Join us at PEDAL’s 10th AGM

7 – 9pm, Monday 13th June 2016
Dalriada pub, back room
PEDALing Truths? How PEDAL began and what we’ve done since:
How has the world and Portobello changed and what’s needed next?
Here are the minutes of last year’s AGM for your delectation.

Minutes of the PEDAL AGM held on 21 April from 7 – 9 pm at St James church hall, Rosefield Place.

Attendees: Diana Cairns, Ian Cooke, Gillian Dunn, Stephen Hawkins, Ian Humphrey, Justin Kenrick, Gordon McCulloch, Eva Schonveld, Gillian Wilson, Neil Woodward.

No apo­lo­gies were received.

1 Introduction 

The chair wel­comed every­one to the meeting.

2 Minutes of the 2014 AGM

The minutes were accep­ted as a true record of the pre­vi­ous AGM, pro­posed by Diana Cairns and seconded by Gordon McCulloch.

There were no mat­ters arising from the minutes.

3 Treasurer’s report

A copy of the accounts that have been sub­mit­ted to Companies House was cir­cu­lated. Income is steady.  We had great­er costs last year but this year PEDAL has made a trad­ing sur­plus, with the res­ult that we have had to pay cor­por­a­tion tax of £159.38.

There is £5,200 in the account that is resid­ual from the CARES grant for the PEDAL con­tri­bu­tion to the wind turbine.

It was agreed that the AGM should be held at a dif­fer­ent time next year so that the final­ised end of year accounts can be approved at the AGM.

4 Election of board members

Ian Cooke stood down from the board because of work and oth­er com­mit­ments.  He was thanked for all his hard work, his skill and his wisdom.

Justin Kenrick and Diana Cairns stood down and were re-elec­ted to the board.  Justin Kenrick was nom­in­ated by Stephen Hawkins and seconded by Diana Cairns.  Diana Cairns was nom­in­ated by Eva Schonveld and seconded by Neil Woodward. 

5 Chair’s report

Eva Schonveld explained that PEDAL has done a great job in main­tain­ing the community’s Market and Orchard, as well as explor­ing how to expand our grow­ing spaces. We have had a lower key year than expec­ted because PEDAL had been con­sid­er­ing com­munity con­sulta­tion and how to go about it if and when the tur­bine applic­a­tion is approved and money starts to come through.  The tur­bine is not cer­tain to go ahead so we have dropped back in our efforts to start con­sulta­tion.  The pro­cess has been frus­trat­ing as we have been wait­ing for a long time to find out wheth­er or not the pro­ject would go ahead.

Some mem­bers of the board had been on a trip to West Kilbride last sum­mer, which has branded itself a craft town.  We met com­munity mem­bers and learned about their activ­it­ies and projects. 

6 Update on projects/activities

a) Turbine

We have been told that the recom­mend­a­tion is likely to be for approv­al of the tur­bine applic­a­tion, which will be con­sidered in the first half of May. The plan­ning per­mis­sion lasts three years but build­ing can’t hap­pen until the issue of radar for Highland and Islands (H & I) air­port is resolved. It will cost £800,000 so we can’t afford it.  Another option is radar blank­ing which would cost £25,000 but that only oper­ates in con­trolled air­space, which H & I air­port is not the moment.  Ian sug­ges­ted that we could com­bine efforts and resources with oth­er groups in a sim­il­ar position. 

Justin sug­ges­ted we stop think­ing about the tur­bine as a pro­ject that may hap­pen and so lib­er­ate our atten­tion for oth­er projects. 

Action: Get in touch up with Tom Black about who is going to fol­low up on this. We need to tell the com­munity here about what is hap­pen­ing after 1 May. 

Justin said he had prom­ised not to fol­low up on Seafield until we had exhausted this aven­ue but now pro­posed we think about under­tak­ing that. 

Action: Ian — speak to Matt Roy at Greener Leith about Seafield. Veolia (land own­ers) clearly feels a degree of guilt and is think­ing of a water turbine. 

b) Growing spaces:

Electric bun­ga­low com­munity garden on Bath Street got bull­dozed overnight by the own­ers which was very sad. The most act­ive pro­ject is the High Street Surgery garden, where the Doctors are very keen on a com­munity garden.   Plans are being drawn up but the land­lords have changed so their per­mis­sion will need to be sought. The oth­er garden is the long thin strip of land over the road from Towerbank play­ground. It is wait­ing for someone with energy. The school is keen. 

