January Zoom Meeting

Following on from the success of November’s ‘Virtual’ presentation we have as you can see from the poster, arranged another on-line session this month and it’s on Thursday the 21st January at 7.30pm. It features none other than representatives from our Environment Group who will provide an update on the Group’s activities. It promises to be a fascinating evening and if you would like to ‘attend’ then please drop an email to chairman@addinghamcivicsociety.co.uk just to confirm you would like to join in.
He will then send out the details about how to get on-line on the afternoon of the Meeting.

Crayfish in our Becks

Our Environment Group has been working with Bristol University on the distribution of invasive Signal crayfish in our becks. PhD students at Bristol University are developing novel methods of detecting crayfish using environmental DNA (eDNA) from filtered water samples.

The students spent a week with us in early September taking samples from our four main becks.

We have known for a long time that there were populations of invasive crayfish in Town Beck and Back Beck, but we wanted to find out how far up the becks the crayfish had moved and whether they had invaded Lumb Beck.

After months of lab work back in Bristol they have now sent us the results (see map). They detected crayfish DNA at all sites where crayfish were found by hand sampling (see a small one in Jack’s hand!) in Town Beck and Back Beck.

The good news is that crayfish haven’t (yet) moved up Town Beck beyond the Townhead Trading Estate or up Back Beck beyond Bridge 55.  The long culvert at Townhead and the high step at Bridge 55 may be acting as barriers.

The bad news, however, is that crayfish DNA was found in Lumb Beck.  No crayfish were found by hand sampling and we have not had any sightings of crayfish in Lumb Beck.  This is a worrying discovery as there are no barriers to upstream movement in Lumb Beck. 

Village Newsletter

We’ve already started planning for the next Village Newsletter, due out around the middle of March and as you know it’s a combined effort by the Addingham Civic Society and the Parish Council. There are a team of 20 + volunteers who hand deliver the Newsletter twice a year to every household in the Village. A number of residents who live in the more outlying areas get theirs posted. It’s a big logistical exercise as you can imagine but it works pretty well now.

So, if you or you know someone who would like to contribute to the next edition then please do get in touch before the end of this month if possible.

The Methodist Church Christmas Appeal

You will all remember the Church’s fantastic appeal for ‘Christmas Treats’  a couple of weeks or so before Christmas. Well, we can report that once again the Village’s response was truly amazing, as you can see from the heavily ladened tables shown on the photo (!) and here is a short message from the Church:

‘Thank you to everyone who supported our collection of Christmas Treats for the Salvation Army food bank.

So many people cannot even afford a basic weekly food shop but with the joint help of the Salvation Army and your generosity they will have enjoyed something extra special with their food bank delivery over Christmas.

We at the Methodist Church hope that you all had a happy, peaceful and healthy Christmas and we wish you the same for 2021’.

Pétanque ‘Court’

We are all looking forward to the Spring when we can re-start our Pétanque activities and all going well, thanks to a wonderful gesture from a good friend of the Society, Harry, we’ll have two new benches to make use of. We are just waiting for the permanent bases for the benches to be laid, so it’s rather exciting ! In the meantime we have erected our very own permanent Pétanque sign next to the Court or should we say ‘Terrain’…..as you can see from the photo. Looks good don’t you think ?


November Members ‘Zoom’ Meeting

Following on from the success of October’s ‘Virtual’ presentation we arranged another on-line session in November. It was a great success with even more members attending. It featured none other than Richard Walton the Society’s railway guru who presented “Addingham’s Railway – what have we got left” and Don Barrett the Society’s President who talked to us about “Exploring the Village Photo Archive”. Richard walked us through a map of the village illustrated with images of all the remaining railway architecture. Don explained how to use the Photo Archive with examples. They were both fascinating talks and we were all astounded to learn that the archive contains over 6000 images of Addingham, all available by a sophisticated search routine. Click here to see the Archive

The next meeting (probably by Zoom) will be on Thursday 21st January and will be a presentation by the Environment Group.

