April 24, 2022
by Penny White
WESTMINSTER PARK RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Held on Wednesday 28th April 2021 on Zoom
Present: WPRA Committee: Jennifer Crew, Colin Dollimore, Sue Britton, Penny White, Brian Westcott, Olwen Bellis, Annemarie Macfadyen, Richard Short, Pauline Brown, Sandra Magilton, Susan Eva, David Craggs, Karen Liddle.
CWAC Councillors: Razia Daniels, Neil Sullivan.
Residents: Mary and Dick Pole, Pat Eadie and Steve McMahon, Roger and Sheila Todd, Christine Westcott, Linda and Stewart Shuttleworth, Tim Whalley, Lisa Childs, Peter and Moir Cocker, Pauline Hannon, Mike Pollard, Nick Ryan.
Apologies: Tracey Casey, Jackie Attrill, Veronica Gay, Louise Glastbury.
1. Minutes of last meeting held on 9th July 2020. Agreed as a true record by those who attended. No matters arising. Proposed: Colin Dollimore, Seconded: Brian Westcott
2. Chairman’s Report: It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as chair for another year, and what a year! Or rather nine months, as our last AGM was held later than normal in July 2020 owing to the Covid pandemic.
The pandemic has continued to have a significant impact on our activities as an association and as a community. This has particularly affected the older members of our community who have faced continued social isolation as many of their normal activities have been cancelled and not all have been able to adapt to meetings online. We have been unable to organise our usual quizzes at the community centre and it was with great sadness that we cancelled our Christmas lights celebration with Belgrave Primary School, although we did still install some new lights which helped to cheer up the dark days of winter. This year’s Summer Fayre has also been a casualty for the second year running.
However, this is not to say that we have not been busy!
• Membership – Colin Dollimore joined the committee last year with the objective of increasing the number of members of the association and has delivered. We are pleased to report that we now have over 440 members, compared to 341 in 2020. Some of these new members have come from the Lache Park Avenue area which was not previously included in our area of benefit. I will talk more about this in Item 7 of the Agenda. Others have come from the new King’s Moat development on Wrexham Road. But it is Colin’s efforts and enthusiasm that have made a significant difference.
• One bright spot in the middle of last year was the Summer Lockdown art exhibition for young people was held at a shop near to Storyhouse.
• Our local support network has continued through the second lockdown, but demand has now tailed off. Huge thanks again to all our volunteering neighbours.
• Wrexham Road development – King’s Moat. Flooding in Jan and Feb and the subsequent noise of generators and pumps has caused much upset. Our sub-committee met with Redrow and TW, and complaints were passed on to the Council. Many thanks to Brian Westcott for pursuing this.
• Proposed development on field bordered by Lache lane, Winkwell Drive and Lower Field Road – a consultation was held by the developers in July and August. A planning application was submitted in January and our objection was submitted at the end of March. Thanks to all residents for sending me copies of their comments to enable me to put together a submission representative of their views. Particular thanks to Howard Williams and Karen Liddle for freely giving their time to help with this.
• Improvements at shops – the planters have brightened up the space through winter and spring. Three new trees were planted along the grassy area by the pharmacy at beginning of December, including a permanent Christmas tree. This area has also been enhanced by the planting of crocus bulbs to add to the daffodils that were already there, making a colourful spring display. Thanks to Colin Dollimore and the Rotary Club and our Gardening Club for planting them.
• Council consultations on our green spaces – Wildflower and Grassland strategy and Parks and Green Spaces strategies. WPRA response sent in January. Thanks to Mary Pole of Gardening Club and Anne Pritchard of Incredible Edible for their input. We are looking forward to working with the Council to make improvements to the green spaces in our neighbourhood, many of which have been neglected.
• Keeping residents well informed is an important part of our role.
• Newsletter – has expanded to 12 pages to allow us to cover more items of news and in more depth. Now have a circulation of 1700 including Lache Park Avenue and King’s Moat. Grateful thanks to Adina Hilgard and Andrea Hopkinson for their enormous contribution to the production of the newsletter and to Alan Birch for taking on the management of distribution of the newsletter. Last but not least, thank you to all of the volunteers who pace the streets every quarter to deliver them to every household in our neighbourhood.
