GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION
17th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
9 June 2010
Wokingham Town Hall
** NOTE: attendance addresses removed **
A list of the 28 members attending is attached at the end of these minutes.
Apologies for absence: Ann McCutcheon, Sally Pearce, Julian Salomon, David Taylor, Paul & Cathy Turner and Elizabeth & Sydney Treadgold.
David Nash reminded attendees that the Association was inaugurated at a meeting on 3 March 1992.
The Agenda reminded members of the aims of the Association, as set out in its Constitution:
1. Minutes of 2009 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.
Acceptance - passed unanimously.
David Nash summarised the recent milestones in the strategic plan cycle of Wokingham Borough Council (referred to later as WBC). The plan started in 2004 to take over from the previous 10 year plan that expired in 2006. In July 2008, the Government of the South East (GOSE) imposed targets for housing development on all local authorities in the South East region. Wokingham Borough got 12,460 houses over 20 years: 623 per year average. The WBC Core Strategy was submitted in August 2008 and adopted in January 2010 after a Public Examination in March/April 2009.
The WBC strategy created four new Strategic Development Locations (SDLs). These included Northern and Southern SDLs bordering Wokingham town, comprising 1,500 and 2,500 dwellings respectively.
The Southern SDL extended from the Guildford line over Easthampstead Road to include land to the north of the Waterloo railway to London Road and up to Coppid Beech. A new road from the Tesco roundabout on Finchampstead Road passed over Easthampstead Road, bridging the railway and joining the Coppid Beech roundabout.
A serious issue was secondary education. WBC would close Emmbrook, limiting the number of schools to the current eight, saving £30 million pounds. St. Crispin’s was to be enlarged to provide extra capacity.
The next stage was to draw up more detailed “Masterplans” for each SDL, published in September 2009. Consultation followed in late 2009 and the Masterplans are currently due for adoption on 24th June.
The Conservative Party issued a Green Paper pledging to remove nationally set local housing targets. This was confirmed by Caroline Spelman, previously Shadow Minister for Communities & Local Government, in a letter of September 2009. Eric Pickles, now the Minister, had sent a short letter to council leaders in May, confirming the current government’s position and promising “a formal announcement soon.” Both John Redwood MP and various resident associations had requested that WBC put a hold on the adoption of the current Masterplans and take time to review targets. Angus Ross, now Borough Councillor with executive responsibility for planning, had written to one residents’ association as follows: “the current number of houses to 2026 has to stay at the moment as we need more information (from the Government) before any discussion can be held on changing the numbers. If we were to throw out our large development location plans now, we would lose control over where development could take place in the short term”.
Follow up questions from the floor and further discussion ensued: Oxford City had suspended its strategic plan process; gardens were not now categorised as “brown field” sites; WBC currently will not share its traffic planning data. It ended with approval of David Nash’s proposed action to seek further discussions with Angus Ross. The key objectives would be to seek an indication that overall targets would be reduced, that development in SDLs would be prioritised to impact areas of lower amenity value first and that certain areas of high amenity value could be totally excluded from development.
Three developers had been selected by Wokingham BC to respond to the Vision document for the town centre. Public consultation events had been held in the autumn of 2009. An exhibition based on a Masterplan for the town centre had been held in January/February 2010. Public feedback was sought in May 2010. GLRA put in a representation expressing concerns about traffic flow, parking, the possible height of up to 5 storeys of the proposed “anchor store” at the bottom of Denmark Street, lack of a plan to improve Peach Street and preservation of existing trees. It was not yet clear whether the Town Centre Masterplan would be included on the agenda for adoption on 24th June.
Andrew Pearce reported on the Accounts during the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. The balance of funds was now £523.83. The acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report was proposed by Terry O’Donnell, seconded by Pat McIntyre and passed unanimously. The meeting agreed with the Treasurer’s recommendation that subscriptions be waived again until such time as it was necessary to raise funds.
All existing committee members and officers had resigned as of the AGM date. All Committee Members and Officers had offered themselves for re-election. Andrew Pearce as Treasurer and Pat Smith as Secretary had also offered to stand in those positions. All these members were re-elected en bloc, proposed by Marcelle Williams and seconded by Jerry McCarthy.
David Nash was not standing again as Chairman.
Robin Cops had offered to stand. He was proposed by David Nash and seconded by Elizabeth Manley.
Robin Cops introduced himself to the meeting and took the chair.
Marcelle Williams proposed a vote of thanks to David Nash for his contribution as chairman over several years. This was seconded by Robin Cops and David Garrod and carried unanimously.
Colm Lennon queried the current status of 6 Langborough Road, the large house at the western end of the conservation area.. Robin Cops had taken a detailed interest in the progress of planning applications and updated the meeting. The latest application had once again been refused. The building was in danger of further deterioration – perhaps to an irreparable state. Colm Lennon said that he believed that WBC had powers under the Town & Country Planning Act to intervene to force the owners to keep the building in a reasonable state of repair.
ACTION: Robin Cops would investigate what actions were now available.
Terry O’Donnell raised the question of the possible impact of budget cuts. Robin Cops replied that GLRA would continue in its efforts to influence Borough Council policy to the benefit of our residents.
Robin Cops closed the meeting at around 9 p.m.
LIST OF MEMBERS ATTENDING:
Tony Chambers Howard Road
Marie J Christie Howard Road
Wesley Christie Howard Road
Frank Clisby Gipsy Lane
Mildred Clisby Gipsy Lane
Robin Cops Langborough Road Chairman **
David Garrod Gipsy Lane
Chris Gee Crescent Road
Maria Gee Crescent Road
Liz Harris Gipsy Lane
Stanley Harris Gipsy Lane
Peter Hendra Crescent Road
Margaret Hendra Crescent Road
Philip Lawman Gipsy Lane
Colm Lennon Murdoch Road
Jerry McCarthy Gipsy Lane
Elizabeth Manley Langborough Road
Pat McIntyre Gipsy Lane
David Nash Gipsy Lane Committee Member
Carol Newman Gipsy Lane
Terry O’Donnell Gipsy Lane Committee Member
Andrew Pearce Langborough Road Treasurer
Kenneth Priest Gipsy Lane
Philip Robinson Murdoch Road Committee Member
Pat Smith Sturges Road Secretary
Marcelle Williams Gipsy Lane
Rita Wright Fairview Road
Barbara Young Howard Road
** Elected as Chairman at this AGM