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2016/17 Chairman's Report to A.G.M


The Report below was presented to the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 11th March 2017 at The New Milton Community Association by Alan Watson


We are now into 2017 and it’s time to measure your Association and its performance against our stated Aims and Objectives.

1.       To use our best endeavours within the constraints of existing legislation to protect the character of our town and the quality of its environment.  Being one of the prime aims of our Association, it is not surprising that we are very closely involved in the current work being undertaken by a community led Group to develop The New Milton Neighbourhood Plan. If successful, this Plan will help guide the future development of our Town over the next twenty years and bring the decision-making process closer to home. Our destiny being in local people’s hands – at Town Council level rather than with New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council. We all know that we need to build more houses, we need to be able to provide low cost housing for our young people and for the increasing number of people who need or want to work in our Town.  To do this, we need to ensure the development of the infrastructure surrounding any developments, we need to ensure there are education and employment opportunities and we need to ensure the development of a vibrant and prosperous town centre that meets the needs of our Residents and brings visitors into the Town.

Our involvement on The New Milton Neighbourhood Plan Working Party will hopefully help ensure that our members interests are protected.  However, it is your views, your concerns and your interests which are vital.  I strongly urge all of you to keep or get involved in the major Public Consultations during March and onwards – so that you can make sure your voice is heard as these Plans are put together.  Our own interests are not only at stake here, but those of our children and future generations – so please get involved.

2.       To seek to ensure with member’s support, that any new development is compatible with that objective.  The Association continues to monitor all aspects of major developments in our Town and where appropriate to support or object to Planning Applications that come forward through the year.  Whilst we do not get involved in individual’s own Planning Applications, although we can give advice, we do seek to support or object to any development that has a material impact on the wider community and the town’s environment in general.  A recent example has been to support the objections of Residents to the development of a 60 Bed Care Home on what was previously the Glendalyn School.  There are several other such examples where groups of members have asked us to get involved.

3.       To encourage the maintenance and improvement of local amenities.  N.M.R.A continues to financially support the provision of floral displays across the town with our long-term agreement to help fund the excellent flower tubs on New Milton Station and the War Memorial Flower Beds.  We at the same time congratulate our Town Council and their Ground Staff for the work they do overall to have a first-class floral display across our town and not just in the Town Centre.  Well done guys and we look forward to you keeping up that high standard.

We were also pleased to provide all the funds to enable the purchase and installation of the two special Gold Benches on the Recreation Ground to commemorate the Gold Medal achievements of two of our local Paralympians – Alice Tai and Mikey Jones.

4.       To promote care in the community and awareness of the needs of others.  This is an area, where I personally believe that we can do so much more, whether it’s the financial support to groups whose primary aim is care in the Community or direct action by your Association in getting our members involved in such causes.  We are directly involved in a small way with our Community in Action Group who have raised some £2750, some of which has gone to provide an August Tea Party for our senior citizens at a time when other agencies take a break. Also, the CIA has raised funds which have gone towards supporting our New Milton Community Responders for the purchase of medical equipment for their vital on-going work.  Another example is the purchase of equipment to the New Milton Kurling Klub – a relatively new sport aimed at all ages and all abilities – both able bodied and disabled people.  Helping to bring these groups together for vital social interaction, exercise and a lot of fun at the same time. Gerry Bryer, our Treasurer will outline in some more detail the ways in which we have helped other groups in the past year.

5.       To provide a forum where members can express their views and concerns publicly.  I am heartened by the increase in correspondence that we receive from members expressing their own concerns, especially about the environment and we do try to express your views in the appropriate forums.  We hope in the future to be able to keep members better informed and more quickly than General Meetings allow, with the recent introduction of the N.M.R.A Mailing List. Some 10% of our members have now signed up to be kept informed in this way and we strongly recommend that all those of you who have access to a computer to sign up and be amongst the first to hear information about developments and activities in our Town.

There is so much more we can and should do in these areas.  Like many organisations, we have a relatively ageing Committee (and that includes your current Chairman!) and we don’t have enough people who are willing to put in a few hours a month to help us better achieve our aims and objectives.  We need younger people, we need professional and business people and we need others who simply can help our existing Committee to get more involved in all the areas that we should be considering and putting actions in place.  We will shortly vote in our new Committee which will likely fall short of the 12 members that we are allowed under our current Constitution.  Please think about it and consider joining us – so that we are better able to meet some of the aims and demands that we may not be currently meeting as well as we should. We can always co-opt new members through the year.

There is much to be done in the year ahead and many more challenges to be faced.  Later this Year, Phyllis Inglis will for the last time in 25 years put pen to paper in the August Issue of our Focus Newsletter (what a magnificent achievement and one for which we are most grateful for) and we need to find a new Editor or put together a team who will carry on the great tradition of Focus.  There will be a need to have strong discussions and debates about the future direction of our Town to assist the development of The Neighbourhood Plan.  Plenty to get involved with that can have a direct impact in the future – so please think about joining us.

Finally, I personally am very grateful for the support and assistance that I have received from all the Committee and in particular from our Secretary, Phyllis Inglis who never fails to amaze me, when I receive the draft of the minutes of any of our Committee Meetings within 24 hours.  My thanks also go to our Vice Chairman, Marie Morgan for all her support in the past year and to our Treasurer, Gerry Bryer without whom we would not be on top of the finances of N.M.R.A.

My final thanks go to our Members who have been turning out in ever increasing numbers to attend our General Meetings in whatever weather, for signing up to our Mailing List and indeed for just being members of the Association and helping us in some small way to make New Milton a better place to live work and play.


Tel : 07771 754025


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