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Minutes of Steering Group Meeting
11th January 2024

Present: Adrian Coltman (Acting Chair), Theresa Williams, Adam & Carol Bull, Steve Jones-Blackett, David Miles, Mervyn Clayton, Emily Wilde, Jacky and Mike.

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Minutes of the Meeting Held 6th December 2023
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Action Mornings
  5. Trustees Update
  6. FGVW Social Evening
  1. Future Action Morning Activities
  2. Gledhow Lake - Phase 2 Update
  3. One Day Closure of Gledhow Valley Road
  4. Succession Plans for FGVW
  5. AOB
  6. Dates of Next Meetings

1. Apologies for Absence

Martin Calvert, Joan Clayton, David Lumb.

2. Minutes of the Meeting Held 6th December 2023

Agreed as a true record.

3. Matters Arising

  • Martin has e-mailed Leeds City Council about the work required on the top path near to the lodge. Also, a tree has fallen down and crushed part of the fencing.

4. Action Mornings

  • Sunday 17 December 2023
    Work included tidying the fallen tree and tree thinning at the junction of Gledhow Valley Road and Gledhow Lane, hedge planting and litter picking.
  • Sunday 21 January 2024
    Work to include tree thinning, path work and repairs to the hand rail and steps near Little Switzerland. Also, there is work to do on "Adrian's Meadow" and litter picking.
    Volunteers to meet at the junction of Gledhow Lane and Gledhow Valley Road.

5. Trustees Update

The next Trustees Meeting is on Tuesday 30th January 2024.

6. FGVW Social Evening

A social evening has been arranged at The Three Hulats pub on Friday 9th February at 7pm for all FGVW volunteers and helpers. There will be a buffet. David asked if the water testing volunteers could attend and it was agreed that it was a good idea to invite them.

7. Future Action Morning Activities

It was agreed that the Group should plan Action Mornings activities at least 3-4 months in advance whenever possible. Ideas included repairing "Mrs Hudd's Steps" (maybe on 18th February), renewing paths, repairing steps, bulb planting towards the end of the year, meadow maintenance during Sep/Oct/Nov, adding stone to the top path when completed.

It was also suggested that we use the map drawn up last year by Mervyn and Steve, who identified where there is some general housekeeping to do in the woods.

Steve has also spoken to Parks & Countryside about obtaining stone so a path can be put in down to the jetty. Most of the hard work has already been completed during work being done as part of the lake project.

8. Gledhow Lake - Phase 2 Update

Mike attended the meeting to discuss with the Group how deeply unhappy he was with the work being carried out along the beck and the lake. He was concerned about parts of the woods being restricted due to the dead hedges near the lake and also the impact on the beck from the "leaky dams" that are ruining the visual perspective of the woods. There was some agreement within the Group, as well as concerns that the leaky dams are not working as expected.

Adrian explained the history of the Group and why we believed the work would help with increasing biodiversity of the valley and prevent the lake from silting up. The dead hedges have been put in to help stop leaves going into the lake. The leaky dams are to help create wetland areas and provide a more consistent water flow as the beck usually tends to either trickle slowly or gush during wet weather. It was agreed that the leaky dams are a work in progress and that their use will be re-evaluated.

Mike was also concerned that he had not been aware of any consultation about the work and had just seen the notices in the woods advising of the work being done.

David explained that the Group had a stall at the Chapel Allerton Festival providing information about the project. The Group had also sent out an online survey that received over 90% support for the project. There was also information on social media. Posters were put up in the woods explaining the work. The work was also supported by Leeds City Council.

The Group welcomed Mike's views and invited him to join future meetings. The Group further discussed if anything could have been done differently with the consultation and agreed to re-visit the leaky dams.

A meeting has been set up next Wednesday to walk through the project site to look at any issues especially with the leaky dams. Some dams have moved due to the recent storms and need to be staked, others may need to be freed up. It was also acknowledged that it needed time for the plants to grow in the area. Some planting will be done in March/April depending on the weather. David Miles has applied for another grant for £6k.

There are some new facines to go in and the wetland area at Beck Pasture is still outstanding. The wetland area may need a liner but it will be kept under review. A more defined channel will also be created so the small pond can drain into the lake. The boardwalk also needs to be completed and a post needs mending.

The path between the Carriageway Bridge and Gledhow Lane has been washed away in the storms so will need doing again.

A plaque on one of the benches got damaged but a replacement has been provided.

9. One Day Closure of Gledhow Valley Road

The request to close the road has been submitted for Sunday 14th July 2024.

A meeting is due to take place with Jane Dowson and the other local councillors to discuss the plans as a letter of approval from them is needed to proceed.

David has started contacting groups and individuals who we would like to be involved in the event to confirm their interest and availability.

The Group needs to send a letter out to all nearby residents to explain what is happening.

The Group is also going to use the event to ask residents about future closures and what work they would like to see done in the woods. We have some funding for the University to provide some sketches as to what areas of the woods could look like in the future.

Adrian also asked the Group to submit ideas or any plans for the valley or any concerns for the Trustees Meeting.

10. Succession Plans for FGVW

Members of the Steering Group are getting older so we need to look at succession planning especially for the roles of Chair, Trustees and other core group members.

Joan and Mervyn Clayton have decided to step back from playing a pivotal role within the Group and organising Action Mornings, events etc.

We need others to take on roles and also have a transition period.

It was agreed to drop the request for people to contact Adrian if they are going to attend an Action Morning that was introduced following the pandemic.

The Group also agreed to look at having a family activity each Action Morning to encourage younger people and families, although it was acknowledged that these groups may have the least amount of free time available to help.

11. AOB

  • The capping stones on the bridge are sinking and a small tree is leaning over the road. These issues will be raised at the next Trustee Meeting. The tree may be too big for the Group to deal with and an external tree surgeon or Leeds City Council may need to be brought in to resolve.
  • Crayfish have been introduced into the woods and it is hoped that the Environmental Agency will put in additional stock each year.
  • The new interpretation boards will be available at the end of January/beginning of February. The Group needs to decide on positioning.
  • Groundworks has mentioned that someone had used a spade to let the water out of one of the wetland areas. Concerns were raised that wood had been used in constructions around the wetland areas that would just rot. There is a meeting to discuss this next week and Mervyn was invited to give his views and provide input. There was a suggestion to use an alternative to wood like recycled plastics, however this is more expensive.
  • The company conducting the E. coli testing has asked if we would prefer to receive monthly or half yearly invoices. Steve to agree which is best for accounting purposes. The University has agreed to pay for a test that checks where the E. coli comes from.
  • The Group showed their appreciation to Theresa and Joan for selling merchandise. Theresa handed over approx. £50 in cash from recent sales. A big thank you to everyone who had helped with fund raising.
  • Emily offered to help with advising on trees as an aboricultural consultant.

12. Dates of Next Meetings (Provisional)

  • Action Morning - Sun 21 Jan 2024
  • Steering Group Meeting - Thu 8 Feb 2024
  • Action Morning - Sun 18 Feb 2024
  • Action Morning - Sun 10 Mar 2024
  • Action Morning - Sun 14 Apr 2024
  • Action Morning - Sun 12 May 2024
  • Action Morning - Sun 16 Jun 2024

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