AGM & Reports
Annual General Meeting
The Board of Management for Kemp Town Enclosures is voted in and an Annual General Meeting is held every year, usually in February.
Below you can find the minutes from our latest AGM and our latest Gardener’s Report for the enclosures.
The Draft Minutes of Twenty-Third Annual General Meeting of Kemp Town Enclosures Limited
Location: Brighton Steiner School, Roedean Road, Brighton
Saturday 20th January 2018
32 members including board members, Mark Harper (Chair), Ian Clegg (treasurer), Steve Harwood, Russell Miller and Andrew Doig (minutes)
1. Apologies for absence: apologies were received from Jonathan Rolls, Jill Sewell, David Morris and Karl Gisholt
2. Chairman’s Report
The Chair began by announcing the retirement of Jonathan Rolls as Secretary and a vote of thanks for his service was moved and passed. Andrew Doig was taking over from Jonathan as Secretary.
The Chair based his remarks on those he published in the newsletter. It had been the first year for a while not dominated by the replacement of the Southern railings. A timber gate had been erected in the Southern boundary hedge, a new tractor/mower had been purchased, Jeremy had planted new beds and significant repair had been done to the tunnel. With the 200th anniversary of the gardens in 2023 in sight thoughts were now turning to marking that event.
3. Minutes of AGM held 18th March 2017
The minutes were agreed as a true record.
4. Gardener’s Report
Jeremy Moulsdale spoke to his report published with the agenda papers. He highlighted his work on the flower bed south east of the woodland garden, where the flowering season started with tulips in spring right through to salvias in November, his replanting of the square bed in the centre of the South garden, and the extension of a bed to the north west of that where a new bench was installed with new planting around it. He spoke of the generous donation of a fine bench and table for the Secret Garden, and of the work by Andy in cutting back the overgrown planting in the Chichester Terrace bed. He spoke of the tree survey and continuing removal of deadwood and of the two large boughs of poplars that had come down in stormy weather. He spoke of the plan to seriously reduce the depth of the southern boundary hedge where it had become too wide for the top to be safely reached for cutting. He and Andy were preparing a new base for a new mower shed generously donated by a resident. He finished by thanking, first his team members Andy and Ben, and then the Voles who helped maintain the beds throughout the year.
In answer to comments and questions, Jeremy confirmed that tree surgery and hedge cutting would be timed as far as possible not to interfere with bird nesting times, that efforts would continue to conserve an area of Lilly of the Valley, that only compost made in the garden or imported from a mushroom farm was used in the garden and that overgrown vegetation around the Horseshoe garden would be cut back from neighbouring paths as part of a larger project for that garden.
A vote of thanks to Jeremy for his work was passed.
5. Financial Statement for the year ended 31st March 2017
Ian Clegg, Treasurer, spoke to the certified accounts. Income for the year of £163,869 included, for a second year, £60,000 from a levy raised for renewal of southern railings, a generous gift of £10,000 towards that project and a further gift of £2,500 towards garden team wages. He was pleased to report that all charges, including the levy made on each house, had been collected. On the expenditure side, while the figure of £171,264, the cost of the Southern railings project, dominated the year’s spending, the other significant sum spent was £22,029 on repair of brickwork to the tunnel and to the path leading to the tunnel. Central costs had risen as a result of using a surveyor for repair and renewal projects at Jonathan Rolls, following the retirement last year of Brian Horton from his voluntary role.
In response to a question from the floor, the abated level of charge for ‘Outsiders’ was explained. There were no plans to admit further ‘Outsiders’.
The accounts were adopted by the meeting.
6. Election of Directors
Marker Harper and Jonathan Rolls retired by rotation as required by the company’s rules and offered themselves for re-election. Andrew Doig stood down as a co-optee and offered himself for election. All were elected unopposed.
7. Appointment of Auditors
Peter Chambers of Chambers & Co was re-appointed to examine and certify the company’s accounts.
strong>8. Garden Rate for 2018/19
A proposal from the Board that the garden rate be increased to £900 for freeholders, £300 for Outsiders and £270 for the Esplanade cottages was approved.
a) Repair of the cobbles: The Chair gave an update on the pursuit of the quest to establish the responsibility of the Council for the repair of the cobbles surrounding the gardens. He spoke of repeated attempts to get Council officers to accept that the cobbles were part of the adopted highway, but without success. The Board had then sought advice from a barrister with relevant experience and he had visited the site with board members. His written advice was expected imminently. The advice was to be used to encourage the Council to engage with the issue at a site meeting at which our barrister would be present to support our case.
Those present debated evidence that pointed towards the Council being responsible. Mike Osborne offered to produce new evidence that the cobbles had been constructed long after the railings had been set upon their plinth, with the implication that the cobbles were not foundations for our railings. Inevitably the arrangements for parking would need to be raised with the Council for it was impossible to park in the spaces as presently delineated without either driving or walking over the cobbled areas and causing them damage.
