RUSHMERE COMMONERS COMMITTEE
Registered Charity No. 274900


Minutes of AGM held on Thursday 29th July 2021 at Rushmere Village Hall commencing at 7.30pm

Present

Trustees

Mike Gilson (Chairman)

Alison Pledger (Vice Chairman)

Diane Grayston

Ray Whymark

Kev Driver

John Adams (Co-opted)

 

Also present

Bob Gosden (Warden)

Chris Kendall (Clerk)

4 Commoners

 

           

 

  1. Minutes of the last AGM held on Thursday 15th October 2020 agreed.  Proposed by Kev Driver and seconded by Ray Whymark.

 

  1. Chairman’s Report

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending the meeting and commented how good it was to meet in person this year.

Trustees  - Mike mentioned that David Flett had resigned from his position of Vice Chairman last year and that later in the year David had very sadly passed away. The committee's condolences had been passed to David’s family. As David had been passionate about the wildlife on the common the trustees wish to carry on supporting the wildlife in his memory.

Carole Evans also resigned as trustee this year to concentrate on being a parish councillor.

John Adams, expressed an interest in rejoining the committee and was co-opted and has asked to remain as a co-opted trustee.

Although each trustee has different aspects of the common that they deal with, Mike was keen to re-iterate that any key decisions are made by the managing trustees as a whole and never by individuals.

ThanksMike thanked all the trustees, the clerk, the warden and all the volunteers for their efforts during the year. The volunteers do things such as litter picking and filling up the dog bag dispensers.  During the year we have sent ‘thank you’ letter to Baden Margetson, Tim Abbott, Trevor Stiff, Trevor Wright and the greenkeepers, namely Patrick Swinn, David Driver and Michael Buck.

Covid 19- This year has continued to be dominated by Covid 19 and this has had an effect on several aspects of the common, as will be detailed later in the meeting.

Rushmere Golf Club- As the golf club was forced to close in lockdown the trustees  agreed a 3 month suspension of their fees to help them remain viable.  This is reflected in the accounts to year ended 31/03/21. 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. In the third    lockdown the golf club requested some further financial assistance and it was agreed that we would allow a further one month rebate and this will be reflected in the accounts to end March 2022. Mike expressed his thanks to Patrick and his greenkeepers for their help especially during the lockdowns.

 

Management of the common-  As has been expressed by the commoners the committee are taking a less prescriptive approach on the common and the focuses going forward are going to be: on some areas of the common to stop the spread of saplings; look at the regeneration of gorse which will improve the appearance and  reduce fire risk; regeneration of the little heath with scrapes etc.; further involvement with Green Light Trust with dead hedging etc.;  progress with the tree survey and potentially a wider ecological survey.

 Anti-social behaviour- Unfortunately there continues to be problems with anti- social behaviour that have been time consuming for both ourselves and other authorities. We have experienced vandalism to some areas of the common and parts of the golf course, litter, and metal detecting. If anyone becomes aware of criminal action please report to the Police as soon as possible.

LinksfieldThe issue of the track is continuing and this has been very time consuming. Hopefully an agreement with the residents is now very close.

Anonymous letterRelated to the Linksfield track,  RCC have received various unpleasant and threatening communications. One such communication was sent anonymously and was considered as a malicious communication.  This letter has been lodged with our solicitor along with the outcome of the investigations.  This type of communication, being of a serious malicious nature, is considered a criminal offence and it is very sad that this has happened and will not be tolerated.

Payback/Green Light Trust- The payback service had to be curtailed this year due to Covid 19 but Green Light Trust have continued to do valuable work on the common.

 

Linksfield- A commoner expressed his concern and was upset that the committee had received the anonymous letter. All the other commoners present agreed that this was both sad and unacceptable.  A commoner asked what the particular issues had been with the Linksfield track and the committee explained that it was lack of maintenance/repair.  It was further explained that the position is that Rushmere Commoners own the land and that the householders who live along the track have easements to access their properties but in consideration of this the residents are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the track. RCC only have a responsibility to keep the public footpath accessible.

 

  1. To consider financial statement

Mike highlighted some of the figures in the accounts for the year ended 31st March 2021. Agreed.  Proposed by Derek Gardiner and seconded by Sally McKenzie.

 

  1. Election of Independent Examiner

The Chairman asked the clerk her opinion of Ensors, Chartered Accountants. She stated that she had been very happy with their help this year and would therefore recommend them to be re-elected for another year. Proposed by Kev Driver and seconded by Diane Grayston.

           

  1. Election of Managing Trustees

There is one trustee up for re-election, namely Mike Gilson. It was unanimously agreed that Mike should be re-elected.

Derek Gardiner had nominated himself to become a trustee and told the attendees a bit about himself and his interest in the common.  It was unanimously agreed that he should be elected as a trustee.

 

  1. Any other business

Greenways - Trustee, Kev Driver, said that he is aware, as a parish councillor, that the parish council are hoping to work in partnership with Greenways. He feels that it  would be beneficial for RCC to work with them too and this is something that RCC will look into.

Dead gorseRCC Warden, Bob Gosden, commented that there have been  rumours of disease on the gorse.  He has discovered that it is most likely that the gorse looks dead because of the unusual weather in early summer which was cold and dry with northerly winds.  Also there was a considerable amount of frost in April.  Other areas which have gorse, e.g. Martlesham Heath, have been similarly affected.T he gorse now seems to be recovering.

SongbirdsA commoner commented that we used to have nightingales and  skylarks some years ago but we haven’t got any now.  Mike said that GLT are trying to help with this by providing the correct habitat to encourage them back to the common.

 Management of the commonBob Gosden said that we are lucky to have butterflies in some of the thistle and that is because that particular butterfly thrives on that particular variety of thistle. A commoner asked if we can learn anything from  the way other heaths are managed and it was agreed that each heath is a different proposition but that we can sometimes get information from other heaths that is helpful.

 

 

Meeting ended 8.25pm.

           

Mrs Chris Kendall

Clerk to the Managing Trustees