Minutes of the meeting on 10 March 2020


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 Tuesday 10-03-2020 at 8:00 pm
at the Clarion Collection Hotel, Holywell Hill.


1.    Present: Avril Allen, Bernadette Blade, Kam Cheung, Jennifer Johnson, Pam Johnson, Angela King, Roger Morton, Cllr Will Tucker

2.    Apologies: Alison Burroughes, Jane Harris-Matthews, Anthony Hyde, Cathy Jones, Barry Knight, Linda Matthewman, Mary Plackett, Cllr Jacqui Taylor, Cllr Chris White.

3.    Minutes of previous meeting: The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 13 January 2020 had been circulated by email (and by hand to residents who do not use email) and copies were made available at this meeting. The minutes were approved.

4.    Matters arising: None

5.    Finances: Anthony Hyde had advised by email that the bank balance remained at £421.28.

6.    Green oasis in Sopwell Lane:
Roger has spoken with Earthworks - they are interested in finding out more about our project. Roger will arrange a meeting between our sub-committee (Cathy [if available], Mary, Phil) and the potential project manager from Earthworks.
Cllr Will Tucker suggested that we might try to involve a parent in the design.
Cllr Jacqui Taylor has suggested that we might include a cycle stand.

7.    Car charging points in our area:
St Albans District Council, Herts County Council and national Government all have a part to play in this. SADC is starting to make plans for charging points in the District. It is likely that the first charging points they commission will be in District Council-owned car parks.

8.    Parking changes in Zones M & N and the proposed pinch point in Sopwell Lane:
Cllr Chris White has advised that SADC and HCC have agreed a way forward for a fresh consultation on the proposed pinch point in Sopwell Lane.
Work on the proposals for some revisions in Zones M & N has been delayed due to the need to make improvements in the SADC Parking Department.
Cllr Jacqui Taylor has suggested that it might help to make part of Old London Road available to holders of M, N and P permits.
Jane Harris-Mathews has asked what became of the suggestion that some under-used spaces might be transferred from the hotel car park to the adjacent Keyfield Terrace car park.

9.    Other matters affecting our area:

  • The broken parking sign in Sopwell Lane: The parking sign is still lying on the Green Oasis site, eight months after Roger reported it to SADC. Cllr Will Tucker asked Roger to forward the details so he could chase it.
  • The broken streetlight in Sopwell Lane: The broken streetlight has been replaced by an appropriate new lamp standard. Unfortunately, as so often happens, the new lamp standard is sitting in a puddle of tarmac which has replaced brick paving immediately around it.
  • Recent temporary closure of Sopwell Lane: In late February Sopwell Lane was closed for a couple of days for water supply works. The road closure was unavoidable but the signage to redirect traffic around the closure was comically incompetent. Angela King had drafted a note about it (with photographs). Cllr Will Tucker asked Angela to forward a copy to him.
  • Proposed replacement of gas main in Sopwell Lane: This had been scheduled for next month but has now been postponed indefinitely.
  • Cycle stands for Malthouse Court and elsewhere in our area: Cllr Jacqui Taylor has confirmed that secure cycle storage for Malthouse Court will be provided by SADC Housing Department and is scheduled for the 2020/21 financial year.
    Cllr Jacqui Taylor has suggested that we provide a cycle stand on the Sopwell Lane green oasis.
  • Our second grit bin: Roger and Phil have placed the grit bin on the forecourt of the Hare and Hounds.
  • (Lack of) pavement repairs in Albert Street: Three sections of detached kerb in the parking lay-by next to the entrance to the Clarion Hotel car park had been reported to HCC. Two sections have been repaired (somewhat clumsily) but one has been left untouched (and pieces of kerbstone are lying loose on the pavement). Barry Knight had brought this to the attention of Cllr Chris White, who is following it up with HCC.
  • On-way street & 20 MPH Zone signs at entry to Albert Street: One of these signs has been turned to face the adjacent wall (so is invisible to motorists). Roger reported it to HCC and received the response “assessed in line with our maintenance strategy and has been dealt with accordingly”. This means that no action has been taken. Roger will ask Cllr Chris White (whose budget paid for the sign) to press HCC to do something about it.
  • Hedge trimming in Albert Street car parks: More hedge trimming has taken place in the larger Albert Street car park. As a result, it is once again possible to use all the parking spaces. However the work appears amateurish and the remaining portions of hedge are very untidy.
  • Non-illuminated No entry sign in Albert Street: This was reported on 28th November. HCC passed the problem on to UK Power Networks, who duly dug holes at the foot of the sign and the on other side of Keyfield Terrace, apparently to repair a faulty power supply. Unfortunately this work didn’t restore the illumination to the sign but both HCC and UK Power Networks have now removed the fault report from their database. Roger will ask Cllr Chris White to chase this again.
  • Repairs to a stretch of pavement in Hart Road: Still awaiting HCC’s contractor Ringway to carry out this work (which they have offered to do at no charge).
  • Broken lights in London Road and Keyfield Terrace car park: SADC have appointed a contractor to replace the lights. This was expected to take “a few weeks” (from 27th January). There has been no visible activity so far.
  • Hedge trimming in Keyfield Terrace car park. The hedges have been trimmed again and are much tidier than before. However, the hedge separating the car park from the road is still at head height. This hedge used to be kept much lower (at one point it was about knee height) to improve vehicle security and deter drug dealing. Roger will ask if this hedge could be reduced to a metre or less.
  • Street cleaning in our area: Roger was invited to a meeting with an SADC Council Officer at which the new street cleaning process for St Albans was explained. Very briefly, the District is divided into areas, each of which is the responsibility of a “village” cleaning team from the contractors, Veolia. They are to inspect their patch (at fortnightly intervals in our area) and clean it if not up to standard. Cleaning will be by mechanical sweepers supported, where necessary, by hand sweeping, leaf blowing etc. This process is monitored by regular random inspections by SADC. Residents can report poor street cleanliness online (see the Useful Information at the foot of these minutes).