• News in a more immediate form is distributed via our website and very active Facebook page which now has over 1200 members. My thanks to Penny White for taking on the unenviable job of administrator alongside Dave Craggs to try to keep comments informative and civil!
• Membership of the Chester Residents’ Association Group, together with 16 other residents’ associations. Engaging strategically with the council and other stakeholders in the city at a vital time for its regeneration and being involved in the revision of the One City plan.
Our thoughts are at last turning to the future as thankfully many more people have received the vaccine. We are hopeful that as we emerge from this second lockdown we can begin to look forward to resuming some of our former activities, including our social events.
I would like to thank our Councillors Neil Sullivan and Razia Daniels for their tremendous support during this period. Aside from the highlights that I have mentioned this evening, there are many other concerns that have arisen during the year which we have referred to them and I am grateful for the attention which is given to these matters, generally with a speedy resolution. We are also indebted to them for their financial support which has enabled us to buy the planters and the additional Christmas lights for the trees at the shops.
Finally I would like to thank everyone on the committee for their hard work throughout the year – in addition to numerous others who have given their time freely and willingly – to help WPRA continue its work for our community. My fellow officers Colin, Penny and Sue have been great supports during what has not been an easy year for me personally.
My particular thanks go to Sandra Magilton for keeping us on track with our finances as Treasurer over the last four years. She decided to stand down at the end of 2020 and will present her final financial report in a few moments. Happily, I am very pleased to say that she is continuing as a member of the committee. I am also very grateful to Sue Britton for offering to take up the position of Treasurer in January. Huge thanks also go to our auditor Nick Ryan who kindly continues to oversee our accounts.
That concludes my report. Let’s hope that we can all meet up in person before too long.
Jennifer Crew, Chair
Neil Sulllivan gave an update on the Winkwell development plan. He reported that there are a number of areas the Planning Officers are not happy with and may refuse it. The application will be going into Committee during the first week of July, depending on changes made to the scheme. There is good reason for local residents to continue to liaise with the Council.
Lisa Childs commented on plans for a one way system on Lache Lane for six weeks while works on drainage for Kings Moat take place. Highways are still working on the plan as they recognise that these works will be going on from June onwards at the same time as resurfacing on Wrexham Road. This will cause lots of disruption.
3. Treasurer’s Annual Report: As you will appreciate there has been very little movement in 2020, but I will briefly go through the income and expenditure.
Subscriptions slightly increased by 4% on last year and the total of £1143 represents 381 households, which is 29% of the community circulation. This of course does not include Lache Park Avenue, which will come into the final accounts for 2021. Advertising has increased by 49%. This is due to a small increase in the charge of advertising space and additionally more businesses signing up.
The only other income was grants from the Councillors Members’ Budget. The overspend on the planters was due to a shortfall in the grant received for the purchase of the planters, the upkeep (i.e. seasonal watering) and the replanting with winter stock, which unfortunately we were not successful in obtaining a further grant.
The newsletter printing has increased by 11% as a result of expanding the publications from 8 sheets to 12 sheets in the last 3 issues. The licence increase is due to the purchase of a one off, we hope, ‘Zoom’ licence at a cost of £115.
Despite a deficit of £387, WPRA bank balance remains healthy at £3,374.
Evergreen 55+ club activities, have been suspended throughout 2020, so very little movement in their accounts. A balance of £1,565 is held in WPRA bank account for their future use.
May I thank Nick Ryan for continuing to give his time as our Independent Examiner, for reviewing and approving my 2020 Accounts
I would also like to extend a thank you, on behalf of WPRA, to our Councillors, for their continued support again in 2020.
Finally, I have enjoyed my four years as WPRA Treasurer. This role has now been passed into the capable hands of Sue Britton as Treasurer and Colin Dollimore as Membership Officer. I am sure they will perform well in their respective roles and I look forward, along with the rest of the committee, to receiving their reports in the future.
This concludes my final report at year end 2020. Proposed: Neil Sullivan Seconded Annemarie Macfadyen.
4. Approval of affiliation to CRAG: Our constitution states that should we wish to seek affiliation to any local, regional or national organisation such affiliations should be approved by a majority vote at a General Meeting.
This evening I am seeking your approval for WPRA to become a member of the Chester Residents Association Group (CRAG). Formed in 2019, this group has 17 member organisations and its objective is to make Chester an even better place to live, work and visit. They aim to do this by working with local stakeholders such as the Council, Police, Chester Bid and so on.
