Annual General Meeting 2012

MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE INKERMAN AREA RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION      3 DECEMBER 2012

 

Present: 55 members plus our local councillors, Jenny Headlam-Wells, Georgia Gould and Meric Apak, and Sam Monck Assistant Director, Environment & Transport of Camden Council.

Alma Street: Lesley Angel, Norma Wynter, Vince Reed, Gill Reed, Hilary Barnes, Peter Haden, Anne Fitzgerald, David and Debby Hyams, Jeremy Ledlin, Charles Collett, Patricia Dymond, Alison Little, John Emery, Brenda Myers, Liz Woodeson

Willes Road: Don Hibbs, Barbara Storey, Belinda Low, Michael Storey, David Turner, Jeff Baynes, Diana Baynes, Nicholas Hadaway, Julia Fabricius, Laura Andreae, Rosemary Weinstein, Sarah Harvey, Sarah Monk.

Grafton Road: Noreen McKeever, Gwyn Morris, Sarah Panzetta, Peter Curtis, Chris Phillips, Richard Organ, Ed McGuinness.

Inkerman Road: Martin Clayton, Ash Krishnan, Adam Sofoulis

Raglan Street: John Nicholson, Mary Hill, Paul Seviour, Robert Livock, Harriet Craven, Liz Hill.

Ryland Road: Martin Plaut, Anne Hearn, Jonathan Bowman, Jessica Marshall, Dominic Tinley, Elizabeth Kwantreng.

Cathcart Street: Terry Esnault, Betty Esnault.

Anglers Lane: Peter Hutchings.

Prince of Wales Road: Doreen Bartlett. Joel Czopor, Susie Clark, Michael –,Pam Warren.

1.  Introduction and welcome from the chair.

2.  Wheelie bins:

Sam Monck spoke on this.  He explained that Camden have clear targets for recycling for both environmental reasons and because landfill is more expensive for Camden than recycling the rubbish. Camden’s website has fuller details.  32% of waste is currently recycled.  On the introduction of recycling there was a considerable rise in recycling rate but it has now fallen again. Fortnightly collections would increase recycling levels but Camden is tied to weekly collections for the next five years as a part of a deal with central government for their subsidy.

Camden is working with 6 other boroughs on the need for better communication with residents. The capacity of the container has a drastic impact on recycling rates. In a survey of 5000 households 35% of people surveyed said that limits on capacity of the containers limited their recycling. He accepted that wheelie bins were not pretty but they were justified and the council have already made the decision that they will be coming in and the consultation was simply as regards size and colour.

Don Hibbs said that the consultation was another flawed consultation by Camden as no real alternatives had been given.  Sam Monck said that he issue was clear and that they will not be consulting on the principle of wheelie bins. There is no duty on Camden to consult on this and it had not been promised.

Debby said that this had not been made clear, although there had been no explicit promise to consult on the principle. Camden had indicated they would consult representative bodies which they failed to do. The first that anybody knew about it was letters through the doors of residents with a very limited choice.

Robert asked about the cost of changing containers. Some Monck said that we lose a lot of the boxes anyway as they are convenient as book boxes when people move home. It is anticipated that there will be a £330,000 per annum saving.

The capital costs are covered by a government grant. He said that people could opt out although Camden was encouraging them to cooperate but people had to be proactive and e-mail the council to express this opt out preference. He confirmed that people who are not on the Internet could register their preferences by telephoning the main switchboard number.

Nicholas Hadaway asked if it would always be optional in the future and Sam Monck said that could not be promised, it would be down to councillors. Meric said that he would always vote for it to remain optional.

Sam Monck confirmed that it would be a mixed collection with recycling and paper in together but other rubbish which could not be recycled and organic waste would still be collected separately as well as a separate white bag for garden rubbish.

He said that the current contractors are followed around and every effort is made to ensure that the current system is operated properly.

The question of the colour of the bins was raised and Sam Monck made it clear it was not in fact down to each individual household to choose the colour of their bin. An average picture would be arrived at and then all the bins in the area would be the chosen colour. Currently Green is the widely preferred option.

The question was raised about the fact that some bins are red in the area and Sam Monck said this is either because people had brought their own with them as private individuals or the fact that commercial waste collection in is an open market and the Local Authority do not have a monopoly on commercial rubbish affection and have to compete with other operators and have to attract business. They currently have between 50 and 60%. We are offering a system which makes it cheaper for them to recycle than throw away.

Debby made the point that weekly commercial collections are very expensive and Sam Monck said that if they were very flexible on collection arrangements it become more expensive.

