Minutes of the Projects Committee held on Thursday 18 September 2014 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.

Present: The Mayor, Cllr M Hickman JP

Cllrs D Edwards, Mrs M Harris, J L Prosser, Miss M Toombs, Ms S Dodd, Mrs M Powell.

In attendance: The Town Clerk and Mrs J Davis (Business Club), Mrs D Hudson and Ms J Hudson for the first item and Mr C Evans, Ms Keri Eynon, Mr Chris Copner, Ms Maren von Wachenfeldt and Mr Matt Lane for the second item.

1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs P Jordan P Wadsworth, N Tatam, C Woodhouse, Mrs S Woodhouse and R Harris.

2. Declarations of interest would be made as and when necessary.

3. The Mayor welcomed Mrs Hudson who had come to talk about Action 50+

Mrs Hudson gave a detailed account of the setting up of the group about 11 months ago and its development to having some 70 members at present Meetings are held in Trinity Church Hall and the group is interested in anything which has an impact on the lives of older people. They choose their own topics for discussion and the speakers they receive. It is a non-political forum run by older people which sets its own agenda. Cllr R Harris is a committee member. Meetings are held monthly on the second Wednesday of each month, and additional outings are sometimes arranged.

They are campaigning on transport issues for older people, they produce a quarterly newsletter, and they would like to work more closely with the Town Council, particularly becoming a part of the Council`s consultative process to enable the voice of older people to be heard.

They were initially given 500 pump-priming funding by Monmouthshire CC but receive no other funding at present. They charge their members 1 per meeting and hold raffles, but they need funding for some equipment items.

Councillors are invited to attend one of their meetings at any time.

There followed a discussion on a number of issues. It was agreed to forward this Council`s grant application form to Mrs Hudson, and they were also advised to apply to the Welsh Church Fund administered by MCC.

The Town Clerk would e-mail information to Ms Hudson  the following day.

The Mayor thanked Mrs Hudson for attending and she left the meeting at this point.

4. Carnival

Mr C Evans, Chair of the Carnival Committee attended with 4 other members of the Committee. In effect a new committee had now been formed with a number of new younger people. This had given the Committee a new lease of life and they were determined to breathe new life into the Carnival next year. It was emphasised that after this year`s disappointing turnout the Committee were determined to make a better event next year. It is an event specifically for local people, and costs them very little. The new committee are planning to fund-raise and to go to school assemblies. Traders had already approached them to take part, they have a Facebook page with 500 + friends and a You-tube channel. Concern was expressed that their banners had been removed by persons unknown before the Carnival took place. This will be investigated.  The Town Clerk agreed to look into this. Cllrs Miss M Toombs and Mrs M Harris agreed to go back to their respective schools to encourage support.  Cllr Dodd suggested that a similar event to the Town Fair held in Ostringen when the twinning party were there might be worthwhile. This involved closing off the main street, setting up several performance areas and traders bringing their businesses out onto the street.

(Cllrs Edwards and Hickman left at this point)

It was agreed that Cllr Dodd would rejoin the Committee, and that the Town Clerk would meet Mr Evans very soon about the arrangements for the Christmas Parade on 22 November. It was also agreed that Mr Evans and colleagues would liaise with the Town Team who are looking at the planning of events year-round in Abergavenny.

The Carnival Committee members were congratulated for re-energising the event and they left the meeting at this point.

5. Notes concerning the Towns Alive Presentation were deferred until more members are present.

6. White Paper reforming Local Government

The Clerk`s notes on this were accepted and it was agreed to pass on those views. Cllr Mrs Harris commented that she preferred the Williams Commission proposals to those of the WLGA, and this would be included.

7. Town Youth Council. This was deferred with the request that if possible a speaker from a town who had adopted this approach should be arranged.

8. Use of Council e-mail addresses. The Town Clerk explained that he was aware that some members did not regularly use their dedicated e-mail addresses with the result that when he sent things out by e-mail they were not always read in a timely way. He was happy to adopt which ever approach members wanted, so long as there is a good chance that they will pick up the messages promptly. If this means abandoning the Town Council e-mails, so be it. They had been introduced to try to separate private e-mails from council business to enable councillors to avoid Freedom of Information requests interfering with their private business.

This needs a debate when more members are present.

9. Additional items for the website.

The Clerk had identified a number of additional items needed to comply with Welsh Government`s requirements for the publication of information. These would be developed and implemented over the next few months.

10. Town Banners and Flower Baskets

The Town Clerk and the Fairtrade Forum had been told that they must remove their equipment from lamp standards on the A40 trunk road in the town. This was a cause of concern as they had been in place for a number of years with no problems. It was agreed to ask the AM to take up this issue with a view to getting a concession to allow the practice to continue.

11. The Town Clerk reported that he had been approached by a trader in Nevill Street to have some Christmas lights in Nevill Street. He had explained that cross-street lights are very expensive and unlikely in the present climate but he had suggested that brackets with small Christmas Trees as in Lower Cross Street would be a possibility if the premises holders were able to provide brackets and connection points. This was being investigated by the trader. Members supported this idea.

The meeting ended at 8:30pm