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

1. Introduction

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

2. Ordinary Meeting Follow-up

2.1 Summary

At the OGM on 1st April 14, Lynn Murphy led a three year impact review of OARA’s progress which invited those present to identify:

  • What they were pleased with and proud of
  • What disappointed and bugged them
  • What they wanted for the future

These ideas have been captured in an Impact Review by Lynn and Gordon Gillies; John presented it at the meeting and it will be made available on the OARA website shortly.

2.2 Future priorities

After briefly going through the Impact Review, John reported that he, Hilary and Sue had met with the Landlords’ Forum and identified the key stakeholders in our area as follows:

  • Landlords and Letting Agents
  • Students
  • The council
  • Businesses in the area
  • The Polish community
  • Care homes / homes for the vulnerable
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • The Police
  • Residents

John stated that we need to make links with all of these groups and one idea to engage them is to produce a leaflet that details what OARA is about and what we would like to achieve. Hilary is currently working on some ideas which seek to identify common ground with these groups with the aim of inviting them all to a future OARA meeting so that we can work together to help each other.

Action: Hilary to produce a draft of the Common Ground leaflet for consideration by the Committee.

2.3 Actions arising from the impact review

  • Landlords: Sue to contact the Landlords Forum and offer to give them a presentation about OARA at one of their SLA meetings;
  • Council: John will make contact with Chris Lyons, the Planning and Development Manager at the council, and invite him to tour the OARA area to experience first-hand the current situation;
  • Businesses: Rosy and Phine will make contact with local businesses when the Common Ground leaflet is available;
  • The Polish Community: John will liaise with Dave Adcock who has links with the Polish community;
  • Care homes: Rosy and Phine will make contact with care homes in the area when the Common Ground leaflet is available;
  • Schools: Hilary will act as the link with schools;
  • Churches: Phine and John are the contacts for Avenue St Andrews and St Barnabas;
  • Letting Agencies: Hilary will be the contact;
  • Students: John will be the contact

Sue suggested that we could invite the interested parties to the next Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) on 7th July and we agreed that we would work towards this date.

3. Planning

Sue reported that there are a number of planning applications in the area which are currently being addressed. It was agreed that this area of work is now becoming large enough to warrant a Planning Sub-Committee. We agreed that Sue, T and Gordon would sit on the Sub-Committee.

Action: Sue, Gordon and T

4. Street Cleaning

Barbara reported that street cleaning is ongoing but receives patchy support. Hilary added that the trial run of a new approach to bin collections agreed with Jon Dyer-Slade, the Head of City Services at the council, is due to start in May, and that we would feedback on its success or otherwise in due course.

Rosy presented two spreadsheets that showed how the number of contaminated and / or broken bins had significantly reduced between July 13 and April 14. She agreed to send them to Hilary to pass on to Jon Dyer-Slade.

Action: Rosy to send the spreadsheets to Hilary; Hilary to pass them on to Jon Dyer-Slade.

Jon Dyer-Slade has asked OARA to formally write to him with feedback on the bin collection cycle and after a brief discussion, it was agreed that Hilary would contact Jon to arrange this.

Action: Hilary to make contact with Jon Dyer-Slade.

5. Website and Communication Officer

5.1 The need for a Communications Officer

T reported that as part of the publication of the minutes of meetings, she also took the opportunity to refresh the News on the front page of the web-site, and update the Events Calendar. However, the website would benefit from the input of a Communications Officer, who would be more skilled in this area than she was. T agreed to contact Gordon to see whether he would be able to take on this role.
Action: T

It was also agreed that we would seek possible input from the residents for this role.

5.2 Gallery of pictures

T was asked whether it would be possible to have more images of our activities on the website. She agreed to contact the webmaster in this respect.

Action: T

6. Greening Group

6.1 Forthcoming events

Sue reported that a number of activities have been planned for June:

  • A plant swap at the Alma Road / Gordon Avenue planters at 18:00 on Friday 6th June;
  • A table-top sale on the forecourt of Headmasters hairdressing salon in Portswood between 11:00 and 13:00 on Sunday 8th June.

T agreed to add these events to the Events calendar, the News section on the front page, and would also email the dates to the wider membership.

Action: T

6.2 Signature cheery trees

Sue informed the meeting that it was Hilliers’ 150th anniversary this year (the suppliers of the cherry trees) and that the trees had appeared in their publicity.

7. The History Project

John reported that the following activities are being planned:

  • A picnic on the Common for all members;
  • A 2015 calendar featuring pictures of the OARA area;
  • A history walk in June (T to include in the Greening Group’s publicity);
  • A history talk.

8. Committee Members’ Roles

The following roles were agreed:

  • Street cleaning: Barbara and Hilary;
  • Planning: Sue, Gordon and T;
  • History: John;
  • Greening Group: Sue and Phine
  • Kingsley House: Phine
  • Aesthetics and Events: Barbro
  • Newsletter: Rosy

T asked all Committee members to review their personal profiles on the About page.

Some entries are a little long, and some are now out of date as Committee members personal circumstances have changed. She asked for any changes by 16th May 14.

Action: all

9. Letting Boards

Sue reported that Southampton University’s Students’ Union (SUSU) want the council to adopt a similar approach to that taken in Leeds where the size, colour, number and display of letting boards are strictly defined. Sue agreed to make contact with the SUSU president.

Action: Sue

John agreed to contact Cllr Adrian Vinson to determine how this can be taken forward.

Action: John

10. The Big Lunch

The Big Lunch (Street Party) is scheduled to take place on Sunday 1st June and John stated that we need more involvement from the different communities in the area. Barbara agreed to provide gazebos as required and John would be responsible for sending out the details of the Big Lunch when they have been finalised.

Action: Barbara and John

Posters for the Big Lunch will be produced. Barbara agreed to approach the bookshop in Portswood Road and ask them to display a poster.

Action: Barbara

Other actions agreed for the Big Lunch:

  • We will invite Cedar Road school to take part in the vegetable sculpture competition at the Big Lunch Action: Hilary;
  • Action: Barbro will invite Tracy’s Dance School to the Big Lunch.

11. OARA Beer Tasting

Barbro suggested that we consider an OARA beer tasting session for the residents. Her initial idea is that attendees purchase their beers from the Bitter Virtue, and meet in a resident’s house (yet to be decided). She suggested that we could invite the proprietors of the Bitter Virtue to talk about two styles of beer which they sell. She asked for assistance in making this a reality.

Action: John to speak with his wife!

12. NORA (National Organisation of Residents’ Associations)

Sue reported that we have been asked whether we would like to join NORA (National Organisation Of Residents’ Associations). . The membership fees are not expensive and joining would mean that we would get advance notice of forthcoming central government plans. We agreed that this was a good idea.

Action: Sue to make contact with Peter Wirgman, the local NORA representative.

13. 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