Estate AGM Minutes: 2014

SOUTHCOTE PARK ESTATE MANAGEMENT

Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee
Mr M Amos Mr NV Williams Mr JG Cook M Saligova-Smith
Chair Treasurer Secretary
Vacant Mr JG Cook N Burn
87 Kenilworth Ave 27 Kenilworth Ave

Minutes
Annual General Meeting, 8 May 2014
The Grange Church - Circuit Lane

NOTE - The Annual levy is due on 1 April each year.
If residents have not paid this year's levy (£120), it is now overdue. Please pay the treasurer or your relevant Committee member. If you have any problems with making payment, please let the Treasurer know.

All Residents are reminded to:

  • Keep to the speed limit of 20mph
  • Water newly planted trees regularly
  • Refrain from parking on the grass verges; where possible park on driveways
  • Cut back foliage overhanging pathways
  • Clear fallen trees to prevent drain blockages
  • Keep dogs on leads when walking on the estate

1.Welcome - The meeting opened at 19.30 with a welcome by the Treasurer.
Apologies had been received from four residents.

2.Minutes - The minutes of the last AGM were agreed by the meeting.

3.Matters Arising - There were no specific actions or matters arising from the last meeting.

4. Committee Report to Residents - Treasurer
John Cook noted that in terms of work undertaken in the last 12 months there was relatively little to report. As discussed at last year¿s AGM, reserves have been much lower than normal after paying the final instalment on the footpath resurfacing. However, apart from routine work on trees and lights there was no other major work. Expenditure on almost all budget lines has been lower than forecast.

Although not our work, the major event on the estate has been the replacement of the gas mains. We did not know about this when we started the footpath resurfacing programme, but as we explained in the note circulated before the work commenced, there was nothing we could do even if we wanted to stop it. In practice of course, it a good thing that the rusting mains have been replaced, as this will avoid any costs of replacing the supply pipes for decades to come. The Committee requested Southern Gas Networks to make good by completely resurfacing the paths but their legal obligation was only to repair the holes. The repairs seem to be of good quality and there is a 2 year guarantee in case of subsidence ¿ although the holes were filled with new material and well compacted. The verges have been seeded and SGN will check in six months if this has been effective and will reseed where needed.

Street Lights
Regarding the street lights we do have an issue coming up. The parts for the sodium lights are becoming obsolete, difficult to source and increasingly expensive. The Council confirmed they have thousands of similar lights that they are steadily replacing with modern LED equivalents. While we continue to look for sources of spares for our existing lights, the committee also decided to trial direct replacement LED bulbs that have recently come on to the market. Two LED lights have been installed at the closed end of Monk¿s Way. As they are white, they give a slightly different appearance, but are about the same brightness. While we should be able to continue to source spares for the sodium lamps for a while, we may be forced to change eventually. On the positive side, the cost of repairs will be substantially lower with the LED bulbs as they don¿t require as many other parts and, as the life of the lamps is also significantly longer. The cost of replacing all the bulbs on the estate is estimated at about £1,200 plus VAT which should quickly be recovered in savings on repairs.

A question was asked to clarify what the Committee will do at the current time when a street light stops working. John confirmed that for now we will continue to replace the bulbs with sodium (SOX) bulbs, but over the next year we will decide whether (and when) to convert based on feedback from residents, availability of spares and cost. Residents are invited to send their comments to the Secretary about the new bulbs when they have had a chance to look at the lamps in Monks Way.

Adoption of the Estate
While speaking to the Council, John also sought their current views about adoption of the estate, if that was what we wanted, or became necessary because we could no longer manage on our own. Two residents had informally raised this query - not as a formal proposal but just as a matter of information. The Council confirmed that before they would consider adopting, they would carry out structural surveys of the roads (i.e. dig test holes), inspect every drain and street light and then specify what work would be required to bring the estate up to current Council standards. The residents would have to pay for the survey work and for any improvement work. In practice, just rebuilding the roads with modern foundations is likely to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds so each individual house would be liable for a charge of thousands of pounds. We therefore have no plans to go down that route.

6. Financial Update
a) The Financial statement, circulated with the agenda, has been verified by one of the residents (Mrs Perera), who is a qualified accountant. The Committee extend their thanks to her for that. The financial statement was accepted unanimously by the meeting

It was noted that levies were fully paid last year. However, during year for the first time in our memory, court proceedings were started to recover the levy from one resident (as requested by the AGM in recent years). Within weeks of the actual court hearing, the judge instructed us to seek to settle by mediation (a free service) and the levy was subsequently paid. It was also noted that a gift of £50 was given to a charity on the death of John Rimmer in appreciation of his work on the Committee for many years.

b) Projected Income/expenditure- the Treasurer circulated a spreadsheet showing projected income and expenditure over the next 8 years (attached). The Treasurer noted that all expenses are expected to be kept to a similar level in the coming year. However, with the probability of needing to resurface the road in three years time, there is a need to build up reserves. Note that the cost of replacing the lights (see above) is not included in this spreadsheet.

c) Set Levy for 2015/16. - It was recommended that the levy be maintained at £100 for 2015/16 and this was unanimously agreed by the meeting.
NOTE: as at 8 May, 38 levies remained outstanding for the current year (2014/15) and residents are reminded to make payment as soon as possible.

6. Nominations for the Committee Posts
The position of Chair has been vacant for some time. The Treasurer noted that preferably someone from the Committee would take this on as it may be difficult for someone new to do so. Annabel encouraged others to join the Committee in order to get some new blood. Any resident interested in joining the committee should contact the Secretary - you would be welcome at any committee meeting to see what is involved.

In the absence of others offers, John Cook and Nick Burn expressed their willingness to continue as Treasurer and Secretary respectively and the meeting confirmed them in these roles. The meeting registered their thanks to all the Committee and the Officials for their time and efforts.

7. Proposal on Tree Planting
In the past, the AGM requested that in order to maintain the character of the Estate, only flowering tree should be planted. As a result of a disease that affects flowering cherries, Leila Gibbs - the committee member who oversees the maintenance of the trees - submitted the following proposal: In light of the presence of honey fungus, to which flowering cherry trees are particularly susceptible, it is proposed that where and when necessary (and only where and when necessary) alternative species of tree (flowering where possible) be planted. This may also apply in the case of other serious diseases, if and when the need arises.

This proposal was unanimously agreed by the meeting. In response to a question about what alternative species might be planted the Committee confirmed with Leila that Whitebeam and Robinia slavinii "Hillieri" are likely alternatives.

8. A.O.B.
The Committee noted that the Council have been contacted with a request to trim back the vegetation in the Spinney at the eastern end of Monks Way as this has become overgrown.

A question was raised about the untaxed white van that has been parked on Kenilworth Avenue for several months. The Treasurer confirmed that the owner has been requested to move it back on to his drive. The question about the status of unlicensed vehicle on the estate was raised and it was noted that such vehicles have been clamped in the past.

The Treasurer requested residents to park vehicles in their driveways whenever possible - the effects of the gas renewal works on parking has given us a stark reminder of what the estate could look like if this is ignored.

The meeting closed at 8.20
(Attendance 27 residents from 20 properties)