Attendees:  Richard Wallace (Chair), David Noble (Vice Chair), Tony Hill, David Crocker, Mick Williamson, Mark Hourahane, Margaret Noble, Jan McNeill, Jenny Barraclough, Deryn Cutting, Jo File, Marie Helene Hunter, Pam Keeling, Howard Holt, Frank Bond, Linda Bauer, Patty Key, Rita & Eddie Lee, Nicky Tolson, Elizabeth Halstead, Roland & Hilary Tolputt, Penny Shepherd, Katie & Joseph (The Green Room @The Grand), Andrew Ward (Green Room/Sunflower House)

Apologies: Dan Keeling, Dorothy Douse, Tony & Brenda Gilbert, Jeanette Harris, Roger Joyce, Rob Wilson, Chris Philips, Ann Berry, Matthew Jones

Richard Wallace welcomed members and guests and invited members to introduce themselves.

Minutes of last meeting agreed.  Apologies read out.  RW proposed minutes, seconded by NT.

  • David Noble updated on calendars which were available for members at the meeting at £7.00.   Normal price £8.00 and Postage for the calendars is 2nd class £11.30, 2 copies same envelope £19.30. 1st class add 60p.
  •  Card Reader, Sum Up, Committee agreed to purchase.
  • Winter magazine is due 10th November with copy date 20th October.
  • Membership continues to grow, and subscriptions are mostly up to date.

Volunteer Events

  • Walking With Ghosts 11/12 November WW1 Commemoration
    • Shepway Heart Meeting 12th November.  Roger Joyce, heading up the WWGs has asked for volunteers from GF group in visiting local businesses with posters and window stickers to advertise the event.   Posters and stickers will be available shortly.
    • Support for Ann Berry and team with setting up and running the Mole Café between 3.30 and 11.00pm both days would be good to have a rota of helpers.   Ann has found some of the equipment that was used previously.  She would very much like the photograph of the Jeffries sisters, who set up and ran the original Mole Café, if anyone knows its whereabouts.  Re-enactment group happy to be involved again this year.
    • Tony Quarrington currently out of the country but will be supporting the event.
    • Jan McNeill, with the help of Tony Hill is creating a huge poppy display.   GF agreed to contribute towards cost of wool and associated items.
    • Hilary Tolputt has copies of original Harbour Books and volunteered to contribute copies of some of the pages with signatures.
  • Penny Shepherd updated members on the visit to SWEEEP on Monday 9th Oct and explained the process of recycling and updated on the current situation for Folkestone recycling of small items up to vacuum cleaner size.   Used Vapes discussed as currently not an item that has value to be recycled but under review.  Planning to work with Sunflower House who are involved with repair work rather than recycling. Penny reiterated that electrical items that can’t be repaired can be sent for recycling.  Penny is in contact with the manage of Bouverie Place, for the user of the area to deposit items on a regular Saturday morning basis.
  • Elizabeth Halstead said that the single use vapes can be taken to the local vape shops to be disposed of.

The Green Room @ The Grand – Katie and Joseph

Katie and Joseph gave a very enthusiastic overview of the events that they are running at The Green Room @ The Grand.   They are keen to get this established as a ‘village hall’ type environment for Folkestone folk covering art and music events with the space being available for meetings both large and small.

Andrew Ward suggested GF visit The Grand and speak to residents about it being a destination for international music.

See attached next advertised event at The Green Room with local author, Michel Faber, being interviewed by Andrew

  • Bus Services concern

Concern was raised about several bus routes where service has been dramatically reduced or cancelled.    This has created anxiety for many regular users.  Stagecoach would appear to have financial challenges.

