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RRA AGM 2011
Held on Wednesday 18th May 2011
At St Edmund's Church Hall, Riddlesdown
The meeting was opened by Brian Longman, RRA Chairman and apologies were given for committee members and local councillors unable to attend the meeting.
Minutes of the previous AGM:
Minutes were distributed to those attending the AGM.
These were approved and taken as an accurate record of the 2010 AGM.
Matters arising from the previous AGM:
Most matters will arise during this AGM and be reported on in detail – for example the land development situation is still ongoing and will be reported on during this AGM.
No cold calling scheme – It was noted the RRA is still exploring such a scheme for Riddlesdown, it is not an easy situation and involves cost implications, etc.
Brian Longman handed over to Bernard Munn, Treasurer to the RRA, who explained the accounts for the past year (see attachment), highlighting a few key points.
Although the accounts appear to show that income from members subscriptions is very good this past year, in fact due to the timing of subscription collections, some of this income goes across RRA financial years so the income shown on a yearly account basis doesn’t place a financial value for that years membership income, but is rather just a record of membership money received in that financial year. Some of the income from membership subscriptions shown in these accounts is actually previous year’s membership subscription payments.
Advertising income from the Recorder magazine advertising is lower than previous income but is still successful in the current economic downturn and thanks were given to the Recorder Editor responsible for raising this income, Nick Bygrave.
It was noted that interest income on investments is down from previous years due to current low interest rates.
The main RRA expenditure is the printing of the Recorder and the RRA Funday, but both are seen as extremely worthwhile.
The RRA Children’s party was cancelled this year and no party was held, however there were still some costs involved of £107.60p, due to the very late cancellation, which happened for weather reasons.
It was noted that the RRA road stewards were each given a bottle of wine and a Christmas Card Thank You for all their hard work, which was well received. This was just a one-
Final Account Position:
The rest of the RRA expenditure is very much as in previous years, leaving an overall small surplus for of £409.75p.
There was one query regarding stationery, which was explained. Ten years ago there was a threat of a motorway going through the area, which leads to SARAC funding to defend the greenbelt. When SARAC wound down the RRA was given this money to use for future greenbelt environmental protection. This was raised at the 2010 AGM and the RRA has liaised with the trustees of the original SARAC and now in this financial year has moved this money into the main RRA fund. Initially this was placed under the woodland appeal, but £1,247.29 correction was made via postage and stationery expenditure to transfer these SARAC monies into the proper account status.
It was noted that the ring fenced Granby Enterprises account heading was initially via the RRA Secretary Karen, via her husband’s company. In the past there were a lot of complaints about Riddlesdown high school and the behaviour of school children and this money was initially for a joint RRA new project working with the high school and school children, encouraging them to appreciate and manage the environment. This project previously printed thousands of booklets still being used by the high school whereby the schoolchildren themselves designed a new walk around Riddlesdown and also designed the booklet themselves as part of the school curriculum. Also local feeder primary schools Atwood and Gresham Schools did and still do this particular walk. This project was put on hold due to legal reasons when the land changed ownership and some of this original funding is now sitting ring fenced in the woodland appeal.
The meeting approved and accepted the 2011 AGM Accounts and Treasurers Report.
Brian Longman then highlighted local matters arising over the past year since the last AGM.
Local Greenbelt Land Development Issues:
Recently a developer bought most of the local land off Taylor Wimpey and then put the majority of this land up for auction. Several sections have been sold. The section of land off Mitchley Avenue near the GP surgery was actually bought by a local resident protecting the greenbelt. Most of the other areas for sale didn’t come up to their full asking price.
The RRA committee made the decision last year that because there are a lot of people buying land, that while the RRA currently has funding in reserve, this is not enough money for the RRA to compete with developers and actually purchase land. The RRA has therefore decided instead to be more involved in proactive protection and enforcement of the land for sale and sold. For example the RRA realised advertisements for the last 2 auctions were misleading, giving the impression to buyers that this land could be used for development and to build houses, which is not the case. After RRA initial action, a letter from Croydon Council was read out at the auction explaining the correct situation and it is noticeable this land was not then sold at auction.
The RRA keeps track of everybody who buys local land although it does take some time to obtain this information. The RRA is also now trying, in keeping with this new approach, to use funding for required professional and legal advice, for example the lease on local fields which are agricultural greenbelt comes up in 2013 and although this is currently farming land, the RRA needs to understand things such as the legal and EU situation regarding agricultural land, etc.
