Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meeting, June 29th - Minutes

Present at the meeting were Jeff, Laura, Carolyn, Justin, Christine, Chris, Andrew, Jo Vos, Emma Isworth, Barbara Misselbrook, Ann Barnes and later joined by Patricia Wilson, Nigel and Sheila

After general introductions, Jeff bought us up to date on the plans for 'Tenterden Clean up day'. Jo Vos has given Jeff the forms to register the event with 'Clean Kent' who will provide litter pickers, tabards etc, and who will also arrange with ABC to pick up the rubbish. We need to decide which areas we want to tackle, as we will need to do a risk assessment.  Justin suggested that we could involve Neighbourhood Watch groups,and assign areas on that basis. Jo will be able to contact the NW co-ordinators for this. It was also discussed that we should have more than one collection point for the rubbish, and that we transport it by vehicle to the central location at the end. Jeff has registered the event with 'Keep Britain Tidy' who have provided stickers, tabards, sacks etc to use on the day, and to help publicise the event Emma suggested that we should advertise the event in the Parish Magazine, and in the local paper, which she will help with. Jeff has designed posters for the event ,and has built the Facebook page,so there are a variety of ways for people to get involved. We need to discuss with Chris Weir how we will get the recyclable rubbish to him.

Bike to Work Wednesday launches next week, the 6th. This is an ongoing project, and there will be a social meeting in the White Lion from 5pm onwards. As we want this to be an inclusive project, all are welcome, cycling to work or not! We want to encourage non-cyclists to get involved. Justin has found that RM cycles will do a bike 'MOT' service for £30. He is going to make enquiries to see if anyone does it cheaper than this. Justin is also going to make contact with the schools to see if we can get the children involved. Jeff will produce posters to advertise the scheme. It was mentioned that the only dedicated cycle route in Tenterden is along the old railway line, between Grange Road and Drury Road. It is a pity that we dont have any other cycle routes to encourage cyclists, but it was said that the more cyclists we get on the roads ,the safer they will be. Jo also mentioned that she had tried to encourage the schools to set up 'walking buses' but had met with little success. It was hoped we could start a 'cycling crocodile' instead.

Jeff reported on the successful Highbury Hall Clean Up day. A willing group of volunteers from T3 and from Highbury Hall gave up their Sunday morning to weed and dig around the hall, to spruce it up.  This is an under-used resource, which the new HH commitee are determined to bring back to life in its intended purpose of being for the youth of Tenterden. While we were at the hall we discovered that many years of leaf mould etc has left the ground looking very fertile, and the idea of making some sort of community garden there, perhaps involving the playgroup children, was put forward. Jeff will make contact with the playgroup leaders and the committee to discuss this further.

Leading on from this Emma asked the question about the use of the Millenium Garden at the Pebbles, now that the building is to be let out. Christine explained that the Millenium Garden would continue to be open as it is now, with no problems of access. The idea of using this space as a community garden for growing vegetables etc. among the flowers has been mooted previously,but apparently vandalism became an issue .

Jo is involved in a Gardening Project at the Infant School, so it will be worth visiting this for ideas on how best to involve the children.

Sandi Bain, the manager of Kench Hill was unable to be present, but Laura explained that they have a very solid recycling policy there and Sandi has a Ridan composter. They grow their own fruit and veg in a polytunnel, recycle everything they can, compost food waste and even have a 'Straw  Bale' classroom. Sandi has said that we are welcome to visit them and have a look at the operation, so Jeff will try to liaise with her and organise a field trip.
Leading on from this, Justin suggested the possibility of a local composting scheme, in which we would collect food scraps and other suitable materials to produce our own compost which we could then sell to local gardeners/allotment users etc. It was agreed we need to find someone who has sufficient expertise in composting ,and that we would need to find a suitable site to do this. This in turn led us back to the discussion about allotments and landshare schemes,see previous meeting.

Jeff then told us about some Transition Groups who had gone into Cider production using 'waste'  Apples from local farms.It appears that some Orchard owners dump the apples as it is cheaper than trying to use them/transport them, and they are not acceptable quality to sell. They are still perfectly usable to make cider with. Jeff has looked into the HMRC regulations, and apparently you do not pay duty on small scale productions. We need to look into the Environmental Health and Hygiene regulations to find out more. It was agreed that we would need to find a press, and premises to produce and store the Cider, and also find ways of transporting the apples and the product. Patricia will contact her friend in Devon who produces Cider for more information, and Jeff will try to make contact with some local farms, such as Gibbet Oak. Justin will try to talk to Biddenden Vineyard.

The subject of the dumped apples led us to a discussion about the fly-tipping that seems to occur in Spains Wood. A mini clean up was suggested, and Jo advised that we could make a note of large items,and the exact location to pass to ABC. It would seem that it is the responsibility of the land owner to clean up this sort of thing, but identifying the owner isnt always straightforward. Justin said the first port of call would be to search the land registry. Emma thought she had seen a map with all the land owners marked, and thought it may have been to do with the Residents Association, so she will try to find this.

