Friends of Whitecotes Playing Field
Annual General Meeting Minutes
Held at Potters Place on Wednesday 5 August 2019
Andy Hill – Vice Chairperson
Josie Cooper – Treasurer
Linda Oades – Secretary
Linda Coles – Co-opted member
Keith Falconer – Chairperson
Welcome from Vice Chairperson
Andy Hill welcomed those present.
Approval of Previous Minutes
The minutes of the previous AGM meeting which was held on 1 August 2018 were approved and signed.
Josie confirmed that there is currently £4093.22 in the bank account and that the accounts for 2018/2019 had been signed off on the 5 July 2019. When outstanding monies have been paid over to the Council to clear outstanding invoices we will have approximately £400.00 left in the bank.
Linda C explained how on receipt of the Viridor funding for half of the monies bid for, the decision to not have a double drain along the middle of the field path E was taken, as the single drain, which had been installed at the end of last year has helped to alleviate the problem of muddy, swampy paths, and the pooling at the cemetery gate had been rectified by the installation of a grate. This meant that we could then afford path A the one from the play area to the cemetery gate to be in tarmac.
The work was completed a couple of weeks ago and the contractor is due to come this week to finalise the work by filling in the ruts and back filling etc. An inspection of the work to be carried out on the 7 August. The final day for paying the invoice for the work to ensure that the Viridor monies are not lost is the 24 August.
It was noted that the hedge had also been cut from Whitecotes Park onto the field by the Council team who strimmed Path C in order for the back-filling to be completed by the contractor.
It was reported that the grass under the new play equipment had been cut by a standing mower and once again this had caused some of the rubber matting to be churned up into pieces. This is to be reported to the Borough Council.
One of those present reported that the steps from Grindlow Avenue are even more overgrown and dangerous. This to be reported at our next meeting with the council.
It appears that some of the field users were under the impression that the path with the double drain running down the centre of the field was going to be in tarmac but this was never the case, it was always designed to be a grass path.
A copy of the path diagram can be found on the website:-www.whitecotesplayingfield.co.uk which continues to be maintained by Simon Marriott whose company Spire-Dent has sponsored this website for us for which we are very grateful.
It was reported that following circulation of the AGM date and request for agenda items we had received an email asking if the new path A could link to a tarmac path within the cemetery.
Linda C pointed out that Ross Fawbert who is the Bereavement Services Manager at Chesterfield and District Joint Crematorium had been given a quote for Path D which would run from the cemetery gate to the current tarmac path in the cemetery, the price for which totalled £6200 plus VAT and Ross will let us know the outcome after discussing the possibility of providing a path with his management team.
The group have had several emails supporting what has been achieved in the field and it was agreed that there is a good balance now between the new play/sports equipment, seating, planting and paths, along with the disabled entrances whilst maintaining the natural countryside feel.
It was heartening to see the children at play and those from Whitecotes Junior School undertaking projects in the field.
Several of the new whips which were planted 18 months ago have established themselves and there are quite a few self-set silver birch type trees and horse chestnut trees near to the cemetery side of the field.
The latest incident of criminal damage occurred a couple of weeks ago to the bench on the bottom field when this was totally uplifted exposing the cement footings it had been set into along with gouging out of the seat section.
The damage has been reported to the police 101 line by one of the Committee and details of the incident were also emailed to the Safer Neighbourhood Team.
One of the dog walkers who regularly cleans up the field reported that dozens of bottles and cans had been collected from the surrounding area of the bench and they had contacted the 101 number and also reported the damage to the council as well.
The fact that there are clearly vulnerability issues regarding underage drinking with the teenagers involved shows the matter should be escalated to the Multi agency teams who manage the youth workers.
One of those present suggested contacting the Youth Outreach Services along with Parkside School governors.
The viper play equipment which suffered several bouts of vandalism before finally being set on fire along with the rubber mats is waiting to be fitted again. This replacement costs the council £1000 and should it be damaged again the council are not prepared to replace it.
We have received an email asking if the company who supplied the viper have anything which is vandal proof or an alternative to the existing frame. This would of course have to be funded by The Friends of Whitecotes Playing Field.
We also understand that the viper in Holmebrook Valley Park has been vandalised recently, this had been in situ for many years.
A committee member said that she had actually seen three youths spraying the play equipment with graffiti but they just stared back at her and then jumped over the fence and down the field.
One of those present also confirmed seeing a tramp asleep on one of the benches and again this should reported to the 101 line and not to approach anyone themselves.
Please help us to stamp out this senseless vandalism by reporting any incident or If you see or hear anything suspicious to the 101 Police line.
Communication and Contacts
The notice of the AGM had been emailed, put into the noticeboards and website and also in Potters Place where the meeting took place.
It was agreed that although not everyone has access to computers it is easy enough to contact our Chairman to ensure that their concerns are heard. Some people may find it difficult to voice their opinions in public and provision is there for people to ensure that they get themselves heard.
It was felt that the notices displayed on the two boards in the field soon become affected by damp as even though some had been UV laminated they are still curling up.
The Committee is to look into costing a similar type of signage to the Viridor Credit ones which are printed on thick perspex, thus providing a more long-lasting notice for the boards.
It was reported that the new tarmac path runs up against the bin by the playground so this should help to encourage people to put rubbish in.
We were unsuccessful in our Postcode Lottery bid.
Fields in Trust Status
Linda O had written to another Friends Group who have the Fields in Trust Status to find out who should make the application. It was confirmed that it has to be the land owner in this case Chesterfield Borough Council.
The following was taken from the Fields in Trust website.
“Fields in Trust champions and supports our parks and green spaces by protecting them for people to enjoy in perpetuity. Because once lost they are lost forever”.
We will keep you up-dated on any progress.
Continuance of the Friends of Whitecotes Group Committee
The present Committee Members are willing to continue in their roles but should anyone else like to join them they would be welcomed.
Any Other Business
A further email had been received for inclusion on the AGM agenda which related to a small child being left screaming and terrified after a dog had bounded up to the child and jumped up. The owner who was some distance away was saying “it won’t hurt you” but this did not help the matter.
The emailer went on to say that owners should realise that if they are unable to control their dog they should keep it on a lead. She herself was sitting on one of the benches when a dog had jumped up her, covering her trousers in mud.
Any Other Business
The Committee would like to thank all those users of the field who regularly pick up the litter. Their efforts are very much appreciated.
Date of Next Meeting
To be confirmed.