Present:

OARA Residents

Alma Road

  • Peter Wirgman
  • Barbara Matcham
  • Mary Bryden

Avenue Road

  • Helen Muscat
  • Edwin Haynes
  • John Hayward
  • Jon Harris
  • Louise Buxton

Earls Road

  • Sam Ling
  • Richard Long
  • Susan Silva

Gordon Avenue

  • Susan Swallow
  • Bob Sheppard
  • Barbara Sheppard
  • Phine Dahle
  • Dorothy Haslehurst

Highcliff Avenue

  • Margaret Chiari

Spear Road

  • Peter Taylor

Unknown

  • Hassan Chiari
  • Linda Connis

OARA Committee

  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • Richard Hill (Vice Chair)
  • Andrew Haslehurst (Treasurer)
  • T Jacobs (Vice Minutes Secretary)
  • Rosy Maguire

Southampton City Council

  • Cllr Derek Burke

Hampshire Police

  • PCSO Hayley Taite
  • PCSO Colette Craddock

Chapter 1

  • Sarah Humphries

Apologies:

  • Lynn Murphy (Secretary)
  • Paula Noyce (Minutes Secretary)
  • Cllr Barnes-Andrews (Southampton City Council)
  • Malkeat Singh (Southampton City Council)
  • Sarah Watts (Southampton University)

1. Welcome

Gordon opened the meeting by welcoming all of the attendees.  He briefly outlined the agenda and stated that the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Outer Avenue Residents’ Association (OARA) Constitution with a view to gaining its agreement.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

These were agreed as a true record.

2.1 Matters arising

2.1.1 Funding

1. Andrew Haslehurst confirmed that he is still following up on the residue of the money from the previous Outer Avenue Residents Association.

Action carried forward

2. Peter Wirgman reported that the OARA would need to be affiliated to the Southampton Federation of Residents’ Associations (SFRA) in order to receive funds from that organisation.  However, none would be available to OARA until the Community Chest grant application is received.
Action carried forward

2.1.2 Contact with the Polygon Residents Association

1. Sarah Humphries reported that she had an email contact for someone from the Polygon Residents’ Association (RA).
Action: Sarah to send details to Gordon

2.1.3 Number of houses in OARA area

1. Hayley Taite confirmed that there were about 680 households in the OARA area.  This is big but comparable with other RAs in Southampton.

2.1.4 Student Representatives

1.    Gordon still needs to follow up with Frankie, the Equal Opportunities Officer from Southampton University’s Students’ Union.
Action carried forward

2.    Richard Hill suggested that an approach could be made to SUSH to gain student representatives.

Action : Richard to follow up

2.1.5 Responsibility clauses in students’ tenancy agreements

1. Brenda Matcham confirmed that Posh Pads have social responsibility clauses in their tenancy agreements.
Action: Brenda to obtain the clause for us

2. It was suggested that it would be useful to find out whether other letting agents / landlords had similar provisions and to find out what these are.
Action: Sarah agreed to follow this up with Cryers

3. OARA Constitution

3.1 The presentation

1. Gordon gave a brief update on what had happened so far, explaining that OARA Committee Members had been elected at the meeting on 5th October 2010 and that they had met outside of the wider group to develop the Constitution.

2. He then gave a short PowerPoint presentation which covered the following points:

  • The geographical boundaries of the area and who is entitled to membership of OARA
  • Who is on the OARA Committee and the difference between the Committee and the wider Residents’ Association
  • The purpose of the Constitution and what is in it
  • What the next steps are.  Chief among these is the need to set up the bank account for the Outer Avenue Residents’ Association so that funds can be properly managed.

3. Gordon handed out ten copies of the draft Constitution and stated that comments from attendees and residents were needed so that they can be incorporated into a final draft which could subsequently be agreed at the AGM.

4. Gordon explained that the OARA needs residents to actively become members; they aren’t automatically members because they live in the area.

