Friends of Allestree Park
Annual General Meeting
Held on 10th November 2010 at St. John’s Methodist Church, Allestree
John Menzies Acting Chair
Peter Grundy Secretary
Mark Sims Treasurer
Bill Grange Committee Member
Tony Johnson Committee Member
Edwin Slade Committee Member
Pat Sear Committee Member
Ruth Boocock Committee Member
Martin Pickard Committee Member
2. Minutes of the last AGM
3. Chair’s Report
4. Treasurers Report
5. Amendment to the Membership Charge.
The committee propose that the Membership Charge of £2 should now become ‘A minimum donation of £2 per household and that membership runs for 12 months from January to December. For those joining between 1 September and 31 December the membership runs until the end of December in the following year.’
6. Election of the Committee
7. AOB (at the Chair’s discretion - Chair to be notified prior to commencement of the AGM)
Bill Grange will give an illustrated talk on Allestree Park and the work of the Friends of Allestree Park.
Minutes of the Last Meeting
The minutes of the last meeting were accepted, without comment, as a true record of the meeting.
Since the last AGM, our work to promote conservation and the improvement of the Park and to advance the education and enjoyment of the public in all aspects of the Park has continued. During the year we have developed a Long Term Plan 2010-2015 to enable us better to organise our work and to achieve FOAP objectives. This report is structured under the main headings of the Plan which may be found at our website www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk <http://www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk>.
During the summer our Chairman, Bill Grange, withdrew from that task to enable him to concentrate more on habitat conservation work in the Park and on educational activities. I took over as Acting Chairman of the Friends Executive Committee. Subsequently I had meetings with Council officials, Steve Medlock, Alf Bousie and Dawn Dagley, who gave me very helpful briefings on the Park and its care and management.
In all our projects, we are most grateful for the co-operation and help of the Park Rangers, especially to Mick Day. We are concerned that, during the year the number of Rangers on the Park has been reduced to only one person.
In our work on the ground in the Park we are also most grateful for the help provided by FOAP members and members of the public who assist in response to our publicity of forthcoming events and working parties in Allestree Life and elsewhere.
Allestree Park is a Local Nature Reserve to which Derby City Council has defined responsibilities and obligations.
All the conservation work carried out by FOAP is done with the full co-operation of the City Council, which convenes a Local Nature Reserve Management Group, on which FOAP is represented, to guide the LNR Management Plan. There were both indoor meetings and site meetings, in respectively November 2009 and June 2010, to discuss work previously carried out and that which needs to be done.
The lake shore is under pressure from anglers and other visitors, causing severe erosion of some sections of the shoreline. Work began early in 2010 to combat this and to improve public access. Following plans drawn up by the Friends and discussions with the Council, bank reinforcement work has been carried out through the Derby Ponds Project. A party from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers constructed a platform at a badly worn section at the head of the Upper Lake to provide a safe ‘family friendly’ environment for viewing the lake and feeding the waterfowl. Sadly, this was vandalised in July. It is hoped to reconstruct the platform in the near future.
Groundwork: Derby & Derbyshire, with volunteers, have tackled erosion elsewhere along the lake by driving lengths of willow into the lake-bed offshore, then weaving whips of willow between these to create a living wall. The water on the inside of this barrier is calm, allowing sediment to build up aiding the successful re-colonisation of the bank with vegetation. It is intended that this work will continue.
There is also the intention to establish a cleansing reed bed at the south-east corner of the Lake where at the moment stagnant mud accumulates.
A large area at the north end of Big Wood was planted with over 1500 native trees and shrubs by enthusiastic volunteers of all ages, as part of the BBC’s nation-wide ‘Tree O’clock’ event, in which the Friends collaborated with the City Council’s Environment Projects Officer.
The Friends, working with the Derbyshire Conservation Volunteers (DCV), involving several work parties, completed the delineation of the main footpath through Big Wood with logs linking the Woodlands Road Car Park to the impressive flight of steps (the work of FOAP and DCV, in 2009) down a steep unstable slope to the golf course. This work has greatly reduced the trampling which was damaging the bluebells.
