ID: I am still looking for insurance options, but doing my level best to secure the insurance we want to the best price. The planters on the road side are another risk we need to cover, and it is critical we are covered for public liability.

2. Planters

ID said that he had received an invoice for the two planters he had ordered. However, we still need a location for the second planter, and somebody who lives close to look after them.

3. Leaflets and dispensers

ID, talking about the grant application for leaflets and dispensers said: We can't put that in until we get insurance.

4. Heritage Lottery Fund: Ecclesfield District Archiving Group

JP said that we had received an email saying that Ecclesfield Parish Council had succeeded in their bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Ecclesfield Group had provided a letter of support, and there was therefore an opportunity for us to suggest ways in which the money could be used.

Members made the following suggestions, which would require funding …

a. Improved software to run the Ecclesfield Archive on. Things particularly wanted were the ability for visitors to the site to add their own comments. JP mentioned the “Britain from Above” web site already did this.

b. Funding for reply paid envelopes to allow us to ask people in Ecclesfield what material they may wish to contribute.

c. Funding to use Google Adwords to flag up the fact that we are looking for material.

d. Money for upgrades to hardware.

ID: I think that these are valid items, relating to the archive.

ID: I think the capacity to get comments on our photographs online would be very valuable

MM and JP then related the attempts they had already made to explain what we were doing to St. Mary’s Church, and share our archiving work with that which we thought St. Mary’s Church were already doing. ID agreed to see if he could make contact with them instead. AM: Perhaps you should speak to the vicar first. ID: I could ring him and have a natter.

SP: When I was looking at the old photographs, even though some had captions saying where they were taken, it would be useful to have a modern photograph as well. E.g. when looking at Stanley tools -, to show how it changed.

ID: Put it to the District Archiving Group: qualitative comments, plus modern day pictures, plus a map to locate photographs. The survey - server upgrade plus Google Adwords. They are all valuable and important.

ID: In the interim I will talk to the Vicar and raise the point.

5. Gala

ID: The Gala on 31st August. We weren't there last year, but we might want to raise awareness. I am committed or that day.

RT: It was enjoyable last time we attended.

Decision: To try to share our gazebo, and the £30 cost with either Ecclesfield in Bloom, or the Friends of Ecclesfield Library, and have a presence the Gala that way.

MM: I can't help Conservation on the day because of other commitments.

KM and JP could probably put the gazebo up and take it down.

ID: PB might be able to arrange for us to sell copies of Mel and Joan’s new book. JP agreed to talk to PB about books. ID: Jim can provide archive photos.

There was then a discussion of how best to organise a quiz, and MM agreed to ask SH for copies of her photos.

X. Other planning applications

JP passed a map around showing Harcourt Rise, where the three trees which it was proposed to fell are located. DM said that in past years, the owner had pruned the trees but they had now got out of hand and were leaning towards the house. It was accepted that the trees probably had to go.

JP mentioned the proposed barn conversion at Whitely Farm. There was a discussion of the narrowness of the roads, but there was no enthusiasm in the meeting for trying to object. JP suggested that if we weren’t going to object, we might want to suggest that the roads be widened, however the meeting clearly thought this would be undesirable.

Y. Extension to the Conservation Area

RT brought up the proposed extension to the Conservation Area, saying: Mick Steer who had the leasehold on Ecclesfield Dam Mick is very keen on that. However, he does not know who actually owns the land. [I guess because he leased it from the old Working Men’s Club – JP]. RT added: Mr Steer said that he is trying to stop people trying to come across from the back of the fishing pond. There are grass snakes, kingfishers, and water voles there, and he would appreciate any help that we could give him.

Some members remembered when the back of the fishing pond was more public, but there was appreciation that the current need was for nature conservancy.

RT said: The top end is completely silted up. The silt traps have not worked for years. There were massive carp and tench in there. There might not be any room for them any more. We should try and get the mill pond in within the boundaries of the conservation areas – and see whether there is any grant money for improving it. [I will enquire at archiving group, and see if anybody has any suggestions - JP].

RT asked: Was the stone for the Church quarried from that quarry - I don't know.

BS replied: It is certainly an ancient site. It’s got Willow Garth at the back. One of my relatives used to live in one of the bungalows in front of Willow Garth.

It was agreed to make contact with the SCC Conservation Team, to seek their early views and their advice on how to proceed.

Y. Awareness of the Conservation Group and the possible joint survey

AM asked: What progress has been made in raising awareness of people of the Ecclesfield Conservation Group?

This prompted further discussion of the opportunities offered by the joint survey proposal, however MM cautioned: It’s too big an amount of money for us to apply for a grant from St. Mary's Trust.

