5th Committee Meeting, 2 October 2014

Draft Minutes of fifth APRA Committee Meeting, 2 October 2014, 8pm at The Thatched House, Abbey Mill Lane.

1. Present: Peter Trevelyan (Chair), Geoff Dyson, Robert Pankhurst, Andrew Yaras, Michael Ormiston, John Hedges, Justin Douglas. Apologies: Gillian Field, Beth Hall, Martin Treasure.

2. Minutes for meeting of 19 June 2014 were agreed and signed.

3. Matters Arising.

(3) The Cathedral administrator (Heather Smith) informed us in June that the state of the Abbey orchard wall would be referred to the Abbey Works Committee [NB now told that it is on their list of work to be carried out when money is available]. Michael had also written about the state of the wall at the bottom of Abbey Mill Lane. (7) Peter would ring Sandy Walkington for progress with the disrupted pavement at the bottom of Abbey Mill Lane. (11) The manhole and surround at the end of College Place has been reset after, presumably, new work on the offending sewerage pipes, but we have not had any local feedback.

4. The Spotted Bull/Brickyard

Contrary to expectations, the supplementary planning applications and the licensing application have both been processed, despite the Enforcement Notice, the appeal against which is set for 2 December. SADC planning committee approved most of the former, including completion of the rear patio paving (we were not present at the meeting and our subsequent complaints have been refuted), but the licensing sub-committee refused variation of the previous licence to the new extension on 18 September as a result of objections, including APRA’s. The grounds for refusal (nuisance to neighbours) contradict the finding of the planning committee! The landlord has re-applied with some minor concessions, but has not addressed the noise nuisance associated with intensive planned use of the rear patio – he will provide an acoustic engineer’s survey in due course. The committee endorsed the case for further objection and might contribute to the cost of our own acoustic survey.

5. School Coaches

John understood that the HCC Safety Audit for extended use of the coach bays in Romeland Hill had been completed, but he has not been given an advanced copy. We should ask Edgar Hill if he could obtain one. The matter could come up at the CPWP meeting on 21 October, which John would attend. Andrew had the impression that coaches were being better managed this term, and it was noted that some large coaches were not now coming down College Street (probably only a temporary switch due to the congestion caused by building works).

The joint residents associations had written a welcoming letter to the new Head which had been courteously acknowledged.  The planning application for the new Performing Arts Centre was still under consideration, but did not seem to have been called-in to committee despite numerous comments and objections about increased traffic outside school hours.

6. Car Parking Survey

Questionnaire responses were now closed – it seemed unlikely that findings would be ready for the 21 October CPWP meeting, but either Justin or Gillian would enquire on the survey status in a week or two. Justin said that he had identified about 16 potential new parking bays, but some might be ruled out on safety grounds.

7. Road Repairs etc. No action has been taken on the College Street gutter repairs, although Sandy Walkington reportedly obtained a commitment from HCC Highways that the stone setts would be restored. More blue pavers needed resetting, e.g., at the top end of Abbey Mill Lane – Geoff would pursue this directly with Highways. The continued water leak in Romeland was flooding the road (which could be a severe hazard in the winter). Veolia engineers had inspected and reported that it was local groundwater rather than a piped-water leak. This was going to be checked by Highways.

8. Excessive pruning without consultation with the owner of a cypress tree behind Nationwide House flats, 20 Lower Dagnall Street (tree works in the Conservation Area require SADC permission). We complained to SADC Trees and Woodlands Section who had given permission for trimming on the basis of an application by the developers’ agents who had falsely claimed ownership. They replied that ownership claims on the standard form were taken at face value and that, although pruning had unfortunately exceeded that permitted, since the tree was not of special environmental value no action would be taken beyond a warning letter to the developer (any trepass aspects were not a Council matter but should be undertaken privately). They did agree however that in future owners would be informed if a neighbour’s application affected their trees, and that work in excess of the permission granted might be subject to prosecution. We welcomed this change but objected that a warning letter seemed an inadequate response to such false representation on the application form.

9. No social events had transpired (neither for the members nor the Street Reps). This would be taken up again after the AGM.

10. Geoff reported that the Communities Neighbourhoods Committee planned to use the £45k remaining from its special budget to support minor community-driven projects by distributing £5k to each Ward, in the charge of Ward Counsellors. Jude Dyson’s plan to re-vamp the seating area outside Centre 33 would be a priority but only about £300 was needed for this. Guidelines for application should be available by the December CNC meeting.

It was agreed that we should apply for association membership of the Civic Society (free) – Robert would do this.

11. Martin had said that he would still be happy to arrange bulk printing for APRA. It was decided that a second Newsletter would be produced after the AGM.

12. Preparations for AGM

  • Geoff has booked Spicer Street Church Hall for 8.00 pm on Tuesday 18 November.

  • Notification should be by hand delivered leaflet to all houses in the area covered by existing Street Reps, who would be asked to do this.

  • The Notice should include a list of business to be covered in the Committee’s report, and a call for nominations to replace three retiring Committee members (Beth, Martin and Michael). Robert would draft this with Peter’s help.

  • The deadline for nominations would be 28 October. John agreed to run an on-line voting system as before, which would be open until 17 November.

  • Only members who had paid for 2014/2015 would be eligible to vote – this would mean issuing voting papers/tokens to those who had paid in advance of the AGM as well as those paying at the door.

  • Accounts would need to be presented to the independent examiner (Gordon Shepherd) as soon as possible so that a verified statement could be presented for approval at the AGM. Andrew would contact him promptly.

  • Geoff had received an offer of a short talk from Transition Streets – a charity who promote a group approach to energy saving – he would try to book this for the AGM.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 10 pm.