Thursday, 17 May 2018

AGM 16th May 2018

I am pleased to advise that at a very well attended AGM the following officers of the committee were unanimously re-elected to the following positions:

Chair               Tony Bedford
Secretary        Janice Robertson
Treasurer        Pauline Studman

I have attached my report below for information.

I would also like to thank Phil Bowsher from the Parks Trust for coming along and updating us on the Parks Trusts plans for the reserve and other PT land over the next few months - I look forward to seeing many of you at our various open days and events throughout the coming year.

Best wishes 

Tony Bedford


FoLLNR  AGM 16th May 2018

Chairman’s Report
            
Officers and Committee 
            
The Officers of FoHESC have remained unchanged since the last AGM. Jane Grisdale has now resigned from the Committee due to other commitments but will continue to be involved whenever possible.

Chair               Tony Bedford
Secretary        Janice Robertson
Treasurer        Pauline Studman


Committee Members are currently:

David Carter
Keith Gander
Malcolm Stewart
Michel Wellborn 
Neil Studman
Helen Brooks
Roy Platten
Saffron Summerfield

Parks Trust Representatives include:
Martin Kincaid
Phillip Bowsher
Carla Boswell


Election of Officers

Our constitution states that the elected officers shall serve for a term of one year and thereafter be elected at the AGM. 

This year I will be standing for re-election as Chair, Janice Robertson as Secretary and Pauline Studman as Treasurer.


I would like to take this opportunity to offer special thanks to Janice and Pauline for their work as Secretary and Treasurer respectively, to Jane for all the work she has done in organizing our events over the last year and to Pauline and Neil for once again being at the heart of all our Open Sundays by running the “Catering Department”. 

Thanks too to all the Committee Members who have given up their time to help organize plan and manage events throughout the year and of course a very special thanks to our very kind Cake Bakers and donators.






Membership

I am pleased to advise that our membership has remained stable over the last year and still stands at around 400.

FoLLNR Activities since the last AGM.

The FoLLNR Committee has continued to meet regularly since its formation to discuss and plan (in agreement with PT), conservation tasks, events and fundraising activities.

We continue to hold Open Sundays on the third Sunday of every month throughout the year. Attendance at these events has continued to grow and we regularly host over 100 guests and members.

We also continued to organise and host various events. During the last year these have included a guided walks, talks, presentations and the now infamous Fish & Chip Quiz Night curtesy of Keith Gander. 

We will continue to organise Bat and and Moth evenings and thanks go to Martin Kincaid and Gordon Redford for making these events so successful.

Bird ringing by the local BTO group has again continued on a monthly basis throughout the year with over 500 birds being ringed. When possible bird ringing has been co-ordinated to take place on an open Sunday so that visitors can watch and ask questions.

Our Flickr site continues to grow and now features over 5000 images. 

I have tried to maintain our Blog Site (fohescnews.blogspot.co.uk) which was set up in March 2012 to communicate news of views, events, sightings etc. and I hope it will continue to be an important part of our communication system. The sighting list within the blog has been kept up to date and we welcome feedback on any species we have missed. The Blog has now had over 62,000 hits since its inception.

Fund Raising Activities

Our primary sources of funding continue to be the sales of refreshments, second-hand books and other sundry items at the open Sundays and events.

Fund raising has enabled us to keep the reserve supplied with bird seed for the feeders and to provide money for tools, work materials and support various projects.

Practical Work Parties

We have averaged at least one work party per month over the last 14 year and our most notable achievement of the last year has been the completion of the new Warbler Hide. 

We have also carried out our usual tasks including: 

Clearing scrub and cutting back overgrowing trees around the reserve, keeping paths clear, seeding meadow flowers and planting and relocating small trees, installing nest boxes and bird feeder stations, maintaining seating benches around the reserve, painting tables, benches and tidying the front of house, repairing and cleaning hides.

The new bridge and new covered screen is nearly

My special thanks must go to David Carter for his work in and around the front Garden and to Neil Studman, Allan Clark and Simon Bunker for their work on the Warbler Hide,  along with all our other Sunday Volunteers, for their skills and energy on a variety of  tasks around the reserve. 

I would also like to thank the Milton Keynes Green Gym for the very much appreciated work they carry out around the site.

Results of BTO Bird Ringing Group

Over the past 12 months Kenny Cramer and his group have conducted 26 ringing sessions at Linford. During the course of these sessions they ringed 958 birds, and processed 415 retraps of a total 38 species.


New species ringed during the year included cuckoo, water rail, moorhen, stonechat and tawny owl.

5 birds were encountered that were ringed elsewhere:-

A blackbird ringed in Skegness in 2011
A blackcap ringed in Switzerland in 2017
A reed warbler ringed in Tring in 2013
A blackcap ringed in Tring in 2013
A garden warbler ringed in Icklesham in 2011


Working with the Parks Trust

I would like to say that working alongside the Parks Trust, who have the funds and support structure to address the maintenance tasks and projects that are beyond the resources of volunteers like ourselves, has been a great boost to the site management and to the upkeep of the site in general.

