Bournemouth Civic Society – Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

held at The Miramar Hotel, East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth

at 2pm on Sunday 24th July 2022

Present: 49 Members

Chairman’s Welcome: Ken Mantock welcomed members to the 50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting. He noted that due to the recent Coronavirus pandemic this was the first AGM for two years. The Committee had continued to work and meet generally monthly via Teams and Zoom during the periods of national lockdown and when gatherings where not permitted. He noted that since the last AGM in 2019 Bournemouth Borough Council had ceased to exist being replaced by the new combined, conurbation-wide, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and that this had thrown up many opportunities but also many challenges. He noted with sadness and paid tribute to several long serving members including John Barker, Joyce Mantock, Joan Ryan, David Hellewell , Norman Hamilton and John Elliott. He said that the society was in good heart in its fiftieth year and looking to the future.

Apologies for absence: These had been received from: Eileen Rawlings, Douglas and Nina Eyre, Elaine and Rodney Cooper, Keith and Carole Burbidge, Paul and Dorothy Newsome, Peter Jackson, Colin and Bella Harding, Alex McKinstry and Alwyn Ladell.

Minutes of the 2019 Annual General Meeting: The Minutes of the meeting held on 1st April 2019, copies of which were circulated at the beginning of the meeting, were accepted as a true record of what took place.

Chairman’s Report: The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and highlighted the following matters as having been/continuing to be of interest to the Society and on which it had made its views, support or concerns known:

  • Bournemouth Borough Council had been replaced by BCP Council and the former good values, sound principles and positive polices regarding town planning, conservation, design and regeneration in Bournemouth had not universally been carried forward. There was now much less direct and informed consultation as there had been previously and whilst there were fora and opportunities for developers and applicants to engage directly with the Council on developing and emerging plans there was little if anything in place for amenity groups like the Society or for residents associations. The loss of the Council’s Local Development Framework Steering Group that the Society used to sit on was particularly regretted.

  • The Council’s Local Plan was in the process of being developed and evolving. It was big on a “City Vision”, sought to be “Bold, Confident and Proud” and would take forward the Council’s “Big Plan”. It featured much about taller buildings, urban intensification and possible incursions into the Green Belt to satisfy national housing targets. To its credit the Council were challenging the basis of the national housing targets set by Government but the Society remains concerned about the direction of travel, the possible downgrading of the status of existing Neighbourhood Plans and questions whether Conservation Areas, Heritage Assets and Bournemouth’s attractive leafy suburbs will remain safe.

  • In Boscombe there was much to commend about the regeneration proposals and actions to improve the areas general wellbeing and economy. However we had recently joined residents in their concerns about improvements to Woodland Walk that would see nature and historic features removed.

  • In Throop and Holdenhurst we remained concerned as ever about loss of open green belt land to housing and other use and kept a watching brief over the future of the historic Mill that remained unused and seemingly unloved.

  • Around Southbourne we had supported residents and members fighting off planning applications for flats in Belle Vue Road and Southbourne Cross Roads. We remained concerned at the continuing “Sandbanksification” of the Overcliff Drive with yet more box-like and taller, modern glassy flats. We had argued for design changes to the former Bistro on the Beach complex recently demolished.

  • In the Town Centre we had commented on plans for the Winter Gardens site, welcomed the reuse of Bobbies and look forward to plans for the House of Frazer and Beales buildings. SAVE Britain’s Heritage had featured Bobbies in their report earlier this year so that was a positive example of change. The Council’s plans for Westover Road remain unknown as the Society was not invited to the recent workshop sessions, another sign of how the former Bournemouth Council’s approach to engagement has not be carried forward by the new BCP Council.

  • The Westover Road aviary was discussed and concerns about its design and the lack of visibility of the birds were being attended to by the Council. The Society had donated £2500 toward its construction. (At the AGM members views on the Aviary were sought – no strong opinions either for or against the building in the meeting were voiced).

