The meeting was held in the Hove Park cafe.
Present: Stephen Batey, Sue Batey, Gino Fox, Alan Moon, Jackie Beecham, Ruth Baxendale, Lloyd Ungoed, Mark Davies, Jayne Bennett
Apologies for absence: Vanessa Brown, Cathy Riley, Caroline Wood, Mark Stephenson, Arthur Green, Nina Elliot-Newman, Judy Fox
The minutes were approved. At Lloyd's suggestion, minutes will in future be emailed to all attendees for agreement as well as being put on the web site.
The Easter Egg Trail will start at 11.00 am with a last start time of 2.00 pm. The trail will follow clues around the park, and a mini Easter egg will be presented to all those who complete the trail.
Waitrose are short of small Easter eggs, but have offered 100 small bunnies which has been accepted. Alan has obtained £100 sponsorship to buy eggs.
There will be copies of Hove Park news on the stand. Judy has this well in hand, and the issue so far as it has been written was shown.
Stephen will write articles on the Trail for AdvertiserLocal and Hove Park Living, the articles to be emailed to Gino when completed to ensure consistency with the Hove Park News issue.
Subject to them obtaining a bunny suit, there may be a bunny on the stand.
Garry Meyer will have the gazebo for us, and the rangers and the Friends of the Three Cornered Copse will be on the stand with us. City in Bloom may also join us.
Mark offered to help on the stand, and said that his wife would also help, but Alan suggested waiting until nearer the time before calling for volunteers.
Sunflowers do not like being transplanted, so Sue suggested providing a small round pellet and a seed. After the seed started to grow, the pellet could then be put into the ground or a plant pot. Sue suggested placing the seeds in small sealable clip bags, which can be bought at £1.58 for 100. Different seeds could be placed in bags beforehand, allowing the children to choose which variety they would like.
It was suggested that it might be possible to show the different stages in samples on the stand. Also, a guide might need to be written.
It was asked whether this would actually have a perceived value of 50p, and it was therefore agreed to provide small peat pots and put the compost in on the stand. Lloyd pointed out that using peat can be objectionable to some.
Sue will attempt to grow some plants for selling on the stand but no promises. Tomatoes were mentioned by people as popular, also strawberries & chillies.
Gino gave us an update on the situation. He summarised previous meetings: Deborah May from the council said that no money would be available until the first occupant moved in, which is expected in March or April. (The most recent comment on this was from an earlier meeting was that the money would only become available when all had been sold - SMB) The total sum is £180,000 of which £50,000 has already been allocated to the rugby pitches in Hove Recreation Ground.
The council are currently writing the park strategy, and we are trying to get a meeting with them. The obvious item for spending is the park equipment, and this will be very expensive. The council would like us to agree with their choice of where the money is spent.
We are still going for notice boards and plaques.
There is a planning application in for a development of high density housing in Newtown Road from Hyde Development, and this should generate more Section 106 money which would probably be available for Hove Park.
We are still trying to arrange a meeting with Rob Dumbrell.
Hove Park might have a first claim on the various monies, but it can be spent elsewhere if no claims are made.
Ruth pointed out that many items of equipment in the park have a lot of mud under them. Stephen said that he had documented this on the web site, and suggested there that either chippings or a permanent cover (as exists on at least one item currently) be used.
Sue said that the current development on the cafe in Hove Recreation ground had suggested a children's play area in the Recreation ground, and some of the money could go for this.
Gino said that the council's tree officer Di Morgan had told him that any requests for tree planting would have to go before the Parks Department and be agreed by them.
The meeting with Steve Ford was mentioned. The low level lighting was for running, and he wondered if the 106 money would or could be used for that. He said to Alan that the money he had available should preferably be spent on sport related items.
