The Report below was presented to the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 7th March 2020 at The New Milton Community Association by Alan Watson
Now well into 2020, it is time to review and measure your Association’s performance in 2019 against our main Aims and Objectives:-
To do our best, within existing legislation, to protect the character of our town and the quality of the environment.
As I stated last year, we continue to have been frustrated by the continuing delays, outside of our local control, with the finalisation of the New Milton Neighbourhood Plan. However, I am pleased to note that it has now been through the processes of reviews and initial examination and we are confident that it will be put before you in a Referendum perhaps in late June/early July. Based on the result of the Referendum, your Association expects that it will be engaged with and represented as plans move ahead with identifying the projects and tasks needed to implement the proposals contained in the Neighbourhood Plan. I must thank committee members, Jill Hennah and Julia Stamper who alongside myself represented your Association in the preparation of the Plan.
To seek to ensure, with members’ support, that any new development is compatible with that objective.
The Association continues to monitor all aspects of major developments in our Parish, and where appropriate, to support or object to planning applications which come forward. During 2019, we initiated an E-Mail Bulletin System which enabled us to seek the views of the wider membership between General Meetings on individual applications, so that your committee can be guided on your views when considering various issues. The first two matters on which we sought the membership's views, were the plans for the Crematorium in Stem Lane and the application for an Aldi Supermarket in Caird Avenue. There was a huge majority in support of the Crematorium plans, whereas there was a split almost equally for and against the Aldi application.
Whilst the Association does not generally become involved in individual applications, we do get interested in Applications for a single site, which do affect residents in a wider geographic area and which affect the overall character of an area. An example of this was a Plan for a bulky application for 8 flats to replace a single dwelling of some significance in Barton Common Lane, which would seriously affect this characterful area overlooking Barton Common. Sadly as I write this article I have learned that despite many written objections from residents and your Association, as well as the Town Council’s strong objections when put before them, New Forest District Council accepted the plans with the narrowest of margins when it came to a vote.
To encourage the maintenance and improvement of local amenities.
With your Association’s continuing support of the floral displays and wildflower meadow in New Milton, we were pleased to be a small cog in the wheel for the Britain in Bloom National Finals where our Town won a Gold Award. Huge congratulations must go to our Town’s Estates Manager, Mark Jeffries and to all his Ground Staff and to the Town Council Officers who all played a major part in this success. Community engagement played an important role in winning this award and thanks should also go to many groups who got involved including, New Milton Sands WI, Barton Bees WI, the Men's Shed, the Schools and others.
To promote care in the community and awareness of the needs of others.
A successful Christmas Party at the Memorial Centre for over 75 local children and an Afternoon Tea for some 80 Senior Citizens held in the Summer at The Community Centre were both enjoyed by those attending and a gauge of their success must be taken from the requests to repeat these gatherings in 2020.
Despite having to cancel the Sonning Theatre trip in January 2019 due to the snow and icy conditions for travel, a very interesting and enjoyable series of visits continued through 2019. The 2020 Sonning Theatre visit was full and the first 2020 excursion in June – ‘Midsomer Murders and a Cruise at Goring Gap’ is already full and a waiting list in operation. We are most grateful to our Secretary, Dr Janet Moyles for all her work in planning and coordinating all aspects of these visits
To provide a forum where members can express their views and concerns publicly.
Our first General Meeting in 2019 was amongst the most widely supported event of the year when the topic of the merging of three GP Surgeries into a single ‘Coastal Medical Partnership’ was addressed. Over 160 attended this meeting with more than 50 having to be turned away due to the capacity of the Centre. Clearly a subject of interest to a huge number of our residents. A further similar topic is planned for 2020 when we will be informed of the details of the planned changes being made for Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals. More details on the date to follow.
In addition to an ‘Open Forum’ held after our AGM in March, there were meetings which addressed the ‘New Milton Neighbourhood Plan’; the ‘Future of the NHS in our Area’; an ‘Update on the Plans for the Crematorium’ and ‘New Milton – A Plastic Free Town’. All were found to be of interest and many prompted a number of pertinent questions.
The introduction of the E-Mail Bulletin System amongst members has
enabled us to keep closer contact
between General Meetings and the
publication of each
I would like to put on record my personal thanks to all the Office Bearers and to the whole Committee with their various roles, without whom your Association just could not operate. I would like to pay special thanks to Jill Hennah who will be retiring from the Committee at our AGM and who has been such a great asset to the Association, having been involved in many roles over a long period of time. She will be missed.
I am always seeking new blood to our committee and I am pleased to say that a number of members have come forward or perhaps been press-ganged to join us at the 2020 AGM. However, we will always welcome further members to come forward, as ‘more hands make light work’. The role is not onerous and if you would like to know more about what it entails, please contact me on 07771 754025.
My thanks also go to all of you, our members, the readers of our FOCUS magazine for your continued support.
Tel : 07771 754025 firstname.lastname@example.org
As I reach the end of the 2019-20 financial year, despite an increasingly challenging environment, I am pleased to advise that the Association continues to be in robust financial health.
However, for the first time for several years, we closed the financial year with a deficit (£1,494) on the income and expenditure account which represents a turnaround (of approx. £2,600) from last year’s surplus. This deficit has arisen due to a combination of circumstances – both a fall in income and also one off and ongoing expenses.
Income is primarily lower due to a small dip in subscriptions and lower advertising revenues as some businesses need to be careful with their costs. We also saw a fall in the contribution made by the visits and trips in 2019. Whilst the visits continued to be popular and often oversubscribed, we unfortunately needed to rearrange the Sonning visit in 2019 due to adverse weather which then resulted in a loss on the event.
We have continued to manage costs during the year including keeping the cost of the production of FOCUS stable. The areas where expenditure have increased has primarily been related to support and donations given by the Association. These have included continuing to support various town amenities such as the Wildflower Meadow, Flowerbeds, and Xmas lights. In 2019 we also supported the successful Britain in Bloom campaign with a donation to purchase additional planters in the town and have donated £500 towards the planned 2020 VE75 celebrations in the town.
Finally, the deficit also includes an element of catch up in donations made by the Community in Action (CIA) from funds raised in previous years. Although CIA continued with its programme of tabletop sales, it was unable to hold the planned Festival of Choirs due to circumstances outside of its control. However, despite these challenges, CIA donated a total of £1,000 to the Ashley Hub, Parkinson’s Dance group as well as holding the annual afternoon tea event and the Xmas Party.
As last year, the large balances for Payments in Advance and Prepayments simply reflect money that has been received for tickets and expenses partly paid for the next trip in early 2020. As 2020 items, these will be included in next year’s income and expenses.
As Alan has indicated in his various reports in recent months, the costs of running the Association and the demand for support of the wider local community activities continues to grow and so the committee has agreed to increase subscriptions for 2020 to ensure we can continue to meet this demand through both this increase and also consciously continuing to reduce cash reserves (which have fallen in 2019-20 to £15,658).
Finally, I would like to thank our Accounts Examiner, Westlake Clark, for their support and prompt service during the year.
Harry Nash. Treasurer