Minutes of Debrief Meeting for Cycling Festival

Grosmont Cycling Festival 2018 – wash up meeting 27/06/18

Present: Gaynor Henshall (GH), Jean Price (JP), Lara Squire (LS), Sally Squire (SS), Louis Cull (LC), Richard Brown (RB), Jan Chatfield (JC)

Apologies: Margie Barker (MB), Judy Mason (JM), Kathryn Pogson (KP)mm

The purpose of the meeting was to review the Cycling Festival weekend and note any issues and feedback. There was no formal agenda, but a list of 11 points for discussion.

Feedback: Feedback had been received from a number of residents, this was generally positive with most people really enjoying the weekend, but there were a number of negative comments mainly regarding the road closures and general disruption in the village with comments such as “the cycling doesn’t do anything for the village” with a specific complaint about a couple in a mobile home camping in the field. The women running the feeding station on Saturday were very pleased with the support from the helpers.

1. General Prior organisation – involving / informing residents:                     
It was encouraging that around 30 individuals had offered their support for the event enabling a team of volunteers to be put together covering all aspects. The Resident’s leaflet was well put together and informative. As requested by Abergavenny festival of Cycling (AFC) it was distributed to all households and businesses on the circuit and approximately 400 were delivered by 11 volunteers who were each provided with a list of houses and a map with their houses highlighted. This worked well, although there was a slight uneven distribution of numbers of houses on each round and one individual did not deliver their leaflets (but this was realised and covered by GH).  As a learning point it would be sensible in future to ask the volunteers to confirm that they had distributed their leaflets and to note any problems encountered.
The barriers were delivered on Friday and stacked outside the Pub. In retrospect it would have been better if they had been put under the Town Hall until needed on Sunday as they were taking up a parking space for users of the Pub. NB – you really need protective gloves to handle the barriers.
2. Chalking on the Road:                                                                                          
This was very well managed by LS and it was good to see so many children wanting to be involved. The pavement paint worked better than chalk although it was slightly more expensive. The refreshments for the children was a good idea and it was clear that the children really enjoyed the activity.  The Marshalls worked well, although it was noted some cars were being driven quite fast. There was a photographer taking photos. However, the parents of one child did not want their child’s photo to made public. As a learning point, before any photographs are takenpermission should be sought from the parents.
3. Best Dressed House competition:                                                                    
There were quite a few entrants throughout the village and Rev Gaynor Burrett judged the competition and awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. It was discussed as to how much the first prize should be in future as it was felt by some of those present that £100 was a lot of money and whoever won it would probably give it straight back to a charity. However, LS & SS were of the opinion that £100 was appropriate as a memorial prize in memory of Bob Jones. JC suggested that rather than provide such a large prize AFC could consider donating £200 to the village, maybe half to the Church and half to the social committee so that if residents complained that the Cycling Festival did nothing for the village it could be shown that the village did benefit. SS did not feel that this was necessary or that it would make any difference to those who were not in favour of the festival. It was agreed that in future who ever put up the prize should decide the amount and whether there should be a 2nd and 3rd prize.
4. Catering – Pub, Pop up Café:                                                                        
Trevor Woolnough had reported that the Angel Inn did well on both days. SS queried whether Patrick had a hygiene certificate and insurance and if he had done a risk assessment on using his premises prior to the event.  JC reported that he had both but did not know if he had done a risk assessment.    
5. Feed Station:
Comments received from the women running the feed station were very positive and appreciative of the help provided.  It was noted that help was especially needed during the setting up of the station at 9.00, there was a slight problem with not enough water containers being provided initially, but after a phone call more were delivered. One of the feed station signs was left in the village.
6. Parking:                                                                                                                             
