Annual General Meeting 16 March 2012
1. Chair’s Welcome and Apologies
We received apologies from Karen Beadle. Jane Shallice welcome us and said the turnout demonstrated the importance of the Pond. She mentioned the sad passing of Wyn Cornwell and talked about her long-standing and frequent attendance at the Pond. Her daughter Vickie and family would like to have a memorial bench at the Pond and Heath Superintendent Simon Lee has promised to deal with the application quickly.
2. Minutes of the AGM 18 March 2011
The minutes were agreed as a true record.
3. Matters Arising
Staffing: after advertising a fourth permanent lifeguard will be appointed and will start soon.
4. Chair’s Report (previously circulated)
Invitation to Men’s Pond swimmers: we have had to use the Men’s Pond several times this winter and would like to invite them to a swim at the Ladies’ Pond early one day as a thank you. The meeting agreed to this. This will be March 31st 7.30 – 8.30am.
The putting back of the limit line, and opening of the back gate, was delayed last year and the agreement is that the line goes back when the water reaches 12 degrees. JS will monitor to see this happens.
An American woman, Barbara Zitwer, has written a book (JM Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society) after visiting the Pond and she is due to visit the Pond on Wednesday 18 April when there will be a film crew (all women). Details will be put on the website and all women are invited.
Other key issues will be covered in the talk at the end.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Anne Elton (AE) mentioned an error in the accounts given out – it should say balance at bank 15/3/11 as £2026.77. A correct version has been issued.
Last year we made a small loss due to printing the postcards; this year we have made a small surplus but still haven’t paid off the postcards and we are having problems shifting them as the usual shops are less keen to take them. Ideas on selling them would be welcome (to Olga Way or AE). We are talking about producing another book.
Question from the floor about the loss: AE said our income was less than our expenditure but we still have a positive balance.
6. Membership Secretary’s Report
Anne Burley (AB) said that membership is stable with 553 members, quite a few new members but others had left or been removed due to non-payment.
In response to questions from the floor:
- reminders about paying are included in the newsletter and a subscription form is sent out with the newsletter before the AGM
- we have a notice and subscription forms in the changing room at the Pond and we sometimes set up a stall at the Pond. JS: anyone can do this during the warmer weather, get the table and chair from the lifeguards as well as postcards and forms
- we don’t have an interactive way for women to join on the website but the form is there to print and send off. Our bank balance is too small to set up a direct debit
- the membership year runs from one AGM to the next
- Action: we will consider life membership as an option
- Action: we will consider the use of Pay Pal if the bureaucracy is not excessive
- we put notices at the Pond about the AGM
- the lifeguards cannot be involved in selling membership as they are employed by the Corporation of London and have a different role
- Action: we will consider putting our bank details on the website and on the sub form
- on why the amount in subscriptions doesn’t match 553 members – because some members have not yet paid up
- JS will follow up on the possibility of putting some information about KLPA on the outside board.
Suzanna Dolata (SD) thanked members for their positive feedback on the newsletter. Many have said they are happy to receive the newsletter just by email. Previously at the AGM it was agreed that two newsletters would be sent by email to all members who have provided their email address, and the newsletter before the AGM would be sent out by hard copy. SD proposed that all newsletters be sent out by email. In answer to comments from members:
- a paper copy will be put on the board in the changing room
- anyone wanting to have a paper copy should email Ray Long
- Fiona Graph asked if anyone not getting emails who think they should to email her with their correct email address as she gets some non-delivery messages.
8. Election of Officers and members of the Committee
Fiona Ellis, Liz Meadows and Mary Rimington are standing down but have agreed to help on an ad hoc basis if needed. JS thanked them all for their contributions.
All other officers and committee members are standing again and were voted in:
Jane Shallice, Chair
Fiona Graph, Secretary
Anne Elton, Treasurer
Anne Burley, Membership Secretary
Margaret Dickinson, Webmaster
Suzanna Dolata, Newsletter
The following new members were voted in:
JS proposed that a working group be established to look at the constitution and the option of setting a fixed term for committee members – this was agreed.
- Margaret Dickinson mentioned that we are planning a book on walks and swims around or near London. If anyone is interested in being on the working group or to test the walks, please contact her
- a question was raised about the disabled toilet being used as a storage space; Action: JS to speak to the lifeguards about this.
Charging for swimming: very recent reports (eg Evening Standard) that the CoL are planning to use the changes to the Ponds for the dams work to introduce charging has been an unexpected development. KLPA’s position to now has been that we are against compulsory payment and this can only ever be voluntary. Compulsory payment would mean turnstiles or lifeguards at the gate; KLPA have been speaking to CoL about voluntary contribution boxes. There is information on the board about how to pay if you want (annual charge is £100 or £50 if retired; or pay for each swim £2/£1) but there is no ticket issued. Discussion from the floor was that, while some women agree with compulsory payment and others don’t, we need to respect both points of view, the Pond is a precious refuge for many women who value it for more than swimming, and there is a strong history of free swimming. A proposal was agreed that KLPA should be flexible in discussing changes but rigid in opposing any facilitisation of the Pond or the introduction of compulsory charging.
Water House planning application: this is for a doubling of the current size of the house and adding a basement – it will have a huge impact on hydrology of the surrounding area and access would only be via Millfield Lane. A previous opposition to planning permission for Fitzroy Park had been very successful as the planning inspector rejected it on the basis of construction traffic along Millfield Lane. It appears that a transport officer in LB Camden has passed the Water House application with no query about mixed use of the lane and the application now has to go to the planning committee. Simon Lee has done excellent research on the impact of using trucks on the Lane. We will put information on the website, send out emails and notices on the board; we all need to be vigilant and send our objections in when it goes to planning committee.
Discussion from the floor included whether women could use the back entrance to the Pond for access – but ambulance access is required along Millfield Lane; and access to the Water House is only possible along the Lane.
Dams work: JS said the CoL is appointing a landscape architect and engineer to oversee the development and will reassess all current proposals. Current plans are for the Ladies’ Pond to be raised by about 3 feet and all buildings on the platform to be moved. The lifeguards hut could go on the large meadow on stilts or alternatively on the other side of the Pond which is less desirable. We need to agree a ’shopping list’ of what we want and don’t want. The CoL has agreed KLPA can have a meeting to look at the proposals before they go to committee.
The meeting agreed we want changes to be discreet, ecologically sound and modest and as little change as possible – no extra new cubicles, no lockers. Comments and questions from the floor:
- we could approach eco-architect firms and organise a competition – JS said a local architect has been approached and the CoL is open to suggestions
- preference not to separate the lifeguards from the changing area and not to have a long walk from the changing room to the Pond
- we could have more hooks to hang clothes
- use salt rather than grit? JS said salt is not good for the water quality
- on whether the dams work will go ahead, JS said it will be down to whether it’s legally necessary
- comments that the risk of flooding is extremely small and the planned work is out of proportion – JS said we cannot refuse to discuss the changes and it is better to engage with CoL and wait for the time when a decision needs to be made
- the Hampstead and Heath Society are considering the possibility of a judicial review but have not yet decided on their stance.