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Minutes of Meeting held on Tuesday, 23rd.February 2016 at The Commercial Inn, High Street, Knaresborough

Present:

Lynsey Gallant (Treasurer), Mike Pyle (co-opted committee member), Jo Smalley (Secretary), Elsa Wiehe (Secretary), Kate Dawson (Harrogate Borough Council), Stuart Bell; Shan Oakes; Marian Kempson. Kellie Reed; Cllr Steve Walton; Cllr Sarah Cannon; Hilary Hopkinson, Trevor Hopkinson, Sue Langley; Richard Williams.

Apologies

Christopher Wake (Chair FJSP); Anne Jackson; Cllr Ann Jones; Cllr Ivor Fox; Countryside Ranger Sam Walker (Harrogate Borough Council); Richard Owen-Hughes; Emma and Sam Frankland; Jacqui Cardani; Rachel Porter; Mark Hunter; Miranda Simpson; Scriven Residents’ Association Committee, Wilfred Mulryne; Phil Dent; Cllr Tim O’Flaherty;

Chairperson’s Welcome

Chris Wake (Chair) was unable to attend this meeting and so Mike Pyle stepped in to chair it.

Jo Smalley, Lynsey Gallant, and Elsa Wiehe introduced themselves briefly again.

Approval of Minutes and Matters Arising

The minutes of the previous meeting of 20 October 2015 were approved. There were no matters arising.

Reports from Harrogate Borough Council (Kate Dawson)

Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and the Friends committee are currently working on the next five year development plan for the Park. The intention is for the plan to be available for the next meeting at the end of summer. There will be opportunity for views and comment prior to the final plan being adopted.

Kate Dawson of HBC outlined her colleague Sam Walker’s report as he was unable to attend.

The report started with the positive news that It is planned to cut the long grass this year following contact being made to a farmer by Sam Walker.

The width of the paths/rides is still under consideration. These are mown several times a year to keep them accessible. Sam W will walk around the Park with the Council’s mowing and maintenance team to decide the optimal cutting.

Re Docks

Commuted sums are available which will enable the docks to be sprayed. Sam Walker has booked provisional external contractors.

The public will be informed when the Park will need to be closed for this proposed spraying (due to the chemicals used.) The spraying will probably take place around May.

There are conflicting views on spraying due to effects on wildlife and the use of the weed killers themselves. However, after careful consideration it was decided that overall it is important to spray to stop the park reverting to scrubland.

Re Himalayan Balsam

The same areas as last year will be cleared of these invasive plants and, if it is so desired, it can be done on a volunteer day in either June or July.

Richard Williams commented that the balsam was spreading and needed greater control than just the clearing. But it was agreed that Sam W’s strimming of these weeds was pretty effective, and the Group was keen to support him in his efforts.

Re Wall Maintenance

Kate Dawson (HBC) said that Sam W would spray the wall in April to kill off the vegetation that has taken root in it and is undermining it.

The work to survey the entire wall went to tender before Christmas and survey work will commence in May. The results of the survey will be made available to the Friends of the Park.

Richard Williams mentioned that the large oak tree by the gate might be a potential problem.

Further speculative discussion followed in light of the recent flooding when water cascaded through the wall into Scriven Road.

Re Drainage

The above resulted in a discussion onto the drainage in the Park. It was mentioned:

The drains are not working, the culvert in JSP may be blocked or partially collapsed.

The size of the culvert cannot be changed. The Council should keep us updated as necessary.

The possible impact of the new housing development at Park Corner farm and whether that exacerbated the flooding of the Park.

Eight years ago there was a lot of flooding in the Park with water levels that were higher still than we witnessed this time. Trees near the wall were killed by this excessive waterlogging.

So what happened recently hasn’t been the worst.

Re Signage Progress and Ideas

NEW IMPROVED SIGN AND INFORMATION BOARD TO BE INSTALLED THIS YEAR

The sign with it's out of date notices from 5 years’ ago needs updating.

Kate Dawson (HBC) said that the sign will be moved to unblock the vista to the Park as one enters through the Gate. It will be turned and angled and there are plans for a new design. It will be turned around with a lockable/screw-able board so that it can be read more easily. The contractors/manufacturers who initially set it up will move it to its new position when the Friends of JSP are happy with the decision.

Jo Smalley showed us various new ideas of the possible styles we could have.

The Nature Trail will be incorporated in the sign, and a meeting will take place with Claro Archaeology group to fill in some of the history of the Park.

It was suggested that the information, or possible leaflets (as in Valley Gardens) should be changed regularly to keep the public’s attention.