We were lucky with the weather as the field would not have been suitable for use if it had been raining and the grass was wet. Cars arriving from the Kentchurch direction worked well. It would have been very useful to have had walkie talkies so that Marshals at both ends of the field could communicate better. Even though the grass had been cut it was dry and very slippery and hard for cars to park tidily. The busiest time was between 11.15-12.15 when cars arrived in convoy, there was only just enough room to accommodate all the cars and at one point it would have only been possible to take a couple more.  There was some agro from people wishing to visit the village but who were not part of the cycle race and unhappy at having to park in the field. One couple in a mobile home camped in the field overnight on Saturday and were asked to move by residents so that they were not directly behind the houses.  Some of the race officials parked outside York House restricting the road somewhat, SS explained that this had been agreed on previous years, but this info had not been passed on to those who were helping with the event on the day.    
(NB Discussions subsequent to the meeting highlighted the fact that no formal risk assessment had been carried out regarding the use of the of the field for parking and that the risk of the dry grass catching fire due to a spark or cigarette end had not been fully considered.)
7. Road Closures:
There was considerable confusion over the times for the road closures as the times for closing the circuit were different to the times for the closures in the village. The roads were actually closed before the stated time of 10.00 which annoyed a number of residents and resulted in one Church goer actually hitting the barrier adjacent to the Town Hall.  If the event goes ahead again the closures should be the same timings and the roads must not be closed before the stated times. The signs documenting the road closures/Urban clearway were not very visible if you approached the village from the Kentchurch direction and a party of walkers from Hereford inadvertently left their car in the street by the Glyndwr as they were not aware of the restrictions.    
Some complaints were received from people who were not locals and therefore unaware of the road closures who were trying to access the village. They were advised to use the car park and walk.  3 or 4 others who were trying to pass through the village on the way to Skenfrith were advised to follow the scenic route via Garway.                                    
8. Children’s Activities:
Despite the late notice given to schools by Welsh Cycling and the late set up on Sunday morning, this worked well and the perfect number of children turned up all of whom had a great time. The races and commentary were excellent.  Perhaps something could be included for the younger children in future, maybe a shorter course to the same finish line?
9. Entertainment/Band:
In the end the Cross Ash School Band was only available on the Sunday. They were slightly late in starting but it was a good beginning to the day.
10. Does the village want it again? How do we ascertain this?:
Bill Owen had asked whether the village would support the festival again next year and indicated that he needed an answer ASAP preferably before the end of July. There was a good deal of discussion on this point, as it was felt that although the weekend could be counted as a success as demonstrated by the number of people (30 +) who pulled together at short notice to make it happen and those who participated enjoyed the weekend.  But, there were a number of residents who were not interested in cycling who felt that the disruption and upheaval did nothing for the village.  SS pointed out that the event promoted sport and was an opportunity to involve local children in a prestigious national event and that some people never actually join in with events planned in the village anyway. JC stated that the big difference between the Cycling Weekend and an event like a Ceilidh in Castle” is that for the Ceilidh if you don’t want to be involved you can stay at home and watch TV, but for the cycling you have to be involved because of the road closures etc.  It was agreed that there would be little point in trying to run a referendum within the timeframe as probably only those who were opposed or very in favour would participate. Similarly an open meeting in the village would be difficult to arrange before the end of July and might not be conclusive.
As there is no active social committee, it was suggested that the Community Council might be the appropriate body to raise the question with the residents as to whether the Festival should go ahead again in Grosmont next year.  SS did not agree with this proposal.                                  
It was finally agreed that we would write a letter to Bill Owen saying that the Social Committee is evolving and not likely to be up and running until September which would be too late to give him a reply, but we, as a group of individuals, would support the cycling weekend returning to Grosmont next year and would propose that the new group once in place take it forward as long as they get agreement from the village.     Action: JC, GH & RB to write the letter to BO.

NB. The attached letter to BO was drafted as agreed, but before it could be sent he got in touch to arrange a face to face meeting with RB, GH, JC, JP, LS & MB which will take place on 12/07/18. (Read the draft letter: HERE.)

11. Expenses:                                                                                                                            
Those present were reminded to send expenses with receipts to Alex Minford.  


RB thanked everyone for their support and for making the weekend a success.