A round-up of activities since our last OGM
At present there are 116 members on the OARA list; of these 90 are signed up with cards and have paid their membership. There are 9 renewals due in October and they will be contacted in the near future. We also seek to gain new members by word of mouth, in person and door-knocking. The new website has a clear tab in its header where applications can be done on-line and there is also information regarding current deals in local restaurants and businesses, which we are in the process of up-dating. The Membership Card Application Form has also been revamped.
“Meet Your Neighbours” Party
Our ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ street party took place on Sunday October 4th. The party was well-attended by local residents and students which gave everyone an opportunity to get to know each other a little bit in a relaxed and informal setting. Local residents provided delicious free soup and rolls, which went down really well and there was great live music all afternoon provided by ‘The Unexpected’, the University FolkSoc and ‘The Ukofonics.’
This year the event was on the university freshers’ calendar and we worked closely with our student union link people, Hannah and Emma. They helped with publicity including setting up a Facebook page for the event and producing posters. Hannah came along and brought street games plus her initiative called ‘Communi-tea’. We were given tea-bags and encouraged to share a cup of tea with our new neighbours, take a photo and send it in to SUSU for the chance of winning a prize.
An OARA table was set up with our new display board showing OARA activities. OARA committee members had a chance to show off our new OARA T-Shirts as they signed up new members and those interested in being on our mailing-list.
A lot of people pitched in to make the event a success, so a big thank you goes to them, including Loretta and Becky from the Council who came along to provide refuse and recycling advice and to Avenue St Andrews church for providing tables and chairs. We must also mention the local children who came out before we started with balloons to add to the bunting that we were putting up!
The event finished at 4 and by 4:30 the street was cleared and back to what it was. The weather was kind. Everyone had a good time. A big success!
Most of the students on our patch are thoughtful and reasonable young people who bring a lot to the area. We have, however, had a number of complaints from residents early in the term about late night noise , either from house parties or large groups coming and going down the street. We are liaising with SUSU , the police and council about this to address individual incidents and to issue general reminders about what is acceptable. Please let us know if you experience any problems.
Our local councillors continue to give us good support. We are to get a notice-board put up by the Council at the planters, hopefully before the New Year!
Our neighbourhood team organised a very useful PACT meeting at the end of July at Bevois Town School. The meeting was well attended and helped to set the current priorities for our ward which are: burglaries, anti-social behaviour and drug use. You can go to the Hampshire Police web-site to find out ward updates and information.
HISTORY AND HERITAGE
As well as maintaining our Facebook Page and Website, we are planning a history mural to be painted on the wall alongside ‘Bitter Virtue’. It is a large-scale venture and is going to take a lot of planning and fund-raising. The idea is to provide a stunning visual introduction to the OARA patch, highlighting the fascinating history of our area and prompting people to ask questions about our heritage. Our thoughts and plans will be shared at the OGM.
In July we held a fascinating cemetery walk in conjunction with FoSoc (Friends of old Southampton Cemetery). Prior to the walk, Bevois Mount History members and FoSoc members helped clear around the graves of notable ex-residents who were highlighted during the walk. There was a good turn-out and we had a pleasant and informative afternoon. Thanks go to FoSoc for making the walk possible.
Bevois Mount History Calendar
We have produced a new calendar for 2016 which is on sale now at October Books and Bitter Virtue. More outlets soon!
Visit our Facebook page, which is updated frequently, for ongoing local history items or our web-site for a more in-depth historical perspective of Bevois Mount.
We are organising a visit to Southampton Art Gallery in November to look at the work of prominent local artists who lived in our area.
The greening group have recently been concentrating on getting the verge at Clifford Dibben Mews ready for this autumn. This area is now backed by planks of wood to protect the damp proof course of 4 Avenue Road. The soil has been prepared for planting using the remaining mulch donated by the Parks Dept. A lot of plants and bulbs are now in place and the area should look very different next spring and summer. Our thanks to Waitrose whose green token donation has helped to fund our venture.
We have gone a bit greener with the installation of a water butt in the garden of one of the landlord properties adjacent to the flower border at the Gordon Avenue/Westwood cut. Thank you to Julian Jenkins for arranging this and for making keeping the plants watered a whole lot easier.
