The 2023 Cookham Society AGM will be held on Thursday 9th March at the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Before the main business of the meeting, our local celebrity, the well-known documentary-maker and actor, Ross Kemp, will be speaking about his career as an actor, author and BAFTA award-winning documentary film maker.
Notice convening the meeting
Apologies for absence
Minutes of the 56th AGM*
To note the Reports of the Officers for 2022*
To note the Trustees’ Report and the unaudited Accounts for 2022*
To approve the appointment of an Examiner for the 2022 accounts
To elect the Officers and Committee for the ensuing year; see notes (a) and (b)
To elect a President for the Society for the coming year
To transact any business approved for discussion under Rule 13.8.9; see note (c)
Any other business
a) The present officers and committee members are:-
Chairman: Mr B Perry
Vice-Chair: Mrs L Penston
Secretary: Mrs L Penston
Treasurer: Mr M Chapman
Membership Secretary: Mr O Wardell-Yerburgh.
Committee members: Mrs F Beaumont, Mr S Cooke, Mr J Foord, Mrs L Peters, Mr D Scarff,
Mr B Weare, Mr J Zealley.
President: Mr T Denniford
b) Rule 13.4 states: Nominations for election of a member as an Officer or an ordinary member of the Committee must be made by two members of the Charity in writing, consent having been given by the nominee, and must be in the hands of the Secretary of the Committee at least 7 days before the meeting (i.e. the 2nd March 2023). Nominees must declare any financial or political interest which is likely to be of concern to the Charity and such information shall be made available to the meeting”. Nomination forms can be obtained from the Secretary, Mrs L Penston, 01628 473862, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
c) Members wishing to raise any matter under Rule 13.8.9 are requested to notify the Secretary (Mrs L Penston) not later than 27th February 2023
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT FOR 2022
Like so many organisations, the Cookham Society were very pleased to be able to return to a normal rota of meetings and activities after the limitations of the pandemic. We held seven general committee meetings over the year.
In particular, we:
Enjoyed a successful, well-attended AGM in March 2022. Our speaker was Dr Gabor Thomas of Reading University, who talked about the exciting dig in Holy Trinity Church’s paddock.
Awarded a life-time membership to Dr Shez Courtenay-Smith in recognition of her drive and commitment to the compilation of the Village Design Statement and for her wider service to the Cookham community.
Also awarded our annual Design Prize to Tars Platt, against a very strong field of entrants. Tars Platt is a turn of the century villa close to the Old Cricket Common. It won in recognition of the outstanding quality, and remarkable attention to detail paid to the ‘finish’ of its restoration project.
The Society’s Planning and Environment Committee continued to hold meetings every other week on Zoom, under the Chairmanship of Dick Scarff. It has again done terrific work for the community. Besides its normal business, it obtained Counsel’s opinion which clarified not only to us, but also to the Borough, a useful point on maximum eaves height of household Permitted Development (the relevant application was withdrawn).
Late in the year, we were pleased to meet Stephen Cooke and Jonathan Foord, potential new members of the Committee. In the event, we co-opted them early in 2023.
Thanks to the generosity of renewing members, donations and Gift Aid, as well as prudent management, we again achieved a small financial surplus, despite the cost of legal advice.
My thanks go to every member of the Committee.
OFFICER'S REPORTS FOR 2022
At 31st December 2022 the Society’s funds stood at £56,600. This is very similar to 2021 and demonstrates that costs were kept under control during the year. The outlook for 2023 appears stable, subject to any extra costs which may be incurred on planning issues. The Society continued to hold funds of £1,364 on a trustee basis for two village interest groups.
Efforts continue to increase the level of subscriptions and the committee will be focused on growing the membership. It has been gratifying that many people who have renewed their membership have also chosen to make donations to our funds.
The Society’s policy is to maintain reserves at a level which will form the basis of a contingency fund should a major planning issue arise again. Recognising the current cost of professional advice, an amount of £50 - £60,000 is currently viewed as appropriate for the purpose.
Membership numbers and Facebook interest in the work of The Society have maintained at close to historic levels despite the restrictions on our activities imposed by the pandemic. The latest newsletter has been distributed to over 500 local households and businesses in Cookham, maintaining our position as one of the largest local societies in the country.
This is a great reflection on the work and dedication of Ossie Wardell-Yerburgh as membership secretary over many years. He now feels it is the right time to hand over the secretary role and leaves the new secretary, Stephen Cooke, a firm base on which to consolidate and expand our membership.
It has been agreed that the first task is to overhaul the systems that record our membership and this will then enable us to expand our coverage to those households who we may not have made contact with for many years. Inevitably, there is always a regular movement of residents into and out of the area and we need to develop our procedures for making contact with people new to the Cookhams. Any system changes will of course need to maintain our UK GDPR compliance.
We have continued throughout the year to monitor all planning applications in Cookham. During 2022 there were a total of 232 applications. We submitted objections (or requests for specific conditions) on 35 applications and two further objections to refused applications have gone to appeal. Because of the potential adverse effect on Cookham we have also submitted a detailed objection to the proposal to build a massive film studio in Marlow.
There were three particularly noteworthy planning issues this year. Firstly, an especially unwelcome type of application has been for three 5G telecommunications masts in prominent positions. Most regrettably these can be erected under Permitted Development rules with only limited scope for rejection. We will however continue to do our best to resist inappropriate proposals. Secondly, because it is a retrospective application and there are concerns regarding the effect on drinking water, we are particularly concerned by the delay in RBWM determining the application for turkey shelters on a site on Switchback Road. Thirdly, the fate of the old station yard has still not been decided as we wait for the result of the appeal on the application to build eight houses on the site.
The final adoption of the Borough Local Plan has confirmed the designation of Poundfield as a Local Green Space. The Society has fought long and hard to keep this site open and we are very pleased with this new protection. The BLP has also confirmed the two sites for new housing which have been taken out of the Green Belt. We are actively monitoring proposals that are coming forward from developers on both of these sites. With over 200 new properties proposed the effect on Cookham will be very significant.
Sponsored by the Parish Council, the Cookham Neighbourhood Plan moves slowly forward through phases of discussion and public engagement. We maintain our representation on the working party and look forward to the completion of the Plan.
After a long gestation, we welcome the adoption by RBWM of the new Conservation Area Appraisal for Cookham Village. We have objected strongly to a draft RBWM document on Tall Buildings, which we believe would open the opportunity for inappropriate building in Cookham.
Access over Odney Weir to Lock Island has now been closed to the public for nearly three years. We are still pressing the Environment Agency for this access to be re-opened but we get limited response from them. Even Freedom of Information requests go unanswered within the statutory period for response. We will however continue to work to try and get this issue resolved.
We are seeking support from other local bodies to improve the branch line service.
We continue our involvement with the Marsh Meadow Management Committee and we maintain our memberships of the Maidenhead and Marlow Passenger Association, the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, and the Open Space Society.
Planning and Environment sub-committee