Annual General Meeting Minutes 28 April 2015


Present:     Apologies:
Anna Cordell (Secretary)
Rebecca Hanley
Helen Oubridge (Treasurer)
Charles Wicksteed
Rachel Adema
Jon Freedman
Angela Lodge
Patrick Gaskell-Taylor
David Nyman
    Adam Hewson
Duncan Macdonald (Chair)
Ian Wilson

1 Adam Hewson

Adam has resigned from the committee as he and his family will be moving to Worcestershire. Helen Oubridge to take him off the bank account. Adam has offered to continue to do the newsletters until he leaves as well as help out with the gardening clubs. The next newsletter will be based around the AGM.

We all appreciated Adam’s great efforts over the years, will miss him and wish him all the best with his new ventures.

2 Parties

FoHG had 2x parties last year.

3 Election of committee

As Duncan was absent from the meeting, we were unable to get confirmation from him whether he is happy to continue as Chair. It was agreed that Duncan can continue as Chair if he wishes.

Helen would like to step down as Treasurer and offered out the responsibility to anyone else. For the time-being, she will continue as Treasurer.

Anna will continue as Secretary.

4 Works in the park

Rob Wiltshire has been to the park to look at the pond, pump, stream and pipe. The pump is working, however it has been turned off again as there is a problem between the pump house and the top of the stream. There is a blockage in the pipe at top, (perhaps kids) have poked sticks into it - or mud got into it over-night) or the joints are faulty. The pipe is plastic.

On 29th April, Rob is meeting a contractor to look at the stream bed, to price channelling the cracks and using stuff used on the pond. HO told Rob that there might be a cavity behind the holly trees. They will take out the bad stuff and paint with the grey stuff. Charles says the paint needs to be flexible, unlike the resin used - a flexible silicon sealant ought to be used.

There is another crack in the pond near the silver birch tree, near the bridge. This can be fixed without having to remove the water. Barnet Council will pay for the works.

RW is still talking about moving the pump from the bottom of the pond near to the stream, in order that it will be in deeper water, so it can be left for longer. It will be used to aerate the pond.

RW is looking at the possibility of getting the path to the right of the pond resurfaced. It’s a case of prioritising the money. There is a pothole near the arch, due to the felled ash tree.

The Council paints over the graffiti on the Toilets once a month.

5 Disturbance

Rebecca asked the meeting whether we should put CCTV near the bottom gates - or dummy CCTV, to discourage youths from jumping over the gates. People - in their 20’s/30’s - come after the pubs close. The police say they have had so many callouts that they can’t cover as much as we would want. It is worse in the summer. HO suggests that Rebecca talks to the community police as a rep of the Friends of Highlands Gardens.

Damage to the park has been much less in the past year or so. It appears to be cyclical. FoHG started up because of this behaviour. Rebecca often reports crime but the police don’t come - except last year, when many people heard a girl screaming. Drug dealing goes on outside at the bottom of the park. Anna sees people driving in and out of the side road off Abbotts Road, presumably to deal in drugs. Bushes have been taken down at the front and the area has been grassed so that you can see into the park more easily. There can be a group of up to 16 people talking loudly after 1am. It is very disturbing.

The gates at the top and bottom open and close at dawn and dusk respectively.

Jon noticed that at the old Post Office, there is a notice of opening a new off-licence. We will look at the closure date and object as a society. Or make sure that the off-licence closes before the pubs. It seems irresponsible to open the off-licence as there is a drug/alcohol rehab unit down the road.

6 Finances

Everything is balanced. HO didn’t get the accounts audited this year. FoHG pays for public liability insurance each year, which also covers FoHG parties in the park. The insurance costs £200pa, to cover 500 man hours over the year. We are on minimum insurance. We are also covered for working parties and garden parties. We have to do risk assessments. The cost of the Parties last year was covered by donations.

We have less than we started but there is money left over after the grant. We have a balance of £3,857.05.

HO is still to do something about acquiring new benches. HO

7 Pond

There are lots of baby fish - the false heron, which Ian placed on the pond, appears to be doing its job. The large Koi disappeared.

8 Party

There will be just one party this year - Saturday 12 September - as agreed at the last meeting. Gazeebos and tables can be used from Cromer Road School again. We won’t be having Adam’s scout equipment. A newsletter will be sent out within the next couple of weeks and another one just before the party, end of August/beginning of September.

9 Working Party

David asked whether a reminder email could be sent out each month. CW suggested adding David to his email group for the gardening club.

HO mentioned to RW that they have chopped bushes again. The old Japanese Acer is dead.

Maybe first week in June - 6 June, for spreading compost.

CW said that Elee from the Council asked how the Adopt a Flowerbed scheme was going - they lost the paperwork and asked Charles to do it again! CW told them that there wasn’t much interest - and has not heard back from Elee since.

Rachel asked whether we would consider having beehives but it was thought to be impractical. Helen said there have been beehives in the Clifford Road allotment, off Tudor Road (between Clifford Road and the Railway).

10 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 7 July, 8.00pm @ Charles’ - 18 Abbotts Road, EN5 5DP