GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

15th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

23 June 2008

7:30 p.m.

Wokingham Town Hall

 

MINUTES

** NOTE: attendance addresses removed **

 

ATTENDANCE:

25 members were at the meeting.  A list of members attending is attached at the end of these minutes. 

Apologies for absence were received from Heather Boyed, Dr and Mrs Garrod, Sally Pearce and Elizabeth Ramsay.

WELCOME

The Association was inaugurated at a meeting on 3 March 1992.

David Nash referred attendees to copies of the Agenda, which reminded members of the aims of the Association, as set out in its Constitution:

a)   To be a voice on behalf of the local population on local issues.

b)   To offer an open forum on a regular basis for local residents to air their concerns about the area.

c)   To collect and publicise information for the benefit of local residents and appropriate governing bodies.

d)   To make representation to appropriate bodies where necessary.

e)   To assist in ensuring that residents’ rights are safeguarded.

f)    The Association shall not be party political.

AGENDA:

1.  Minutes of 2007 AGM and matters arising

2.  Chairman's Report

3.  Treasurer's Report

4.  Election of Committee and Officers

5.  Any Other Business

 

Note:  GLRA has been used in these minutes as an abbreviation for Great Langborough Residents’ Association.

 

David Nash welcomed the attendees at the meeting, advised on fire alarm procedure and introduced the members of the Committee.  He thanked the Committee for their support during the past year.

1.   Minutes of 2007 AGM

David Nash referred the attending Members to the distributed copies of the minutes of the 2007 AGM.  He suggested that the meeting should continue while members read them.  Items arising could then be covered later. 

Later in the meeting, Julian Salomon asked what had happened regarding rubbish left on the road by refuse collectors.  David Nash replied that he had received no reply to his email to WBC, which was written last year.

Acceptance of the minutes was subsequently proposed by Julian Salomon, seconded by Marcelle Williams and passed unanimously.

2.   Chairman’s Report

David Nash began his report by remarking that the last year had seen a lower level of activity, mainly because the strategic plan cycle of Wokingham Borough Council (referred to later as WBC) had been halted temporarily.  This was to review the issues raised by the Inspector’s report on the Southeast England plan.  The Secretary of State had yet to respond to the Inspector’s report, but planned to do so by the parliamentary summer recess in July.

2.1.      Wokingham Borough Plan

The major effect of the Inspector’s report had been to raise the housing development target for Wokingham to over 600 houses per year average for the next 20 years.

The main feature of the WBC housing strategy was the creation of four new Strategic Development locations.   Two of these were to be around the boundaries of Wokingham town – the Northern SDL with around 1,500 houses and the Southern SDL with around 2,500 houses.  The others were at Arborfield with 3,400 and South of the M4 (Shinfield, Three Mile Cross, etc.) with 2,500.

The Southern SDL included Woodcray Manor and a very large area south of the Waterloo railway line to the road to Ludgrove School.  It would extend from the Guildford line over Easthampstead Road to include land stretching to the Bracknell boundary and to the north of the railway to London Road and up to Coppid Green.  It would include the land owned by the pheasant farming business and the equestrian centre at Chapel Green.

David Nash distributed copies of the map covering the Southern SDL.  He planned to attend the WBC Executive meeting on 26 June, when the Core Strategy was on the agenda.  He had submitted a question about an alternative large site that might take the pressure off Wokingham.

Potential objections to the Southern SDL could include the problems associated with the extra traffic generated and the existence of a flood plain around Emm Brook.  The public consultation period would run from 20th August to 1st October.

Barbara Young said that there had been an attempt to make Chapel Green a conservation area.  (Possibly this was based on the presence of Lucas Hospital as an important Grade 1 listed building.)

Carol Newman pointed out that John Redwood had been active in supporting the victims of the 2007 flooding in Wokingham.  He might support an objection to the Southern SDL as it lies on a flood plain.

Robin Cops advised that successful objections need to offer alternative plans.  David Nash responded that there was a known interest from some landowners south of the M4 but west of the A33 in making a proposal that could accommodate a large number of dwellings. Terry O’Donnell mentioned that The Wokingham Society was aware of such plans and supported them.  (Note: this site, reference 2SH154 in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, is estimated to have a capacity of over 8,000 dwellings.) 

The slower economy may make developers less keen to build.  There was also the issue that WBC had identified a need for an £800 million investment in infrastructure and facilities to support the SDL population.  This would have to come primarily from developers. 

