The Inkerman Area Residents Association Annual General Meeting 7.12.20
1. Welcome and apologies
2. Minutes of the AGM 25.11.2019
3. Election of officers
4. Chair’s report
5. Treasurer’s report
6. Report backs
- Independent Elders
- Police Liaison
- Green issues
7. Any other business
Obviously this has been a year like no other in the 45 years since IARA started.
We had already started over the past few years to move more of the association’s activities online, with fewer face to face meetings and more contact through emails and the website.
But since Covid 19 hit the UK, virtually everything has been online, with the exception of a few socially distanced activities in individual streets. More and more people have signed up for the email list – now around 320, and there has been considerable activity through the IARA WhatsApp group (65 +). Pretty good coverage for 10 streets. It has been really helpful when neighbours have told us about new residents, many of whom have signed up to be kept informed about what is happening in the Inkerman (and the wider) area.
In normal circumstances we would hold at least 2 general meetings a year, advertised through door to door mailings as well as by email, but this year we had to suspend our standing orders on this point.
For the Annual General Meeting our street representatives have put paper notices through as many doors as possible, so we hope the majority of residents are at least aware that there is a residents association.
Covid 19 and the response from the IARA community
In early March, and in response to suggestions from a couple of neighbours, we sent out an email asking for volunteers to help others who were isolated or shielded and needed help with shopping, prescription collection, or just a phone call now and again.
We were overwhelmed with the response, and quickly had a list of about 45 people offering help. Requests started to come in and we were able to match people needing help with volunteers. We also replied to emails from the wider community which resulted in some requests from help from outside the Inkerman area – some of which we were able to respond to either with direct support from a volunteer or by signposting them to others who could help.
A dedicated group of skilled residents responded with amazing dynamism to a call for help in making masks for the local health centre who were extraordinarily appreciative, and others have helped with deliveries to food banks.
Some individual streets in the area also set up their own support networks – Ryland Road in particular surpassed itself with a newsletter, initially daily, and a huge amount of mutual support.
Several streets have also set up individual WhatsApp groups, and in April the IARA WhatsApp group took off and grew rapidly to the present 65. This has proved a great way of connecting, not just on Covid support issues but on greening the area, exchanging unwanted items, recruiting mask makers for the NHS and sending out crime alerts.
One of the few ways most people could directly see their neighbours was for a while on Thursday evenings, when many of us came out to clap for the NHS and could at least wave to each other.
When this lousy virus is over – we will have a massive informal street party – or maybe parties in every street – with bring your own food and drink to share and music to dance to…
Some major planning issues, licensing, and the High Street
We have continued to keep an eye on local planning applications, doing our best to notify neighbours potentially affected by a residential application, and consulting through email on some of the bigger commercial developments.
One of these was the Stay Club, on the old Magnet site in Holmes Road. Those of you who have been in the area for a while will be aware that we have had a lot of issues with this site – initially, but unsuccessfully, resisting its development as student accommodation, then working closely with the developer to try and mitigate the impact of the construction work and then – just as that phase was drawing to a close – fighting off yet another planning application to extend the building further upwards. Fortunately Camden agreed with the objectors and refused the application. The latest issues with the site are about noise – partly because Camden have allowed the building to be used not just for students but for homeless families and others. We are in touch with Camden and with the Stay Club and will continue to monitor the situation.
Another large commercial site, the old Addison Lee repair centre in Spring Place, has recently been bought by a warehousing company, and we are currently talking to them in detail about their plans for the site, raising particular concerns about traffic.
We have also attended presentations and consultation events about the huge Murphy’s site to the north of our area, and where any development will have an impact on all of us.
With any of these major projects we rely on you, our members who are most affected by particular developments, to get actively involved and are pleased that some people have put in the work on this. More would be very welcome!
Some of our members are also active on the Kentish Town Road Action Group, which monitors planning and licensing applications in the High Street and is working with the business community to try and keep the High Street alive and well. KTRA is made up of individuals and IARA only expresses a view on particular issues when there is a consensus from you, our members.
Gardens and trees
There has been a real burst of energy this year around greening the area, with residents planting up and maintaining tree bases near their houses, and getting involved with bigger projects such as greening the Raglan Estate, where Transition Kentish Town have taken the initiative. One of our two community gardens, Inkerman Garden in Holmes Road, has had to be sadly neglected while Camden Council carries out building work on the depot building behind it, but is now on the road to recovery. The low wall round the Raglan Street garden is much used as a resting place and consequently suffers a bit from rubbish, but continues to be a little oasis along that stretch.
Camden have done us proud this year with new tree planting and we have responded by setting up volunteers to ensure the new trees are watered, as Camden’s own efforts were not quite enough.
Alma Street Fair
It was with great sadness that we had to cancel plans for the Alma Street Fair this year. It has become quite an institution and we know that many of you really look forward to it. But even Glastonbury has fallow years and a break is not altogether a bad thing. We can hope for more luck in 2021, and meanwhile you can see compilation videos of past years on the website.
Independent Elders of IARA
The last face to face meeting we had was back in February, but we’ve managed 4 meetings by zoom, with an average attendance of 10. We talk about a range of issues – planning, rubbish, tree planting; we’ve swapped experiences of lockdown and recommended online events and actual places to visit to each other. We’ll meet again by zoom in the new year, and might even by then be able to go back to thinking about some outings.
Safer Neighbourhood Panel
John continues to represent IARA on the Police SN Panel, and there have been some virtual meetings this year. Ours is a fairly low crime area, but there can be unpleasant incidents and the Panel is where the SNT agree their priorities. It is therefore important that people report any criminal action – if you email IARA we can pass the information on to John to take to the Panel.
The IARA WhatsApp group has also been a quick and useful way for members to alert others to criminal activity in the neighbourhood.
We were sad to say goodbye to Isabelle, who got the monthly PlayStreet in Ryland Road off the ground in 2014 and has been hugely involved until this year, when she and her family left to go back to France. She will be much missed, but PlayStreet has managed to keep going, and, despite the virus, has managed about 8 (suitably distanced) sessions this year.
Inkerman Area Residents Association Limited
Financial Statement 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 (Provisional)
Balance B/F from 1 April 2020 7388.70
Alma Street Fair 0.00
Deposit refund from previous year 300.00
OTHER EXPENDITURE £
Co. House Filing 2021 13.00
Website 2021 62.39
Corporation Tax y/e 2020 231.61
Printing & Sundries 76.00
Provisional Closing Balance 31/3/21 7305.70