July 23 joint forum minutes



Joint meeting of Residents’ Association and High Lane Neighbourhood Forum

Date: 18th July 2023                                            Time: 8pm                        Venue: High Lane Library

Present: David, Stephen, Eryl, Barry, Angie, Carol, Caroline, Helen R, Anne, Richard, Janet, Ian, Ann, Carol, Trish, Trisha, Claire

Apologies: Helen Stocks

The meeting has been called as both groups need more committee members and are looking for :

-smart ways of working to maximise resources and

-ways of enlisting involvement from more people to avoid the danger of either group folding.

1) Committee Roles

(a) Shared Treasurer Option

Both groups are in need of a treasurer since Barry and Janet are stepping down. Geoff Gaskell has volunteered to take on the role of Treasurer for the RA. He is already treasurer for the church and Hawk Green Brass Band. Barry has agreed to continue to administer the War Memorial account with the revenue from the sale of donated books at the doctors’ surgery. He will also continue to organise the Litter Pick. Another volunteer has offered to take on the role of Treasurer but does not have internet access which is essential for the way the accounts will be run.

Action: David to check whether Geoff is interested in also taking over as the Forum’s treasurer which is not an onerous role

(b)Plan for committee member changes 2023

(i) Stephen explained that the RA ‘s Constitution states that it can have   11 members on its committee .It has space for more members at the moment. It needs a minimum of three officers on its committee and ideally 5. It is short on officers since it will soon have no Secretary and without enough it will fold. David and Stephen appealed to people to spread the word and let the community know that more committee members are needed. Carol agreed to ask the people who attend the Community Coffee morning on Mondays at the village hall if any of them would be interested and tell them about the roles. The U3A have already been approached by David and Richard.  

(ii) The RA is also looking for a Secretary as Stephen is stepping down after a large number of years. The role has many facets (insurance, health and safety, writing minutes and circulating them, newsletter, responding to consultations re the local area) . Caroline a new RA committee member has taken over responsibility for the defibrillator and was thanked for this. Stephen pointed out the Secretary’s role offers a fantastic opportunity for a newcomer to take ownership of its different aspects and gain invaluable experience and suggests highlighting this in any advert we create.

(iii) The RA and NF are both looking for vice –chairs to run meetings when the Chair is away and assist in the role.

(iv) Both groups are looking for someone to run and update their websites

(v) A volunteer who could take on a specific limited aspect of work carried out by the Chair or Secretary at the moment would be welcomed eg someone to write the regular monthly update about the RA for the parish newsletter .


1) Draw up a job profile for the 3/4 voluntary roles highlighting what they offer. Post the advert on-line on High Lane Facebook, e mail to Forum members and advertise through other local organisations eg schools and churches and on posters in library and village hall.

2) Approach Stockport College/Marple College by phone or e mail - for permission to advertise there –opportunity for students to gain useful experience- Claire will check this out

3) Possibly approach High Schools to see if roles could be suitable for Duke of Edinburgh participants who are required to do voluntary work (query ages and safeguarding?)

4) Advertise through Stockport Volunteer Hub– Claire to check

5) Ask Aron re any contacts he has regarding volunteers- Richard will do

Still to be decided : Who will write the 3/4 job profiles?

2) Fundraising

(a) Shared events

(i) The RA’s key source of income is the subscriptions it receives annually following distribution of its newsletter. It is suggested the newsletter is shared with the NF who will supply a page of content and pictures. Pictures are very important to draw people to an article so please share any that could be used. The newsletter is an A3 sheet folded into 4 A4 size sections. This year it is due to go out week of 19th September and articles need to be submitted to Stephen between now and 20th August. Trish F volunteered to assist Stephen with the proof reading. The newsletter is a big job and offers of further help would be appreciated.

(ii) Other fundraising ideas include holding a Business Forum. The NF had started organising one just before the Covid closedowns but it had to be cancelled. It would include local trades people who want to raise their profile not just shops. April 2024 was decided as a good month to hold this probably in the village hall.

(iii) Car Boot Sale or Table Top Sale: Ideally we need to find someone who would offer a free site. Various venues were suggested: Cruising Club car park , one of the primary schools, Cricket club car park, field off Windlehurst Rd;further investigation to be done re. a possible site.

