Campaign to Protect Rural England, Somerset Branch
Minutes of Annual General Meeting Held on 8th October 2011
Cothay Manor, nr Wellington, Somerset
The meeting started at 11.45am. There were present:
Roger Martin, President
Paul Bryan, Chairman
John Lee, Hon. Treasurer
Cathy Nicholls, Executive Member
David Lloyd, Executive Member
Henry Best, Executive Member
In addition, 46 members and guests were present – attendance list is attached.
1. Opening remarks by Chairman, Paul Bryan - The Chairman welcomed all
those present and explained that the AGM this year was designed as an
opportunity for members and volunteers to meet one another and as a reward
to the volunteers for all their support and hard work. He thanked Georgie Bigg
of Avonside CPRE, Richard Nicholls of Dorset CPRE and John Blake of
Wiltshire CPRE for travelling long distances to attend. He also thanked Judith
Rosten who had come from National Office to give us a flavour of national
2. Apologies For Absence - the following members of Somerset CPRE had
sent their apologies: Mary Acland Hood, Elizabeth Best, Mr & Mrs Brook,
Richard Dixon, Mr & Mrs Drysdale, Don Longhurst, Patricia Thompson, Mary
de Viggiani & Mary Watts.
Apologies had also been received from Wendy Lutley, SW Regional Policy
Officer, Tony Milton - SW CPRE Chairman, Elaine Spencer-White, Shaun
Spiers – Chief Executive CPRE.
3. Confirmation of the minutes of the 2010 AGM – the minutes of the last
AGM, held on 17th May 2010, were tabled and approved unanimously.
4. Matters Arising – there were no matters arising
5. Accounts – John Lee, Honorary Treasurer, outlined the Accounts for 2010
which had been audited by an independent examiner. These were approved
unanimously – proposed R. Martin, seconded A. Campbell.
6. Election of Directors/Trustees – Roger Martin, President took the Chair at
this point. Nominations had been received for Henry Best, Paul Bryan, John
Lee, David Lloyd, Janine Manning, and Cathy Nicholls to be Executive
members. All nominations were unanimously supported by the meeting.
7. Election of President – Paul Bryan took the Chair again at this point and
explained that a nomination had been received for Roger Martin as President.
Roger’s election was proposed by Henry Best, seconded by John Lee and
was approved unanimously.
Paul explained that, sadly, Rosemary Cooper who has been Vice President
for many years has had to stand down due to ill health. Paul expressed his
thanks to Rosemary for all her hard work over the years, including rekindling
the Branch virtually from scratch after a dispute several years ago.
8. Thanks to all our Volunteers
Paul explained that the Branch had worked hard over the last year trying to
build up its strength by encouraging more volunteers to get involved. He
thanked the following volunteers:
Derek Essen who is standing down from the Executive Committee due to
other commitments and Janine Manning who has kindly agreed to take his
place. He also thanked John Lee who has agreed to come back on to the
Committee as well as continuing as our Honorary Treasurer.
For their representation in specific areas of expertise, he thanked:
Mary Acland Hood – Somerset Hedge Group, Mary De Viggiani – Minerals,
David Rawlins – Transport and Peter Kidner – Rights of Way.
Paul also thanked members of the three District groups for their involvement
Mendip Louise Deplae, Ferelith Drummond, Don Longhurst.
Sarah Gratton, Caroline Gentinetta, Janine Manning.
Thanks also to Ferelith for hosting the group at her
West Somerset Sally Bainbridge, David Gliddon, Mike & Maureen
Johnson, Kerrie Cottrell Thorne, Phil Hudson, Carol
Emmott, Cathy Nicholls, David Lloyd
South Somerset Henry Best, Peter Kidner, John Lee, Ruth Jackson
Gash, John Hall
9. Annual Report 2011 – Paul Bryan, Chairman
Paul outlined the attached report which summarises the achievements since
the last AGM and sets out main priorities for the next year.
10.Update on CPRE National Campaigns – Judith Rosten, Policy Officer
Judith explained the work done by National Office in urging people to get
involved and comment on the draft National Planning Policy Framework.
CPRE are running a high profile campaign stating that they are supportive of
simplification of the planning system but that the new draft NPPF has too
many omissions. Judith explained that particular concerns are as follows:
The draft NPPF does not recognise the intrinsic value of ordinary
countryside, which makes up almost two-thirds of our countryside.
The loss of the brownfield first rule for new development. Developers
prefer Greenfield sites as they are easier and cheaper to develop but
this represents a threat to the countryside and to the regeneration of
our towns and cities.
The presumption in favour of sustainable development. There is no
proper definition in the draft NPPF of what is meant by sustainable so
this is potentially very dangerous.
Judith said that CPRE intends to keep campaigning until the deadline of 17th
October and to keep lobbying right up until the date the NPPF is printed.
Judith also explained other national projects including the following:
“Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning” project
(funded by the dept. for Communities and Local Government) which is
producing resources and training to help people get a better
understanding of planning.
Local Food Project – foodwebs are being mapped, including for
Yeovil, which show how producers and consumers link and how these
links could be made stronger. A leaflet entitled “From Field to Fork” is
available from National Office.
Judith finished off by thanking Somerset Branch for all the work they do and
thanking all the volunteers who really make a difference. She urged those
present to join in as much as they could, saying that even the simple act of
emailing an MP can make a huge difference if enough people do it.
Paul Bryan opened the discussion by posing the question “do we continue
building around strategic settlements or do we disperse development around
the countryside?” Judith said it comes down to issues in the locality such as
availability of public transport and schools. Georgie Bigg, Chair of Avonside
Branch, suggested that things had changed in recent years and that the
economy had slowed and so had population influx, so planning of new
housing required a rethink locally. In Avonside, Local Authorities have started
to recognise that there is sufficient landbank with permissions already granted
to build upon them. Consequently, North Somerset District Council has
reduced its housing figures from 27,000 to 11,000.
Lord Williamson stated that on average there is a three year land bank across
the UK. He also urged people to keep speaking out against the NPPF right
up until 17th October.
John Blake, Secretary of Wiltshire Branch, said that his Branch had
challenged the Wiltshire Core Strategy on its housing numbers prediction of
37,000. They had put a traffic meter out and measured nitrous oxide levels,
which are already higher now than levels permitted by the EU, without the
extra traffic generated by new housing! He also mentioned that Wiltshire
Branch was sending out a postcard to all their members for them to send to
their MP asking for changes to the NPPF.
Henry Best, Chairman, South Somerset District group, said he had evidence
from the Office for National Statistics showing that inward migration to the
District had fallen dramatically in the last three years. He felt that this made
the housing figures totally unrealistic and had just written to all District Council
leaders and Committee leaders as well as the Western Gazette to point this
out. He had received a reply for the Council Leader who said he believed
their evidence was sound but the decision lay ultimately with the Planning
Inspectors when they scrutinise the LDF.
Roger Martin raised the point that population growth is the driver of all
development and that the projected population of Britain in 2050 is
somewhere between either an extra 2 million or an extra 20 million people
depending on what policies we adopt now!
The meeting concluded at 12.45 pm and the group had a ploughman’s lunch
together followed by a tour of Cothay Manor and gardens.
Chairman CPRE Somerset