Blackheath Village Society AGM
22 March 2022 at 8pm
Blackheath Village Hall
Christina Hartshorn (Chair), Paul Brodie, Peter Herbert, Margaret Weeks, Jan Cope, Paul Cope, David Allen, Jackie Beadell, Ralph Broadbent, Oscar Suarez, Lisa Danson, Sam Purvis, Elaine Thompson, Paul Thompson, Helen Brodie, Cheryl Braime, Laura O’Sullivan, Nicole Wilson, Liz Paterson, Nick Harrison, Wendy Harrison, Alex Onischenko (guest speaker), Simon Jones, Kate Webb, Oliver Maggs, Jane Hayward, Colin Hayward, David Bushill, Gina Bushill, Peter Walshaw, Peter Maggs
Penny Kirkwood, Graham Hayward, Alex Jones, Patricia Allen, David and Shelley Grisley, Mike & Carmina Harlow, Mia Dunkley, Paul & Elaine Vincent, Hamish & Henia Whiteman.
1. Minutes of the Last Meeting on 20 October 2021
Agreed. Proposed by Nick Harrison (NH) and seconded by Peter Walshaw (PW).
2. Matters Arising:
a) New Village Website:
Christina Hartshorn (CH) confirmed that the new website will be designed by Graham Webb (GW) and the BVS committee thanked him for his help and assistance in setting this up. We anticipate that the new website and mailing list, which will include all new members will be up and running very soon. There will be a proposed small annual charge for this service from each member, which will be communicated in due course.
b) Village Pub Update:
CH explained that we received a letter from Waverley Borough Council dated 8th March 2022 stating “This matter is subject to an open enforcement case and has been assessed by the Enforcement Team Leader and has been given the appropriate priority for the matter and resources to hand”
No further matters were proposed by those present.
3. Chair's Report:
A summary of the Chair’s report is detailed below and a full copy is available on request.
3.a The bonfire night was held at the cricket club on Saturday 6 November 2021 and proved to be a very successful event. Unfortunately Christmas events and carols were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and these will be resurrected this year. In any event we had some beautiful village lights displayed by residents throughout the village over the Christmas period.
3.b At the last AGM, Nick Harrison explained that a number of the aims of the 2008 constitution document and some of the projects and activities undertaken since then appeared to fall outside the BVS’s objects (Clause 2).
The primary object of the Society is set out in Clause 2(a) and is: "to promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Blackheath (Surrey) and the neighbourhood (hereinafter called the “area of benefit”) without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions by associating with the local authorities, voluntary organisations and inhabitants in a common effect to advance education and to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and leisure time occupation with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants."
The BVS committee agreed to set up a sub-committee (NH, Richard Williams - RW and CH) to explain BVS position, list our activities and ask for advice from the Charity Commission with regard to the precise scope of Clause 2 of the BVS Constitution. They responded on 3 February 2022 in fairly general terms.
They agreed that many of our historical activities are in furtherance of our objectives and did not criticise us for what we had done in the past, but indicated that in relation to some activities we should exercise caution in future and that the committee always needed to consider our objects carefully. They further advised that we could apply to amend our constitution to change the objects, but they could not give more detailed advice about that at this stage.
In the light of this advice the committee discussed whether it was necessary to seek further advice on particular issues at this stage or to apply to amend our objects. The committee decided that this was not necessary. If we are in doubt about a proposed activity in the future we can seek further advice. However, even though we are a small charity in comparative terms, we still need to comply with our charitable objects.
CH proposed a vote of thanks to Nick Harrison and Richard Williams for their time and efforts in furtherance of this re-consideration of the Constitution.
3.c It had been agreed that we would not have a village fair this year, rather concentrating on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party to prevent over stretching of our resources. CH explained the format of the street party which included the sale of commemorative mugs to remember the event. St Martins Church will also be open throughout the whole event, which has been arranged by Patricia Allen (PA) for the afternoon of Friday 3 June 2022.
A Surrey County Council donated Jubilee lime tree will also be planted during the early part of the next month to the rear of the recently cleared area of the village well. This was completed by a small number of residents who were thanked during the course of the meeting. It was proposed that we will celebrate the planting at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Party with as many of the village children as possible and take a commemorative photograph.
The BVS has also been provided with funds from Waverley Borough Council to replace the bench at the crossroads, which will be carried out shortly.
It was proposed that any extra monies received from the village party will be allocated to the Ukraine Appeal and Alex Onischenko will explain later on at the meeting how residents can help.
