The meeting was held in the Hove Park cafe starting at 7:15 and ending at 8:10.
Present: Sue Batey, Gino Fox, Alan Moon, Jackie Beecham, Lloyd Ungoed, Stephen Batey, Caroline Wood, Mark Stephenson, Vanessa Brown.
Apologies for absence: Mark Davies, Cathy Riley, Gavin Desborough, Nina Elliot-Newman, Arthur Green, Jayne Bennett
The minutes were not approved.
Alan reported that it didn't rain and the carnival was incredibly busy. It was nice to have Brighton in Bloom and Friends of Three Cornered Copse with us. It started slowly but picked up later. The money raised for the Martlets was in a sealed box, so we don't know how much was collected. The involvement keeps our profile up and we can build on this year.
Alan: One big problem we have in the park is litter at weekends. There is a park attendant who does litter picking but the bins are full. Barrie doesn't want extra bins as this would mean extra work all year round. Barrie needs another person, but there is no money to pay anyone. Our main focus this year is to campaign for a clean park. In practical terms we are to raise money or obtain sponsorship for a person to provide cover over the summer holiday period.
Sue said that where there have been anti litter campaigns things have improved.
It was asked if we could have a large container for weekends only. Alan replied that big bins need a lorry alongside to empty and posed problems of access.
Vanessa said that she liked the use of paper bags in Wales provided to encourage people to take litter home.
Caroline said it was National Trust policy not to provide any litter bins and ask people to take their litter home and this worked quite well.
Alan said we should think about it and form a committee to take it forward and would like people to let him know if they are interested. He has access to CityClean, but we need a clearly formulated plan.
Gino said that the parks group has a great collective will to develop volunteer groups. Volunteers could do litter picking. Gino was happy to send cafe staff out litter picking in quiet periods. Sometimes people came in looking for a job, or, failing that, to ask if they could volunteer. Perhaps this could be built on.
Alan wants to set an example in Hove Park.
Sue suggested that for Love Parks Week we could provide information on how much litter costs etc. and encourage recycling. Alan said that we need to put posters around the park. Sue said that we should aim to have the material for Love Parks Week.
Caroline said that we should target the new school when it opens.
Alan concluded by saying that he would like 2 or 3 people to meet up to discuss this topic.
Alan: They are looking fine and coming on but watering is needed and Barrie has no bowser or any facility to water anything. The only watering being done now is by an outside company who are paid to water the trees only. Alan asked for people to water as they were able.
Sue said that watering little and often was bad for plants, which needed a good soaking in preference.
Alan said that the new fence and board made a statement. He also said that Garry has more trays of plugs (15) if we need them, but there would have to be people to help with the planting. Alan and Sue said that they would help, and Sue pointed out that watering would be needed. Alan will get the date from Garry, and pass this on to Stephen who will email everyone when the date is set.
Gino said that Riptide moved in three days ago. Their lease does not require them to maintain the lawn or the hedge, so the park gardeners will have to do this. Riptide have offered us storage facilities, and Gino has spoken to Matt, the owner, whom he has known for a long time. Gino said he would like to join the group.
Caroline has been to two sessions but found no-one else - not even a gardener. The parks department are not participating. Sue said that the sessions must start at the right time. The tasks should be decided beforehand so that work could start if the gardener was delayed.
Alan suggested contacting Garry to see if the plugs could be planted on Thursday next week as the gardening group task.
Sue reported that some coarse grasses have been removed at the base of the wild flower mound. This was an item that the Green Flag judge said should be done. The judge also said that there should be information provided at the mound explaining why poor soil and chalk were needed.
Gino has spoken to Rob Dumbrell who wants to know where the boards are to be sited. Gino said that we only need to pay for the boards and assume all maintenance responsibility for them. Rob Dumbrell will have them made in his workshop but will charge the same price as a commercial board would cost. We must price siting and maintenance plans. There was no further discussion on this.
On maintenance, Sue said that the Green Flag judge had noticed the filthy Hove Park sign at the north east corner of the park (Goldstone Crescent roundabout). Sue said that last year she had cleaned the Heritage Hove board near the tennis courts, there is still a "tide mark" showing the parts she couldn't reach.
Sue queried the statement that 106 money must be for capital projects only, citing the example of other councils who explicitly allowed items such as maintenance to be covered, and Brighton council's own technical notes for developers confirm this. Specifically, we had been told that tree planting was not covered by 106 money, but Bristol actually included tree planting in the section 106 money usage. Further, the timescale that we had been quoted during which the money should be spent conflicted with the 3 year term in the agreement between the council and Hyde Development.
Lloyd said that different councils worked differently, and as Bristol had laid off a lot of staff, it had to use 106 money and community groups for maintenance. Alan also said that different councils worked differently, and specifically some were interested in their parks and others weren't. Sue said that Bristol was not the only council to allow 106 money to be spent on such items.
Sue said if the council was trying to constrain the usage we should consider challenging them.
Gino responded that all the current money had been spent anyway, so there was nothing left in any case.
Gino said that we must apply for specific projects.
Barrie and Garry are adamant that we must pay to have any boxes installed, and must use the council's contractor. We are not allowed to do it ourselves, nor could the rangers or gardeners do it. Sue said that the Three Cornered Copse boxes were installed by the Friends and a ranger. It was stated that Hove Park was different.
It was asked how many were needed. Caroline said that we need different types. It was said that we should start with a handful (not quantified).
Alan said we needed costs and availability. Sue said that the cost of the bird box recommended was £25 but we needed to have council agreement. In the park plan the recommended box is made of woodcrete, and has a 25 year guarantee. The boxes would still need to be cleaned out periodically implying a maintenance cost. Sue said that she would email the prices to Gino.
Alan referred to an offer made by a local teacher to make the boxes at his school as a project. Sue queried the material and design used, but suggested that if we wanted to install camera boxes, they could possibly be used. Alan said that this would be a very long way down the line.
Gino said that he had a friend who was a tree surgeon, and thought that he might be able to put the boxes up.
National Playday Wednesday 5th August
Alan said he'd talked to Garry about this, and hadn't realised how big the event was. The council has a playbus and there are lots of events. It will be a big day for Hove Park. Garry told him that the rangers will have a toy making area. Alan suggests we have a joint promotion and have a couple of people with the rangers and perhaps a table with information. Alan will definitely turn up for it, and asked for other helpers.
He suggested children's participation with colouring sheets (we have ones left over from the Martlets' carnival) and supplying felt tip pens. We should have a new newsletter, and balloons. Lloyd said that he might be on holiday on the day.
Stephen will email asking for volunteers for the day.
Gino asked Alan to contact Judy about the newsletter with regard to articles to go in.
Sue showed diagrams of a simple log pyramid for stag beetles.
Plans for the cafe
Gino would like to speak to the meeting about the changes intended for the cafe.
It was decided that the next meeting would focus on presentations on the future of the bowls pavilion by the Riptide owner and plans for the cafe by Gino. The date of the meeting was fixed as Wednesday 15th July, 7pm at the cafe and Stephen suggested sending the email notification ASAP to maximise possible attendance.