Chairs Report for the Annual General Meeting 2023

This is on Thursday 26 October 2023. 7.00 pm at the CFBL– The French School Entrance in Holmes Rd

Below: Agenda and Chair’s Report

Financial statement to be tabled at the meeting

Agenda

  1. Welcome and apologies
  2. Minutes of the AGM 23.1.23
  3. Matters arising
  4. Election of officers
  5. Chair’s report
  6. Treasurer’s report
  7. Report on Police Liaison
  8. Alma Street Fair
  9. Safer Streets/Traffic
  10. Any other business

Chair’s Report:

It’s less than a year since our last AGM, but we have brought this meeting forward so that we can discuss some issues that need some action fairly soon. We’ll raise these later on the agenda.

So this is a report about the last 9 months, and it has been busy.

We now have an emailing list of over 400 people.  We’re aware that a few of these have now left the area but have chosen to keep in touch.  And the most active are members of the WhatsApp group – nearly 200 strong and rising.  This has really changed the way we work, with fewer face-to-face meetings and a lot happening in between.

Safer Streets and traffic

Although it has only come to the boil in the last few weeks, at the time of writing clearly the current hot topic for the whole area is the proposed traffic management scheme. This has been fairly thoroughly debated on the WhatsApp group. 

We have alerted people to the issue repeatedly and encouraged members to respond to the consultation document.

As IARA, we have made it clear that there is no clear consensus upon which we can base submissions as an association.

When it became clear that there was a wide range of views and in particular a lot of questions about the detail that Camden needs to address, we asked Camden to delay the closure of the consultation period and also to attend a meeting with us – possibly the AGM.

Our correspondence with Camden has been circulated by email and posted on the website.

It is obvious that Camden have refused the request for an extension of the consultation period on the grounds that the consultation for the confirmation of the much smaller issue of the Safer Schools Street outside St. Patricks is time-limited and therefore, by some logic, the consultation on the much wider and more complex scheme must also be time-limited.

The consultation has therefore closed but it is still open for members to make their views known to the relevant officers and councillors.

We will be guided by members’ wishes at the AGM but it is hard to see that the meeting will result in a great deal of light, notwithstanding the heat of people’s opinions and feelings.

Planning and Licensing

We are notified of local applications and try to inform members when there is something of interest.  Sometimes this is a planning or licensing application that affects us all; sometimes we forward the information just to those it concerns. This is on the basis of our agreed policy – that we do not directly comment as an association on planning applications from our members, but try to inform near neighbours.  On licensing applications for late hours we do comment as it is IARA’s policy to resist applications which fall outside the Framework hours agreed with the Council.

There are a few major sites locally where we have kept members in touch as much as possible.  Most of you will remember last year’s huge and successful campaign to resist the proposals for the Murphy’s site.  That has now gone quiet for the moment, but we have been involved with early talks over the future of Murphy’s near neighbour, the Regis Road industrial estate. We have also tried to keep up with the highly controversial plans for the West Kentish Town Estate, which borders the Inkerman Area. We have attended meetings about the Local Plan and have tried to make sure that our voice is heard on major developments.  However, unless there is near consensus from members, we don’t express a view from the association (although we may as individuals).

Community issues

The Alma Street Fair is on the agenda as a separate item.  When it didn’t happen this year, the planning committee agreed to run a much smaller event as a fundraiser for MAP café.  Camden agreed to let us have the grant allocated for the street fair, and we can hold the balance of this over for whatever we do next year as we hardly incurred any expenditure.

We’ve been involved in trying to keep up the pressure for the cinema that we were promised on Prince of Wales Road, and we’ve also been invited in to give ideas about possible involvement in a potential new community space for the area, in the old Law Centre Building at 2 Prince of Wales Road.  This could offer some great opportunities for IARA and for individual members.

We’ve kept up contacts with the two schools that are in the Inkerman area, although that has been less frequent with St. Patrick’s since the changes in their senior staff team. Thankfully, the problems we were involved with earlier in the year seem to have been largely resolved. As you can see from the AGM venue, we are establishing stronger relationships with CFBL and hope to maintain this and build on it in future.

Subgroups

The Theatre-goers group which has arranged a good number of theatre visits, sophisticated reviews and critiques and some suppers

The Independent Elders of IARA have only managed two meetings so far this year, but we have enjoyed lively discussions, and an interesting presentation about scams from Camden Age UK.

The SustainIARA group have had several meetings and organised tours of some members’ homes at the MAP mini fair in the summer.  This is where work has been done to improve insulation, instal solar panels and heat pumps and it attracted a lot of interest. We have reported that information on the website in the Green and Gardening Section

The Trees and gardening group has been active – partly through the WhatsApp group organising tree watering during the hot weather for the new young trees in the area.

The Local History group has been quiet this year, but members have kept in touch and exchanged recommendations for talks, visits etc. Previous work is on the website under Local history.

The Dog lovers group (for owners and admirers.) which has featured news and many photos of local dogs.