Barbara Matcham, Pat Oliver ( Avenue Stn . Andrews) Heather Soper, Richard Soper
Fiona Barnes, Petrina Boddington, Ally Hayes, Des Hayward, John Hayward, Ann Woolnough
Clifford Dibben Mews:
Miles Brown, Emma Pruce (Soton Uni)
E. Bailey, Phine Dahle, Hilary Jackson, Sue Swallow (Chair)
Phil Collins, Roger Felton, Wendy Stokes
Sam Fox & Sam Ings SCC – Speakers
1. Welcome & Introductions and apologies
Jerry Gillen, Andrew Haslehurst, Dorothy Haslehurst, Des Hayward, Cllr. Barnes Andrews, Cllr, Derek Burke, Cllr. Jacqui Rayment (all Cllrs. at Council Meeting)
2. Minutes of last OGM on 16 May 2016
These were agreed as a true record. No matters arising.
3. Notice of AOB to be taken at end of the meeting Common Forum
4. Guest speakers on Planning and HMO Licensing
Sam Fox – Planning and Development Officer SCC
In Southampton we have 42,000 students grafted on to a base population of 247,000 so problems and tensions are inevitable. In this context, positive community action by OARA is respected by the council.
HMOs are a necessary part of the housing stock but certain areas (like ours) have become saturated. Using planning legislation to encourage purpose built accommodation leads to less pressure on HMOs and in the long term, some may revert to family homes. Article 4 direction gives more control over HMOs but it only addresses new applications. Sandwiching, for instance, is not allowed for new applications.
Planning enforcement legislation is seen as weak but often landlords know how to play the system and the legal enforcement toolkit is not very effective. Sam and Sam liaise and their actions are as joined up as they can be.
Sam Ings – Principal Environmental Health Officer SCC with responsibility for HMO licensing
Nationally HMO licensing applies to any property of three or more people unrelated who are not a household for more than 30 days. It differs locally because in 4 central wards every HMO must be licensed. There are 3,500 HMOs in this area. There is more active enforcement to identify unlicensed HMOs. Court actions have been successful. Barry Olsen uses City Pay Back Scheme to remove rubbish from streets. Letting boards problem is improving. Some HMOs don’t reach the standards that they should e.g. fire precautions – so this vindicates the scheme. The HMO licence is to ensure that properties meet appropriate standards. What powers do they have to ensure that frontages are maintained? Resources are being reduced so it is difficult. Section 215 act can be used but threshold is quite high.
A wide-ranging Q&A session followed.
5. Traffic and Parking Survey – progress report
Members had been sent a summary of the views and problems submitted in response to the OARA survey, with proposed next steps. These included a meeting with council representatives. A special meeting for members would be arranged in due course, once the research phase had been completed. Responses could still be sent to OARA and would be included. A sheet had been put out if anyone wanted to leave comments or they could speak to someone from the committee at the end.
Those present were asked if they were happy with the direction and progress of this initiative to date and they indicated that they were.
6. Grant applications – ideas to take forward
Sue explained that we had been looking at ideas for projects we could apply for grant funding for.
Possible sources of funding included: The Local Authority Community Chest, Tesco Community Grant & National Lottery Awards for All.
Ideas for grant projects so far included:
- Developing the Alma/Gordon planters’ area to make more enclosed community space
- Raising the identity and developing the community spirit of our area with related actions e.g. better signage, newsletters, information , community events
- Garden frontage pilot – showing landlords or others cost effective and attractive alternatives to concreting frontages which we could share as good practice and present at eg Southern Landlords
- Making the area more dementia friendly – as suggested by local dementia support group met at the Uni Freshers’ Fair.
Pat Oliver, who has a lot of experience of such grant applications, advised that sometimes applications for smaller grants are more manageable and have a greater chance of success. More noticeboards, and more public bins and another mural were also suggested.
There was interest in exploring the options put forward and the committee would investigate further.
7. Common Ground Progress Report
A progress report on the Common Ground plans was circulated (and is attached with these minutes).
8. Forthcoming Dates:
Next Committee Meeting: Monday 7th November
Winter Art Fair: 25-27th November at Blue Door
Christmas Party: Sunday 4th December at The Guide Dog??
AGM/OGM: Monday 23 January
PACT Meeting: Thursday 27th October 7.30 Bevois Town Primary
Street Cleans: Every first and third Sunday at 11.00
Greening Group Sessions: Every first Monday and third Friday afternoon
Phine had attended the Common Forum. There will be volunteer clearing near Northlands Rd – November 10th 1.30 – 3.30 and Nov. 16th 10-12.30.
A vote of thanks was given to the History Group for the completion of the Bevois Mount Mural which had already become a local landmark.
Meeting closed at 9.00pm