RUSHMERE COMMONERS COMMITTEE
Minutes of the AGM held on Thursday, October 15th 2020 on Zoom commencing at 7:30pm
Chairman: M Gilson
Clerk: C Kendall
Managing Trustees: R Whymark, C Evans, D Grayston, K Driver (co-opted)
In Attendance: R Gosden (Warden), Danny Thorrington from the Green Light Trust and six members of the public.
Apologies: A Pledger
1) Minutes of the last AGM held on Thursday 20th June 2019: Agreed. Proposed by Sally McKenzie and seconded by Diane Grayston.
2) Chairman's report:
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for joining the Zoom meeting.
Trustees - We currently have six trustees and two people interested in becoming trustees, which leaves one vacancy on the committee. David Flett, who has been a Trustee for a number of years has now stood down. It was pointed out that the trustees tend to have their own specialities but that any decisions are made by the trustees as a whole.
Clerk - Terry Gooding, who had been the clerk for a number of years and before that a trustee, and who had been a champion of the common, has sadly passed away and will be sorely missed.
Thanks - Thanks were given to the Trustees, Warden, Clerk and volunteers for their work on the common which is much appreciated. Also thanks were given to the Green Light Trust for their hard work. Without everyone's efforts we would lose the common.
Covid-19 - Due to the pandemic, there has been a lot more people using and enjoying the common but now that the lockdown has been eased, numbers are returning to normal. Posters were placed at the entrances to keep users informed of the Government guidelines during lockdown and as the golf club re-opened.
Rushmere Golf Club - As the golf club was forced to close in lockdown, the trustees have agreed a three month suspension of their fees to help them remain viable. The relationship with the golf club is a mutually beneficial one as they provide income, and support the common, which in turn allows us to manage the whole 170 acres of common.
Vandalism/dens/treehouses/litter - There continues to be vandalism on the common and the building of dens and treehouses. Any vandalism or anti-social behaviour has been reported to the police. The Warden, Bob, was thanked for all his and his family's work on removing a particularly large treehouse that was built during lockdown. Litter has also been a considerable problem.
Paths - The paths and firebreaks continue to be maintained to a good standard.
Payback/Green Light Trust - The Payback service had to be curtailed this year due to Covid-19 but the Green Light Trust have been doing valuable work on the common.
3) Matters arising from items 1 and 2: None
4) To consider financial statement:
A brief outline of the figures and comparisons between the last two years was given by the Chairman. Agreed. Proposed by Derek Gardiner and seconded by Carole Evans.
5) Election of Independent Examiner:
The Chairman advised that Ensors has been used for a number of years and that they continue to provide good service. He therefore recommended that they continue to carry out the annual examination. Agreed. Proposed by Diane Grayston and seconded by Ray Whymark.
6) Election of Managing Trustees:
There were three Trustees up for re-election, namely Alison Pledger, Carole Evans and Ray Whymark. In the absence of any other nominations, they were duly re-elected. One Co-opted Trustee, Kev Driver, was also elected.
7) Biodiversity on the common:
Danny Thorrington from the Green Light Trust was asked by the Chairman to talk about the type of work they are doing on the common in the interests of biodiversity. He explained that GLT are a not for profit environmental education charity who work with people who have experienced mental health or other problems to help them 'make a difference', whilst boosting their own confidence and improving their mental well-being. Some of the great things they have done on the common are making bird boxes, bat boxes, stag beetle towers and bug hotels, to encourage the inhabitants to flourish. Also some dead hedging has been carried out.
They have put wood chippings on some of the paths to stop erosion and encourage insects to live there. The Trust can also help with the pond and provide photographic evidence of their work. The Chairman asked Danny to write a summary of their work for our website and he is happy to do that. The Commoner who raised this Agenda item suggested that we have a Phase 1 Ecological Report and Ray recalled that there was one in the past ten years. The Trustees will look into this matter.
It was also suggested that we have some aerial photographs of the common taken. We have obtained some from recent drone footage and we will look to putting these on our website. Rushmere Commoners are also looking to getting a tree survey done in the near future. Mike explained that we are trying to increase heather on the common as well and that any help on the common is always welcomed.
8) Safety on the common:
A commoner raised a safety issue of golf being played on the common and the liability if anyone is injured by golf balls whilst walking on the common. The Chairman replied that Rushmere Golf Club have public liability insurance and that all players have to pay for this insurance in order to use the course. It was felt that possibly the visibility from the sidelines could be improved and the Trustees will take this away and review the situation. The Chairman pointed out that there are no bridleways on the common and therefore cyclists and horses are not permitted. Although the common has seen larger numbers of people during lockdown, it is now largely back to the more usual number of people.
9) Any other business: None
Meeting ended 8:50pm.
Mrs Chris Kendall
Clerk to the Managing Trustees