FOAP again worked with the DCV in two sessions to carry out ring barking of remaining sycamores and growth from the stumps of felled sycamores to aid the development of the trees at the ‘Tree O’ clock’ site.
Independent of FOAP, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, as part of a NVQ Course in conservation, have been carrying out rhododendron clearance in Big Wood.
As part of our Long Term Plan, Bill Grange is now drawing up an overall work plan for the clearance of most rhododendron and sycamore and replanting with native trees in Big Wood for consideration by the Council
Our conservation programme will continue through the coming winter, with tree planting in a wood bordering Burley Brook on the east side of the Park and further work to define paths in Big Wood.
Wildlife and Habitat Recording
In October 2009, Bill Grange attended an informative symposium held at Derby University on the subject of wildlife recording, convened by the Derbyshire Lowland Biodiversity Partnership to which FOAP is affiliated.
Bill Grange and Steve Plant are making an in-depth record, including photographs, of the wildlife of the Park based on the habitat compartments in the Management Plan of the Local Nature Reserve. Already some rarities for Derbyshire have been discovered and at least one insect (a leaf-hopper) which had not previously been recorded in the county. They have also assisted Pat Sear, who is Warden for the Lake under the Derby City Pond Warden Association, in carrying out two surveys of the water quality and aquatic life of the Lake. The surveys have shown that conditions and aquatic life of the Lake are not as good as they might be and we hope to address these problems in the future.
Footpath extension around the north side of the Lake
During the year FOAP brought forward a proposal to extend the footpath around the Lake so that a complete hard path around the Lake would be accessible throughout the year to all, including those with pushchair or wheelchair. A site meeting was held with Council officials to discuss the proposed route. In view of the cost and current financial stringencies, it seems unlikely that the proposal can now be implemented in the near future.
Bill Grange has designed an information panel, introducing Allestree Park and its wildlife and showing, on an aerial view, the main footpaths. Three of these panels will be made. We have proposed that they be sited near the Hall and at the Main Avenue and Woodlands Lane entrances to the Park. We have applied to the Allestree Neighbourhood Board for funding for the production of the latter two as metal-mounted lectern-style signs. We have been told by the City Council that the one near the Hall, which is to be mounted on a stone plinth, will require planning permission.
Tony Johnson has led a small group preparing a plan to improve the signage within the Park, particularly to provide routes for nature walks. The aim is to keep signage to a minimum whilst providing sufficient information.
There are some thirty wooden benches of various ages in the Park. Most have been provided by the City Council. Others have been donated to the Park in memory of a loved one. During the year Tony Johnson led a small group of Committee members to review their condition. Some were damaged or in poor condition. Repairs were made subsequently by the Council to those most damaged.
Walks and Events:
In November, FOAP organised another informative veteran tree walk led by Park Ranger, Neil Granthier. Over 20 people attended. The walk was a contribution to the City Council’s Go Wild in Derby Programme.
In May Bill Grange led a walk along the route of the published nature trail. Because of heavy rain the walk was curtailed, but the five people attending said they enjoyed it.
In June, Pat Sear organised a very successful pond dipping event at the ornamental pool near the lake. A good number of children and adults turned up. As well as the actual pond dipping, Pat organised a tank for people to see a range of pond life and provided leaflets and other literature.
In mid-August, Bill Grange led another Nature Trail walk, which featured a circuit of the Lake. This time the weather was excellent and there were many appreciative comments from the 20 or so people who came along.
At the end of August, Bill Grange and Steve Plant organised a ‘Painting in the Park’ event, intended to be an introduction to chalk pastel work, using the Park as inspiration. In the event, heavy rain forced the session to be held inside the Hall. We are very grateful for Ray Tew, the Steward of the Golf Club, who provided the accommodation for the 10 people taking part. Again, the participants said that they enjoyed it very much. Some very good items of artwork were certainly produced.
