The Committee held their Annual General Meeting in the Hall at 19:00 on June 4th 2019. Posters were displayed around the village, inviting everyone interested to attend. As always, we hoped for a good crowd, but, again as usual, the numbers were few. Here is a list of those who came along:

Faith Myers
Keith Newman
Stuart Allison
Bruce Hogan
Geoff Phelps
Nigel Cooper
Pam Taylor

Helen Wragg – WI
Sid Phelps – District Council
Graham Williams – Lydbrook Players
Terry Hannam
Pam Callow
Simon Callow
Sue Vincent – Parish Council
Rachel Mowatt – WI
Matthew Williams – Parish Council
Apologies from Tammie & Jon (Royal British Legion) who were held up by traffic on their way back from Belgium. ��

After the minutes from the previous AGM were approved, Chair, Stuart Allison, gave his report (As he is also the usual photographer at such events, there are none of this one.) His report is given below for those who were unable to attend on the night.

Report from the Chair:

This report is to let interested parties and the general public know how the Committee has managed Lydbrook Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground during the past financial year.

I’ll summarise events for the year and then explain our intentions for the future. Please ask questions after the Treasurer’s report, when we’ll do our best to answer them.

At the 2018 AGM a committee of 8 members was elected, including Representative Members from Lydbrook Primary School, Lydbrook Baptist Church, Lydbrook AFC, Lydbrook Players, and Lydbrook Athletic Club. A small but hard-working group who could have done so much better with more members. The more we have, the better we can serve the community.

The facilities of the hall and recreation ground are well used, but there’s capacity for more events of all kinds in both venues. Attempts to improve them for the benefit of the community are ongoing.

In the hall we’ve hosted user groups including yoga and Zumba, burlesque performers, occasional shows by outside professional players, a book sale, a rehearsal by Morris Dancers, and occasional parties for children and adults. We also held a Poppy Appeal day, a display of many of Lydbrook Historical Society’s records, a British Legion Murder Mystery and a Family Disco. The hall was also used for recent elections. Our regular users are; Lydbrook Players, the badminton club, the WI, Parish Council, and our tenants, Lydbrook Athletic and Football clubs.

The recreation ground continues to be used by Lydbrook AFC for matches, and is also available to local people for exercise and casual sport. Some excitement was caused by the launch of a hot air balloon by a private user; an event that may be repeated. We recently held a car boot sale to raise funds and this is now expected to be a regular monthly event during the summer. The car park continues to be used by residents, customers of local businesses, church congregations, parents collecting children from school, and parties of visiting walkers.

With the Hall in its nineties, it needs regular maintenance and some refurbishment and updating of facilities. The bay window, despite attempts to seal it, continues to leak, and this is being investigated by a qualified roofing concern to make it properly watertight.

The recreation ground is open to threat from boar invasion; something that’s ruined a few playing fields in the Forest. The vexed question of the wall around the field remains. This wall was built by volunteer labour in the 1920s, using stone gifted by the Forestry Commission. Unfortunately, because of increases in the quantity and speed of traffic, the risk of injury or death caused by vehicles speeding past the entrance to the recreation ground on Church Road is a real concern. We have a legal responsibility to drivers and pedestrian users of the field to ensure their safety.

So, what has the Committee been doing on your behalf over the past year?

As we sit, thanks to a grant from the Parish Council, the toilets are being modernised, including the disabled toilet, which is being brought up to current standards. Further redecoration inside the hall continues; this is an ongoing need, as the hall is a large building and our group of volunteers is small. We erected a new flagpole and flag outside the hall. Silhouettes of soldiers and a memorial bench were donated to commemorate our war dead. Funds raised separately for the Players are soon be used to replace the aging stage front. The hall floor has been stripped, sanded and resurfaced with the new badminton court now protected by the finish. The bay window roof was resprayed with waterproofing. The damaged window in the ladies’ toilet has been replaced, and the broken window in the loft above the stage repaired. The central heating developed a small problem, which has now been repaired.

On the rec, overgrown weeds and brambles were sprayed to kill them. These still require clearing, and we invite volunteers to help with their uprooting and disposal. We had to remove the portion of wall leading up Church Road to give vehicles and pedestrian users proper visibility. Anyone who’s used the entrance knows the sight-lines were seriously compromised. We’re still working on the curved wall lower down Church Road. The reduction in height to that part was interrupted due to a lack of funds for the equipment needed. We welcome any contributions of money, equipment and expertise, to complete that job and to replace the coping stones, which we’ve kept, to finish it off neatly. There’s also a need for repairs to parts of the rest of the wall where plants have dislodged some mortar. The football club has refurbished, re-roofed and redecorated their changing rooms.

