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RRA AGM 2012

Held on Wednesday 6th June 2012

At St Edmund’s Church Hall, Riddlesdown


The meeting was opened by Brian Longman, RRA Chairman:

Apologies were given for committee members and local councillors unable to attend the meeting.  

Cllr Tim Pollard & Cllr Yvette Hopley were both welcomed to the meeting.

It was noted the meeting attendance was low and commented that:

The AGM is normally held during May.

The AGM is usually better promoted.  

At present it is half term with a lot of people away on holiday.

Unfortunately the usual AGM advertisement included in the RRA Recorder was missing this year, replaced by 75th Anniversary details.

It was felt all these facts had impacted on attendance and next year the RRA will look to move back to the usual timing and promote the AGM better.


Minutes of the previous AGM:

Minutes were distributed to those attending the AGM.

It was noted that a more detailed and formal version of these meeting minutes is also available and can be viewed on the RRA website.

These were approved and taken as an accurate record of the 2011 AGM.

Matters arising from the previous AGM:

Most matters have been acted upon or will arise during this AGM and be reported on in detail.  Some matters were mentioned briefly, in particular:

The RRA now has a chartered accountant Angela Green who is acting as auditor for the RRA Accounts and it was noted there is a signed copy of the RRA accounts available at this AGM, should anybody wish to view them.

Cold calling was discussed at the last AGM but is on hold at the moment.

Greenbelt issues will be discussed further during this meeting.

The flat development in Lower Barn Road will be discussed further at this meeting.

Local recycling centre matters are on hold due to council financial issues.  

Local housing situations are still under review.  It was noted there is a legal situation problem with one particular house which the council keep trying to take action regarding but are unable to at present.

Grass verge maintenance issues are ongoing and the RRA is liaising with the council and will write about this in the next Recorder.

It was asked if there were any other issues with the minutes which it was wished to discuss at this AGM, which there was not.  


Brian Longman then highlighted local matters arising over the past year since the last AGM and in particular current issues, noting he had also provided a full report in the RRA Recorder, and this is also available on the RRA website.

Greenbelt:

Greenbelt is one of the main current issues – in particular the possible sale and planning issues around the Honister Heights area.

A developer previously bought this land off Wimpey and then ‘split’ the Honister Heights woodland area into housing type plots, some of which were sold.

The latest developer action is to put in for planning permission.

Land is then being put up for sale giving details that planning permission has been applied for, although the reality is that to date planning permission has been rejected as this is greenbelt land, with protected trees.

The developer has now put in for further planning permission on another plot opposite Riddlesdown Collegiate.  It is expected this will be the same situation, but noted this does create stress and unrest for the local community and also causes a lot of work for the Council and its officers.

It was noted there are something in the region of 40 plots of land locally and also potentially more plots in the future.

Concerns were raised that the area opposite Riddlesdown Collegiate is a potential fire hazard and it was noted that a Council officer has been down there and that the Council will ask the owner to tidy this area up.  This work can be done by the Council itself if needed and then charged back to the owner.

The RRA has been worried about the whole situation and has been speaking to other associations around London as this seems to be an issue affecting all the greenbelt around London.

It was noted there may possibly be an opportunity to involve the London Mayors Office.

Other local areas such as Kenley and Caterham have similar problems.

The RRA has been trying to be more proactive and needs to ensure with land sales that it is aware who owns these various small individual plots of land.   

It was noted that the RRA has written to some of the new Riddlesdown landowners already.

Cllr Tim Pollard noted that the area does not matter and that a small size of greenbelt is entitled to the same protection as a large area of greenbelt.

It was noted that plots were selling for more last year. There is a recession at the moment and also people are more aware of the greenbelt situation, but do seem to be continuing to buy land.

Thanks were given to the Croydon councillors for all they have done and the hard work of the Council to protect the local area greenbelt.


Lower Barn Road Flat Development:

Brian Longman introduced Phil Thomas the RRA Planning Officer who reviewed the situation:

The planning application to build these new flats was previously passed on appeal by the Inspector in Bristol against the previous decision of Croydon Council.

Work had to be started within 3 years otherwise the landowners had to reapply for new planning approval.

Residents will have seen diggers on the site and that the area is a bit of a mess and eyesore at moment. There are new owners and this land is not owned by the golf club now.

There is also a new planning application ongoing which talks about repositioning the phone mast but does not say where this will be repositioned.

It is felt residents do need to know where the new mast will be sited because wherever it could be moved to seems to then mean placing this closer to properties and not being compliant with the law.

