Monday, July 04, 2005

Swanage Residents Association meeting (April 2005)

rather belatedly..


Annual General Meeting – 4 April 2005

The meeting was opened by Rowland Hughes (Deputy Chairman), who introduced John Leach, the Committee’s nominee for Chairman. John gave an outline of his background, interests and concerns. There being no other nominations, John Leach was duly elected. This was followed by several statements of appreciation of Rowland Hughes’ many and important contributions during his long tenure as Chairman of the Association, as well as his successful efforts to keep the Association afloat until a successor could be found.

2. Treasurer’s Report In the absence of Rachel Kerley, Rowland Hughes noted that cash in hand stood at about £2800, and that outgoings for 2004/5 were more than income from membership subs and contributions.

3. Membership Stewart Borrett noted that current membership was about 400, compared to a high of 924, which was the result of a doorstep canvas he had carried out a few years ago. There was some discussion about the best ways of increasing membership, but it was also asked why we needed to do so? Accepting that the Associations political clout derives in large part from the size of its membership, the latter will tend to reflect the extent to which substantive issues are in dispute and the extent to which the outcome can be influenced by the opinions of Swanage residents. In this context, Rowland Hughes wondered whether the Association’s interests (as reflected in the Agenda) were perhaps too diffused. This, in turn raised the question of what exactly were the Association’s objectives?

4. Officers. In response to the suggestion that committee members should have designated roles, it was pointed out that it was extremely difficult to find enough people to serve on the Committee. Apart from the Treasurer and Membership, other roles were filled on an ad hoc basis, which had proved quite satisfactory.

5. Dorset School System. Rowland Hughes sketched in what he knew of DCC plans for the county school structure, which may have to be adjusted (or changed radically) to reflect population trends, notably the possibility of moving from a three-tier system to a two-tier one, which has significant implications for Swanage Middle School. [ROWLAND make some ref. to well-informed contribution by Peter Clarke – former teacher at Purbeck] Recognising that final decisions have to lie with Dorchester (and London), there was general concern that the residents of Swanage had not been kept in the picture as to the issues and the alternatives. The meeting agreed that the Chairman should write a formal letter to the relevant authorities expressing the Association’s concern at the lack of public information/consultation on an issue has major implications both for the families of children involved and for the future of the Middle School building and grounds. . (

6. Alcohol . Much ado about nothing

7. Wheelybins

See latest on

8. Community Plan. Cherry Bartlett gave an outline of the three well-supported Meetings held to discuss the Community Plan produced by Roger Seaman, noting that among other things, there was significant support for a Sports Centre

9. Town Partnership. David Price-Hughes reported

10. Issues of Continuing Concern

a. Seacourt, 6 Taunton Rd Beth Paxton-Brunning gave a passionate speech on the history and architecture of Seacourt and the proposed over development of the site.
b. Grammar School
c. Seawall and beach recharge
d. Policing in Swanage. Robert Owen explained some of the problems of getting Police presence in Swanage when it is needed.

11. Individual Enterprises

a. Skatepark Lorna Haines reported on the continuing development of the skate park, the installation of ‘equipment’ and the positive effects this type of facility has on the youth of Swanage. She invited members to attend the park on Thursday when there was to be a day of skating.
b. Play in Swanage
c. Sports Partnership

[Items 10 & 11 - see ongoing online discussion at ]

12. Several members commented very favourably on the extremely well informed contributions by the three members of the “Council Bridge”: Cherry Bartlett, Colin Bright, and Hilary O’Donovan. They were invaluable in allowing Association members to get some understanding of what had been discussed in various Councils and how things had turned out the way they did.

13. A.O.B. Concern was voiced about the closure of the Post Office opposite the Station.

Forthcoming meetings:

Next Quarterly Open Meeting Monday July 25th, 7.30pm at the Mowlem Committee Room

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