I am pleased to report that the Executive Committee have met on two occasions since the lockdown began.  The April meeting was conducted by email, over 3 days, the papers having been circulated beforehand.  Members responded to the Chairman, emailing their comments and nods of approval.

The minute’s secretary did a marvellous job collating replies and confirming approval, luckily nothing controversial, just confirmation that we were collectively happy to postpone the AGM, and publish an extra Newsletter.  Not holding an AGM saved the Society over £1000 (venue hire, reproduction and distribution of the papers and refreshments for those attending), a sum which we immediately spent on the additional Newsletter.

We skipped the May Executive meeting but organised ourselves for a June meeting on Zoom.  Such meetings are limited to 40 minutes and thus we enjoyed what was probably the shortest Ipswich Society meeting ever.  Importantly, we ticked all the necessary boxes and heard what was going on with current planning applications and changes to the road layout to enhance road space for the expected increase in the number of cyclists as we return to work.

The June meeting of Ipswich Borough Council’s Development Control (the Planning Committee) was also held on Zoom and the technical team are to be congratulated for making it work, not only could committee members see each other but members of the public could watch proceedings and applicants / objectors could have their say (having given the Chairman sufficient notice).

Mike Cook will report the outcomes in Planning matters but it was broadly speaking un-contentious, straightforward and well controlled.  If I have one criticism it is that too many councillors indicate their wish to speak, when what they have to say is simply repetitive.  However, without speaking, attendees can sit through these video conferencing meetings without being noticed.

One of the outcomes of the Society’s Executive meeting at the beginning of June was to cancel the rest of the Summer Outings, the Garden Party (social distancing possible but the sharing of food, and the use of the indoor loo prohibited!).  We also decided to do nothing further in respect of Heritage Open Days.  The vast majority of organisations with whom we have been corresponding ready for September are furloughed, so are not responding and are unable to confirm or otherwise the likelihood of opening.  Most venues, we guess, will find it difficult to organise social distancing in their historic buildings, which generally consist of considerably smaller spaces than their modern counterparts.

Just one other note and that is the number of people who, during lockdown, have asked the Society for historical information on a building they own, live close to or are familiar with but don’t know the who, what or when.  We are always happy to help; frequently we turn up some interesting side issues which lead to an Icons article in the EADT or an additional note on Borin Van Loon’s website: www.ipswich-lettering.co.uk

John Norman

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