Chairman’s Report 2011

St Ives Trust Chairman’s Report on behalf of the Trustees 2011

The most important event of the past year has been the amicable separation of the St Ives Trust and the Archive Centre.  This was agreed at the AGM last year and formally completed last September.  After fifteen years of close association it has seemed a little strange no longer to have financial responsibility for the Archive Centre; however it has allowed the Trustees to review the aims to the Trust and to decide how these may best be achieved in the contemporary environment.

The environment in which we operate is changing rapidly. The transfer of planning decisions from Penwith District Council to Cornwall Council has, as expected, resulted in some confusion and far less contact with planning officers familiar with St Ives.  This, together with the reduction of local representation on the Planning Committee, is a matter for concern. In addition far more decisions are being taken under delegated powers on the recommendation of officers; this was predictable and is necessary to make it possible for the committee to deal with the volume of business.

Another major change is the new Localism Bill and the planning changes associated with it.  Much of the all-important detail is unknown because a good deal remains to be determined in the secondary legislation that will follow the main bill. But certain points are clear:

  • There will be a new emphasis on ‘neighbourhoods’ in the planning process and the development of neighbourhood plans.  These are expected to provide a new tier of planning policy at a level below that of the local authority.
  • There will be a loosening of control over minor developments such as building conservatories or installing solar panels on roofs.
  • There is virtually no mention of design in the legislation.  It is clear that the aim is to give local communities more influence over the design of developments in their neighbourhood; but there is very little detail about how communities will navigate this complex system or what support or professional advice will be available to them.

The Trustees propose that in response to these challenges the Trust needs to engage positively with the impact of change on the town in a number of areas.

Development of the Built Environment

  • encourage and support beneficial proposals that improve the town.
  • review and reflect our members’ interest in proposed plans for substantial developments.
  • develop and encourage good design in the town.
  • act as a consultative body on appropriate planning committees.

Tourism

  • support tourism that builds upon the cultural heritage of the town.
  • promote a sustainable tourism policy.

Business

  • work positively with business organisations.
  • encourage a diverse range of businesses that support local needs.
  • support the continued provision of small workshop and studio spaces.

Culture and Arts

  • work with existing cultural organisations.
  • improve the opportunities for artists to work and exhibit within the town.
  • promote the unique cultural history of the town.

History and Natural Environment

  • promote the industrial, archaeological and cultural history of St Ives.
  • protect the natural habitat.
  • promote sustainable energy and environment.

In order to achieve this ambitious set of aims the Trust must look to develop closer consultative links both with the Town Council and with the Chamber of Commerce.  We also need to register our interest in becoming a consultative body to the Cornwall Council planning process.

All this will require an active and energetic group of Trustees.  If you are interested in promoting the aims of the Trust I hope that you will consider becoming a Trustee; a nomination form is included in this mailing, and self-nomination is not unknown.

It is also essential that we find effective ways of involving individual members far more directly than at present.  By themselves the Trustees cannot achieve all these aims, and we also need to be able to canvas the views of members.

One way of doing this will be to set up regular meetings of members, possibly at the Tate, to which speakers will be invited and particular topics discussed. We hope that the first of these meetings will be in May.  In addition we will resume the monthly informal meetings for a talk and a drink at the Western Hotel.

The most important means of communication will be the Trust website.  Thanks to a great deal of hard work by Yorick Benjamin the site is now fully functional atwww.stivestrust.org (note that this is different from the site that we used to share with the Archive Centre);  all it needs now is for members to begin to use it to make your opinions and suggestions known.  The intention is that, as well as allowing the Trustees to inform members, this should be an interactive website where ideas can be shared and policies developed.  In short, it is all up to you.

We apologise to those of you who are not internet users; we shall continue to try to keep you informed.

We hope that, with these new policies in place, the St Ives Trust will flourish, and will serve its members and the community at large in the years to come.

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