Linda Barnes confirmed the numbers of houses in the SDLs as above.  She said that there was an opinion in WBC that major developments should occur around the “central hub” of Wokingham Town, so that new dwellings could be near existing facilities.  There was also a perceived need to take pressure off in filling as a way of meeting targets.  David Nash pointed out that in fill was still a featured contributor in meeting the overall WBC targets.

David Nash mentioned that WBC had not satisfied him that the “Southern Relief Road”, which was envisaged as the feeder road in the Southern SDL, would solve any traffic problems in the town centre.  It had the major problem that it ended in a junction with Finchampstead Road – most probably at the existing Tesco roundabout.

Tim Chinchen asked whether there was any link with Airtrack and a proposed railway station at Amen Corner.  (Note: the Core Strategy document has been checked & has no mention of this – David Nash)

David Nash mentioned that WBC thought that enhancement of the retail activities in Rances Lane might support the Southern SDL.  (Quote from the Core Strategy document: “In order to ensure the sustainability of development at south Wokingham, it will be necessary to ensure adequate provision of facilities including retail.  This could be achieved by upgrading the existing shopping parade at Rances Lane to the standard of a local centre.”)

ACTION: The meeting gave unanimous support for an objection to be raised by David Nash to the Southern SDL.  There could also be a repeat of the effort in 2006 that generated 2,600 letters from households in Wokingham.

2.2.      Elms Field and the Town Centre

Wokingham Borough Council had invited developers to submit proposals for the “Southern Gateway” on Elms Field.  A major incentive was to get developers to contribute to a replacement for Wellington House.  Robin Cops challenged the WBC perception that it needed to be replaced.  It could be refurbished at much lower cost.  David Nash said that WBC regarded Elms Field as a high prestige project.  It might take the focus off the lack of progress on the Rose Street development.

Pat Smith had attended a community workshop on Elms Field alternatives and reported that even the most attractive proposals left very little green open space.

Angus Lyon complained about the fact that empty retail sites gave a strong impression that the town centre was dying.  David Nash mentioned that the current developer appeared to have experienced difficulties in attracting sufficient investment.  Angus Lyon asked what could be done to push for more rapid progress on the town centre development.

ACTION: David Nash offered to write to the WBC Leader.  There was unanimous support for such an action.

(Note: there was a public meeting on Saturday 28 June, which was attended by Pat Smith.  Although detailed feedback is not yet available, the following extract from a WBC press release is encouraging: -

“Wokingham Borough Council is committed to seeing improvements made to Wokingham town centre to improve its vitality and viability and will do everything within its power to see these happen to ensure Wokingham residents use and enjoy the town.

Developer Rock Investment Group plc - as they are now known - has been trying to bring about the development for the best part of a decade.  The council agreed back in 2002 to sell them Rose Street car park to assist this development.  Despite having six years to complete the sale of the car park, Rock has failed to do so.  … on June 26, council officers were given the go ahead to take back control of Rose Street car park by the council’s decision-making executive.

The council is looking at the redevelopment options in relation to the whole of the town, including the possibility of talking to other developers.   …. On June 27 - the council is setting the wheels in motion by announcing its intention to publish a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union - OJEU - to invite expressions of interest to work jointly with the council to regenerate Wokingham town centre, not just Peach Place.  This notice would allow the council to have a direct interest in the development.”

2.3.      Langborough Recreation Ground

Recently, the Town Council was due to carry out its annual inspection.  It was abandoned for lack of a quorum.  On behalf of the Town Council, Linda Barnes confirmed that the play equipment in Langborough Recreation Ground might be renewed in the 2009-2010 fiscal period.

The rough area of ground by the changing rooms had been further discussed.  The headmaster of Southfield School had agreed with the Town Council an outline plan for the school to adopt the management of the land as a community project.  The initial groundwork would need to be undertaken by contractors.  Apparently, there was a hold up in the availability of funds from WBC to the Town Council to allow this.  Linda Barnes offered to investigate the position to see if the work might be brought forward.

Robin Cops suggested that labour might be forthcoming from the Probation Service. A further suggestion was that sponsorship might be sought from a garden centre in the area.  Linda Barnes noted these suggestions. 

2.4.      Traffic and Parking

Robin Cops reported on a study that he had completed on the possibility of resident parking permits in Langborough Road.

