John Hayward (Chair and Host), Phine Dahle, Barbro Fitzjohn, Gordon Gillies, Hilary Jackson, T Jacobs (Minutes), Rosy Maguire, Barbara Matcham, Sue Swallow


Andy Haslehurst, Chris Jackson

1. Introduction

John opened the meeting by welcoming the attendees. The apologies were given.

2. Planning Matters

2.1 Current applications

There are a number of current planning applications in the OARA area upon which Committee members and residents may wish to comment:

  • 46 Cambridge Road: three objections have been submitted by Committee members.  T to send her objection to the rest of the Committee.  Action: T
  • 126 & 128 Gordon Avenue: this seeks to convert the existing HMO into a seven bedroom HMO by expanding into the roof space.
  • 62A Alma Road: the house is being gutted at the moment and is being converted into a seven bedroom HMO.  There is no record of planning permission being sought on the SCC Planning Portal.  Sue has contacted the Planning Office and the Planning Enforcement Officer.  John suggested that Sue also contact the HMO Enforcement Officer. Action: Sue

2.2 Planning hearing

The formal hearing re 111 Alma Road will take place on 11th November 14.

2.3 Hard surfacing of front gardens

Sue reported that the front gardens of 128 & 130 Alma Road are being prepared for hard surfacing. Current planning legislation requires planning permission for hard surfaces of more than 5 square metres, but this does not appear to have been applied for.

3. Common Ground Project

3.1 Progress on the Charter

Hilary updated the meeting with progress on the Common Ground Charter.  Cllr Rayment and Council Officer Gayle Williams have been very supportive in moving this forward.  The council are currently designing the special edition of the newsletter which will incorporate the Charter, and will also print it for us.  The newsletter is designed for all residents.

The content of the newsletter was discussed briefly and it was agreed that:

  • The signature block will be removed as it is seen as rather “contractual”
  • The number of words should be reduced so that it easier to read but should still reflect what we would like to see in the area
  • It should be printed in colour

3.2 Student specific leaflet

Hilary and John have met with the student reps, and with them, have designed a student specific leaflet which covers elements of the charter.  Rosy offered to investigate printing copies of the leaflet.  It is hoped to have this ready by mid-October when all of the students have returned. Action: Rosy

4. Landlord Engagement

4.1 Pilot bin scheme

Gordon reported on the pilot scheme of working with a local landlord to improve bin and recycling behaviours.  The bins of 16 properties in Gordon Avenue have now got “bin buddies” – Committee members who will ensure that the bins are taken in after they have been emptied, and encourage good recycling  behaviour eg: no recyclables being put into the bin in plastic bags.  The landlord has paid and agreed fee per property in advance.  We will also look at the potential for improving the front gardens should they need it.  The pilot scheme will run until the end of January 15.

Gordon stated that should the pilot work, it will enable us to build stronger relationships with other landlords.  It was agreed that Gordon would approach Posh Pads to determine their potential interest. Action: Gordon

4.2 Southern Landlords Association meeting

Sue, John and Hilary were due to attend the Southern Landlords Association meeting on 15th September to talk about OARA but their agenda item has been deferred to the next meeting on 17th November at 18:30 in the Highfield Hotel.

5. Street party on 5th October 2014

John reported that the Street Party planned for Sunday 5th October between 13:00 and 14:30 is going ahead and that all the local students will be made aware of it by the student reps.  There will be free soup and music and SUSU will also be there.  John asked Committee members to display posters to this effect, and to distribute invitations to houses where we are certain the occupants are students.  Action: Committee members

6. Street Cleaning

Hilary asked whether the Street Cleaning Group should continue.  Gordon responded that it should because we need to coordinate with the council more efficiently eg: the recent confusion over the planned Street Sparkle.  The numbers for the bin numbering initiative have still not been delivered. Hilary to contact Jason Evans. Action: Hilary

It was also agreed that it would be useful to meet regularly with Gayle Williams.  Gordon will contact her to set up quarterly meetings. Action: Gordon

Rosy reported that there is a concerned resident in Spear Road  who is unhappy about the street drinking that takes place regularly in the small hours.  She has tried using the 101 non-emergency number but has received little effective response.  John agreed to pursue this with PC Stephen Blandford.  Rosy will send John the details of the concerned resident.  Action: Rosy and John

7. Greening Group

7.1 Barrels and planting

Sue reported that the Greening Group have bought more half barrels and compost, and planted them up with bulbs.  The green area in Clifford Dibben Mews is currently overgrown with brambles, so the area is being tackled.  Rosy agreed to put Sue in touch with a local resident who may be able to help in the process. Action: Rosy

7.2 New signature tree planting campaign

Sue reported that the Group are planning a new signature cherry tree planting campaign. Funds for this will be raised through another table-top sale, planned for Sunday 9th November between 12 and 2 pm on the forecourt of Headmasters, next to Waitrose on Portswood Road.  Action: T to add to the Events Calendar on the website.

7.3 Tree vandalism

Sue reported that another signature tree had been vandalised in Alma Road, broken off at the top of the stake.  She has tried her best to save it.

7.4 Bulb planting session

Sue announced that there will be a bulb-planting session on Sunday 16th November at 11:00 by the planters in Alma Road.  The Greening Group are seeking donations from local companies for bulbs.  The idea is that people bring their own pots and get them planted up for display at home eg: by their front doors.

8. Communications

8.1 Monthly Bulletin

John said that he had produced a couple of Monthly Bulletins to let everyone in the area know what OARA was achieving on their behalf.  He asked whether the Committee thought this was a good idea.  We agreed that it was but that there needs to be a process in place to seek article submissions from Committee members.  We also agreed that it should be produced every other month rather than monthly. Action: Committee members

8.2 Newsletter

Rosy asked whether the Monthly Bulletin negates the need for the Newsletter which has been published on the website about three times a year.  It was agreed that there was a need for the Newsletter and that we would continue to publish it electronically.  However, there is a need for a printed version to be available / delivered to those who do not have Internet access.  Action: Rosy

9. Rescheduled OGM

John felt that the scheduled Ordinary General Meeting on Tuesday 7th October is too close to the Street Party on Sunday 5th October, and would like to move it.  It was agreed that it would be rescheduled to Monday 3rd November.  Hilary agreed to find out whether the Community Room at the school is available, and T will update the Events Calendar.  Action: Hilary and T

10. Membership

T updated the meeting on Membership renewal.  About 75% of card holders are renewing, but there needs to be a concerted push to ensure that as many people as possible do.  Gordon, Rosy, Barbro and Phine agreed to approach card holders directly using a list supplied by T.  Action: T, Gordon, Rosy, Barbro and Phine

11. The History Project

John reported that a local resident, Jay Shah, will produce the History Calendar on OARA’s behalf.  They will be ready by 18th October.  That is also the History Day, which will take place in Avenue St Andrews between 2 and 5pm.  Action: T to add to the Events Calendar on the website

12. Christmas Party

The Christmas party is scheduled to take place on Sunday 7th December between 14:00 and 17:00 in the Bent Brief on Lodge Road.  John will book the pub, and T will add to the website.  Action: John and T

13. Dates for 2014 Meetings

OARA General Meetings

  • 3rd November 2014
  • AGM: 19th January 2015

OARA Committee Meetings

  • 16th December 14