AGM Minutes


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

16 March 2016

  1. Attendance and apologies for absence
    There were 25 members and 1 non-member recorded as being present, with 5 apologies received.
  2. A talk by Anthony Stonham from ‘Local Puzzle’
    The Chairman introduced Anthony Stonham, the originator of the ‘Local Puzzle’ scheme.
    Patrick Bulley began by explaining the basics of the scheme for which 29 properties in Earles Meadow provide retail receipts for the EMRA account. A total of 1,600 has been won in the 10 months that we have been playing.
    Anthony thanked Patrick for the effort he puts into running the EMRA account. He started the scheme just over 3 years ago in order to help Horsham’s independent businesses. The scheme rewards players with cash prizes, enabling them to spend the money where they want to, rather than using Loyalty Cards where the rewards are very small in relation to the amount spent and the points must be used with that particular retailer.
    Anthony’s aim is to increase the number of independent businesses in the scheme and he is also trialling an ‘online market’ where items from various retailers can be purchased and delivered free. He said that 80% of the retailers taking part are happy with the Local Puzzle scheme because it provides them with advertising at very low cost and has the ability to increase their customer numbers and takings.
    At the end of his talk Anthony took several questions from the audience.
    Patrick then explained that we had used some of the winnings to sponsor specific businesses, such as Toy Barnhaus at Christmas time, in order to increase our prize money. The committee had also agreed to buy a large gazebo for events, and might use some of the funds for bigger raffle prizes for the BBQ.
    The Chairman thanked both Anthony for giving up his time, and Patrick for the work he continues to do for the Residents’ Association.
  3. To approve the Minutes of the AGM of 25 March 2015
    The Minutes were approved as a true record. There were no matters arising.
  4. To receive and adopt Reports
    Reports were received from the Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Social Secretary and adopted as attached.
  5. Results of the Earles Meadow Conservation Group’?s Photographic Competition
    Robert Brown presented a slideshow of the 18 photographs that had been entered and was pleased that the Judge, Ray Foxlee, holder of an LRPS distinction with the Royal Photographic Society, had commented that the entries showed ‘an encouraging improvement over last year, with a stronger sense of composition and greater imagination on display’. The theme for this year’s competition was ‘The Shape of Trees’ The entries covered a wide variety of subjects and the winner was Sarah Senior, who also took the prize for the runner-up. The first prize was a book entitled ‘British Wildlife Photography Awards’ with the second prize being a voucher for entry to the British Wildlife Centre at Lingfield. A photograph, taken by Anne Smith, was ‘Commended’ by the judge.
    Robert confirmed that the competition would continue to be run in the coming year.
  6. Earles Meadow Conservation Group
    Robert Brown circulated copies of his Report and Accounts, as attached, and gave an overview of a very successful year for the Group.
    In 2013 EMCG had entered the RHS Awards for ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ and achieved the level of ‘Developing’. In 2014 they attained the highest level of an ‘Outstanding’ award. This was repeated in 2015, but with a higher mark. They also won a Silver-gilt award in the ‘Conservation Area of the Year’ section which was a huge achievement for such a small group compared to others that had entered, and completed the year with the ‘Community Project of the Year Gold Award’ from Horsham in Bloom.
    Robert felt that the volunteers’ time had been stretched to the limit over the year, particularly with the extra work necessary in cutting the meadows for the Scarecrow Event. He therefore proposed to relieve the pressure over the next year by not entering for awards or holding a scarecrow event, but to consolidate the work of the past five years and to engage more with organisations like Gatwick Greenspace and Sussex Wildlife Trust in understanding the ecology of the site and gaining more knowledge of the existing flora and fauna.
    The Chairman thanked Robert for the continued good work carried out by the Group.
  7. Annual Subscription
    The Committee proposed:
    (i). to retain the Annual Subscription at 10. This was agreed unanimously.
    (ii). to retain the Nil Annual Subscription for the EMCG affiliation. This was also agreed unanimously.
  8. Vehicle safety problems
    Patrick Bulley gave details of problems from personal experience when turning right into Earles Meadow from the Moorhead roundabout. Vehicles leaving Horsham often take the right-hand lane for the roundabout too soon, with the result that Patrick and his wife have each been put in a dangerous situation, coming face-to-face with cars travelling at speed in the wrong lane. Such situations have also been accompanied by aggressive behaviour from the other driver.
    Patrick had reported the problem several times to the Police and Highways Department. Suggestions had been put forward that ‘Keep Left’ bollards could be installed or a Yellow Box junction, however the Police consider that this could cause problems for drivers who may not know the rules surrounding Yellow Box junctions.  ‘Keep Left’ bollards may be an option but this could cause issues for Emergency vehicles. The issue was also raised with Councillor Jim Rae who advised that Highways are looking at the impact on the road network by the North Horsham Development, which may ultimately lead to the Moorhead roundabout being fitted with traffic lights. Councillor Rae identified that this might cause problems for vehicles entering and exiting Earles Meadow and asked the Highway Planners to take this into account. Residents will be kept informed of any developments on this matter. In the meantime, any residents who are involved in vehicle problems are asked to make a note of registration numbers if possible and report the matter to the Police. Several residents at the meeting voiced their experience of such problems.
    The separate matter of the routine cutting back of the greenery along the main road was raised. It is understood that the Parish Council have added this to their annual maintenance schedule.
    The Chairman asked that any safety incidents experienced by residents should also be passed to the Committee so that they could be taken up with the relevant people.
  9. Election of Officers and Committee
    The Chairman announced that Chris Cornwell was not standing for re-election to the committee because of work commitments.
    Nominations for Officers were as follows:
    (a) Chairman: Paul Portnoi
    Treasurer: Bob MacLean
    Secretary: Annette Grover
    (d) Membership & Social Secretary: Dawn Cornfield
    The nominations for each Office were proposed, seconded and adopted accordingly
    (e) The following Committee members were proposed, seconded and adopted accordingly: 
    Patrick Bulley and Les Coate.
    (f) Election of Hon. Independent Examiner
    The Chairman reported that Chris Cornwell had offered to take on the role of Hon. Independent Examiner as he was qualified to do so. This was proposed, seconded and adopted accordingly.
  10. Any Other Business
    Anne Smith proposed a vote of thanks to the EMRA Committee and Robert Brown for the work carried out during the year.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.35pm.