Kate Dawson said that HBC were aiming to get this work done by summer. Once the new financial year starts.

Jo Smalley wondered about a logo for the JSP. The Friends’ group could organise their own design, maybe have an appeal.

Re Seating

More seats are needed, some people would like comfier seats. But as there are stringent restrictions on the types of seating allowed in JSP. In fact, the Trustees relented in allowing the installation of the log benches we now enjoy!

HBC is waiting for some large trees in another of their properties to fall and then they can make more log seating for JSP.

Seats near the entrance were requested, Kate Dawson will pass these wishes back to the tree team, and we would like 3 or 4 extra seats eventually. Feedback from the public as to where the best places would be is welcome.

Wildlife

Sam Walker has offered to help with a tree maintenance day to clear around the recently planted saplings. These whips have shown encouraging growth, Volunteers are needed to take up his offer April, either on a Saturday or preferably a Sunday.

NB: SINCE THE MEETING THE 30TH APRIL HAS BEEN AGREED AT 10.00. ALL WELCOME.

Mike Pyle asked if more bark chippings could be laid where the ground is very boggy as those put down a while back have been comprehensively trodden down.

Jo S told us about the planting day that took place last autumn with Bernadette Lobo an ecologist Bernadette had salvaged wild flower plants from a project she was working on at Treeves in Farnham and helped us transplant them to the park. They are mainly still under water at the moment as the pond alongside which they were sited has expanded far beyond its usual size!

Mention was made of the rich variety of fungi on all the dead wood left in the Park. It is important not to take the dead wood out of the park for log burners etc as it is so useful for wildlife and mushrooms.

Nigel Heptinstall, who used to write a nature column for the Harrogate Newspaper, has given Jo S a contact number for an expert in fungi who lives in Knaresborough who might help identify the various species.Amy, an ecology student would like to collate and identify the plant species present in the park.

Proactive Campaigns

Re Dog Fouling

Lynsey G has been liaising with Emma Wilson, the dog warden. There will be a bag and flag event towards the end of March to raise awareness of this problem. Pictures will be taken of the bagged waste in situ, they will be highlighted.

Jo S suggested that a competition be held for the local school children to design posters against dog fouling. .Jo S also mentioned the Green Dog Walkers’ scheme, fronted by dog walkers to champion the green spaces. ie challenging dog owners who are not picking up, handing out poo bags.

Dogs to Be Kept On The Lead Zone and General Park Etiquette

Jo S outlined this ambitious, but necessary idea, where dogs would be kept strictly on a lead in a section of the JSP, enabling the public to enjoy some of the park undisturbed by boisterous or over friendly dogs. The emphasis is on everyone sharing the park together (as it was intended when it was bequeathed by Miss Winifred Jacob Smith), with respect for one another and the park’s wildlife.

However, this means that dogs, in the areas where they could be allowed to exercise off the lead, should still be under control at all times. The park should not be considered as a canine free for all!!

There is also the problem of inconsiderate dog owners, one which goes beyond owners allowing their animals to foul.

One serious dog attack on another dog was reported. The incident lead to police involvement and substantial veterinary fees.

Treasurer’s Report

There is still £800 in the FJSP account. Recent expenditure is limited to Website hosting and rental of the Methodist Church Hall.

An improved liability insurance quote has been received which will cover activities in the Park organised by the Friends.

The use of The Commercial Inn is free. All present declared themselves happy with this warm and cosy venue, and we should continue to use this for future meetings.

Proposed Dates for Next Public Meeting

The proposed date of the next meeting, to include the AGM, is 6th or 13th September, depending on Harrogate Borough Council officers’ availability.

These dates are beyond the 12 months’ limit between AGM’s as stated in the Friend’s constitution, but are convenient for the current committee members. Should any one object to this arrangement, please inform Jo S (Secretary) to allow an alternative (convenient) date to be arranged.

Any Other Business

Kate Dawson (HBC) asked, whether people who had interesting photos of the Park, could let the Council use them in funding applications. These can be sent to Jo S or Kate D or Sam W.

The status of the Park as an “UNTOUCHABLE GREEN SPACE”.

The Council is registering any green spaces that will be protected in the future. Once a space is registered it becomes unavailable for planning applications. JSP’s application was submitted a year ago to Liz Payne, Planning Officer at HBC, the status will be determined in 2017.

It was suggested that at this year’s AGM, an ecologist from HBC could attend and advise on wildlife enhancement measures for the Park.

Shan Oakes asked about encouraging ground nesting birds. This tied in with the creation of a dogs-on-lead zone.

The Chair closed the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance and for the great work they do to support the development of the Park.

Ends.

 

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