Jeff reported back that we had met with Chris Weir, and had a look around his facility. It was mentioned that we had seen a hand written poster for the facility posted in St Michaels Fish and Chip shop, and Jeff suggested that we could help Chris by producing some more professional looking posters. A meet with Chris to find out exactly what help he wants/needs is required. Ways for him to be able to expand his services and operation without upsetting his neighbours are needed.

Other points raised.

Re Clean up Day,  Jeff would like to create a buzz, so he suggested we get the town crier along, also some musicians etc. Jo suggested a BBQ at the end of the event for the helpers. A concern was raised that the Tigers use the Rec on Saturdays, so we would need to look into this.

Jeff thought it would be a good idea to have a stand of some sort during the Folk Festival, to promote our organisation and the various projects. Jeff has obtained various promotional items at minimal cost such as Banners and Postcards. It was agreed that this would be a good idea, and that Jeff should contact Alan Castle about this. Emma suggested that we should do the same for Tentertainment, although it would be short notice,and Jeff will contact Mike Carter. Andrew volunteered to help with handing out flyers etc.

There is a lady from Transition Eugene, Oregon who is looking to visit the UK for a holiday, and would like to visit some Transition towns while she is here. Jeff will contact her and see if she will be in our area, and hopefully she can come over and advise and inspire us.

Emma made a suggestion that we should have one night where ALL the shops turn off all of the lights. It was agreed wholeheartedly that this was a very good idea, and that there is no real need for any of the shops to leave the lights blazing all night long. We will make a list of which shops have lights on and contact them with a view to co-ordinating a switch off night.

Sheila raised a point regarding the Blue Box scheme. Apparently when she moved to her house she requested a Blue Box, but was told she could not have one as the scheme did not cover her road (Brook Street). We advised her to try contacting the council again, as they have recently extended the scheme, but agreed it would be interesting to know which streets were not covered, and why. Sheila was told that some roads are too narrow for the lorry, but surely if the Dustcart can fit up them, the recycling lorry can too?

Jeff to email Justin the Bike poster, so he can print it out and give it to Christian at the White Lion to display. Justin to also speak to Christian about using the function room.Jeff to organise printing of posters for Bike, and for Clean up.

Next meeting is provisionally 27th July. Jeff to confirm date,time and venue.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

T3 Meeting Tomorrow Night

Just a reminder to everyone that our second meeting is still scheduled for 7pm at The William Caxton, tomorrow night, the 29th of June. (Can't believe it's almost July! Where does the time go?) Hope to see you all there!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Be A Pedal Pusher

Transition Town Tenterden (aka T3) is pleased and proud to announce Bike To Work Wednesdays!

Every Wednesday, ditch the car, get on your bike (well, it doesn't have to be your  bike necessarily - you could borrow one), bike to work, and on your way home, stop in at the White Lion for a chat and a beverage. You'll feel better, burn some calories, meet some like-minded folks, and save some dosh while being environmentally friendly! Even if you're a non-cyclist or a novice, kick the car habit and replace it with something healthy. All are welcome. The White Lion also does some lovely food, so it could be a great midweek night out.

The first Bike To Work Wednesday will be July 6th. It's after work, so around 5:30 or thereabouts, until - whenever...

Hope to see you there!
Be a pedal pusher!

Friday, June 24, 2011


This Sunday 26th June, we're pitching in at the cleanup of Highbury Hall at 9:30 am or thereabouts. We're going to be weeding and sprucing up the exterior of the building, so if you have gardening implements and/or gardener's gloves you'd like to bring, please do so.

Also, remember that our next meeting is this coming Wednesday, the 29th June at 7pm at The William Caxton. Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's Happening

Well, folks, time for a quick update.

CLEANUP DAY rolls on, with the recently designed poster which you should soon be seeing in the High Street shops and other places:

 Today I received a package from Keep Britain Tidy's Big Tidy-Up, where I have recently registered our event, and the package contained tabards for our volunteers, green refuse sacks and clear refuse sacks for recyclables. If we need more it is just a matter of asking for them.

BIKE TO WORK Justin and I have been talking about starting Bike To Work Wednesdays. I very much want to encourage people that work in the town to use a bicycle to get to work at least one day a week, which has been shown to reduce a town's carbon emissions significantly. What we want to do is to have an after-work social at The White Lion (chosen because of its central location, its beer garden in front and its close proximity to the front forecourt of HSBC bank which is a nice area to park and lock your bikes where you can keep an eye on them), on Wednesday evenings. I think (and you can disagree with me if you like - I'm open to suggestions) that July would be a good month to kick this off because it is the month of Zero Carbon Britain Day, which is on July 16th. After all, what mode of transport produces no carbon whatsoever? The humble bicycle. So if you want to improve your health, save money on petrol, help the environment and not have to worry unduly about finding a parking space, bike to work at least once a week, and join your fellow pedal pushers on Wednesday evenings for a bit of a natter and a drink. (Oh, and The White Lion does some nice food too.) If nothing else you won't be slumped at home in front of the telly eating dinner out of a box. You'll be out meeting interesting people and doing something good for yourselves and good for the town. Here's the preliminary design for the poster:

What do you all think?

