The Old Parsonage Stenner Lane Didsbury Manchester M20 2RQ 0161 445 7661

Minutes Annual General Meeting, 14th December 2020

via Zoom at 7:15pm

1.Apologies: Jim Leeming MCo provided feedback on Jim`s health and that the he was in good spirits

2. Minutes of the AGM 2019 – Minutes previously circulated 

The 2019 Minutes were approved. Proposed Gordon Browne, Seconded Andrew Simcock

3. Matters Arising from the 2019 AGM  

There were no Matters Arising

4. Treasurer`s Report Jan 2019 to Dec. 2019 – Presentation of Accounts by Mike Corlett (MCO)

 The above had been circulated. MCo highlighted key expenditure areas, such as, new DCS gazebo, Heritage Open Days brochures, and website costs. The website had previously been set up by a Member and DCS was billed accordingly for the website. MCo explained that he had augmented the DCS accounts to aim to have just one DCS account. In this regard he had passed a cheque to the Didsbury Traders, (Andrew Slater of Andrew Graham Shoes), for £535 for the account known as Carols and Lights and this account was now closed. The Lloyds Bank account was closed December 2019. This held residual Members subscriptions who were unable to be contacted. The HSBC social account was also closed and monies transferred to the main HSBC account. Cllr. Andrew Simcock referred to e mails recently sent to the Chair to ask if the Gargoyle Account could be used for the purchase of two defibrillators. MCo stated that the Trustees were following the guidelines of the Charity Commission (CC), as the Gargoyle account was as a result of a failed appeal. The first stage of the failed appeal process was to advertise for potential donors. No one has come forward claiming that they have donated. The Trustees are to examine the next Stage of the process which would be to write to the CC for reuse of the monies. Consideration was being given for a number of projects in the December newsletter. The Trustees will consider the next stage of the process for the Gargoyle fund at their next meeting.

MCo: wished to thank Chris Smail for preparation of the accounts.

AS: stated that he had contacted a Cumbrian Clock company to improve and regulate the time on the Milson Rhodes Clock.

 5. Reports of Officers 

Secretary – Mary Christie reported as follows: –

Stalls: As Secretary I supported the Chair, Mike Corlett in holding a number of stalls most notably 2019, was our first stall time at Didsbury Pride where we held a tombola. We are pursuing for 2020/2021 improved ideas for the stalls to attract Members and have lots of ideas. We have discussed prizes on the Tombola to include DCS life bags, obtaining a SumUp machine for collecting member’s subscriptions, potential new Members, general purchases at the stalls.

Membership: The upkeep of the Membership data base is very much dependent on Members informing the DCS email about changes of emails, home addresses and the continuation of Membership. When sending out emails we have a number returned as “undelivered” and this is because they have changed or ceased. Occasionally a reminder notes are sent through the post. Or, I make telephone calls to them directly about their email and contact details generally.

Treasurer`s Role: Both MCo and MCh cover the role of Treasurer.

Planning and Licensing – Dominic Hardwick reported as follows: –

  1. The Cedars: There were concerns raised during lock down about the site late working, although this was deemed necessary to “catch up” and complete the works. Diana Leitch (DL), questioned any complaints about noise from Cedars and wanted to ensure that the work does continue to ensure completion. She asked if she could be contacted with any queries or concerns as she, and Cllr. AS have a direct link to the Directors. It is acknowledged there is generally a morning start of 7:45 am. DL was seeking to have some of the trees pruned as the overhanging trees were being hit by the general trucks attending the site. DH agreed to contact DL should any more issues arise from The Cedars during DCS Planning meetings.
  2. Tree Felling: A number of applications for trees felling have been noticeable in 2020, where individuals were not replacing the trees. Or not providing good reasons to fell trees e.g. an arboreal report.
  3. Cranmer/Sussex Avenue: There had been a trend for garden developments in these avenues. With additional accesses.
  4. Proposed Actions on Flats: Older buildings are being converted into flats e.g. the old church in Albert Hill St; with 3 flats and only one car parking space. Objection was raised and a new plan submitted providing more parking. The ex-Didsbury Police Station with 3 storeys of apartments with no parking, objections were raised because of lack of car park space.
  5. 704 Wilmslow Road – previously known as The Boardroom which is closed down, there has been a number of planning applications most were refused or have not been acted upon.
  6. Conversion or demolitions: For example, on Didsbury Park close to the corner of Sandhurst Road. There was a proposal to demolish a house and rebuild 2 houses on the plot. Did not meet the Planning criteria.
  7. 10, Barlow Moor Road: Weaver House, at the corner of Pine Road where a large block of flats within the car park was proposed. This was again refused by MCC Planning, due to strong local opposition to this apartment building.
  8. Jessiefield: A demolition and rebuild on Spath Road there was a planning meeting due on Thursday 17th December and this proposal was recommended for refusal. Again local opposition was strong.
  9. 123, Barlow Moor Road: A larger older houses to be demolished /converted.

