Happy birthday … and more good news!

Dear Transitioners

As I write, it was 15 years to the day when Simon Brown declared that during his year as Chair of Monmouth Partnership Forum he would be ‘setting up something green’.  Little did we envisage the amazing community group that Transition Monmouth has become.  Thank you all for your devotion and hard work in making this happen!

And the latest bit of good news is that we have received funding to develop the new Peter Morgan Community Orchard on a strip of land along the Redbrook Road – whooppee!  The land was donated to us for this purpose but we had to find the funding for all the legal formalities, clearing the site, purchasing appropriate trees etc.  It is full steam ahead now, and we are very happy!  Please let us know if you would like to be involved in this marvellous new project – there will be plenty to do and many hands make light work.

At our last meeting, Mark Hand provided us with an enormous amount of information on the current status of the Local Development Plan and other planning issues.  We are very grateful for this – thank you, Mark!  We await developments with eagerness, and optimism!  If you missed the meeting you might like to watch the recording on https://www.dropbox.com/s/vc3cljy3sjdtdey/TM%20Meeting%20Sept22.mp4?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR1GQ-nuXTR3ZrVkv7wXgGdX36ukF7wYV5AYna-FQoTeejV-tisFN3O4L3M  

Since then we have had a very successful apple pressing event but there’s another one – 10.30 to 1.30pm on Sunday 9 October at the Rockfield Park Community Centre.  Bring your apples or pears, some clean containers, see how it’s done, and go away with your very own freshly pressed juice.  If you need some apples please contact mail@transitionmonmouth.org and we will tell you where there is fruit for picking.

You are encouraged to attend a Cost of Living Summit, 6.30 to 8pm on Monday 10 October at Bridges Community Centre.  Part of Monmouthshire’s Community Action Network, and hosted by GAVO, Monmouthshire Housing, and the MCC Communities Team, this is part of a county effort to ensure that, as a community, we provide the best possible support for each other in these increasingly difficult and dark times. 

Then on Tuesday 11 October, the Community Fridge is holding a celebratory Skittles Night for all the wonderful volunteers that put so much time and effort into this project, and who never meet other members of the team.  Well, there is much to celebrate – since launch just two years ago, over 50 tons of lovely food saved from landfill along with over 6,000 bunches of flowers for use and enjoyment by our community.

To catch up on all the latest and plan for the future, please come to the next Members’ Meeting, 7.30 on Tuesday 4 October.  The agenda plus notes of the September meeting are given below the signature line, and the Zoom link is:-

Topic: Transition Monmouth – October Meeting
Time: Oct 4, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86979354103?pwd=S084RkdLbUNpRVNPSUY1L1dEVE5Sdz09

Meeting ID: 869 7935 4103
Passcode: 955344

We look forward to seeing you soon!

AGENDA:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

7.30 on Tuesday 4 October via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86979354103?pwd=S084RkdLbUNpRVNPSUY1L1dEVE5Sdz09
Meeting ID: 869 7935 4103
Passcode: 955344

Introductions

Apologies for absence

Note taker

Notes of the last meeting (copied below) and matters arising

Cost of Living Summit

Updates:

  • Community Fridge
  • Redbrook Road new orchard site
  • Other Green Spaces

Any other business

Date of next meeting

NOTES:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

6 September 2022 at 7.30 via Zoom

Present:  Bryan Miller, Mary Boase, Charles Boase, Vivien Mitchell, Charles Emes, Claudia Blair, Martin Sweeney, Alison Ellis, Sian Damon, Rebecca Cunningham, Mark Hand, Catrin Maby, Alison Ellis, Catherine Haynes, Haydn Cullen-Jones, Monmouth Town Council, Dick Cole, David Cummings, Emily Fairman, Laura McCartney

Apologies:  Kelly Jackson-Graham, Waltraud Englefield, Emma Bryn

Note taker:  Vivien Mitchell

Local Development Plan (LDP):  Update by Mark Hand

Submissions to the LDP by developers and the community have been completed;  it is to be emphasised that these are a ‘wish list’ and in no way represent the final contents.  A map including all of the submissions is available in the document for each main town.  The procedure now is:-

Factors affecting decisions:-

  • Water quality in the Usk and the Wye:  Much work is being undertaken jointly with various agencies – Welsh Water, NRW, the Environment Agency etc and also across county borders to include particularly Herefordshire and Powys
  • The amount of housing required for a (currently) declining population but one with a severe shortage of social housing
  • Because of the phosphate problem in the rivers, there is currently a moratorium on house building north of Bigsweir Bridge
  • Energy efficiency of housing with work being undertaken with Zero Homes, a preferable design to the Solcer House
  • Impact of the Climate Emergency on the LDP must ensure development and growth are in the right place particularly in regard to infrastructure and active travel and public transport

Sites for protection:  We thanked Mark Hand who has throughout been very supportive of our RECS project on Natural Flood Management and has been of great help in our submission of eight sites for protection. 