(b) Event publicity materials and Communications

The RA has a free website . The NF pays for its domain name annually. It was suggested the NF be offered access to the RA website . The NF’s policies could be put on and publicity for forthcoming events so that as wide an audience as possible is reached. The details of this will be considered by both groups.

3) Shared Resources

(a)Village volunteer bank . It’s been suggested it would be a good idea to create a local ‘bank’ of volunteers who have particular skills or interests and would be prepared to offer their time for specific projects not particularly long term ones. Examples might be – people prepared to help with outdoor activities such as litter picking, gardening , canal towpath repairs, people with organisational skills, with advertising expertise, with IT skills, catering, people with a planning background, people who could offer legal advice. They could be called on as and when a need arose. It was agreed this is a good idea to pursue and would benefit both our groups and the community as a whole.

To be decided:

-The best way to reach out to invite people to register their interest in the volunteer bank                  -The way in which it would be administered and by whom.

4) Working Together and what each group leads on

(a) Clarity for the community

(i) To help achieve this clarity, Richard suggested putting into the newsletter, side by side, the roles and purposes of the RA and the NF showing the differences clearly.

(ii) The NF is a statutory consultee and deals with Planning matters round the 4 areas of its policies: Housing, Transport, Green Spaces Heritage and Environment. The NF’s responses are based on the content of these policies and largely deal with infra structure and commercial developments.

(iii) In contrast the RA provides the perspective of the Neighbourhood and provides a voice for local people. Personal opinions are valid responses.

(iv) It is very important to maintain both groups as separate responses are crucial and the more responses, the greater the influence they have. A reminder was given that every response to a planning application will now be published on the council website.

(v) The other main topic for the NF to submit to the newsletter is the work carried out over the last year by Head of Planning Ian and the planning group showing the impact that the NF’s responses have had on various planning applications.

(vi) It was agreed that Ian will forward the planning applications he receives to Eryl who is the Planning rep on the RA

(vii) Ann shared the news about the commuted sums of money due from the development at the former Thai restaurant . The council originally wanted this money to go to Torkington Park as it is the closest park. However Ann pointed out repeatedly that the Thai restaurant is in the High Lane Neighbourhood Area and so the money should come to High Lane Park. The council now have finally agreed to this! The money has to be spent on sporting facilities so will be used to fund improvements to the skate park area. Well done Ann! Thank you for your work on this.

(viii)Also the commuted sums from the development at Wybersley will be going to Brookside Park- probably to provide swings for older children so that they are less likely to use the younger children’s swings.

(xi) A review on the A555 is due later this year. Angie emphasised the importance of pushing to ensure this review happens. It was raised at the last RA meeting and Shan Alexander is going to do some investigating. There were some flaws in the original review and it will be important that the next survey is compared in a fair way with the previous one. This is an example of a case where both organisations separately requesting information on when the review will happen and the way the review will be conducted is more effective.

5) (a) Future meeting schedules

(i)Currently the RA meets monthly except in August. It was suggested RA and NF meetings are held bi- monthly so that volunteers involved with both organisations only have one commitment a month and the time reduction could attract more volunteers to the committee. This has been trialled before by the RA.

(ii) Stephen suggested it could be a good idea to hold the meetings on the same evening each month for simplicity so the local community know there is always a monthly community meeting on a certain evening. It was agreed this is a good idea.

(iii) An earlier start was also suggested as likely to attract more people especially in winter. This suggestion is to be checked out with the library.

(iv) It was also agreed that we would check with the councillors which day of the week is suitable/convenient for them to attend since some week day evenings they have regular council meetings

Action: This is to be discussed with RA members at the next meeting and voted on by members at the AGM. It will also be an agenda item at the Forum’s AGM.

(b) AGM Dates

The RA will be holding their AGM on 5th October 2023

The NF will be holding their AGM on November 9th 2023

(c) Possible community meeting in September to ask for volunteers

This idea was raised at an earlier Forum meeting but since this meeting has now taken place we are uncertain if a September meeting is necessary and whether we should wait to see the result of the actions proposed tonight . It was suggested a September meeting could be used as an opportunity to showcase all that High Lane has to offer as a neighbourhood.

Action: Richard to speak to Aron about this.

The meeting closed at 9.30pm. David and Richard thanked people for their attendance and contributions