Next event on our calendar is this coming Sunday, the 26th June, where we will be assisting with the clean and tidy-up of Highbury Hall, which I think we can all agree needs it. Be there ready to weed and beautify and generally spruce the exterior of Highbury Hall at around 10am. If anyone needs a T3 t-shirt I have quite a few. If we want people to join us, to take us seriously, then we have to show some serious commitment to projects such as this that benefit the community as a whole. So let's roll up our sleeves and get stuck in!

Oh, and please remember that the NEXT MEETING is next Wednesday, June 29th at The William Caxton pub, at 7pm. We have lots to talk about so please attend if you can!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cleanup Day Is A Reality

Well, the challenge was set for us to organise Tenterden Cleanup day, and we did it! The date is now set for September 24th. This should give us ample time to organise volunteers and gather equipment. Ashford Borough Council's street cleansing dept. has been made aware, Jo Vos, our town warden, will be organising the hi-vis jackets etc. in conjunction with Clean Kent, and all that remains is to talk to KCC Highways & Footpaths and let them know. We need a big turnout to kick this off in grand style, so publicity is key. I am going to be talking with local publications in the coming days to make sure there is maximum exposure. Watch this space - it's starting to get exciting, guys.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear Diary...

Since the first meeting, here's what I've managed to accomplish...

  • Visited Chris Weir at Parkgate Business Park and viewed his recycling facility. Or, more accurately, I wanted to visit Chris Weir, but he was not there when we popped by there, but we spoke to his assistant John and had a look at the facility. Folks, he can recycle anything except glass. Well, strictly speaking, he can process and bale stuff up to be recycled, which he then sends to various processors around the world to be recycled. After I left there I spoke at length on the phone with Chris, and the man is a passionate and hardcore believer in recycling. His main problem is that since nobody knows about his facility he cannot process enough stuff. He could also use a large truck or Luton van with a trailer to be able to compete on a local level with Biffa and Veolia and all the other big boys. He is, however, not a computer person and does not possess the technical know how to get a Web presence, he would also need to get a grant in order to buy new equipment, and has no idea where to start. When time permits Carolyn has offered to do some research into this.
  • Called Cllr. Alan Sugden to pick his brain with reference to Tenterden Clean Up Day. Alan has previously been involved in Litter Picking operations in St. Michaels and so I wanted to know from him where we could locate supplies such as rubber gloves, hi-vis jackets and litter pickers, and he gave me the number of Town Warden Jo Vos who apparently can rally troops like nobody's business. Called and left her a voicemail.
  • Spoke to Debbie Fleet, the new landlord of The William Caxton, about holding our future meetings there. She said she has a large back room with a big table that seats 12, and I visited the Caxton and saw it for myself. It's an ideal meeting space; in addition to the table that can seat 12 there are a few other smaller tables and a couple of sofas. Should be more than adequate for the time being. She seems a lovely lady and was very interested in the idea of the group.
  • Acquired a new member in the form of Patricia Wilson from Passionate Food, the makers of Tenterden Chutney.
  • This morning Jo Vos called me and we spoke for a while about what we were trying to achieve. She said she gets all the equipment from Clean Kent where we can also register details of our cleanup event. She also runs the Tenterden Youth Club and so will be at our next meeting on the 29th June along with someone from Youth Services and a youth helper or two. She also mentioned that she ha done previous litter-picking events with schools and will help us to get the schools involved also.
So that's what I have managed to do in half a week. Imagine what I could do with a month. I'm not the only one who has been busy though. My sister has been helping in every way she can, making suggestions and throwing ideas around with me and has also ferried me from pillar to post and for that I am grateful. Justin Nelson and my mum Christine Hickmott-Arnold have spoken with Cllr Mike Pearson about the involvement of Ashford Borough Council as regards taking away the trash we pick up. Sounds like we need to get in contact with them asap so there are no surprises, as they can apparently get grumpy if there's a lot of extra rubbish to deal with. my intention is to somehow separate what we find into (a) the stuff that Chris Weir can deal with; and (b) everything else. Hopefully the 'everything else' part will not be too much for the ABC to handle.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Minutes of First Meeting

MINUTES: First Informal Meeting - Wed. 8th June 2011, 7pm, The Vine

Minutes written by Carolyn

As it wasn't a formal meeting I didn't take formal minutes.

