The Friends of Mycenae Gardens held its fourth Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24 March 2015 at 7.00pm in the Greenwich Steiner School, Woodlands, 90 Mycenae Road, SE3.

Draft minutes

Here are the minutes which will be submitted for approval at the next AGM in 2016.

Committee members present:- Eileen Bell, Colin Gillespie, Ann Hill, Fran Russell, Tim Hoe, Tristan Kappo-Webber, Mark Johnson-Brown
30 non-committee members counted
Apologies:- David Jervis, Philip Cath, Annie Hart.

1. Minutes of the 2014 Annual General Meeting

Eileen Bell opened the meeting and the Minutes of the previous 2014 AGM were approved and adopted.

2. Chairman’s report

Eileen thanked David Hall for his contribution to the Committee during his time as a resident and during the interim period since his move to Bath.

Eileen invited Mark Johnson-Brown to speak of the ParksFEST event, and of the changes he might like to make this year. Mark wishes to make it a strong family event that made more extensive use of the Gardens. M J-B put out a call to anybody present who might wish to contribute to or collaborate on the event.

Eileen added that a defibrillator had been obtained by Mycenae House, and M J-B confirmed that all staff at M.H. have been trained in its use.

September 2014, maintenance work has been carried out on the Dell railings leading down from Beaconsfield Close and to the gates at the entrance to the Dell, which are now vastly improved. Next winter, the Parks Department will be requested to clear the leaves from the steps alongside the Dell which become slippery and hazardous when wet.

Tim Hoe delivered a great presentation of the Spring Planting carried out on the 7th March in a glade on the western side of the Gardens, with images demonstrating the progress achieved in one day.

A list of native plants with images was displayed to clearly describe the planting scheme.
All the proposed planting had been previously checked with Steve Roedel of the Parks Department for their suitability, also taking into consideration any potential toxicity to children.

Mark Johnson-Brown further reinforced the fact that all decisions regarding planting and clearing of the glade had been shared with and approved by the Council.

The possibility of regular planting events was raised, and it was agreed that when such events are arranged they will be advertised via the Friends’ website. Tim Hoe stated that in the future, emails will be sent out to invite Friends to contribute to both the planting and the supplying of plants.

News has been received that the Draft Management Plan has been reviewed by Robert Goring of the Parks Department and that he and Steve Roedel would like to meet with representatives of the Friends Group to discuss adoption of the management plan and maintenance of the Gardens. Eileen was careful to include that the Council were very impressed by the quality and content of the plan, not having received such a thorough proposal before, and offered her thanks to David Hall and Ann Hill for completing the plan, and to Gael Dundas, the early author of the D.M.P., who was present.

It was further noted that the School are contributing £1000.00 towards the tree works that need to be carried out in the Gardens now that the tree survey has taken place.

Eileen stated that the Parks and Open Spaces Department will be cordoning off areas of the lawns from the beginning of April, and re-seeding areas of the lawn.

Additional mulch will be supplied and put around the base of the trees by the Parks and Open Spaces Department. However, we are still awaiting the delivery of the mulch as the Council’s stocks are running low.

The School is continuing to take the older classes to the Heath for their games classes to minimise wear and tear on the lawn, and it was noted that this had a positive effect on the quality of the lawn.

Eileen stated that the Dell is our focus for the coming year. The Friends are fortunate that Ann Hill has involved Joe Beale in an analysis of the Dell, who is carrying out a bird survey entirely free of charge. The first observation took place on Sunday the 15th of February. Joe delivered a thorough report which recorded a number of displaying and breeding bird species, and provided a series of maintenance ideas, for clearing access areas, whilst maintain the biodiversity evident in the Dell.

The variety of birds discovered in one hour’s observation is impressive and encouraging. Eileen showed images of the birds that had been spotted.

The Committee and the Friends are grateful to Joe for the generous donation of his time, expertise and advice.

Eileen presented the Capital Clean Up Grant application that Ann Hill had worked to complete against a tight deadline.

The Westcombe Society, The Vanbrugh Community Association, and the Greenwich Steiner School have each agreed to contribute £100 to top up the grant should the application be successful.

Ann Hill mentioned that the grant also included a request for a display board describing the birds resident in the Dell, and a place for visitors to record any birds that they had spotted.

Helene Barnes posed the problem of dog mess and improved bin facilities.

Marilyn Little suggested that the byelaws should be posted in the Dell. Eileen mentioned that such information is available.

Jean-Jacques Aune stated that in his view the Dell should be left alone and he would not like to see a path running through the Dell. He added that the display board should be hidden behind the wall so that it was not visible from outside. Eileen said that the aim was purely to maintain and clear the existing path to make it safer for local residents and users, and not create any additional paths that may disturb the wildlife.

J-J A also stated that the residents of Beaconsfield Close should be involved in the meetings, Eileen confirmed that she had sought to involve a number of residents in Beaconsfield Close, but had not had confirmation of attendance. However, Eileen is happy to continue attempting to make contact with the residents. It was also mentioned by Mark Barnes that there had been a very conscious effort to post flyers to local residents, and that as many residents as possible had been informed of the AGM.

M J-B suggested that a ‘statement of cherishment’ be written in relation to the Dell, that links all users of the Gardens in their common goal. This may be useful in countering any possible development ideas that the Council might be considering for the Dell.

The issue of brown field land acquisition by the Council for property development purposes was raised, and while some attendees felt it was unlikely that this would take place, it was acknowledged that there is a move to secure more brown field land, and that the threat of this should not be ruled out.

Wendy Fidler would like to know if a night-time analysis might prove the presence of bats, which might reinforce the conservation importance of the Dell, and reduce the possibility for development.

The Friends Committee is planning to improve communications with the members. Therefore, the 3 key tasks that the Committee will endeavour to address are:-

* To circulate the minutes of the AGM within two weeks of the meeting.
* To update the Friends website at least 3 times a year
* To update the membership list frequently and add new members to the list on application.

3. Treasurer’s statement

Colin Gillespie delivered the accounts, describing the year’s expenditure which included a gift of thanks to David Hall, the forthcoming expenses for the Spring Planting, costs of nest boxes and the forthcoming website domain renewal costs.

4. Elections to Committee

There were 4 vacancies on the Committee (David Hall, Mary Vu, Sophie Spencer having resigned and Eileen having stood down as per Constitution).
Three nominations had been received and no further nominations were forthcoming. The nominees were therefore elected unopposed.

The elected candidates each made a personal statement introducing themselves and outlining their motivation to stand for the committee.

Eileen Bell
Eileen has lived in the area for 20 years, is a parent at the school and having enjoyed the Gardens would like to contribute towards their care and maintenance for the benefit of those that come after us.

Ann Hill
Ann Hill has been a local resident for 30 years and has a particular interest in the conservation of Mycenae Gardens and the Dell. Ann wishes to act as a link between the Friends of Mycenae Gardens and the Westcombe Society.

Shirley Broughton
Shirley Broughton moved to the area in 1987, and enjoys both the Gardens and the Dell. Shirley worked as a Landscape Architect in local government for 37 years, most of that time spent in the London Borough of Lewisham.

Shirley is a volunteer at Woodlands Farm on Shooters Hill, and is now a member of the Board of Trustees. Shirley has a great interest in nature conservation, and wishes to ensure that the Gardens and Dell are best maintained.

Eileen Bell welcomed Ann Hill as an elected member and Shirley Broughton as a new member of the Committee.

5. AOB

Eileen gave thanks to the Committee and drew the meeting to a close

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