January 2022 Update

We are very grateful to our new trustees and volunteers for making 2021 a very productive year in the triangle despite periods of lockdown and other difficulties.The pictures above give some indication of the progress we’ve made.

We’re now in a transitional phase, clearing the invasive plants including roots and the membrane which the roots are attached to. Some of you may well think it looked better with the dense vegetation rather than the barren state it’s now in but during the coming year we hope you will start to notice the a big difference as we create a more managed, biodiverse garden.

We are in the process of producing a community engagement strategy and development plan but in the meantime we will continue to clear the invasive vegetation seeding the bare earth with a selection of wildflower seeds.

We’ve raised over £6000 in the last 12 months from friends and local councillors. Thank you to Hythe’s district councillors – Jim Martin, Georgina Treloar and Lesley Whybrow and former county councillor Martin Whybrow who have all supported us from their respective ward / member’s grant budgets.

Thanks also to Waitrose, Hythe for their generous donation.

This funding has enabled us to instruct a local contractor to commence repairs to the Windmill Street section of the wall in May 2022.

If you would like to join us or support us with the cost of repairing the wall, we are always pleased to welcome more help and support. You can get in touch via hello@htcg.org , phone us on 07843 851236 or leave us a message via the Hythe Triangle Community Garden Facebook group.

Autumn 2021 Update

Since we published our Interim Management & Maintenance Plan in June this year, we’ve hosted regular weekend gardening events with the main aim of clearing invasive vegetation.

Our first gardening event was held on July 11th, and we have met most weekends since. As you can see in the photos, our dedicated volunteers have done marvellous work.

We’ll be scaling back our works over winter but we’re still aiming to meet every other weekend.

Managing the vegetation on site will enable us to assess the condition of the wall, something we’ll be doing with a local contractor in the coming weeks.

Everyone is welcome at our gardening days and we always have jobs for people regardless of ability. Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook group for details on when we will be meeting next.

April 2021 Update: Trustee Recruitment and Listed Building Consent

Not long after our last update we were plunged into another lockdown aimed at curtailing the spread of the coronavirus. As I write this, the lockdown restrictions have eased and it’s possible to meet up with friends outside but the rules still prevent more than two households meeting up outside.

This has undoubtedly hampered our ambitions on site but we will be bounce back stronger when the restrictions are further eased, and we can get back to group meetings on site.

We’ve obtained listed building consent and we’re about to go out to contractors for prices for repairs to the wall, starting with re-building the wall on Windmill Street.

We’ve already spoken to two brilliant Kent-based contractors but if you’re reading this and know someone who specialises in rag stone wall repairs – get in touch!

We’ve also decided to look for up to two additional trustees to support our efforts – you can find the role description and an application form below.

Our trustees oversee the Triangle project and they’re responsible for delivering on the aims of the charity: to protect and conserve the site’s history, and to provide a space for recreation.

Hythe Town Council Support

Hythe Town Council’s Plans & Works Committee

We are very grateful to the Hythe Town Council who this week gave its support to our listed building consent application. Our particular thanks for Cllrs Major Keith Miles and Douglas Wade who spoke on the application.

Cllr Wade described the site as “an important feature of this part of Hythe and a historic area that commands particular attention and support amongst residents of the area.”

He said “It is an important area to conserve and the new trustees are doing a good job and I very strongly support this idea that work should be done to this in order to improve it, conserve it and enhance it.”

Cllr Miles has been a vocal supporter of our project for a number of years notably during a debate at Hythe Town Council in 2018 and now in favour of this application. Cllr Miles said: “It is very important. It’s a very detailed, explicit report detailing the poor state of the walls and the sooner they can go ahead and get them repaired, the better. I am fully supportive of this application.”

Cllrs Jim Martin and Martin Whybrow both registered a personal interest in the application and opted to abstain. Cllr Martin, a qualified surveyor, donated professional services to the Charity in 2016 in support of our land purchase. Cllr Whybrow, who is a county councillor, has twice granted us funds via his Combined Members Grant.

Hythe Town Council is a statutory consultee and their support will be noted by the planning officers dealing with the application. We expect a decision to be made in March, if not sooner.

Watch the Town Council planning meeting online, on Facebook.

Trustees apply for Listed Building Consent

The trustees met this week and finalised details for an application for listed building consent. With consent in place, we will be able to press ahead with much-needed repairs to the boundary wall using traditional materials and to a standard agreed in collaboration with the planning department.

Crispin Davies and Terry Ellames joined us as trustees in July 2020 and have been instrumental in guiding us through the process of assembling the application.

Crispin, a former planning officer and Chair of Hythe Civic Society said:

“This is a milestone for the project and enables the Charity to begin to fulfil its obligations to preserve the historic Grade II listed boundary wall. We are very grateful to local specialist Rebecca Cook[1] for her support in putting this application together.”

Terry, also a former planning officer, said:

“We are obliged to seek consent because of the site’s Grade II listed status. Once approved, we will seek to appoint a contractor to carry out the works to a very high standard according to the consent.”

The Charity’s chair, Andy Maguire, said:

“The project has always received a high level of support from the community in Hythe and beyond. Our project seeks to restore and conserve the site’s heritage whilst providing a community garden. To achieve this, we will need to raise additional funds and we are confident that this support will be forthcoming.” 