  • Within Talbot Woods we had supported residents in opposition to redevelopments in Branksome Wood Road, Glenferness Avenue and in Talbot Village.

  • The Council’s “Cleaner, Greener, Safer” initiatives had been a real concern to the Society last year with verges and open spaces not cut, graffiti on pubic and private buildings being a menace and litter/refuse bins being irregularly cleared or poorly located. Much work had been done by our Built Environment Officer John Soane to chase, chivvy and hold the Council to account. This work appears to have mostly paid off.

  • Thanks to the work of Jean-Daniel Kursner in Southbourne the Society now has many new members in this area and lessons learn from the membership project will be rolled out in other areas of the town.

  • Thanks were paid to J-D Kursner and Alex McKinstry who had been coopted onto the Committee in recent months.

  • Thanks were paid to Hilda Brownlow for arranging this afternoon’s 50th Anniversary Afternoon Tea celebration that would follow the formal AGM.

  • Thanks were paid to former Committee Member Beryl Parker for donating the prizes that would feature in the free tombola prize draw after the AGM.

  • Thanks were paid to the late Keith Barnes whose generous bequest to the Society had seen it able to make donations toward the renovation of the Charminster Tolleybus Shelter and to the new Westover Road Aviary plus sponsor a Blue Plaque in Holdenhurst Road to celebrate the BBC’s 100th and the Society’s 50th Anniversaries this year.

  • Thanks were given to Alwyn Ladell for his continuing work digitising and making available publicly via the Flickr pages many more of the Society’s hitherto unseen photographs and files.

  • The future – The Chairman emphasised the need for the Society to have active members on its committee as well as a good number of members. He noted we seriously had to consider succession planning as everyone on the Committee was now over 55. He said the Society needs to remain relevant, interesting and influential so it grows its membership and engages well with the wider world. He reminded everyone that it was all our duty to be positive and upbeat. For those who wanted to keep an eye on our work between the thrice yearly newsletters they should view the Society’s website that was always kept up to date. He noted that the website now featured Newsletters from the earliest years of the Society in the 1970’s (printed copies also were available at the AGM) and it was astonishing just how many issues from that time were just as relevant today.

Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer’s Report, which accompanies these minutes , had been circulated with the recent newsletter and copies were available at the AGM. The Accounts covered the period up to 31st December 2021 and had been examined and signed off by the Auditor. Having been proposed by JD Kursner and seconded by Hilda Brownlow the Treasurer’s Report was received and adopted. Thanks were noted to Treasurer Peter Jackson and Examiner/Auditor John Bartlett.

Election of Officers and Committee: There being no other nominations and having been proposed by Beryl Parker and seconded by Hilda Brownlow it was unanimously agreed that the existing committee be elected en-bloc for the coming year through to the next AGM. Chairman: Ken Mantock, Vice Chairman: Jean Bird, Treasurer: Peter Jackson, Built Environment Officer: John Soane, Membership Secretary: Sally McGrath, Minutes Secretary: Paul Newsome, Webmaster: Debbie Dupont, Other Committee Members – Hilda Brownlow, Elaine Cooper, Alex McKinstry, Jean-Daniel Kursner and Philip Stanley-Watts.

Any Other Business: Questions were raised and answered regarding Conservation Areas, the changes to shopping and retail areas, plans in Boscombe and Southbourne. Those present were also made aware of the flyers Keith and Carole Burbidge had provided to promote support for the Teddies for Ukraine charity.

Presentation to Chairman: Jean Bird, on behalf of the Committee, presented to the Chairman a decanter as a token of its thanks and appreciation for his role and work for the Society over many years. He replied suitably with thanks for this unexpected generous and useful gift and noted that it was volunteers like him and the other committee members over the years that had made the Society what it was.

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 2.45pm.

Following the meeting, members accompanied by principal guest of honour the Mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Robert Lawton and his wife June, enjoyed a celebratory Afternoon Tea.