22nd APRA Committee Meeting, 1 May 2018

Abbey Precincts Residents Association
Minutes of 22nd APRA Committee Meeting, 1 May 2018, 8.00pm, Six Bells PH

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

2. Minutes of the last committee meeting were approved.

3. Points arising: [7] Jon Mein had handed over the planned talk to Kate Morris (SAHAAS), who addressed an audience of about 30 on 11 April concerning (mostly) the history of the Romeland and College estates, for which our grateful thanks are recorded. [8] We had agreed with Jane Parker (Environment, SADC) to help distribute an official note to residents on waste bins and boxes in the area once it has been produced. [9] It seems that any change of priorities at the Lower Dagnall/College/Spicer street crossroads would cause dangerous confusion, but we should continue to think about this.

4. APRA Secretary e-mails were functioning again. Justin reported that over 80 members had now confirmed that they wish to be on the e-mail list and/or paid this year’s subscription. Robert had updated the application form and there was a complete Data Protection statement on the website to ensure conformity with the new regulations. Justin would start a telephone campaign to enlist 83 people who had at some stage paid a membership or indicated interest in APRA – otherwise their details would be deleted on 25 May. Robert/Geoff/Norman would knock on doors in College Street and Kate would cover the culs-de-sac.

5. Geoff and Kate would put together a ‘Welcome pack’ for new residents, collating information on living in the Conservation Area.

6. Sally updated the situation on the planned redevelopment of Heritage Close. The residents could see the benefits of opening up a vista of the Cathedral but there were concerns about the change-of-use to provide several additional restaurants, particularly regarding noise and late-night client behaviour. No-moo-moo, a prospective vegan restaurant, had applied for off-licence sales, which they would oppose, at this stage independently of APRA.

7. HCC Highways had specified significant traffic-control conditions in relation to the recently granted permission for a house in Temperance Street, but we had been badly let down by Highways, SADC and HM Inspectorate in not requiring similar strong conditions on the two new houses at the end of College Place, despite repeated complaints about yet more disruption and damage caused by heavy construction vehicles. This is now exacerbated by the planned resurfacing of the road in July!

8. A third application had been submitted for houses on the bungalow site in Mount Pleasant and again was opposed by APRA members in Old Garden Court and Welclose Street on the grounds of size and massing; we have lodge a supporting objection.

9. Norman would re-engage with Sandy Walkington (SAHAAS President) on the subject of a ‘blue plaque’ for Waxhouse Gate after this week’s council election.

10. Sally reported on the current works on the Cathedral visitor centre and gardens, and proposed car access, including a possible multi-storey car park on Westminster Lodge. Peter would ask Moragh Ormiston to liaise with Kevin Walton (Canon Chancellor) to obtain more information – hopefully this could include the need for repairs to the Abbey Orchard walls which have recently been badly damaged by careless car manoeuvres and a falling tree branch. {Robert had privately spoken to a Herts Advertiser reporter of concern for the state of older trees in the area, but had mentioned APRA in the written follow-up}.

11. Concern had been expressed about the failure of SADC to take enforcement action over breaches of planning permission. We would continue to collect data (in part in collaboration with other RAs) to build a stronger case.

12. Roads and pavements. Geoff would approach Sandy Walkington (HCC Counsellor) about the dangerous state of the blue brick pavements and associated ironwork along the east side of Spicer Street and College Street. Blocked drains were common in the Conservation Area but were only being dealt with by the established routine maintenance schedule. Geoff had obtained a quote of £1350 for the repair of the railings outside the Romeland cottages but the hoped-for grant from SADC had been denied on the basis that ownership of the railings was not clearly established.

13. The extensive use of grassed areas in the Green Belt easily visible from Verulamium Park as de facto car parks by St Michael’s Manor and St Albans School was noted and decried.

14. There seems to have been a recent increase ‘rogue’ parking, especially overnight on double yellow lines or in places that constitute and impediment to traffic and possible danger to pedestrians.

15. After many delays a Newsletter was taking shape and Robert would circulate a rough draft of text in the next few days for further expansion and illustration.

16. Norman confirmed that the evening event at Parkside House was fixed for Friday 1 June and would be organised as before. An increased budget of up to £200 was agreed. Prior notices should be sent out to encourage families to attend.

17. AOB. Kate suggested ideas for making APRA more widely visible, such as window stickers to indicate membership. Some younger neighbours thought Facebook would the best interactive forum to advertise and discuss APRA business; none of the current committee felt that they wanted to take this on, but it would be good to invite a Facebook enthusiast to explain more at our next meeting. Promoting APRA at Larks in the Parks had been considered before – a stall needed advance registration. Advertising in the city centre on Market days might not be appropriate.

18. The next committee meeting would be in early July.

The meeting closed at 10.05 pm