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AGM 08.05.18 Old Town Hall, Hoylake

AGM 08.05.18 Old Town Hall, Hoylake
May 15, 2018 admin

Approximately 40 people were in attendance. The meeting opened with a farewell from the outgoing Secretary Chris Moore  followed by housekeeping, with thanks to the outgoing Chair Peter Edwards, and an introduction to new Chair, Mark Howard, whose presentation follows:

Welcome from the Chair; review of the year and the year ahead.

Welcome to this AGM of Hoylake Vision Community Planning Forum

In December 2016 a referendum was held to decide whether this document – the Neighbourhood Development Plan, or NDP, should be used by Wirral Council when making planning decisions in the NDP area; a boundary which is, for the most part, based on the 1974 Hoylake Township boundary.

86 per cent of those voting in the referendum agreed that it should be formally adopted and so in January 2017 it became part of the Council’s Local Plan and as such is now a statutory element of the planning process.

The NDP has a life of five years – and it runs from 2015 to 2020, so we now have an opportunity to update the plan for 2020-2025, and to include in it anything that anyone who lives or works in the NDP area – and that will include many of you – consider to be important.

These can be Objectives, Priorities or more specific Policies… more about what each of these are later.

Since January 2017, and especially over the last year, the Management Group of the forum have been focusing on developing a framework for how we are going to update the plan… most importantly how we consult over any changes, because it is critical that we demonstrate that proper consultation has taken place, just as we were obliged to do when the NDP was put forward for referendum in 2016.

So, since the last AGM we have had a number of public meetings.

Last May we met at St Luke’s Church to talk about the evening and night time economy.

In July we met at Hope Church to look at Shopfront design and signage.

In December we ran a ‘Christmas Cracker’ event at ‘The Sidings’, and in February this year we held a more general meeting at Hope Church.

On top of that we have had a series of Management Group meetings. We hold those on the second Tuesday of each month, unless there is a public meeting or if most members cannot attend. Each meeting lasts 90 minutes.

So what have we actually achieved over the last year?

  • We’ve completed redevelopment of the Hoylake Vision website and published an online forum where members can ‘subscribe’ and take part in online conversations about a range of issues.
  • In response to new EU data protection rules and more stringent membership requirements from WMBC, we’ve developed improved membership processes, and a new, clearer privacy policy. More about membership and data protection from Nigel Blacow, later.
  • As a result of the meetings on night time economy and shopfront design we’re able to propose updates and additions to the next NDP based on the outcomes of those meetings and further consultation. We hope these will have a positive impact on the local economy and attractiveness of Hoylake in due course.
  • As a result of the Christmas Cracker event we have the results of a survey, more of which you will hear about later.
  • We’ve been able to assign more specific roles to individual management group members based on their particular areas of interest or expertise.
  • We’ve brought in three new management group members: Alex Woods, who is a researcher and public policy professional who will be helping us with consultation and data analysis; Michael Coates, who is just starting his new career in social work with vulnerable adults, who will be helping us with consultation and engagement with younger adults, and Nigel Blacow, a retired civil engineer who will be our Data Protection and Membership officer.

In short, we’ve been quite busy!

But we know we need to do more and we can’t do that without new blood in the management group. But rather than making a general request for support we’re asking for people with specific skills and experience to fill in the gaps.

In particular we’re looking for a better gender balance on the management group… so the next appointments will ideally, be women.

And some management group members are standing down; they will all be difficult to replace…

Chris Moore, who is Secretary of the Hoylake Conservation Areas Association, has also been our Secretary and Treasurer for the past six years. His tireless dedication to seeing the NDP made and his support since the referendum has been exemplary and we thank him for that.

So we need someone to take on his work. We’re already making arrangements for the Treasurer aspects of the role to be absorbed within the management group.

But that leaves us with some other important work that needs to be done. The ‘everyday’ stuff of organising meetings and so on is already quite well established… and should in theory not be especially onerous (although we do desperately also need someone who is willing to take minutes and distribute agendas).

What is perhaps a more attractive part of that role is liaison between management group members as well as council and external independent advisers.

These may be environmental consultants, disability, youth work, or sustainable transport specialists for example.