A Planning Update from Malcolm Keeble

By the time you read this update the Society’s response to the Government’s White Paper “Planning for the Future” will be sitting in London, along with scores of others from small rural villages to large cities, professional bodies / institutions, politicians and interested individuals. You can read this by clicking on ‘Planning’ on the top menu bar. Unsurprisingly it has provoked a substantial response because of its stated aim of modernising and revamping the entire planning process which together with a number of revisions has been in place since 1947.
The White Paper with its political introductions runs to nearly 80 pages with a series of 25 questions. We have answered these questions together with an overall summary and these will be posted on our website in due course. I am very grateful to Alan Taylor, Keith Appleyard, Rick Battarbee and Jan Hindle who have put in a lot of effort and expertise to help draft a response.
The Government’s key aims are to speed up the planning process for producing Local Plans, reducing the process to a maximum of 30 months (currently averaging 7 years). It also wishes to accelerate the actual process for gaining planning consent. With these measures in place it hopes to see the number of commercial houses built increase from 245,000 per annum (pre Pandemic) to 300,000 per annum, with 1,000,000 new homes to be constructed by the end of this Parliament.
To achieve its goals the Government wants to reduce the volume of paperwork required for Local Plan preparation. The Society agrees but at the same time believes a 30 month time frame for the whole process is unrealistic. It also strongly disagrees with proposals to restrict public comment on planning to the formulation of Local Plans and exclude it at the detailed planning application stage. Furthermore the scope of Neighbourhood Plans would be reduced purely to participation in producing “Design Codes” for local housing development. There is a general feeling of centralising the control of planning and minimising community engagement. The Society also expressed the view that trying to solve housing provision using the private house building sector alone is unfair and discriminatory.  A significant proportion of the population will never be able to afford to buy a house and there is a huge need for new homes for affordable renting. This has been historically provided by councils and housing associations and a vehicle needs to be found for this to happen again.

Addingham COVID-19 Support Group

The Civic Society, Good Neighbours and the Parish Council are still working together to offer help to any Addingham household that needs support due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

We have over 100 volunteers and can offer shopping, errands, dog walking, lawn cutting, gardening, posting parcels, prescription collection, cheque exchange for cash and very importantly telephone befriending. 

Just call 07470 537421 and leave a message

Or email clerk@addingham-pc.gov.uk

The Society’s Annual General Meeting

Held on the 17th of September via the video conferencing application Zoom, over 40 members got on-line to take part….and it went pretty well. Two new Trustees (Margaret Keating and Roger Seddon) were voted in. Margaret is our Membership Secretary with Roger taking on the daunting task as our ‘Legal Advisor’. Only Richard Walton’s 3 year tenure as one of the current batch of Trustees was up, and he got the ‘nod ‘as well. We were delighted to welcome to the team Mike Williams, as a co-opted Trustee, and he comes  with an impeccable Financial pedigree. We took the opportunity to update our Constitution and whilst these changes were important they didn’t really excite any of the attendees ! The important matter of our Financial Year end (31st of March) Accounts we’re presented and approved unanimously. The highlight was a Powerpoint Presentation showcasing the Society’s previous 12 months ‘in pictures’. It complimented our Chairman’s otherwise somewhat mundane annual review….only joking Jim.

So, all our hard work in preparing the Society’s first ever (and hopefully the last) ‘virtual’ AGM was certainly worth it with the proceedings passing smoothly.

Thanks to those of you who ‘attended’ and roll on next year !

Clarke Foley Vouchers

An important message from Lisle Richardson, Secretary of the Clarke Foley Addingham Trust:

The Clarke Foley Addingham Trust has decided to postpone the voucher distribution planned for  Tuesday November 17th  due the Covid 19 restrictions. The annual distribution of vouchers for 2020 will take place as soon as practical once the Covid 19 restrictions are lifted’.

The Governments White Paper on Planning

The Government has recently decided on a fundamental overhaul of the planning system, launching a 3 month Public Consultation on 6 August, seeking comments on its outline proposals. Behind this is a desire to see 300,000 houses for purchase to be constructed annually (currently 241,000) with 1 million to be completed by the next general election. Few people with experience of the current system would deny that change is needed. However there is deep concern as to whether this is the right time and also the extent and nature of the proposed changes.

The present system for housing delivery is based on Local Plans which take many years to complete. The proposal is to streamline this process to a maximum of 30 months and use a “zonal system” to determine where development should or should not take place. It is implied there will be more meaningful public input at the Local Plan Stage but less opportunity to object to individual planning applications when they are lodged. There will also be a digitalisation of the planning process with information accessed on mobile devices rather than attached to lampposts and on display in libraries (for larger proposals).

Members of the Society met with our local MP Robbie Moore recently and the new planning proposals formed part of the discussion. He recognised the strength of Addingham Civic Society on planning / environmental issues and agreed that local input was fundamental both at Local Plan Stage and with Neighbourhood Plans which can play a key role locally. 

The Society is currently analysing the proposals and will be responding formally to the Consultation. We have gained a lot of knowledge and experience through input into our Bradford Local Plan and the more recent Neighbourhood Plan. We are well placed to make a constructive and informed response and will keep Members informed of progress and our general conclusions.