We made 2 planning applications earlier this year. One was to formalise the proper use of the car park on the recreation ground. As the result of a complaint made by a resident, we were initially advised by the FoDDC we must apply for a Change of Use. The costs for this application were met by Matthew Jones. However, it became clear that the advice was incorrect, and we instead needed to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development, for which we were required to pay another fee. That certificate has now been issued, making that part of the field a formally recognised public car park. As it’s on our private land, we’re now determining how best to ensure it’s used responsibly and to the continued benefit of the whole community.

The second application was for an extension to the Athletics Club and the Hall. This has also been granted and we’re now in the process of deciding how best to develop the extra space that will become available in the hall. Suggestions are welcome.

The charity’s website continues to be updated with copies of the minutes of each meeting and financial reports as required. It also carries news about the venues and advertises upcoming events. Everyone’s welcome to visit the site. There’s space for comments there should anyone wish to be involved.

As to the future, we hope to further improve the Hall and make it into a first-class venue for our community. On the recreation ground we intend to tidy the wall, complete the car park changes, and finish work on installing the new fences and repairing the old damaged fence. We also hope to take advantage of a charity that supplies sapling trees for use in such locations and to plant some on the upper slope against Church Road, to provide a more pleasant outlook for all.

A ring-fenced sum is in place for a possible children’s play area on the recreation ground. We’re looking at the possibility of terracing some of the slope to accommodate equipment. Nikkie England, along with a couple of other mothers, is creating a separate charity to organise this venture and any support would be most welcome. There are considerable costs involved, including the purchase, erection and maintenance of equipment and annual insurance cover for possible damage and third-party claims for injury.

So, that’s where we are.

Finally, I wish to thank the outgoing committee for all their hard work. I took on the role of Chair under protest and will be resigning that position at the next monthly meeting.

The Committee would like to thank the following people for their help and support:

Lydbrook Athletic Club for paying for labour for the floor.

Jim Matthews for voluntary work on the new floor, and for the new fencing across the recreation ground.

Geoff Phelps for construction and erection of the new fence up Church Road.

Maxine and Terry Hannam for their gift of the new flagpole.

Adrian Watts, a former trustee, for his gift of a petrol strimmer, which he used to trim the grass above the wall along the main road. The machine is now held by Bruce Hogan, who’s taken over the care of the grass.

Keith Newman for replacing the plaques in the hall entrance following redecoration and many other jobs around the hall.

And the anonymous Others, who’ve carried out many sometimes small, sometimes large jobs to keep the hall and the recreation ground functioning for the benefit of the whole community.

Last, but by no means least, we welcome our new booking secretary, Zoe Lingham, who takes over from Faith Myers after this meeting.

This demanding role, not always fully appreciated, is a vital job, providing not only a point of contact for all users, but involving the opening and closing of the hall on every occasion, often dealing with odd emergencies as they occur, and keeping a diary to ensure people can get in for their particular event. Faith joined the Committee in 2016 and volunteered as both booking secretary and minutes secretary, another essential role, which she’s fulfilled brilliantly. She’s leaving us only because she’s also leaving the village, and she’ll be sorely missed. We’d like to thank her for her sterling work over the past few years. She’s done a great deal for the charity and deserves our appreciation. Thank you, Faith.

I now hand you over to Keith Newman, our treasurer, for his report.

The Treasurer’s printed summary sheet is displayed below. Keith Newman gave an explanation of the figures and answered questions from the floor regarding these. (the Minutes from the meeting will be displayed on the usual page on the website once they have been approved by the next monthly meeting, due on 2nd July at 19:00)

There followed a short session of questions from the floor, including some requests for clarification over the planning applications and our intentions for the future. (Again, these will be included in the minutes as above).

The current committee was then stood down. A new committee was formed as follows:

Representative Members from Organisations who are Users of the venues:

  • Lydbrook AFC – Jim Matthews
  • Lydbrook Athletic Club – Nigel Cooper
  • Lydbrook Baptist Church – vacant
  • Lydbrook Parish Council – Bruce Hogan
  • Lydbrook Parochial Church Council – vacant
  • Lydbrook Players dramatic Society – Pam Taylor
  • Lydbrook Primary School – vacant
  • Lydbrook Royal British Legion – vacant
  • Lydbrook Women’s Institute – Helen Wragg
  • Coleford Over 21 Badminton Club – Stuart Allison
  • Forest New Life Church – vacant

Elected Members (up to 6 required by the constitution):

  • Keith Newman
  • Geoff Phelps
  • Matt Williams
  • Terry Hannam
  • Zoe Lingham is the new booking secretary but was unable to attend. She will be invited to act as a trustee at the next meeting.

