23 April 2012 at 7.30pm at St Thomas Aquinas Hall, Ham Common
1. OPENING MEETING
1.1. The Chair, Anne Powell, opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone present at the meeting and introducing the Committee members.
2. CHAIRMAN’S REVIEW – HIGHLIGHTS OF 2011-12
2.1. The Chair advised that in October 2011 the Committee had reviewed the HPA strategy discussing what the purpose was, what the activities should be and how we measure the outcome for the HPA. One of the primary aims is to publicise the association with the aim of getting people interested and tapping into members’ time and expertise to help improve the HPA by creating ideas for expanding membership.
2.2. The Chair highlighted what the HPA strives to preserve and maintain the environment and public amenities of this historical and special semirural area. It was noted that there is a balance to be had to preserve our heritage but also to move with the changing times and below is a highlight of what was achieved during the year.
2.3. Petersham Meadows: A series of very difficult discussion had been held between the public, the Council and the National Trust. It was noted that the 9 cows and calves would be returning to the meadows, but they would be temporarily fenced in. The Chair read a statement from the Council who will broker a meeting between the farmer and the National Trust to find a compromise. This was still a work in progress.
2.4. The Parks Department/expressions of interest: the Chair advised that Tasha Hunter would explain more about this in her presentation later on the agenda but in essence it meant that local groups could bid to run local areas such as Ham Common Woods etc.
2.5. The Orchards: There is a move to reinstate orchards in Petersham and Ham following local interest. Two of the three sites had been approved with discussions underway to consider the third site on Ham Lands.
2.6. The Petersham Nursery: The Chair acknowledged that the planning / licensing applications around the nursery were very divisive within the community and it was noted that HPA had appealed against the recent application for the nursery to extend its opening hours to include Saturday evenings.
2.7. Richmond/Bushy Parks: It was noted that these parks have still not been transferred to the Mayor, although the parks still belong to the Queen. The borough of Richmond now has a representative on this group, which was seen as a step in the right direction.
2.8. Volunteer activities: include links with HUG, HAG and the local schools, Ham Common Woods, carols on the Green, HPA quarterly newsletters, planning applications and work with the low carbon zone. Thanks were given to Zoe Vanarva for continuing with the Ham pond tidy up. It was noted that HPA continue to make representations to the Community First initiative / neighbourhood plan, the library and the Police Liaison Group.
2.9. Ham Common Woods: Grey Court and HPA are working together on the redesign of the signage for Ham Common Woods with involvement from the science and geography departments to give their input from an ecological view. The Head, Maggie Bailey has met with the Chair and the PLG and has committed to addressing any ASB from Grey Court students. The Chair advised that Maggie had even given out her mobile number for members of the public to text her directly.
2.10. Community First: This is a government scheme for wards with higher deprivation, of which Ham is considered one of these. The aim is to reduce inequalities across the ward and encouraging employment and training initiatives by engaging young people as full members of our local community. The initiative will help isolated and vulnerable people, in particular the elderly, improve the local environment, both visually and through “green” projects and thus reduce crime and ASB. Funding of £4k is available per annum over four years and the working party including members of the local community organisations, chaired by Sir David Williams are working together on this project.
2.11. Ham Library: Concern was expressed by some members over the recent review of staffing structure and the possibility of the library being run by a separate voluntary organisation. Members advised that the library was like a community centre and the Chair assured members that the HPA would resist any attempts to undermine the library.
2.12. Latchmere House: It was noted that there are plans by the MoD to sell Latchmere House, although it was suspected that the façade of the house would be kept.
2.13. Casell Hospital: it was highlighted that Casell hospital is owned by the West London Mental health Trust and that it used to be a hotel. There are numerous badger setts in the grounds which can make planning more difficult, although it is likely that this will be a campaign for HPA in 2013-14.
3. STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS FOR 2010/11
3.1. The Chairman congratulated the Treasurer, Pauline Gizejewski, on the excellent job she had done in her fifth year of looking after the Association’s accounts and producing the year end statement.
3.2. Thanks were also given to Tony Wechsler who has now retired as auditor. There were no other questions and the accounts were approved.
