Present:

As identified on the Attendance List:

OARA Residents

Alma Road

  • Peter Wirgman
  • Dave Rounce

Avenue Road

  • Carol Massey

Clifford Dibben Mews

  • Miles Edwards
  • Patricia Cosio-Bigotes

Gordon Avenue

  • Dorothy Haslehurst

Earls Road

  • Richard Long
  • Susan Silva
  • Greg Hewitt

Cambridge Road

  • Mary Hockey
  • Sandra Compoish
  • Mary Benali

OARA Committee

  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • Gordon Gillies (Chair)
  • T Jacobs (Membership Secretary)
  • Andy Haslehurst (Treasurer)
  • Lynn Murphy (Secretary)
  • Rosy Maguire (Committee Member)
  • Phine Dahle (Committee Member)
  • Barbro Fitzjohn (Committee Member)
  • Barbara Matcham (Committee Member)
  • Chris Jackson (Committee Member)

Other attendees

  • Stephen Connolly, Highfield
  • Jerry Gillen, Highfield RA
  • Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews
  • Frankie Fry, SUSU
  • Jack Hayward, PCSO

Apologies:

  • Liz Haslam, Sue Swallow, Barbara Deacon, Richard Hill, Petrina Boddington, Maggie O’Connor, Mike Bell, Margaret Chiari, Will and Grace Penfold.

1. Welcome

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

2. Water Wise Presentation

2.1 Water saving in metered areas

Gordon introduced Sophie Bell from Southern Water. Sophie explained that she was a Green Doctor and her role is to advise residents who have just had water meters fitted how to save water. She also explained how the new billing system will work in the transition between rateable billing and metered billing.

There are a number of water saving devices available eg: a shower timer, a water saving shower head, cistern packs for older toilet cisterns, tap aeration devices etc. These are available free of charge if an appointment for a Green Doctor visit is made.

She also explained that water butts are available through Southern Water at a good discount.

Action: Gordon to circulate Sophie’s contact details

2.2 Questions

  • If you have a large reservoir and water butts, can you get a discount on your water bill? No.
  • What is Southern Water doing about leaks? The new meters have leak detectors, and if they detect a leak, the customer is not charged for the bill.

3. The Big Lunch

Greg Hewitt is leading on this. The lunch will take place on Sunday 3rd June 2012 between 1 and 4pm at the planters between Alma Road and Gordon Avenue. Flyers and posters have been produced and attendees were invited to distribute them. Greg outlined the following:

  • We have now got insurance for the event
  • Cards will be distributed to ask people not to park in the area
  • 12 tables will be laid out with table cloths
  • People are asked to bring their own chairs, cups, and food and drink to share; paper plates will be provided
  • If anyone has a gazebo, it could be useful if it rains
  • Music will be provided by the Skip Junk Band
  • Boules will be available on the lawn at Cambridge Court.  There will also be a giant hula hoop, skipping, giant bubbles, games and an egg and spoon race
  • There will be a clean-up of the Big Lunch area between 10 and 12 on Saturday 2nd June
  • Set up on the day will start at 11:00. There will be a clean-up after the event which will finish at six.

4 Membership Cards

T reported that the Membership Cards are now available at a cost of £3 each. They entitle the holder to discounts in local businesses and bars / restaurants in the Portswood area. Greg Hewitt has mapped the businesses, and the map will be available on the website shortly. T thanked Rosy Maguire and Phine Dahle for contacting the businesses and arranging the discounts.

T explained that cards could be purchased at the meeting. Otherwise, the street reps will be invited to visit residents who are on the mailing list and offer them a card. It is also planned to make available the Membership Card Application Form on the website so that people can download it.

Action: T

5 Council Update

Gordon invited Cllr Barnes-Andrews to give an update on the council now that it was a Labour administration and what this might mean for Residents’ Associations such as ours.

Cllr Barnes-Andrews said that the constitution of the council was now 30 Labour, 16 Conservative and 2 Lib Dems seats. The turn-out was disappointing. Bevois ward is in the top 60 most deprived wards in the country. The council faces huge budget constraints over the next two years.

The new administration’s priorities are to end the current industrial dispute, and to stop the council’s Trades Unions from taking the council to court over failure to consult properly on changes to employees’ terms and conditions.

Cllr Burke is now the Mayor, and Cllr Rayment is the Deputy Leader of the Council. This means that they are very busy, so Cllr Barnes-Andrews will attend OARA meetings when his diary permits.

The Cllr commented that OARA is one of the most successful Residents’ Associations in the city and is held up as an exemplar to other groups. He wants to help us achieve our aims of making the area a better place to live. If we have any issues, we can contact him through the Southampton City Council website

5.1 Questions

Questions asked were:

  • What is the new administration’s view of the biomass proposal?  All of the parties are opposed to it, but the decision will be taken by a national body, so the council can only represent the city
  • Will the increase in the number of parking spaces for flats be kept? No decision has been made on this yet.
  • Will HMOs be required to have licences?  This will be looked at in the first year, and both landlords and RAs will be consulted.
  • Will the additional Enforcement Officer be retained? Yes.
  • Will the administration support the new Supplementary Planning Document restrictions?  Yes.
  • What happens to a house that is in an area that is over the 10 % or 20% HMO threshold?  It has to be sold as a house, not an HMO.
  • How far can landlords be forced to maintain their properties?  The administration will work with them to do this

5.2 Planning update

Jerry Gillen reported that the new Planning framework requires us to find new reasons for opposing HMOs. Highfield RA is currently working on this and will let Gordon know when there is something to report.
Action: Jerry

Jerry also reported that if five or more people write in to the council to oppose a new development, it has to be discussed by the Planning Panel. He advised us to also write to Cllr Barnes-Andrews.

6 Update from the new PCSO

Gordon welcomed Jack Hayward to the meeting, introducing him as our new PCSO. Jack said that he knows the area well from previous experience. He and PC Steve Blandford are working on a crime reduction plan. He offered a crime prevention visit that would look at a whole property including fences.
Action: anyone interested to contact Gordon in the first instance

He reiterated the importance of reporting any crime, however small, as it helps the force map out the resources that they need to prevent it.

Jack was asked if the RA could be given more notice of the local Police Patch meetings, and even better, a schedule of meetings for the coming year.
Action: Gordon and Jack to raise with Steve Blandford.

7 Other projects for 2012

7.1 Greening Group

Phine Dahle updated the meeting on the progress made so far. There will be a Table Top Sale and Plant Swap at the planters on Sunday 10th June. All funds raised will go towards the costs of the 60 cherry trees that the greening Group wishes to buy in this Jubilee Year. The trees will be supplied by Hilliers and will cost £40 each. The Group is looking for people to give £20 towards each tree, which will be planted in November.

7.2 Street cleaning

Barbara Matcham reported that she will be producing a schedule for cleaning the streets within the next fortnight.
Action: Barbara Matcham

Gordon added that we should really be cleaning some of our streets about every two weeks in the summer months. When the schedule is available, Greg Hewitt will map it out in the same way that he has done for discounts.
Action: Greg Hewitt

Disposal of the litter collected can sometimes be a problem so Gordon agreed to write to Cllr Barnes-Andrews to see what help can be provided.
Action: Gordon

8 Conclusion

Gordon concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.

8.1 Dates of next meetings

OARA General Meetings

Tuesday 10th July 12
Monday 17th September 12
Tuesday 27th November 12
Tuesday 22nd January 13 AGM

OARA Committee Meetings

Tuesday 19th June 12
Monday 3rd September 12
Tuesday 6th November 12
Thursday 13th December 12

Action: all to note