MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD AT ST PETERS CHURCH HALL, MONDAY 22nd MARCH 2004
‘The committee shall meet as circumstances require and not less than twice a year.’
‘All cheques drawn on the Association account(s) shall be signed by any two of the three designated signatories i.e. Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.’
The past year may not have been one of much visible activity by the Association but it has in fact been one of consolidation, maintenance, monitoring and questioning. Put another way, that simply means we have been rebuilding our funds, patching up Thames Side, reading and listening to comments from various officials or representatives about last year’s floods and questioning those same people about some of their statements and their proposals for the future.
On the first issue concerning the Association’s funds and membership, Linda will report to you in greater detail, but in overall terms the results of the last 12 months have been comparable with previous years. It remains a little disappointing that, despite our efforts, we continue to have a small core of residents who prefer not to join the Association.
On the issue of road maintenance, and as I am sure everyone realises, Thames Side is now our priority for repair. It has been showing signs of deterioration for some time and a dozen or so potholes were repaired at the end of last year. Hopefully this will help to keep the road in reasonable condition until we can afford a more substantial resurfacing.
That is still likely to be another two years or so. Riverside Close should be trouble free for many years to come and Wheatsheaf Lane appears to be ok for the time being. It does however take the greatest amount of wear and tear and will need to be watched for signs of deterioration. A couple of related issues concerning the footpath alongside the field between Thames Side and the towpath, and possible parking restrictions affecting Wheatsheaf Lane have been considered by the committee and will be discussed later on this agenda.
The aftermath of the floods has occupied a fair amount of time in terms of trying to keep tabs on what is going on and in writing to various bodies trying to determine what is going to be done for the future. In summary, Spelthorne Council has so far been reluctant to say whether it is prepared to lobby the Environment Agency and the Government to obtain funding for longer term flood alleviation schemes for this area. Similarly, the Environment Agency has been awaiting the outcome of the FRAG investigations before it makes any significant pronouncements on flood alleviation plans for the future. The FRAG covering our area publishes its report tomorrow, which hopefully will set out its findings on the causes of the floods, and make recommendations for future actions. Members of the FRAG groups will be holding a series of open days for the public to discuss their report. The Spelthorne open day is planned for the 27th April and will be held at Knowle Green Leisure Centre. It is also worth noting that the EA has announced that phase 2 of the Lower Thames Study has been launched. This will consider the feasibility of flood alleviation schemes between Datchet and Teddington and will report in about 18 months time. It is fairly obvious that we are into a long haul on this issue, and realistically there is little the Association can do other than to make representations in the light of what is said and proposed. However, I think it is important to make our concerns known, and to maintain pressure on trying to reduce future flood risk.
Before I close, I also need to mention our annual social event, the summer party, which was successfully held again last year and enjoyed by well over a hundred residents and friends. My thanks are extended to all those involved in organising and setting up the marquee, the tables, lighting, music, quiz and of course the excellent catering.
Finally my thanks are extended to all the members of the committee for their support, advice and their efforts during the past year.
The Treasurer submitted a balance sheet showing income and expenditure for the year to 31.12.2003.
Out of 84 houses, 70 paid in 2003 and 44 paid for 2 years, making a total of £5,480 in subscriptions for 2003.
The Treasurer commented in view of the amount now in the account she would look around for a bank with a decent interest rate.
J.Russell mentioned when paying in advance it would be useful to have an invoice as it sometimes got confusing paying 2 years in one go. The Treasurer
ELECTION OF COMMITTEE:
Tony James and Susan Berquist have decided to stand down and the Chairman thanked them for all their past efforts.
Geoff Richardson agreed to remain and stand as chairman, Ann Peake agreed to remain and stand as secretary and Linda Graves agreed to stand as treasurer, these were all proposed by Keith Slater and seconded by Brian Street. Alan Seward, Bob Douglas, Paul Dodd and Richard O’Halloran all agreed to remain and were proposed by R.Fairy and seconded by Keith Slater.
SUBSCRIPTIONS 2004 AND BEYOND:
It was agreed subscriptions for 2004 would be £60 and it was clarified that the year ran January to December.
The chairman commented that at committee meetings it had been discussed that perhaps a better way of deciding future subscriptions was to link them to inflation rather than just deciding each year what increases to impose which inevitably led to dissention amongst some householders.
