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HRA Chair’s Blog of the HRA Committee Meeting of Monday 13th March 2017

HRA Chair’s Blog of the HRA Committee Meeting of Monday 13th March 2017

The HRA Committee met on 13th March. This is a summary of the main points. The approved minutes will appear on the website in due course.

The Committee welcomed Jon Walsh from the University of Southampton.

The minutes of the meeting on 13th February were approved.

Under Matters Arising, it was reported that answers had just been received from the City Council to the questions the Association had raised in its response on the Cycling Strategy consultation. These would be posted on the website. The Chair reported that the Management Committee of the new Southampton Common Forum had had its first meeting. They were working on criteria to guide the Council’s options appraisal and some workshops on possible improvements to the Hawthorns. A website was about to be established: http://www.southamptoncommonforum.org. The Forum would have its next meeting in June.

Under University Liaison, Jon Walsh gave a review of current events likely to be of interest to the community. Jon Sopel’s recent lecture had been a great success. As part of Science and Engineering Week there was an open day at the two main campuses on 18th March, details of which could be found at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/per/university/festival/science-and-engineering-day.page? Both the University and the city had received a lot of publicity around the naming of the underwater robot research vessel now officially named Boaty McBoatface which would be based at the Oceanographic Centre and would shortly be exploring waters in the sub-Arctic. In answer to a question, he said whilst there might be overprovision of dedicated private student accommodation in some other cities this was not yet the case in Southampton.

In discussion of the AGM, it was confirmed that there would be a speaker from the University to talk about the new Cancer Immunology Building. It was agreed we should seek speakers from the Council and the Police to talk about the local environment and especially Portswood Broadway.

Under Reports, it was noted that the finances might become critical but it was agreed to discuss this at the AGM. Nicolla Martin reported that current membership numbers were 508 (database), 374 (paid-up) and 74 (rolling). Under planning, it was reported that in accordance with the Committee’s decision at the last meeting the process of judicial review in relation to 12 Russell Place had been started; we should know the Council’s initial reaction by 22nd March. It was noted that it might be helpful who was behind the application concerning the Lloyds Bank building. Information about this and other applications that were of potential significance to the Association would continue to appear on the website. Finally, it was noted that the Newsletter would be published shortly.

Under AOB, Simon Hill circulated a draft updated Action Plan for the Little Common which reflected the recent work on the Carriage Drive which the Association had welcomed and endorsed. It was agreed to approve the plan subject to any comments received after it had been published on the website. Simon also tabled correspondence with the Council about repairs to the road surface in Highfield Road. This led on to a general discussion about the apparently lackadaisical attitude on the part of the Council to necessary repairs on well-used roads and routes, especially to remedial work carried out on behalf of utilities, Brookvale Road and the Avenue being other examples. It was agreed that we should write to the responsible Cabinet member with a copy to the head of Highways, with reference especially to the health and safety aspects. Finally, Jerry Gillen mentioned the meeting of the North Southampton Community Forum at the Sports Centre on 16th March at 7.30.

The meeting closed at 8.10 pm.