BURLEY BRIDGE ASSOCIATION Registered Charity No. 1163568
Minutes of the 22nd Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 24 April 2018 at 7.30pm in Burley Community Library, Grange Road, Burley-in-Wharfedale.
Apologies for absence: Susan Balm; Martin Bennett; Robert and Julia Gibson; Kate Ashbrook; Duncan and Janet Ault.
The very recent death of secretary Peter Young was reported; he has been in the centre of the bridge campaign since the start and was the fount of all knowledge. He had been Secretary for a number of years. Colin Speakman added a tribute, emphasising the need to make sure that the bridge is built in memory of Peter and another key person, Colin Newton. Colin asked for the message to be sent to Janet Young from all the AGM attendees. Other people spoke briefly and there was a request for funeral details.
Minutes of the 2017 AGM: These were accepted. David Asher proposed and Colin Speakman seconded.
Matters arising: None.
4. Annual reports: 4.1 Chairs Report: This had been previously circulated. Peter confirmed that at the last AGM members had been offered a choice of winding up the BBA, mothballing or continuing with an active campaign, and had voted for the latter. The key part of this decision was to work with both local councils and with the benefit of legal advice. This had now resulted in both councils being prepared to consider the use of their statutory powers if necessary, which was a big step forward in the campaign. As well as doing this, the committee has been bringing the membership records up-to-date. More support from members with things like fundraising, membership, website and so on would be very welcome. Thanks were given to major supporters, to the trustees and previous trustee and committee members.
4.2 Treasurers Report: The treasurer gave his report presenting the audited accounts. Fundraising has not been a major priority during this recent stage although we have still received £1400 in donations. Ian became treasurer mid-year and has made some changes including online banking. Gift aid had been previously set up by Denis, and this was working well with very quick responses. PayPal is now revived. The deposit account is to be for fundraising purposes with £5,600 now ring-fenced for bridge finance. Membership fees will go to the current account to cover day-to-day expenses. There was a question from Colin Speakman about whether better interest rates might be available elsewhere and the treasurer agreed to investigate. Yorkshire Building Society, Skipton Building Society and Leeds Building Society were all mentioned. The Treasurers report was agreed. Attention was drawn to the bucket by the wine for donations. A question was asked about the £1000 donation refund. On a wider note, the treasurer advised his background was in construction and that he was about to meet a contractor to get detailed costs to be used in fundraising applications.
5.Election of President and Vice President: Janet Street-Porter and Colin Speakman were both confirmed in role. Proposed by Niccola Swan and seconded by Janet Squire,
6. Election of Officers: Current postholders confirmed they were willing to stand for a further term and were elected as a group: Peter Bayer as chair, vacant position secretary, Ian Hanson as treasurer. Members present were invited to put themselves forward as trustees, particularly for the position of secretary. It was explained that this role mainly dealt with meeting management and correspondence.
7. Election of other Trustees: Existing trustees confirmed they were willing to stand for a further term and were elected as a group: David Asher, Dorian Speakman, Keith Penny and Niccola Swan.
8. Honorary auditor: Duncan Ault was confirmed
9. Business plan 2018-2021: David Asher gave a presentation. He explained what had happened following the crucial decision of last year’s AGM not to close down the campaign. Funds raised to date have been used for running costs and planning preparation at an estimated total cost of around £23,000. The main focus now is serious fundraising.
We have a good relationship with West Riding Anglers, the principal landowner, and plan to work together to prevent trespass. The riverside management plan can now be developed, incorporating issues such as trespass and litter. This is a plan to bring together all the interested parties and to focus on better management of the land. This has not progressed as yet but now needs to be explored.
Information updates have been provided to key partners such as the two local authorities, the Parish Council and the Community Trust. Very good relationships have been forged with key people in Bradford Council and key politicians on both sides of the river. Yorkshire Dales River Trust is a key relationship as they are seeking funding for the fish pass at Burley weir. This will enable four different types of fish to go all the way up to Bolton Abbey and our timescale for the bridge will fit with their bid. A high public profile is essential.
David shared the SWOT analysis: Strengths include the likelihood of planning consent being renewed and the overhauling of the membership Weaknesses encompassed the very large amount of funding to be raised with £400,000 as a very broad estimate which needs to be tightened up. The year 2021 for achieving the fundraising total is ambitious and we make might well need to do another planning application. Support from local running groups is not as good as it could be even with support from the Brownlee brothers. Extra people to help lead the campaign are required. Opportunities include the Yorkshire Heritage Way which joins Bradford and Ripon Cathedrals and the two world heritage sites of Saltaire and Fountains Abbey. There is a lot of interest in these long-distance paths. Association with the fish pass is very helpful and there is also the possibility of a formal request for funding from the community investment levy (CIL).
Immediate priorities include a funding appeal within the village (buy a plank?), support from the FSI, and building on the communication which has gone into every home in the village with the parish newsletter.
10. Questions from the floor: The meeting was then opened to questions from the floor which included the following:
John S: how is the BBA dealing with data protection? A policy has been developed which will be shared very shortly with all members
John S: The erosion on the north bank is bad; what is the plan for this? It is hoped to incorporate better defence of the north bank and the bridge will be piled
Keith: is the Nidderdale AONB fully on board? Yes, it is hoped they will come and do a presentation on what’s available for walkers to discover on the other side
Colin S: Councillor Stan Lumley would be a good person to get involved
John: A question about the two councils and the use of statutory powers. Formal answer is they are prepared to consider using their statutory powers but there are a number of conditions, particularly the money. It is a bit cart and horse but we are reasonably confident
If the councils can use their statutory powers, do landowners have the right of appeal? Our legal advice does address this but we can’t expand on this here. Colin S says ‘prepared to consider’ is quite strong
Ann G: Will Council go any further until we have got the money? There are very specific conditions
Colin S: MPs will want to be associated with this and we should start to work with Alex Sobel, John Grogan, Julian Smith as well as the existing support from Philip Davies and make sure this is seen as a regional project
Colin S: we should think of crowdfunding and a regional/national scheme. The Bishop of Ripon could be very supportive about access to Nidderdale. We might want to think about approaching older people who have been walkers but who can’t walk any more. Care re timing.
Someone suggested making links to Welcome to Yorkshire and Gary Verity
John Sparshatt offered help with the Yorkshire Heritage Way route booklet, along the lines of the Six Dales Trail and The Welcome Way
Keith: suggested care about outsiders seen to be messing around with the village; the local community must lead the big push; David Asher indicated there had in the past been criticism of members and the committee coming from outside but 80% of the members live in Burley-in-Wharfedale and five out of six trustees live in Burley also
Someone raised The What’s Going on in Burley-in-Wharfedale Facebook page and the comments posted on the notice of this meeting. Many comments are not relevant but the committee should nonetheless review and respond to them. Should we take the post down? It was suggested that we should respect strongly held views, stress all the positives and then move on. A number of members felt that not responding at this stage was the right approach
The lottery fund was raised and another member mentioned that walking clubs sometimes make donations and we should invite them. David Asher agreed that we need to update details of the walking clubs and a member suggested he could provide a list of all the ones in the area.
11. Forthcoming events: David talked about the exciting events which are planned and indicated that suggestions on further events would be very welcome.
12. Any other business: John Sparshatt offered congratulations to the whole committee on the progress made in the last year and there was a round of applause.
Randal Metzger from Walkers Are Welcome in Otley suggested the BBA should have a stall at the Walkers’ Fair at Otley Courthouse on the 18th November. It was agreed that this would be considered by trustees.