Present:

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

Guests:

  • Jerry Gillen
  • Rachel Lily
  • Jemma Percy

Apologies:

  • Phine Dahl
  • Chris Jackson
  • Liz Haslam
  • Lynn Murphy

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

1. Introduction

Gordon opened the meeting by welcoming the Committee Members. The apologies were given. He also welcomed Rachel Lily and Jemma Percy, two second year journalism students from Southampton Solent University who have volunteered to assist us with our proposed electronic newsletter. Both live in the Bedford Place area.

2. Planning Issues

Gordon invited Jerry to update the meeting on the current planning issues. Jerry reported:

  • The current biggest concern is the relaxation of the planning laws to enable landlords and homeowners to extend their properties by up to 8m for the next three years as a way of stimulating building work. Jerry continues to lobby all three of our Councillors, and is working with the National Organisation of Residents Associations (NORA) to protest.
  • At the local level, landlords continue to buy up and convert large houses into HMOs without planning permission and Southampton City Council appears unwilling to stop them in direct breach of the Supplementary Planning Document which came into effect on 23rd March 2012. No breach notices have been issued and the council is only taking into account the 40m rule, not other factors such as the impact of noise, nuisance, parking etc.
  • Jerry advised Committee members to take photographs of any parking problems and advise nearby residents to report noise, nuisance and any other problems caused by HMOs.
  • OARA were advised to insist that Planning Enforcement Notices are served on landlords who are currently flouting the rules.

Action: Gordon and Sue to write to Chris Lyons, the Planning and Development Manager at SCC, our three local councillors, and Cllr Asa Thorpe, SCC Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport.

3. Newsletter

3.1 Background

Gordon told the meeting that we have only published one newsletter in printed format. Because of the costs involved, a different approach is needed and an electronic newsletter is being considered. Rachel and Jemma have volunteered to help us to achieve this. It is hoped that the experience will be of benefit to them also.

3.2 Suggestions

There was a general discussion on what the newsletter might contain, its format, its target audience and how we can make it relevant to the whole OARA community.

We agreed that:

  • Format: It should be a maximum of two sides of A4 with short paragraphs and links to longer articles. We aimed to produce it quarterly.
  • Publicity: as well as publishing the newsletter on our own website, we could ask both universities to provide a link to it on theirs.
    Action: Rosy to follow up with SSU Marketing Department
  • Editing: Gordon suggested that a sub-group for the newsletter should be set up to advise and assist on content. It was agreed that Rosy would act as the liaison point for Rachel and Jemma.
    Action: Rosy
  • Content: Rachel and Jemma made some positive suggestions for content that would be appealing to students. We all felt that the OARA projects merited individual reports ie: planning, greening, street cleaning and the promotion of the Membership Card Scheme, particularly to the students.
    Action: Rachel and Jemma

3. Membership Cards

T reported that 57 Membership cards have been issued to date. Rosy and Barbro volunteered to knock on doors to promote the cards.
Action: T to provide Rosy and Barbro with a list of OARA members in each road so that they can be approached directly.
Action: Rosy and Barbro to approach residents

4. Greening Group

  • Sue reported that the Greening Group have raised enough money to buy and plant 25 of our signature trees. Most hosts have now paid their money. It is planned to plant them over the National Tree Planting weekend of 17th and 18th November.
  • More bulbs will be planted in the planters in Alma Road.
  • Sue reported that the group is also going to take over the planters in Avenue Road.
  • The group is planning a Christmas party on 14th December at St Barnabas Church Hall.

5. Street Cleaning

Our streets need a good clean again.
Action: Barbara to develop a new Street Cleaning Schedule

6. Christmas

6.1 Local gardens

Barbro suggested that we launch a competition for the best Christmas garden decorations. After a short discussion, it was agreed that Barbro would lead on this.
Action: Barbro

6.2 Committee gathering

The December Committee meeting is scheduled for 13th December and it was suggested that after the meeting, our partners are invited for a drink and nibbles.
Action: Rosy to book the meeting room at the Richmond Inn.

7. Finance Update

Andy reported that we need to pay for our domain name registration and hosting fees. This was agreed.

8. Dates for 2013 Meetings

OARA General Meetings

  • Tuesday 27th November 2012
  • Tuesday 22nd January 2013 AGM

OARA Committee Meetings

  • Thursday 13th December 2012