Minutes of Meeting – 20th Nov 2018

Apologies: Father Paul, Bethany Coyle, Bernie Caygill

Present: 22 paid up members

Chairman: Jodie Barwick-Bell

Matters Arising:

We are still awaiting info re Community Service people wanting to volunteer – Mandi to follow up.

Poetry Night for Dec – no details yet

Bike Project

3 Nov cycle event at Scout Hut attracted 35 people and 14 bikes were repaired. It was mainly young people. There were 4 volunteers and Bikes 4 health helped out. Both them and the Scouts are keen to keep involved. The initial trainee, Nigel, got a job, he has now moved on but he felt it prepared him for the real world of Bike Repairing. A very successful project.


This is a council scheme aimed at certain properties in the River streets. Solar panels are put on roof, which the council will own, but the householder gets the benefit of cheaper electricity. Also solid wall insulation and a mix of solar and ground source heat means there may be no need for a combi boiler. Council are preparing another bid to cover this.



Off to a slow start, now up & running. Greggs grant on council land at rear of park. Jeannie from Council has done 3 training sessions with the children and filled the raised beds. A Successful project.  The challenge is now to continue looking after it and make it work. We need to find a way to encourage the kids from the park group to stay involved. We have purchased some tools for them and also some tuck supplied to reward them. Will has spoken to the school and the scouts. They are keen to promote the children to go to the park and work in the orchard. We offered the scouts a donation to look after the orchard over the next year. They are concerned about how they would spend the donation and if they would get bad press. Jeannie from council charges £50 per session suggest 3 early and 3 late year sessions. Need further discussions. Need to send thank you letters to farmer Willey and Beveridge’s – Jill to sort out to names supplied by Jacky. It was noted that there was a lovely community spirit while everyone was working there.


Trish is leading on the allotment. Pigsty cleared out, Finola an elderly lady living here for 15 years delighted with her section of allotment, planted up. Still need more people to come & join in and take over a small plot. Needs more advertising – small workable strip, shared plot, share experience, help each other out. Barbecue area planned meet every Sunday 10am – 12noon. Barbara suggested handouts at Xmas Fair – as max No of people attending. Also feature it in next newsletter. Set a date for next event. It was mentioned that the Money coming to the Re-gen group from the Co-op 1% is going to the allotment.


They look amazing, refurbished by Men’s Shed. Originally in the park. Have not yet got permission from Council to install them. Suggested 1 at top Clyde street, 1 at top River Streets, 1 at Green, 1 at Lloyds corner – Dave to pursue with council.

Brighten Up

Huge success thanks to Will & Mandi for organising it. The volunteer events were successful, the planters look good. Having a last push this Saturday 10-4 at Pavilion to finish planting. The Community centre car park looks good. On 1st Saturday there were 7/8 adults and about 40 kids – they were praised at school. Skips were great but cost £400 each. Removed 12 tons of rubbish from village from skips alone plus black bags collected ( data for website).

How do we keep projects like this going forward? People don’t have lots of time. May need to move towards paying a professional Project Manager for bigger projects. It would be good if it was someone in the village. Bethany is willing to help if available. Volunteers gave cake & fed the workers if they couldn’t do manual work. We need to engage more people to continue looking after the 20+ planters. At next meeting we’ll have a list and an ‘Adopt a Planter’ for people to look after one in their area.

Business Meeting

Last 2 meetings not very well attended – only 4 businesses. Is this something they want to continue or change the venue? We have tried different days and times. Try to encourage new young entrepreneurs. Inter-trading done with other businesses already. Next meeting in January, will email and hand deliver leaflets for this.


The Bank

The bank is now owned by the Council, they are planning on giving us a unit there. Still working on plans. Acknowledged there is a shortage of business premises in this area. Dave thinks CRG has best overview of what is required. What happened to council feedback from consultations? Suggested we arrange a day time meeting with reps from council and feed back to CRG meeting. Cllr Adams, cabinet member took away a lot of info, where is the feedback? Report for next meeting – Jodie to action.


Plans were rejected, revised plans with minor changes but that may be enough by creating 1 parking space. Plans may go through this time. Encourage everyone to re submit objections. Asset of Community Value has gone through but owner phoned Jodie saying he agreed to sell 6 weeks ago for £950K when fully done up into 12 flats. In his eyes Asset of Community Value is 6 weeks too late. Has offered it to us for £400K. Jodie said we’d be prepared to buy it at market value but he won’t let us do that – stalemate. Why did he make that offer? Dave said the council has little power to stop it provided he meets the planning rules. One issue – he wants it to be a supported living place for people with learning difficulties – Gateshead council will NOT commission for that. In January – we need to think about what alternative building we could look at for the cycle hub.

Consultation Document

Making Spaces for Growing Places 2020-2030. Heartlands 89 houses, Valley Dene doesn’t have those 2 sites. 3 houses on ex garages site South Road. Need public Meeting re Valley dene. Council little power over developers. Heartlands still in Tyne Wear group – hopefully get it out of that scheme. Meeting to be set up with 3 councillors. Could planners meet with Directors to justify their decisions?

Christmas Lights

Help needed from this Friday 10am -12. 4 sites to install. All lights to be on timer. We need someone to take over this project for next year – it would be good if they could be involved this year to see what’s required.


Need new person to take over these for next year.

Making Every Contact Count

Free resources available and training to help improve health, well being, motivation, weight management, etc.  2 hrs training available.

Anything Else

Pop up Restaurants

Next one in Spring. Last one raised over £500 and was biggest attendance yet.

Park Pump Track

Wishart visit, Dan had 3 meetings throughout the day. Bike Groups offering huge support. Final part of Leader bid going in, hopefully start to build in Spring/Summer 19. It has cut anti-social behaviour by 60% in Wishart. Mandi mentioned that if we host major competitions it could lead to crowds of 11,000 people attending – huge benefit to businesses in Chopwell. Mandi to keep us informed.

Future Meeting Dates

Due to Jodie’s new work commitments we will try a Sunday meeting next time – Sun 27th Jan 7.30pm gaffers.



Leave a comment