Social Event – AGM 18th March

March 18th Lymington Society AGM – Community Centre 7.30 to 9.30pm

social2014 agmThis is the main business meeting of the year when Members get a chance to stand for Committee or nominate fellow members. Election of offices takes place following the Chairman’s report which details the Societies activities in the year and also any current and important issues are debated and discussed.

Following on from the business section of the meeting we are pleased to welcome The Hampshire Maritime Police. As a department of special branch the Marine unit is heavily involved in daily tasks relating to the security of our coastal borders

No charge for this meeting.
Refreshments 7pm

Chairman’s Address from AGM

cropped-logo_small.jpgLymington Society AGM March 2014

Chairman’s Address

Thank you all for coming. Last year I described 2012 as a welcome rest from all those major controversial issues such as the Ferries, Redrow and Wetherspoons. In 2013 again the business of the Society has been more routine.

One feels a bit guilty for not being in a maelstrom of controversy with public meetings being called to resolve important planning issues, but really the business of an amenity society should normally be a programme of watchfulness over planning matters and keeping up the interest of its membership and the population of the town generally in preserving and maintaining what we feel best reflects Lymington itself.

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2013 AGM

cropped-logo_small.jpgThe 2013 AGM took place at the Lymington Community Centre on 26th March 2013. The Chairman gave his address highlighting the Society’s achievements over the last twelve months. Elections to the committee were approved and the new web site was presented to the membership.

For full details of the AGM click here

Lymington Society AGM 26th March 2013

community-centreThe AGM will be in the Wellington Room at the Lymington Community Centre at 7:30 pm on Tuesday March 26th 2013.
The Lymington Society AGM is the main business meeting of the year when Members get a chance to stand for the Committee or nominate fellow members to the Committee. Election of officers takes place for the year ahead and following a report from the Chairman on the Society’s activities in the year; current important issues are debated and discussed.
Following the business section of the meeting we are pleased to announce that well known local historian James Jude will be giving an illustrated talk on the development of the railways around Lymington.

Minutes of the Lymington Society AGM 2012

cropped-logo_small.jpg66 members attended the AGM on 20th March 2012.  Minutes of the 2011AGM had been circulated by post and on the website. Apologies received : Lt. Col. Chitty & Mr. Beaumont.

Mr. Sutton welcomed the Mayor and gave the Chairman’s Address (to be published in the newsletter and on the website).  He reminisced on the 50 year history of the Society and its involvement in the preservation of Buckland Rings and in the controversy over the site of the new hospital.

The Treasurer’s Report was given by Mr. Sheffer. He explained the expenditure on legal fees and the need to advertise important meetings concerning the Redrow site. Dr. Mackenzie appealed for members to send emails  to reduce postage costs.  The accounts were then approved by a show of hands.

Mr. Sutton then opened the meeting for questions. Mr. Dixon ask about he maintenance of flower beds and verges, and Mr. Walrock commented on the poor state of pavements and parking areas.  Cllr. Rostand explained the difficulties of dealing with the multiple agencies involved. She congratulated Dr. Mackenzie and the Christmas Lights Committee.

Questions were asked about the licensing of Wetherspoons.  Cllr. Lewis said that opening hours had been reduced, but could not be blocked once permission for a pub had been granted by the planning authority.  She asked thatneighbours keep a careful log of any problems.  Mr. Sheffer reported the British Legion had similar licensing hours.

Mr. Hebard spoke of  the £23m. Coastal Community Fund.   Cllr. Rostand replied that the Council is aware and will appoint an events manager.

Mr. Sutton then paid tribute to the expertise and hard work of Jonathan Hutchinson, who is retiring from the Committee.  There being no nominations from the floor, re-election of current members of the Executive Committee: Clive Sutton, Derek Sheffer, Ivor Johnston,  Nic King, Donald Mackenzie, Nigel Seth-Smith and the co-opted member Tim Kermode was proposed by Cllr. Elizabeth Lewis and seconded by Wendy Couch and passed unanimously.

Dr. Mackenzie then  reported on the social activities of the past year and announced the Summer Garden Party in thegarden of Chawton House on 19th June 2012.

Cllr. Rostand than gave a brief account of preparations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee  and explained that the preparations for the Olympic torch were imposed from on high with no input from local councils.  She praised Cllr. Lewis’ organization for the Arts Festival on 18th – 24th June.