6. Chairman`s Report for the Year End 2019

The year 2019 was the first for the new CIO with the reinvention of the Civic Society and the new Trustee board, several of whom are new to the requirements of Trusteeship. The Didsbury Civic Society was previously a Charity and a Company registered at Companies House and had been operating for over 50 years. Our initial changes included the integration of 6 Trustees into the new organisation although all were very experienced in the varied world of work and business. Which was brought about as the result of all the previous management team standing down at the 2018 AGM.

 We have reinstated our open physical monthly general meetings, including a pre meeting sub group, who deal with the regular monthly Planning and Licencing Applications. The first year has been a little like re-inventing the wheel and providing us with a new platform for taking the Society forward with a raised profile. We have carried out some rationalisation, reorganisation and introduced a concept of new ideas to bring forward and adopt during our first year of activity and onwards.

During our initial year we have carried out or started the following actions. Rationalised, our Bank accounts to one main account, closing older and unused ones. The signatories have also been reduced to any 2 signatories from the 3 trustees, of those approved within the signatory mandate.

  • Several long-term Reserved Funds from the old Civic Society have been examined. One was regarded as a Failed Appeal aged from around twenty years previously. We sought advice and help from the Charity Commission, accepted their guidance and are currently going through the formal accepted process. We are awaiting any claimant applications before the October 2020 closing date. Another separate fund account will be handed over to another body, the Didsbury Traders Association for Christmas programmes for which the money was originally raised.
  • Gift Aid reclaims have been reinstated for both the old charity which has arrears of claims outstanding and also for the new Charity. This has not been remotely straight forward as new applications have had to be made to HMRC. Both the old and new accounts have also needed to be linked, to allow both the old and new claims (easier said than done) and still continues. Along with the old Limited Company having to also be officially” struck off” by Companies House and being relieved of submitting both accounts and director detail on an annual basis. This also provides nominal savings of the associated annual fees incurred.
  • The Society has been successful in supporting and running regular stalls at various local Festivals and Fetes to raise awareness and funds in support of local good causes.
  • We have adopted two social media platforms to project the society to its members and the wider public generally, through both Twitter and Instagram.
  • The Society is proactive in local Planning and Licencing Applications within its 2 council wards, meeting regularly each month before the member’s meetings.
  • We participate in the NT Heritage Open Day programme with 19 historical buildings involved
  •  We have become heavily involved in the Future Didsbury Project a portfolio of Architect backed ideas and planning projects for roads, buildings and transport, which has now been merged with the already issued 2017 Didsbury Plan. A proposal was drawn up, resulting in public meetings and presentations held to show how we could future proof Didsbury with regard to protecting heritage buildings, improving infrastructure, its roads and pavements, green spaces and transport for both young and older residents. Recognising how both the old and new concepts can be merged to improve safety, with new technology introduced, including pollution reduction.
  • The DCS also have strong concerns regarding vehicle pollution and its effect on our young and older residents. There is a dis-jointed local transport system of Bus, Rail and Metro services with separate buildings and sites on different sides of a busy “A category” road.
  • We still have some deteriorating vacant buildings and premises empty for too long a time frame being an ongoing problem. The issue of high shop rentals coupled with high property prices for young families arise regularly along with increasing costs associated with the rental market.
  • We see the ongoing co-operation of resident`s groups, groups of similar interests, and trade groups as a strength for all groups and in the best interests of the residents.                    
  • We also have one of the highest densities of aged residents in the City of Manchester dependent on local care services, along with a high demand on school places.
  • The problems of increased littering, fly tipping and graffiti activities which we try to deal with through the city council reporting portal. Importantly the graffiti problems and their acceptance seem to be on the rise within local wards, and is something we do not wish to live

with. We would prefer to see the investigation of TAGs, calling cards and colour schemes used, which could provide the perpetrators identity and make them traceable with some effort.

All in all, an eventful year for the DCS and we look forward to delivering more in 2020.

7. Election of Officers Chair, Vice Chair (Vacant), Treasurer (Vacant)

The Chair: Mike Corlett was re-elected, The Secretary Mary Christie was re- elected

All remaining Committee Members were reappointed having agreed to re- stand Gordon Browne, Dominic Hardwick, Richard Kilpatrick and Pam Venning.

Co-opted Members may be invited to Trustee Committee Meetings

8. No Motions Received 

9. Any Other Business:

a) Public Toilets Barlow Moor Road: Mary Christie asked what was happening to the public toilets after the last attempt by MCC to sell or change of use through social enterprise. Cllr. AS, agreed to investigate.

b) East Didsbury Railway Station: Still in delay, Network Rail had not progressed installation owing to Covid-19 restrictions. MCo asked about the continual water leaks off the bridge, Cllr AS agreed to contact John and Judith Robinson who were dealing with this project.

c) DCS Website: This is up and running. Many thanks to Elaine Sams and Alex Hemingway.