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Minutes of Steering Group Meeting
14th September 2023
Present: Martin Calvert (Chair), Adrian Coltman, Adam & Carol Bull, Theresa Williams, David Lumb, Mervyn Clayton, Steve Jones-Blackett, Laura Harris, plus Ryan and Emily (guests from Leeds City Council).
1. Apologies for Absence
David Miles, Joan Clayton.
2. Minutes of the Meeting Held 3rd August 2023
Agreed as a true record.
3. Matters Arising
- It was noted that Steve produced cards for the Chapel Allerton Festival and the Bath House Open Day that were very well received.
- Karen came to advise David M on the bamboo removal project.
- Adrian and David M met with Yorkshire Water as part of an on-going relationship. CSOs in the area are low down on the priority list in the Capital Program. Adrian asked what was specifically wrong with the CSOs and if they could be fixed outside of the Program. They haven't worked since they were installed.
4. Allerton Grange Way Grassland - Proposed Tree Planting
Ryan and Emily from the Climate, Energy and Green Spaces Department at Leeds City Council were kind enough to attend the meeting to update FGVW on the proposal to plant trees on the grassland on Allerton Grange Way (as described on the Commonplace website). This is part of a Woodland Creation project to plant 50 hectares of trees across the city each year. Each year over 100 sites are proposed and due diligence is completed. 48 proposals have gone forward for public consultation this year. Tree planting takes place once where proposals have been agreed. The Council also run a seed collection scheme. They also list volunteering opportunities on the Parks and Countryside social media pages.
Ryan told us that 76% of respondents to the consultation were unhappy with the proposals so the tree planting would not be going ahead on Allerton Grange Way.
Adrian asked about how the consultation process worked and how the sites are chosen in the first place. The Allerton Grange Way grassland area had by far the most comments on the Commonplace website. Other sites had very few comments and although they may have been positive it might not be representative if only a small number had responded.
LCC - We are 3 years into this process and it is continually changing and adapting. There are 3 members in the team.
Martin - We are not against tree planting but we would like a proper consultation that involves local groups and the community. We have over 500 people on our distribution list that we could have engaged with.
LCC - We promote on social media, use Commonplace and send letters to local residents.
Adrian - The email states that you will get back to people within 10 working days. This may put people off. The grassland area is used for lots of community events and we would like to protect the site.
LCC - There is a site selection process.
David - Commonplace is not easy to use or find things on. Engagement is about dialogue and this website does not engage people by just allowing them to fill things in online.
Adrian - There also needs to be a maintenance program once the planting has been done. You need to think about how many trees are being planted and if it is too dense it might result in poor woodland in the future. It might be better to plant fewer trees to get better quality woodland.
LCC - There is a budget for tree management following the planting.
David - Are there plans for planting other than trees e.g. hedgerows?
LCC - Any proposals that pass consultation will go ahead. We have a few hedgerow sites as well as those for trees.
Adrian - We had no responses back from local councillors, this should be part of their role too.
LCC - Next year we hope to have a better proposal.
Adrian - It would be good to engage with the local community.
The Group thanked Ryan and Emily for coming to the meeting and answering our questions.
Steve - There is a concern now that the tree proposal has been rejected that the grassland could become a prime site for house building. Residents need to urgently look at how to protect the land from future development.
5. Action Mornings
- Sunday 13 August
The Bath House was made ready for the Open Day. There was also some meadow and hedgerow maintenance.
- Sunday 24 September
Activities will include removal of hay at Beck Pasture, hedgerow maintenance, pond maintenance and litter picking.
Volunteers to meet at Beck Pasture (the FGVW owned field) on Gladhow Valley Road.
6. Trustees Update
7. Gledhow Lake - Phase 2 Update
Unfortunately, David M was unavailable.
The project has now started. A potential flaw in the design has been flagged so a discussion was held this morning as to how to resolve the issue. The silt traps are also being cleared. There has been some damage to the footpaths but this should be rectified. Some trees have been felled. The viewing platform is showing signs of erosion but this has been there a while and will be sorted out when the jetty is extended.
8. Gledhow Beck Water Quality Monitoring
Adrian completed some online training last week for monitoring water quality. A number of teams have been established to do different roles. A team is testing water around the CSOs and this will be done on the last Sunday of each month. The statistics will be uploaded to a central place. There is also a separate group testing the lake for E. coli and the samples will be sent to a laboratory.
The tests will provide useful data to determine what plants, etc. can tolerate different levels of pollution.
Theresa asked if there were standard e-mails to use to send back the test results.
9. Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, 2-3 September 2023
It was a very hot day and a successful event. The FGVW stall was very busy and the Group took over £500.
10. Heritage Open Day - Bath House, 10 September 2023
Due to some unexpected problems we had a minimum number of volunteers. Jenny and Theresa did a fantastic job and the Group thanked all the volunteers that were able to help on the day and also to Diane for doing a lot of baking. It would also be good if we could get some younger volunteers to help set up with these events going forward.
The greeting cards went really well especially those that had a fox or swan on the front.
The Group would like to get rid of the gazebos we have and no longer use now that we don't organise the annual FunDay.
11. One Day Closure of Gledhow Valley Road
- The balsam is in bloom so more bashing is needed. It was proposed a small group could do this at the next Action Morning.
- The "Tuesday Group" need some small tools. The Group were happy to approve the funding.
- Adrian asked if we wanted to do a Christmas stall in Chapel Allerton this year. There was a suggestion to look if we could attend the Chapel Allerton monthly Craft Market.
- Theresa is running an afternoon tea event for charity.
- Mervyn has asked Steven Johns for the water heater back.
- We have 4 new tarpaulins to collect the hay in the meadow.
13. Dates of Next Meetings
- Action Morning - Sun 24 Sept 2023
- Steering Group Meeting - Thu 19 Oct 2023
- Action Morning - Sun 29 Oct 2023
- Steering Group Meeting - Thu 16 Nov 2023
- Action Morning - Sun 26 Nov 2023
- Steering Group Meeting - Thu 7 Dec 2023
- Action Morning - Sun 17 Dec 2023