After refreshments, Angela Trend gave a talk on Lymington Town Tours illustrated with photographs of the many historical buildings and features demonstrated on the guided walks of the town conducted by volunteers.

The meeting closed at 10pm.

Chairman’s Report for the AGM 17th March 2010

Ladies and gentlemen.

As those of you who have had the patience to listen to my previous Chairman’s addresses will know that I tend to pick up the theme from the previous address and carry it forward.

Last year in asking the question: “What has the Lymington Society done this year which I can share with the members”, I reminded you of three recent headlines in the paper which the Lymington Society was connected with: “Chaos As High Winds Halt New Ferries”;” Landmark Homes Development on Wellworthy Club Site Refused”; “Builders Face Big Bill As Bid to Keep too High Homes Refused”. You can obviously all identify these headlines and how things have developed since then.

The theme that struck me this year at our last monthly committee meeting on 9 March was the amount of dedicated detailed work that the committee members put into the work of the Society.

Here is another list of meetings attended by Members of the Committee in the preceding month:

  •  1st of February: Exhibition on Shoreline Management Plan — attended by one committee member
  •  1st of February: Friends of Lymington Railway AGM — attended by two committee members
  •  25th of February: Local Distinctiveness meeting with council planners — attended by four committee members
  •  4th of March: Lymington Parking Study meeting — attended by one committee member
  •  8th March: meeting with Natural England regarding ferries and mitigation of their damage — attended by three committee members
  •  9th March: presentation by Redrow on their new development attended by five committee members
  •  Finally 9th of March: our monthly committee meeting attended by all committee members including our president Peter Chitty, although one member could not stay, but came to deliver the envelopes he had stuffed with the notices of this meeting!

Is there any other organisation or any other chairman which is as lucky to have such a dedicated group of committee members always ready, if not vying, to attend meetings on subjects which they have a particular interest in connected with the Lymington Society.

As a result of those meetings one can summarise the Society’s current situation.

On ferries we have responsibly promoted a situation where the ferries issue is going to be resolved with a full intervention of the appropriate authorities and not purely on the basis of a take it or leave approach by Wightlink, and with proper liaison with Natural England as to an assessment of the impact of the larger ferries.

On the linked aspect of the shoreline, so important to Lymington, we are closely involved with that subject.

On the railway line, we support the friends of Lymington Railway and will maintain a useful liaison that will benefit Lymington and potentially affect development in the future

On Local Distinctiveness, this meeting has been one example of our lead role in cooperation with the planners in an analysis which I will mention more on in a moment

On the Redrow Riverside site, as I shall now call it, an extremely useful dialogue with Redrow as to its plans.

Finally I can say that our association with the Pennington Residents Association continues ensuring that our representations on Pennington are co-ordinated, if not always identical, and I paid particular tribute to Chris Howe for his cooperation.

Expanding on the subjects of these meetings can I say that the old Wellworthy Club site, which is going to be such an important building at the gateway to Lymington, is edging towards an agreed development with the cooperation of the developers, who have put forward various schemes. We thought the last scheme was probably as good as it would get but had strong reservations about the lack of parking and the effect on traffic.  The planners would like something better and we hope that the eventual scheme will do justice to that sensitive corner.

I say this from the point of view that the other sensitive entrance to the conservation area, the traffic lights, is now in process of development with the assistance of the first crane of that size in the Lymington area. As this can be seen from the Keyhaven marshes there is no escape from being reminded of this planning decision.

The second major issue this year has been the Council’s initiative on Local Distinctiveness in which they have involved the Society from the beginning.

I can remind members of a very useful meeting hosted by the Society with local councillors to ensure that we all got off on the right foot with this.

Local distinctiveness will create a new Supplementary Planning Guidance covering the whole area of the town not covered by conservation areas to identify locally distinctive characteristics, with which new development should be sympathetic and should comply. One can imagine that if that policy had been in place, so that inspectors had to follow it, several of the more prominent new buildings recently would not have been built in the way that they have.

On the subject of what the Society considers planning mistakes in the area of Avenue Road, I suspect the final local distinctiveness document will identify some of these and say that they should not be followed as precedents as they have been built out of character with their particular locations.

That brings me onto the biggest new development which will soon take place on the old Webb Site, now Redrow’s site. I recall this is one of the first issues I dealt with as Chairman, to be involved in the original supplemental planning guidance prior to the original planning permission, which conspicuously was not followed by the Council at that time. The position is that we are now fixed with the original permission that was provided by the Council, against many of the members’ better judgement.