The application has been submitted to Folkestone & Hythe District Council and details will be available on the council’s website in due course.[2]

Footnotes:

[1] Rebecca Cook is a specialist in the conservation and repair of historical buildings and monuments. Rebecca has been extremely supportive of our endeavours to protect the wall and has written a number of reports to support our listed building consent application. Rebecca’s website showcases a number of projects she has worked on https://www.rebeccacook.co.uk/.

[2] An application for Listed Building Consent has been submitted and is in the process of being validated by Folkestone & Hythe District. Once validated, the application will be determined in accordance with the council’s scheme of delegation. We understand that Hythe Town Council will be consulted and that the application will be open for public comment.

The Triangle is a former animal pound owned by Hythe Triangle Community Garden which is a charity registered with the Charity Commission, No. 1163141. The trustees are Alyson Ward, Andy Maguire, Ashley Tanton, Crispin Davies, Julie Abbott and Terry Ellames.

December 2020 Update

The first meeting with the 4 new trustees was in August.  Since then the trustees have met in September, October and in December.  

The main work has been:

  • A soil test has been commissioned and received.
  • Work towards a Listed Building application to consolidate and rebuild the walls has commenced.  This includes a pre-application discussion with FHDC staff in December.  An application will follow this discussion.
  • Several local contractors have been approached for estimates to clear invasive weeds, remove the membrane that covers the site and to carry out works on the wall.
  • Some funding has been obtained for the above work but significant funding remains to be found to complete the works and a long term plan for the site.
  • Agreement of a set of overarching principles for the design of the site which will enable the trustees to ask the community to submit its feedback and ideas in the New Year.   
  • Encountering the inevitable administrative issues of running a charity – a new risk assessment has been put in place, banking arrangements have been reviewed and a draft management and maintenance plan considered.

The trustees will meet again in mid-January 2021 and will provide feedback to the community.

August 2020 Update

Following a great response to our recruitment drive, the Charity is pleased to announce that we have appointed 4 additional trustees to lead our organisation and the project to transform the Hythe Triangle.

We were fortunate to have a strong field of candidates and we interviewed 8 individuals in total. Each one had the skills, experience and motivation to take on the role.

New Trustees

Alyson Ward, Crispin Davies, Julie Abbott and Terry Ellames have joined Andy Maguire and Ashley Tanton as Trustees of the Hythe Triangle Community Garden.

The Trustees had their first meeting on August 01, 2020, and made a number of decisions that are critical to the future of the project, including a potential sale of the land.

Faced with two offers to purchase the Triangle, the Trustees agreed unanimously that the interests of the Charity are better served by us keeping the freehold of the site.

The Trustees also agreed to work on an engagement strategy, and have identified a number of potential sources for funding.

We will, of course, continue to rely on the community support that has been so forthcoming in previous years.

We will continue to publish updates right here and on our Facebook Group.

Notice June 16, 2020

Since the notice was published on June 5th, a number of interested parties have come forward with viable options which would enable the continuation of the project, including applications for the trustee vacancies.

This renewed interest is most welcome and we have seen fit to extend the deadline for offers or trustee applications to noon on Friday 26th June.

The trustees will then undertake vetting of candidates in accordance with Charity Commission guidance and hope to appoint successful candidates thereafter. The new trustee board will then meet to determine how to proceed with the project.

We will make available further information to the public when necessary.

Finally, the trustees also seek to assure interested parties that the earlier decision, to seek consent to wind up the charity, has not yet been implemented.

Notice

At a meeting of the Trustees on June 4th, 2020, the Trustees agreed unanimously to seek consent from the Charity Commission to wind up (close) the Charity.

Edit: We are still interested in recruiting new trustees however, we need to impose a deadline for completed applications of noon on Friday 12th June. You can find the application forms here.

For more information, see the public notice and minutes of the meeting, linked below.

The Future of The Triangle

The public meeting held in February now seems like a dim and distant memory. The coronavirus came along and swallowed up two months and counting.

The day before the meeting, I learnt I was being made redundant. As you would expect, my focus at the moment is seeking work to keep a roof over my head. A task made all the more challenging by the coronavirus pandemic. You will perhaps understand that I must dedicate my time to other endeavours right now.

Andy too has other things on his mind. His daughter literally on the frontline of the NHS, working as an intensive care nurse on a covid ward.

We’ve also seen comments from two neighbours of the site on Facebook which were overtly critical of Andy and me. That criticism made us wonder whether there are perhaps other people who are more able to push the project forward.

It was with good intentions that we continued to pursue the project after we’d secured the land. Perhaps that was a mistake but we are confident that our efforts saved the site from development.

So what now?

Andy and I would like to recruit new blood to the organisation. We need a minumum of three new trustees to come forward to join the board of trustees

Now it’s over to you, the good people of Hythe and beyond, to step up and take the project forward.

Person Specification

You can find out more about the skills we need on the attached Role Description document. To apply, download and complete the application for linked below and either email it to hythetriange[at]g mail.com or drop off at 20 St Leonard’s Road, Hythe. If you need assistance, please let feel free to message us via facebook or email us.

Links and attachments:

Charity Commission Guidance: The Essential Trustee (CC3)

Charity Commssion Guidance: Finding New Trustees (CC30)