The vacant seats for the Representatives of User Organisations can be filled by nominations from those organisations. Please use the contacts form to inform the committee of such nominations.

The next meeting date for the new committee was decided as 19:00 on Tuesday 2nd July. As always, interested members of the public are invited to attend.

The meeting was then closed, and light refreshments served.

Our thanks to those who made the effort to come along and take an interest in these venues that serve the whole of the local community.

What’s Going On at the Recreation Ground?

Fence new 1-8613
The new fencing is slowly being put in place.

Those most affected have been officially notified, so we can now inform everyone of what we intend for the Recreation Ground and its car park. Rumours spread easily when there’s no information, and we’d like everyone to be aware of what we’re trying to do.
As you know, the field is used by Lydbrook Athletic Football Club for matches and by children and others on other occasions. The car park has been used for many years by residents, visitors walking in the forest, parents delivering and collecting children from the local school, customers of local businesses, and church congregations, especially for funerals, christenings, weddings and special celebrations. Without the car park, everyone would be forced to park on the main road, which is very narrow and carries HGVs, and/or on Church Road, which, as a bus route, is also not good for parking.
The District Council received a complaint about use of the car park, and, as a result we were required to apply for planning permission to continue its use. The alternative was to lock the gates and deny use of the facility, causing serious road safety hazards. After the initial application was made difficult by officials at County level, we were advised to use a different approach. We applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness, as the car park has been in continuous use for well over 10 years. That application is currently ‘live’. There’s no intention to use the car park any more than has been the case for decades, we’re simply required to formalise that use.
We’re now replacing the missing fencing with specially made rails to match those already in place up Church Road. The original wall, built in the 1920s when traffic was sparse and a lot slower than today, restricted driver visibility when entering and exiting the site. It was removed for safety reasons. It is now easy for car park users, and those driving along Church Road, to see traffic.

Fence 3-8616
Posts are in place ready for the new panels across the field. There will be a pedestrian gate at one end of the line and a vehicle access gate to allow grass-cutting and other vehicles onto the field when necessary.

We also need to separate the playing field from the parking area to protect it from potential wild boar damage. You’ll all be aware that several local sporting facilities have been ruined by such incursions. Fencing for that has been donated and is being fixed in line with the requirements of Sport England, who oversee the use and protection of playing fields. All this work is being done by unpaid volunteers and will therefore take time to complete. Please bear with us.
Once the above work is done, we want to apply to an organisation that supplies free saplings for planting in public spaces. We hope to place decorative trees at intervals along the slope from the entrance up the hill to the top of the field to enhance the look of the facility for everyone, and to make a contribution to environmental stability. This will affect only the top of the slope, as there’s still an intention to do some work on the area in the hope of providing play facilities for young children. A small committee is currently being formed to investigate how best to achieve this. One of the fundamental issues is the high cost of insurance for both public liability and damage to any equipment installed.

Fence new 2-8636
The new panels match the old ones and will be painted black once all have been installed.

During recent resurfacing of Church Road, we let the contractors use the car park in order to reduce congestion along the main road. In return, we were given some road scrapings to help with the parking surface. This will be spread, again by volunteers, as soon as we have the opportunity.
The wall that curves around the lower end of the Recreation Ground is being reduced in height to give pedestrians and drivers a clear view of traffic, some of which approaches at high speed when rounding the bend. This work is part done, and we’d appreciate practical help from any individual or company with the necessary equipment to complete it. As a charity, we lack funds to pay for such work. All activity is done by volunteers. No doubt the miners and other volunteers who built the wall in the 1920s would be pleased we’re carrying on the tradition of offering the facility to fit modern usage, understanding that traffic has greatly increased and moves much faster than in their day. Clearly, no one wants children, or anyone else using the car park, put in danger because of poor visibility and badly driven vehicles. The old coping stones have been preserved and will be replaced on the remaining wall once it’s been reduced in height.
We can afford the materials but not the wages generally paid for such skilled work. Anyone willing to do this, or any other work, please contact us using the form in the ‘Contact’ tab above, or speak to any Trust Committee member. Your help will be much appreciated. Thank you.
We hope this rather long explanation will inform everyone about our intentions, and our reasons for making the changes. We’re aware rumours have been circulating, and we’re sorry we were unable to provide full information previously; certain issues were undecided until recently. We are trying our best, with limited funds, an aging and small committee, and few volunteers, to improve these valuable facilities for the benefit of all who use them. Your comments, in the space provided below, are most welcome.
Thank you.
A second post will follow shortly, to explain what’s happening with the Hall. Watch this space.