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 7 November 2023 at 8pm
at the White Hart Hotel, Holywell Hill, St Albans
Present: Officials: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Minutes Secretary
Cllr. J. Taylor, Cllr. J. Voisey, Cllr. C. White
Plus 1 resident of Sopwell Lane, 1 resident of Malt House Court, 1 resident of Pageant Road, 2 residents of Hart Road, 1 resident of Saracens Head Yard
Apologies for absence: 3 residents
The main subjects discussed at the meeting were:
Finances and banking arrangements:
- Our expenditure since the last meeting was £57.45 (a reimbursement agreed at an earlier meeting), so the balance in our account with Metro Bank currently stands at £403.83.
- The signing arrangements for the account have been changed to enable us to make payments by bank transfer. In future one authorised signature will be sufficient for cheques and instructions to the bank and one authorised signatory will be sufficient to authorise online payment instructions.
- Metro Bank have not yet updated the Treasurer’s address. We will chase this.
2. Update on District Council consultation on Local Plan:
- Cllr. White talked about the responses to the Section 18 consultation on the Draft Local Plan. An encouraging number of responses have been received from residents, local organisations, neighbouring Local Authorities, and utilities. The responses are being evaluated and the Officer in charge of the process had advised that, overall, the quality of the responses is good.
- The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 has received the Royal Assent and could potentially lead to a change in the home building target for St Albans District. However, the act leaves it to the Secretary of State to make any changes to targets and until, and unless, that happens the current target remains in place.
3. Update on parking and pinch point in Sopwell Lane:
- The officer in charge of the review of parking in Zones M and N is still on jury service. Work will resume on her return.
- A proposal has been put forward to build out at the end of Sopwell Lane to improve safety for pedestrians who wish to cross.
- Cllr. White is still working on getting the pothole in Sopwell Lane (by May Cottage) fixed.
4 Update on Central Combined Resident’s Associations:
The last meeting was 6th November 2023. The group spent much of the summer preparing and submitting a combined response to the Draft Local Plan and is now considering what to focus on next.
5. Update on City Neighbourhoods Committee:
- The last CNC meeting was 11th October 2023.
Subjects discussed at this meeting were: an update on pedestrianisation trials, SADC Pre-budget update and an update on Local Plan consultation.
The next formal CNC meetings will be in February and March 2024
- The co-opted CNC members also meet periodically with Cllr White and senior officers – all parties find these meetings useful and it is planned that they will continue.
6. The green oasis in Sopwell Lane:
- Several black bags of horse manure, acquired for the green oasis plant borders, have been removed from the site (possibly due to the Green Spaces team mistaking them for unwanted green waste). Anything we want to keep must be clearly labelled to save any further confusion.
- Cllr. Taylor said we should be hearing soon about the insertion of wooden posts on the oasis.
- A new bug annex will be erected on the East corner of the site in the coming weeks.
- A decision has been made to return to the short grass cut as the larger unwanted plants e.g., Alkanet, Cow Parsley are taking over the lawn. It will also make areas of dog fouling more visible to walkers.
- We are hoping to fund information boards for the green oasis through a grant from the City Neighbourhoods Committee. Cllr. Taylor suggested that we should put a proposal together and submit our application soon.
7. Our Christmas meal:
- Our Christmas meal is open to everyone who has participated in at least one of our meetings plus a guest. The arrangements have been made and invitations issued to everyone eligible.
8. Our seasonal greetings card:
- The card has been prepared and SALPS printers have been asked to quote for producing it (it has cost £20.00 in recent years). When it is ready, we will ask for volunteers to help deliver it.
- The card will include notice of / an invitation to our next meeting / AGM.
9. Our New Year get-together for residents:
- We discussed possible dates and venues, but none of the options were entirely satisfactory for one reason or another. (After the meeting the Chair & Secretary decided that it would be better to postpone a get-together until the Spring. We can discuss options for that at our next meeting.)
10: Next meeting (including AGM):
- Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 16 January 2024 at 8pm in the first-floor meeting room (Resident’s Lounge) in The White Hart Hotel, 23-25 Holywell Hill.
11. Any Other Business
- Parking survey for zones M&N. The survey closed on 8th September, and we are still awaiting the results.
- Professor Tim Boatswain, our Treasurer, will be giving a talk on “Succubus, grotesques, gargoyles and sheela na gigs” to the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society (SAHAAS) on January 23rd.
- It was mentioned that food waste was not being collected regularly from Malthouse Court and that recycling collection crews in Sopwell Lane had been seen mixing cardboard with glass/plastics. Cllr. Taylor explained that it would assist SADC to correct such problems if reports could be made, ideally online through MyStAlbans, whenever issues were noticed.
- Post meeting note on recycling: Cllr. Taylor advised that the responsible Officer had explained that in conservation area streets with boxes the crews try to get down streets quickly as they are almost always holding traffic up. They typically empty all the household boxes into assist bins. Mostly a crew member might have two assist bins, one for the plastic/glass/tins and one for paper/card and may be seen pushing one, pulling the other. Sometimes, depending on the street, they might only have one and put mostly glass/plastic into it but then tip some card/paper on top and lift this card/paper out at the vehicle into the correct compartment in the waste vehicle. The fact the paper/card is all together from a box means they can do this quite easily and it is quicker than going back and forth for different boxes. Contamination rates are measured and have gone down (this is good) in the last few months in St Albans, so if a crew was causing problems with high contamination rates it would get picked up and addressed.
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