Keith Slater suggested that as much work was still needed to upkeep the road surfaces, a plan for future maintenance was needed which could in turn dictate how much subscriptions would be. The Chairman commented although this was a good idea in theory, significantly higher subs to accommodate road repairs could put some people off paying altogether.
Keith Slater suggested £12,000 was needed for Thames Side, and £4,000 to upkeep Wheatsheaf Lane.
The Chairman commented with those that have already paid their subscriptions we could have just c.£8,500 by next year and took up Mr. Slater’s suggestion to look at staging the work and it was agreed they would meet and walk round to see how best this could be done.
David Blum commented that as everyone used Wheatsheaf Lane it was important to keep this maintained to a high standard and he felt Thames Side could cope by being patched as it had been, when needed.
Mrs. Fairy commented she did not want 67-71 Thames Side forgotten in the scheme of things, this had just had a skim and needed upkeep as well, she was assured it would be kept in mind.
The chairman asked for a show of hands to decide how we would determine future subscriptions and there was overwhelming support for ‘in line with inflation’ so this would be the way for the future.
Following a recent circular from the council about changes to the above roads it would seem the proposals have now been turned down. The chairman brought this to the meeting as there could have been a knock-on effect if the proposals had gone ahead. To this end he had looked into the idea of a ‘chevron style’ barrier to be erected at the beginning of Wheatsheaf Lane which would cost c.£1,400 to install and £110 for a planning application to see if the barrier in principal was acceptable.
Keith Slater commented it should be more restricting, Linda Graves was concerned for traffic turning into Wheatsheaf Lane from Penton Road, David Blum was concerned about vandalism and people coming out of the pub, Mr. Tate felt any money should be kept for the roads and Brian Street was in favour of such an idea.
The chairman called for a show of hands as to whether a planning application should be submitted for £110 as this was valid if accepted for a number of years and the council could change their minds about proposals at any time – there was an overwhelming show in favour and it was agreed that an application would be submitted.
The chairman had 3 quotes for a wrought iron 3ft gate these varied from a written £285 + Vat to £300 verbally and £160 from Bob Threlfal.
Mrs. Duncan asked if it would prevent vandalism, Keith Slater commented that it needed to be 6ft and lockable to be of any use and Brian Street felt the perception of a gate, i.e. barrier, would be a deterrent.
A letter had been received from C. Miles against such a gate citing the land as being a public right of way, this was clarified by Mrs. O’Halloran who claimed the land was actually owned by them and shown on their deeds and was designated a private right of way with access to residents of the surrounding roads and although it was fine being an access to the river by upstanding residents it was a problem having to deal with youths who caused damage and noise at unseemly times of the day and night, hence the proposal for a gate.
The chairman asked for a show of hands for all those in favour, it was carried unanimously.
The chairman commented he has two volunteers, Nicky Jones from Riverside Close to co-ordinate the food and Phil Berquist of Riverside Close for the general setting up etc. The party would be on the 26th June, he would be sending a notice out after Easter and looked forward to hearing of any other volunteers willing to help with the food and generally on the day.
Mr. Fairy asked about the white buckets placed at the end of Wheatsheaf Lane. The chairman said he had written to Mr. Deschamp of 72 Thames Side who placed them there, about their removal, but had received no reply. The chairman was asked to write again on behalf of all the residents present who felt they were an unnecessary eyesore.
The Chairman produced a newsletter from a flood action group called Thames Awash who were asking for funds, a show of hands agreed the SSRA should make a contribution of £75 towards their fund.
The Chairman said he had received a letter from Spelthorne Council asking for local flood wardens to liaise with the local neighbourhood, the council and the Environment Agency, there were no volunteers.
David Blum asked whether Riverside Close residents who backed onto Thames Side could make sure their trees were not too overgrown as this did encroach on the road and made it very narrow in certain places, David Drew commented that some of Thames Side hedges needed attending to also.
The Chairman just before closing the meeting announced the sad news of the death of fellow resident Ian Evans who had played a large part in the association over many years, he offered his and the SSRA’s condolences to his family.
Andy Duncan proposed a vote of thanks to the committee members for all their hard work and this was seconded by Keith Slater. The meeting ended at 9.20pm.