Steve Harwood identified that the plinth is in poor condition due to root and other damage and had previously been repaired inappropriately with cement. Tilley’s, a specialist stone mason, had indicated there was no worthwhile repairs that could be made. It is inevitable that at some stage KTE will need to spend a significant amount on replacing sections of the plinth, irrespective of the investigation with the Council on liability for the cobbles”.
b) Gardens bi-centenary 2023: The Chair invited the meeting to consider the forthcoming bi-centenary of the gardens laid out in 1823. Ideas aimed at celebrating the event included, an area laid out specifically in the Regency style, a knot garden in the square garden, a digitised record of the Gardens Committee minute book, an update to Antony Dale’s, 1964 pamphlet on the history of the gardens last updated in 1994, a commemorative tree planting by a member of the royal family, and, tongue in cheek, the realisation of an early plan to erect a vast statue of Neptune.
c) Website kte.org: Russell Miller spoke of plans to upgrade the website in such a way that he could update our news easily and frequently, and enable residents to post questions and comments for the Board. Andy of the gardens team had volunteered to set up a Facebook page for the gardens, linked to the website, which Russell would manage. The printed newsletter was to be discontinued but the website and Facebook page offered to enable a group of residents, much wider than those who attended the annual meeting, to participate in the running of the gardens throughout the year.
d) Poo bins: Jeremy reported that the bins were being well used. The positioning of a bin at the tunnel entrance was criticised by a resident as being superfluous. In response to an observation that then cost of the poo bins was greater than the cost of the service, the Treasurer pointed out that the dog registration fee had been increased from £15 to £25 from 1st January 2018 and was now expected to cover the cost of the bin service
e) Bicycles chained to railings: The Board was asked to approach the Council to provide further cycle hoops eg at the bend in the road in Lewes Crescent to provide an alternative for cyclists who presently chain their bicycles to the garden railings. The matter would be referred to the Kemp Town Society for their dealings with the Council.
f) AirBnB: Residents drew attention to nuisance caused by non-resident users of the gardens who were visitors staying in AirBnB lettings on the Estate. The situation would need to be monitored with a view to finding a way of eliminating this nuisance should it persist.
Download a copy of the 2018 Annual General Meeting Minutes .
Kemp Town Enclosures: Gardener’s report 2017
GARDENER’S REPORT FOR 2017
Prepared by Jeremy Moulsdale
Looking back over the year I have to think about the battering the garden got last winter from the constant wind and rain. While there was no major tree damage, which shows that our tree management programme is working well, we did lose some shrubs which didn’t have the strength to recover when the winds finally eased. Other shrubs did manage dot recover, but not all of them in time to flower this year.
However the summer and autumn was a different story, with lots of sunshine and enough rain to keep the borders flowering well over a long period. In fact, in my opinion I think the garden looked as good this summer as it ever has. The wildflower lawns were in almost constant flower from spring to late autumn. Last winter’s new planting also added to the colour and interest, with the new border in the North Garden growing well and having a big impact, while the new planting in the woodland also looked good with the foxgloves in particular making an impressive splash.
With the help of a great garden team, we have managed to keep the hedges and lawns cut more regularly with Andy doing a huge amount of work on the hedges, Ben cutting the grass regularly and a great group of volunteers, ‘the Voles’, who help keep the borders looking good by doing a huge amount of weeding and tidying.
On the down side, we did lose two trees to Dutch Elm disease this summer, not in the woodland area where I was expecting it, but next to the stockade near the south-east gate.
More recently, we have created another new border which came about because we had to remove a huge dying Buddleia Globosa next to the rose bed. I was a bit nervous about cutting it down because it was so big, but the area has now been planted and I’m excited to see how it grows. I hope it will be a big improvement, because together with the rose bed it creates a big new border that extends all around the south east side of the woodland. In addition to that, it has also opened up the woodland to more light. Which means I have been able to plant a lot of mostly British native hedgerow to provide nesting sites for birds as well as berries and flowers. That means that if the elm trees and their suckers die off there there will already be a new source of food and shelter for wildlife.
Also in the woodland area is the new sculpture. I am of course thrilled and honoured to have one of my sculptures in the garden and very thankful to all the people who made donations towards it. I have planted up the area around it with perennials which I hope will set it off beautifully as they grow.
On Chichester Terrace I am planning this winter to prune some of the overgrown shrubs and replacing dying ones with new planting. So there will be some gaps for a while until the new plants grow.
I’m also planning on cutting back some more of the hedges from the railings, around the North Garden.
With the new southern railings in place I am often asked what my plans are for theatre: The short answer is to leave it more or less as it is: Because the hedge is so high there has to be space between it and the railings to put up ladders etc so we will have to keep the strip of grass: However in the long term I would like to even up the hedge a bit; so where the grass is widest I will plant some new hedging and where it is thinnest I will cut the hedge back a bit to create a more even look: On the garden side of the hedge I will cut it back quite drastically in some places: It has grown so wide that at its widest it is over 8 metres which makes it very difficult to cut; so in some places it will be cut back to help us maintain it and to stop it hollowing out in the middle.
There are so many variables in a garden that are hard to predict or control, like the weather, disease and if the squirrels are going to eat all the tulip bulbs, or just some of them! But I am optimistic enough to think that most things will go well and that the garden will continue to go from strength to strength.
Download a copy of the 2017 Gardener’s Report .