Present:

As identified on the Attendance List):

OARA Residents

Alma Road

  • Peter Wirgman
  • Mary Bryden
  • H Bryden
  • Julia Clarke
  • B Fitzjohn
  • John Barker
  • Sue Shennan
  • Heather Soper
  • Ruth Rounce

Avenue Road

  • Edwin Haynes
  • Carol Massey

Gordon Avenue

  • Susan Swallow
  • Chris Hawthorn
  • Maggie O’Connor

Cambridge Road

  • Carolyn Page
  • Mike Page

Earls Road

  • Richard Long
  • Susan Silva

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
  • Cllr Jackie Rayment

Hampshire Police

  • PCSO Lee Scott

Other attendees

  • Sarah Humphries (Chapter 1)
  • Stephen Connolly

Apologies:

  • Paula Noyce (Minutes Secretary)
  • Lynn Murphy (Secretary)
  • Phine Dahle (Committee Member)
  • Malkeat Singh (Southampton City Council)
  • Matt Conrad
  • Barbara Matcham
  • Steve Dorney
  • Kate Leven
  • Petrina Boddington
  • Hilary Jackson
  • Helen Muscat (Residents)

1. Welcome

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

2. Projects for 2011

2.1 Rubbish and wheelie bins

Gordon reported that so far, Alma Road, Gordon Avenue and Livingstone Road had been cleaned by volunteers from OARA. Two further community clean-ups are planned for:

  • 12:30 on Saturday 7th May and
  • 11:00 on Sunday 8th May
  • Meet by the two planters that separate Gordon Avenue and Alma Road at the above times

We plan to clean the “cross roads” ie: Spear Road, Earls Road, Cedar Road, Cambridge Road and Rose Road.

Gordon stated that it was hoped that after a road has been cleaned, the local residents would take on the responsibility for maintaining it. However, it would probably be necessary to continue with a cycle of regular clean-ups.

A question was asked about what could be done about mattresses discarded in HMO front gardens. Gordon advised that the council’s Actionline should be called, and consideration given to speaking to the offending landlord. A brief discussion followed on the changes that the new Localism Bill might have, not all of it positive eg: the council won’t be able to fine people for wheelie bin offences.

Another question was asked about polluted recycling bins not being collected by the council. Gordon invited the Councillors to respond. Jackie Rayment responded that a leaflet was given to the offenders to remind them of what must and must not be put in the recycling bins. Derek Burke added that what should happen is that a polluted recycling bin should be collected as normal rubbish by the waste collection crews but acknowledged that there have been communication problems between the waste and recycling crews. He advised that Actionline could also be contacted to report polluted recycling bins for normal waste collection.

Gordon reported that there is a proposal to place a normal waste bin between Alma Road and Gordon Avenue, and that, if successful, we may get more to assist in keeping our streets clean.

2.2 Planning Issues

Richard Hill updated the meeting with what has been happening on our planning issues. Dean Spencer and Richard had been working together on this but due to pressure of work, Dean has had to withdraw. The Council require a Planning Representative to act as a contact for any planning issues affecting the OARA area. Peter Wirgman informed the meeting that new legislation will prevent HMOs (Housing in Multiple Occupation) from being set up without planning permission from the council. Richard asked if anyone would be willing to consider acting as the Planning Rep. Sue Swallow said that she would be willing to consider it.

Action: Gordon to send Sue’s contact details to the council

2.3 Landlords

Previous meetings had identified the need to engage with HMO landlords to ensure that they make their tenants aware of their responsibilities towards the local community eg: by taking their wheelie bins in after collection, parking considerately and not making too much noise. We need to find out roughly how many landlords there are and how many properties they have. The plan is then for members of the OARA Committee to approach them and raise our concerns to ensure that they are taken into consideration.

Jackie Rayment commented that it is possible to get a good idea from the electoral roll. She agreed to provide a name from the council’s Planning Department as a point of contact.

Action: Jackie Rayment to find a suitable Planning contact and send the details to Gordon

Gordon asked for volunteers to map the area using the spreadsheet that has been devised for this purpose. This is not yet on the website, but Gordon will send around details to those who are willing to help. Several people volunteered to map their areas based on their local knowledge – there is no need to knock on doors. Gordon suggested that the landlords’ advertising boards could also provide useful information. Carolyn Page volunteered to collate the information on behalf of the group.

Action: Gordon to send Carolyn Page details we already have and the spreadsheet. Gordon to also ask other volunteers to supply information for the spreadsheet for their own streets.

2.4 The Greening Group

Maggie O’Connor updated the meeting on the progress that the Greening Group have made. There will be a plant swap at the Alma Road / Gordon Avenue planters on Tuesday 24th May at 18:00. The idea is to get to know each other, provide help to those just starting to grow plants, and to plant some new plants in the planters themselves.