Questions were invited:
David Allen (DA) suggested that we should be very mindful of our objects set out in the BVS Constitution and if necessary seek further advice from the Charities Commission if any further issues arose.
Liz Paterson (LP) wanted it clarified that if a member of the BVS committee felt strongly enough to take a stand on something in an active way such as raising a petition or demonstrating and rallying others to demonstrate on a particular issue e.g Star Energy that they would have to make it absolutely clear that they were doing this as an individual and not representing the Committee or the village in any sense. In other words, there should be a clear division between the roles. CH did confirm that it would be fine for an individual to take a stance on an issue, but that the line between the individual and the Committee has to be kept clearly drawn.
4. Treasurer’s Report:
The report of the accounts ending 31 March 2021 were presented by Paul Brodie (PB) in the absence of Paul Vincent (PV). The report confirmed that due to the pandemic and absence of any usual activity there was very little change in the BVS financial position. The accounts were distributed to the members and formally adopted by Peter Herbert (PH) and seconded by Max Gibbs (MG).
5. Proposed Minor Amendments to the BVS Constitution:
Para 3. Membership. We need to maintain an accurate register of members. A Register of Members can be held in electronic format.
Para 6. Election of Committee Members. Taking out redundant wording.
Paras 7 and 9. Meetings and Finance. Replacing the wording of ‘audit’ with ‘independently examined.’
These changes were adopted by the necessary two thirds of the members as the updated Constitution of the Blackheath Village Society accordingly.
6. Election of new committee members:
It was confirmed that NH, PV and CH would be stepping down from the BVS committee. It was also confirmed that David Grisley (DG) would become interim Chairman of the BVS until this post can be filled on a permanent basis.
New nominations for Committee members included Simon Jones (SJ) and Laura O’Sullivan (LO’S). These were proposed by Jan Cope (JC) and seconded by Helen Brodie (HB).
7 Any Other Business:
The Crittall Estate: PB provided an update of the auction sales through Barney Estates and Auctioneers and Barnard Marcus. The plot (Blackheath Meadows) measuring 27.06 acres was sold to owners of Blackheath Farm and the other plots will be re-auctioned, as to date they have not reached their reserve price.
PB confirmed that there is a likelihood that Blackheath Meadows will not be available for parking at next year’s village fair. MG suggested that we approach the owners to park on the 3.23 acres (Finns Cottage) or on the 6.8 acres (Shamley View) which has a shared entrance opposite Barnett Hill. PB will communicate with Knight Frank Estate Agents to see whether this is possible. DA stated that some of the land may be sold to other third parties and broken up into smaller plots, but it is unlikely that any of the land will be developed.
8. The Ukraine Appeal:
Alex Onischenko (AO) who lives in Shalford, provided information about the serious troubles and need for housing and a safe environment for Ukrainian refugees. It was important to help as many refugees and AO will act as a mediator for anyone who wants to help.
He said that many people have been traumatised by their experiences in Ukraine, but still want to be independent and work in the community. AO has friends and family on the ground in Ukraine and Poland and is happy to vet any potential refugees for housing. He asked everyone in the community and the United Kingdom for their help and donations can be made through various charities. He thanked the community for their support and asked if anyone had any questions.
CH asked how we can be directed by him to offer any help and assistance. AO confirmed that they were setting up a legal framework for residents to contribute and he has a list of refugees looking for housing and it is still possible to match people on a case by case basis. Charlie Bennett (CB) asked whether there were any residents who wished to share accommodation for refugees and AO confirmed that this is something that he is looking at presently.
CH asked if Alex would put together a paragraph that we can circulate around the village advising residents how they can help with AO’s full contact details.
MG presented NH with a gift to acknowledge the major contribution he has made as a Committee Member and resident of Blackheath over the last eighteen years. This includes his professional advice in respect to Star Energy, the Asset of Community Value for the Villagers Public House and the regeneration of the Cricket Club, who have helped on many occasions with street parties and the annual Blackheath Village Fair. NH responded with thanks to everyone, but confirmed that he is still here to help with anything required even though he is stepping down from the BVS committee.
CH presented a gift to PV as Treasurer of the BVS over the last eight years and thanked him for his help and assistance. As PV was unable to attend the meeting, his presentation was given to CB who will present it to PV on his return to the UK.
Finally, PB presented the Chair with a similar gift in recognition for her important contribution as a member of the BVS Committee and various Sub-Committees together with acting Chair for the last five months.
As there was no further business to discuss CH closed the meeting at 9:05pm.
Blackheath Village Society
Tel: 01483 790000 Mob: 07768850003 Email: email@example.com