Meeting of Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall, 7.30 pm, Wednesday, 21 September 2011
at the Baptist Church Centre, Fisher’s Lane, Cherry Hinton
1. Welcome and apologies
Bob Daines (Chair) welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were received from Stuart Newbold and Sandra Day.
2. Minutes and matters arising
The minutes of the previous meeting (annual general meeting of 20 July 2011), as distributed to all members, were accepted unopposed.
The issue of membership cards was raised, now that Cartridge World, who were to have printed these cards, had ceased trading. The matter was to be referred back to Sandra Day after the meeting.
Members were reminded to renew their membership, and renewal slips were available at the meeting.
3. Guest Speaker: Claire Wilson
Claire Wilson, who lost her sight completely at the age of 7, regularly visits the Cherry Hinton Hall grounds, and gave a fascinating talk about her experiences with her guide dog Witney. When in harness, Witney works hard and Claire has complete confidence in her to steer her safely, including on journeys across London where she goes for her work. Once off her lead, however, Witney behaves like other dogs and “lets her hair down”, while always keeping Claire in sight. In the park, with Witney off her lead, Claire uses sound clues and a head map as aids in addition to a cane.
Claire’s talk was warmly applauded and drew out several questions from people at the meeting.
4. Maintenance Issues, Progress with Master Plan delivery
Master Plan: The Chairman expected that, during October, the full city council meeting would discuss how the Master Plan will be funded. At the time of the meeting, it was not known much funding will be made available.
Ivy: Continued concern was expressed by some members about the extent of ivy growth and the associated risk of weak trees being brought down and possibly causing injury. There was a particular perceived risk along Daws Lane. While the ecological value of ivy was acknowledged, there was a consensus at the meeting that it needed more control so as not to smother other vegetation. This was matter that the Friends needed to take up with the City Council rather taking any direct action themselves.
New gates: There was general appreciation for the new gates at the entrance by the car park, which prevented unauthorised access by vehicles. A complaint, however, had been received from a disabled person, who could not now be taken directly inside the park by vehicle. The matter had been referred to Anthony French of the City Council. It was thought that there was adequate access by wheelchair.
5. ParkFit – feedback
Members were asked for comments on the acceptability of the continued use of the Cherry Hinton Hall grounds by ParkFit, as permission had been granted by the City Council for a trial period of 6 months, which was now coming to an end. The comment was made at the meeting that the voice of the leader of the group was very loud, and this comment had already been conveyed to the Council. Members were invited to pass any other comments to the Committee, after the meeting.
6. Community Events – Community Groups Fair
Sandra Day was organising the Community Groups Fair, taking place on the afternoon of
15 October 2011, and members were encouraged to attend. Help with the Friends’ stand was requested, and Pat Jones volunteered at the meeting. Any other help would be gladly accepted.
7. Any Other Business
Giant’s Grave: The members were asked for their opinion as to whether the Friends of Cherry Hall or the Friends of Cherry Hinton Brook should champion the protection and maintenance of Giant’s Grave and the portion of the Brook upstream of the Hall grounds. There was broad support for the inclusion of this reach of the Brook in the remit of either group, so that the whole stream from the source to Coldhams Lane would be “covered”. It was agreed to invite the Friends of Cherry Hinton Brook to the next meeting of the Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall to discuss the matter.
Backwater: The issue was raised of creating a sweetening flow through the backwater in the wildlife area. Such an improvement would be in line with the Master Plan objective of improving the ecology of the wildlife area. It was understood to be feasible to connect the backwater to the brook by open ditch or pipe so that the backwater would no longer be completely stagnant. Ian Simmons offered to take up this matter with Simon Bunn, the City Drainage Engineer.
Protection of wildfowl: Following the recent incident in which a dog had killed one of the geese, there were calls for additional measures to protect the wildfowl, including signage that dogs should kept on leads in the area of the pond, and fencing. It was reported that the owner of the dog was very upset that a goose had been killed, and he had not goaded the dog. It was intended to fix signage as part of the planned improvements to the park. It was requested that more permanent measures to protect the swan nesting site be considered for next spring.
8. Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Friends was scheduled for 16 November, 7:30 pm at the Baptist Church Centre.