Redrow’s could build on the basis of that permission, but as we learnt at presentation last week they have chosen to dramatically review the plans and come up with a much improved scheme.

Firstly specialist architects have been brought in and we were addressed at our meeting by Sir Richard McCormac of  MJP Architects who is a former President of the RIBA.

The previous scheme had allowed for the road access with the condition of a rear pedestrian access somewhere across the railway.

The imaginative difference of the current scheme has been to make the pedestrian access across the railway the central focus of the site and a link with the Town.  The bridge over the railway would be part of a graded access from the station car park, described possibly as “Station Square”, onto a high level entrance square of the development. The semicircular development radiates out from there with radial visual lines to and from theRiverside. On the Riverside, buildings will connect with the water and relate to it rather than looking away and inwards from it as the previous development did.

The development will, as presently considered, still be quite dense with up to 300 units but much broken up and protected by trees. The other committee members and councillors and planning officers, who were at the meeting, felt that this was an imaginative way to review the development, given that there is planning permission for a significant scheme at present.

Another feature which has pleased me particularly is how the Council have now involved local organisations such as this Society with the initial concept, rather than the exclusion which took place under earlier regimes. I recall how when we have called the previous developers to a public meeting to explain their plan, councillors said that if they had been put in touch with public feeling, they would have started their plan from a completely different concept.

Perhaps this is what we have now achieved. I hope that in due course the current developers, Redrow, will be able to attend a meeting to explain their plan to our membership as a whole and to take into account any feedback, as indeed happened at this recent meeting.

The climate of dialogue with the planners has really changed dramatically over the last few years, in response, I hope, to the reasonable and objective approach taken by the Society committee members to development matters.

Not least this has occurred in relation to the Town Council, who have been extremely grateful by the frequent presence of Jonathan Hutchinson dealing with planning matters. I think they would not mind me saying that when Jonathan goes to express the Society’s view on important issues which affect the character of the town, they wish he would stay to help them with the more mundane problems that as planning committee councillors they have to face!

On the question of cooperation, can I say that whilst in the past successive Town Councillors took the view that cooperation between the Town Councillors and the Society was incompatible with their public position, again we now have an extremely good working relationship with the current mayor Cllr Jan Hawker, who attended our local distinctiveness meeting.

I am afraid our current cooperation does not extend to the practicalities of ensuring that our AGM and an important Town Council meeting did not clash which is why the Lady Mayoress is not able to be here today, but I can assure our members that that is purely accidental and does not reflect on our relationship and she would be here if she could.

I am only the spokesperson for a Committee whose individual efforts for the Society are on a much more dedicated basis than mine. I tend to guide and encourage the Committee and where necessary pick up the pieces, but it is the other committee members who, all of them in their different ways, form the engine room of this Society.

I have named the committee members specifically previously and I will not embarrass them again but they are here today and can be spoken to informally afterwards. I will mention our thanks to Marion Jakes who joined us a couple of years ago as a committee member and took an interest in marshes and coastal matters but resigned recently.

The remaining members continue to offer themselves for re-election. I appreciate that new blood is always welcome but this committee works extremely well with all existing members having a task to do. I can assure you that it is in no way running out of steam or ideas and you would be well advised to re-elect its members rather than lose any of its wealth of talent.

Ladies and gentlemen I commend the committee to you for re-election in due course.


Clive Sutton

Chairman Lymington Society 

Chairman’s Report for the AGM 18th March 2009

Ladies and gentlemen. 

Those of you were who were at this meeting last year will remember that Peter Chitty read my address to you and I’m grateful to him for having done that.

This year, as the time came round to the Annual General Meeting, I thought to myself last Friday morning, “What has the Lymington Society done this year which I can share with the members” .

As soon as I had scanned the Lymington Times for the 14th of March the answer was clear.  In that paper they were at least four these items in which the Lymington Society is actively involved, if not in the news, then behind the news.

“CHAOS AS HIGH WINDS HALT NEW FERRIES”.  The Lymington Society was obviously not responsible for the high winds or the chaos, but what that headline indicates is the way in which the Harbour Commissioners are stringently monitoring the introduction of the new ferries.