Present were Jeff, Laura, Carolyn, Chris, Justin, Andy, Andrew, Anne, Sue, and joined later by Christine and Bill

Points discussed :-

Bike to work day/week/month. Should have an incentive such as meeting at a pub. Involve the cycle shop .

Christmas Shopping Challenge- can you do all your Christmas shopping within the local area using locally sourced products only? Buying goods locally, supporting local producers.

Involving Schools- Justin felt that the schools would be far in advance of ourselves in terms of environmental awareness,both in regard to teaching and in their own recycling/energy usage etc. It was felt that we should perhaps seek help and guidance from them.

Landshare. It was discussed that a local Landshare scheme could be set up. Many people have large gardens they can't use. There is a long waiting list for allotments, so maybe we can set up a scheme?

Community Bus. Sue feels that the idea of an electric bus patrolling the streets around the area, bringing people into town, would reduce the number of cars, the parking problems etc. It was suggested that this could be funded by Tesco and other local businesses, with a nominal charge made to passengers. There is a lot of money, time and effort involved in setting this up, plus issues like insurance etc.

Plastic Bag Free town. Would it be possible to make Tenterden Plastic Bag Free? All stores would have to give paper bags instead of plastic. Andrew said he actively dissuades customers who ask him for a bag. It was felt the larger chain shops wouldn't be keen to change, but maybe smaller traders would, especially if we could find a source of paper bags at good prices.

Parkgate Centre. It was discussed that we should talk to Chris Weir at the centre and try to get him involved in the project. Anne says he needs help to look into funding and grants,and into ways of making more money from the things he collects. It was suggested that Jeff should make a visit to the centre and talk to Chris about Transition,and how we can help each other. Suggestions include a collection point for cardboard, toner cartridges and making him a Chamber member to advertise his facility

Litter Picking Day/ Clean Up Tenterden. It was discussed that to make the most of our opportunity we should give ourselves enough time to organise this properly.
We have set a provisional date for 24th September, after the school holidays and before Folk Festival. Jeff will liaise with Alan Sugden to find out where to obtain the equipment e.g. litter pickers,bags etc. He will also find out about the disposal arrangements for the rubbish that is collected. How does the litter normally get disposed of? Could the Town Council arrange to have our collection removed? Would it cost money? Sue felt that we shouldn't have to pay as we would be doing the job for them. How is the litter from litter bins etc. normally removed? Possibly need to talk to Cllr Mike Pearson about this. Also may need to talk to Cllr Carter about Tentertainment, and how they dispose of their refuse. 
To maximise the publicity it was suggested that we advertise the event as widely as possible, seeking volunteers. Involving the schools, the local paper, the town website and the Transition Facebook page and blog. We should also put posters and flyers out nearer the time. We should also talk to Neighbourhood Watch, Community Officers, PACT meeting, and  the Town Council. The suggestion was also made that we should develop an 'Adopt your Road' idea, so that individuals can take part in their own bit of the town.

It was decided that the group should meet again on 29th June, provisionally in the William Caxton.

Action Points.

Jeff to contact Chris Weir, Alan Sugden, Mike Pearson, Mike Carter and Debbie at the William Caxton.

Date and venue of next meeting to be confirmed by Jeff.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gasland? Here?

I just read on the DealWithIt blog that the Kent County Council in their infinite wisdom has approved a test bore site for shale gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') in Kent, near Woodnesborough at the junction of A257/A256. This is extremely worrying.

Hydraulic fracturing involves sending a mixture of sand, water and chemicals at high pressure down a deep tube into the layers of shale below. The pressurized mixture causes the rock to fracture and the stored methane gas to be released. This has been portrayed by the drilling corporations as a 'green' alternative source of energy. In reality it has been known to poison groundwater and make people sick. A similar operation in Blackpool recently hit the headlines because it was apparently causing earth tremors. DealWithIt Coordinator Rosie Rechter said:  “We are very concerned about this. It is not just the recent experience of what has happened in Blackpool although given the amount of old mine workings in the district that is of course a major concern. There is considerable evidence of the danger that this sort of operation poses to our water supply. Given we live in one of the most arid parts of the country we should not be taking risks with our water supply. Our part of Kent has the opportunity for many green energy solutions, from wind farms, tidal and the new energy park recently announced in the district. We do not need Shale Gas in Kent. We call upon the Kent County Council and Dover District Council to reject the application.”

We at Transition Town Tenterden hereby second that. The Planning application is KCC/DO/0069/2011 and can be viewed at KCC Planning Portal here 

A recent Guardian article explains the process - here.

First Meeting

We are holding our first informal meeting at The Vine Inn, Tenterden at 7pm on Wednesday 8th June. This will be your chance to come along and see what we are all about, share concerns and ideas and have a nice beer with some friendly folks. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011