Present:

  • Barbro Fitzjohn
  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • Andy Haslehurst
  • Sue Swallow
  • T Jacobs (Minutes)
  • Rosy Maguire (Host)
  • Barbara Matcham

Apologies:

  • Phine Dahle
  • Chris Jackson
  • Liz Haslam
  • John Hayward

1. Introduction

Gordon opened the meeting by welcoming the Committee Members. The apologies were given.

2. Street Cleaning

2.1 Regular Schedule

Barbara reported that the regular schedule has started off well although the Bank Holiday weekend wasn’t well supported. The best approach has been to litter pick and then follow up with a hoe and broom.

The three arterial roads are largely done but we now need to concentrate on the roads that cross them.

2.2 Hi-visibility waistcoats

12 vests have been ordered and should be available in time for the next litter pick.

2.3 Publicity

We debated whether we should leaflet the area to inform residents that a street clean has taken place but this was rejected on the grounds of cost. However, it might be possible to produce an A-frame that could be situated at the planters on street cleaning days. Barbro agreed to look at this.
Action: Barbro

2.4 Council assistance

T reported that she has asked the council for leaflets to inform residents of what can and cannot be recycled; these should be available shortly.

She also said that Loretta Emory from the council has offered to give a 40 minute presentation on recycling at the scheduled general meeting on 25th June.

2.5 Volunteers

T reported that an organisation has made contact through the website offering up to 20 volunteers for a day. Given our experience with previous offers of help, she felt that 20 people might be too many, a day too much and that a lot of “OARA” supervision would be required. T was tasked with finding out:

  • What kind of activities they wanted to do
  • How many people might actually turn up
  • Whether they would want a week day or a day at the weekend
  • The timescale in which they wanted to do the volunteering

Action: T

3. Membership Cards

T reported that membership cards were now coming up for renewal. She has already written to those people whose cards expire at the end of May and has asked that they indicate their wish to renew by filling in the simple form on the “Join us” page on the website. This enables her to monitor who has renewed, and provides an audit trail of what people have paid.

4. The Big Lunch

4.1 Preparations

Barbro reported to the meeting on behalf of Maggie O’Connor. The organisation for the event is going well, and the publicity materials have been distributed by T to everyone on the Membership List. Big posters are being produced and will be placed in prominent locations. The houses in the immediate vicinity will be leafleted. There is a meeting on 29th May to finalise the details.

4.2 Costs

Gordon stated that the costs for insurance and road closures will be around £100.

4.3 Green space

Barbro said that it was planned to have pictures of what the planters area could look like if it was changed into a green space.

4.4 Plant talk

Sue announced that there will be a talk at the St Barnabas Church Hall on Friday 31st May at 7:30 pm. It will be given by Mandy (who lives in Rose Road) who runs a plant nursery for people with special needs.
Action: Sue to send T the details ASAP
Action: T to issue the details to the membership.

5. Police Liaison

Barbro presented John Hayward’s proposals for police liaison to the meeting.

The idea is that members sign up to an email list managed by PCSO Holly Knight where she will provide them with details of what’s happening in the area, and residents, in turn, can report concerns or information to Holly.

Whilst the proposal to facilitate better liaison between the police and the community is welcomed, the Committee felt that there are a number of practical concerns and issues that must be addressed first:

  • We cannot pass on members’ email addresses to the police under any circumstances. Members, however, could be invited to provide them directly should they so wish.
  • We are concerned that there will be three different ways of contacting the police. Whilst the 999 number is clearly only for emergencies, residents may not know whether they should email Holly directly or report their concerns on the 101 number.
  • Our area has been served by four PCSOs in the last two years as they are moved from area to area on a regular basis. It would be much better if there was a generic email address from which the police could send messages and to which residents could email their concerns.

Gordon felt that it would be useful if PCSO Holly Knight and PC Stephen Blandford presented their views on how the proposed liaison would work in practice.
Action: John to arrange this
We also agreed that Gordon would provide the context to our views directly with John.
Action: Gordon.

6. Meeting with Alan Whitehead

Gordon reported that the meeting had been arranged so that Alan Whitehead can talk to us about planning issues and HMOs in particular. We agreed that we could use 111 Alma Road and 124 Gordon Avenue as examples of where the council is not following its own guidelines. Recent correspondence would indicate that over a year has elapsed before any kind of action is taken.

We need to ensure that we continue to apply pressure on the council.

We agreed that we would also raise our concerns about the permitted 6m and 8m extensions to properties without planning permission at the same meeting.

7. Planning Sub-group

Two new applications have been sent to us: one for Livingstone Road (to add a dormer window) and another to convert a garage into living accommodation at 24 Spear Road. We agreed that we would definitely object to the latter on the grounds that it would increase pressure on already scarce parking spaces.
Action: Sue to object

8. To Let Signs

SUSU are leading on this and have produced a letter to the council which clearly sets out their objections to the proliferation of To Let signs. They have invited all RAs to sign it and we have already passed the details on to our membership.

Sue commented that when the licensing of HMOs goes through, landlords will only be able to advertise their properties online; letting boards will a thing of the past.

9. Any Other Business

  1. Barbro was asked to produce another of her Cycle route signs for the planters in Avenue Road.
    Action: Barbro
  2. T to update the front page of the website with the times of 11:30 to 13:30 for the Table Top sale on 9th June.
    Action: T
  3. Barbara has made contact with a scrap metal dealer who would be happy to dispose of our “any old iron”. In order to do so, we have to register with him, and the registrant has to be either the Chairman, Treasurer or Secretary
    Action: Barbara to liaise with Andy
  4. Andy commented that the Greening Group’s funding is fairly healthy at the moment.
  5. T to send a reminder towards the end of the week regarding the meeting with Alan Whitehead on 21st May.
    Action: T

10. Dates for 2013 Meetings

OARA General Meetings

  • Tuesday 25th June 2013
  • Monday 14th October 2013
  • Tuesday 21st January 2014 AGM

OARA Committee Meetings

  • Monday 15th July 2013
  • Monday 16th September 2013
  • Tuesday 5th November 2013
  • Monday 16th December 2013