Venue: Countryside Centre, Hinchingbrooke Countryside Park
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 12th October 2013.
Contact: Mrs H J Taylor 388008
Subject to the amendment of the name Mr N Brown to Mr N Green in the list of attendees, the Minutes of the meeting of the Group held on 12th October 2012 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Further to Minute No.6 para. (i), it was agreed that a site visit to Godmanchester Community Nursery, the new boardwalk at Holt Island and the Colne graveyard be arranged for June 2013. With regard to the Community Nursery, Mrs Arnold explained that Urban and Civic had been funding a member of staff to work with the nursery staff in order to gain the knowledge required to carry out future tree planting at the Alconbury Enterprise Zone.
To receive from Members declarations as to disclosable pecuniary, non-disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests in relation to any Agenda item. See Notes below.
No declarations were received.
To receive a report by the Senior Ranger on park activities for the period September 2012 to March 2013.
In receiving and noting the contents of the Senior Ranger’s report, comment was made as follows:
Members were advised that the staffing restructure had been completed. Mr P Hobbs had been confirmed as the Senior Warden, Mrs J Arnold the Countryside Services Co-ordinator and Mr J Craig the Green Spaces Manager. In addition Mr J Milligan had been promoted to Ranger and Mr B Gardner who had been responsible for Coneygear Park would now be based at Hinchingbrooke and look after Coneygear Park when required.
Mrs Arnold explained that a reduction in hours by the admin officer had provided funding for an extra warden to cover the busier summer months.
No further areas could be identified for savings.
The Group noted that 844 volunteers had provided the equivalent of 5064 man hours of work between September and February.
(c) Countryside Centre
Details of the number of users of the Countryside Centre for the period September 2012 to February 2013 inclusive were presented, along with figures from the previous six years for comparison. Although group bookings had fallen as a result of the economic climate, income continued to increase, more volunteers were being trained and educational opportunities were being increased in order to attract older students and provide out of season opportunities.
Visitor numbers to the café had fallen as a result of the appalling weather conditions, however the café supervisor had worked hard to try and maintain levels by competitive pricing, careful purchasing and the introduction of a medium priced lunch option. A recent upturn in the weather had resulted in a recent Saturday being the café’s busiest ever.
(e) Events and Activities
The Senior Ranger informed the group of the various events and activities that had been held since the last meeting. A highlight of the period had been Santa’s Grotto which had attracted 192 children despite the very wet weather.
Subsequent to the report being written ‘parkruns’ had commenced, the free 5km runs took place every Saturday morning and were expected to attract in excess of 100 runners.
The park, in association with the Active Lifestyles Team and with the aid of grant from Cambridgeshire County Council, was in the process of obtaining a selection of adapted bicycles for people of all abilities to hire.
(f) Wider District
Members noted a range of work that had been undertaken in other parts of the District. It was reported that Hinchingbrooke rangers and volunteers had assisted with the installation of a new hut at Holt Island and had taken over all practical work at Stukeley Meadows Local Nature Reserve as a contractor was no longer employed for the purpose. The management plans for Spring Common and Stukeley Meadows had also been updated.
(g) Park Management
A new efficient wood fired heating system had been installed at the Countryside Centre and new night storage heaters had been installed in the Visitor Centre and staffroom. Work on improving the woodland rides in Bob’s Wood ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Date of next meeting
To note that the next meeting of the Group will be held on Friday 11th October 2013.
The Group noted that their next meeting would be held on Friday 11th October 2013.