Chairmans Report 2013

Chairman’s report

Last year I had planned to stand down as Chair, but then agreed to stay on with Angela Boddy as co chair and who will be chairing this year’s AGM this year in my absence. We have seen a lot of new faces on our committee who have brought new and innovative ideas to the society and I would like to thank them all for their support over this last year. I would especially like to thank our longstanding newsletter distributors who have over the years braved all weathers to deliver our newsletters. Thank you also to Rita Collett and the walking group who have provided the Society walks for many years and Ann who has provided refreshments. Mark Davies, our Honorary Secretary will be standing down this year due to other commitments, but he will remain to help us with our new website. I also shall be standing down as Chair, but hope to remain on the committee in my previous role for Public Rights of Way.

During this past year we have addressed many issues, some new and some ongoing. Looking back at last year’s report I am sorry to say that the Crab and Winkle bridges did not materialise due to lack of funding. The planning approval came too late for the funding to be approved. The planning permission for development of Tankerton Car Park was eventually granted by Canterbury City Council. Planning permission was also granted for a cycle path along Tankerton promenade. The Whitstable Society supported a seasonal route along the top of the slopes during Summer months, avoiding excessive traffic in front of the beach huts, but unfortunately this was not granted. Once the route is open we plan to monitor the usage during Summer months and to seek the opinions of those who use the route, promenaders, beach hut owners and cyclists.

We have also been supportive of the Thanet Way Residents Association in their bid to oppose the development on the Paddocks, on the corner of Millstrood Road and the Old Thanet Way. Which is proposing, in our opinion dangerous exits on to the Thanet Way close to the Tesco roundabout.

We are still working to maintain the integrity of Tankerton Slopes, especially to prevent encroachment of the protected open spaces by beach huts. Graham Cox, chair of the planning committee has also been representing us on CCC’s Beach Hut advisory committee.

As well as objecting to some planning applications, we also support many but may make some recommendations for improvement.

An exciting project this year has been the creation of a Whitstable digital map, which will provide information on many aspects of Whitstable from its history, geography and many local amenities eg. Public transport routes, accommodation, footpaths and open spaces, recreational facilities etc. This is progressing well, but is a long term project which will become available in stages. Users will be able to see these maps online or print hard copies.

In addition, this coming year Canterbury City Council will be publishing the new draft local plan, to which we will responding with the intent of retaining the integrity of Whitstable whilst recognising the need for future development.

Kath Gill

Whitstable Beach Campaign

Many of our members will remember how Ann Wilkes tirelessly campaigned to make our beach a public space for all local residents and visitors to enjoy. She and Peter Steel, as members of Whitstable Society Public Rights of Way committee, successfully claimed Village Green status for some sections of the beach, but not for all of it.

The Whitstable Beach Campaign, headed by Nick Dewhirst, continued with Ann’s lifelong dream to claim a public footpath along the beach and in 2004 an application was made to Kent County Council for a 5 mile long public footpath starting at Reeves Beach and ending by the Sportsman Public House. Historic maps show a footpath along this stretch.

Now 9 years later, in 2013, KCC are considering the application with a view to making an order to create this path as a public right of way. Most important to the claim are witness statements from people who have regularly walked along the beach. Statements are needed from people who walked along any stretch of the beach, not necessarily the whole of the 5 mile stretch and the beach campaign are asking for people to come forward as witnesses. If you feel that you can help and have walked along the beach at any time over the last 60 plus years please contact Nick Dewhirst at dewhirst@btinternet.com

Treasurers Report February 2013

Treasurers Report for 2012

Again the expenditure exceeds the income, which has been the pattern in recent years. This can be attributed to the decline in membership and therefore a decline in subscriptions, which are the Whitstable Society’s main source of income. Membership in 2007 was 354, 2012 was 190. At the same time expenditure has continued to increase. We have looked at ways to reduce costs, one being the newsletter, which is now printed locally cutting the printing costs by half. This saving will reflect fully in 2013. The posting of the newsletters has also been greatly reduced, saving on postage, so thank you to the team of distributors who deliver them around the Whitstable area.Eve advised that membership fees had not risen since at least 2004 and have now been revised to £12/couple and £8/single membership, in order to bring costs more into line.We need to keep the membership numbers up. We are open to suggestions as to what you as members would like to get out of the society, how to raise funds and what would encourage new members. Suggestions included WS greetings cards, lottery grants for specifics such as the map project, standing order membership, walks and asking for donations rather than a set fee.If you have already renewed your membership for 2013/14 thank you for your support. If you have not yet done so, please do so as soon as possible and also encourage family and friends to join. The accounts for 2012 have been checked by an accountant and these together with the financial statement are available to view on request, so please contact us accordingly if you wish to do so.

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Treasurers Report February 2012

General Financial Position(to be read in conjunction with the financial statement)

The society has had what for the last few years has been a ‘normal year’ with the exception of additionally having a special event costing around £500 to celebrate its 50 years of existence. (with £250 carried over into this years expenditure for the previous years Christmas bash we have ended the year with assets around £750 less than a year ago).
To maintain a balanced budget for next year the committee may wish to look at an upward revision of annual subscriptions and/or achieve an increased membership.
Many of our costs are rising e.g. printing of the newsletter and savings may be achievable if more members were to accept their newsletter by e-mail rather than a hard copy through their letterbox(perhaps subject for future discussion). Room hire remains constant at £30 per meeting at the Castle and seems well recived as a venue.

Affiliation Fees
The society by way of maintaining its role as a ‘civic’ or ‘amenity’ group both within the Town and more broadly this year subscribed to the following organisations:-
Civic Voice £286 (includes insurance that would otherwise
cost the society).
KFAS £10
Open Spaces Society £40
Whitstable Improvement Trust £25
Whitstable Castle Trust £15

The Future
The Society remains as always as strong as the membership it enjoys. Changes and departures (most notably the elevation of 2 committee members to the role of Canterbury City Councillors) have left a somewhat depleted committee. What the Society is involved in and provides for members (and by default its expenditure) is limited by the ideas and skills of its membership as I am sure your outgoing chair will duplicate in her report. I , due to other commitments, would like to find a replacement treasurer; I did after all take on the role in a temporary capacity about ayear ago. Any takers?
The only threat to the Society is not being able to maintain its membership and thus income over the next period. Any projects beyond running costs would need to be from reserves and not taken lightly unless alternative funding could be achieved.

Henry Lewis Treasurer.

Whitstable Society AGM – 2013

The Whitstable Society AGM for 2013 will take place at the Castle on Wednesday 20th February following the regular monthly members meeting which commences at 7.15pm.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

Agenda for the 52nd Annual General Meeting

1. Welcome to members present and any apologies received.

2. Any matters arising from the 2012 minutes (attached).

3. Officers’ Reports and Chairman’s Review.

4. Retirements of Officers and Committee members.

5. Election of Officers and Committee members for 2013/14

The following members have been nominated and are willing to serve:

Chairman: Angela Boddy
Vice-Chairman: Kath Gill
Hon Secretary: Roger Pethers
Hon. Treasurer: Evelyn Smith
Membership Sec: Richard Johnson
Committee Members: Graham Cox
Maureen Smith

As the total of Officers and Members nominated is less than the maximum allowed under the Constitution of the Society (15) there is no requirement for an election and the above-named are deemed to form the Executive Committee of the Society for 2013/14.

6. A.O.B.