Minutes of Annual General Meeting 10th July 2019

Wednesday 10th July 2019, 7.30pm
at The Bull Theatre, Barnet

Committee Members in Attendance

Ken Rowland KR (Chairman)
Anna Watkins AW(Secretary)
Russell Brooks (RB) Treasurer
Tim Sims (TS)
Melvyn Sears (MS)
Gordon Massey (GM)
Janet Littlewood (JL)
Simon Green (SG)

Apologies

Committee member: Sean Mitchell & Members: Adele Winston, Judy & Bob Burstow, Catherine Dauvigne-Newman, Sue Young, Gerry & Jackie Ackroyd, Irene & Wilf Nichols, Judith Kent, Lynn Baker, Nick Saul, Soot Young, Brian Barnes & Margaret Williams.

60 members present on the evening.

Guest David Longstaff

Councillor David Longstaff spoke about the Streetscene service with a lot on interest shown in litter collection and anti-social behaviour including dealing with fly tipping.

In regard to planning so far there has been no building on the treasured Green Belt, but the council are continually looking at developers plans for unsuitable conversions, like tiny studio flats in Moxton Street. He spoke briefly about the station proposed development for 450 dwellings; he thought that this was far too many. Whalebones have not yet submitted planning, but he hears that they want 152 dwellings.

He answered questions on Parking on St. Alban’s Road, fly-tipping and general collection of large bulky items by council (cost £35.00). A member raised the need for a crossing near Quinta Drive. Also concerns over weeds in gutters and litter left by refuse collectors.

A member asked about the validity of the Council pursuing a High Court case at great expense against two local residents in Hadley Highstone when Council resources are stretched. David Longstaff asked the member to approach him at the end of the meeting with further details and he would investigate.

Formal AGM

Minutes of 2018 AGM proposed, seconded and adopted
Matters arising - none.

The Chairman presented a review of 2018 including another pleasing rise in membership, which now stands at 730. It is pleasing to report that the pavement widening is finally happening (first suggested by BRA 11 years ago). We continue to monitor planning application and of 17, which we opposed, 12 were refused, 2 allowed and 3 are still to be decided, and so we have a good success rate. We continue to monitor the two conservation areas, Wood St and Monken.

The High Street has had mixed fortunes, 14 closures and 12 new shops, we are glad about Millets and JD Sports. There is a trend away from pure retail; maybe we need a shorter high St? Rents are too high and online competition does not help. Lack of advertising empty units by freeholder an on going issue.

We continue to work on cleaning up High Street, removing graffiti and stickers and talking to retailers about having pride in their own frontages. We instigated and contributed to the cost of a defibrillator in the Spires. Our last Newsletter was 12 pages long and will be this length if we have enough news items.

We are looking for a Committee Member to be responsible for Communications so that we can get our message out to younger Barnet residents using Social Media. We are extremely grateful to Paul Doyle who helps on High Street issues and Charles Wicksteed who maintains our website.

The accounts were adopted after being proposed and seconded.
Ken Rowland was proposed and seconded and so was appointed for a second year as Chairman.
The other Committee members who were all prepared to stand again were proposed seconded & approved.

Mervyn Jones was adopted to be independent examiner of BRA’s accounts.

AOB

1. Question about the hole outside Paddy Power. Both BRA and Cllr David Longstaff have campaigned for years to fix but so far nothing has been done. At 100 High Street we notified freeholder that windows were dangerous. They were speedily fixed.

2. Manor Road is now a racetrack. Possible solutions discussed including, road cushions, speed cameras (although TFL is not at present installing any new cameras) and ‘smiling face’ showing speed.

3. Speeding busses on Wood Street. David Longstaff lamented that TFL were not accountable, the Mayor has authority over them in theory but in practice they do not take any notice of notification of bad practice.

Planning Officer Gordon Massey led a discussion on the scheme to build tower blocks at the tube station. Pinnacle is the chosen developer and Taylor Wimpey will be the constructor.

The plans are not finalised but it is clear that they want to build 450 dwellings and are proposing to cut down trees between Barnet Hill and Meadway, and drastically reduce the car park. The development will have to cope with the site being between a busy road and a railway line and on a steep hill; we do not think that the developers understand this yet. TFL have announced similar plans to this at Cockfosters, Finchley and many other outlying ends of tube lines. This development is part of the Mayor’s policy to replace or build over all station car parks with housing. Twenty-one schemes are currently in the programme. It will be hard to completely stop any of these schemes but for High Barnet we will work to maintain the trees which are a valuable resource in a highly polluted corner, reduce the size of the development and the height of any blocks built. Pedestrian access to the station is difficult and believes that a covered escalator from the station to Meadway would be welcome by locals, as it would make easier access to the town from the new development.

The Committee of BRA was due to meet one week after AGM to discuss. BRA’s approach will be shared with members in due course.

Meeting Ended 9.38 pm