There were 62 properties, of which 54 had given their views.  44% of properties had no off street parking.  The road might accommodate 17 parking slots.  There were 27 properties to contend for these slots. 

Issues included: -

·         Difficulty of providing for visitor parking

·         Resident slots might remain empty during the working day

·         Difficulty accommodating two cars per household

·         Enforcement unlikely unless parking became decriminalised in Wokingham.  This would mean that WBC would be responsible for enforcement – Thames Valley Police were not resourced to cover this.

·         Cost of parking permits – likely to rise above the level of others already established.

(Note: the WBC Executive agreed on 26 June to raise the price of resident parking across the Borough to £30 per year.)

Several residents raised the potential issue of cars that would have been parked in Langborough Road now being diverted to Gipsy Lane.  It was suggested that the resident parking scheme might be extended to cover Gipsy Lane.

Robin Cops noted these concerns for further discussion with WBC.

3.   Treasurer’s Report

Una Markham reported on the Accounts during the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.  Copies of the accounts had been distributed to the meeting.  The Association had spent nil during the year.  The balance of funds was now £649.43.

The acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report was proposed by Marcelle Williams, seconded by Terry O’Donnell and passed unanimously.

The Treasurer recommended to the meeting that subscriptions be waived again until such time as it was necessary to raise funds.

4.   Election of Committee and Officers

All existing committee members and officers had resigned as of the AGM date.  David Nash informed the meeting that Una Markham would not be offering herself for re-election, because she was moving out of the area.  He thanked her for her valuable contribution to the Association as a Committee member for over 10 years.  All other Committee Members and Officers had offered themselves for re-election.

Andrew Pearce offered himself for election to the Committee.  (After the meeting, Andrew volunteered to become Treasurer and was appointed by the Committee.)

All offering themselves for election were re-elected en bloc, proposed by Liz Manley and seconded by Stanley Harris.

After the meeting, Sally Pearce of Langborough Road was co-opted to the Committee.

5.   Any Other Business

5.1.      New Property in Gipsy Lane behind Langborough Road.

Nicola Thompson reported that a large fence had been built – apparently without planning permission.  David Nash thought that this was temporary - to protect the site during excavation.


 

5.2.      Fence erected in the narrow part of Gipsy Lane on the boundary of the derelict site at the end of South Drive

David Nash informed the meeting that he believed that the large site of over 2 acres had been purchased to erect a single dwelling.  Residents of South Drive were reported to be relieved.  There had been threats of multiple properties on the site in the past.

5.3.      New houses being erected

Terry O’Donnell expressed the view that new houses in the area seemed to be out of character with existing nearby properties.  David Nash advised the residents to become involved in commenting on all new plans at the application stage.  If there was any evidence of the building being different to the design of applications that had been passed, this should be presented to WBC.

 

The chairman closed the meeting at 21:10.

 

 

 

LIST OF MEMBERS ATTENDING:

 

A Barclay                                            Langborough Road

Linda Barnes                                       Erica Drive

Tim Chinchen                                      Gipsy Lane

Frank Clisby                                        Gipsy Lane

Mildred Clisby                                     Gipsy Lane

Jane Cops                                           Langborough Road

Robin Cops                                          Langborough Road Committee Member

Liz Harris                                            Gipsy Lane

Stanley Harris                                     Gipsy Lane

Angus Lyon                                         Howard Road

Pat McIntyre                                       Gipsy Lane

Liz Manley                                           Langborough Road

Una Markham                                     Howard Road                     Treasurer  (retiring)

Byron Mawdsley                                 Langborough Road

David Nash                                         Gipsy Lane                         Chairman

Carol Newman                                    Gipsy Lane

Terry O’Donnell                                  Gipsy Lane                         Committee Member

Andrew Pearce                                   Langborough Road                 Treasurer **

Elizabeth Pike                                     Langborough Road

D Richardson                                      Langborough Road

Julian Salomon                                   Crescent Road                     Committee Member

Pat Smith                                            Sturges Road                     Secretary

Nicola Thompson                                Langborough Road                  Committee Member

Marcelle Williams                               Gipsy Lane

Barbara Young                                    Howard Road

 

** ELECTED TO THE COMMITTEE AT THE 2008 AGM AND APPOINTED AS TREASURER AFTERWARDS.

 

 

 

READ AND PASSED AT THE 2009 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

 

 

David Nash, Chairman