Under the Transforming Towns Welsh Government regeneration package, a bid has been submitted for ambitious projects in Monmouth to include refurbishment of Monnow Street, an active travel link with Kingswood Gate, a cycle/footbridge across the Wye.

Much information for us to absorb, much work being undertaken by the new County Councillors.  We look forward to developments, and thanked Mark for his time and care.

Updates from our meeting in July:-

Apple Pressing:  Sunday 18 September at St James’ Hall, Wyesham and on Sunday 9 October at the Rockfield Community Centre, both from 10.30 to 1.30 have been booked and volunteers arranged

Orchard Management Plan:  Bryan requested those interested in discussing the Plan written by Helena Ronicle to let him know and he will arrange a meeting

Skenfrith Flood Prevention Plan:  A report in the Beacon said that NRW is planning on building flood defences.  Charles Boase asked whether NFM (natural flood management) measure had been considered.  Action:  Catrin agreed to find out from Ian Chandler

Mandarin Stone boundary:  A large area of trees has been cut down to create a lorry park.  Action:  Charles Boase suggested a hedge round the park would make the area less unsightly and agreed to approach Mandarin Stone about how this could be expedited

Monmouth Town Council:  Bryan will make a presentation to the People and Places Committee on 10 October to bring the activities of Transition Monmouth to their attention

ACE Monmouth:  Meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 13 September at the Priory to finalise their Action Plan to present to the Town Council – all welcome!

Overmonnow Primary School:  Martin reported that the school is keen to undertake more growing projects and he undertook to obtain a Starter Pack from Keep Wales Tidy for them

Community Fridge:  Claudia reported that:-

  • they were holding a Skittles Night on 11 October as an opportunity for volunteers to get to meet each other
  • they were very pleased to get a visit from Mark Drakeford recently
  • funding needed to be applied for to cover the increased costs, particularly energy.  Martin explained about the procedure for applying to Monmouth Town Council

Redbrook Road orchard site:  The funding application was submitted at the end of July and we expect to hear the outcome very shortly

Date of next meeting:  Tuesday 4 October

Welcome back, to action!

Dear Transitioners

Welcome back!  We hope you had a good break over the summer, that you enjoyed the sunshine, and that your gardens survived despite the drought.  Now it’s back to some action, starting with …..

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 6 September at 7.30pm.  We had hoped to take advantage of the last of the warm evenings but unfortunately Covid has intervened and we have reverted to a zoom for our meeting with Mark Hand, MCC Head of Placemaking, Regeneration, Highways and Flooding, to talk to us about the Local Development Plan and the various submissions that have been made for new housing, green spaces, flood mitigation etc – see https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/app/uploads/2022/03/Monmouth.pdf and

https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/app/uploads/2022/03/Candidate-Sites-for-Protection.pdf.  This is your opportunity to get answers to your questions and concerns on a wide range of planning / development issues.  Details:-

Time: Sep 6, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86514322952?pwd=V1JOOXB2MWtrNk1YeGd2Sk5nNlBtdz09
Meeting ID: 865 1432 2952
Passcode: 157203

ACE Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 13 September at 7pm at St Mary’s Church, Priory Street to finalise the action plan and discuss the need for a Sustainability Officer to help take forward these actions – all welcome!

Apple Pressing:  Sunday 18 September, 10.30 to 1.30 at St James’ Hall, Wyesham NP25 3JY – bring your apples and pears, and bring clean empty bottles to take away your very own lovely fresh juice.  Help will be at hand!  We will also have a plant sale

Dave Goulson:  22 September, 7.30 at the Savoy Theatre:  Saving Our Insects:  Tickets £10 from https://monmouth-savoy.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/873634302

HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY TO TRANSITION MONMOUTH! – Monday 26 September.  We are very proud of the mature teenager that you have become and of all the great projects, hard work and dedication of the members

Apple Pressing:  Sunday 9 October, 10.30 to 1.30 at Rockfield Park Community Hall, Cornwallis Way, NP25 5DN to put the last of your produce to good use!

Transition Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 11 October at 7.30pm – details nearer the time

While we enjoyed a break from meetings over the summer, the work continued, seven days a week, at the Community Fridge where there was much excitement this week with a visit from the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, together with the Leader of the County Council and others.  Their interest, and in the problems we face, was much appreciated.  Benthyg too continued to operate every Friday and Monday, with a steady demand for camping and party equipment, and for the carpet cleaners and garden tools.

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Vivien Mitchell

Out into the sunshine

Dear Transitioners

Summer seems to be here, and along with it a host of community activities to tempt you out into the fresh air and sunshine – starting with …..

