Chairman's Remarks - Trust Annual Report 1986

Council Members and Officers. There have been several changes during the year. In January George Burnett was co-opted to the Council and now chairs the Development Control Committee. Julie Macpherson, who has done a very long stint as Hon. Membership Secretary, has recently handed over this task to Commander B. Tower. We are enormously grateful to her for all that she has done over the years and I believe that we can still count on the assistance of her computer for address labels. Stephen Coates has been succeeded as Assistant Hon. Treasurer by Mrs. Liz Meredith, and Mark Savidge has become Hon. Publicity Officer.

George Swift, Robert Adam and John Thorn have indicated their wish to resign from the Council at the Annual General Meeting.

As Hon. Manager of the Heritage Centre, George Swift has held one of our most onerous and time-consuming appointments and it would be difficult to overstate the value of his contribution. At the end of July he was succeeded as Hon. Manager by Alan Cooke. Whilst he wishes to resign from the Council, he will remain, to our great relief, on the Management Committee of the Heritage Centre.

Robert Adam finds it increasingly difficult to spare time from his architectural practice and feels that he also must resign. He has been of the greatest help to the Trust and, in particular, has been responsible for instigating and organising the Winchester Preservation Trust Design Awards which are now an established annual event. In addition, as a result of his initiative, we have this year instituted a Measured Drawing Prize for architectural students.

Due to increasing involvement in other appointments, John Thorn has decided, to our great regret, that he must stand down. We hope that both he and Robert Adam will rejoin the Council one day when their other commitments permit.

We were particularly delighted to see Nick McPherson, whose accident was referred to in the last Annual Report, resume an active role on the Council.

As always, we are extremely grateful to our Hon. Secretary, Gill Graham, to all our Officers and to those who serve on the various Committees. The Trust could not function without them.

Membership. We now have some 800 individual and 22 corporate members. The steady expansion in our numbers is satisfactory but we believe that a considerable additional increase is desirable. Added numbers lend weight to our views when we express them to the authorities, increase our income and add to the pool of expertise and activity within the Trust. The most effective means of recruitment is by word of mouth and we do ask members, therefore, to do all that they can to persuade others to join.

It is not always easy for the Council to be sure that it is in tune with the members and we would like to see increased communication with our membership. This can take various forms. As usual, the Chairmen of our Committees and other Officers will be available at the Annual General Meeting and will be glad to answer questions and receive suggestions. Our Newsletter is now published on a regular basis three times a year and letters from members (and others) are always welcome. It is also, perhaps, worth reminding members that there is now a Members' Room at the Heritage Centre where the Trust's comments on planning applications and other correspondence and documents are available, and thus members can keep abreast of views which the Trust has expressed on various matters.

The Future. The activities of the Trust during the last year are described elsewhere in this Report. In the near future our most important concerns are likely to be:

The re-development of the Central Car Park site. A Brief, prepared by the City Council, is shortly to go out to developers. Public comment will be invited at the third stage of the competition on up to four schemes which the Council will select from those submitted by the entrants. In our view the public should have been given an opportunity to comment on the Brief itself and we canvassed strenuously, but unsuccessfully, to this effect. We feel that a valuable opportunity was lost and we have some reservations about the Brief itself. Nevertheless, we shall do all we can to ensure that the scheme finally selected for this re-development, which is a most important one, is as good as it can possibly be in the circumstances.

The M3 Motorway. We understand that the 1985 Inquiry Inspector's Report was delivered some months ago to the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment. Their decision is expected by the end of this year.

Peninsular Barracks. During the year the Light Division Depot moved to Flowerdown. There is, however, no news as yet on the redevelopment of this 15-acre site in the centre of the City, which will be of not only local, but of national importance.

David Middleditch