May 1 2014 at 7.30pm at St Thomas Aquinas Hall, Ham Common
1. OPENING MEETING
The Chair, Anne Powell, thanked everyone for coming and welcomed Neighbourhood Forum representatives Andrew Beedham and Justine Glynn. She introduced the existing committee members (Linda Holland; Jo Chambers; Pauline Gizejewski; Charles Doe) and thanked the new members: David Jowers and Geoff Bond. Anne appealed for members to come forward with ideas and comments.
2 APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF 2013 AGM
Brian Millar raises an amendment to the minutes of the 2013 AGM. He pointed out that Petersham Meadows measured 25 acres, not 33.
Jean Loveland proposed the acceptance of the minutes; Jo Chambers seconded.
Minutes were accepted unopposed.
3 CHAIR’S REPORT – HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013-14
Anne outlined the current position of the key projects in which the association has been involved over the past year in environmental protection and planning.
3.1 Environmental projects
Anne explained that the council had changed its contractors for biodiversity and for management of trees and that dealing with different contractors has hampered progress on projects. Anne urged the committee and members to contact the council if they experienced holdups in work.
Thames Landscape Strategy actively manages the avenues, but the council has been remiss in carrying out maintenance including flailing of undergrowth. The HPA gave £1,000 under the TLS and undertakes volunteer clear ups. Volunteers include children from Marymount School.
HPA continues to support regular clear ups of the pond.
3.1.2 Petersham Lodge Woods:
The woods have suffered from over a decade of neglect. The council is currently awaiting a management plan from the conservation contractors.
3.1.3 Ham Common Wood Pond (Latchmere Brook):
Anne showed photographs to illustrate progress made on restoring Ham Gate Pond.
Trees have been thinned out; the pond desilted; and a path laid. Anne explained that pond is actually part of an underground river called Latchmere Brook. Anne called for members to come up with ideas for the future of project, e.g. an extension to the path or a bridge over the pond/brook.
3.1.4 Grey Court School:
Anne said the school had provided great support to HPA projects. Fifteen children had worked as marshals during the Ham Open Gardens in May 2013. To recognize this, the HPA gave money for the school’s own environment projects, buying plants for flowerbeds and sponsoring construction of borders.
3.1.5 Woodville Centre, Ham
The association bought a special piece of musical equipment to be used by those attending this specialist centre for people suffering from dementia.
The HPA restored the plaque, which had been damaged by vandalism. The plaque was restored using resin, so it would not prove attractive to thieves.
Jo Chambers gave an update on planning applications in Petersham in which the HPA had shown an interest, while Charles Doe did the same for planning applications in Ham.
3.2.1 Petersham Nurseries:
Jo said Petersham Nurseries had applied for licenses to extend opening hours for the restaurant. These were similar to an application they had made in 2012 and the HPA reiterated its comments.
The old Star and Garter Home, now vacated, is being sold to be converted into flats. The HPA has not objected to this, but is concerned over possible impact on Petersham Common Woods; and the expected increase in traffic on the Petersham Road caused by increased housing.
3.2.3 Russell School/Strathmore School:
Jo said there no plans for the development of the site had been issued yet, so HPA was awaiting these and would welcome views on proposed development when it was 3.2.4 Ham - Latchmere Prison site:
Charles said no decision had been reached on the proposal for the site and that the consultation period had expired. Two applications were pending: one with housing including two access roads; the other with lower density, but with only one access road.
Charles said there were plans for more social housing and repair to existing properties.
Plans were available for viewing at Ham Library and on the council website. He encouraged members to view and make their views known.
4. FORTHCOMING EVENTS
Anne said the next clear up would be on May 10 at 10.00 on the towpath between River Lane and Ham House.
4.2 Petersham Open Gardens/Ham Open Gardens:
Anne said Petersham Open Gardens was taking place on June 1 and Jo Chambers was the contact for information. Anne said the next Ham Open Gardens would be held next year and would be a biennial event. Last year the event raised £4,000. Anne thanked the owners of the thirteen gardens who had opened them to the public on the day.
