ACF: February 2012 meeting
Any resident who has views on Amble and the area and ideas for the future is very welcome to join Amble Community Forum. If you wish to be included on the emailing list, please send your email address to Anna[at]ambledevelopmenttrust[dot]org[dot]ukAmble Area Community Forum
Amble Area Community Forum
6pm, Monday 6th February 2012
Fourways 2, Amble
Notes of the meeting
Les Bilboe – Amble Town Council (Chair), Julia Aston – Amble Development Trust, Andy Sim – Amble Development Trust/Amble Social History Group, Vic Brown – Coquet Shorebase Trust, Rev Lynda Coulthard – Trinity Methodist Church, Lynne Riddell – Amble Library, Helen Lewis – Amble Town Council, Jane Dargue – Amble Town Council, Kate Morrison – Amble Town Council, Robert Arckless – Northumberland County Council, Anna Williams – Amble Development Trust (Minutes)
1a. Welcome and Introductions
Les Bilboe welcomed everyone to the meeting.
1b. Apologies received
Paul Cleever-Thorpe, Simon Baxter, Velda Nicholson, Sara Jenson-Boon, John Shutt
2. Minutes and Matters Arising
Previous Minutes accepted.
Re Olympics: Cllr Craig Weir is waiting for feedback and information from his enquiries/suggestions. The Town Council have agreed to put some money into a fund should an event be organised. The torch is due in Amble before 9am. The official route will not be announced until May.
Re Parish Meeting: There was some discussion as to whether the agreed date of April 23rd was still a good idea, or whether it should be moved forward so the community could discuss town plan issues and the Olympic Torch/Jubilee events at the same time. It was agreed to make a decision on the Parish Meeting date, once the date of the next Community Forum meeting had been decided.
3. Update to Town Plan
Julia Aston updated members on a meeting which had recently taken place between members of the Town Council, Amble Development Trust and Professor John Shutt. Professor Shutt is a consultant in Regeneration and had impressed the group with his knowledge. He had offered to help update the Market Towns Retail Distinctiveness report. Implementing the findings from this report is what the Development Trust has been working towards in the last few years. The Market Towns Retail Distinctiveness report had been drawn up in 2008 after a series of community consultations, and although a lot of the recommendations had already been delivered, there were still some aspects that the Development Trust were working towards. There was now an opportunity for the Development Trust and Town Council to work together to update this report. It was suggested that Professor Shutt would need a fee if he was to be taken on as a consultant to help.
Professor Shutt had told the group that he could draft a document for the beginning of March so that it could be taken to a community consultation meeting (Parish Meeting). It was suggested that it was important for Amble to get its marker in to Northumberland County Council as quickly as possible. The worry is that if the council is becoming more interested in Enterprise Zones, then Amble could end up cut adrift in favour of places like Berwick and Blyth.
A discussion ensued about Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and about OneNE and Northumberland County Council’s help for Amble in the past. The members were assured that the economic regeneration team and councillors were very aware of Amble’s problems. Funding for the LEPs is pitiful in comparison to what had been given to OneNE. Bailout funding, as had been made available for Northumberland Foods, is not available. Robert Arckless and Jeff Watson would do all they could.
It was stressed that a Town Plan document was needed so there was something to work towards. Julia Aston said she would look to see what funding, if any, might be available for Prof Shutt. Leslie Bilboe said he had confidence that Prof Shutt could identify issues that Amble should concentrate on. It was agreed by the members that the document John Shutt produces will be circulated to the Forum to see what their thoughts were. It was agreed to progress this as quickly as possible.
4. Business Club
Amble Business Club meets on the first Wednesday of each month and are actively seeking new members. Colin Harris is the new Chairman. They are developing a tourism website for the town which will include a list of local businesses and any activities tourists can get involved in – thereby keeping them in the town and spending their money here for longer. It was hoped that Tesco would fund at least part of the development of the website.
There was a discussion around Tesco’s announced delay in starting to build the supermarket in the town.
5. Town Square/Prison
Additional edging has now been finished around the rose bed to the east of the clock tower. Beds have been raised, but there had not been enough money to do the whole site. Cobbles around the gnomon had been replaced and the dead tree removed and the space paved over.
Cllr Craig Weir had approached the prison (now called HMP Northumberland) with regard to them providing flowers and plants for the town. He had left a message with his apologies for not being at the meeting, and that he would update the Forum on the plants when he returns to Amble.
A discussion took place about the use of the Youth Offending Service and Community Payback schemes and how disappointed members were generally with their lack of action in previous identified projects.
A discussion took place about the Mary Portas/Government strategy for helping revitalise high streets throughout the country. Towns have been invited to bid for one of 12 places to be part of her £1M Town Teams project. Information on how to apply had been passed to the Business Club.
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee was 10 years ago and at the time, the Social History Group had taken photos of Amble children’s re-enactment of the coronation. There will be an exhibition of the photos in Pride Of Northumbria shop In Queen Street.
Helen Lewis had a collection of Jubilee china which will be exhibited in the Town Council’s rooms. This will be mentioned in the next Ambler.