Archive for Entrance Pillars & Islands

Minutes of AGM – 20th June 2018

Egerton Park Residents’ Association

Minutes of Annual General Meeting

held at The Lauries, Birkenhead

at 7pm on Wednesday 20th June 2018

Attendance:       11 residents plus 5 committee members.

Apologies:          1 apology

1. Welcome and Introductions

The chair and treasurer’s reports had been circulated prior to the meeting.   It was the committee’s intention that an informal style of meeting should encourage discussion and debate from those present.

2. Derelict Properties

The chair reported on meetings that had taken place over the last 12 months with councillors and representatives of the council’s housing department.   These meetings have produced little progress as the council has no powers in respect of private owners of properties.   However, key changes in planning law mean that councils now have to meet targets regarding building on ‘brownfield’ sites, so we wait with interest to see if this has any impact on the sites in Egerton Park.

One resident asked – if a new application was to be submitted to develop one of the derelict/empty properties/sites, what would be the council’s position in light of the highway department’s previous opposition to such developments?   The committee were unable to comment as we have no idea what the response of planning or highways might be to future applications.   All we can do is to monitor applications and keep residents informed.   The chair also confirmed that, contrary to a commonly held misconception, the committee has never opposed any previous planning applications, and a previous application to demolish 77 and replace it with houses was opposed by the planning department, NOT the committee or residents.   Finally, it has not been possible to establish the intentions of the owner of 4 of these properties despite communication by email.

As a way forward, residents suggested a petition to all residents.   However, this would require the involvement of many more residents to assist in this, the current committee not having sufficient manpower to undertake such a time consuming exercise.   Other suggestions included lobbying our local MP Frank Field, and/or emailing the owner of the derelict properties requesting an update.   The committee will continue to check the planning website for any new planning applications and will keep residents informed by emailing those residents for whom we have contact details.

ACTION: the committee to seek a meeting with local MP Frank Field to discuss residents’ concerns over derelict sites.

3. Road Maintenance

All present agreed that the road is now in a better state than it has been for some time and that repairs appear to be holding out well against cold weather.   The committee will continue to ask residents to assist us by identifying particular patches that need work, and will continue in our policy of repairing larger patches as opposed to individual potholes.   Residents commented on the particularly good patch that has been repaired at the top entrance and the use of good quality tarmac.

A resident suggested an increase in contributions to fund future repairs, however, it was agreed that it would be unfair to expect those residents who already contribute, to subsidize to an even greater extent, those who do not pay.

4. Drains and Infrastructure

i) Drains – residents reported that a number of gullies are blocked and some have disappeared or been concreted over.    As a consequence sections of the park, particularly towards the Byrne Avenue end, are prone to flooding.   One drain has been cleared (paid for out of the maintenance fund) and the chair has requested a quote from the same drainage company for all gullies, including those in the closes, to be cleared.   It was also noted that council road sweepers rarely sweep the road in the park and that, unless this is done regularly, the drains will soon block up again.   In conclusion, our only option is to do the best we can in the circumstances and use the maintenance fund to clear gullies if and when necessary.

There followed a discussion about the council’s responsibility for certain services and their refusal/avoidance in offering these services to residents of Egerton Park because of its unadopted road status.   This is despite the fact that residents do not pay a reduced rate of community charge.   This issue has come up in relation to surface water drains, fly tipping, fallen trees, and lighting.   Also it was noted that the road sweeper should clean around the park once a month but it is certainly nowhere near as regular as this.

ACTION: The committee to seek some clarification about residents’ entitlement to council services as full payers of the community charge.   To be raised with Frank Field MP.

ii) Entrance Pillars – these require some repair work and the chair will attempt to complete this work in the summer months.   Any offer of help with this would be welcome!

iii) Lighting in Delyn Close – one resident raised concerns about the lack of lighting in Delyn Close.   The committee had previously done a lot of work on this issue, including meetings with the council, and had proposed a solution in terms of contributing towards the cost of installing lights, but residents of the close had not attended a meeting where this proposal was to have been discussed.   Residents of Delyn Close are free to raise this issue again if it is causing concern.

5. Anti-social Behaviour

One resident reported sighting youths in his driveway and another reported a burglary in the last 12 months but these occurrences, fortunately, are now quite rare in the park.   It is worth reminding residents to take more care during the summer months when windows are left open, which could lead to an increase in opportunistic thefts.   Residents should also let the committee know of any such incidents so that we can send out an email alert to residents.

6. Traffic Issues

The park already has speed bumps and we have previously replaced old and damaged 10mph speed signs.   It is difficult to see what more can be done to stop some vehicles travelling at excessive speeds in the park.   Parked cars continue to be a problem particularly visitors to Salisbury House.

ACTION: the committee to look at possibilities regarding enforcement of parking restrictions on the road.

7. Committee Membership

The committee consists of just 4 regular members who undertake most of the work.   Two of these members are directors of the residents’ association.   Current committee members have been doing this work, sometimes in excess of 10 years, and are not getting any younger.   We are desperately in need of volunteers to help and contribute new ideas, and with a view to taking on some of the committee tasks and to support its work, or there is a very real danger that the current committee will fold.

ACTION: the future of the residents’ committee should be a priority for 2018/2019, with a letter to go to all residents making clear the situation if the committee should fold.