Primary School wetland nature reserve

Over the last few weeks the Environment Group has re-started work on the Primary School wetland nature reserve.  The project was in full swing in March earlier this year when it had to be abandoned due to the covid lockdown. 

The plot of land is in the north-east corner of the school grounds and was formerly used, when the school was a Middle School, for high jumping and long jumping.  After clearing patches of brambles and removing buried pieces of astroturf and concrete, contractors were brought in to create a series of wetland hollows of different depths. 

During the lockdown period the hollows became overgrown so our volunteers have been clearing them.  Two will become permanent ponds.  The liner for the bigger of the two has just been installed and the basin should fill with rainwater over the coming months.  A little more work is needed but everything will now be ready for the children to plant wetland wildflowers, such as meadowsweet and yellow flag, in the hollows next spring.  Eventually the pond should support populations of frogs, newts and dragonfly nymphs.  This wetland reserve will not only add to our village wildlife but also become an important resource for learning, young (and old).

Addingham COVID-19 Support Group

Everything has been very quiet for a few of weeks now, so we are beginning to look to the future. 
Lockdown has eased, shops are opening, those who have been shielding have a new timetable and Boris has changed the 2 metre rule. Some of our volunteers have been recalled to work and some residents are now confident enough to do their own shopping.
The Support Group is still helping lots of people, but we know that numbers will eventually decrease and our group will no longer be needed. When we reach that point we will give plenty of notice and no one should worry because our good friends at Addingham Good Neighbours will continue to support anyone who needs help. At the moment we are doing a bit of long term planning so that we can ensure the group could be brought back into action quickly and efficiently should it be needed in the future. Let’s hope not !
In the meantime you might like to see what the group has been getting up to:

  • 33 Volunteers hand delivered 1,600 Information leaflets.
  • 1 Volunteer designed a secure database for all the information.
  • 3 Volunteers wrote and updated guidelines.
  • 4 Volunteers handle all incoming communications.
  • 2 Volunteers allocate all support and liaise with individuals.
  • 144 Volunteers are offering practical support, such as shopping, errands, dog-walking, gardening etc.
  • 23 Volunteers are offering Telephone Befriending.  
  • 5 Volunteers (Addingham First Responders) are offering prescription collection and delivery.
  • 2 Volunteers offer occasional prescription delivery from beyond Addingham.
  • 3 Volunteers made 3 paper patterns for scrubs.
  • 4 Volunteers made Scrubs for Addingham Health Centre.
  • 3 Volunteers made contact with shielded residents.
  • 12 people researched the need for an Addingham Fresh Food Bank.
  • 34 cheques have been exchanged for cash.
  • Ramon’s prints have been gifted to volunteers and clients.                
  • Transport has been provided for a key worker.
  • Many dogs have been walked many miles.
  • Many lawns have been cut.
  • And gardens have been gardened!!

And finally a quick word from Diana Keeble at Addingham Good Neighbours.
‘If you are volunteering and enjoying the role you might be interested in joining Addingham Good Neighbours. We would love to hear from you. Just give me a call on 01943 839425. Thanks.’


Our Environment Group’s Photography Competition

The response to our decision to hold a wildlife photo competition during the lockdown has been splendid with over 150 pictures being submitted by the 31st of May deadline.
The competition was designed to help our members through a very difficult period and at the same time take advantage of everyone’s enforced free time to start building a photo archive of village wildlife. The theme was “Spring” and entries were invited under seven categories: Birds, Bees, Butterflies, Other animals, Wildflowers, Landscape and Photos from Children (aged 11 and under).
 The winning picture of the “butterfly” category chosen by judge Diane Morris was taken by Mel Taylor and this picture went on to become the overall winner, judged by John Fontana and Harry Jevons.  Diane commented “the photo shows the butterfly’s mottled green underwings with a hint of orange on the upper wing to identify it as a male, and captures it taking nectar from ladies smock, it’s main foodplant”.  A delighted Mel said “I’m grinning from ear to ear – not something that has happened much in recent months”
The “birds” category was won by Anne Hodgson with a picture of a grey heron on the River Wharfe above High Mill.  Judge Chris Acomb liked its composition, particularly the diagonal of the ‘log perch’ against the upright position of the heron. The winning “bees” photo of a tree bumblebee was taken by Ian Benson.  Judge Maurice White admired its balance of colour and shade with the tones of the bee in clear natural light. 
The “other animals” category attracted a diverse range of entries including roe deer, frogs and mating hedgehogs.  The winner was Mary Jenner’s picture of a frog in a garden pond.  The category was judged by Jan Hindle who commented “the viewer’s attention is drawn immediately to the eye of the frog at the centre of the photograph and the close image allows us to appreciate the textures, particularly of the frog’s skin”