They may be Town Planners, architects or developers. In this context the term ‘Secretary’ seems inadequate and outdated, rather it is a ‘Business Development’ role.

Would you, or is someone you know, like to take this on?

Stewart Lowther, who for a number of years has advised us in particular on environmental considerations, is also stepping down. Is there anyone who could assess the current NDP and help us to improve it and perhaps include new environmental objectives, priorities and policies? Again, thanks to Stewart for his invaluable contributions.

And Richard Stowe, one of the founder members of the Community Planning forum back in 2010, who is a Youth and Community professional with a more general interest in planning issues, is moving on too… as the ‘other’ longest serving member of the forum I’m especially grateful to him for his advice, support and colleagueship over the years.

The more people we have on the Management Group, the less work lands on individual shoulders and the more enjoyable it is.

So please, if you think you can spare even just a couple of hours a month, do step up.

Take a look on the website. If you are not already a member, please do join now… there are membership forms available here this evening.

And if you want to take part in the online forum, just let Nigel know or go to your online profile and consent to that… you will then receive emails when people post messages or updates on there, and you can take part in these important conversations.

At the moment the following are proposed as areas for updating or inclusion in the next iterations of the NDP:

And, importantly, what are your priorites? Let’s hear them!

You’ve heard me mention objectives, priorities and policies… so I’m just going to give some clarification on what these are:

By way of example, one objective of the plan is To strengthen the rôle of the town centre as a place for shopping, services and community facilities. To assist in increasing footfall in order to retain existing businesses and jobs as well as attract new businesses and grow the number of local jobs.” So if a proposal is supports this objective, it is more likely to be recommended for approval. Conversely, if it conflicts with this, it is more likely to recommended for refusal.

These support policies but cannot be delivered by a specific policy. For example:Better communication and co-ordination of traders, residents and the Council to shape the evening economy together will be encouraged.”

These are very specific, carefully worded policies are designed to clearly demonstrate what kinds of development should be encouraged. For example: Policy HS3. PUBLIC SPACE : In the area defined as HS3 on the Proposals Map a comprehensive redevelopment scheme, or individual proposals delivered as part of a phased masterplan approach will be permitted, so long as they would deliver a high quality public space that would be well-integrated into the key shopping area.” That policy, for example, is specifically designed to support a proposal such as the redevelopment of the ROW area in Hoylake to form a new Town Square.

What is your particular area of interest… what needs fixing, what needs improving or what would you like to see introduced to Hoylake?

If it fits with the rest of the plan, and does not conflict with National and Local Plan objectives, then talk to us, let’s get it consulted on, let’s hear the feedback, and if it is wanted, let’s get it fed into the NDP as an objective, priority or as a policy.

Thanks for listening and I can answer any questions you may have later on when we open the floor for about half an hour.

But first some formal business to attend to.

We are led by our constitution which requires us to re-elect the management group and to confirm the election of new management group members.

So, if you are a member, please could we have a show of hands of those who support the retention of the current management group members, that is myself as Chair and Julian Priest. Anyone against?

All management group members were re-elected

And then the formal acceptance of the new management group members:

  • Alex Woods
  • Michael Coates
  • Nigel Blacow

New management group members were duly elected

Planning protocol checklist Richard Stowe (5 mins) Unfortunately Richard had to leave the meeting to attend to a private matter at home. No questions from the floor.

Surveys, importance of evidence base and consultation update Alex Woods spoke about the importance of evidence base and the difficulties in getting responses to the survey on elderly care provision. A member of the forum offered to help with this.

Broadening Engagement Michael Coates
Michael Coates spoke of the importance of widening consultation wherever possible and welcomed ideas for engagement. Suggestions from the floor included more events, various venues and having pop up workshop days.

Update on Planning Applications Julian Priest gave an update on planning applications and how the forum measure these against the NDP

Membership update Nigel Blacow gave an update on membership, notably the GDPR exercise that would result in a lowering of member numbers.

Open floor Questions about the upcoming Beacon project were raised. Other concerns about the role and value of the forum were raised and answered.


No other matters were discussed.


No announcements were made