Present:

As identified on the Attendance List):

OARA Residents

Alma Road

  • Peter Wirgman
  • Barbara Matcham
  • Heather Soper
  • Julia Clarke

Avenue Road

  • Edwin Haynes
  • D Campbell
  • Helen Muscat
  • Kate Stansfield
  • Jon Ellis

Highcliff Avenue

  • Margaret Chiari

Gordon Avenue

  • Susan Swallow
  • Maggie O’Connor
  • Barbara Sheppard
  • Bob Sheppard
  • Linda Pritchard
  • Alan Pritchard
  • Hilary Jackson
  • Chris Hawthorn

Cambridge Road

  • Mary Hockey

Earls Road

  • Richard Long
  • Susan Silva

OARA Committee

  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • Richard Hill (Vice Chair)
  • T Jacobs (Vice Minutes Secretary)
  • Rosy Maguire (Committee Member)
  • Phine Dahle (Committee Member)

Southampton City Council

  • Cllr Derek Burke
  • Ken Byng, Parking Services Manager

Hampshire Police

  • PC Steve Blandford

Other attendees

  • Saeed Poswall

Apologies:

  • Paula Noyce (Minutes Secretary)
  • Andy Haslehurst (Treasurer)
  • Lynn Murphy (Secretary)
  • Cllrs Barnes-Andrews and Rayment (Southampton City Council)
  • Matt Conrad, Petrina Boddington, (Residents)

1. Welcome

Gordon opened the meeting by welcoming all of the attendees, and briefly outlined the agenda. The apologies were given.

1.1 Action List

Gordon explained the purpose of the Action List, copies of which were available at the end of each row of chairs. Actions on the list are captured from Committee meetings, and general meetings and then monitored to ensure that they aren’t overlooked.

1.2 The Big Lunch

Gordon congratulated Maggie O’Connor and her team of helpers in making the Big Lunch on 5th June a Big Success, despite the inclement and unseasonable weather. Maggie was given a round of applause.

2. Mapping our area

Gordon raised the mapping spreadsheet which will enable us to capture the details of the types or properties that exist in our areas. This is important for a number of reasons, which were raised later on in the meeting:

  • It enables us to understand the composition of the households in the area – also known as the demographics
  • It enables us to plan our projects to address the issues that may be caused by such demographics
  • It enables us to establish who the landlords are in the area so that we can forge good relationships with them.
  • Understanding how many HMOs there are (Housing in Multiple Occupation) enables us to challenge planning applications for HMOs when there are such pressures on parking, and refute claims by Councillors that there isn’t a problem with HMOs in the area.

Gordon handed round the spreadsheet and asked the attendees to identify the occupation of households near where they lived.

3. Police Update

3.1 Visit by the Asst Chief Constable

PC Steve Blandford announced that the Asst Chief Constable would like to attend some public facing meetings, and asked the meeting whether this would be acceptable. The group agreed that it was.

3.2 Crime in the area

Questions were raised about recent assaults in the area and a rumour that Southampton University were deliberately suppressing the reporting of them. Steve responded that this was not the case.

He reported that police coverage of the area had improved as there are now patrols from the city centre up to the main student residential areas from Thursdays to Saturdays until 5am.

He also reported that there has been a spate of opportunist thefts, all of which should be reported so that it can be established whether there is a pattern. Minor crimes should be reported on 101. At that point, PC Blandford left the meeting.

4. Bin Collections and Street Cleaning

4.1 The current position

Gordon opened the agenda items by summarising what has happened since the bin strike began on 23rd May:

  • Most bins have not been emptied since 20th May; some have not been emptied since 13th May.
  • SCC has employed a contractor to collect the side rubbish (the bags left to the side of the bins) but there has been no such collection in the OARA area.
  • The special collection arranged for the end of term student rubbish has not occurred so this has added to the problem.
  • The council sent a letter to all residents on Saturday 2nd July, five weeks into the strike, explaining what the dispute was about and what we can do to help ourselves.
  • The OARA Committee has emailed Cllr Royston Smith (Leader of the Council) to express the disappointment at the current situation and to urge the Council to resolve the dispute as soon as possible. He agreed to circulate the email to the RA.Action: Gordon to forward on the email to the membership list
  • Cllr Smith has been invited to attend this evening’s meeting.