I appreciate that everyone has mixed views about the introduction of these large ferries.  I would imagine when members heard my report last year about the very recent issue of the ferries people might have thought that there had been a degree of exaggeration in their size.  I think any such question is now dispelled.  They are very large, and the windage in high winds will mean that there has to be a large amount of sideways thrust onto the banks of the River to keep them in position.

The Society’s position has been consistent throughout; to ensure that the various statutory bodies have complied with their responsibilities and have not allowed Wightlink’s construction of the ferries, in advance of any approvals, to be a rubber stamp for their decisions.  One of the most difficult tasks has been to find who is responsible for making the decisions and to engage with them in a realistic way.

During the course of the year the Solent Protection Society, who are really the lead voluntary organisation responsible, have changed their position from acceptance to criticism and some of you may have seen the Chairman of the Solent Protection Society on the television, when the ferries were introduced without permission and without warning, expressing their opposition.  Some of our Committee members would say, “All very welcome but a bit late in the day” .

The decisions on the ferries will take their course and you may be aware that there is a judicial review application by the Lymington River Association taking place at this moment.  I can say that the Committee did not feel it appropriate to go as far as joining in legal proceedings in relation to the ferries partly because of exposure to costs and partly because that would place us in an active opposition to the ferries which has not been the basis of policy.

You should remember that when the Committee first became involved, the issue of the ferries was effectively accepted by the Solent Protection Society, the yacht clubs and to a certain extent the Harbour Commissioners and it has been significantly due to the Society’s efforts started at our public meeting at the end of 2007 which has raised the profile of these issues.

When I say the Society’s efforts I have to qualify that by saying: Donald MacKenzie’s efforts on behalf of the Society, supported, albeit at times reluctantly, by the Committee.  But I can say at this stage the Committee are satisfied with the Society’s position, and grateful for Don’s efforts, in that the regulators all are fully engaged and hopefully the final decisions will be transparent.

Next on page 12 of the paper is the headline “LANDMARK HOMES DEVELOPMENT ON WELLWORTHY  CLUB SITE REFUSED”.

I hope you will link this with the last edition of the Society’s newsletter at page 5 where, for the first time, the Committee tried to engage the members in opinions on a new and important proposal for the town.  You had my view and Ivor Johnston’s view and were asked to send or e-mail your views to Ivor Johnston.

Although we have approximately 400 members I have to say I was slightly disappointed that or we only had seven replies; some of those I believe from non-members.  It is going to be my intention in the future to ask the membership for their views on controversial schemes where the decision may not be entirely clear, so that in giving representations to the planners or other bodies we can say that we have taken into account the views of our members.  If you get a similar appeal in the future do please respond.

In this case the view that I suspected would prevail, that this building was magnificent but in the wrong place, did in fact prevail with both the Town Council and the Planning Committee, and it has been rejected.  However the background to that application does show the constructive dialogue which a developer can have with the Committee.  We were approached by the developers on an earlier proposal which was as big, but bland, and we suggested something more of a landmark building.  the architect came back to visit the Committee with the current proposal which, impressive as it is, is not quite going to hit the right note at that position set against the surrounding houses and the rest of the Town’s Georgian character .

Moving on in the Newspapers supplement we have “BUILDERS FACE BIG BILL AS BID TO KEEP TOO HIGH HOMES REFUSED”.  This is a reference to the new building which I now understand is known as a Rapunzel’s Tower by local residents, which is at the corner of Avenue Road and Lower Buckland Road .

The history of this is that this application was actively opposed by the Society at an earlier application and appeal.  On the basis of stating the Society’s position, without fear or favour, I have to say that the new application went through on the basis of delegated powers to the council officers because the new application was not opposed by the then Lymington Town Council.  The Society have raised, and will continue to raise, questions as to how a building of this size and nature could go through on delegated powers without the consideration of the elected planning councillors, regardless of any other factors.

This building firstly clashes with the character of the residential homes in Avenue Road and, possibly worse, overshadows the buildings on the other side of Buckland Road.  The current issue is the fact that the building is larger and higher than the approved plans. At last councillors are starting to reflect the views of local residents as to the sort of buildings that should be erected although those decisions can still of course be challenged before planning inspectors.  I feel that the efforts of the Lymington Society over the past eight years or so, to make representations against this sort of development, has supported some new councillors with views in tune with the local community to get onto the planning Committee.

