Minutes of the meeting of the Friends of Seaton Station held at the Station Hotel on Monday, April 20 2009 at 5.30pm Present: John Milner, Janet Milner, Jean Wood, Peter Heron, Mike Turner, Cath Hill, Paul Screeton, Iris Ryder, Graham Hall, Bill Keen, Peter Gouldsbro, Chris Simmons, Alistair Smith, Jonathon Brash and Peter Gowland. Apologies: Ian Cameron, Councillor David Young, David Frame, Sue McBride, Chris Benson and Rosie Kennedy. 1. Peter welcomed everyone, including Councillor Chris Simmons, guest speaker. 2. The minutes of the meeting of March 27 2009 were approved as a true record. 3. Matters Arising a) Car park and turning circle Pat Cox, Northern Rail’s facilities manager, would be liaising with Alistair Smith of Hartlepool Borough Council re. this item. b) CCTV Dummy cameras and signage were on order through Northern Rail. A long discussion ensued on the effectiveness of such cameras. It was agreed they may indeed prove a deterrent but to pursue in parallel the CCTV installation. c) Planters Four half barrel planters had been ordered – if there was no vandalism to those more would be purchased. Siting the planters next to the fencing was felt preferable. It was pointed out that people may use them as “ash trays” but that, as smoking was prohibited on the station, that Northern Rail – as was the case with the main station – would not install cigarette butt repositories. d) Station Hotel The hotel would tomorrow open up a tea room in the building. This was warmly welcomed by all and a price list was circulated. It was agreed Cath contact the Hartlepool Mail with a view to there being a feature on the tea room in the newspaper. ACTION: Cath It was wondered if Northern Rail be able to advertise the facility. e) Taxis Peter said 23 and Cameron’s Taxis had both been supportive of the Friends groups. A short meeting between Alistair, Peter and the council’s taxi licensing officer had taken place at the Civic Centre. However, having a taxi rank installed at the station was some way away. f) Dog Fouling Chris had ordered dog fouling bye-laws signage. g) Signage Good news! A ‘To the Beach’ sign had been ordered by Alistair, who also stressed that such signage was part of a wider strategy for appropriate, modern signage for Hartlepool as a whole. A sub – group had in fact been put together by the council to look at the issue. h) P A System Chris was still progressing, though there had unfortunately been, again, recent cable thefts. i) I D Cards Peter handed out F.O.S.S. identity cards and it was agreed to request another six from Chris. ACTION: Peter / Chris j) Artwork As with a previous item, a long discussion ensued, this time on the most appropriate artworks for the station. Peter wondered if David Clark was interested in working on the idea. Alistair said re. any artwork installation a final decision would rest with Network Rail. Chris (Simmons) suggested engaging the Art College which ‘turned out’ work of extremely high quality could be approached. Iris cautioned against having to pay for any such art works. It was agreed to contact Network Rail in the first instance to see if the idea was viable, before raising people’s expectations. ACTION: Peter k) Website It was agreed having a website was a good idea but to take up the offer from Alistair to have a council officer expert in the field to address a future meeting. ACTION: Alistair The website need not be highly detailed, and could be linked to connect Tees Valley. It could be done in conjunction with the Friends of Hartlepool Station. l) Rubbish Brenda was still to pursue the issue of rubbish adjacent to the Station Hotel. ACTION: Brenda 4. New items a) Station clean-up Peter thanked everyone who had turned up to the March 28 station clean up, despite the weather being very inclement. It was agreed to undertake such clean-ups every two months which were carried out (in response to a question from Paul) because the staff employed to do the work were unable to spend a great deal of time at the station. b) Rail Passes It was reaffirmed Bill Keen (Tel 01429 221781) and Martin Green (01429 270591) were the ‘keepers’ of the free rail passes, which could be used by any Friend or their appointed representative. On the issue of whether and what kind of protocols should be in place for using the passes, it was agreed to defer this to the next meeting. c) Guest Speaker Peter reintroduced Chris Simmons, who spoke about his career in Hartlepool and his move in later years into political life. Chris was very supportive of groups such as the Friends and if he could be of any assistance he would. He was currently contacting VCS (Voluntary and Community Sector) bodies across the town. Peter thanked Chris for his presentation and it was confirmed the Friends group was open to any councillor or other interested party to attend its meetings. d) Friends of Hartlepool Station / March 20 meeting Peter touched on the clean-up (today) of the Hartlepool Station, where seven volunteers had turned out to help. Regarding ‘March 20’ this item referred to the meeting regarding involving taxi companies (see 3 (e) above). e) Telephone Point and Plasma Screen It would be very straight forward to ‘connect’ the Station Hotel to a plasma display screen showing train information; and to have a telephone point installed for rail users to be able to contact taxi companies. However, Brenda of the Station Hotel said both her and her partner would need to discuss the idea, and the brewery (Scottish and Newcastle) which owned the pub, would need to be consulted. Brenda added there were also issues to address such as children coming on to what were licenced premises. Peter said he and Alistair would meet with Brenda on the subject. ACTION: Peter and Alistair f) Digital Image Peter reported on progress regarding the latest artwork ideas for the Hartlepool Station. 5. Any Other Business a) Network Rail Awards Alistair flagged up the award’s two categories – Community Engagement----‘ and ‘Heritage---- ‘. It was felt a good idea that the group apply. ACTION: Peter/Alistair b) Merge Bill flagged-up the idea of the two Friends groups merging, bearing in mind their commonality of purpose and the strong “ cross referencing” which existed. It was agreed to defer this proposal to the next meeting. c) Advertising Bill queried if Northern Rail could not advertise much more substantially on its trains, particularly in relation to the forth coming Tall ships event. However it was commented the only real advertising revenue available was via the council and even this was very limited. d) Metro Privatisation Iris raised the subject of the increasing privatisation of rail services by government and what this could mean for the industry / passengers. 6. Next meeting: Station Clean-up: Saturday 30 May at 10.00am, meet at station. Friends of Seaton Station: Monday 15 June at 5.30pm, Station Hotel. Peter thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 7.30pm.
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