Annual report 2017

The Enfield Society Management Committee Report for the year ended 31st December 2017

Directors

Members of the Management Committee have legal responsibility as directors of the Society as a Company and as trustees of the Society as a Charity. All Committee members must be members of the Society. During the year ended 31st December 2017, the following served as members of the Management Committee:

Dave Cockle (Chair)
John Davies
Tony Dey
Robert Fowler
Stephen Gilburt
David James (Hon. Treasurer)
Joyce James
Nigel King
Janet McQueen
Stuart Mills
Val Munday
Anne Osborne
Richard Stones (Hon. Secretary)
John West
Moira Wilkie (who retired in June)
William Wilson (co-opted)
Leonard Will

The President, Dr Christopher Jephcott, attended meetings regularly during the year, until prevented by his illness. Dr Jephcott’s death in June 2017 brought an end to his immense contribution to the Society over many years, and the Society misses his energy and wisdom.

Structure, governance and management

The governing body of the Society, known as the Management Committee, consists of not less than six or more than eighteen members. Both the Honorary Secretary and the Honorary Treasurer are ex officio members and up to three members may be co-opted to serve on the Management Committee.

At every annual general meeting one third of Committee members retire and may be re-elected. New members can be proposed by the Committee or by any member of the Society provided they have the support of nine other members. If necessary Committee members are given training and attend relevant courses and seminars as appropriate to their role within the Society.

Strategic aims

The main aims of the Society are to:-

  • Conserve and enhance buildings and groups of buildings of architectural quality or historic interest
  • Defend the integrity of the Green Belt
  • Protect and improve open spaces and views
  • Ensure that new developments are environmentally sound, well designed and take account of the relevant interests of all sections of the community
  • Publish papers, books, reports and literature
  • Make surveys and prepare maps and plans and collect information in relation to any place or building of historic or architectural interest
  • Assist in the preservation and maintenance of footpaths, commons and rights of way
  • Promote and pay the expenses of meetings, conferences, lectures and exhibitions, whether public or private

Financial Results

Overall there was a net increase in our total funds of amounting to £1,799. Our total funds at 31st December 2017 were £395,879.15, of which £279,777.68 formed our General Reserve, which can be used for the charitable purposes of the Society generally.

Reserves Policy

The policy of the Society is to maintain unrestricted funds, which are the free reserves of the Charity, at a level which would allow the Society to contest actively any threat to its aims. The members of the Management Committee consider that the balance of the reserves, after deduction of the designated and restricted funds, is reasonable in view of the high legal costs that could be incurred in defending such threats.

Review of the year and future developments

There were few changes in the Management Committee this year. We currently have vacancies on the Committee. We have co-opted William Wilson on to the Committee and would welcome further support in the running of the Society from our other members. Do feel free to speak to Committee members at our AGM to learn more.

Following the death of our President Dr Chris Jephcott, we were pleased to nominate Colin Pointer and Monica Smith, who have both given distinguished service to the Society for many years, to become joint Presidents. They have both accepted and the appointments are subject to ratification at the AGM.

Membership is just slightly reduced as compared to that of a year ago.

Our award-winning Newsletter is sent to all our members four times a year. We encourage new members to join by advertising the Society in local public buildings, having a presence at local festivals and using our very active social programme of walks and talks which are free of charge to our members.

We have continued to work closely with the Council, meeting both the Leader of the Council and Council officers regularly. We have worked to mutual advantage with several other local organisations such as the Southgate District Civic Trust and the Friends of Chase Green.

During the year the Society agreed to make grants to St John’s Church, Clay Hill towards the cost of re-erecting their Lych Gate; to the Friends of Bush Hill Park to enable more secure fencing to be erected around the Wildlife Garden; to Forty Hall Farm to fund information boards about the use and history of the farm; to the historic Charity School Hall, Edmonton, for urgent repairs and maintenance; and to Enfield Archaeology Society to assist it in publishing First stop north of Londinium, its definitive book on the archaeology of Roman Enfield. We continued to sponsor the schools education programme at Forty Hall.

