Minutes of the Projects Committee held on Thursday 21 May 2015 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.
Present: Cllr Mrs M Powell, (Mayor)
Cllrs Ms S Dodd, Mrs S Woodhouse, C Woodhouse, M J Hickman, N Tatam, J L Prosser, P Woodley
In attendance: The Town Clerk and Professor Valerie Walkerdine for the first item.
1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs R Harris, Mrs M Harris, P Wadsworth, P Jordan, D Edwards, S Horrell and Miss M Toombs.
2. Declarations of interest would be made as and when necessary.
3. Performing Abergavenny Projects
The Mayor welcomed Professor Walkerdine to the meeting. She had asked to attend to update members on the outcomes of the Projects carried out by the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University over two years.
Professor Walkerdine gave apologies for Dr David Studdert who was on field-work in Cornwall.
She explained how the Projects had been funded and circulated a copy of the report to all members. The objective of the work was to try to create better Community Cohesion in the town, and it had focused on North Abergavenny. The project was one of ten, but the only one working with a town. It set out to work with people, not work on them.
It as noted that people were proud of the town but not generally engaged with what is going on. Loss of the swimming pool and the cattle market had been mentioned.
A popular part of the project had been the Lost Abergavenny Facebook page where people could load up images of previous times. This had been viewed hundreds of thousands of times across the world. It was seen as a very successful part of the overall project and although it took time it did not cost a great deal to do. The project wanted people to set their own agenda, and to some extent it succeeded.
The Mayor then opened the session up to members questions and comments.
It was questioned whether there are two towns in Abergavenny, to which the answer was probably. It was noted that the Carnival, which originated in North Abergavenny was failing this year due to lack of support, particularly from that area. The comment was made that people generally feel safe and confident in their own areas.
Several Councillors took issue with the criticisms of Councillors which had been voiced during the project. All said they were available and willing to help constituents – some circulated newsletters, but very few contacts from constituents were received.
There was disagreement from Councillors that discrimination existed between social groups. They could see no evidence of it, nor could they see evidence of the projects brining social groups together in new ways.
Professor Walkerdine agreed to let members have details of the people who had helped to do work during the project so that they could be contacted to see if they would still be interested in helping with other initiatives.
The Town Clerk noted tat the Whole Place Initiative was starting to have some influence on what happens in the town. The TeamAbergavenny (Town Team) would go live to the public at a launch on 22 June at St Michael`s Centre. This would set out to explain to people what it is doing and how they can get involved if they wish. Also, several initiating meetings were being arranged to look at the priorities in the Whole Place Plan and upcoming meetings included uses of the Town Hall, Market complex, Public Realm (upgrading of the street scene through the town, Green Spaces Group to look at how we develop our Green Spaces and a workshop had been held with over 30 people looking at how to deal with No-one Gets Left Further Behind priorities.
The Mayor thanked Professor Walkerdine for coming to the meeting. It was agreed that there had been some failures and some successes in the Project. Professor Walkerdine left at this point.
4. TIC Maps.
Cllr Mrs S Woodhouse showed members a copy of the map currently used in the TIC to direct visitors to the town. It was now slightly out of date and it would benefit from including reference to the National Eisteddfod in preparation for the event in 2016. It was agreed to get the proof updated and to let mebers see it before it is sent to print. It would also be helpful to establish if something similar would be helpful to the Eisteddfod organisers.
It was noted that there would be no Carnival this year due to the Organising Committee being no longer in existence. It was agreed to seek to do something to resurrect it or something similar next year.
6. Whole Place.
The Town Clerk told members the details of several upcoming meetings in relation to Whole Place.
7. It was agreed that the next Finance Committee would be held on 27 May at 6pm.
8. It was noted that Cllr Wadsworth had tendered his resignation from the Council. The Clerk would find out how we are obliged to proceed.
The meeting ended at 8:10pm.