Beictown – an ACE Monmouth event this Sunday 26 June, 10 till 2 – starting with the Vintage Ride at 11am from the Old Monnow Bridge – get out your old tweeds, hats and dresses! – tickets from Honeysuckle Wood on Church Street or online http://bit.ly/Beic22 or on the day.   But also bring along your bikes for repairs, maintenance and security labelling, and bring along the family for there will surely be fun to be had as well as delicious pork baps, real ale, ice cream and then you can make your own smoothie on the Smoothie Bike.  The Monmouth Carnival is on the same day on Chippenham Field – more fun!

ACE Monmouth Meeting:  Tuesday 28 June, 7.30 – zoom details on the ACE Monmouth Facebook page nearer the time – to discuss plans for the coming months including a Sustainable Living Festival on 25 September.  We hope that some of the newly elected Town Councillors will attend

Bee Festival:  Saturday 2 July, 10 till 4:  We will have Open Garden at the Community Kitchen Garden and wildflower meadow outside Monmouth Comprehensive School, The Burgage, NP25 3DP.  The garden is No Dig – digging reduces soil health – and who wants to dig anyway?.  It is dominated by soft fruit together with herbs, seasonal veggies and edible flowers with members providing the seeds and seedlings.  The idea is to have a large variety of produce to demonstrate where our food comes from 

The adjacent wildflower meadow was sown just two years ago.  It is still very young and in a state of development as various species find their niche, other species are removed, and we learn how to manage the meadow during this developmental stage – but it is coming along nicely.  You will see it just before its first cut of the year with a wide variety of wildflowers attracting an even increasing number of insects

There will be an information stall together with plants, books and beautifully refurbished tools from Tools for Self Reliance Cymru for sale

Bee Festival:  Sunday 3 July, 10 till 4:  A huge range of activities – food and drinks too – on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022.  We will be there with our plants, books and tools from Tools for Self Reliance Cymru

Orchard Pruning of the stone fruit trees:  Saturday 9 July, 10 till 12, under the guidance of Helena Ronicle.  Wear appropriate clothing and bring pruners if you have them – but no ladders!

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July, 11 till 3:We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye with a stand at their event on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge.  Come and celebrate, support the River back to health, meet other Wye based groups and clubs, try citizen science water testing and other activities for the children.  The Samba band procession will start at Agincourt Square at 10.45am

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 12 July, 7.30pm under the stars at the front of Monmouth Comprehensive School, NP25 3DP – the last before we take a break for the summer to reconvene on Tuesday, 6 September when we will be joined by Mark Hand, MCC Head of Placemaking, Regeneration, Highways and Flooding, to talk to us about the Local Development Plan and the various submissions that have been made, including our own.  Bring something to sit on;  we might provide some sustenance …..

In the meantime – Monmouth Town Council is seeking members of the community to put themselves forward as Town Councillors.  There are five vacancies (but you don’t have to live in the Ward you represent).  Applications by 1 July to the Town Clerk – details on the Town Council website (see Elections 2022) and on our Facebook pages.  Please consider standing and in this way influencing decisions in an environmentally caring way

And a last plea – we need help for Beictown, the Bee Festival and Wye July – please contact mail@transitionmonmouth.org if you are available – and also please bring along any plants you can spare for our plant stall at the Bee Festival

We look forward to seeing you all soon and hope you have a lovely summer break!

Vivien Mitchell

And the amazing good news is…

Dear Transitioners

We still can’t quite believe it.  As of last week, Monmouth is now represented by three long-standing Transition members – Emma Bryn elected for Wyesham, Catherine Fookes for Town, and Catrin Maby for Rockfield – yay!  But more good news – Steve Garratt who now represents Overmonnow has already joined us.  Congratulations to the four!  What a turnaround!  We so look forward to working with these new Councillors.  They are all planning to come and help at Beictown on 26 June, so if you haven’t met Emma, Catherine, Catrin or Steve, this is your opportunity. 

And more amazing news, this time on the Monmouth Community Fridge.  Over the 18 months since it opened, the dedicated team of 50+ who collect food from the supermarkets each evening and open the Fridge to customers the following day have saved an astonishing 42 tons of food and 4,800 bunches of flowers from going to waste.  Just imagine the carbon footprint of producing this mountain – including a lot of meat and fish – only to throw it away and incur a further carbon footprint in its disposal.  Our grateful thanks to the Fridge team, and to the 12,000+ customers who have put the food and flowers to good use.

Now for a couple of requests.  At the Bee Festival in early July we will be having a plant swap/sale and we need plants – so if you have any to spare, please keep them for us.  Stuff from other people’s gardens always does well and is much appreciated.  And we also need helpers at our stalls for the Wye Valley River Festival, Beictown, the Bee Festival and Wye July.  Please let me know of your availability – there are a lot of hours to cover and every hour you can spare would be a great help.  Details of these events are below.