Sue Swallow reported that the Greening Group has now officially taken on responsibility for the maintenance of the plants in the two planters (at Alma/Gordon interchange) although the council will still be ultimately responsible for them per se.

Sue also reported that Des Legg from the council has provided details on the provision of two more planters and a bench for the junction of Gordon Avenue and Livingstone Road. Cllr Rayment suggested asking local businesses whether they would be prepared to sponsor the plants for the new planters. This was felt to be a good idea.

Action: Greening group to consider how to take this forward

Maggie commented that both the benches and the planters were very expensive. At this point, Andy Haslehurst gave a brief update on the current bid for Community Chest funds. It is intended to bid for funds for buying our own litter-picking equipment, benches and planters. Andy asked Sue and anyone else who had quotations from any suppliers to forward them onto to him ASAP as the bid has to be submitted by 15th May 2011.

Action: Sue and Maggie to forward their costs.

2.5 The Big Lunch

Maggie then gave an update on the Big Lunch event. Started originally by the Eden Project on a national scale, ours will take place on Sunday 5th June between 1pm and 4pm at the Alma Road / Gordon Avenue planters. Our event has been registered on the Eden Project website and we have applied for all of the necessary licences and road closures. Maggie would like volunteers to visit all those who may be affected by the road closures in terms of parking and other access. The roads will actually be closed from 11am to 6pm to allow time to set up and take down. Discussion on the availability of games followed; Swaythling Community Centre have many and are willing to loan them for free, but they are grateful for donations. Several people volunteered to speak to their neighbours and support Maggie in setting up the event.

3. Any other business

3.1 Possibility of regular activities

Gordon floated the idea of possibly having a regular activities event, for example, a regular litter pick. There was little support for this at the present time, but he would like to keep the idea on the agenda.

3.2 OARA finances

Andy reported that we know have £328 in the OARA account, which includes the remainder of the previous OARA account and the cheque from the Southampton Residents’ Association. For the benefit of new attendees, Gordon reminded the meeting of the voluntary annual £3 donation.

3.3 Police update

3.3.1 Crime figures

PCSO Lee Scott then gave the meeting an update on the crime activity on our area. There were only two crimes in the OARA area which is very encouraging. More widely, vehicle crime has gone up with mopeds and motorbikes being targeted. Smash and grabs from cars have also risen.

3.3.2 Public meeting with residents

Lee announced that the police wish to arrange a public meeting with local residents so that their three priorities can be set for the coming year. He gave the example of St Denys Road, where there were particular issues with speeding motorists around a school, and the actions that were taken as a result after the local community identified it as a problem. When he has the date, he will send it to Gordon so that it can be put on our website.

Action: Lee Scott

3.3.3 Theft campaign

Lee outlined that there is a campaign to promote vigilance on the potential for thefts from properties. PCSOs patrol the area and identify properties that are vulnerable to opportunist thieves. They then advise the residents what they could have stolen and how such theft can be prevented. He reported that they are also working with landlords to improve the security for tenants; there is new legislation that enables Environmental Health to enforce this.

Lee reported that there had been an increase in the theft of scrap metal and that there were illegal traders operating in the area. He asked the meeting to be vigilant and report the number plates and vehicle type of any vehicles that were acting suspiciously. Theft of scrap metal from empty properties is also an issue (copper pipes, lead flashing etc) so Lee asked the meeting to inform him of any empty properties of which they were aware and also to keep an eye on them.

3.4 A logo for OARA

Gordon reported that it would be good if we had a logo to put on our website and any leaflets that we produce. Having investigated the costs of getting one designed professionally, he invited the meeting to submit their own ideas for a logo. The suggestion was greeted with enthusiasm. Gordon will email the Membership List to this effect.

Action: Gordon

3.5 Parking issues

Parking for residents in Gordon Avenue / Livingstone Road has become an issue now that the redevelopment of the old Wickes site on Portswood Road has been completed. Similarly, there is a proposal to develop a site on Westwood Road and build access to it through the north end of Cambridge Road. Peter Wirgman reported that parking issues may be picked up by the Localism Bill. Residents’ parking permits might be a solution but if we go down this route, we will need a bigger venue to discuss it as the subject is likely to generate a lot of interest. After some discussion, it was agreed that parking would be put on the agenda for the next meeting.

Action: Gordon

3.6 Newsletter

Richard Hill would like to produce a newsletter about the activities of OARA.

Action: Richard to speak to Kate Leven on how this could be done. Richard also to cost this.

4. Conclusion

Gordon concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.

4.1 Date of next meeting

It was suggested that another OARA meeting was held in about six weeks time towards the end of June. It was suggested that a whole series of regular meetings should be set up in advance.