  • The axed daytime bus service in Lympne is to return on a trial basis from mid-November, it has been announced this week basis linking the village with Hythe and Folkestone, and the William Harvey Hospital and Ashford.  Quite simply the service must be used, or it will be lost. Route 10 will operate an hourly Monday to Saturday service via Lympne from Monday 13 November.
  • Other routes are being reviewed.
  • Mark Hourahane forwarded the following comments on the buses as it became quite a hot topic.  Cheriton buses probably ran with passengers from the bus station to Cheriton Post Office, down Ashley Avenue (or maybe Somerset Road to be less ‘wasteful’ in terms of visiting bus stops) and down Kent Road to be tucked into bed – making a very minimal ‘wasted’ journey of under 1km from bus stop to garage.  I believe it now (or soon, given the bus station relocation being imminent) goes to the bus station, then drives to Dover depot empty.  This route is around 10 miles.  The buses then have to come back in the morning.  That’s an extra 20 miles per day, which is extra fuel and extra carbon emissions.  Surely that’s going in the wrong direction as far as their Driving Net Zero plan is concerned.
  • Mark Hourahane also forwarded: the Lyminge and Lympne buses now stop at 7pm, making it impossible to get to Folkestone unless you drive for an evening meal, cinema trip, gig… or Go Folkestone meeting!!!
  • Richard Wallace suggested that a letter of concern on bus services cuts was raised.

Update on Current Consultations

  • Harbour Plan and de Haan contacts.  GF concerns about car parking and sewerage disbursement raised and the statement buildings are being re designed.  26th October Harbour Company and Sir Roger de Haan will talk to stakeholders including NFS and GF about Mark 2 on harbour plan.  Princes Royal is much smaller part of the whole project and is virtually falling down even though it is well scaffolded.  Was built in 1864 and GF would like to see it maintained for community use or residential. Concern is the Princess Royal will go altogether and query was raised over whether an independent survey has been undertaken.   Will learn more on 26th October.
  • KCC budget.  Roger Gough had challenge due to the £57M deficit, but is back on track to work out how to get back to a balanced budget.
  • Grace Hill Library.  Mark Hourahane said that it cannot just be sold as it is now on list.     Bryan Ryland achieved 3500 signatures on a petition which led to it to be debated at cabinet committee.
  • Draft Heritage Strategy – up to 20 volunteers with Walking with Ghosts.  Rita Lee and Jan McNeill have already put themselves forward and Mark has a tentative list.  Roger Joyce will update.
  • Levelling Up – Place Plan.   Town centre.  Probably active again in about a month.  Now realised cannot do everything so now waiting for office.   Ask in early November.  UP to date video in windows of old Debenhams.
  • Foundation Stone.  Tony Hill gave members an update.  Folkestone Historical Society have pledged some money towards the stone. There should be an accompanying information board.
  • Leas Viewpoint – lines have been drawn successfully.  Now waiting for school’s artwork.
  • Cheriton Active Travel – cycle lanes from Cherry Garden to Folkestone Central Railway Station.   Have been in correspondence with the District Council and the councillor involved is pretty sure that it will go ahead to be tested for a year.  It will be a 20mph zone. Going ahead – Summer 2024
  • Green projects – litter pick.   Next Litter Pick booked for Friday 27th October.  Look for details but likely to meet at the Memorial Arch and one other.

More trees are available.   Everyone was asked to check where trees could be planted.

AGM 8th November – Talk by Tony Hill and Mark Easdown on the Foundation Stone and Pier.   Committee Members to be confirmed.

Committee given 28 days’ notice of election.  Marie Helene Hunter is happy to join.  David Crocker is delighted to continue to work on the magazine together with Una O’Connell and David Noble/Richard Wallace. Jan McNeill is taking a rein check but continues to contribute and volunteer.

December 13th general meeting – mini social with seasonal bites and mulled wine.

Christmas Lunch – in January – venue and date to be confirmed.

Next Meeting 8th November – AGM

Wards Hotel, Earls Avenue, Folkestone

6.45 for 7.00 pm start

Drinks from bar – alcoholic, tea, coffee, water and lite bits £5.00 per plate will be available.

It would be appreciated if you would consider buying a small plate for yourself or to share as Go Folkestone are given the meeting space free of charge and bar purchases and lite bites contribute towards the hotels expenses.

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