Their constitution was put on our website in February for information and comment.
Pauline Brown and I have been working with CRAG to develop strategies and proposals to help address the top five issues identified by member residents’ associations:
• Homelessness and anti-social behaviour
• Traffic management and parking
• Public realm
• One City Plan
These are now the basis of discussions with local stakeholders. One tangible result of our interim membership of CRAG is that we have been receiving much more information about activity in the city and have been able to feed this on to our membership via our website and Facebook page.
Initially we joined on a trial basis, but would now like to consolidate our membership. I believe that there are distinct advantages in being part of a larger residents’ voice in Chester and seek your approval to confirm our membership.
I propose that WPRA should become a full member of CRAG. Seconded: Annemarie Macfadyen
Approval granted by majority show of hands.
5. Changes to items 2 and 7 of the WPRA Constitution: There are two small amendments that we would like to make to the constitution. One relates to our area of benefit and the other to the use of digital resources for meetings.
Over many years we have been asked by residents of Lache Park Avenue and surrounding streets if they could join WPRA as they do not have their own residents’ association to represent their interests. We decided therefore to canvas their opinion last September to see if there was a general desire to join us. The returns were unanimously in favour of joining and we therefore made membership available to them in January 2021. However, this requires an amendment to our area of benefit as described in the constitution.
2. AREA OF BENEFIT
The area of benefit for the Residents Association is that area known as Westminster Park in the local government district of the City of Chester, being defined as follows:
All of that area bounded by Green Lane (from Lache Lane to Circular Drive), Circular Drive, Lache Lane, Cranford Court, Lache Park Avenue and surrounding streets, Wrexham Road and a line drawn from the southernmost Herons Way roundabout on the Wrexham Road back to the junction of Green Lane and Lache Lane.
The second amendment is more of an update to include the use of digital platforms to hold meetings as well as bricks and mortar.
7. GENERAL MEETINGS OF THE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
a. Annual General Meetings
Once in each calendar year an Annual General Meeting of the Residents Association shall be held at such time and place as the General Committee shall determine (including digitally), being not more than fifteen calendar months after the adoption of this constitution and thereafter not more than fifteen calendar months after the holding of the previous Annual. General Meeting. At least 21 clear days’ notice shall be posted in conspicuous places in the area of benefit and advertised by any other means that the General Committee may deem appropriate.
Proposed: Sandra Magilton Seconded: Brian Westcott
The change was approved by majority show of hands.
6. Appointment of Committee Honorary Officers: Chairman, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and General Committee Members (max of 12 in addition to Hon Officers)
Vice Chair – Colin Dollimore, Secretary – Penny White and myself have all agreed to stand again if re-elected. As I said in my report, Sandra previously announced her intention to stand down as Treasurer, but Sue Britton has volunteered to take up the post if re-elected.
We have not received any nominations to join the committee (we do have 2 vacancies) nor to contest any of the officers’ posts. Karen Liddle will join the Committee as a full Committee member.
The other current members of the committee have also all offered to continue on the committee if re-elected.
May I suggest that the committee is voted in en bloc. Proposed: Dick Pole Seconded: Neil Sullivan. The committee was voted in en bloc by majority show of hands.
7. Items to be discussed/AOB:
Question – Does WPRA have any information on how much money and where the Community Infrastructure Levy from the King’s Moat development will be spent?
Neil Sullivan responded that he will investigate and report back. This will apply to all developments, including Sherbourne Avenue and The Orchard. It could possibly go into educational/medical capital funding. There was a suggestion that the Westminster Park café/changing rooms/toilets etc needs rebuilding which the Councillors agree with and suggest a sub group is formed to make a plan and see what funding is available.
Informal litter picking takes place around Westminster Park by residents. The Council is looking for a ‘Your Streets Champion’ who would like to co-ordinate regular clean ups or litter-picking events. If anyone is interested in acting as a Your Streets Champion, could they please contact Jennifer Crew.
There were comments about the gullies and drains needing weedkilling and jetting. The Council also needs to empty litterbins more often.
Tim Freeman-Dean has left the committee but will liaise with Lache Park Avenue matters.
More detail on green spaces ‘going wild’ is required: at present areas are being looked at that would be appropriate for more planting, etc.
The meeting closed at 9pm.