As identified on the Attendance List

OARA Residents

Alma Road

  • Peter Wirgman
  • Heather Soper

Avenue Road

  • Liz Haslam
  • Harald Raylowski
  • John Hayward

Gordon Avenue

  • Chris Hawthorn

Rose Road

  • Jane Mitchell

OARA Committee

  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • T Jacobs (Membership Secretary)
  • Rosy Maguire (Committee Member)
  • Barbara Matcham (Committee Member)
  • Barbro Fitzgerald (Committee Member)
  • Chris Jackson (Committee Member)
  • Phine Dahle (Committee Member)

Other attendees

  • Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews
  • Jerry Gillen, Highfield RA


  • Cllr Derek Burke, Cllr Jacqui Rayment, Mary Hockey, Maggie O’Connor, Sue Swallow, PC Stephen Blandford, PCSO Holly Knight, Andy and Dorothy Haslehurst, Patricia Cosio-Bigotes, Miles Edwards, Hilary Jackson-Hawthorn.

1. Welcome

Gordon opened the meeting by welcoming all of the attendees. The apologies were given.

2. Membership Cards

T informed the meeting that 74 cards to date have been sold and that we are aiming to sell 100 by the end of the year. She briefly went through the process which can be found here:

Rosy and Barbro have also knocked on doors to sell cards and there has been a lot of interest in what we are doing.

3. Newsletter

Gordon invited Rosy to give an update on our plans for the next newsletter. Rosy responded that two second year students, Jemma and Rachel, from Southampton Solent University have volunteered to produce a quarterly e-newsletter for OARA. The first one is due in January and will feature articles about our activities. It will be no longer than two sides of A4 and may be printed if required. She asked for news items and events to be notified to her in the first instance so that she can liaise with Jemma and Rachel.
Action: all to provide articles

Jerry remarked that he had been very impressed with their proposals and asked Rosy to find out whether they would be prepared to do the same for Highfield RA.
Action: Rosy to find out

4. Christmas Party

Barbro updated the meeting with details of the Christmas Party. It will take place in St Barnabas Church Hall on Friday 14th December at 7pm. Entry will be £5. It will feature music, a raffle, ukulele band and refreshments. Barbro distributed flyers and posters. Gordon agreed to email the flyers to the mailing list.
Action: Gordon

5. Christmas Gardens

Barbro reported that a competition for the most innovative Christmas garden will be held on 18th December. An open jury will decide the winner and a hamper of homemade goodies will be the first prize. Barbro asked for articles for the hamper to be donated either at the Christmas party or to Barbro’s house in Alma Road.
Action: all

The open jury will meet at the Alma Road / Gordon Avenue planters at 7pm on 18th December.
Action: all to note

Barbro distributed flyers for the event and it was agreed that they would be delivered over the weekend of 1st and 2nd December.
Action: Rosy to notify Jemma and Rachel of the event.
Action: Barbro to email Gordon the flyers for further distribution

6. Greening Group

6.1 Signature trees

Phine updated the meeting on the signature tree project. 25 trees have been ordered and are due for delivery in the first week of December. Three local landlords have supported the project. Planting will take place over the weekend of 8th and 9th December. Gordon thanked everyone for their fund raising efforts.

6.2 Avenue Road planter

OARA has taken over the planter in Avenue Road. The old shrubs have been removed and compost has been ordered to improve the soil condition. Heather thanked John Hayward and Chris Jackson for clearing the planters.

It was noted that the planters have been used as a repository for bottles and cans. John said that he would keep them clear of rubbish.

6.3 Livingstone Road corner plans

The Greening Group would still like to put a bench and planter on the corner of Livingstone Road but cannot afford what the council has said it will charge. Cllr Barnes Andrews was asked to find out whether OARA can provide its own bench and planters.
Action: Cllr Barnes-Andrews to find out

7. Planning Issues

Gordon invited Jerry and Peter to update the meeting on the current planning issues:

  • The North Southampton Community Forum is currently objecting to three HMO applications. The big worry is that the Supplementary Planning Document is contradictory and allows for more than the agreed 10% and 20% limits, and the council appear to be favouring the landlords by recommending approval for such applications. The North Southampton Community Forum is now taking legal advice. We were advised to object to all HMO planning applications otherwise the problem will continue.Gordon invited Cllr Barnes-Andrews to comment. The Cllr responded that he was disappointed that landlords continue to develop HMOs without following the proper process. He reported that 600 new student accommodation places are currently under construction which should help to ease the demand for HMOs.
  • It was noted that students are very welcome in the area but a balance has to be struck between HMOs and owner occupied properties.
  • OARA were advised to insist that Planning Enforcement Notices are served on landlords who are currently flouting the rules. So far, 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.
  • Another big 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.
  • 111 Alma Road – Gordon asked Cllr Barnes-Andrews what was happening on this breach of planning regulations. Cllr Barnes-Andres responded that he has contacted Planning and the Solicitor to the Council has written to the landlord so he has to respond within the next two weeks. Gordon asked for a copy of the letter.
    Action: Cllr Barnes-Andrews
  • Cllr Barnes-Andrews offered to ask Cllr Sue Blatchford, Chair of the Planning Committee if she would attend a future meeting.
    Action: Cllr Barnes-Andrews
  • Landlords’ To Let signs are increasing in number and are going up earlier and earlier each year. Peter commented that there is legislation to control this so he will raise at the next meeting with the Head of Planning at SCC.
    Action: Peter Wirgman

8. Street Cleaning

Peter commented that there is a lot of vegetation growing in the gutters an that street cleaning by the council appears to have stopped. Cllr Barnes-Andrews responded that the council has a massive budget shortfall for the next two financial years and has had to cut back.

Some residents in Gordon Avenue have produced a bin leaflet to give to those houses which do not follow the bin etiquette. Gordon responded that OARA already has one, and that leafleting, education of occupiers and the removal of bins from the pavement will help. It was agreed that T and Gordon would develop a schedule of street cleaning and bin education.
Action: T and Gordon

Cllr Barnes-Andrews commented that the reinvigorated CREW (Crime Reduction Environment Week) team might also be able to help.
Action: Gordon to contact Cllr Rayment.

Cllr Barnes-Andrews reported that a recent grant means that the council will now be able to offer kerbside recycling of glass and this was very much welcomed.

9. Police Report

T read out a brief report from PC Blandford:

  • ASB has fallen recently and persistent offenders are being targeted.
  • A new off sales license is being opposed.
  • The meeting expressed its appreciation for the police efforts.

10. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will take place on Tuesday 22nd January 13. Some Committee members are standing down so vacant positions will need to be filled.

11. Any Other Business

  • Opening hours for Portswood Library are to cut. Members were invited to respond to the current consultation.
  • Tree planters are advised to watch out for gas pipes when digging their holes.

12. Conclusion

Gordon concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for their attendance and contributions.

12.1 Dates of Next Meetings

OARA General Meetings:

Tuesday 22nd January 13 AGM

OARA Committee Meetings:

Thursday 13th December 12