So here are those diary dates when we hope to see you …..

ACE Monmouth Meeting:  Tuesday 24 May, 7.30 at St James Community Hall, Wyesham NP25 3NE – come and hear about the new ACE identity and plans for the coming months including a little Festival at the end of September

Wye Valley River Festival:  Monmouth Mischief Day, Saturday 28 May from 11 till 5 in Agincourt Square, Monnow Street and at Monnow Bridge for a day of family-friendly entertainment, performance, music and merriment with the Bicycle Bistro, the Pif-Paf Theatre Company, All At Sea with Acrojou and more ….  We will have a stall on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 14 June, 7.30 – more details soon

Repair Café:  Sunday 19 June, 2 till 4 at St James Community Hall, Wyesham NP25 3NE – note the different venue.  Bring your electrical, mechanical, sewing etc repairs and get them sorted – and you will also be offered a cuppa!  However, help on the day is always needed so please let us know if you can help with admin, repairs or catering – repairmonmouth@gmail.com

Beictown:  Sunday 26 June, starting with the Vintage Ride at 10am from the Old Monnow Bridge – get out your old tweeds, hats and dresses!  But also bring along your bikes for repairs, maintenance and security labelling, and bring along the family for there will surely be fun to be had

Bee Festival: 

Saturday 2 July, 10 till 4:  We will have Open Garden at the Kitchen Garden and wildflower meadow outside Monmouth Comprehensive School with a plant and book stall – all contributions appreciated

Sunday 3 July:  A huge range of activities on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden on the Sunday.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022.  We will be there with our plants and books

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July, 11 till 3:We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye and will have a stand at their event on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Time – where art thou? – meeting on Tuesday

Dear Transitioners

Where has this last month gone?  Ah, yes – we’ve been having a load of fun! 

The Repair Café has resumed monthly events – next one this Sunday 10 April, Benthyg has opened its doors and is in the business of lending a raft of equipment each Friday – longer opening hours planned, we’ve had the inspirational teenager Poppy Stowell-Evans talk to us about her climate change campaigning – there was a good turnout from Monmouth Comprehensive School and the event was filmed by Dan Damon to be shown to a wider audience, and ACE Monmouth is now a fully constituted community group with a Monmouth Town Council Partnership Agreement.  There is much in the pipeline so please come to our meeting next Tuesday to share in the goings on:-

Members’ Meeting – Tuesday 12 April at 7.30pm by Zoom, to discuss our collaboration with ACE Monmouth, involvement in the Community Orchard, banners/feathers, and to take forward our planned events.  Here is your invite – the agenda and notes of our last meeting are below the signature line – please join us!

Topic: Transition Monmouth – April Meeting
Time: Apr 12, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84469908550?pwd=SkEzei9SZGtVU0R4dndwNjNjZ1ZkQT09
Meeting ID: 844 6990 8550
Passcode: 424805

End Sewage Pollution Day of Protest:  Saturday 23 April – further details nearer the time on our Facebook page

ACE Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 26 April at 7.30pmto discuss how the group will move forward – events, website, relationship with other groups etc.  The officers elected at the AGM are Claudia Blair (Chair), Haydn Cullen-Jones (Secretary/Admin), Charles Emes (Treasurer) and Cherry Taylor (Marketing) – a great, experienced and talented team.  Please come and join in!

Hustings for the County Council elections:  Friday 29 April, 6.30 to 9pm at Bridges Community Centre.  Probably the only opportunity for you to hear all the candidates for the Monmouth wards in action.  After the event with Poppy Stowell-Evans there will surely be questions to which you want to know the answers.  If you have a question, please submit to Haydn Cullen-Jones – haydncj@hotmail.com

Rewilding – Fad or the Future:  Wednesday 11 May, 7pm at Monmouth Priory:  Speakers:  Our very own Cherry Taylor on The Future is Now, and Gary Yeomans on A Fad – based on his lifetime of farming experience;  his farm with a dairy goat herd is part of the Welsh Government whole farm management scheme

Repair Café:  Sunday 15 May, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Park Community Centre to get your stuff repaired

Farmers Event with Peter Fox AM on his Sustainable Farming Private Members Bill:  Thursday 19 May:  Peter Fox and other local farmers – to be confirmed

Orchard Pruning Event:  One Sunday in May to prune the stoned fruit trees and take a further look at other maintenance issues

Wye Valley River Festival:  Saturday 28 May is the big day in Monmouth though the Festival runs from Friday 27 May to Sunday 5 June – more details as they emerge

Beictown:  Sunday 26 June – more details nearer the time

Bee Festival:  Saturday/Sunday 2/3 July:  Open Gardens and more on the Saturday and a huge range of activities on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden on the Sunday.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July:  We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye and will have a stand at their event on the green by Blestium Street car park

We look forward to seeing you all soon!