Flat Development Proposal in Lower Barn Road -
Croydon Council have put woodland orders on some of the land e.g. the woodland in Honister Heights.
Brian Longman reported that the RRA are talking to the school about what they might want to do about land near the school, etc.
Some of the fences around the old horse’s field are starting to come down. The RRA is currently trying to get the fences repaired and to make this area of land as safe as possible. That particular field has Article 4 greenbelt protection in place, so fences cannot just be put up without permission but existing fences can be repaired. At present the RRA has two options, to do repairs itself working with the Council or to get the people owning these plots of land to act themselves. So far the RRA has written to 2 people owning these plots but has had no reaction 6-
The high school bid for two plots of land and was successful. The school saw their purchase as safeguarding their area. The head of Riddlesdown Collegiate spoke at the RRA AGM last year, including speaking about how improve the school. The wood the school has purchased has tree preservation orders on it and is greenbelt and the school are talking to the RRA and have promised they will only act in line with what the RRA and the Corporation of London wants. It was noted the good relationship between the school and local residents with the new headmaster.
There were questions if the school could turn the track near the school into a car park – it was noted that this is a byway which will/must be maintained.
There were further questions about large trees there and it was explained these trees have preservation orders on them and it was again noted that the school wants to be part of the local community and is proactively discussing protection of greenbelt.
Golf club planning situation:
The golf club is the owner of the land from the end of the shops up to the railway bridge in Lower Barn Road and has been trying to build flats on this land.
The golf club won a public appeal.
The current situation is that the golf club can build flats but can’t occupy these flats due to the telephone mast situated there unless it is moved.
This is an O2 mast and they recently applied to mast share with Vodafone.
The RRA has suggested the concept of mast sharing for a long time to phone providers.
02 actually initially got this mast through the planning ‘back door’ on a technicality of timing with Croydon Council.
It is now a 3G mast and also sharing facility with Vodafone and is also going to be 2G for older type phones which a lot of people do still use. The current service for the older type of phones is very poor in this area and at present the 2G service is not working and the RRA is chasing this up.
It is also chasing up the colour of the mast as it was supposed to be a particular colour of green and is currently different greens.
The RRA has objected to a new block of flats being built in this area because this area regularly floods and the proposed new flat development would additionally be a major blow to the local shops as the current flat development does not have parking for all the flats, so that they would then have to park cars where people currently park to use local shops, detracting from the community and those local businesses. It is generally very difficult to park in that area anyway.
The RRA is currently actively following the ongoing situation and will report on future developments regarding this matter.
Planning & Environment:
Brian Longman introduced Phil Thomas, the RRA planning officer and the meeting thanked Phil for his hard work on local planning matters.
Brian also reported that Phil is also involved environmental work and reports on local planning and environmental matters regularly in the Recorder and RRA Website.
In particular it was noted that at present the RRA is in particular trying to improve the situation with Purley Oaks Recycling Centre. There were plans to redesign this site with better access, but this is on hold at present.
Riddlesdown has a large number of footpaths in different areas, including on and near roads, on the downs and through woods, etc.
The RRA made a decision 8-
Eradicating or changing existing footpaths can affect local land development. There is no vehicle access to these fields because Dunmail Drive is actually a permissive footpath.
The RRA thinks there are a lot of other footpaths which need reviewing and maintaining.
Brian Longman reported that Diana Chitty has very kindly come back on to the RRA Committee and is keeping a watching brief on local footpaths around the Riddlesdown area, including making sure these are well maintained.
Brian Longman reported that he attends the Safer Neighbourhood Team meetings.
He noted there is a police representative at the RRA AGM tonight and they were thanked for attending.
Brian Longman noted the local police and Safer Neighbour Team have made a huge difference to the local area.
Between five to seven years ago there were a lot of local problems and complaints from residents about issues such as graffiti and antisocial behaviour.
It was noted that local policing is not just 9am-
It was noted the Safer Neighbourhood Panel meets around 4 times a year and covers Hamsey Green, Riddlesdown and Sanderstead through to Selsdon.
This looks at police priorities for the coming year.
Recently resources from quiet areas were supposed to be used in high crime areas, but the RRA opposed this idea as they didn’t want this area to go back to where it was.
The current priorities for the police team are to reduce burglaries and car crime and they have been having some success with this.
New dog control laws have been introduced by Croydon Council.
The City of London is looking at dog control orders and will probably adopt these same dog controls on Riddlesdown common.
This can also affect pavements.
Last year about 1,200 people went to the RRA Funday.