3.2 Questions raised during the presentation and subsequent discussion

1. Should Lodge Road be included within the OARA boundaries?

  • It was agreed that we would consider this again when we were up and running.

2. How do we currently fund items like leaflets?

  • Cllr Burke responded that there would be funds available from Southampton City Council (SCC).  Other RAs also successfully gain sponsorship from local businesses.  Sam Ling added that local business sponsorship had worked well in Highfield RA, and sometimes, businesses can be very generous eg: discounts in local shops.
  • Richard added that funds may also be raised by some form of peppercorn levy on members but that this was still to be agreed.
  • Gordon said that our eventual aim for communications with residents would be more web-based, largely negating the need for leaflets.  At this point, Rosy Maguire reported that a web professional based in the OARA area had agreed to develop the website for us.

3. What is the basis of the Constitution as it seems rather complicated?

  • Gordon responded that it was based on a residents’ Association Constitution template provided by Southampton City Council which has been simplified by the OARA Committee.

4. Are we really going to levy OARA members?

  • Some debate followed on this point.  Some felt a levy, no matter how small, might deter residents from joining; others thought it demonstrated commitment.
  • Administration of the levy can be difficult in terms of keeping records of who has paid and who hasn’t.
  • Some felt that involving residents in fundraising was a better way of raising funds; others suggested voluntary donations.
  • After some debate, it was agreed that we could perhaps try voluntary donations to begin with.

5. What happened to the original OARA?

  • Barbara responded that it ran for about ten years and then died a natural death.  Peter commented that often RAs are set up in response to a common problem, and that when the problems has been solved, they can lose momentum.

6. What is the legal standing of the OARA?

  • Gordon responded that it is a Residents’ Association only; it does not have charitable status, nor operate like a business.

3.3 Agreement of the constitution

1. Gordon asked for all comments on the Constitution to be provided before the AGM in January 2011, so that it would only need rubber-stamping at the meeting.  Two ways of achieving this were to hold a “Constitution surgery” in late November / early December and for attendees to email their comments.

2.  T Jacobs volunteered to collate the feedback on the Constitution and gave her email address as a point of contact: t.jacobs@live.co.uk
Action: All attendees to email feedback to T with an email subject line of “OARA Constitution”

3. Attendees asked if the Constitution could be emailed to them.
Action: Gordon to email the Constitution when the mailing list has been complied.
Action: Paula Noyce and T to compile the mailing list

4. It was requested that the Constitution surgery was held on a non-football day (Saints were playing Dagenham & Redbridge on the day of this meeting – and they won 4-0!).
Action: OARA Committee to find a non-football day for the meetings

5. A question was raised about the process for agreeing the Constitution.  Gordon responded that comments would be assimilated as appropriate and it would be agreed on a simple majority, providing the meeting was quorate (fifteen members or a third of the membership, whichever was the less).  It will not detail everything that OARA intends to do, but will provide the framework so that the Constitution doesn’t have to be amended each time a new issue needs to be tackled.

6. Rosy asked whether people would be willing to assist in the leafleting of the area and if so, could they let T know at the end of the meeting (see AOB).

7. Gordon stated that the OARA would need to decide what we wanted to do after the Constitution had been agreed, focussing on a few concrete outcomes rather than many aspirations that might not be achievable.

4. Crime Report

4.1 Crime Panel

1. Hayley Taite reported that there were only three people present at the last Crime Panel.  She reported that there had been a drop in burglaries but that car crime continues at the same rate.

2. Hayley circulated a list of crimes that had taken place in the area since October 2010.
Action: Hayley to send the Crime Report to Gordon who will then circulate it more widely.

4.2 Questions asked about/comments arising from the crime report

1.    The street lighting appears to be poor in some areas.

  • Cllr Burke reported that the council has a new street lighting contract and that the lights in Bevois Ward were due to be replaced starting from January.  He wasn’t sure how far the new lights would extend into the OARA area.