4.2 The council perspective

Gordon invited Cllr Burke to provide the latest position from the council. Ken Byng, Parking Services Manager, also contributed the information that he has.

  • The bin men are going back to work on 5th July for four days and will then be on strike again from Saturday 9th July. Further strikes cannot be ruled out.
  • Residents should put their bins out from 5th July in the hope that they are collected.
  • The bin men are working to rule – this means that they will not collect any side rubbish nor will they collect any bin that has been overfilled ie: where the lid is up.
  • The council management and the unions are saying different things and there has been no progress despite 20 hours of talks with ACAS.
  • The whole country is watching Southampton to see whether the council’s attempt to impose cuts in pay and terms and conditions are successful. If it is, other councils and public organisations are likely to follow suit.

4.3 Debate and questions

There followed a lively debate with many questions being asked of the OARA Committee members, the Parking Services Manager and Cllr Burke. These are summarised below:

Question Answer
Were the problems caused by the evacuation of student households mentioned in the email to Cllr Smith? No
Can we take our rubbish to the Endle Street facility? Yes.  One resident commented on how helpful the staff are
What happens if we take our recycling materials to Endle Street? We have to sort the recycling materials ourselves, but the staff are very helpful
Can we accelerate the collection of the side rubbish, particularly now that there are rats in parts of the city? Yes.  Cllr Burke advised the RA to write again to Cllr Smith asking for further collections and a timetable of when these will happen as it is very random at present.Action: OARA Committee
Can the email to Cllr Smith include a point about the non-collection of student rubbish from front gardens? Yes.Action: OARA Committee
Can we hire skips in which to put the rubbish? No.  Skip operators are not licensed to transport household waste.
Can we put household waste in the emergency skips (see below)? No, but it is unlikely that anyone doing so would face action
Can OARA hire a van to collect the rubbish for onward transport to the dump? We can look into this, but we are not cash rich at the moment.Action: Committee to investigate
Can the deposits provided by students to their landlords be used to pay for the collection of their rubbish? No.  The deposits are controlled by the landlords’ agents and cannot be used for this purpose
Can persistent rubbish offenders eg: HMOs be fined for poor rubbish management? Yes, but it rarely happens in practice and takes a long time before the fine can be levied.  This was disputed by some members of the meeting.
  • Landlords can be served with Litter Clearance Notices for failing to remove rubbish and litter from their properties. However, this has been temporarily suspended as the landlords are unable to use the normal rubbish clearing service and it is unfair to penalise them for a situation beyond their control.
  • It was noted that some landlords HAVE been clearing rubbish from their properties themselves and this was very much welcomed.
  • Red emergency skips have been placed in parts of the city where there are particular problems but these are for litter only, not household waste.
  • Students need to be educated on how to manage their rubbish and landlords should impress upon them the importance of this.
  • The Committee has been considering the option of “buddying” student households on waste and parking matters and will develop this idea further.Action: OARA Committee

4.4 Actions for moving forward

Gordon summarised the debate and the actions arising from it:

  • We need to concentrate on the general waste rather than the recycling as it is beginning to smell
  • If we are taking our own rubbish to the dump, we should also take our neighbours if we can
  • We need to include photographic evidence in the follow-up email to Cllr Smith.Action: Rosy to take photographs of the rubbishAction: Gordon to include the photographs in the email
  • We need to write to landlords and rental agencies in the area and impress upon them their responsibilities for ensuring that rubbish on their properties is managed.  Barbara Deacon ? agreed to assist in the compilation of the list of landlords.Action: Barbara Deacon and Gordon
  • We need to organise “dirty Saturdays” where groups of residents look after their own patch.
    Gordon asked for volunteers to gather up the rubbish that has spilled from bins and ripped rubbish sacks.  Barbara Matcham commented that she still has plenty of sacks left over from previous litter picks and that these are available for residents’ use.
  • Barbara Matcham has the name of the SUSU Environment Officer and will email him about the need to impress on new students their responsibilities to rubbish management.  Gale Williams is also responsible for this at the council.Action: Barbara Matcham

Rosy Maguire suggested that we should empty overfull bins into sacks (then place them as side rubbish) which should ensure the collection of the bin by the council. This was agreed.

Action: all

Gordon concluded the debate with thanks for the views and ideas expressed, and urged residents to do whatever they could to make the situation more bearable.