4.3. Ham and Petersham Magazine:
Anne said the magazine had had to suspend publication due to a drop in advertising revenue, despite the contribution from the HPA for printing the quarterly news letter.
She said the Neighbourhood Forum was trying to find a way to save the magazine.
Anne said the plan was to hold a party this year, as in previous years. No date had yet been set and it would probably be in the autumn. She said last year 70 people had attended the party in the Orangery in Ham House. This had been given free to the HPA and in recognition, the association had made a donation which had funded the restoration of an 18th century mourning ring.
5. AUDITED ACCOUNTS
Anne thanked Julia Bailey for her work preparing the accounts. She said the association did not want to keep hold of the money in its account, but spend it on worthy projects of benefit to the community and asked members to come forward with ideas. She pointed out that the HPA did not want to simply pay for work the council itself should cover. She pointed out that money from the Forestry Commission had been given to LBRUT for works in the borough’s woods and HCW will be a recipient of some of these funds, but the focus of the work has not yet been decided.
David Williams proposed the accounts; Brian Miller seconded. Approved unanimously.
6. ELECTION AND REELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Mary Steel proposed the re-election as committee members of John Asbridge; Charles Doe and Alison Graham. Seconded by David Powell. Accepted unanimously.
Jo Chambers proposed David Jowers and Geoff Bond be made committee members;
Anne Bayne seconded. Accepted unopposed.
7. MEMBERSHIP ISSUES
David Jowers explained the reasons for changes to the membership forms. He appealed for more members to subscriptions by standing order.
He said the HPA had 310 member households at the beginning of 2013. 30 had failed to renew and the total membership was currently 280. He called on members to encourage others to join. Anne thanked all members who had decided to rejoin.
8. PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS
Stephen Jakobi gave a talk on the hidden streams and rivers of Ham and Petersham. He explained the Ham Common Woods “Pond”, on which the HPA is working, is actually the only remaining above ground section of the Latchmere Stream. This ancient watercourse was covered up in the 19th century when it was found to be the source of disease. It flows under the wall of the park to join another now hidden river – the Sudbrook, which comes out into the Thames at River Lane.
9. NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM
Andrew Beedham and Justine Glynn from the Ham and Petersham Neighbourhood Forum explained the purpose of the forum and what stage it has reached.
Andrew said the aim of the HPNF was to coordinate local initiatives and draw up a neighbourhood development plan, with input form local organizations and the public, that would be independently reviewed and then put out to public referendum for Justine Glynn – vice chair of the HPNF – said public consultation workshops had been held on proposals; a drop-in session had taken place at Ham Library; and other initiatives undertaken to publicize the forum and encourage ideas. The HPNF had received £7,000 grant from central government to cover administration costs and the council has agreed to provide £15,000 in three tranches.
Andrew said the HPA was represented on the HPNF committee by Anne Powell and Geoff Bond, while Charles Doe sits on the plan drafting committee.
Andrew said the forum would not take over HPA projects and the interests of the HPA would be fully represented in plan.
Andrew addressed concerns that the forum did not represent local people, saying that all but one of the committee members were residents of Ham and Petersham.
Justine Glynn urged HPA members to spread the word on the forum.
Anne Powell said the HPA would keep members informed of the key dates relating to work of the forum. She said the lengthy consultation process and referendum would ensure democratic accountability.
George Varnava asked if the funding would be used to fund initiatives to target hard to reach residents, particularly young people. Justine Glynn said the forum was seeking to reach these groups through publicity in schools and in high streets.
One member asked why no mention had been made in the meeting of Ham Village Green, which she said was an important heritage for young people and was under threat from a development programme. Andrew Beedham said the forum was aware of concerns expressed over Ham Village Green. Anne Powell said the HPA shared these concerns and sought to reassure members that the final plan would reflect the concerns of residents and users of Ham Village Green.
10. VOTE OF THANKS
The chair thanked the speakers and all members for attending the meeting. The president asked for a special vote of thanks for the chair.
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