Minutes of meeting held – 4th January 2018

Andrea Allgood – Chair
Diane Draper – Treasurer
Trevor Scammell – Vice Chair
Susan Ashby – Membership Secretary
David Ashby
Michael Green
Fred Allgood
Apologies: Mike Clark, Debi O’Sullivan, Tony Chappell, Janice Randall, Anna Sharkey (Minutes taken by Fred Allgood), Deborah Rogers (PCSO).

Agenda Item 2 – Minutes of Last Meeting: Precis Reports
Textual changes were agreed to the minutes:

Under Planning – insert “Nyn” before “Manor” in penultimate sentence; under Parish Council – change “consultants” to “consultation” in line 1; and remove “All going ahead” to “Planning is ongoing.” in line 2. Action Chair/AS Susan agreed to check the draft 2018 Leaflet to ensure information re Standing Order mandates is correct. Action SA

Agenda item 3 – Conflicts of interest
No conflicts of interest were raised or declared.

Agenda item 5 – NCRA Admin
Chair reported that Mike was within the timeframe for delivery of the 2018 Leaflet. Chair said that speakers at the 2018 RA AGM had still to be finalised, but that Sally Pollitt and Bob Stubbs would speak. The Group looking to take over responsibility for the Leonard Cheshire facility (currently at the Youth Centre) may like to speak – Chair to follow-up. Action Chair
The meeting discussed the RA’s current lack of insurance cover and considered that there were specific events for which cover might be prudent – costs were a factor. The Meeting agreed the Chair approach the local Broker (Thurlow) to flesh out a proposal with quotes and report back to the Committee. Action Chair

Agenda item 6 – Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer confirmed she had produced draft accounts for 2017. She confirmed that no late subs had been received during December. The Meeting endorsed the Chair’s thanks to Susan for her hard work in engaging with residents to bring in so many subs in the last quarter of the year. The Meeting discussed possible uses of RA reserves, which were confirmed as “very healthy”. Possibilities were: contributing to the costs of a barrister (Local Plan), towards local services (eg surgery, parks). It was agreed that the Committee should err on the side of caution – it was a general feeling that as the number of homes to rent increased, RA income might decline.

Agenda item 7 – Planning Update
The Chair said that the Local Plan enquiry was progressing, but that it was unclear  whether the Inspector was likely to approve the Plan (St Albans objections etc). The N&C Parish Council had committed funds to employ a QC to fight the Plan as drafted (principally ribbon development, traffic burden/pollution – Station Road is above the Government level for Nox emissions, infrastructure implications). She confirmed that the N&C Neighbourhood Plan remained in stasis while the Local Plan remains under review.
No 62 Hill Rise – the Chair reported that the application for the three storey extension had been approved, with 3 Councillors voting against. Absence of a Neighbourhood plan was seen as a problem in this regard.
“Judges” at Northaw – the restaurant was now open and residents had reported that some structures had been erected without apparent planning permission. The PC had raised this with W&H Enforcement and the advice was to “wait and see”.
5 Bacons Drive – application for a single storey rear extension had been rejected.
55 Homewood Ave – appealed re variation of materials to counter enforcement action. If approved, the Committee agreed that the floodgates would be open.
Barham Court – confirmed the developer had won his appeal for the change of use to a restaurant.

On a general note, the Chair confirmed that W&H Planning and Enforcement were under severe pressure from staff cuts and increases in applications, with pages of cases to deal with at every hearing.

Agenda item 8 – Website
The Chair confirmed that the website was still inoperative because Mike has to rebuild the drive on his computer. The Committee considered an alternative solution: to start again from scratch with a simple website hosted on a server. RA would need to pay for the service (typically £75 pa). Mike would be/ is open to staying involved eg liaising with provider (LCN in Hertford suggested). The Committee was concerned about the need to get the website up and running and agreed that paying for this to be done would be a good use of RA funds. The Chair agreed to discuss the way
ahead with Mike and report progress at the next meeting. Action: Chair

Agenda item 9 – Precis Reports
Neighbourhood Watch/Police/PCSO/Kidston Inst/Cuffley Hall/PPG Nothing to report. Footpath Monitoring Fred reported that he had not carried out any monitoring since his injury in August.
He planned to walk the paths by the end of March and submit his report then. Michael reported that the overgrowing hedges along Northaw Road East and West had been cut right back. Action: FA

Agenda item 10 – Issues raised by residents
Not strictly a current issue raised by residents, but the Chair commented on a letter written in 2003 about the continual flooding in Northaw. There had been no remedial action since then that had been effective and the problem persisted, as recent experience had shown.

Agenda item 11 – Co-opting Members: None

Agenda item 12 – Any Other Business:
Michael said he had read the draft Hertfordshire Local Transport Plan and had been disappointed to discover that its 115 pages concentrated solely on the County’s trunk and A roads – nothing about the congestion on our B roads suffered by residents daily. He said that by-passes were mentioned, for the Hadhams and Hertford, but this was all. Officers appeared to living in cloud cuckoo land when referring to the “improved lighting” in the County. The Committee welcomed Michael’s offer to comment on the Plan on the RA’s behalf. Action: MG