5. Parking

5.1 Current situation

Gordon outlined the current parking situation as follows:

  • Part of the OARA area is covered by Residents’ Parking Schemes eg: the west side of Avenue Road and Alma Road, but other roads are not eg: Gordon Avenue, Livingstone Road and Alma Road.
  • Since the redevelopment of the old Wickes site into Fullerton Place and the building of the new mosque, parking has become very difficult for residents without a parking scheme in Gordon Avenue, Livingstone Road and Alma Road.
  • As well as people parking inconsiderately, there are insufficient parking spaces for the number of car users living in the area.

5.2 Introduction of a Residents’ Parking Scheme

He then introduced Ken Byng, Parking Services Manager to the meeting. Ken briefly introduced his service, saying that it covered parking enforcement, City Patrol and the Itchen Bridge. He asked if we were considering an extension to the current parking scheme and outlined that to do this is a costly process for the council. Other implications are:

  • Parking Schemes don’t work for everyone in a neighbourhood
  • The first parking permit is free; the second costs £60 per annum.
  • A maximum of two permits are allowed per premises and this is very strictly enforced.
  • The council is considering charging for visitor parking permits in addition to residents’ permits.
  • There is only limited kerbside space for parking and the possession of a permit does not guarantee a parking space.
  • Residents’ Parking Schemes are usually introduced where there are particular parking issues for residents eg: around the university and hospital, commuters parking in side streets and then walking into town as a way of avoiding city parking fees.
  • The continued development of HMOs puts real pressure on existing parking spaces.  Ken suggested that we write to Paul Nichols, Head of Planning and Sustainability, to raise concerns about the number of HMOs that are being allowed in the area.Action: Committee to consider this

A debate followed on whether we can enforce non-ownership of cars, or build it into landlords contracts – but the answer is no. Questions were also asked about the relationship between Parking Services and Planning as there seems little joined up working or thinking here – one inevitably has an impact on the other.

5.3 Actions to move forward

Ken suggested the following:

  • Residents inform Parking Services when they become aware of Disabled parking space users moving out of the area.Action: all
  • The Committee requests a Feasibility Study on the extension of the current parking scheme from Chris Lyons, the Planning Officer.Action: Committee
  • The Committee invites a Planning Officer to the next general meeting to explain how the planning decisions for HMOs are made.Action: Committee

The RA agreed the actions.

6. Projects for 2011

6.1 Greening Group

Gordon reported that of twelve bags of compost delivered for the planters between Alma Road and Gordon Avenue, three appear to have gone missing.

Post meeting note: the missing bags have been used to prop up a clothes line in Cambridge Court!

6.2 Planning Issues

Sue Swallow has been confirmed as the Planning Rep for OARA.

6.3 Landlords

Gordon announced that we need a representative for this and that he and the Committee can provide support if needed. There were no volunteers.

At this point, Peter Wirgman gave an update on the Southampton Federation of Residents’ Associations meeting which took place on 23 June 11. He reported that Cllrs Noon and Fitzhenry were in attendance and there was good representation from areas that had a high proportion of HMOs. He stressed the importance of the mapping exercise and reported that he had asked all other Residents’ Associations in the city to carry out the same task. This would assist the council in making the correct planning decisions and enable us to challenge Councillor assertions that it isn’t a problem in Southampton.

7. Any other business

7.1 OARA finances

Gordon reported that we have £375 in the OARA account, and we are waiting for a decision on our grant application. For the benefit of new attendees, Gordon reminded the meeting of the voluntary annual £3 donation.

7.2 A logo for OARA

Gordon reported that the deadline for the design of an OARA logo has been set for 17th July. There have been two entries so far.

7.3 Newsletter

Richard Hill has spoken to Kate Leven abut the production of the newsletter. He asked for people to submit their news stories through info@outeravenueresidents.co.uk

He particular asked for humour if at all possible.

Action: all

7.4 Open Committee positions

Gordon announced that our constitution allows up to twelve positions on the OARA Committee. Eight of these are already filled. If there are residents who would like to join the Committee, can they put their names forward to the above email address.

Action: all

8. Conclusion

Gordon concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.

8.1 Dates of next meetings

  • Monday 19th September 2011
  • Tuesday 6th December 2011
  • Tuesday 24th January 2012

Action: all to note