A major point was raised by a number of people regarding houses in multiple occupation such as street properties with three or four flats and whether that would result in three or four wheelie bins. Sam Monck said that it was open to people to cooperate so that if there was not enough recycling generated by one flat, then there need only be one for whole building and if a street property was small and had only one home in it, neighbours could cooperate, possibly one neighbour having a wheelie bin and the other having space for other collections.

A question was raised about how it was decided which houses would be offered wheelie bins. San Monck replied that a private company had done this for other local authorities and surveyed the streets on the basis of there being enough physical space at a property for a wheelie bin that would not block access.

Nicholas Hadaway made the point that many people will not proactively contact the council to state their preference not to have a wheelie bin and as a result there will be large numbers of unwanted wheelie bins dumped in their front areas. Should it be a question of opting out as at present proposed or opting in? Sam Monck said that research indicated that opting out increased take-up (as per discussion currently underway regarding organ donation) and that this was a public good and therefore an opting out policy should be adopted.

Detailed questions were asked about which particular streets or properties would be targeted and details will be posted on the IARA website.  Sam Monck agreed to provide an update.

David made the point that many of the interesting issues that had been raised this evening could have been raised far earlier if Camden had honoured their original promise to consult with community organisations like ourselves in advance of letters going out.

Sam Monck was thanked for attending and left the meeting.

3. Chair’s report:

(See below for full report)

Debby went through the chair’s report briefly summarising the sections and expressing thanks to the French School Liaison Group consisting of Don, Adam and Jean Hart (who is sadly not with us this evening because of her recent bereavement.)

She expressed the thanks of the association to John and Jeremy who are our representatives on the Safer Neighbourhoods Team Panel.

She also expressed everybody’s thanks to Paul for taking over the running of the Alma Street Fair so successfully following on from the great success and hard work of Diana.

Debby said that we were pleased that all three councillors were present this evening and will be available to take questions or discuss matters after the meeting.

She gave a plug for the website which has been far more active this year and has been redesigned. David mentioned the fact that he monitors the traffic on it and it is usually being accessed most days and on some occasions has quite heavy traffic.

4. Treasurer’s report: Richard Organ presented the treasurer’s report which indicated that we had a current balance of £6458.61 – but the point was made that £1200 of that is reserved as it was a grant in connection with gardening matters and can be spent on plants or gardening equipment for the common areas.

David paid tribute to the extremely hard work of Robert Livock who (with Beryl and Sue among others)  created and maintained month after month the flowerbeds in Raglan Street. He also mentioned the new garden area opposite the French School and the George pub in Holmes road which had been a ugly mess and, with funding from Camden, had been transformed into a flourishing, attractive and low maintenance garden designed by Dilip from Alma Street and which includes bat boxes on the wall.

5. Election of officers. There were a number of nominations for the existing team and no other nominations were received so the meeting agreed that the present officers should continue, Debby as chair, David as secretary and Richard as treasurer.

Liz proposed a vote of thanks to the officers for their work during the year.

6. Licence application by the Grafton. Debby explained that, after negotiations, the pub had reduced their application to conform with Camden’s core hours; ending on weekdays at 11.00, Friday and Saturday evenings at midnight and Sunday at 10.30. Chucking out time was 30 minutes after that. The application includes a plan to start serving non-alcoholic refreshments and breakfast from 8 am onwards.

The licensees, Joel and Susie were at the meeting and Joel explained that he had also applied for a bar in the room that the meeting was taking place in, to use for events. He described the application of the roof terrace which was obviously visible to the meeting and described the acoustic screens to be erected to a height of 6’3″ .  The terrace would be closed before closing time to reduce noise. There are 10 or 11 objections to the original application (although some have been withdrawn as result of the amendment) and there will probably be a panel meeting to decide on the application.

Adam raised the point that the application is no longer visible on the Camden website and it was agreed that it would be posted on the IARA website.

Joel explained that the pub had never had a music licence although many people at the meeting confirmed that music had been played under the previous regime.

Joel explained that from October 1 live music is in fact no longer controlled in the way that it was, but he emphasised did not wish to run a music venue but might have small scale music such as a guitarist and some open mic nights.

In response to a question from Adam it was made clear that there are two applications: The alcohol licence, and separately a planning application for the use of the roof terrace (search for application 2012/6118/P at http://www.camden.gov.uk/planningsearch)

7. Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum. John, who is secretary of KTNF) explained the origins of the forum and its role in drawing up a neighbourhood plan which will have some authority in future planning applications as well as some local listing. The Forum needs official approval to continue, and people are asked to email Camden to express support (email  ldf@camden.gov.uk   and say that you are responding to the formal consultation on the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum and that you support its formation and the proposed boundaries).

