Present:

  • Gordon Gillies (Chair and Host)
  • Phine Dahle
  • Barbro Fitzjohn
  • Andy Haslehurst
  • John Hayward
  • Chris Jackson
  • T Jacobs (Minutes)
  • Rosy Maguire
  • Barbara Matcham
  • Sue Swallow

Apologies:

  • Liz Haslam

1. Introduction

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

2. Membership scheme

2.1 Current Status

  • T updated the meeting on the current status of the Membership Scheme. The renewal cycle had started in May 13, and she had written out to those members whose cards were due to expire by the end of the current month. This continued until September when she was absent for three months due to her training course.
  • Some people had used the website form to renew but most people have not bothered despite reminders that their cards had, or were due to, expire. The reasons for this are not clear as the renewal email gave people several options on how they wished to renew.
  • Andy commented that the Greening Group has largely raised its own funds thus far, and we have spent little outside of Greening activities. We identified that we spend Membership fees on:
    • Hire of venues for the Christmas party
    • Street cleaning equipment
    • Website fees
    • Insurance and other costs associated with the annual Street Party (Big Lunch).
    • Publicity
    • Printing costs

2.2 Actions agreed

The following actions were agreed:

  • Barbro and Rosy agreed to approach people directly, armed with a list of people whose Membership had expired. Action: Barbro and Rosy
  • We would raise the importance of the Membership Scheme as a vital way of raising funds at the AGM. Action: T to add to the Agenda for the AGM.
  • We would consider a rota of direct approach. Action: Barbro, Rosy, Phine and Gordon
  • T will provide a list of current members divided into roads. She would also think about how the cards can be issued and the numbering scheme maintained. Action: T
  • T will also compose an email to members whose cards have expired explaining that we will be contacting them directly in due course. She asked that Gordon approve the contents before it is sent. Action: T and Gordon

3. Dates for future meetings

We agreed the following dates for the meetings in 2014:

OARA General Meetings

  • AGM: 21st January 14
  • 1st April 14
  • 7th July 14
  • 7th October 14
  • AGM: 19th January 15

OARA Committee Meetings

  • 3rd March 14
  • 3rd June 14
  • 15th September 14
  • 15th December 14

4. Annual General Meeting

4.1 Main points to be covered

Gordon stated that the following points need to be covered in the AGM part of the 21st January meeting:

  • A written Chairman’s Report
  • Financial Report
  • Election of Committee members

4.2 The Chairman’s Report

Gordon said that the report should contain brief details of what we have achieved over the year and we agreed that Committee members would contribute a piece in their own area of expertise as follows:

  • Street cleaning – Barbara
  • Financial accounts (a separate report) – Andy
  • The Newsletter – Rosy
  • Greening activities, Planning and events (Street and Christmas parties) – Sue
  • Membership Scheme – T
  • History Group and Police Liaison – John
  • Arts Project – Phine
  • Action: all

4.3 Election of Committee Members

  • Gordon asked the members present whether they would be prepared to stand again in 2014. We all agreed that we would.
  • Gordon announced that he is to step down as Chairman but would still like to be involved on the Committee, and suggested that he could help in other areas, but this would depend on who was elected at the AGM.
  • The Committee agreed that its members should be available for all (or most) Committee and General meetings and be available to take on a workload during the year. Gordon was also aware that there are other residents who have expressed an interest in becoming a Committee member.
  • John was asked whether he would consider becoming the Chair or Vice Chair, and T offered her continuing support to the role. Action: John to consider
  • We need to leaflet prior to the AGM to ensure a good attendance. Action: T to design a leaflet for this purpose

5. The website and communications

Barbro commented that if OARA is typed into a search engine, it doesn’t always produce the desired results. Action: T to contact the webmaster to see if this can be improved

Barbro also observed that the website needs to be kept up to date if it is to be an effective communications tool. It was acknowledged that this hadn’t happened as frequently as it should have done since T had been away. However, now that she is back, she will ensure that it is reviewed monthly Action: T

Gordon commented that the most effective way of communicating with our wider membership is to send a short email covering several topics with brief, bulleted details and links to pages on our website.

6. Letting boards

The landlords’ letting boards have already been erected, even ‘though the new HMO licensing regulations prohibit this. Sue responded that she has contacted the Head of Planning at the council, and he is seeking clarification from the Council’s legal department, so removal cannot be enforced at present.

It was noted that the presence of the letting boards is bad for students as it creates a panic demand for properties that isn’t really there. The Students Union also do not like them, as it advertises to thieves which properties are student properties.

7. Fracking

Phine reported that she had attended a presentation given by the Rt Hon Dr Alan Whitehead on the issue of fracking, a field in which he is something of an expert. It would appear that more than half the country could be subject to fracking licence requests. Before we take any further action, it was agreed that we need to find out more.
Action: Phine

8. Kingsley House

A recent meeting on the renewal of the licence for Kingsley House was attended by our three Councillors, four local residents, and three Committee members.

The Council is not convinced that the current operation represents good value for money, and is seeking a change in the way in which it is run. It is not good for the neighbourhood, nor the young people themselves.

Attendees at the meeting had to complete a very detailed questionnaire to give their views to the council so that these could be considered when reviewing the licence application.

9. Any other business

9.1 Burglary in Gordon Avenue

Phine reported that her house had been broken into very recently and that a number of items had been stolen. The police were very thorough in their approach. John was asked to find out whether any guidance was available from the police to prevent other residents from becoming victims. Action: John

9.2 Planning Applications

Barbara reported that she had found a useful planning tool for finding out what has been applied for locally. The address is www.planningfinder.co.uk.

Sue commented that she had been made aware of several planning applications for change of use from C3 to C3/C4 but had not received any notification from the council directly. Action: Sue to follow up with the Head of Planning, and to cc the email to Gordon, Jerry Gillen and Cllr Barnes-Andrews.

10. Dates for 2014/15 meetings

OARA General Meetings

  • AGM: 21st January 14
  • 1st April 14
  • 7th July 14
  • 7th October 14
  • AGM: 19th January 15

OARA Committee Meetings

  • 3rd March 14
  • 3rd June 14
  • 15th September 14
  • 15th December 14

Action: all to note.

Action: T to arrange for the meetings to be added to the website’s Events Calendar