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
Notes of SAPHRA Meeting held on Monday 21 November 2022 at 8pm
at the White Hart Hotel, Holywell Hill
1. Present: Officials: Chair, Vice Chair, Minutes Secretary
Cllr Jacqui Taylor
1 resident of Sopwell Lane
1 resident of Malthouse Court
2 residents of Albert Street
1 resident of Pageant Road
1 resident of Saracens Head Yard
2 residents of Hart Road
2. Apologies for absence: Cllr Chris White, and 5 residents
3. Subjects discussed at the meeting were:
- Finances and bank account:
Our available funds currently stand at £461.28.
SAPHRA’s account with HSBC was closed a year ago and their cheque for the balance of the account is still awaited. It has now been promised within 7 days. If no cheque is received within that time a formal complaint will be made to a named contact at their Head Office. A new account in the name of SAPHRA has been opened at Metro Bank and is fully functional.
- Herts County Council - High Street Recovery Trial:
The gates to close various streets have now been put in place. The current position is that Market Place and George Street are closed to traffic all the time (apart from a morning window for deliveries) and High Street will be closed at weekends. This current trial is for 12 months.
Details of these arrangements can be found at: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/acabdf48c9a7424594eb253b305b57a7
You can respond to the ongoing consultation about the road closures at:
- Herts County Council – Active Travel Scheme – Safe Cycle Route:
The proposed trial of a barrier in Old London Road won’t be going ahead but Cllr Chris White is hoping to salvage some other parts of the scheme.
- St Albans City Vision:
St Albans District Council held a City Vision Workshop recently. Cllr Chris White gave a summary of workshop feedback at the last CNC meeting. The aim is to create a vision for the City Centre and incorporate it into the Local Plan that is currently being prepared. The Local Plan will eventually need to be approved by the Secretary of State.
- St Albans District Council proposals for the City Centre Opportunity Site North and Culture:
As a result of rampant inflation and the greatly increased cost of borrowing all investigations and planning work will inevitably be delayed.
It was suggested that these delays may provide an opportunity to prepare a cultural strategy for St Albans.
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- St Albans District Council Car Parking Strategy Consultation:
The recent on-line Parking Consultation survey received 3,000 responses. A general summary of those results is available on the District Council website. St Albans District Council will now go ahead and prepare a new parking strategy.
- St Albans District Council City Neighbourhoods Committee:
The CNC met on 12 October 2022. Roger represented SAPHRA. The subjects discussed included:
Discussion and adoption of revised Terms of Reference for the CNC, maintenance of green spaces in St Albans and planning permission for Solar panels in the Conservation Area.
Note that St Albans District Council now has an online form for reporting issues with the maintenance of green spaces (it is linked from SAPHRA’s website).
- On-street parking and the proposed pinch-point in Sopwell Lane:
All work by District Council Officers had been put on hold due to HCC proposals for a road closure in Old London Road. Once SADC receives formal notification from HCC that the road closure will not be taking place, SADC officers will resume work.
- The green oasis in Sopwell Lane:
A working party has been meeting once a fortnight, on Sundays at 11am, to tidy and clear the site of debris and to dig over the rear border for planting with wildflowers and hedgerow saplings. A small pond has been set up and a bug hotel is in the process of being made. If anyone has cuttings of any non-invasive plants that require low maintenance, please contact SAPHRA. Offers of help with planting would also be gratefully received (by email to email@example.com).
Cllr Jacqui Taylor will enquire about whether a mature tree can be planted on the site as part of the Queen’s Canopy or to celebrate the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
SAPHRA is still waiting to find out if it can be arranged for John O’Connor to continue to cut the grass, but with blades set higher, to enable small wild plants to take hold.
- SAPHRA Christmas meal:
The venue has been booked and deposit paid. A reminder will be sent to attendees a few days before the event.
- SAPHRA Christmas card:
The Christmas card has been printed and paid for and will be delivered during December.
- Date of Annual General Meeting
SAPHRA’s AGM will be held on Tuesday 10th January 2023 at 8pm in the first-floor meeting room (Resident’s Lounge) in the White Hart Hotel, 23-25 Holywell Hill, St Albans, AL1 1EZ.
- Any Other Business:
- Parking Infringements:
There have been recent instances of cars parked in Residents’ parking bays for many consecutive days without a permit but without attracting a penalty notice. Cllr Taylor informed the meeting that due to inconsistencies in the training of several Parking Officers working in this vicinity there have been some discrepancies in practice. Since this was corrected there have been no further cases to report. Cllr Jacqui Taylor and residents will continue to monitor the situation.
It was mentioned that illegal parking can be reported by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- District Council & Veolia - Waste and recycling survey:
Roger informed the meeting about this survey and felt that it was important that residents should respond to the survey and share their opinions in order to help enable an improved service based upon the needs of the householders. The link to the survey is below:
Save the Ver petition:
Cllr Simon Grover is asking residents to sign a petition asking Affinity Water to stop taking water from the River Ver. You can find the petition at the link below:
- Elsie Toms’ Tree:
An enquiry had previously been made as to the whereabouts of a tree that had been planted, several years back, in memory of prominent local resident Elsie Toms. Roger discovered an entry in ‘The Remarkable Trees of St Albans’ by Kate Bretherton that mentioned the tree. It was a Tulip Tree that had been planted in the Abbey Orchard, but sadly no trace of it remains. There is however now a Blue Plaque celebrating Elsie Toms in Normandy Road, where she had lived.
- Solar Panels:
Some of our residents would be unable to install Solar Panels because Conservation Area rules, and Article 4 rules where applicable, mean that an installation on a south-facing roof slope that faced the street could struggle to get planning permission. There is no definitive answer to this question, as yet. A District Council policy supporting solar panels in the Conservation Area would help many residents, but not those with properties in in Article 4 streets.
- Sopwell Lane Recycling:
It was reported that quite often the contents of the recycling boxes were emptied into the wrong departments on the refuse truck which made a nonsense of the process. Cllr Jacqui Taylor made a note of the details.
- Sopwell Lane Traffic:
Angela reported that several cars had been driving the wrong way down Sopwell Lane. One of the one-way only signs had been twisted round at the Holywell Hill end and some drivers, unfamiliar with the area, were mistakenly turning right into Sopwell Lane. Cllr Jacqui Taylor made a note of the details.
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