Minutes of the IARA AGM held by Zoom 7.12.20

1. Welcome and apologies.

Attendance:

Raglan St: Paul, John, Mary

Alma St: Jane, James, Daniel, John, Alison, Jeremy, David J, Debby, Charles, Dilip, Patricia, Hilary.

Holmes Rd: Judith, Matthew.

Willes Rd: Sarah M, Dee, Diana, Michele, Michael, Belinda, Don, David P.

Brinsmead: Jeff W, Shivaun

Ryland Rd: Trisha.

Camden Council: Cllr. Meric Apak

Apologies: Jenny Headlam-Wells, Robert, James, Julia, Sarah C.

2. Minutes of the last General Annual Meeting considered. Approval proposed by Paul and seconded by Belinda. Passed unanimously.

3. Election of officers. John took the role of returning officer and indicated that the current officers were willing to stand and asked if there were any other candidates. None came forward.

Debby was proposed by Dan and seconded by Diana. David J was proposed by Trisha and seconded by David P. Paul was proposed by Dilip and seconded by Belinda. The existing officers were re-elected with no votes against and no abstentions.

4. Chair’s report. Debby presented the chairs report which will not be summarised here but is available on the website at: https://www.inkermanresidents.org.uk/uncategorized/annual-general-meeting-7-12-20

Particular points of mention were the shift to remote meetings and the tremendous response to a request for volunteers following lockdown. She reported on some major planning issues, most currently the old Addison Lee site in Spring Place where four of us have had a meeting with the developers. She also referred to the real burst of energy this year around greening the area, the cancellation of the Alma St Fair, the success of the Play Street and the sad departure of Isabelle who got that going.

5. Treasurer’ report. Paul then presented the financial report, which again is available on the website.

He explained that there is not as much to report as usual because there was no Alma Street Fair. In response to a question he informed the meeting that that normally cost a total of £5,500.

Costs are far greater than they used to be because of the need for a proper, professionally installed stage.

The income comes from the Alma St bar, stallholders, the raffle, and £1000 grant from Camden.

Debby explained that increased costs also include security although local volunteers assist in that. First-aid is provided by the lifeguards from the Lido. The police were present in 2019. Insurance is a substantial expense.

Paul explained the need for substantial reserves because in the event of a fair not occurring we might well have paid £3,300 upfront in unrecoverable expenses.

Acceptance of the financial report was proposed by Daniel and seconded by David P and agreed unanimously.

6. Reports back:

Independent Elders. Debby reported that there have been face-to-face meetings and outings until the beginning of lockdown and there have been 4 Zoom meetings since with an average attendance of about 10.

Many things are discussed and it represents a sort of informal committee, including being the eyes and ears of the Association. Resources have been shared between members. There is no age limit on attendance.

Police Liaison. John N represents IARA on the local Safer Neighbourhood Panel. He explained that there is not a lot to report at this point. He referred to the regular updates through IARA emails. There have been no meetings of the committee since February.

The local Police Support Officer, Danny Fitzsimmons, is out and about.

This area is within the Kentish Town Ward which is covered by a Community Protection Notice which gives the police additional powers to make an antisocial behaviour style notice against people which can generate a criminal offence. This can be against individuals or organisations.

He explained that crime is very low in our area and we are probably most at risk from cybercrime which has increased dramatically since lockdown.

He particularly warned about messages allegedly from delivery companies saying that someone’s delivery was held up but for payment of a small sum it could be prioritised so please send us your card details… He told us that he has been invited to visit another part of Kentish Town as part of a fact-finding expedition.

David J mentioned the fact that one crime that does seem quite widespread in the area is theft of bicycles and the bike thieves seem to have learnt how to break D locks. He wondered if any advice was available from a Crime Prevention Officer. However John said that that post had been cancelled.

Judith asked if there were any actual patrols on the street because she never sees them and that in the hostel in Holmes Road there is very visible drug use and prostitution. It is around 10.00-11.00 p.m. every night.

John said that it was essential that any observed crime was reported to the police, not only to seek immediate action but also to build up the profile so that resources could be allocated more effectively.

Green issues. Dilip provided a presentation with slides. These will be available later on the website.

Although there are many potential green issues, he would restrict himself to habitat and local ecology and reported on: Trees, Inkerman Gardens, and wilding proposals which he has produced with Jeremy.

He said that Camden’s tree officer, Jake, was very involved and all credit should go to Camden for their tree planting programme. The trees going in are wildlife friendly, attractive and also not a subsidence threat.

It was good to see the tree pits being cultivated and ideally they would be planted with plants that would sustain insects and birds.

The Inkerman Gardens project was explained with the need for it to be completely overhauled, coinciding with the use of scaffolding on the building.

He paid tribute to the volunteers who have kept it in good condition for 10 years, most especially Don.

He said that Camden are planning suitable planting and some plants will be available from the Arlington Crescent Site, now the victim of HS2. The planting will be in Spring 2021 and, although drought tolerant plants will be chosen, they will need watering at the initial stages. He called for volunteers and Daniel, Judith, Belinda, Jeremy, Don, David J and Debby volunteered.

Dilip and Jeremy are proposing an IARA nature project to create nesting sites for birds and bats. Suitable boxes can be purchased from RSPB or made by ourselves. We could seek to purchase them in bulk and pay or arrange volunteers for installing them. It was suggested that we might invest in some with WebCams to observe eggs and nestlings.

Dilip asked if there were support for creating a Facebook page on the subject and Jeff mentioned his involvement with the Heath and Hampstead society.

Judith reported that there was a very pretty and healthy fox on the prowl currently.

7. Any other business:

Meric reported on the outcome of the consultation over the problem of Anglers Lane being a rat run. A report is now ready for the cabinet which will re-introduce the left turn at the end of Prince of Wales Road into the High Street and the closing of Anglers Lane to northbound traffic. The officers will be alert to the danger that traffic will be pushed onto other backstreets. It’s now published and available online at:

http://democracy.camden.gov.uk/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IssueId=47878&OptionNum=0

Questions were put to Meric concerning the Stay Club and the fact that it is now being used for emergency family and some refugee accommodation. Meric said that this was new information and he would check with officers but that he had received more complaints about students’ behaviour than the current occupants.

Hilary asked about the crossing at Castle Road and Kentish Town Road which is dangerous and Meric said he was aware of that and was pursuing it with officers.

Judith raised the issue of traffic on Holmes Road which is very frequently completely jammed, especially at school start and end times. Also Veolia trucks use it as a racetrack early in the morning.

Meric said that he had been dealing with similar issues in Torriano Avenue and discussions have raised the question of speed cameras, but these have been turned down both on the grounds of cost and the fact that it is not something the local authority can install. It has to come from a request from the police, usually as a result of a fatality.

Officers will be monitoring traffic flow in the area closely following the introduction of the new measures at Anglers Lane and Prince of Wales Road.

The meeting closed at 8.40.