Estate AGM Minutes: 2016

SOUTHCOTE PARK ESTATE MANAGEMENT

Trustee Trustee Trustee Trustee
Mr M Amos Vacant Mr JG Cook M Saligova-Smith
Chair Treasurer Secretary
Vacant Mr JG Cook Jo Greenbank
87 Kenilworth Ave 94 Kenilworth Ave

Minutes
Annual General Meeting, 12th April 2016
The Grange Church - Circuit Lane

1.Welcome - The meeting opened at 19.45 with a welcome by the Treasurer (John Cook).
It was noted that apologies had been received from a number of residents.

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

3.Matters Arising - The following matters arising were noted from the 2015 meeting:

  • Increased signage regarding the 20MPH speed limit had been put up across the Estate, including the wheelie bin stickers and the additional lamppost signs.
  • The sign at the end of Monks Way has been reinstated - in designing the new sign, we took advice from the Private Roads Association and found a more affordable option for production. The Committee intend to replace the missing sign at the end of Kenilworth Avenue (shops end) with the new design and are going to consider installing consistent signs across the whole Estate. Feedback from residents at the AGM was that the new design is good.
  • The tree outside No 1 Kenilworth Ave was removed and works have started to repair the grass verge.
  • Mike Amos reported on the discussions he had held with residents in Monks Way, which had concluded that there was no overwhelming interest which would necessitate a change as to which end of Monks Way is closed off (unless the Elvian development has a serious impact).

4. Committee Report to Residents - Treasurer
John thanked the committee for their contributions this year and asked all residents to recognise that the Committee Members are also residents who give up their time, unpaid, to keep our Estate in good order.

In terms of works, John reported that it has been a fairly quiet year with mainly routine maintenance, other than the items reported under Matters Arising above.

John explained that there is one issue that we have been well aware of, which is the development on the Elvian school site. A few residents responded to the planning application with their concerns, and John personally spoke at both the planning meetings that considered the application. At the first meeting the approval was deferred for further traffic analysis and at the second meeting it was approved but only after the addition of a school drop off area accessed via Bath Road. John is still concerned about the traffic and parking aspects of the plans, however he noted that the traffic plans are driven by the requirements of the council, not the developers. John has spoken to the developers and they said they are guided by the council - for example they could not add access to the site at the Leibenrood Road junction because the council officers said that would be unacceptable. John has also talked to them about parking during the construction phase and they assure that given the size of the site all vehicles should be able to park on the site itself. They are also prepared to assist with temporary signs if necessary. John added that in considering planning applications, the numbers of respondents carries weight and asked that if residents have concerns, they are asked to respond themselves through the council processes.

John also explained that around the issue of the development of the Elvian site, one resident in Monks way became concerned about the status of the copse at the end of Monks Way. The Elvian plans themselves say nothing about the copse - it is after all not part of the site. As many residents may recall the copse is part of our Estate but is maintained by the council. Its status has not changed since 1959 when the works to modify the junction with Southcote Lane were carried out. As part of the dialogue around this issue the Highways Dept confirmed that they have no plans to carry out any works which may affect the copse now or in the foreseeable future.

Finally, John mentioned that looking forward the Committee plan to review the "Constitution and Rules" as written in 1996 to ensure that they remain appropriate today. If any resident would like to input anything in this regard please contact any member of the Committee.

6. Financial Update
a) Financial statement on the back of the agenda: John confirmed that the accounts have once again been checked and signed off by Mrs Perera - thanks were expressed to her. It was noted that the year end is 1st March in order that the accounts can be checked before the AGM, and it is proposed that this be captured in the amended Constitution and Rules.

John confirmed that all levies were fully paid last year, and that around 75% have already been paid this year.

The financial statement was accepted unanimously by the meeting and John was thanked for his work.

b) Projected Income And Expenditure- John provided a copy of the 10 year spreadsheet showing the last five years and then projections for the next 5, explaining that prices have been inflated by 5% year on year. In respect of trees, there is some work to do to check any which may need replacing, and a walk-around with the Arborist will take place in May. A couple of residents mentioned concerns over some trees (outside 25 Monks Way and 37/39 Monks Way) which will be checked on. John mentioned that within the projected expenditure there is a road resurface for 16/17, with the costs based on a quote received in 2015. John explained that the Committee do not feel it necessary to carry out the road re-surface in this financial year, but they will keep an eye on it and some repairs may be required before the actual re-surface.

c) Levy for 2016/17. - John explained that the Committee recommend keeping the levy £110 and this was agreed unanimously.