The RRA objected to the original planning application because this is natural flooding area and with further concerns about detrimental impact on local shops and the local community.

It was noted this area flooded again this January 2012 and there are concerns that the new flat development won’t help this bad local flooding situation.

There are also still concerns about the future of the local shops. Shop owners are concerned regarding flat owners and flat visitors using what is currently shop customer car parking areas on the road meaning that people cannot easily park to use their shops and so the flat development will detrimentally affect their businesses.  The shops are already suffering on Saturdays which currently have no parking restrictions and the RRA is already in discussions with the shopkeepers to see what can be done to help.


Riddlesdown Tennis Club Situation:

At one time Riddlesdown Tennis Club in Lower Barn Road was owned by the RRA and run for 20-30 years as an RRA sub-group before becoming independent.

They had put in a recent planning application to introduce new floodlights and a new windbreak.

The windbreak looked to be an ‘eyesore’ 100metre plastic sheet which could carry advertising.

The RRA objected to the windbreak on the grounds this could be noisy and a local ‘eyesore’.

The windbreak application was withdrawn once the tennis club realised the objections.

The RRA didn’t support or object to the floodlights, which had timing restrictions having to be turned off at certain times of night.


RRA Recorder:

It was noted that Monica Pugh took over editing the RRA Recorder from Nick Bygrave.

The Recorder is currently taking Monica a long time to put together and it is a large time consuming task for a volunteer to do alone.

One idea currently being followed up is that perhaps the Recorder could be a project for Riddlesdown Collegiate schoolchildren.  

The RRA will be meeting with the Collegiate later this month.

The idea is that this would be an ongoing joint project, with the RRA remaining as overall Editor and, while the schoolchildren would handle the production and write sections and organise distribution of 2,000 magazines.  This would provide good work experience and more community interaction.

It was noted that the RRA is still looking for people interested in getting involved in the Recorder, either on the editing side or it also needs community involvement and stories for future issues, if anybody present is interested or they know anybody else locally who might be interested.


Police:

Brian Longman, the RRA Chairman, reported that he sits on the local police Safer Neighbourhood Team.

This looks at priorities for the police in the area for the future.

The main concern at the moment is metal theft, with Croydon having one of the highest levels of metal theft in the country.

Burglaries are also a matter of concern.  Although this area is low compared to other Croydon boroughs, burglary is still one of the main areas of local crime.

Concern was expressed the area has had 3 police sergeants in just one year.  They have all done excellent jobs but constant changes in police personnel is worrying.

It was felt overall the local police have done a lot of good work, including out of normal working hours.

The local police area includes Hamsey Green through to Selsdon and Riddlesdown, so covers a large and geographically difficult part of the Borough of Croydon, particularly as there is no police car allocated to these local police.  It was noted the RRA had previously bought some police bicycles to aid the police getting around this large area.

It was noted the Safer Neighbourhood Team involve local schoolchildren with representatives from Riddlesdown and Warlingham School 6th forms.  Brian Longman said that the RRA had been receiving complaints about local buses and the schoolchildren in and around the bus stop areas, but the schoolchildren themselves raised the fact they were also personally concerned about the difficulties of travelling on the local buses.  The Safer neighbourhood team has written to the GLA about potential issues.  Transport for London is conducting a survey into buses at present.  The RRA is pushing for re-evaluation of local buses.

It was also noted that Karen Whitehead on the RRA Committee had started acting as Riddlesdown Collegiate liaison officer in the past year.  The idea was that the local community would then have a point of liaison on the RRA committee for any matters regarding the Collegiate.  The idea was for the Collegiate and the community to work more closely together, however to date this does not particularly appear to be the case as there are currently some matters the Collegiate has not informed the RRA, such as this new Riddlesdown Festival the Collegiate is planning to hold in July.


AGM Questions & AOB:

Brian Longman asked if those attending the RRA AGM had any queries or questions they wished to raise.  Various matters were raised and discussed including:

It was suggested that Waitrose should support the RRA AGM and donate wine for future years.

Information was provided regarding the 2012 Funday on Riddlesdown Common, which this year celebrates the RRA 75th anniversary.  It was noted that any help is welcomed setting up and packing up.  It is free for all with many different activities including a jazz band, donkey rides, punch & judy, etc.

Lower Barn Road Flat Development:

It was stated this currently looks very dangerous and queried can it be made more secure.  It was noted the land behind the site is greenbelt and is marked off.  The flat development is a major eyesore but it is felt this will grow back.

