Minutes of the meeting on 05 March 2018


The residents’ association for Sopwell Lane, Albert Street, Pageant Road, Hart Road, The Ryder Seed Mews Estate, Saracens Head Yard, Pearce’s Walk and Keyfield Terrace




Minutes of Meeting held on Monday 05 March 2018 at 8pm
at the Clarion Collection Hotel, Holywell Hill.


1.    Present:  Avril Allen, Bernadette Blade, Jacqueline Briggs, Alison Burroughes, Kam Cheung, Cllr Alun Davies, Phil Fletcher, Mary Green, Jane Harris-Matthews, Anthony Hyde, Jennifer Johnson, Pamela Johnson, Catherine Jones, Angela King, Barry Knight, Linda Matthewman, Roger Morton


2.    Apologies: Cllr Alec Campbell, Ghislein Decruz, Kate Hardwick, Mary Plackett, Elaine Rainsford


3.    Minutes of previous meeting: The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 08 January 2018 had been circulated by email and a copy was made available at this meeting. The minutes were approved.


4.    Matters arising: None


5.    Finances: Anthony Hyde advised that the balance in the bank remains at £299.22.


6.    Our local environment:

  • Lorry ban / speed restriction in Sopwell Lane: The 20mph zone has now been implemented and there is, now, an “unsuitable for HGV” sign in place at the roundabout where Old London Road meets Watsons Walk.
  • Pinch-point in Sopwell Lane: Roger had emailed Cllr Chris White with regards to the lack of progress with the pinch-point in Sopwell Lane. Post meeting note: Cllr Chris White advised that St Albans District Council were planning to begin work soon.
  • Green oasis in Sopwell Lane:
  1. The wall at the Albert Street property backing on to the Green Oasis is still awaiting completion. There has been no further movement since MUS vacated the site. Cllr Alun Davies suggested that Roger notify Martin Westwood of the District Council Planning Enforcement team.
  2. Roger informed those present that St Albans District Council have received two planning applications for building accommodation on the green oasis. Members were unanimous that they wanted to retain the green oasis as a community asset. Cllr Alun Davies urged SAPHRA to respond quickly with their proposals.
  3. Affinity have agreed to organise and pay for a planting scheme for the Green Oasis. We still await their proposals. Phil Fletcher offered help from Friends of the Earth (St Albans). It was agreed that we would attempt to organise a joint effort between Affinity, Friends of the Earth and SAPHRA.
  • Planting in grass verge at junction of Sopwell Lane, Albert Street and Keyfield Terrace: The grass is growing and numerous bulbs are now sprouting. Roger and Barry will be maintaining the area themselves.
  • Bollards in Albert Street: The offending bollards have now been removed but the land is currently being used as temporary storage space for building materials while an extension is being built in a neighbouring garden. When the building works are completed the ground can be raked over and kept tidy, or we might attempt to beautify it.
  • Street Cleaning, weeds and rubbish bins:
  1. Weeds: Responsibility for the spraying of weeds has recently been taken back by the District Council from the County Council. The work will be contracted out to John O’Connor, who will spray three times a year to try and combat the weeds. Residents are urged to report any problem areas via the District Council website. Phil Fletcher asked what was the chemical used for the spraying. Roger said he would ask.
  2. Rubbish bins: After reports by residents of overflowing bins in Albert Street behind Cafe Rouge a District Council officer visited the premises to carry out an inspection. Cafe Rouge promised to acquire a large skip to contain the rubbish. There are still complaints of overflowing rubbish and no sign of a larger bin. We believe that Café Rouge are part of the Business Improvement District so Cllr Alun Davies suggested that Roger send an email to Helen Burridge (BID Manager) asking her to help persuade them to clean up their environment.
  • Blocked drains: The blocked drains previously discussed have now been cleared. Residents were reminded to keep on reporting any blocked drains in their area. Blocked drains are the responsibility of the County Council but are only monitored on an 18-month cycle.


7.    City Neighbourhoods Committee:


  • The next CNC meeting will be held on 21 March 2018.
  • The minutes of CNC meetings are available on the District Council website.


8.    Ongoing water-pipe works in the area: The works are completed, and the subsequent finishing work has been done. Affinity stated that Herts County Council enforces a 2 year guarantee on the works to ensure any defects in the road surface are repaired.


9.    Any other business:


       The loose paving stones causing concern outside the White Hart Tap have been reported to the County Council via their website.


SAPHRA website: The contact form on the website is now working. A question was raised as to how many hits the site received. Roger said he would ask our webmaster.


       Local pollution levels: Concerns were raised as to the rising levels of air pollution being recorded in the area. Keith Cotton has been conducting a survey of air pollution levels in the town centre. A pollution monitor has recently been placed on a house half way down Albert Street and it is expected that more will be placed around the district. Cllr Alun Davies suggested that residents contact District Council officers to request more transparency of pollution measurements to help everyone understand pollution levels in the district. There are currently stickers in circulation, like neighbourhood watch window stickers, which request that drivers don’t leave their engines running when stationary. We will try to get some.


10.  Planned Events:


-      Summer SAPHRA barbecue on Sunday 15 July 2018 at the Hare and Hounds pub, Sopwell Lane

-      SAPHRA Christmas meal on Monday 03 December 2018, venue to be arranged

-      Informal get-together Monday 14 January 2019, venue to be arranged


11.  Date of next meetings: 14 May 2018, 02 July 2018, 03 September 2018 (AGM), 12 November 2018, 07 January 2019, 04 March 2019



Note regarding Neighbourhood Watch: SAPHRA members are encouraged to sign up for the OWL (On-line Watch Liaison) scheme. SAPHRA can provide OWL sign-up forms to any interested party. It is also possible to sign up for OWL Messages via www.owl.co.uk. For those members who do not have email it is possible to obtain OWL Messages via a home phone (landline). 


Highways fault reporting (Potholes, street lamps not working etc.) can be reported to Hertfordshire County Council at: www.hertsdirect.org/services/transtreets/highways/hhonlineservices/hfr/


Street cleaning issues (litter, fly-tipping, overflowing litter bins etc.) can be reported to St Albans District Council by telephone to 01727 819285 or 01727 819598 or email to a.cleanerdistrict@stalbans.gov.uk or online at: www.stalbans.gov.uk/environmentandwaste/street-care-and-cleaning/default.aspx