Date: 19:30 on 20 April 2015
Venue: Bevois Town School Community Room
Present: As identified on the AGM Attendance List which preceded

1. Police Presentation

PC Lee Scott gave a presentation about the changes to policing in   Southampton and how they affected our area. The main points were:

  • There has been a change in the structure which went live in January.
  • There are now more specialised units. These are smaller but the teams around them are bigger. They are “borderless” and react to what is nearest to them.
  • Portswood Station now only houses response officers.
  • The city  is divided into wards, similar to council wards. We are in Bevois. Each ward has 4PCs and 4 PCSOs
  • There are 2 beat PCs, Lee Scott and Danni Clarke and two PCSOs, Emily Maddox and Michaela Newbold, covering our area and they are based  at Central Station. The team is larger than before but also has more responsibilities. They will go where there is most demand and also target known issues.
  • We should let them know of any concerns

PC Scott answered two questions raised about  parking issues: first,  parking on white lines  across private driveways and second,  pavement parking on Portswood Road.

There was an enquiry re PACT meetings. PC Scott said he would enquire whether these would continue under the new system Action: PC Scott

PC Scott confirmed that one of the team would attend future OARA meetings, depending on their shift patterns.  John, who has had responsibility for police liaison, would liaise.

Action: Hilary to send dates of future meetings

Sue thanked PC Scott for his presentation.

Additional  item –  Local Councillors

Councillors Rayment and Burke were due to leave at this point to attend other meetings and asked if members had any issues they wished to raise. They were asked about progress with lettings boards. They reported that  the Leader had  taken a personal interest and a working  group had been set up; they had had removed 250 boards ( although 127 went up again next day!); there are  good and bad landlords/agents in this respect; they are looking into enforcing Regulation 7 and models which work in Nottingham and Leeds. Hilary proposed a joint  meeting with OARA, SUSU and Council  and JR  thought this would be possible. Ellie from SUSU reported that they had already  set the ball rolling on this. Action: OARA to seek to set up meeting

The Councillors and Ellie then had to leave. The Councillors  were thanked for the work they do on our behalf and Ellie  for her enthusiastic and proactive approach to working with OARA.

2. Ideas, plans and priorities for the year ahead

Sue explained that we would now like to discuss possibilities for the year ahead and  to invite members to join in with this. Hilary then outlined a proposal for how  this  could work. The committee had identified a number of areas, some long-standing core  activities and some newer initiatives, which would come  under the Common Ground  umbrella:

  • Greening
  • Cleaning
  • Planning
  • Community Liaison, including Social Events
  • The History Group
  • Communication, including press, PR and use of social media.

The committee was proposing that we should  adopt this structure, with a committee member leading each group and reporting back to the committee. It was hoped that  this would encourage more members to become involved by  doing  what they could manage, enable more activity to take place and ensure meetings were not  too long. Phine also reminded us  that any contribution was welcome and that one of the reasons OARA has worked so well was that individuals  could follow their interests and do what they can. This could vary at different times  because we all have personal lives as well.

Members’ attention was drawn  to the posters around the room, one for each of the above topics ( except planning which occurred under the other headings). Each poster showed a summary of what had already been achieved in each area and successes for each were highlighted by a committee member. The posters also had space  for new ideas!

Members were then invited to contribute their views and ideas on the topic which interested them most and the meeting  broke into groups.

There was plenty of lively discussion and, when groups fed back, lots of sharing of ideas about the good work that should continue and what else  we could do. The new Committee will be drawing these together to form a plan to share at the next OGM.

Action: Committee to draw up plan

One overdue priority  was to develop our use of social media and  one new member, Ruth Kibble, volunteered to set up and manage an OARA Facebook page, an offer which was gratefully accepted.

( Stop press – OARA Facebook was up and running  before a week was up!  Have a look at  https://www.facebook.com/OARASouthampton.)

3. Any Other Business

3.1  St George’s Day event

Barbro reminded the meeting about the OARA in Bloom event on Sunday 26th April. OARA had been successful in gaining a small council grant   for St George’s Day events and as a result were organising a red and white “plant-in”, with plants purchased from Mayfield and Copthorne nurseries, for residents who came along with their baskets and pots.

3.2 Kingsley House

PC Scott updated the meeting with regards to Kingsley House, a local hostel for young people. He confirmed that  this was now due to close and that the property had been put up for sale. There was some discussion about the problems that had been caused over many years, the need for young people in difficulty to find suitable accommodation, possible uses of the building in the future and what we could  do to influence this.

The meeting closed at 9.15.