Inaugural General Meeting, 12 November 2013

Reduced Minutes of the Inaugural General Meeting held at 8.00pm on Tuesday 12 November 2013 in the Church Hall, Spicer Street Church, St Albans.

1. Greg Strain, Senior Minister of the Church, a key heritage building in our area, welcomed about 56 residents, including 8 members of the unofficial Start-up Group. Peter Trevelyan took the Chair asked for reports on the issues that had led to APRA being formed.

2. John Hedges outlined the campaign against congestion and damage caused by St Albans School buses. SADC appeared to be about to drop its plan for a long-term test of Romeland as a turning circuit. Alternative solutions to remove heavy bus traffic from the narrow streets of the Conservation Area would be more likely after the current headmaster retires later this year – his tirades against residents had probably been helpful to our cause. Imposition of a weight limit would not be effective, but HCC has the power to impose a bus ban.

3. Geoff Dyson summarized two issues. (a) Conversion of the Spotted Bull public house (43-45 Verulam Road). The owner acknowledged local resident’s concerns about disturbance in relation to late hours and the use of the garden. He had submitted a planning application for enclosing an outdoor area on the side of the building and would install a sound-attenuation screen against properties in College Street. Planned use would not include loud music; (b) A detailed map of the most uneven brick pavements had been prepared and submitted to HCC Highways, as a result of which a minor repair programme had been initiated. Complaints had also been made over the ‘micro-resurfacing’ of College Street, where the new tarmac had covered old cobbled gutters that should be protected as heritage work.

4. Robert Pankhurst summarised concern over the redevelopment of Nationwide House (20 Lower Dagnall Street) as 14 flats, approval having been granted after the Government’s relaxation of planning controls; external changes to doors and windows had also been approved, despite our objections to overdevelopment. Opposition had been declared to a proposal for a 2-storey mechanical car park at the rear of the building with access between Nos. 20 and 22 College Street, HCC Highways inspectorate considering that it would have no material effect on traffic flow! Neighbours had prepared a statement for the SADC planning committee, but their next two scheduled meetings had been cancelled.

5. In open discussion, Edgar Hill pointed out that under present arrangements the School claimed a ‘duty of care’ up to the school gate. Aaron Gransby said that we should ask for extra car parking spaces that had been promised under the dropped Romeland scheme and that Zone B had never received replacement bays promised when Mount Pleasant was realigned. Bob Mills said that the imposition of 20 mph speed limits in parts of the area was ineffective: Geoff Dyson replied that the police run a course in the use of speed cameras for RAs.

6. Peter Trevelyan reminded everyone that the on-line survey to assess and prioritise concerns would remain open for another week and that a good response was important. Results would be posted and open to comment on a projected APRA website.

7. The formal business for establishing APRA was then initiated. Peter emphasized that a Constitution was necessary for recognition by SADC and for opening a bank account. The draft Start-up Constitution was accepted by show of hands (nem. con.) and Gordon Shepherd was unanimously appointed as Scrutineer and Account Auditor.

8. The eight persons for whom valid nominations had been received by the 9 October deadline were elected to the APRA Committee (nem. con.), including four Officers:
Peter Trevelyan, Chairperson
Geoff Dyson, Deputy Chairperson
Robert Pankhurst, Secretary
Andrew Yaras, Treasurer
John Hedges
Gillian Field
Michael Ormiston
Ian Smith.

9. Five new nominations were taken for the 2 vacant Committee places under the Constitution. A ballot was taken and Justin Douglas and Martin Treasure were elected.

10. The meeting accepted the proposed annual subscription levels (nem. con.): £5 for a single-person household with one vote, £8 for a couple at the same address with one vote each, £10 for a business registration with one vote.

11. Robert Pankhurst undertook to convene the first meeting of the APRA Committee as soon as possible. The meeting was closed at 9.30pm.