After eight years as Chairman, Peter Baker has resigned from both the Chairmanship and the Committee. As I said at last month's AGM in my Vote of Thanks "That is a long stint, attending monthly committee and open meetings, making contacts, influencing the right people, and quietly making things happen. Only occasionally has, during Peter's Chairmanship, it been necessary to make a noise to get a proposal changed."
Peter's resignation was not a surprise to your Committee, he had given notice before last year's AGM, but he reluctantly agreed to complete one more year. We owe Peter a big debt of gratitude for his work over the years on behalf of the Civic Society.
Richard Probyn, who had guided us on Planning matters, also resigned and of course we have already reported the death in August of Pat Allan, for many years our Secretary and then acting secretary. Both Pat and Richard gave valuable advice, as well as time, to the Civic Society During the time they were committee members.
At the AGM your new committee was voted in. They are: Peter Whatnell, Vice Chairman; Dr Tim Reed, Secretary; Basil Belcher, Treasurer; Helen Eveleigh, Membership; Jane Amaral; Peter Jackson; Margaret King; David Knights, Peter Newbould; Barbara Richmond; and Peggy Seamark. Both Peter Whatnell and Tim Reed are new committee members in the past year, we are very grateful for this new blood.
It became clear at the AGM, and from comments that have been expressed quietly, that the committee needs to give more emphasis to Planning matters. We have set about achieving this. Also, we have some work to do on the changes to the constitution. One proposed change was approved, the other change, after advising members, will be brought back to either an extraordinary GM or to next year's AGM.
Recently Morrisons, who have planning permission for a new large store on the site adjacent to the Marsh Harrier, have submitted a new design for a smaller store but with a secondary unit for a non-food retailer. Whilst it's good to know that Morrisons are again looking at St Ives there are reservations about the smaller store, this 'out of town' store may reduce shoppers in the Town, something we are keen to resist. We have made our comments known to the planners. There is also a proposal for a new fast food centre, this has not yet been submitted as an application but will be watched carefully, as it seems to me access to the site is unacceptable in terms of further congestion on St Ives' roads.
Finally two reminders: The Civic Society's web site http://www.stivescivic.org.uk/ has details of all our open meetings for this season. Any late changes to talks will be announced here.
Secondly, at this Friday's open meeting we will hear John Deeks' talk on The History of Fenstanton. As normal the meeting will be held in the Free Church at 7.30pm. Please try to attend if you can.
Chair: Civic Society of St. Ives
I hope you have enjoyed our late Summer. Indeed the last weeks have been most kind but soon Autumn will be here providing we don't enjoy an Indian Summer.
Peter Baker and your Committee
I keep hoping that Summer has arrived but after a few days we lurch back into a cool Spring. The plants seem equally bemused but are putting on a brave show.
Many of you will have heard that a prime Grade 2 Listed Building in the centre of town has been sold. It is, of course, the Golden Lion and Michael Purchas (the owner) told me about this personally a couple of weeks ago. The new owners are the Coaching Inns Group which owns several similar properties throughout the country. The new owners, Kevin and Lily Charity, specialise in taking over and further improving such town centre inns and hotels. Lily's mother used to live in St Ives and thus Lily is well acquainted with St Ives. I have corresponded with Kevin and know that the Company is committed to the conservation of Listed Buildings.
The reason for Michael Purchas selling the Golden Lion has nothing to do with the imminent arrival of J D Wetherspoon. He wanted me to let you know that he is simply scaling down his before retirement.
Some will ask "What about the Robin Hood?". Well, I asked that question too. A Planning Application will shortly be made to HDC. However, the frontage will be smartened up in time for the Anglia in Bloom competition later this Summer.
We have heard nothing further from Balfour Beatty about the town centre heritage lighting. We will ask the Town Clerk to give them another prod and we will keep you informed.
However, we are pressing ahead with a suitable replacement light for the path overlooking the Parish Churchyard. A postcard photo of the near original has been unearthed and this will form the model for our appeal. We should know on 20th May if our application to the Goodliff fund for £750 has been successful. Perhaps I'll be able to announce the result this Friday at our meeting. If successful we will be halfway to reaching the target of £1500. We intend to raise the remaining money through public appeal. I hope you will be generous too.
Of course, this is not just about a single light but is a way of drawing attention to the other 11 heritage lights which are currently at risk.
Our next meeting will be this Friday, 20th May when we will have a Grand Quiz. Our benefactor Philip Simpson has once again promised £1000 to the Society if we can correctly answer most of the questions. All the questions centre on St Ives. But this year there is a difference. Philip has set 50 questions and our President Bob Burn-Murdoch has set another 50. Bob will also be the Quizmaster so we can be assured of a humorous evening. The layout will be 10 tables of 6 people but more tables can be added if necessary. We will attempt the answers in teams of 6 and there will be a modest prize for the winning team. Nibbles and drinks, including softies, will be provided free - again courtesy of Philip.
Please come along; support your Society, have fun and help us win this valuable prize. Once again, the Grand Quiz will be held upstairs in the Free Church starting at 7.30pm ( doors open at 7 p-m) this Friday 20th May.
Peter Baker and your Committee