Thanks to all who attended, here are the minutes from the 3rd RA meeting at the Athenaeum Club, 22nd June 2017:
Minutes_SWRA_Meeting_June_2017 (as pdf)
in text form:
Minutes of Smithick Ward Residents Association (SWRA) Meeting 22nd June 2017
Those Present: Jim Forbes (Chair Designate), Candy Atherton (Councillor), Tam Ward (Publicity) Sarah Jones (Secretary) and local residents of Smithick Ward.
Apologies: Ruth Grimmer (Exeter University) and Jude Robinson (Councillor).
Welcome and Introduction (1.), Nominate and appoint Chairperson and Treasurer (2.), Review Planning Applications (3.), Addressing the needs of local residents (4.), Fostering better relations with students and residents/Landlords & Letting Agents (5.), Promoting local resident initiatives (6.), Reducing anti-social behaviour and graffiti (7.), A.O.B. (8.).
- Welcome & Introduction: The residents of Smithick Ward were warmly welcomed to the 3rd meeting of the SWRA. Candy Atherton, our local Falmouth Town Councillor, introduced herself and was welcomed to the meeting along with Tracy and Pam from Save Our Falmouth (SOF).
- Nominate and Appoint Chairperson & Treasurer: Tamsin Ward nominated Jim Forbes for the position of Chairperson, Mary MacGregor seconded. The residents were asked to vote, it was unanimous and Jim was duly appointed as Chairperson of SWRA. There were no nominations for the position of Treasurer.
- Review of Planning Applications (PA’s): PA17/03907 Land to the rear of St. George’s Arcade. Sarah Jones gave a brief update about this development which is another House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO). She said that the Town Council and Cornwall Council agreed that we are at saturation point with these kinds of developments. She asked all residents to register their objections either online or by post. She thanked Candy Atherton and SOF for their support. Candy explained that she is going to ‘Call In’ this development because of the issues regarding HMO’s and the strain on the town’s infrastructure. SOF talked about some other Planning Applications including Ocean Bowl (PA17/04077) and Premier Inn (PA17/01608) and asked for support from all residents to object to these developments. They can provide the necessary template letters and other information to assist residents with this process. There was also a question about Article 4, which came into effect on 16th June. Candy answered by saying that applications that were submitted prior to this date were hoping to slip through the net and get through. This was why there are so many PA’s. A concern was raised regarding the protection of our green spaces. Candy responded by saying that this was a real concern but that the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) would help to protect these areas and considered the need for local housing as well as the importance of preserving the character of the town.
- Addressing the Needs of Local Residents: Jim stated that he would welcome greater participation in the Residents Association and asked residents to let him know what projects they would like to initiate. He can then post these ideas on the website and other residents can join in if they wish. Several ideas were put forward such as litter picking, flower planting etc. Candy suggested that she had a slot at each meeting headed ‘Councillor’s Issues’ where she can raise and then discuss various issues that affect us as residents of Smithick Ward. Everyone present agreed that this was a good idea. There were 4 issues she wished to mention at this meeting:
- The pedestrianisation of the town centre between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The general view around the room was positive.
- ‘The Bowley’ – Some money has been put aside for this. Candy suggested that perhaps we could survey residents to see what they want the money spent on and how the current facilities could be improved.
- Kimberley Park – there are some concerns about a growing problem with drinking and anti-social behaviour in the park. Money is now available to build a permanent stage in the park which can be used for ‘Park Live’ and other events.
- Tregantle – This is a property at the traffic lights at the top of Kimberley Park Road. The situation is getting worse with rubbish, debris and old electrical appliances being left at the property. Candy assured us that she will keep fighting to get something done but, as it’s a private residence, this is proving difficult to resolve.
- Fostering better relations with students and residents/ Landlords & Letting Agents: There followed a long discussion about these issues. One resident, who lives in Trelawney Cottages, raised concerns about the number of HMO’s in her area. Between numbers 19 and 41 in Trelawney Road there are only 2 or 3 houses that aren’t HMO’s. There are ongoing problems with refuse and rubbish being strewn across the paths, problems with all night parties, anti-social and student drinking as well as overgrown front gardens. Candy’s advice was to write and complain about this type of behaviour. She also said that the emerging NP will help by identifying these issues across the town and the plan is very much about a better balance of housing provision, protection of our green spaces and community spirit. SOF said that they were involved in this area and had written to Letting Agents and are happy to continue to bring this issue into the public domain. A resident stated that Landlords should be pressured and encouraged to keep their properties in good order. Candy reiterated that anyone effected should complain because otherwise many will not take action. She also asked us to bear in mind that Councils had already lost 40% of their budget, there are more cuts to come and we will also loose our European money. One resident enquired why the Landlords of these properties weren’t paying Council Tax and Candy explained that when the higher tuition fees came in Landlords were exempted – a deal was struck and it was a central government decision. Finally the issue of parking was raised. The consultation had produced a 50/50 result. A new proposal may well be forthcoming in the coming months. Many felt that the University should take greater responsibility here and offer students free parking.
- Promoting Local Residents Initiatives: Tamsin Ward suggested that interested residents should fill in the sheet that was circulating about volunteering for various local projects and initiatives such as street cleans and litter picking and other events.
- Reducing Anti-Social Behaviour & Graffiti: A resident raised the ongoing problem of graffiti in the area. Candy explained that there is a dedicated team dealing with it. She suggested that the SWRA draw up a list of badly affected places which she would pass on to the team. This would offer a more coordinated approach to the problem.
- A.O.B.: Everyone was thanked for attending the meeting. SOF encouraged people to look at their literature and leaflets on the table at the back of the room. £14.00 was collected in donations from residents to help cover the costs of room hire and administration.