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