We’d like to share an update on some of the activities the Forum Executive have been looking at in recent weeks.
Avant Homes have agreed to the Council’s request for an extension to the time for them to determine the planning application until 31st May. The Forum’s comments and those of other consultees have been sent to the planning consultants handling Avant’s application.
The Council expects a response during March from Avant and will keep the Forum updated. More information about the impact that 245 houses would have on the local roads and railway crossings has been published. Avant Homes have also asked the Environment Agency to reconsider the flood zone status of the site and a decision is also expected soon.
You will have noticed that ‘For Sale’ signs are now up outside the United Reformed Church and Hall. The church has been priced at £80,000 and the hall at £120,000.
Whilst the church, listed as a Locally Significant Heritage Asset can be sold at any time the hall can’t be sold until July as the Forum had it listed as an “asset of community value” (the church couldn’t be listed as it is a religious building).
We understand that there has been a fair bit of interest so far and it is entirely possible that the church and hall will be sold separately and that the prices may rise above the listed values.
Forum members have viewed both properties. The church is a locally listed with many attractive features, while the hall is a more complex structure which would require significant investment to bring it up to modern standards. The hall has no safeguard, although the Forum has proposed that it is added to the local list of protected buildings.
To date there hasn’t been the level of interest from the community that would be necessary to purchase and manage the hall, although we are aware that there is some interest from a number of local businesses, some of which may facilitate community use. If you would like to be involved, let us know as soon as possible. In the meantime, discussions are continuing and we’ll keep you informed with any progress.
To provide additional protection for Boldon Flats and in response to concerns raised by Cleadon and East Boldon residents, the Forum has asked the Council to consider amending the designation of Boldon Flats from a Local Wildlife Site to a Local Nature Reserve, as only the Council have the power to do this. Further information on this Community Action is available elsewhere on the website.
Please note that there is NO TRUTH in any of rumours that there are plans to change current access to the site or:
- Create footpaths across the site.
- Create car parks on the site.
- Build hides around the site.
- Build a shop or provide toilet facilities on the site.
A Platinum Jubilee ‘Art and Nature’ Exhibition is happening at the Library on the Jubilee weekend, Saturday June 4th between 11.00 am and 2.00pm.There may be another exhibition later in the year. We are inviting entries in any medium and mixed media but envisage that the majority of these will be A4 paper submissions.
The invitation has been extended to all Boldon, Cleadon and Whitburn schools because students from East Boldon attend schools in all three villages and much of the greenbelt runs between them. In fact, we welcome entries from anyone in the three villages. The Platinum Jubilee is a unique achievement and cause for a collective celebration of the Queen’s special anniversary and our precious natural environment. The Jubilee weekend coincides with UN World Environment Day on June 5th.
We have tentatively booked professional artist, Carol White www.carolsart.co.uk into the Library for April 7th and 21st, May 5th and 19th from 6.00 -8.00pm. The booking depends on the success of our funding bid to the ‘Let’s Create Platinum Jubilee Fund’. In the event of a successful outcome, all of Carol’s sessions will be free to the community and resources provided.
The reason East Boldon Forum became involved in this project is because we learned through our work with ‘The Cultural Spring’ that art is a very powerful medium for conveying deep and important messages. The Forum has produced a film showing some of the local nature, including bird life at Boldon Flats which Carol White thought was a great source of inspiration, though there are many other examples on our doorstep.
Whether or not the funding bid is successful, the exhibition will go ahead. We hope you feel inspired and encouraged to break out your easel, smock and paintbrushes and join in with the project.
Conditions for art entries: For example, painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, photography, textiles, crochet, knitting, poetry, decoupage, lino prints. (The list is not exhaustive and any media are welcome.)
One of the Community Actions identified in the Neighbourhood Plan (CA3), relates to involvement with South Tyneside Council on a review of their East Boldon Conservation Area guidance & their “Local List” of heritage assets.
Following community engagement, the Forum had previously identified possible additions to the Local List detailed in the Neighbourhood Plan (Paragraphs 5.14 & 5.22, Policy EB4 ) and the Built and Historic Environment Background Paper (Table 4 contains the details & reasoning behind the Forum’s suggestions).
The Forum has made the Council’s Historic Environment Officer aware of our interest, who advised us last August that this work would be undertaken by a new Heritage Project Officer (to be appointed on a temporary contract) in conjunction with Gateshead and Newcastle councils.
The Forum was given an update on this matter, at the meeting on 16th August 2021, and a small working group was set up. The officer is now in post and has recently contacted the Forum and our working group hope to arrange a meeting soon.
Up to this point the majority of our funding has been provided by Locality (a government body) but now that our plan has been adopted we are no longer eligible for this stream of funding. In order that the Forum can continue to operate we would appreciate your help.
Whilst the executive and working groups will continue to volunteer their time and expertise there are a number of other costs which need to be covered. We need financial support to allow us to communicate with members and the wider community and help address our community actions. For example, the website costs around £200 per year in hosting fees; it costs up to £150 to print 2000 leaflets which are delivered by volunteers; hire of meeting rooms is between £35 and £100 dependent on location and length of each event.
We plan to run a crowd funding exercise to raise around £1,200 to cover our core costs for the next year. This excludes any professional consultancy costs which are around £500 per day so would be subject to a special funding campaign.
Please support us if you can, even if you can only contribute a few pounds. If you feel you are able to support us via a regular donation please let us know. If you’re aware of any other funding streams which we might be able to apply for we’d be interested to learn more.
If you wish to contact us for any reason please leave your details on the Contact Us page.