Our latest Table Top Sale on Saturday 17th October raised a record £166.57 to fund future greening work. Thank you to Heather for organising this, to everyone who came along to help and to Portswood Church for allowing us to set up on their forecourt, enabling us to use a Saturday and attract more passers-by.
We are now ready to move on to our annual appeal for tree planting. If you yourself or think your landlord might support this we are aiming to plant more trees in front gardens to improve the look and feel of our area. The tree is a small flowering cherry called ‘Prunus Hillieri Spire’. It is a narrow tree which has pink blossom in spring and leaves which are currently changing colour. We buy from Hilliers nursery and share the cost with you. Pick up a leaflet if you are interested.
We are setting up regular times to do our greening. We will meet up at Alma/Gordon Avenue planters in the afternoon on the first Monday and third Friday of the month, weather permitting. If you would like to do some weeding, bulb planting etc then just contact Sue on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The planning group continues to respond to those planning applications of which we become aware.
The most recent are in the Avenue and Alma Road.
48 and 48A the Avenue ref 15/01927/PA56 is for change of use from offices class B1 to 13 flats class C3. This is on the corner of Avenue Road and The Avenue. The only grounds which can be taken into account for this, under the new rules, are highways, flood risk and contaminated land.
The other recent application is 5 Alma Rd ref 15/01890/FUL for two additional 1 bed flats and two extra parking spaces.
The application for 45 Portswood Rd to remove the bay window and put in a fast food outlet at the bus stop on the corner of Avenue Rd and Portswood Rd was turned down by the council planning dept. The Applicant has appealed to the Secretary of State against the refusal. We have submitted further objections and await the result.
In July/August there was a re-submission of an application to re develop the site of 68-76 and 80-84 Portswood Rd. This was to build 3, 4, and 5 storey buildings to provide 75 student flats (21 one bed, 50 two bed and 4 three bed flats) with 7 parking spaces plus 6 disabled parking. We have responded to this.
You may have noticed construction activity behind the Sainsbury store in Portswood. We presume this is in preparation for the construction of more student accommodation as per the public display/consultation at the Highfield House Hotel last July.
You should be aware of the closure of Kingsley House in Alma Road last May. The new owners have already opened for business. We will keep you updated.
Regular street cleans have continued on first and third Sundays, except in August when we all took a break. Some new faces have joined the regular crew but more offers of help are always welcome. We are considering using the Sunday sessions for an occasional “street blitz” concentrated on one street, leafleting beforehand to let residents in that street know that is happening ( and encouraging them to join us), then doing a really good litter-pick, weed and sweep. It could have more long-term impact. What do you think?
We have met Jason Evans from the Council and Becky from his team to discuss issues and plan a session timed for the arrival of new students. A joint Council and OARA team was out on in force on Friday 2 October, sticking bold new reminder labels on bins and delivering bin and recycling information to try and encourage good habits from the start, including taking bins back in off the pavement where they can. We also took the opportunity to knock on a lot of student doors and hand deliver our new Student Welcome leaflet, which also included a section on good bin habits (See Communications section).
Central government cuts to Council funding continue to have an impact on the services the Council can provide, including for example on the campaign to audit and number bins. Thank you to one of our supportive landlords who has funded the numbers to enable us to complete another street,
We continue to be very grateful indeed to Jason and his team and to Barry Olson, our HMO Warden, who is always ready to come and pick up fly-tipped items we alert him to or follow up issues related to rubbish left on landlord properties.
Our Website has had a major makeover during the summer, thanks to Matt our webmaster. It is much more attractive, up-to-date and accessible. It has already received a lot of compliments. Do take a look if you haven’t already. And thank you to Matt for his fabulous volunteer work on this.
Our new Facebook site is also beginning to attract more attention and providing an interactive complement to our website. Thanks to Ruth for initiating this and keeping it current. Again do have a look if you haven’t already – and “like” us to carry on helping raise our profile.
We have produced a new Student Welcome leaflet for the start of the university term and delivered 400 copies to student households. (Copy available on the website.)The leaflet aims to welcome the students to the Outer Avenue, community, let them know about OARA and encourage them to join us in being considerate neighbours. We have had several positive responses from the students.
We now have a new portable display board, purchased with OARA funds, which has already been put to good use at the Meet Your Neighbour party and the Table Top sale. A really good resource for letting people know what we do.
OARA October 2015