Venue: Countryside Centre, Hinchingbrooke Countryside Park
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 11th October 2013.
Contact: Mrs H Taylor 388008
The Minutes of the meeting held on 11th October 2013 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
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 of interest were received.
To receive a report by the Senior Ranger on park activities for the period October 2013 to March 2014.
In receiving and noting the content of the Senior Ranger’s report, comment was made as follows:-
Members were advised Stephanie James had started as Café Assistant at the end of November.
Training had continued over the winter months for Rangers and selected volunteers on the use of chainsaws, brush cutters/strimmers.
The Group noted that the number of volunteer days worked currently stood at 585, providing 3510 hours of work.
(c) Countryside Centre
Details of the number of users of the Countryside Centre for the period October 2013 to March 2014 compared to the previous years were presented. It was reported that income for the Centre continued to fall which was attributable to users reducing their expenditure by reducing the number of days they hire out the facilities. Members were advised that officers were investigating various ways that the building can be used to generate income.
Visitor numbers to the café had fallen as a result of the very wet weather conditions over the winter, however a recent upturn in the weather may help to lift the income figures.
Members noted that following the concerns expressed at the previous meeting in relation to a suggestion that the operation of the café be contracted out alongside the Council’s other catering services, the tendering exercise had been put on hold.
(e) Events and Activities
The Senior Ranger informed the Group of the various events and activities that had been held since the last meeting.
(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 at Spring Common coppicing 15 small trees around the pond and removing all the cuttings from the site. As way as tree safety work at Hartford Wood, cutting of hedges at Stukeley Meadows Local Nature Reserve and the removal of a hectare of scrub at Stukeley Meadows Railway cutting.
Members referred to the use of volunteers when operating the sites at Paxton Pits, Holt Island etc. Particular mention was made of the need to retain a professional element when steering the volunteers.
(g) Park Management
Tree safety surveys had been undertaken at the park and an area of the new plantation thinned out with new trees being planted in various locations.
In response to a suggestion that the Rangers could assist local Parish and Town Councils with tree safety issues, the Green Spaces Manager confirmed that it was unlikely the Rangers would have capacity to undertake this work and that it might be better placed with the dedicated tree surgeon in the Operations division.
(h) Friends of Hinchingbrooke Country Park
It was reported that since the last meeting, thermometers, light meters, compasses and membership of a learning outside the classroom organisation had been funded by the Friends of the Country Park. An application also had been submitted to WREN for funding for a pagoda which, if successful, would benefit ... 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 10th October 2014.
Contact: Mrs H Taylor 388008
The Group noted that their next meeting would be held on Friday 10th October 2014.