- Name: This independent community group is called 'Downham Market by Design'.
- Objects: The group aims to ensure that the town has a sustainable future whilst retaining its local distinctiveness. The group
will facilitate the engagement of townspeople in debates that have the potential to influence local and regional policies that will impact the town and its hinterland.
- Powers: The group will collaborate with local and regional elected officers and with relevant pressure groups to identify policy
areas that are open to consultation and that might have an impact on the town and its surrounding area. The group may cooperate with, or work in formal partnership with, other voluntary
and statutory organisations, and use a range of approaches including surveys and public meetings, to engage with local people. Where a consensus emerges, the group will seek to promote
the local perspective amongst policy-makers. The group will take a specific interest in the Town Design Statement, keeping it under review and seeking to
enhance its influence in the planning authority. The group may raise funds to support these activities.
- Contact: The primary contact address for the group may vary but the group will always be contactable c/o Bank House, Bridge
Street, Downham Market, PE38 9DW.
- Eligibility for membership: Membership of the group is open to individuals who have an interest in the sustainability of Downham
Market and its hinterland, and to representatives of groups and organisations who share this interest. Members can be people who live, study, or work in the local area, or representatives
of locally-based organisations or businesses. Representatives of organisations or businesses based elsewhere, but with a financial interest in the town, can attend meetings but can not
become members unless they are eligible to do so through the criteria above.
- Becoming a member: A person who is eligible for membership, becomes a member without charge if they are recorded as a participant
in any meetings or other activities of the group over the past year. The group will keep an attendance book that will provide a record of participants, eligibility for membership, and
their contact details. Membership will lapse after 12 months' absence from the group's activities.
- Member benefits: Members will receive occasional newsletters advising of the groups current and planned activities. Members will
be entitled to vote at general meetings and the AGM and to put themselves forward for the committee.
- Conflicts of interest: If a member has any interest in the matter under discussion, which creates a real danger of bias, that is,
the interest affects them, or a member of their household, more than the generality affected by the decision: they should declare the nature of the interest and withdraw from the room,
unless given a dispensation to speak. If a member has any other interest which does not create a real danger of bias, but which might reasonably cause others to think it could influence
their decision, they should declare the nature of the interest, but may remain in the room, participate in the discussion, and vote if they wish. If in any doubt about the application of
this rule members should consult with the chair.
- General meetings: The group will hold a minimum of 3 general meetings per year, one of which will be the Annual General Meeting,
held in the autumn. These meetings must be publicised to the general public through the local press. No business should be transacted at a general meeting unless a quorum, at least 11
people, is present. Decisions to be made at general meetings are to be determined through the support of a majority of members present. The meetings will be minuted and information on any
decisions made will be made available to Downham Market Town Council and the local press.
- Governance: The group will be administered through a committee of 5-10 people including three key officers: chair, secretary, and
treasurer. Committee members and officers will serve for periods of up to three years after which they must stand for re-election. At least half of the founding members of the committee
will stand down and be subject to re-election by members as appropriate at the AGM in 2008.
- Role of the committee: The committee reviews terms of reference and receives reports from working groups, determines when general
meetings should take place, sets the agenda, produces newsletters and other publicity including meeting notices in Lynn News and Downham News, invites external speakers, and manages the
process of the meetings. The committee meets as necessary to carry out this role.
- Commitment of committee members: Committee members who miss three successive committee meetings will be asked to stand down.
- Project groups: Working subgroups can be set up only at a general meeting and will lead projects focusing on a specific issue or
policy area that has a potential impact on the town. A decision to set up a working subgroup can be made only with the support of more than half of the members present. The subgroup
should include a minimum of three committee members - if necessary this can be arranged by co-opting members of the subgroup onto the committee - and the group will elect its own chair.
The activities of the working group must be within their terms of reference as suggested by the initiating general meeting, modified by the working group at their first meeting, and
agreed by the committee.
- Financial arrangements: The group's finances will be managed by the Treasurer. The group will operate a bank account in the name
'Downham Market by Design'. All cash receipts will be banked as soon as possible. Payments by cheque will require the signature of the Treasurer and one other officer. A record of
financial transactions will be maintained and the accounts checked by an independent person annually.
- This constitution can be amended by majority vote of members at the AGM.
- If the group ceases to be active then any monies held by the group should pass to Downham Market Town Council.
This version adopted at inaugural meeting 30th July 2007.
Changes to be ratified at next AGM.
The current version
of the Town Design Statement is available for downloading from the Downham Market Town Council's Web site.