There were discussions regarding the siting of the mast and the flat development, number of flats being built and parking spaces, etc.

Greenbelt:

It was queried if travellers bought the Honister Heights greenbelt land for sale, could they use this for accommodation and noted that they cannot use greenbelt for accommodation.  As well as the greenbelt status there are also tree preservation orders on trees there and the land is protected woodland.

It was noted it was eight years ago in 2004 that the ‘horses field’ plots were first put up for sale and this is pretty much the same situation.  It is very worrying for residents living nearby.

The RRA has got some funds and originally thought it could buy some of land, but overall prices are too expensive and the RRA is now being proactive by monitoring local land development and acting where and when possible and maintaining a ‘fighting fund’ to defend the greenbelt and hire lawyers if needed, etc.

It was noted that some of the local greenbelt is agricultural land.  The farmer wants to continue to farm this land but their lease runs out 2013.  The RRA is watching to see what happens as there are several large fields of agricultural land in Riddlesdown.

RRA Children’s Party:

It was queried why there was no children’s party this year. Brian Longman explained that the RRA was about bringing the community together and ran an annual children’s party (usually a Christmas party) for c. 50 years.  The RRA Committee was very disappointed to see the party stop but this simply did not have enough attendance over recent year. Information regarding the children’s party has been included in the RRA Recorder and it was not a decision taken lightly by the RRA Committee. It was proposed instead of the children’s party the focus should be on better attended RRA Funday and this proposal was seconded and approved by the AGM meeting.


RRA Accounts:

In the absence of the RRA Treasurer Brian Longman presented the latest RRA accounts, which are from January 2012 and which have been audited (see attached).

The RRA final position is that it has c. £44,000 in the bank and made a very small profit over the year.  Most of the money held was from the woodland appeal and has already been discussed in relation to greenbelt issues.

The biggest items of expenditure are the RRA Recorder and the RRA Funday.

The meeting approved and accepted the 2011 AGM Accounts and Treasurers Report.


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, which nobody volunteered to do.  It was reiterated that people do not need to join the committee at the actual AGM, but RRA members can just join the Committee generally during the year or residents can also just come along to RRA committee meetings.

Details of meetings and the committee 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.

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-appointment was proposed, seconded and approved by the meeting.

Brian Longman spoke about the role of Treasurer and asked if anybody wanted to take on this role.  Bernard Munn’s re-appointment was proposed, seconded and approved by the meeting.

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 2012 were named as the following and introduced if present at the meeting:

Karen Whitehead – who takes the minutes as RRA Secretary and who has been liaising with Riddlesdown Collegiate on behalf of the RRA.

Phil Thomas – who is responsible for Planning & Environmental Matters & also managing the RRA Website, which is very useful.  Residents were encouraged to visit and use the website and it was noted that people have moved to Riddlesdown after having viewed the RRA website.

Janice Kedwards – who is responsible for Social Events & Activities.

John Rapp was given especial 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.  It was noted that RRA membership is over 90% of potential members, which is a real achievement.

Mavis Wilder – who is responsible for liaison with St. Edmund's Church and is a President of the association and one of the longest serving members, who moved to Riddlesdown in 1936.

Diana Chitty – who is responsible as joint Footpath Officer along with

Frankie Wheeler – who works with Diana Chitty as joint Footpath Officer.  It was noted that Riddlesdown is covered with footpaths, some being obvious such as those near the train station, some less obvious across Riddlesdown Common.  The RRA had opposed Dunmail Drive change of footpath status, which then made it difficult to develop that land and local footpaths remain one of the RRA tools to defend local greenbelt.  Frankie & Diana were thanked for their work on local footpaths.

Bill Whitmarsh sent apologies and is currently away on holiday but is continuing as a committee member.

Fred Wallis who is continuing as a committee member.


With no further business or questions the 2012 RRA AGM was closed and a talk was then given by the Malcolm Saunders, a representative from Croydon Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association.     

Minutes taken by Karen Whitehead, RRA Secretary


ACTION POINTS FROM THE 2012 RRA AGM:

Grass Verge Maintenance & Local Housing Situations – ongoing

Greenbelt – ongoing (ownership of plots, liaison with council, etc.)

Greenbelt – watching brief (ongoing) re. agricultural land lease 2013 expiry date

Lower Barn Road Flat Development – ongoing (query re. new site for phone mast)

RRA Recorder – discussions with Collegiate re. possible future joint project

Police – Query re. high turnover number of sergeants over past year

Police – ongoing re. local buses and bus stop situation

Next AGM – see if Waitrose will sponsor wine


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