Martin made the point that we need proactive and coordinated planning for Kentish Town with limits to growth to ensure that resources match any future growth of population.

David explained that the Forum can be more than just a planning matter and that he was hoping that it would lead to such things as a Kentish Town choir, orchestra or brass band or a good neighbours scheme.

8. Magnet Site.

Debby reported on the battle to oppose the planned student accommodation block which will now be built on the Magnet Site. Camden agreed, but we lost that battle on appeal and the building will go ahead (although people reported that staff in Magnet were not aware of this). Debby mentioned that the developers do not have a good record of relationships with people in the area during construction work and that we need to be very clear and proactive. Georgia talked about creating a liaison group to ensure the minimum disruption during construction work and she offered to be involved with that.  Debby also reported that the Holmes Road hostel is being redeveloped but will remain a hostel and the frontage will be retained. The plans are available online (application 2012/6344/P) and have been the subject of favourable comment so far by those who have considered them.

 

9. Current operation of IARA and standing orders. Debby reminded members that we have in the past lay down the standing orders as follows:

  1. Frequency of meetings: minimum 2 pa, aim for 4.
  2. No correspondence sent out without agreement of Chair
  3. No action without prior consultation  (by e-mail to members list as a minimum)
  4. No direct involvement in neighbour disputes

5. Planning:  comment on commercial or public interest plans where IARA has a pre-stated view or there has been consultation, otherwise action limited to alerting neighbours where possible.

The meeting agreed unanimously to continue with those standing orders.

11. Future Plans.

a)  David introduced briefly environment/gardening/cleanup days. In addition to the two main gardens mentioned earlier, several people have adopted trees outside their homes and have planted them up in a very satisfactory way and this will be continued. It has been proposed that we might have a cleanup day in the summer and that will be discussed in future. We currently work sometimes in the early morning at weekends to remove graffiti and flyposting and any member who wishes to contribute should contact David.

b)  Paul discussed the Street fair plans and said that he was willing to run the next one although it is a lot of work and needs wider participation. He described the fact that the fair has grown and that there had been some complaints in the past which have been listened to carefully and any future conflict will also be considered. A date has not yet been selected for it but there will be a meeting sometime in January to start planning, and anyone interested in influencing the shape of it should try to come once the date is agreed.

c)  David mentioned the history group which has been in existence in the past but is now very quiet. In the past we have as a group had lectures from the local archivist and have attended the very good Camden local history archives at the Holborn library and as a result we have such things as census records for some streets which make very interesting reading. We also obtained maps which have been scanned in and are now on the website in a history section showing the underlying field pattern and route of the River Fleet and how the current street layout reflects that.

d)  David also mentioned briefly the idea put forward by some members regarding planning ahead for when we all become older and need some support which we will probably not receive from the state and we should be thinking now about cooperative or self-help arrangements.  Richard mentioned the Greater London Pensioners Organisation which has a useful website.

e)  Charles asked about improvements needed to bus shelter information screens, and Richard said that TFL have undertaken to carry out improvements.  Georgia also agreed to take up transport issues at a local meeting for councillors, following the recent TFL public meeting which some of our members attended.

The meeting then closed. Drink tickets were handed out to be redeemed at the bar and food was served.

 

2012 Report from the Chair and Secretary

In line with the agreement reached with our members some time back, IARA has met twice this year and has conducted most of its business through our growing email membership.  Through this medium we have been able to consult and inform you on a wide range of issues, some of which we summarise below. Notices of meetings have been distributed by street representatives to all easily accessible homes. We are working to achieve better coverage of estates and blocks which are often hard to get access to.

1.  Planning

Our standing agreement is that IARA does not comment on individual residential planning applications but does try to alert affected members to these.  We do though get very involved in commercial applications.  There were two that featured large in 2012.  Firstly, we had the triumphant success of the campaign to save the Pizza Express building (on the very edge of our area in Prince of Wales Road).  We campaigned with other organisations, sent representatives to the Planning Inspector’s enquiry, raised funds to brief experts, demonstrated outside the building and, finally, joined in the great celebration when the Inspector supported Camden in refusing planning permission to demolish the building and replace it with a large, lumpy, badly designed development.

Sadly, we had less success with the plans for another student block to be built on the Magnet site in Holmes Road.  Despite many objections, the Inspector in that case granted the developer planning permission and our task now will be to monitor the work and do what we can to mitigate the impact on residents.

