AGM 2014

HPCA Ltd. annual meeting

Our AGM for 2014 was held on Tuesday 20th May 7.30 at the Live and Let Live pub in Windsor Road.   Rozzie at The Live produced her usual magnificent spread — those of you who missed it have only yourselves to blame.   Make it a date for next year.

In her annual report the chairman, Jane Dearling, said that the highlight of the year was the announcement — very low key — that the Borough Council had finally given up on its plans for a marina.   This development would have comprehensively destroyed the Doorstep Green, wasting the years of voluntary effort and the considerable public expense which had been put into its creation.
The story is not quite over yet because the marina has only been kicked into the long grass — although a very long way into the long grass, said Mrs Dearling.

A task group of councillors, set up to examine the overall regeneration and economic development of King’s Lynn, concluded that the marina plan was commercially unviable in the short to medium term.   The task group’s recommendation that the marina plan should cease to be a regeneration priority and that any public money already allocated to the project should be devoted to other needs was accepted by the council’s cabinet.

The ‘short to medium’ term was defined as to 2030 or beyond.   The agreement by which HPCA Ltd. manages the Doorstep Green runs until 2025 and by that time it will be up to other hands and minds to seek its continued protection.

News that the planned incinerator at Saddlebow had also been scrapped was equally welcome to everyone in King’s Lynn but not least to HPCA, the Green being in the direct path of any pollution which would have resulted from its development.

The Association has been rather less fortunate in its application for the Green to be registered as a Common.   The paperwork for this has now been with Norfolk County Council, the registration authority, for the better part of two years.   Regular enquiries as to its progress continue to be met with the explanation that the relevant department in Norwich is very busy.

Mrs Dearling expressed the thanks of the Association thanks to Hayes and Storr for allowing a member of the legal staff, solicitor Carla Goodyear, to advise and represent it in this application free of charge.   The Association continues to press for an outcome and a result, hopefully, which would protect the Green much further into the future than 2030.

The big capital outlay during the year was on the resurfacing of the main paths.   These were put down in 2004, when the Green was created and they had worn well but excessive footfall during the building of the bus route had created low spots which flooded during heavy rain.   The same Breedon gravel was used as for the original surfaces.

The day to day management of the Green has continued as usual. Work days were held on a monthly basis throughout the summer of 2013, enabling the brambles and other plants under control.   A regular team of supporters turn out for these days, come rain or shine.

The litter picking teams were active as ever in keeping the Green looking respectable despite the tide of beer cans, bottles and chip papers that generally face them after every summer weekend.

Work on the Green has never been confined to the formal days.   The grass on the Common and the flower meadow grows apace in spring and early summer and the Association secretary, Mike Nobbs, and Hugh Rout are the ones who turn out at short notice to keep it under control with the mowers.   Both have also proved not only to be skilled engineers when it comes to maintenance but highly versatile in dealing with all seemingly insoluble problems mechanical.

On a historical note, it is possible that the Mr Harding who gave his name to Harding’s Pits has been tracked down.
William Derisley Harding was a leading Lynn businessman who also farmed in the area in the late 19th century.   He held various public posts, mostly concerned with the rivers and inland drainage and he also built Islington Hall which still stands off the old road to Wisbech.   An email from his great-great grandson, Martin Harding, who now lives abroad, brought this news.   See the William Derisley webpage for more information.

Officers of the Association were re-elected — Mrs Dearling as chairman, Rick Morrish, vice-chairman, Margaret Worledge, treasurer and Mike Nobbs as secretary.