Minutes of Annual General Meeting 9th July 2018

Monday 9th July 2018, 7.30pm
at The Bull Theatre, Barnet

Meeting started at 7.30 with a talk from our guest speaker Shaun Wall manager of the Spires.

Shaun gave us a view of retail in general, many retailers are struggling, and High Streets everywhere are facing problems. Even large companies like House of Fraser are shutting stores. There are vacancies in the Spires and negotiations are going on with various possible tenants.

He understands it is the Spires is a community led shopping centre, and that footfall is actually improving, although nationally shopping centres are seeing a 3% decline, at the Spires there is a 10% increase.

H & M is performing well and there is no truth in the rumour that Carluccio’s is about to close although as a chain they are facing problems. The Landlords are working with tenants who may need to improve their shop fronts and will fund these improvements.

The team working at keeping the Centre in good order, and the team is now larger and more visible. They are working at getting more greenery onto the site, and more seating.

They have encouraged the start of the Teenage Market and footfall has been up 13% on those days.

They hope that the market will move to behind the Spires and it will be managed by a team who were recommended by the operators of Borough Market. The landlord is prepared to invest in the new market area.

Once a year they intend to have a charity day and this year raised £5,500 for Great Ormond’s St Hospital.

They have now a new Buskers and entertainment policy with three spots for buskers 2 inside the centre and one on the bandstand.

One empty shop is to be turned into a temporary Community room with Ping Pong table and Barnet Arts Guild are going to display artwork.

There were several questions from the audience:

  • Have they ever considered running a shuttle bus from the station? No, but will now investigate it.
  • Pavement by carpark in Stapleton Road in bad condition
  • Might shopping centre ever open at night? No, but being open 10 – 6.30 would improve footfall.
  • No clothes shops for men in Centre, noted.
  • Premier Inn, Shaun not involved in this development, the site has been sold.
  • Might dogs ever be allowed into the Spires? probably not.
  • Bel Gelato have closed but it is hoped that they will reopen.

Formal AGM

Committee Members in Attendance
G Massey (GM) (Chairman)
Anna Watkins AW(Secretary)
Tim Sims (TS)
Melvyn Sears (MS)
Ken Rowland (KR)

1. Apologies

Committee members: Janet Littlewood, Sue Russell(treasurer) Steven Ramsay & Simon Green

Members: Adele Winston, Paul Doyle, Councillor David Longstaff, Owen Jones, Steven Ramsay, Ann-Marie Wilson, Martyn Woolf, David Parry, Anna & Gary Griffiths, Mr J. P. Sawyer, Wilf Nichols, Beatrice Frei, Helen Massey, Philippe Baradeau & Neil Francis

46 members in attendance

2. Minutes of 13th July 2017 AGM proposed seconded and approved.

3. Matters arising none.

4. Annual report from the Chairman GM

  • MEMBERSHIP – now 675 members, up from 575 same time last year
  • PLANNING – biggest issue facing us is the revision of LONDON PLAN and LOCAL PLAN due; late 2019. MANY of the protections we have being removed to make conversions, back land development, additional floors and demolish and rebuilds much easier. Controls over density and protecting character are being removed or weakened. Barnet expected to deliver over 3000 new homes every year for 20 years

    What is in our favour is that schemes are somewhere in the pipeline for all sites we know of in our area with potential for major developments. Dollis Valley, Elmbank, Whalebones, BSH, Market site, Marie Foster site and Meadow Works. Some of these are proving controversial but better now than later when rules are relaxed to enable larger developments.

    For schemes we have opposed we have had considerable success 15 out of 17have been turned down to Sep 17. Notable recent successes have been seeing off Fern Rooms proposal and scheme to demolish a bungalow in Arkley and replace with 8 3-bed flats – shades of things to come. At any one time we find ourselves engaged in 20 or so issues in the conservation areas and around the High St – sometimes quite minor, but without our efforts these areas would be far less appealing than they now are.

  • HIGHWAYS – Major issue for us has been the proposed widening of the High St pavement which we have strongly supported, indeed we have been pushing for it for a number of years, but it has proved to be controversial. Other major issue has been hospital CPZ –but that is for the residents although we have had some involvement as the consultation process has been flawed.
  • HIGH ST – we continue to monitor the health of the High St and report in detail on shop changes. Last year again we have seen some deterioration especially in and close to The Spires.
  • We also remain active in OTHER AREAS monitoring and seeking to influence public transport, police activity and changes to healthcare provision
  • FINALLY, after 10 years I am retiring as CHAIRMAN. I have been very lucky in having the support of a very harmonious and committed committee who have not just all done their jobs but provided sound considered input to all the difficult issues that we have addressed.
  • So, a big thank you to them and good luck to my successor in the hope that the next 10 years will be just as successful.

5. Adoption of accounts proposed seconded and approved.

6. Election of Officers and Committee members:

Gordon Massey standing down as chairman, vote of thanks to GM for 10 years as chairman proposed by MS.
Chairman Ken Rowland proposed seconded and unanimously elected
Treasurer Sue Russell was prepared to stand again and was unanimously elected
Secretary Anna Watkins was prepared to stand again and was unanimously elected
Committee members confirmed: Janet Littlewood, Melvyn Sears, Simon Green, Steven Ramsay & Tim Sims
Gordon Massey proposed seconded and unanimously elected to join committee.

7. Election of Honorary Auditor Sarah Wolford.

8. Any Other Business, questions from the floor:

  • Good idea if Newsletters were always passed on, (we think this well may be already happening).
  • High Street pavement widening, concerns about traffic movement. KR tried to reassure worried members.
  • No left turn at Church (in operation last year), which has now been reinstated is this permanent? We think so, however safety at crossing outside college is not good. Council agrees that this does need to be improved. We await developments.
  • Everyone encouraged to report potholes and cracked pavements, with 2 or 3 reports council will act.
  • Enquiry as to why as a resident’s association we are not representing those residents who are objecting to the Premier Inn development. GW explained why we have submitted a neutral comment with several recommendations. BRA represents the whole group of residents and will not support a small group if we do not think that their objections have grounds on planning or conservation grounds. We have recognised the potential nuisance to residents and have asked for the Chipping Close entrance to be removed and also for the windows facing Chipping Close to be obscured, we will continue to press on these two issues.
  • Hospital Parking, they are considering a new two-storey car park, no planning application yet.
  • The Arkley Pub was mentioned: since the meeting we have been informed that it is still actively trading.

Meeting Ended 9.45pm