The Society is a member of Civic Voice, the umbrella organisation for UK civic societies, and is also a member of the London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies and of the London Green Belt Council.

Looking to the future, the projected population increase in the Borough and associated densification of developments will keep our Architecture and Planning Group busy.

Other Society matters in 2014 are covered in the following reports.

Architecture and Planning Group

As well as monitoring all planning applications we have produced and submitted reports on the Draft London Plan and also on the Enfield Town Centre Draft Framework Master Plan. We also need to continue to monitor any revisions of the Local Plan.

Footpaths and Open Spaces Group

As in previous years, the Society remains concerned over potential threats to the Green Belt and urban open spaces and parks that arise from local and regional development pressures.

Within the urban landscape the loss of trees, shrubs and then hard-paving of front gardens is increasingly having a disastrous effect upon the visual quality of individual streets and also results in substantially higher levels of urban pollution and rainfall flooding. On a related topic, we have raised with the Council the widespread problem with some residents who, instead of applying for a crossover access to their land, continually drive over pavements and grass verges or even remove pavement shrubbery to gain access to their frontages.

2017 saw resurfacing of paths across Hilly Fields. In September, and after 10 years, there was completion of the legal process creating as rights of way the Merryhills Way paths over Vicarage Farm to the north of Enfield Road.

Unfortunately, in November the “Spurs Path” between Myddelton House Gardens and Bulls Cross was closed for essential remedial work which Enfield Council hopes to complete during Spring 2018. We continue to press the Council on necessary re-signing works for the Pymmes Brook Trail.

Outstanding for some years, no work has commenced on the proposed extension of the Greenway westwards from The Ridgeway. Originally expected in the 2015/16 financial year, it has slipped back to a possible start in the 2018/19 year. However, this now seems doubtful due to the current shortfall in TfL’s budget.

We thank those members who give their time to plan and lead our walks and visits, of which there were 67 in 2017 (68 in 2016). The total number of attendees was 1,489 which was down by 13% from 1,713 in 2016, mainly due to adverse weather coinciding with many of our walks in the second half of the year. We continue to include “Discovery Walks” and “Strolls” in the programme.

Heritage at Risk Group

During 2017 the group has continued to meet regularly and work on several aspects of Enfield’s heritage. We are very pleased that the Local Heritage List is now complete and been published by the Council. The list is available on line and is in active use by the Council’s Planning Officers. We have also kept the long list and the associated photos, i.e. all those structures proposed and not just those chosen to go forward, as it is interesting in itself showing the state of Enfield’s environment in 2015. From this we have developed a list of local street furniture of historical interest and are compiling one of river furniture.

A training day on war memorial recording in association with Civic Voice has been held and volunteers are now starting to record our local war memorials which are much more numerous than you might suppose, with many being hidden away in schools and other buildings and some in a poor state of repair.

Other projects have included reviewing Enfield’s national listed buildings, in particular those on the at risk register, and recording the local plaques. We continue to feed regularly into the meeting with the Council Officers and Leader trying to maintain a dialogue about the state of Enfield’s heritage, very much at risk in these days of increasing financial austerity.

Historic Buildings Group

During the year there were illustrated talks on Victorian artists at St Paul’s Cathedral, Mediaeval English painted churches, London’s railway termini, Alexandra Palace, Trent Park Mansion, Forgotten houses of Tottenham, Medieval Kremlins and monasteries on Russia’s Golden Ring, and the River Lea. There was also a programme of films of Edmonton and Enfield made between the 1930’s and 1970’s which brought back memories for many.

The newsletter had articles on Clay Hill, Upper Edmonton, St Stephen’s Church – Bush Hill Park and the River Lea/Lee Navigation. A guided walk down Clay Hill enabled several of the listed historic buildings to be examined from all sides. On a visit to Enfield Grammar Lower School members were able to see inside the 17th and 19th century Enfield Court as well as to explore the grounds and sports halls and hear anecdotes of school life.

