Minutes of eighth APRA Committee Meeting, 7 April 2015, 8pm at The Lower Red Lion, Fishpool Street.
1. Present: Peter Trevelyan (Chair), Geoff Dyson, Robert Pankhurst, John Hedges, Gillian Field, Andrew Yaras, Sally Hickman (Heritage Close), Pat Hicks (College Place), Margy Stone (Orchard Street). Apologies: Justin Douglas, Brigitte Paupy, Michael Ormiston, Ian Smith, Mike Hall, Alan Shenton, Edgar Hill.
2. Peter welcomed the three non-committee members and thanked them for coming.
3. Minutes of the last meeting were approved and signed.
4. Matters arising: Bus Users Forum (we had no representations from APRA members and missed the March meeting – Sally commented that there was an online petition against the planned loss of services); Car Parking survey (the March CPWP meeting at which this was due to be presented had been cancelled, next meeting is 23 June); we had offered support against the proposed late-night off-licence at 3 George St, but no objection had been lodged (NB licence now issued); 450 copies of the Newsletter had been printed by Martin Treasure, whose help was greatly appreciated, and delivered to Street Reps for distribution.
School buses (JH). We are still in the process of exhausting the SADC complaints procedure before we can go to the Local Services Ombudsman. A response to our formal complaint about the fudged Safety Audit was promised by the end of the week. SADC had been given Peter’s drawing detailing areas that would need to be approved and properly demarcated for the bus/coach bays and ‘Keep Clear’ notices.
Spotted Bull/Brickyard (RP). Following the final clearance for full operation we wrote to SADC about inadequate support for residents on this issue. A reply had been received countering our complaints, but we have pressed further on the lack of transparency in having the same Councillors on both Planning and Licensing hearings – this has not been acknowledged. About 10 complaints of public nuisance had been made following the start of business – since mid-February these have concerned unruly crowd noise rather than heavy-beat music. The landlord had now applied to relax the licence concerning the use of the front courtyard after 11 pm for smokers without drinks. Objections had been made by individual householders in College Street, but it was thought that one should also be made by APRA [RP, PT]
Romeland water leak (GD). Water was now diverted though the cleared culvert and no longer issued across the pavement. Affinity would cover the open culvert but according to Edgar Hill were first trying to track a suspected leak higher up.
Roads and pavements (GD). HCC were asked to inspect the uneven brick pavements in Lower Dagnall St, College St, College Place and Temperance St; they claimed that there were no trip hazards, but would re-inspect. Abbey Mill Lane should be added to the list [GD]. Replacement of the asphalt footpath in New England St (‘Brickie’ side) looked good, but was artificial, with tamped patterns rather than individual bricks – hardly a proper conservation technique. The continued deterioration of the Abbey orchard wall was noted, as well as a blocked drain outside Abbey Gate House, which should be brought to HCC’s attention [GD]. We had been told that cars parked on the pavement outside No 20 College Street make it difficult for vehicles emerging from the car park behind Lower Dagnall Street to turn left – asking for a double yellow line here could lead to the loss of the single yellow further in that direction. Pat reported that essential building works at Nos. 16–20 College Place were occupying three parking bays and part of the road.
Domestic waste being left for several days on the narrow pavement outside Nos. 15 to 17A Verulam Road has been the subject of prolonged correspondence, led by Mollie Kennedy and Edgar Hill. This is a health hazard. Unfortunately SADC have no power to fine the residents who have no alternative place for disposal but more frequent collections will be instituted temporarily..
5/6. Street Reps and APRA Membership. Those present had delivered their quota of the Newsletter and spoken to a number of residents, with mixed responses. Only a handful of further subscriptions had been received, but our bank balance was approaching that thought necessary as a reserve ‘fighting fund’. Personal reminders for renewals might be effective, but a summer event was also considered desirable – we should find out whether Beth might be in a position to take his up again [RP].
7. The questionnaire for Verulam Ward council candidates was approved and would be sent once the full list was available [RP – now done]
8. Website operation, with intermittent postings, was considered satisfactory – we are indebted to Catherine Soave for managing this.
9. Wider St Albans issues such as the Helioslough terminal and St Albans City hospital were important to members and we should continue to pass on messages concerning petitions etc.
10. AOB. Jude Dyson now had funding approval for the planting arrangement on the corner of George St and Spicer St.
11. Next meeting. September, to be arranged [RP]
The meeting closed at 9.30 pm