The Titleholders’ Association (THA) came into being in November 2004.
A title holder is anyone or organisation that owns and has built on land within in the Park.
The THA has a set of “Rules” by which to govern the operation of the association.
Briefly these cover:
- membership and voting rights
- the appointment of a Chair and a Committee as required
- the appointment of a Designated Agent to negotiate an annual payment for services required from the Eco-Village
- supervision of planning applications (Park Planning Group)
- supervision of proposed new owners of domestic property in the Eco-Village (Land Sales Group)
- long term land use and planning initiatives for the Eco-Village
All developed property owners on the Park are members of the THA and entitled to vote at the AGM.
Chairs Report 2017
2017 saw the number of Titled properties in the Park expand from the comparatively modest 60 of 2010 to 103 with the fourth cluster, West Whins.*
In tandem with this growth the Committee attracted new members, gradually forming a cohesion of skills and expertise that helps us approach issues ever more professionally. Duncan Easter had held the torch as Chair solo for too long, even ably backed by Pete Finch, the FF representative. Amanda Haworth picked up speed from early 2016, and with Carin Schwartz joining the team October 2016 the financial work took a new turn which has been greatly assisted both by 2017’s new Committee member, Peter Balderstone, and the volunteer eagle-eye-brains of Andrew Rasbash, David Buswell and Gordon Stevenson.
Meanwhile we are delighted, as we embark upon a new year, to welcome John Moon as the new Chair of the Park Planning Group (PPG), taking over from Simon Richards who retired in April. Our heartfelt thanks to Simon for nearly two decades’ excellent chairing. Peter B has taken on representing THA on PPG.
April had also seen the departure of Paul Randell from NFD, after a ten year tenure, and we welcomed Kim Emmerson as his replacement some weeks later.
Looking at creating greater working efficiencies between NFD and the THA is leading to a major overhaul of reporting and administrative processes. These are in part needed due to the speed at which the village has grown.
The issue of our microcosm reflecting the western world’s macrocosmic demographics of ageing population (we are, in fact, about 20% above the Scottish national average for over 65s) began to be addressed in collaboration with the New Findhorn Association (NFA). Together we held an evening meeting in the summer. Since then others have contributed consciousness-raising events that are most welcome. More are needed!
The delightful number of young families at the Park has given rise to repairs being needed to playground equipment (many thanks to Bob Gordon for rapid responses saving splinters in tiny hands, preventing falls etc.). Hildburg Schlenzka generously donated a park bench to the village green for weary/older child-carers to rest on while their charges … well, charge.
The number of pets at the Park has increased in ways that fail to reflect consideration for the Whole, an issue which has yet to be addressed by the community as a whole.
N.B.The Housing Site Rules state: ‘Pets are not permitted at the Park without the permission of the Park Campus Focaliser for FF co-workers and Holiday Park, everybody else please contact the Caravan Park Manager. Where this is granted dogs must be kept on a lead at all times on the site and exercised off the site to avoid fouling public and private areas in the Park.’ Cats aren’t mentioned but concerns have been raised that the new cats at the Park may not only help keep the rat population down, but also make inroads into the birds especially when fledglings are learning to fly. Bells on cats are expected out of consideration for neighbour sensibilities.
The amount of visitors to the site has raised issues: Dog walkers both private and professional and tourists cruising around looking out of car windows being the more difficult to accept, both for privacy and because their vehicles wear out the expensive tarmac. It’s hard, sometimes, to remember that part of ‘the deal’ of living here is that this is a world-renowned eco-village which is on millions of people’s radars, our visitors may be seekers, and we do live in a ‘centre of demonstration’.
Traffic flows and parking are an increasing challenge which are hard to grapple with when further building work may occur, and the need for a new Phoenix shop and visitor centre a constant on the planning desks: etheric and physical.
North Whins grew into the energy-absorber par excellence of 2017 for many residents, local friends and frequenters of the Park. THAC supports the compassionate progression of any development which will complete the present capacity of home-building.
Our social fabric continues to weave itself through work and play, as we establish structures and pursue interests. So the various clusters are researching how best to structure themselves legally for an efficient and sustainable future, including how they want to organise themselves for various activities. Thanks to Roy Miles even the Field of Dreams – the oldest cluster – celebrated with a street party of a sunny summer evening. As we evolve the idea has grown of harvesting the learnings and wisdoms of experience, and dialogue has been opened with the Findhorn College to explore ways of passing these on not only to new Park residents, but also to a broader public in the spirit of being the first eco-village to be recognised by the United Nations.
One of the successes that Titleholders tackled as a group was to make the Park less attractive to rats, a problem that was identified in April. By rat-proofing compost bins, ceasing to put cooked food onto gardens, and various other measures we could report our responsible actions to the Moray Council Environmental Health Manager when she enquired on the subject mid-July.
* In 2012 Soillse added six when it picked up the tempo previously maintained by the Field of Dreams; followed by East Whins in 2013 with an additional 26 and last year WW saw 18 new Titles, with three yet to be built.