Records and Research Group

The group continued to work on sorting and arranging the archival records of the Society as well as our extensive collections of photographs and slides, adding appropriate ones to the image gallery on our website. Other members of the Society contributed to the work of sorting and selecting the most appropriate slides for us to digitise. We dealt with several enquiries and supplied good quality copies of photographs where appropriate, for private use. Liaison continued with the Enfield Local Studies Library and Archives, to whom we referred several enquiries about people and organisations, which we do not cover. We are grateful for some donations of material, which we kept or passed on to Local Studies as appropriate. We contributed to the preparation of The Enfield book 2017: a young explorer’s guide by providing photographs and enhancing them where necessary for publication.

Publicity Group

During the year we continued our regular activities, co-ordinating production and circulation of four quarterly issues of Enfield Society News, morning and evening meetings, updating community notice boards at Jubilee Hall, Frogs Bottom and Enfield Chase railway station and arranging the society Annual General Meeting. We also continued updating and maintaining the TES website and our Facebook page.

We organise Heritage Walks and a coach outing. We also attended the Enfield Market show in April, the Winchmore Hill Fancy Fair in July, and the Enfield Town Autumn Show in September as well as organising the New Members Evening, which attracted more than 50 attendees.

Publications continue to sell well through Waterstones, Forty Hall and other outlets. In the year we published Monica Smith’s new book: The Enfield book 2017: a young explorer’s guide.

Trees Group

The Trees Group seeks to support tree planting initiatives across the Borough and to protect trees by monitoring tree maintenance and taking up any concerns with the Council or private landowners. We try to ensure that trees with Tree Preservation Orders are not removed without consent.

The Group maintains the Society’s Tree Nursery at the Trentwood Side allotment. This involves bringing on saplings and planting them out at sites that need new or replacement trees. The main focus of the tree nursery is to encourage the planting of native species. There are over 100 saplings at the nursery and about 25 are ready for transplanting to other sites We have previously been involved in successful tree planting schemes at the Firs Farm wetlands and Woodcroft Nature Reserve and we are currently working on plans to plant trees at Tatem Park, Weir Hall Recreation Ground, Cat Hill open space and The Grove. The Group works closely with Friends of Parks Groups and the Council’s Arboricultural Officers.

Through tree planting projects and publicity we are seeking to raise the profile of tree planting and tree maintenance and to increase people’s knowledge about trees. By ensuring that trees are planted and protected there will be environmental benefits for future generations.

The Group has regular allotment working party meetings to maintain the tree nursery and plan new initiatives.

Cleaner Neighbourhoods Group

2017 was the first full year of operation for the Cleaner Neighbourhoods Group. By the end of the year, the group had 32 of members, many of whom turn out regularly to our events. As well clearing litter, these events have proved to be a social occasion, an opportunity for members to get together whilst participating in a community project.

The first major event of the year was our participation in the Great British Spring Clean at the beginning of March, a national clean-up sponsored by Keep Britain Tidy. For our location we chose Albany Park, Enfield Lock, and nearby footpaths. 12 volunteers turned out for this event and together we collected a total of 26 bags of litter plus various other dumped items. Other notable events included a joint clean-up with the Southgate and District Civic trust in June (12 volunteers, 20 bags of litter) and the Pymmes Brook Trail where it passes through Palmers Green south of the North Circular Road in November (18 volunteers, 60 bags of litter).

All told, we held ten major, plus several smaller, events in various parts of the Borough during 2017. We collected a total of 238 bags of litter as well as many other dumped items too big to go in the bags. Much of what we find is plastic bottles, drink cans and takeaway food wrappers. There seems now to be a greater awareness of the damage caused to our environment, especially by plastic waste, but we have yet to see any real improvement in the local situation.

Finally, thanks go to Enfield Council for supplying us with litter bags and collecting the bags after each event, as well as the charity Cleanup UK for providing equipment including litter grabbers and gloves.

Financial review

The short financial review part of the annual report was circulated to members with the Summer 2018 issue of Enfield Society News. The full accounts are made available for inspection at the AGM.

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