2.  Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum

One of the strengths of the Pizza Express campaign was the coordinated effort by various local groups.  We were already actively represented on a group called Kentish Town Road Action, which has worked very successfully to prevent late licensing and poor planning decisions in the High Street.  Partly arising out of these links, a number of our most active members have become founding committee members of the proposed KTNF which, if approved by the Council, will continue work on a Kentish Town Neighbourhood Plan (on which local views have already been widely canvassed).  This helps to give IARA a bigger voice in our wider neighbourhood and we hope will lead to more local control.

3.  French School Liaison

Arising out of problems with the development of the old college building in Holmes Road by the College Francais Bilingue de Londres, IARA members became involved in setting up more formal liaison.  This is their report:

Report on the activities of the IARA/CFBL Community Group

1. The CFBL (“French” school) in Holmes Road wished to set up a Community Group to

interact with the local Residents. This was additional to the School Travel Plan group

which was set up on the instructions of the LB Camden as part of their granting the

school Planning Permission.

2. For this purpose, a sub-group of the IARA was set up comprising Jean Hart, Don

Hibbs and Adam Leys. Two of these had already been involved with the setting-up of the

School Travel Plan for the school.

3. The purpose of the group was to establish a single point of contact with the school by

which any problems that local residents could be raised, administered and followed-up.

4. At the moment, we are still in the process of formalising this group.  However, we have

been able to establish a working method of raising problems with the school’s

administration. The installation by the school of a new English-speaking Administrator

has facilitated this process immensely, and we hope we are well on the way to

establishing good relations.

5. The results of this cooperation may be seen in the resolution of some problems raised

by neighbours of the school, and the general improvements in the traffic problems around

the school gates. There are further more permanent traffic solutions to come, which are

being prepared by LBC after further discussion with us.

4.  Policing
IARA members sit on the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team Panel where they have been able to feed back local concerns and problems.  We have also acted as a means of alerting members to local crime spates – issuing burglary alerts and warnings about scams targeted at older and vulnerable people.  We are in regular contact with our SNT Sergeant Peter Ryan – who, incidentally, has been a huge and helpful supporter of the Alma Street Fair in the last few summers.

5.  Street Fair
When we have surveyed local opinion about the summer fair, the vast majority of people have been very much in favour.  Some are indifferent, and a few have raised concerns – the majority of which we have tried to address.  In 2012 Paul Seviour took over from Diana Baynes (a hard act to follow!) as the main organiser and, supported by a committee of residents and supportive local business people and artists, did a great job – including ordering up the hottest, sunniest day in the year for the event.  Nearly everyone had a lot of fun, we heard a lot of local talent, we raised a lot of funds for IARA, and kept our area firmly on the map.

6.  Council Liaison
We continue to work well with our local councillors, Georgia Gould, Meric Apak and Jenny Headlam-Wells.  They have taken up various local issues for us, and we have appreciated their involvement.  As well as many of the matters already outlined above, we have had support from them in dealing with major problems caused by developers in Holmes Road and by Camden’s subcontractors operating from a depot in Raglan Street (unlawfully, as we found out).

7.  IARA Website
­We are developing our skills in using the website, although time constraints have meant that it is not always completely up to date.  Despite this, it has a steady stream of visitors – sometimes a trickle but occasionally a deluge (it crashed with the number of hits we got for the street fair!).  On the website you will find a lot of history (literally, in the form of old maps telling the story of the development of Kentish town), as well as records of local meetings, campaigns and other events.  There are also links to other useful sites, and we have started listings of local pubs and venues.  We hope to develop it further with a section for locally recommended trades and crafts people – and anything else anyone would like to suggest.

8.  Looking ahead
Time and energetic people permitting, there are many ways in which IARA could grow and expand.  We used to have a local history group and would love to revive it.  We have a gardening group who do fantastic work both keeping the streets looking beautiful with the little flowerbeds under the trees, and with more major projects like the beds in Raglan Street and the garden in Holmes Road.  We would like ideas and initiatives on looking after each other better – informal good neighbour schemes, a group for some of us to start thinking about supporting each other as we get older, more social activities.  So far our community care has been limited to things like distributing snow shovels, using them in our streets, removing graffiti and rubbish – but we could do more!

2012 Report from the Chair and Secretary

In line with the agreement reached with our members some time back, IARA has met twice this year and has conducted most of its business through our growing email membership. Through this medium we have been able to consult and inform you on a wide range of issues, some of which we summarise below. Notices of meetings have been distributed by street representatives to all easily accessible homes. We are working to achieve better coverage of estates and blocks which are often hard to get access to.

1. Planning

Our standing agreement is that IARA does not comment on individual residential planning applications but does try to alert affected members to these. We do though get very involved in commercial applications. There were two that featured large in 2012. Firstly, we had the triumphant success of the campaign to save the Pizza Express building (on the very edge of our area in Prince of Wales Road). We campaigned with other organisations, sent representatives to the Planning Inspector’s enquiry, raised funds to brief experts, demonstrated outside the building and, finally, joined in the great celebration when the Inspector supported Camden in refusing planning permission to demolish the building and replace it with a large, lumpy, badly designed development.