3.3. RESOLVED: That the statement of accounts for 2011 be approved.
4. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON 5 MAY 2011
4.1. The minutes from the last AGM were agreed as an accurate record. This action was proposed by Jo Chambers and seconded by Cllr Brian Miller.
4.2. The Chair thanked the Committee for their work during the year and highlighted that this was done on a voluntary basis. A big round of applause was given to the Committee by all those present at the meeting.
5. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS
5.1. The Chairman reported that Jackie Taylor had retired from the Committee and thanked her for doing a most marvellous job. It was noted that the Committee would recognise Jackie’s commitment to the HPA in a separate ceremony and a huge round of applause was given by all those at the meeting.
5.2. It was noted that Penny Waheed had left the Committee and Mary Pitterway has taken a leave of absence.
5.3. Two Committee members stood for re-election and they were Linda Holland and Pauline Gizejewski. Accordingly, the re-election was proposed by Mary Seager and seconded by Sylvia Peile.
5.4. RESOLVED: That Linda Holland and Pauline Gizejewski were re-elected to the Committee.
6. PRESIDENTS ADDRESS
6.1. This was given by Stephen Jakobi, who advised members that had been asked to use his address to promote the Jubilee Tea Party on Ham Common on 2 June 2012, organised by a local resident, Sarah Sinclair.
6.2. The President highlighted historical events that had taken place to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and from Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It is recorded that the last jubilee included a fete, a parade, Punch and Judy show, tug-of-war and picnic, followed by a cold dinner for 800 adults in Ham and Petersham. There is a photo of this event at the museum of Richmond (http://www.museumofrichmond.com)
6.3. The President introduced Tasha Hunter, reminiscing that 30 years ago he and his family would collect newts, frogs and spawns in jam jars and noted how these amphibians have declined in population. The President advised he was very glad to see that we are concentrating on the environment.
7. PRESENTATION re: HAM COMMON WOODS
7.1. A verbal presentation was given by Tasha Hunter, ecology officer at Richmond Council (e-mail: email@example.com) who started by saying that ecology is her passion and she is dedicated to the bio diversity in Richmond with a special interest in toads.
7.2. Tasha informed members that there is to be a change in the maintenance contract, currently with Veolia. The contract will be changed from an umbrella contract to a framework contract where several different companies may bid for specific functions such as grass cuts, litter picks or conservation cuts. There will be more emphasis on contractors to manage to a green star level, and this may mean that the grass needs to be cut more often during summer vs. only three times a year. There are 8 strategic principles around this change, which include focus is on the quality of the outdoor spaces, how it enriches the lives of residents, excellent service, etc. The PPQ and Expressions of Interest are out from July – December 2012 and this new framework contract will be in place by 1st April 2013.
7.3. A member thanked Tasha for her wonderful enthusiasm and explanation of the changes, saying that they all sound marvellous but expressing concern that there may be less funding available and hoping that these changes were for the better of the community and not just a cost saving exercise.
7.4. Tasha updated members on the Ham Gate Avenue Pond project which has been assessed by an ecologist and work is due to start in September after the breeding season. This will include removing the sediment, shoring up the bank, creating paths to make the area more accessible.
8. PRESENTATION re: STAR AND GARTER HOUSE
8.1. A presentation was given by Mike Barter, CEO of Royal Star and Garter Homes for 3 years, who recognised that Star and Garter House is a much love icon and landmark which has become a part of our environment in Richmond. It was purpose build in 1924 as a care home which can no longer be developed to provide effective, economic care. The charity are aware of the links with the local community and were determined to be open and honest. Extensive due diligence had been conducted by the charity to present the building to market to expose its capability for “responsible” planning and bids were starting to be received, analysed and negotiated.
8.2. Mike’s private view, is that Star and Garter house would most likely become residential. Concern was raised by members about the additional parking that would be required and were assured that as part of the due diligence work, the charity have proved that there is technically a solution by having an underground car park with no visible change to the façade.
8.3. A member asked if the public rooms, such as the chapel, would be preserved and it was expected that there would be no change to the mail hallway, staircase or chapel so that these historical links would be maintained.
9. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
9.1. Members were reminded of a few dates which included:
9.3. The attendance list recorded 60 people at the AGM on 23 April 2012.