Pizza oven group — Joel’s plan is to make a mobile pizza oven which will live in Earthy’s back yard.  This should be going ahead over the next few weeks.

c) Bees

Bees have an ill­ness — chalk brood — which weak­ens the colony.  The bee­keep­ers will need to get a new nucleus.

d) Market

The mar­ket is keep­ing its head above water how­ever, although if we start to be charged a rent by the Council then we’d have to look at the viab­il­ity of it. Its suc­cess is down to Graham’s hard work and innovations. 

At the moment we have between 25 and 30 traders and it is able to con­tin­ue for anoth­er three or four years but we are hop­ing to get a wider range of traders into the mar­ket to make it more viable.   People come to the mar­ket wheth­er or not it is good weath­er and full of people (it only doesn’t work if it is com­pletely chuck­ing it down). 

The new elec­tric­al sup­ply to Brighton Park has only been in use for three months. It’s used for the hand wash and for cook­ing but we need to get traders to come who can use it. 

There’s a con­cern about access to stor­age and use of the tables and chairs once/if St James church hall is sold. 

Ian says he is happy to con­tin­ue con­trib­ut­ing to the research on the market. 

e) Orchard

The site is doing very nicely. We have settled down into hold­ing two events a year: (1) Apple Day in October atten­ded by 100 people; (2) Wassailing day in January with singing and christen­ing of the trees with cider for a fruit­ful har­vest.  It’s look­ing like an orch­ard now with Irish, French, Dutch, English, Swedish, Welsh, American and Scottish apple trees. It is self-fin­an­cing with Gordon’s apple juice and chut­ney sales. 

7 Discussions

a) Community spaces:

Graham Acheson will be doing a ses­sion at Big Things on The Beach Imagine Portobello event on 30 May, map­ping what spaces the com­munity uses and how (this ties into the PCC which is also map­ping this).

We under­stand St James is going to be sold in June. Bellfield will be harder to sell because of the grave­yard and lis­ted build­ing status. 

Ian said that we need to think about what space we need; that he would cla­ri­fy with the church what their plans are and what times­cale we have.  Out of the Blue who have the Drill Hall at Leith sur­vives on income gen­er­ated by the Bongo Club.  Any com­munity owned facil­ity here would need sources of fund­ing as well. 

Action: Ian to con­tact the Church, then we check with Graham Acheson re 30 May event, and make that or anoth­er event (e.g. an earli­er event if they are selling in June) the focus for invit­ing people to meet to decide wheth­er to try and do a com­munity buy out. This ties into our land reform agenda.  [Done but unfor­tu­nately no new inform­a­tion was available.]

Action: We agreed to held a meet­ing to dis­cuss how we might pre­serve these assets for the com­munity and that this could flow from the Big Things event on 30 May, if the tim­ing is right.

b) Community charter 

This derives its strength from a piece of EU legis­la­tion that says com­munit­ies have a right to pro­tect their assets. So it’s a state­ment of val­ues, of the assets the com­munity wants to pro­tect, which can be used as a leg­al doc­u­ment to try and influ­ence the plan­ning sys­tem to pro­tect the assets we value.   A com­munity charter has been used by a group in Falkirk at a plan­ning inquiry into an applic­a­tion for frack­ing.  The out­come of the inquiry is not yet known and it will be inter­est­ing to find out what weight (of any) has been put on the charter by the Reporter in his/her decision, and how the com­munity uses the leg­al sys­tem to appeal if the charter is not giv­en weight.

We dis­cussed how PEDAL might want to be involved in the com­munity charter being drawn up by Our Forth.  It was acknow­ledged that a wide base of sup­port is needed for a suc­cess­ful com­munity charter and also that it is dif­fi­cult to engage with an issue like this when there is no imme­di­ate threat.  However, there is still con­cern about frack­ing and uncon­ven­tion­al gas extrac­tion and two loc­al people are mak­ing films about the issue.

There being no fur­ther busi­ness, the meet­ing closed at 9 pm.

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