There were over thirty pictures submitted in the “wildflower” category.  Choosing a winner was consequently difficult, but judges Nicky Vernon and Heather Burrow picked out a photo of a wood avens flower by Don Barrett as the winner.  They remarked “the photo is beautifully crisp, nicely lit and interesting. You can even see the shadows of the stamens on two of the petals. It repays study, and tells you all you need to know about a Geum flower”.
The “children’s” category was also well-subscribed with pictures of wildflowers, butterflies, and landscapes, but the winning entry, by seven-year old Evelyn Klatt, was of a “little brown mouse” captured close to the Saw Mill Pond footpath.  Head judges John Fontana and Harry Jevons also judged the children’s category.  John said that with children as young as five in the competition, rather than technical skills, they were looking for photos that most portrayed wild life in its natural environment, and where images were composed in a way that made the subject stand out.

 “Landscape” was the most popular category, such that judge Geraldine Thompson opted to declare three joint winners.  The rules for this category required pictures to be taken of landscapes within the parish boundaries or seen from within parish boundaries.  Mike Valiant’s picture of the moon indeed followed the rules!  Geraldine commented “an unusual and striking image of tremendous contrast between the cool crisp clarity of the moon’s surface and the deep impenetrable indigo blue of the mysteries of limitless space beyond”.  On Debs Griffiths’ picture she remarked “a rare and serendipitous opportunity to capture the extraordinary dramatic colourful light at early dawn during a narrow timeline in the short life of the cherry blossom” and on the third joint winner by John Fontana she said “this is a quintessentially Addingham spring scene familiar to local walkers”.
In addition to the eight winning entries there were 40 pictures highly commended by the judges.  These can be seen on the Environment Group’s website: https://addinghamenvironmentgroup.org.uk/.  The Environment Group wishes to thank everyone for their entries and thanks especially the judges for their help, thoughtful judging and constructive comments.   There may well be another competition next year, lockdown or no lockdown.

New Swift and Bat groups

We have well established groups for monitoring our village birds, butterflies and bees.  We now have a bat group and a swift group.

 Co-ordinator  for the Bat Group Pam Wells writes:
“The Bat Group is a new departure for Addingham, my partner Malcolm and myself. We have lived in the village for some time and each year during the summer months, have seen bats flitting amongst the trees in the dusk. Our greater interest began after meeting Maggie Brown from the West Yorkshire Bat Group at the AEG’s annual environment weekend in the Memorial Hall last year.
 During the last few months Malcolm has been involved in local wildlife surveys, and it was during a conversation with Rick that Malcolm and I agreed to form a local bat group on the clear understanding that we are not experts – far from it –  but we are learning as much as we can with a great deal of welcome advice from Maggie, a real bat expert in Otley.
We have been delighted by the response to the group and it is encouraging to discover the amount of interest and potential involvement of so many people. Hopefully, before too long, we will be able to meet together and discuss how we would like the group to progress.
Meanwhile, Malcolm has put together an interactive map on which we’re recording our sightings, just click on this link https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1jYeL9q–Jww_QYlzARszD4g6DNQ0sGe_&usp=sharing. Why not join us in the group so that we can add your sightings? It doesn’t matter at all if you don’t know the species, every record is immensely valuable in helping us to build a picture of our local bat population.
I am learning as much as I can about bats in general. In July we will be getting our bat detector and aim to visit various bat haunts as indicated by the map and discover the different species we have in the locality. We’d love to hear from you if you would like to join the group, just drop an email to aeg@addingham.info and we’ll be in touch”
“Our wonderful bat photograph is from”  http://www.brixtonbuzz.com/?s=bats.

 We also have a new Swift Group co-ordinated by Jessica Penrose.
Every spring we look forward to the return of our swifts.  They were back from Africa on schedule this year at the beginning of May.  Hopefully they are now having a successful breeding season here in the village.  Nationally swifts have declined by about 50% since 1995 so we need to do all we can to take care of our Addingham populations for the relatively short time they are with us.
One of the most important things is to make sure their regular nesting sites are available when they return and are then not disturbed during the nesting season.  But where are the sites?  We know there are some nests in the eaves in Victoria Terrace but we’d like to identify all the others.  If you’re interested in swifts and would like to help please email aeg@addingham.info and we’ll put you in touch with Jess.

Addingham Civic Society