The Funday this year is on Sunday 19th June.
This needs two hours in the morning to set this up and Brian Longman appealed if anybody can spare any time from around 10am – 11.30am the RRA would be very grateful.
Questions from those attending the Meeting & Discussion Points:
A resident raised the issue of the Purley recycling centre and the bad congestion and traffic problems there.
A resident asked if this situation could be improved by somebody from the recycling bureau coming out and directing the traffic.
Residents expressed concern that there will be a bad accident there.
It was also asked if there could be any new road markings but the Council are concerned this could make the situation worse.
RRA Planning & Environment Officer, Phil Thomas reported that he has already asked the Council’s Highways Dept to reassess the situation of the recycling centre. The RRA does not want the Council to decide to close/move this because it is a very useful community facility but it was noted there is a problem with traffic in this area.
Damage to local greenbelt:
Residents expressed concern that people are walking across the agricultural field opposite the shops and not using the pathways and are causing damage to the crops there.
This has been noted at circa. 7pm.
There was concern that this is damaging to crops and will there not encourage the farmer to want to continue farming here.
It was noted that the RRA can talk to the school and equally the police could also give the school a gentle reminder about footpaths. There has been one complaint received from a member of the public about schoolchildren damaging crops.
It was queried what jurisdiction the school has over the schoolchildren and a resident noted the problem has been going on for years and at all times of the year, this resident reported they have taken photographs and at times there are at least 2 dozen children walking across the fields and this seems to come in waves, but the school don’t seem to do anything.
It was also noted by another resident that some children have been camping in tents at the back of this field last year. The resident told them this was private property and asked them to move.
It was noted the police can only act on a complaint from farmer as this is then a case of criminal damage to the farmer’s crops -
It was asked if the RRA can liaise with the farmer and see if they could come along and view this situation and make a complaint as then the police can act.
Brian Longman stated that if the RRA really wants to protect the greenbelt it probably has to be more proactive and smarter and he therefore proposed a several pronged approach, with him having a discussion with the high school headmaster, who has said his responsibility goes beyond the school gate. Brian Longman reported if the RRA uses the right approach with the school it can hopefully get a good response. Phil Thomas said he would talk to the farmer. Brian Longman also suggested there may be a need to put more information notices up about the crops and footpaths, etc. There seems to be a need for an education process about the agricultural use of this land – perhaps with school assemblies at the beginning of each term explaining about the farmer and the crop situation and this is how the farmer makes his living and that walking through the fields is actually criminal damage, etc.
Brian Longman noted that this is currently a grade 3 agricultural land and is also greenbelt.
However if degraded it could cause a ‘right of way’ problem. Brian Longman said the RRA probably needs to take legal advice about this situation and the different matters involved in the whole issue e.g. the idea of putting notices on land it doesn’t own, etc.
It can look at campaigning to advise people generally about the land. And there definitely seems to be a need to educate the schoolchildren and indeed also the school staff about the local land uses. The green nature of Riddlesdown is very important and precious to the local community and the school needs to appreciate and respect this.
A resident and committee member noted they had phoned up the school about litter and had asked to speak to the school head but were told they had to speak to somebody else and were told that the school has no jurisdiction over the school children outside school gates.
It was noted that the school used to litter pick.
Brian Longman noted that the RRA obviously needs to re-
The RRA feels this liaison with the school will be beneficial, for example they had a big discussion about litter with the new local fish and chip shop and they go out and for 200 yards in each direction they pick up litter and school should really take a similar attitude.
It was noted by a resident that in the past there used to be a megaphone from the school when children cut across the farming fields and queried if this is still possible.
Residents also expressed concern that this problem with litter and additionally greenbelt damage is not just children but adults as well. It was queried if it is possible to put up new local notices.
The local councillor attending the meeting noted that the current school exam period is not a good time for children to litter pick.
Brian Longman noted that the RRA used to organise litter picks 4-
Greenbelt – damage including litter and walking/camping on agricultural land with crops:
It was agreed that the RRA will review this and draw up an action plan at a future committee meeting and will liaise with the school and attempt to liaise with the farmer, etc. and consider definite possible actions and report back to residents on the new action plan to reduce litter and protect the greenbelt against damage from children and adults, etc.
It was noted that police have been watching local bus stops as there have been complaints regarding schoolchildren behaviour at bus stops and resident’s expressed concern that schoolchildren are throwing litter and litterbins into the roads near the bus stops.