We have been contacted by Mark Sessions who runs the Hove Park Colts FC. They are having problems with the pitches (flints, as in the Recreation Ground). He wants to raise money and look after the pitches. The far tennis court currently has a green Astroturf and sand surface, and he would like to see it have a 3G surface instead. He said that he spends a lot of money annually hiring the pitch, and if it had a proper surface not only would more people use it, but it would easier to convert back to tennis use in the summer. The cost for the surface would be about £30,000 of which he could obtain a grant to meet half the cost if the rest could be met from 106 money. He would like to work with the gardeners on the pitches
The council's surveyor has said that the pitch currently brings in £20,000-£22,000 pa, and that the charges could be increased if the surface were improved, so doing this would generate more income for the council.
Sue noted that a recent survey of opinion in Brighton and Hove showed that people were keen on the parks and were happy for money to continue to be spent on them.
Alan reported on a meeting with Barrie Hughes. The Bowls Pavilion letting has fallen through again. Gino said that the gardeners were going to take down the fence and hedges, and that the bowls green would be returned to the park, which would reduce the potential letting value.Sue said that according to Barrie the hedge would be removed to make the area more accessible & visible. The seats outside pavilion were currently often used by teenagers to smoke cannabis. Jayne said that she was awaiting a further update on the letting situation.
As well as a regular article for Hove Park Living, we now appear to also have a regular spot in AdvertiserLocal. I contacted the latter today and was given a deadline of next Wednesday for the article; the magazine was said to be available from the 12th or thereabouts. AdvertiserLocal has a placement area about twice that of Hove Park Living.
The web site is being continually updated to hopefully encourage people to keep coming back to look.
We have received an email from a park user complaining about the state of the bed, and suggesting that it should have soil put on. Sue reported her reply, to the effect that the wild flowers needed a nutrient poor environment. It was decided to put up a small notice to this effect on the board by the bed. On the notice, Mark will contact Charlie who had said that the plaques had been made, to find out if this is correct, and if so, where they are..
Barrie has said that there is no money available for plants this year. Alan thinks that he can get a contribution for plants, and we will plant it up again. He will ask if Stanmer can supply plants at cost.
This will be going ahead. We have been offered an area to promote ourselves and to possibly have fund raising events, free of charge. We will definitely have a presence there. Sue suggested that as it was less than a week after the Martlets Carnival, any unsold sunflowers could be sold there.
Sue reported that there were sources of free pictures, and these could be used to supply (for example) birds to be coloured in, or as sheets to be handed out for a donation.
Alan would like to establish a Hove Park Art Festival, with a trail up the Three Cornered Copse to natural sculpture. This would involve the council and the tourist board. The Arts Council would require community involvement, but artists might not like schools involvement.
Gino mentioned Dirty Beach, who make art installations from items found on the beach, and Red Earth, who had done environmental artworks across the Downs.
Sue reported on the flagpole bed. Last year the bed was cleared by volunteers, but no new planting took place until Sue planted some wallflowers. Sue suggested that specimen shrubs could be planted so that no edging would be required, and a plaque placed there advertising the Friends of Hove Park.
Art and Nature
One of the themes of this year's Brighton Festival is 'Art & Nature' with a focus on birds & birdsong. It was suggested that we could make birds our theme this year. The Park Management Plan mentions bird and owl boxes, and Sue suggested that we could collect money for them.
Hannah at Waitrose said that they had a room that we would be able to use. Waitrose have to supply 250 hours of community volunteer time a year, and it was suggested that cutting back the growth in the Droveway was one area in which they could help.
Barrie is concerned about litter in the park in the summer, as the gardeners are no longer collecting litter as frequently. Picnics and barbeques are a prime source of litter, as they are often left uncleared.
The question was asked as to whether Waitrose could use some of the community volunteer time in litter picking.
Ruth said that we should complain about litter on the council web site if it became a problem.
Sue showed a poster of winter twigs which could be put on the noticeboards, and replaced with other topical ones as the seasons changed.
Barrie and some of the attendees were keen on having a wildlife pond in the park. The Park Management Plan identified the area within the circle of the miniature railway as a potential location for a wildlife pond. Other parks have ponds without safety issues, so this should not be a problem. Pond dipping is popular with children, and a pond would enable the rangers to hold pond dipping sessions.
Tuesday 17th March at 7.00 pm at the cafe.