AM mentioned the parks group, and MM and JP said that they had been thinking that the Parks group might like to be involved in the joint survey. Members agreed.

It was suggested that in addition to putting questions, we needed to include an explanation of what we were doing, to give people understanding and give people clarity.

Y. Community garden weekend

AM asked: Can the community garden group borrow the Conservation’s Gazebo for the open garden weekend? This was agreed. AM explained that the event was scheduled for the last weekend in June, 10 - 4 am on Saturday, and 12 - 5 pm. on Sunday, 28th 29th June. RT: said how much he enjoyed the last one, which AM said was 2 years ago. AM added that people need a ticket from the Church, and start their tour in the park, next to the bowling green. The attractions include children’s gardens.

Completed Actions

C. Minutes

The minutes of the last meeting were approved for placing on the web site, subject to amendments. [Including that the grant application for printing our leaflets was being prepared, but had not yet been sent in – see below]

 6. Smithy Wood

KM told us that the meeting at Smithy Wood was very successful. It had a turnout about a 100 people, with cameras from ITV and BBC. Lots of spectators, and an MP - Angela Smith - attended. [Yes, I’ve just seen http://www.looklocal.org.uk/wordpress/?p=3432 ]. ID: Television coverage during the day was poor but that night it was better.

JP: I rang the planning department before this meeting, and they told me that the planning application would probably not go to committee until July. ID: I would be happy to put objections, but it looks as we don’t need to decide to do so this at this meeting. The standing advice published by English Nature and the Forestry Commission on Ancient Woodlands is that it should be protected at all costs. Also, the National Planning Policy Framework talks about protection for woodland. I also have the fungal records for Smithy Wood. They are the results of a 3 day survey in October. This found one “very rare”, one “rare”, and three “uncommon” species of fungi. It could now be reckoned to be one of the best woodlands in the country for fungi.

RT: Can Mr Pickles come along and overrule the Council? ID: Yes, he could ride roughshod over everything.

KM wondered: What can the woodland absorb in terms of CO2?

We found out recently that there is a current permission for a hotel, fuel services and restaurant at access J33, so why do we need one for J35

ID: Angela Smith has managed to secure an adjournment debate on the subject. [30th April, if anybody wants to try and find it on the parliament channel - JP]

DM asked whether Smithy Wood was the best site for a service station. Somebody mentioned alternative sites, but DM replied: Two sites were looked at, but one is on a flood plain, and one is in the way of HS2.

ID: A report is going in to Rotherham planning department this week on the J33 development, and I will try to find out the result.

8. Future meeting dates

The fourth Tuesday of the month, the time of 7 o’clock, and the venue “The Stocks” were all confirmed, and in particular the following future meeting dates …

May 27 (day after Spring bank holiday)

June 24

July 22

Aug (No meeting - summer holiday season)

Sept 23

Oct 28

Nov 25

Dec (No meeting at Christmas)


[I will place, and maintain a copy of this schedule on www.ecclesfieldgroups.com – JP]

Y. Meeting on street trees

ID Reported that: I attended Amey’s meeting on 3rd April on behalf of he group. It was a 2 day public meeting. Jack Scott, member for environment spoke and Steve Robinson [Head of highway maintenance] was also there to talk about street trees and their management. There was a concern from Jack Scott about public objections to the work on street trees, which highlighted problems specifically connected with communications.

ID said: The council’s policy was to plant extra heavy standards, which were 3 year old trees. They said that the City Council should have approved all the proposed tree works.  ID: I raised the issue of the sycamore, and the communications issues, and got a public apology.

ID told us that the problems he had encountered included calls to Amey’s call centre which were often not answered, and staff who were not helpful. He added that callers sometimes don’t realise that some of the Amey staff they are talking to are not based in Sheffield. ID said: Amy could use local community groups more. We had offered to help. Also, local councillors could talk more to their constituents. Two weeks notice [of a tree felling] is too short and not being followed anyway. However ID added: I don’t know what will happen - if anything? However, it was a useful opportunity to get our points across.

ID said: The stump of the sycamore has not been taken out. I am not going to continue to go back all the time, but if anybody does see any activity, please let me know. RT: I wonder why I see Amey as the enemy.

JP said that we had received an email from KF about the damage to the old Cobbler’s building on St. Mary’s Lane. MM replied that: I texted the owner who got somebody to repair the plywood at the front using a totally new piece of wood. The roof will not be done, and the actual structure is still deteriorating, but there is some new ply.

There was then some discussion as to whether street art could be placed on the front to make it more attractive, but MM pointed out that this had been proposed by the in-bloom group. The wood was however painted over several times.


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