Local Housing in Poor Condition:
A resident questioned about a property in Mitchley Avenue, where the owner has been given notice to do something to their property which was in very poor condition. Phil Thomas reported that Councillor Yvette Hopley had taken this up with the Council. It was noted that neighbours are actually getting rats from this house which has been left unoccupied in a bad condition for years.
It was noted that in order for Croydon Council to take over any houses in poor condition causing problems to local residents and communities, the Council is required to give notice and give the house owner a chance to improve their property and this is generally an extremely difficult and very slow situation.
Grass Verges & Trees:
The situation of the local grass verges was also raised by residents, concerned some of the local verges are in very poor condition.
Brian Longman has raised the issue of verges many times over the years.
The ‘green nature’ of the area and having grass verges really makes Riddlesdown what is, a generally green and more pleasant place to live and on a practical note having verges like this around the whole area also raises the value of property.
Brian Longman stated it is probably then again time to remind residents about the verges and if they want to retain them, they need to look after them and consider them.
Concern was also expressed that the schoolchildren abuse the verges and just walk on them. There was also a discussion about the school using large vehicles which drive over the verges and also about parents giving their children lifts to and from school driving over the verges on the ‘school run’.
Brian Longman noted that in the past people looked after their verges as well as their gardens and over the years the RRA has very much tried to encourage people to be responsible for outside their houses.
It was noted that RRA committee member, Phil Thomas has been working with Croydon Council regarding the damage to these grass verges and also trees and tree planting in the area.
Brian Longman reported that what makes the RRA committee work so well, is the different people on the committee who provide a balanced view from the local community.
New members are always welcomed and residents don’t necessarily need to have a specific role, they can just contribute to meetings as a general committee member.
Residents can also just come along to any of the committee meetings, details of which are in the Recorder and on the website, or any of the current committee can be contacted regarding meeting details, which they are generally at the high school on the 3rd Wednesday of every other month in the evenings.
Brian Longman noted that Nick Bygrave is stepping down from his role producing the RRA Recorder and being responsible for the RRA website.
Both are interesting and informative and Nick has transformed the Recorder and really taken it to new heights.
Those attending the AGM very much thanked Nick for all his hard work on the RRA committee, previously as Treasurer and additionally producing the Recorder and developing and maintaining the RRA website.
Brian Longman noted the RRA is now looking for a new person to run both the Recorder and the Website and asked any residents interested to contact either himself or Nick.
Nick Bygrave is kindly still available for help and advice.
AGM Committee elections:
This is the formal part of the AGM. Anybody present was asked if they wished to stand for any posts on the Committee. It was reiterated that RRA members can just join the Committee generally or RRA members can also just come along to RRA committee meetings, details of which are publicised in the Recorder magazine and on the RRA website. Residents were also asked to contribute to the Recorder and the RRA website and to help with local events.
Bernard Munn the Treasurer stated that Brian Longman is an excellent RRA Chair, but it was questioned if anybody wished to propose themselves as RRA Chair. It was noted how much Brian Longman does for the association and his re-
Brian Longman spoke about the role of Treasurer and asked if anybody wanted to take on this role. Bernard Munn has successfully taken over this post and his re-
Brian Longman introduced Karen Whitehead, the RRA Secretary, taking the AGM minutes and asked if anybody would like to take on the role of RRA Secretary, as Karen is willing to step down and become a general committee member if any other resident wishes to take on this role, or to continue as Secretary if not. In the absence of any volunteers, Karen’s re-
All officers were named and thanked for their excellent work for the RRA. All the other committee members were also nominated, seconded and approved by the meeting.
The other Committee Members elected for 2011 were named as the following and introduced if present at the meeting (although some committee members had also been present but had to leave the meeting early):
Fred Wallis – who has been responsible for Police Liaison and who has been active in local efforts regarding saving Purley Pool
Phil Thomas – who is responsible for Planning & Environmental Matters
Janice Kedwads – who is responsible for Social Events & Activities
John Rapp was given special thanks and who is responsible for Transport and also Membership secretary and who, along with the RRA Road Stewards, does a tremendous job working on membership, collecting membership subscriptions and distributing the recorder.
Mavis Wilder – who is responsible for liaison with St. Edmund's Church
Diana Chitty – who is taking up the new role of Footpath Officer
Bill Whitmarsh is continuing as a committee member
Monica Pugh is continuing as a committee member
Frankie Wheeler is continuing as a committee member
Brian Longman thanked those for attending and closed the meeting.
Minutes taken by Karen Whitehead.