2.    Has there been an increase in crime against students?

  • Hayley didn’t know the answer to this question.
  • Gordon added that everyone should report every instance of car crime to the police to ensure an appropriate response from the police.

3.    Can the invitation to the Crime Panel be extended to the OARA?

  • Hayley responded that it could
    Action: Hayley to ensure that the OARA is invited to the next Crime Panel by inviting Gordon who will then extend the invitation

5. Current Issues

5.1 Parking

Peter reported that parking in Gordon Avenue would come under renewed pressure when the mosque and the Orchard Homes development in Portswood Road were completed.

5.2 Planning applications

Peter advised that the OARA needs to nominate a Planning Applications representative as a contact point for the group.  The Council now allows very little time to respond and no longer routinely sends new planning applications to affected neighbours, relying instead on people proactively looking at the Council’s planning web pages.  A planning applications contact would enable the OARA to have early sight of all planning applications before they are agreed by the Planning Committee at SCC.

5.3 Wheely bins

Wheely bins are a real problem:

1. Not everyone takes them in after they have been emptied.

2. Recycling bins are polluted with general rubbish so the council won’t take them away.  This means that they stay uncollected for long periods.

3. The Council won’t take way any kind of bin that they consider to be too full eg: the lid is up.  Again, this often means that they remain uncollected.

4. Gordon responded that Southampton University’s Students’ Union was planning a “Make a Difference” month where student volunteers could make a difference in the community.  T had put together four suggestions where the student volunteers might be able to help as follows:

a. Leafleting the entire area about the need to take in bins after the weekly bin collection, how to fill them correctly and the hazards they can cause to the less ambulant / wheelchair users if left on the pavement.

b. Clearing all litter and rubbish left on the pavements and roads – an informal “street sparkle”.

c. Leafleting the entire area about how to park considerately eg: leaving enough room for pushchairs and wheelchairs when parking on the pavement, avoiding the dropped kerbs when parking at road crossings.

d. Surveying the entire area to draw up a detailed list of potholes in the road so that these can be compiled into a report that can be sent to the City Council for action.

It was agreed that these should be submitted.
Action: Gordon to send the MADD proposal to SUSU

5.4 Student behaviour

Richard commented that part of living at university was the responsibility to behave acceptably within the community.  Sam responded that the University does have a welcome pack and that this might be extended to include something about being a good neighbour.

5.5 Noise

It was noted that not all noise comes from students; a lot comes from HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation).  Hayley responded that she was taking action against a particular offender.  She said that it was a general requirement for all HMOs to include responsibility clauses in their tenancy agreements.

5.6 How to take the issues forward

Gordon commented that he would like to devote a whole OARA meeting to issues and how we might tackle them positively but was grateful for the suggestions that have been made thus far.  He also highlighted a document that Rosy had obtained from Solent University on how that organisation deals with residents’ complaints about student behaviour.  We could use some of these ideas or piggy-back on current initiatives

6. Any other business

6.1 Leafletting volunteers

The following people have kindly offered their services for the future distribution of leaflets:

  • Alma Road – Barbara Matcham
  • Avenue Road – Helen Muscat
  • Earls Road – Sam Ling
  • Gordon Avenue – Barbara Sheppard and Sue Swallow
  • Highcliff Avenue – Margaret Chiari

6.2 Conclusion

Gordon concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.

6.3 Date of next meeting

1. The AGM is planned for Monday 17th January 2011, venue to be advised.

2. Another general meeting is to be arranged for late November / early December, venue to be advised, to provide an opportunity to discuss the Constitution in more detail.

3. T agreed to put together a leaflet to announce the next meeting.  Copies will need to be produced.  Volunteers for printing include local residents, Chapter 1 (100 copies) and the police.
Action: T to produce the leaflet
Action: OARA Committee to decide on date for next meeting
Action: Printing to be agreed