Waltham Abbey Town Partnership

Minutes of the Virtual Meeting Tuesday December 8th 2020

Present. Cllr H. Kane, R.Walters, A.Crowley, B.Elliott, C.Simpson, M.Sheffield, T.O’Connor, A.Ako-Nai ,M. Boyce, Phil Clegg.

Apologies Rev. P Smith, D.Evans, J.Law

Chair  Paul Violet

Minutes taken by Paula Violet

Paul started the meeting with a short period of silent reflection remembering Mick Fitch who sadly died recently.

Minutes of the November meeting were agreed.

Matters Arising Cllr Kane has contacted Gunpowder Mills. They have a new manager and will confirm a representative to attend WATP meetings. It will possibly be Liz Went.

Derek Evans will attend to represent LVRP

Accounts will be audited next week.                                                                                      AC is still to contact the relevant person re the sign in Romeland.

Treasurer’s Report

Paul has submitted all documentation required by EFDC required to secure the £1,000.00 annual Admin Grant

Museum  The Museum has remained closed as December is a quiet time and it is a busy time preparing for the Wildlife Exhibition. This will open from January 23rd – April 17th. The exhibition is from the Natural History Museum and so visitors are fortunate to have free entry to such a high profile exhibition. It has been well publicised, but due to COVID-19 restrictions there is to be a booking system for visitors. The quality of photos is excellent. 

A range of events are planned on site and virtually linked to the Cultural Festival. There has been a good response to this, but some larger organisations have found the logistics for this difficult in the current situation.

U3A Photographic group remains strong and the group are hoping to contribute to the Wildlife exhibition. John Price and Ray Harris will be organising Sensory Walks in the New Year. The Art group is not as popular as hoped and it is a possibility that this will be linked to the wider Essex groups of U3A. Clive needs judges for this, please contact him if interested.

Historical Society A newsletter is sent out and DVDs are to be sent out at Christmas.

Tourism There is to be a Tourism meeting Thursday December 10th 2.30pm The town appears to have had visitors in the lockdown and the wildlife at Gunpowder Mils have been an attraction.

LVRP  The Discovery Centre is now open , but by appointment only whilst COVID-19 restrictions remain.

The Market PO have confirmed the ATM will not be replaced. With TSB going in March only two ATMs will be available in Town. Problems remain with Market Square parking. .Cllr Kane confirmed many improvements are planned for WA. The Market Square gates are to be replaced and new signage will be in place confirming it s a Pedestrianised area. Parking should not be a problem as it has been 20p during lockdowns and free for the whole of December.

WATTA The Twinning group missed their trip to Germany in August and the Germans could not come to WA for the Cavalcade weekend We organised a Zoom link on Friday evening when 20 of us “met”. We plan to have a Happy Christmas link on December 18th.

WA Church

Following the end of lockdown and transfer back to Tier 2 the Abbey Church has reintroduced its previous pattern of three Eucharist services, at 8.30am and 10.30am on Sundays and at 10.30am on Wednesdays (offering a particular welcome to those who are vulnerable and shielding), with a maximum number attending of 50 and advance registration. Bellringing is not possible in Tier 2. 

At the 10.30am service on 6th December the Abbey Choir sang for the first time for nine months, following a rigorous risk assessment and in line with social distancing advice. 

This service was filmed and is now streaming on the Services page of the Abbey Church website at www.walthamabbeychurch.co.uk and this will be repeated on subsequent Sundays.

On Saturday, the church was open for private prayer from 11am until 3pm, and the Friends of Waltham Abbey Church shop in the Lady Chapel was also open. The same arrangements will apply on the next two Saturdays.

 Christmas Windows  Advertising has gone to the shops for this. Hopefully, there will be a good response. Paul will be asking the Mayor Cllr Watts to help in delivering the prizes.

Christmas Cards  100 cards have been printed and will be distributed to all shops in Sun Street., The Square and Highbridge Street.

Publicising Waltham Abbey  A small group has been formed to consider a Winter Festival in conjunction with the Cavalcade of Light for December 2021 and to develop some ideas. It could comprise a programme of events or lighting installations that could be a visitor attraction throughout the Christmas period and beyond.. There are several areas in the Abbey where this could take place e.g., Abbey Gardens. It is important to try to get the retailers as involved as possible.

Cllr Kane said there is to be an EFDC Meeting on December 22nd . The focus will be Waltham Abbey and its development. It will be useful to watch and a good discussion point for our next meeting.

AOB Andrew Crowley has contacted Denise Fitch to enquire if a form of remembrance could be in place for Mick. He is waiting for a response. German Town Twinners and WA  Twinners have sent a video message for Saturday’s service. WATTA have also suggested a donation to the Church and are waiting for a response as to how the donation could be used.

A question was asked if WATP have responded to the Next development and what action are they taking?  Paul felt that the Partnership should not get involved in issues of a political nature. He felt there are many opportunities for individuals to raise their concerns or support. If Next were to open a retail outlet in the Town that would be of interest to the Partnership.

Paul closed the meeting by thanking participants for their attendance and wishing everyone Seasons greetings and the hope of a good 2021.

Date of next meeting  Tuesday January 12th. 9.30am via Zoom