Our opposition was led by Jonathan Hutchinson saying that the development was a striking example of the desecration of the area.  He is quoted as saying “This building is a standing reproach to the inability of the planning system to prevent developers from turning this old market town into a cod version of the celebrity retreat of Sandbanks.  You have the power to insist this ugly pile does at least match the terms of consent for its construction.  I urge you to do so.”  I think you may be hearing more from Jonathan Hutchinson on other applications in a similar vein.

Finally we now have the notice that the decision to oppose the demolition and redevelopment of Buckland House, supported by the Society, is now subject to appeal.  This is a difficult decision on the basis that one might say that Buckland house would probably never have got planning permission in its day, but it is a landmark of Lymington prominently by the traffic lights and has some character appropriate to its age, and it is unfortunate if character is lost.  I was assured at the time of the original McCarthy and Stone planning application on the other side of the road that Buckland house had been bought as an administrative headquarters for local developers and that there was no question at that stage of the building being redeveloped.

Finally I regret to say that the battle over the McCarthy and Stone development on the other corner of Avenue Road and Southampton Road has now been lost so that we will have a joined up building going all the way along the length of the newly erected hoardings and round the corner, on the basis that as it is sheltered housing it needs to be one unit.

This, with the development of Buckland House if it is finally allowed on appeal, will produce a barrier of new building between the existing listed buildings of the lower part of Southampton Road and the traditional individual family houses of the upper part .

Finally on the question of development generally, the Society feel the time has come, with the present possible pause in this rate of development due to economic circumstances, to take stock of the development that has occurred in Lymington and which is threatened, with a view to there being a policy for remaining undeveloped areas.  The Committee want to involve the membership in a meeting to consider that at some stage in the future.

The Society is not only preoccupied with development and ferries and business matters but provides opportunities for members to socialise.  One of most enjoyable meetings this year was at Buckland Rings on a thankfully fine day in the summer where members were able to go all the way round the Rings, following Joanna Close-Brooks’ talk at the last AGM, and appreciate such an important historical site within Lymington and what is currently being done there.  We also had a garden party at Buckland, Christmas drinks at Stanwell House, and a view of the Women’s Land Army exhibition at the Museum.

That brings me to the effort made to print the newsletter, organised by Nigel Seth-Smith, and which has settled into a comfortable routine for printing now that I have got an all-singing all-dancing colour printer for my office.  Thanks also to the distributors of the newsletter.

Our informal arrangement or association with the Pennington Residents Association is continuing well with representation on our Committee meetings by one of their Committee members on a regular basis so that each organisation knows of the other’s concerns and can co-operate and assist.

Looking at my last report I took the opportunity in my absence to compliment the Committee on their work.  I will not bore you again with the details but I repeat how grateful I am to the fact that the individuals on the Committee are so active and can be relied on to deal with their responsibilities.  I would like to make particular reference to the responsibilities that Jonathan Hutchinson is taking on in respect of planning and his team-work with Nic King on that aspect.  We have also welcomedMarion Jakes onto the Committee, who is taking a particular brief for matters involving the Solent, the foreshore and the marshes. All members offer themselves for election.

The subscription went up to £10 per member last year which is a satisfactory figure and is maintaining our finances.  The treasurer will report and I think our finances are healthy.

The Committee can only work with the knowledge that its members support its aims. We don’t seem to get too many complaints from members so we may be doing the right thing or perhaps the members are not particularly interested.

Today is your opportunity in the questions following this to make your comments, complimentary or otherwise, as to how the Society is complying with your expectations.

Finally can I make a short reference to the presentation that you will have tonight from the Lymington Forum through its representative Clifford Jakes, which replaces the talk from Sally Fear, who is unable to be here.

Clifford will outline the Forum’s position but so far as the Society is concerned the Forum is looking proactively at the future of Lymington whereas the Society tends to react to developments as they take place or we try to structure decisions affecting Lymington.  However our joint objectives are for the benefit of Lymington and therefore I would like to ensure that the Society gives the Forum every opportunity to tell the public, and in particular the Society’s members, of the Forum’s aims and proposals.  It is very convenient that the AGM is so close to the presentation of the Forum’s report. However in the time-honoured words of the small print, “the views of the Forum are not necessarily those of the Society.”

Ladies and gentlemen that brings my remarks to a conclusion and thank you for your continued support here tonight.


Clive Sutton

Chairman Lymington Society