Minutes of the meeting on 25 July 2023


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 Tuesday 25 July 2023 at 8pm
at the White Hart Hotel, Holywell Hill, St Albans


Present:   Officials:  Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary

Cllr J. Taylor
Plus 3 residents of Sopwell Lane, 1 resident of Albert Street, 1 resident of Pageant Road, 1 resident of Hart Road 1 resident of Saracens Head Yard

Apologies for absence: Cllr S. Grover, Cllr J. Voisey, Cllr C. White and 3 residents


The main subjects discussed at the meeting were:


1. Finances and bank account:
The balance in our account with Metro Bank currently stands at £461.28.


2. Appointment of new Treasurer:
Anthony Hyde having resigned as our Treasurer and Tim Boatswain having kindly volunteered to take over as our Treasurer, the meeting agreed that the following changes should be made in respect of our account with Metro Bank St Albans:
- Anthony Hyde should be removed from the list of authorised signatories (with much thanks for his service over several years)

- Tim Boatswain was confirmed as Treasurer and should be added to the list of signatories
- The current Chair (Roger Morton) and Vice Chair (Angela King) should continue to be authorised signatories
- The signing arrangements for the account should continue to be two to sign
- The address for correspondence & statements of account should be changed from Anthony Hyde’s address to Tim Boatswain’s address


3. District Council consultation on Local Plan:
- The District Council has published a draft Local Plan for consultation. This is an important document which identifies land for business, infrastructure, and housing over a 17-year period.
- The District Council strongly encourages all residents to read the draft plan and give feedback. Feedback will be analysed, and the draft Local Plan modified accordingly before a second consultation, which is scheduled for summer 2024.
- You can read the Plan and supporting documents, see a video explaining it, and complete a questionnaire & survey on the District Council website at https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/new-local-plan. You don’t have to comment on everything – comments from individuals on aspects of the plan about which they feel strongly or have knowledge will be welcome.
- A copy of the Local Plan is available in St Albans Library, in The Maltings Centre, whenever the library is open.
- There will be an exhibition about the draft Local Plan in The Civic Centre on Monday 11th September from 2pm until 8pm. Council Officers will attend and will be happy to answer questions.,
- SAPHRA plans to hold a workshop about the Local Plan in late August or early September. More details of this will follow.

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4. Changes to parking permits
- Residents parking permits are now issued and recorded electronically, and paper permits will no longer be issued. Existing quarterly or annual permits are still valid until expiry, but the paper permit can be removed from your vehicle. You will be sent a reminder before your permit expires.
- Visitor parking permits are also now issued electronically. Existing paper visitor permits will need to be used by the end of October 2024.


5. The green oasis in Sopwell Lane:
- A Weigela plant and a plaque have been purchased as a memorial for Phil Fletcher. The plant has already been planted in the hollowed-out tree stump on the site and the plaque will shortly be attached alongside it.
- A water butt has been installed on the site to enable occasional watering, a bug hotel will soon be erected by the rear wall and grass seed has been sown in the worst of the bald patches.
- Two residents generously gave donations towards the memorial and the bug hotel. After deducting donations, the net expenditure on the memorial was £15.97 and on the other items was £41.48. The meeting agreed that these expenses would be met from SAPHRA’s funds.
- The District Council City Neighbourhoods Committee Council has agreed in principle to fund the erection of wooden posts along the front edge of the green oasis to prevent any further vehicles parking on the site. Thanks to Cllr Taylor for arranging this.
- Some trees have recently been removed from the green oasis and the stumps apparently treated to prevent regrowth. We weren’t expecting this to happen. Cllr Taylor offered to find out if this was maintenance work by John O’Connor (the Council’s grounds maintenance contractor).


A blog by Annie about the green oasis project can be viewed at:


6. District Council City Neighbourhoods Committee (CNC):
The City Neighbourhoods Committee comprises 9 Councillors representing city centre wards plus co-opted members from Residents’ Associations in the city centre. The CNC fulfils some of the functions that would be covered by a parish council for the city centre.
- Residents’ Associations on the CNC met informally with Cllr White, Council Leader, on 27th June
- Residents’ Associations on the CNC also met with Cllrs & Officers on 10th July for a briefing on the draft Local Plan and the consultation process
- The CNC itself met on 20th July. Main topics covered were an update on the city centre pedestrianisation trial, the consultation on the Local Plan and community litter picking (which is encouraged). The next CNC meeting will be on 11th October. Full details of CNC meetings are available on SADC’s website.

7. Central Combined Residents Associations (CCRA):
SAPHRA is a member of this group which meets regularly. It provides a useful forum for exchanging news and views with other RAs and for co-ordinating their approach to CNC.
- The focus of the CCRA is currently the consultation on the draft Local Plan
- It also recently discussed the rail/freight interchange, home EV charging, a proposed funfair on Bernards Heath (now not happening) and issues with waste collections.
- A CCRA working group continues to be involved in the review of trials of city centre road closures
- The CCRA has established a Travel & Movement Group to work with all stakeholders towards a travel & movement plan for the City. The aim is to achieve a more coherent plan than Hertfordshire County Council’s apparently ad-hoc proposals that are presented from time to time. That group met with Cllrs White & Walkington on 18th July.

8. A Summer get-together for residents:
The Summer get-together has had to be rescheduled for late August / early September. More details will follow.

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9. Date of next meeting
SAPHRA’s next meeting will be held on Tuesday 5th September 2023 at 8pm in the first-floor meeting room (Resident’s Lounge) in The White Hart Hotel, 23-25 Holywell Hill.


10. Any Other Business:

Electric Vehicle charging in District Council car parks
- A question was asked “If charging a vehicle at a public charging point in a District Council car park do you have to pay for parking in addition to paying to use the charging point?” The view of the meeting was probably not, but we will find out and report back.


11. Upcoming events

Wednesday 16th August 2023 at 7.30 pm – The Essence of Greek Tragedy
Tim Boatswain, Professor of Anthropology and History, expert on Byzantine Studies and all matters Greek, teams up with a talented troupe of OVO actors to provide an entertaining and enthralling introduction to classical theatre in the spectacular and authentic setting of the Roman Theatre of Verulamium. Tickets from https://ovo.org.uk.

- Saturday 12th September 2023 at 6 pm– Dr Nathaniel Cotton and the Collegium Insanorum.
St Albans Blue Plaques and It’s OK To Say present From Cotton to Kabat-Zinn: A brief history of the treatment of depression. In Toast, 6 Waddington Road AL3 5EX.

A charity event featuring history, poetry, drinks & nibbles. Tickets at £17.95 will be available shortly.

Useful information about a range of local services can be found through our website…