Present:

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

Apologies:

  • Andy Haslehurst
  • Hilary Jackson

1. Introduction

John opened the meeting by welcoming the attendees. The apologies were given. H expressed his thanks to Sue for hosting the meeting at very short notice.

2. Planning Matters

2.1 Successful challenges

We have had two successful challenges to proposed planning applications in that both have been refused:

  • Student block development on the corner of Lodge Road and Rose Road
  • Further sub-division of two one bedroom flats into two bedroom flats in Cambridge

2.2 Current applications

Another planning application has been submitted to extend a property on Rose Road. Sue commented that the proposed extension will consume more than 50% of the current amenity space (which is very limited already). It was agreed that Sue and T would challenge the planning application.

Action: Sue and T

2.3 Principal contact at the council

John reported that he has been trying to contact Dr Chris Lyons, the Planning and Development Manager at the council, and has discovered that he is leaving the council very shortly. It is unclear who is to be his replacement.

Actions that were agreed were:

  • Cllr Burke will be asked by John to find out who the replacement manager will be.
  • Sue will email Jerry Gillen from Highfield RA to find out whether he knows more than we do
    Action: John to contact Cllr Burke
    Action: Sue to contact Jerry
    Sue will find out who the new proposed HMO Warden is.
    Action: Sue to contact the council

2.4 Future planning applications

Gordon noted that more and more planning applications are being submitted for changes to properties in the OARA area and it can be difficult to keep a track of at what stage of the planning process they are. He suggested, and it was agreed, that he would develop a spreadsheet for this specific purpose and share it with the members of the Planning sub-committee (Sue, T and Gordon).

Action: Gordon

It was suggested that it might be useful to present the spreadsheet at the Landlords Meeting in September 14.

Action: Planning sub-committee to decide on how this can be taken forward

3. Street Cleaning

3.1 General situation

John commented that the whole area is looking much better than it has previously. Barbara responded that there is still patchy support for street cleaning activities.

3.2 Feedback to the council

Rosy reported that she has been asked by the council to officially provide feedback on how they respond to her frequent reports of dumped items and polluted recycling bins. She felt that her reports may carry more weight if she had an “official” title as a member of the OARA Committee. It was agreed that she would become the Environment Officer, rather like Sue is the Planning Officer, and would use the title in all future reports of littering and illegal fly tipping.

Action: T to update the website

3.3 Pilot rubbish improvement scheme in Gordon Avenue

Gordon reported that litter bins are being numbered by Jon Dyer-Slade’s teams (Head of City Services) in preparation for the improved rubbish collection pilot in Gordon Avenue. The Street Cleaning spreadsheet jointly developed by the council and the Street Cleaning sub-committee is now being auctioned jointly.

It was noted that some persistent problems are caused by different councils having different approaches to recycled items. For example, some students may be able to recycle yogurt pots at their parents homes, but cannot do so here.

John reported that Hilary Jackson is writing a letter to the binmen to encourage them to be a little more flexible in their approach. It was agreed that the Street Cleaning sub-committee would meet again to progress this.

Action: Gordon, Hilary and Barbara to meet

4. Common Ground Project

4.1 Background

The Common Ground project seeks to establish co-operation and interest from all of the stakeholders in the area. We aim to invite as many of them as possible to the Ordinary General Meeting on 7th July so that we can explore each other’s needs and points of view. We hope that this will help to forge better links and facilitate new ways of working together for the benefit of the community as a whole.

4.2 Progress

The Common Ground leaflet has now been agreed and is available for Committee members to print off and use when making contact with their identified groups.

John asked Committee members who volunteered to make contact with the different groups (identified at the last meeting on 29th April 14) to do so, and obtain their contact details. They are:

  • Landlords: Sue
  • Council: John
  • Businesses: Rosy and Phine;
  • The Polish Community: John;
  • Care homes: Rosy and Phine;
  • Schools: Hilary;
  • Churches: Phine and John;
  • Letting Agencies: Hilary;
  • Students: John

5. The Big Lunch (Street Party)

John reported that the Big Lunch had been a great success with a good mix of people from our diverse community: Polish families, students, care homes, residents and young families with children. It was estimated that over 100 people attended during the course of the day.

It was noted that the “meet and greet” initiative had been very successful in that people passing through were invited to stay – and did, as they had been made aware that it was not a private party.

6. Greening Group

6.1 Current progress

Sue reported that not a great deal of progress had been made recently. However, the cut way between Gordon Avenue and Westwood Road was coming along nicely.

She reported that the half barrels in the area were going to be replanted with lavender and geraniums, and the Greening Group is considering planting clematis in the planters.

Areas that have been improved are St Annes Mews in Earls Road, and Clifford Dibben Mews.

6.2 Livingstone Road corner Community project

Sue distributed a copy of the latest project report from Maggie O’Connor, the current project lead.

In summary, the whole project is beset by a number of problems, which, whilst not insurmountable, present a significant challenge to Maggie and the team.

Investigation of all of the options has thrown up a number of technical complexities, and it would seem that without a specific source of funding, the project is likely to founder.

John suggested that a final meeting of the Community Project team took place so that we can establish where the project is, and decide our next moves.

Action: Sue to feedback to Maggie

John would like Cllr Burke to have a copy of Maggie’s Progress

Action: Sue to send a copy of the report to Cllr Burke

6.3 Local antipathy

Phine reported that she is still being verbally abused by a local landlord. The Committee urged her to report the matter to the police and cc: John and Gordon.

Action: Phine to report the abuse as described above; T to send her Stephen Blandford’s email address

7. The History Project

John reported that he has put in a funding bid for the production of the History calendar, and the History Day. He is waiting for a response.

The History Walk will take place on Sunday 22nd Road. T will add the event to the Events calendar and John will email everyone on the Mailing List.

Action: John and T

8. OARA Beer Tasting

The OARA Beer Tasting session will take place on Sunday 14th September at 104 Alma Road.

Chris Brown and Ann Binns from The Bitter Virtue will select a number of beers for tasting and will write up some notes on them. Attendees will be required to buy their beers from The Bitter Virtue prior to the beer tasting session.

Action: Barbro to progress

9. Any Other Business

  • We need to think about how to reach people who don’t have Internet or email access.
  • Residents must report all incidents associated with Kingsley House to the council
  • Phine has an idea for a fund raising dinner.

Action: Phine to develop

10. Dates for 2014 Meetings

OARA General Meetings

  • 7th July 14
  • 7th October 14
  • AGM: 19th January 15

OARA Committee Meetings

  • 15th September 14
  • 16th December 14