Bill Grange has also given four talks on the subject of Allestree Park and the work of the Friends to local organisations and has done two broadcasts for BBC Radio Derby. He is also working on a revision of the Park’s nature trail leaflet.
Our website - www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk <http://www.friendsofallestreepark.org.uk> - is our main means of providing the public with information about the Park and the work and events organised by FOAP. Bill Grange has continued his excellent work to improve and expand this as a resource, not only about the work of FOAP, but on various aspects of the Park itself. Members of FOAP and also non-members are invited to send articles, photographs, etc. to Bill for placing on the website. Offers of relevant articles and photographs would be welcomed.
3.5 Additional Objectives
As already reported above, an application has been made to the Allestree Neighbourhood Board for funding of two information panels to be placed in the Park. In the coming year we plan to seek funds from the Board and elsewhere to fund further FOAP projects.
The membership of FOAP is small and new members are needed. During the summer effort has been made to obtain new members, principally by meeting members of the public walking in the Park, giving them a leaflet ‘Introduction to New Members’, and inviting them to join FOAP. This approach has achieved some success. This work will continue in the coming months.
3.6 Concluding remarks
FOAP has made a good start this year on implementing its Long Term Plan but much remains to be done. Many tasks are identified in the Plan on which it has not been possible to make progress due largely to the small size of our membership. For the coming year we aim to increase membership and continue the conservation, improvement and education work as far as we are able with the resources available.
John Menzies: FOAP Chairman - Acting
Anne Wigley proposed that regular FOAP walkers in the park should have copies of the membership form to hand out. This was agreed and membership forms would be made available to anyone wishing to have them. Members should contact John Menzies.
Peter Parkin noted that with regard to the vandalism in the park, the police wanted people to be vigilant and report anything to them. The Chair noted that the police need to catch the miscreants in the act, but that the public should not endanger themselves if they come across any such incidents.
Peter Parkin asked what further work was been in the woods with regard to delineating pathways. Bill Grange stated that further work to repair what had already been laid down was being planned, plus possible extensions within Big Wood where being looked at as well as additional steps where it was deemed necessary.
Carol Beswick asked if the website was now back up and running following the recent virus attack. Bill Grange stated that he had been working with Chris Vaughan to eradicate the virus and that the website was now up and running again. However, if anyone experienced problems they should contact Bill Grange immediately.
Tony Johnson proposed that information for the AGM should be posted on the website prior to the meeting to allow members to review before the meeting. This was agreed by the Chair and would be put in place before the next AGM.
4. Treasurers Report
Statement of Accounts 2009/2010
Balance brought forward: £1,395.81
Membership Subscription/Private Donations: £134.00
Derby City Council (go Wild): £75.00
Talk to Scouts (Bill Grange): £20.00
Total Receipts £229.00
Meeting Room Hire: £30.00
AGM 09 Speaker £30.00
Total Payments £123.00
Current Balance (31/10/09) £1,501.18
Mark Sims: Treasurer
Amendment to the Membership Charge
The committee propose that the Membership Charge of £2 should now become
‘A minimum donation of £2 per household and that membership runs for 12 months from January to December. For those joining between 1 September and 31 December the membership runs until the end of December in the following year.’
The motion was proposed by Edwin Slade and seconded by Peter Parkin.
The amendment was passed unanimously.
Election of the Committee
The following nominations for election to the committee had been received by the due date:
John Menzies agreed to take on the role of Chair. This was proposed by Brenda Ashwin, seconded by Tony Johnson. John was elected unanimously.
The following committee members, proposed by Peter Statham, seconded by Margaret Statham were elected unanimously.
Peter Grundy Secretary
Mark Sims Treasurer
7. Any Other Business
No other business was raised.
Bill Grange presented an audiovisual show on the landscapes and wildlife of Allestree Park, followed by an illustrated talk on the the past work of the Friends and current and future projects.
Secretary - Friends of Allestree Park