I and other members of the Committee maintain regular communication with the Parks Trust to discuss work plans, projects and ideas and I believe we continue to have a good working relationship based on mutual aims and goals.

I would particularly like to thank Martin Kincaid who has again been very supportive, along with Phil Bowsher and Carla Boswell who given great support particularly with H&S, Insurance and other administrative issues. I would also like to thank the PT for their prompt decision to relocate the public arts event planned at LLNR and wish them every success for the event at Linford Manor Park. 


Proposed Housing Development

As I am sure you know the appeal against the refusal of planning application for around 250 houses on the land adjacent to LLNR was refused by the Planning Inspector in March. This decision was made despite MKCs inability to demonstrate that they have a 5 year housing development plan in place and is a fantastic testament to all those who wrote in objection to the appeal and to those who attended and spoke at the Inspectors inquiry.



Our Future Plans

We aim to
·       Continue building on the excellent foundations we have laid down and to grow the membership of the Friends Group, so that the members may have a strong voice in helping influence the future of the site.
·       To continue to work on agreed tasks and projects as outlined in the Site Management Plan to maintain and enhance the condition of the site for wildlife and visitors.
·       To explore the opportunities for activities available on Open Sundays, walks, events and special interest meetings to meet the interests of the membership.
·       To agree with the Parks Trust and membership plans for future projects and possibilities for enhancing the site habitat and members enjoyment of our environment and wildlife. We hope this will soon include the construction of a new and much larger Sand Martin Nesting Bank on the South East shore of the main lake.

·       Strongly oppose any threats to the habitat, wildlife and our members enjoyment of the site and to encourage our partners the Parks Trust to do the same.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Planning Application Linford Lakes - Result of Appeal

Dear All

I am delighted to inform you that the appeal against the refusal of planning permission at Linford Lakes has failed and the appeal has been rejected.

I have copied the Planning Inspectors summary below - but in short he has found that although MKC have failed to demonstrate a 5 year housing supply - in this case the considerations of Landscape and Ecology (Biodiversity) outweigh the NPPFs presumption in favour of development.

I believe this decision has been significantly influenced by the evidence and submissions of those who attended the enquiry and spoke against the appeal and all those who wrote in to oppose the appeal on grounds of ecology.

It is a tremendous validation of the power of persuasion by people who truly deeply care about our environment and local resources.

I congratulate all of you why took the time and effort to get involved.

Tony Bedford
Chair FoLLNR

Inspector’s Conclusions

Compliance with the development plan
  1. The appeal proposal would conflict with MKLP Policy S10 by being located in the countryside. It would also conflict with Policy S11 by failing to protect or enhance the Area of Attractive Landscape, and with Policy NE1 by adversely affecting the Wildlife Corridor’s biodiversity.
  2. In relation to Policies S12 and KS3, the scheme would to some extent advance the aims of those policies in respect of public access to the Ouse Valley Linear Park and Linford Lakes areas. But it would conflict with S12’s requirements as to landscape and nature conservation matters.
  3. Looking at all of these relevant policies together, I find that the appeal proposal is in clear conflict with the development plan as a whole.

Other material considerations

98. The Council has been unable to demonstrate a 5-year supply of land for housing, and the development plan is silent as to how this shortfall is to be made up. Consequently, even though none of the policies directly affecting the appeal site are concerned with housing, the ‘tilted balance’ in NPPF paragraph 14 is engaged.
  1. On the positive side, the appeal proposal would provide 250 dwellings towards the Borough’s housing shortfall, and 30 per cent of these would be for affordable housing. In the light of the evidence, these dwellings are required to meet housing needs that would otherwise be unmet, and this carries significant weight. The economic benefits carry moderate weight. For the reasons already explained, the provision of public access to the ‘blue’ land also carries moderate weight; but any proposed landscaping or new habitat creation, either on- or off-site, would be essentially mitigatory or compensatory, and these therefore carry no more than neutral weight.
  2. But on the other hand, the development would intrude into the countryside, and into a designated AAL and Wildlife Corridor. It would cause substantial and irreversible harm to the Ouse Valley’s valued landscape. It wouldpermanently destroy priority habitats, threaten important wildlife, and weaken ecological networks. It would also take 15 ha of land from the Linear Park, reducing the scope for informal and passive recreation uses in the future.
  3. Cumulatively, it seems to me that these adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits that have been identified. The scheme therefore does not benefit from the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Overall conclusion

102. Having regard to the requirements of section 38(6) of the 1990 Act, these other material considerations do not indicate a decision contrary to the development plan. I have taken account of all the other matters raised, but none changes this conclusion. The appeal therefore fails.

John Felgate
INSPECTOR