Sadly, we had less success with the plans for another student block to be built on the Magnet site in Holmes Road. Despite many objections, the Inspector in that case granted the developer planning permission and our task now will be to monitor the work and do what we can to mitigate the impact on residents.

2. Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum

One of the strengths of the Pizza Express campaign was the coordinated effort by various local groups. We were already actively represented on a group called Kentish Town Road Action, which has worked very successfully to prevent late licensing and poor planning decisions in the High Street. Partly arising out of these links, a number of our most active members have become founding committee members of the proposed KTNF which, if approved by the Council, will continue work on a Kentish Town Neighbourhood Plan (on which local views have already been widely canvassed). This helps to give IARA a bigger voice in our wider neighbourhood and we hope will lead to more local control.

3. French School Liaison

Arising out of problems with the development of the old college building in Holmes Road by the College Francais Bilingue de Londres, IARA members became involved in setting up more formal liaison. This is their report:

Report on the activities of the IARA/CFBL Community Group

1. The CFBL (“French” school) in Holmes Road wished to set up a Community Group to

interact with the local Residents. This was additional to the School Travel Plan group

which was set up on the instructions of the LB Camden as part of their granting the

school Planning Permission.

2. For this purpose, a sub-group of the IARA was set up comprising Jean Hart, Don

Hibbs and Adam Leys. Two of these had already been involved with the setting-up of the

School Travel Plan for the school.

3. The purpose of the group was to establish a single point of contact with the school by

which any problems that local residents could be raised, administered and followed-up.

4. At the moment, we are still in the process of formalising this group. However, we have

been able to establish a working method of raising problems with the school’s

administration. The installation by the school of a new English-speaking Administrator

has facilitated this process immensely, and we hope we are well on the way to

establishing good relations.

5. The results of this cooperation may be seen in the resolution of some problems raised

by neighbours of the school, and the general improvements in the traffic problems around

the school gates. There are further more permanent traffic solutions to come, which are

being prepared by LBC after further discussion with us.

4. Policing
IARA members sit on the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team Panel where they have been able to feed back local concerns and problems. We have also acted as a means of alerting members to local crime spates – issuing burglary alerts and warnings about scams targeted at older and vulnerable people. We are in regular contact with our SNT Sergeant Peter Ryan – who, incidentally, has been a huge and helpful supporter of the Alma Street Fair in the last few summers.

5. Street Fair
When we have surveyed local opinion about the summer fair, the vast majority of people have been very much in favour. Some are indifferent, and a few have raised concerns – the majority of which we have tried to address. In 2012 Paul Seviour took over from Diana Baynes (a hard act to follow!) as the main organiser and, supported by a committee of residents and supportive local business people and artists, did a great job – including ordering up the hottest, sunniest day in the year for the event. Nearly everyone had a lot of fun, we heard a lot of local talent, we raised a lot of funds for IARA, and kept our area firmly on the map.

6. Council Liaison
We continue to work well with our local councillors, Georgia Gould, Meric Apak and Jenny Headlam-Wells. They have taken up various local issues for us, and we have appreciated their involvement. As well as many of the matters already outlined above, we have had support from them in dealing with major problems caused by developers in Holmes Road and by Camden’s subcontractors operating from a depot in Raglan Street (unlawfully, as we found out).

7. IARA Website
­We are developing our skills in using the website, although time constraints have meant that it is not always completely up to date. Despite this, it has a steady stream of visitors – sometimes a trickle but occasionally a deluge (it crashed with the number of hits we got for the street fair!). On the website you will find a lot of history (literally, in the form of old maps telling the story of the development of Kentish town), as well as records of local meetings, campaigns and other events. There are also links to other useful sites, and we have started listings of local pubs and venues. We hope to develop it further with a section for locally recommended trades and crafts people – and anything else anyone would like to suggest.

8. Looking ahead
Time and energetic people permitting, there are many ways in which IARA could grow and expand. We used to have a local history group and would love to revive it. We have a gardening group who do fantastic work both keeping the streets looking beautiful with the little flowerbeds under the trees, and with more major projects like the beds in Raglan Street and the garden in Holmes Road. We would like ideas and initiatives on looking after each other better – informal good neighbour schemes, a group for some of us to start thinking about supporting each other as we get older, more social activities. So far our community care has been limited to things like distributing snow shovels, using them in our streets, removing graffiti and rubbish – but we could do more!

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