Unfortunately, at present the promised service levels are not being matched by the actions of the teams on the ground. The operatives seem very reluctant to leave their vehicles, so the easy bits of the kerbside are cleaned but the stretches of kerbside where cars are parked, and the pavements, are ignored. Roger will take this up (again) with our new contact at SADC.

10.  City Neighbourhoods Committee:

The CNC is an executive body of St Albans District Council. Its members are District Councillors drawn from the unparished wards in the City centre and co-opted residents’ associations from the same area. The next CNC meeting is 18 March 2020. SAPHRA will be represented by Angela King.

11.  Review of SAPHRA New Year get-together on 21st January: This was quite successful with around a dozen residents attending.

12.  Dates of next meetings: To enable as many people as possible to attend, we now alternate our meetings between Mondays and Tuesdays. Our planned meeting dates for the coming year are: Monday 11 May 2020, Tuesday 14 July 2020, Monday 14 September 2020 (AGM), Tuesday 10 November 2020, Monday 11 January 2021, Tuesday 09 March 2021.

13.  Any other business:

  • Alison Burroughes suggested by email that we connect with Sustainable St Albans to organise a play-street or street party (something that SADC also support). The meeting agreed that this was a good idea.
  • The Civic Society (of which we are a Residents’ Association member) are holding a meeting to discuss the new proposals for the Civic Centre Opportunity Site South on 23rd March, 8 pm at the Cross Street Centre. This is a public meeting, and all are welcome to attend.
  • SADC are holding a presentation by the architects behind the three new proposals for the CCOS South on 25th March, 7pm at the Civic Centre. This is a public meeting, and all are welcome to attend.
  • SADC are running a public survey to collect views in the new proposals for the CCOS South. The survey can be reached online via https://www.stalbans.gov.uk and closes on March 27th.
  • A resident has had several morning milk deliveries stolen from the doorstep. Cllr Will Tucker advised that even apparently trivial thefts such as this should be reported to the police.
  • A resident has suffered verbal abuse when walking past small groups of people congregating in the car park near to the ally that goes past The Beehive. Cllr Will Tucker recommended that anti-social behaviour such as this should also be reported to the police.




   Useful information


Our website

Neighbourhood Watch
SAPHRA members are encouraged to sign up for the OWL (The Hertfordshire Police Online Watch Liaison) scheme via www.owl.co.uk. SAPHRA can also provide OWL sign-up forms to any interested party on request.  For those members who do not have email it is possible to obtain OWL Messages via a home (landline) phone.

Highways fault reporting
Potholes, street lights not working, blocked drains etc. can be reported to Hertfordshire County Council at: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk. Follow the link to Potholes & faulty streetlights.

Street cleaning issues
Litter, fly-tipping, overflowing litter bins etc. can be reported to St Albans District Council online at: https://www.stalbans.gov.uk. Follow the link to Recycling and rubbish, then Street cleaning.

Agendas and minutes for District Council meetings can be found at:
https://www.stalbans.gov.uk. Follow the link to View more services, then Council and elections, then Meetings, agenda, minutes & webcasts.

Details of planning applications can be found at:
https://www.stalbans.gov.uk. Follow the link to Planning and Building Control, Then View & track planning applications.

Civic Society
SAPHRA is a Residents' Association member of the St Albans Civic Society. You can view their latest newsletter at  www.stalbanscivicsociety.net

Opening times and locations of the St Albans foodbanks run by the Trussell Trust:
Tuesdays: 1 – 3 pm  Christ Church, 3 High Oaks, New Greens AL3 6 DJ
Tuesdays: 4:00– 5:30 pm Cunningham Hub, Cell Barnes Lane AL1 5PX
Wednesdays: 12:30 – 2:30 pm  Christadelphian Church Hall, 4-6 Abbotts Avenue AL1 2HX
Thursdays: 12:30 – 2:30 pm   Hilldyke Community Centre, 17 Hilldyke Road AL4 8TU
Fridays: 1:00  - 3:00 pm    Holcroft Road, Batford AL5 5BQ
More information from: www.stalbansdistrict.foodbank.org.uk. Tel.: 01727 613 019.

Noise pollution:
To make an online complaint about noise go to: https://www.stalbans.gov.uk. Follow the link to View more services, then Environment and sustainability, then Environmental services, then Noise nuisances.

On Friday and Saturday nights St Albans District Council operate an out-of-hours noise patrol service, which deals with noise complaints.  You can contact the duty team on 01727 811155 between 6pm and 3am.

The District Council also operates a Licensing Hotline to report complaints about Licensed Premises (pubs, clubs, restaurants etc.) out of hours. The number is 07770 701720.

Herts Careline:
Community alarms for older and vulnerable people in Hertfordshire