20th APRA Committee Meeting, 7 December 2017

Abbey Precincts Residents Association
Minutes of 20th APRA Committee Meeting, 7 December 2017, 8.00pm, 13 College Street.

1. Present: Peter Trevelyan (Chair), Robert Pankhurst, Norman James, Andrew Yaras, Geoff Dyson, Kate Buckley, Justin Douglas. Apologies: Sally Hickman

2. Kate was welcomed to the Committee. Minutes of the last committee meeting and the AGM were approved.

3. AGM on 9 November was a success, especially the talk from John Allworth on the new museum works. Under the revised Constitution accepted at the AGM (now on the website) Peter, Geoff, Robert and Andrew were appointed Officers with the same roles as 2017. Morag Ormiston had offered to be co-opted if a specific role could be found and Peter would discuss this with her following further consideration of priority needs.

4. Justin continues to act as membership Secretary and would revise the list for 2018 with Andrew’s help to include new members.

5. Approximately £78 had been taken at the AGM, which meant that many subscriptions need chasing. The budget remained at a satisfactory level of ca. £1300

6. Identification of Street Reps and definition of their roles was an urgent task now that John Hedges had left the Committee. In streets with one (or more) Committee member, there was no real need for a separate Street Rep, but some others were less well known and perhaps needed to be introduced.

7. Robert reported on the latest CRA meeting with St Albans School on 10 November. Although the School had refused on principle to accept the joint APRA-FSRA Code of Conduct for bus operations, they were revising their contractual arrangements with PPH and would supply us with the relevant conditions included there [Note added, apparently once the contract has been renewed next year].

8. Robert had responded to an enquiry from Herts Advertiser about a ‘parking fines blackspot’ in Romeland Hill: he said it was probably a result of enforcement of the new Zone B TRO, which we supported.

9. The appeal against SADC refusal of planning permission for two new houses at the end of College Place had succeeded, largely it seems because the SADC case was based on loss of (private) parking rather than impact on other residents and the Conservation Area. We should continue to support the beleaguered residents. News was awaited of the appeal decision on the redevelopment of 1 Mount Pleasant [Note added – refusal upheld].

10. In relation to the state of roads and pavements, we should make a list of major defects (including blue-brick pavements, e.g. in Spicer St) and ask Cllrs Hill and Walkington to take them up with SADC and HCC respectively, as appropriate [Action: GD, RP]. The ‘deep cleaning’ of College Street in October was farcical due to inadequate signage. Geoff also proposed that we should ourselves arrange for the replacement of the fallen section of railings outside Romeland Cottages before further damage was caused [GD]. We should collaborate with Civic Society plans to improve the presentation of the Conservation Area [RP].

11. A recruitment drive was desirable in 2018 to prevent gradual erosion of the existing membership. We need to produce a Spring 2018 Newsletter for door-to-door delivery, even if less ambitious than previous issues [PT and RP will set this in motion]. An official presence at Victoria Playing Fields ‘Larks in the Parks’ should be planned for 2018.

12. Social activities were appreciated and also important for expanding and consolidating membership. We should ask Bishop Banks if Parkside House could again be made available for a summer party. Justin was talking to a couple of local businesses for limited-numbers events.

13. A proposal for new, informal, Conservation Areas ‘blue plaques’ following photograph selection at last June’s garden event should be discussed with the Archaeology and Architecture Society.

14. AOB. Wheelie bins were obstructing some pavements and evidence could be included in the submission to councillors (item 10 above). The litter bin on the corner of College St and Verulam Road was being abused by people disposing of their household waste and this should also be taken up with Ward councillors. If we could obtain advance schedules of works by utility companies [KB] we could advise members about predictable parking difficulties. It was also noted that SADC might be sympathetic to refunding parking charges where suspension notices had not been adequately displayed.

15. The next meeting should be in January 2018 to make try to make firm progress on some of the above issues.

The meeting closed at 9.45 pm