Third APRA Committee Meeting, 19 March 2014. Present: Geoff Dyson (Chair), Robert Pankhurst, Andrew Yaras, Gillian Field, John Hedges, Martin Treasure, Michael Ormiston, Peter Trevelyan (part). Co-opted for this meeting: Catherine Soave. Apologies: Justin Douglas, Beth Hall.
1. Matters arising. Hard copies of Minutes and downloadable documents would not be supplied in future. Reduced Minutes would now be prepared for the website.
2. Membership. To date we had 115 paid-up members and a balance over £400. As many as 60 interested households had still not signed up (although they continued to receive e-mail Notices). Street Reps had now identified for all but two streets in the originally defined area and Holywell Hill (one member so far).
3. Website and Communications. The website was almost ready. A Vote of Thanks to Alex was recorded. Catherine took over as website manager at the start of February and had spent much time on its development. Migration to our own domain (~£30 p.a.) came with 10 linked e-mail aliases – each Working Group could have one. WG leaders should draft a description of their role along with terms of reference. Discussion of Facebook was deferred until Beth could be present. An electronic letterhead was agreed on. Peter and Catherine offered to help set material for a Newsletter and Martin offered to undertake the printing.
4. School Buses. At the final SACTAF meeting the previous evening, Roma Mills (Chair) had commented on the impressive turnout (~80) as testament to the strength of residents’ involvement. The absence of any St Albans School representative was regretted. Discussion had been positive and John was congratulated for his excellent presentation. SACTAF recommendations would involve enforcing the Romeland Hill dual-use parking bays, but this would have to go to public consultation and we should reiterate that this site is unsafe and unfit for purpose. The possible effect on car parking spaces was still a concern.
5. Council elections in May. We should canvas candidates about their views on issues of concern to APRA members, either by convening a public meeting or at least in writing. Geoff would obtain the names of all candidates.
6. Street Representatives had now been recruited for all but two streets in the current area.
7. Planning. The proposal for a double-stacking car park at Nationwide House had been withdrawn but the Spotted Bull situation was unresolved – we and Aboyne RA residents had consistently objected to overdevelopment and increased disturbance, although some letters (including APRA’s) had not appeared on the SADC planning website. The Mitchell Hall crisis may have been averted due to legal points, use of the hall by voluntary groups and its adoption onto the SADC register of community assets.
8. Car Parking. We had written to Beric Read (Chair of CPWP) about the dire lack of adequate Zone B parking and the need for restoration of lost spaces: the response stressed the need to consider parking in a broader context. A protest had been sent about a draft SACTAF recommendation to change the single yellow line in College Street to double – this does not now figure in the SACTAF draft final report.
9. Roads & Pavements. The dangerous state of the blue brick pavements, especially in Romeland, and deterioration of the brick wall at the top of Abbey Mill Lane should be reported.
10. Social event. The idea of a party for members was endorsed, but in view of the election issues this might be better postponed until early summer. Beth had asked for help with organising the event; it was suggested that volunteers could be sought via the Newsletter.
11. AOB. Jude Dyson had asked SADC representatives about improving the enclosed area behind the low brick wall in George Street at the junction with Spicer Street by introducing containers with shrubs and a map of the Conservation Area. Such initiatives by volunteer groups were considered a good way of improving the street environment. John had been visited by police while photographing school buses for his SACTAF presentation –it came to nothing, but this is a sinister development. Several cars had been scratched in Abbey Mill Lane and noted by the Police. Police intervention would be necessary to prevent the nuisance of heavy vehicles reversing into Spicer or Welclose streets when turning round to avoid going down Fishpool Street.