6. Nominations for the Committee Posts
John confirmed his willingness to continue in the role of Treasurer, and Jo confirmed her willingness to continue in the role of Secretary. These nominations were proposed by Mr Brown and seconded by Mr Crook. The meeting confirmed John and Jo in the Treasurer and Secretary roles.

The meeting registered their thanks to all the Committee and the Officials for their time and efforts. Any resident interested in joining the Committee was asked to contact Jo Greenbank.

John explained that Jo Greenbank has agreed to be fill the vacant Trustee position and the solicitors are in the process of sorting this out.

7. Formal Proposals To The AGM
a) Mr Smith had proposed that white lines be painted along the kerb edges at the end of each road as a deterrent to stop people parking. In a vote the residents at the meeting overwhelmingly rejected this proposal, noting that white lines are not enforceable and that it may show people the way into the road, rather than stopping them. However, the issue generated a general discussion around people parking in the road, including the issue of non-residents' parking, particularly at the Beefeater end of Kenilworth Ave. Suggestions which the Committee will take away to consider to tackle this issue included the issuing of resident and visitor identification discs for their cars and the use of a private company to enforce the rules around parking and impose fines. Where residents are concerned about people who do not live on the Estate parking outside their houses, then the Committee can provide a notice that residents could put on cars - although it was noted that this action needs to be done by residents, and cannot be done by the Committee, as we do not know which car may belong to a resident or may simply not be there at the right time. It was proposed that the issue be revisited at the next AGM.

b) Mr Smith had also raised the issue of the lights and queried whether the bulbs were bright enough. There was mixed feeling about this issue amongst residents, with some people feeling vulnerable and preferring to have brighter lights, but others feeling the lights are too bright, especially when outside someone's bedroom, for example. It was noted that bulbs are being replaced when they fail with a slightly brighter light but that we are limited by the type of lamp we have and that we have to use LED bulbs now. It was noted that with trees on the Estate, they will always interfere with some of the light. The Committee agreed to review the position and to also consider that we undertake a proper clean of the lamps to see if that would make a difference

c) Mr Brown had suggested putting in electronic gates as an access control measure and was due to attend the meeting with costs, but he did not attend. John explained that the issue of access has been discussed over many years, and noted that whatever we do will disrupt residents. It was suggested that a traffic survey could be conducted so we can understand the scale of the problem. Mr Hurn noted that Southcote Farm Lane should have a 'No Through Road' sign at its entrance off Southcote Lane and it was suggested we could write to the Council about this. The Committee will continue to discuss the issues around access control.

d) John explained that the issue of grass verges was added to the Agenda by the Committee over concerns around the state of some of the verges as a result of poor parking and driving over them. We have talked to a contractor who looks after the verges in a private estate in Caversham and having walked around our Estate, they identified around 20 verges which require 'urgent' action at a cost of around £600. It was noted that it is not always possible to know who has done damage to the verge because there are a number of contractors who work on the street, either on individual properties or on things like the gas works. It was suggested that we need to be clearer on why it's important that the grass verges are maintained and not damaged, particular explaining the vulnerability of the soft kerb where the grass meets the road. Other suggestions from residents including putting stones on the verge to act as a deterrent, although some people feel they spoil the aesthetic, or putting notes on cars that do park on the verges to remind them not to. The Committee are to take forward an action to get the work done to repair the worst affected verges, to write to the residents at those properties explaining the action we're taking now, and doing a note to all residents about the importance of the verges and the actions we would need to take, and the financial consequences, if the damage continues.

8. A.O.B.
Pauline Sharpe noted that a resident in Monks Way has a problem with a tree in a neighbour's garden - John explained that if it is overhanging the pavement and causing a safety issue or interfering with the Estate's trees, that the Committee can contact the owner, or landlord of the property, about what maintenance is required.

The meeting closed at 9.00pm
(Attendance 36 residents from 28 properties)