8. Action Plan/Priorities for 2018/2019

·        Future of the residents’ committee should be a priority for 2018/2019, with a letter to go to all residents making clear the situation if the committee should fold;

·        Develop a strategic approach to issues of empty & derelict properties in the park – to seek a meeting with local MP Frank Field;

·        Continue to pursue households that do not pay towards the residents’ association funds;

·        Continue with road repair/resurfacing;

·        Ongoing vigilance and surveillance of planning applications;

·        Reporting of anti-social behaviour and other nuisance issues;

·        Keep residents informed via newsletters and occasional emails;

·        To look at possibilities regarding enforcement of parking restrictions on the road;

·        To seek some clarification about residents’ entitlement to council services as full payers of the community charge.   To be raised with Frank Field MP.

9. Any Other Business

i) Lettering on Pillars – the committee to explore options for road name signs to be fixed to the entrance pillars.

ii) Grass Cutting – a request to fund grass cutting of the verge at the entrance to Delyn Close has been refused.   As this could not possibly be a one off payment, it was felt after discussion that this was not a good use of residents’ contributions.   A question was raised as to why this has recently become a problem?   How was this issue dealt with previously?

The chair thanked all those for attending and for their support to the committee, and also thanked the committee for all their hard work over the last 12 months.

The meeting closed at 8.40pm.

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Missing Speed Sign – Eg Pk News (Christmas 2017)

On the morning of Sunday 22nd October there was a tragic road accident outside the entrance of Egerton Park.   Later that day, a committee member noticed that our speed sign and the post to which it was attached, and which used to stand by the left entrance pillar, was lying across the pavement.   With help from a passer-by, (the post itself was extremely heavy!) both post and attached speed sign were moved inside the entrance and propped against the wall for retrieval later.

Soon afterwards, however, both the sign and the post had disappeared.   It could have snapped off in the wind as the base of the post was badly rusted; it might have been damaged in the course of the accident, or vandalised and then stolen.   Whatever the reason, both sign and post have mysteriously gone missing.   Maybe a well-meaning resident has put it in their garden for safekeeping?   If that is the case, please contact us so that we can rescue the sign.

The council has been contacted to see if Streetscene has cleared it away and they are currently investigating.   This sign was paid for by residents so if at all possible we would like, at the very least, to get the sign back.   If you have any information about its whereabouts, please contact the committee.

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Bottom Roundabout – Eg Pk News (Summer 2016)

The safety at this roundabout was raised by a resident at the AGM because some vehicles go past it too quickly and in opposing directions with the possibility of a collision.   We are considering whether the placing of one way signs on the brick base would make it safer and we are in the process of getting estimates.

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Report from the Residents’ AGM – Eg Pk News (Summer 2015)

Once again your AGM took place at Royal Standard House on 9th June and hopefully those who managed to make it found it enjoyable and interesting.   We had some lively discussion, coupled with a glass of wine!   And some great suggestions were put forward by residents on how we can make the park a better place to live for everyone.   Here are some of the main concerns raised by residents which the committee will focus on in the next 12 months.

ROAD REPAIRS

Residents were satisfied that the money we are raising via contributions was being put to good use and that road repairs should continue to be prioritised.   It was noted that £7,800 has been spent in the last 12 months on repairs, £3500 as recently as May.   All residents were happy that we continue to use the same contractor and particular mention was made of the large and skilful repair undertaken at the entrance to Egerton Park Close.   Everyone agreed that the committee should continue to commission repair work as and when funds allow.

SPEED SIGNS

At your 2014 AGM residents had expressed concern about speeding vehicles and that this, coupled with a lack of pavements, could become a risk to schoolchildren, and elderly and vulnerable people who live in the park.   The committee reported on a meeting with the council’s road safety manager who had recommended the replacement of the old damaged and illegible 10mph speed limit signs in the park.   Other options were ruled out as too impractical or expensive.   All present voted for new signs to be purchased to replace the old ones at an estimated cost of £500.

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Residents were very concerned about the vacant plots of land and empty properties in the park, most of which are owned by one developer.   There were reports of criminal activity and a fire in one property but the main concern is that these properties blight the park environment.   The committee reported on recent correspondence with one developer stating his intention to submit planning applications to develop 4 sites in the park.   We will continue to monitor the planning website but also rely heavily on residents to keep us informed via our email address of any developments with regard to these properties.   In addition if you see any criminal activity or anti-social incidents these should be reported to the police in the hope that this will put some additional pressures on the owners to keep the sites tidy and secure.   We will also update you regularly with news via email and our newsletters.

FUNDRAISING

All those present supported wholeheartedly the committee’s continued efforts to raise funds to pay for road repairs and asked them to continue to encourage everyone to contribute their share.   Invoices will be going out in September to all those residents who have yet to contribute to this financial year’s maintenance fund.

OTHER MATTERS DISCUSSED

The meeting agreed on the revised constitution which is now on our website.

Residents also raised a number of concerns which we will be taking forward in the next 12 months including an increase in dog fouling, litter and general anti-social behaviour, the bottom roundabout which desperately needed clearing, and inconsiderate parking.

And finally a big thank you to the resident who has joined the committee.

A full copy of the AGM minutes can be found on the Egerton Park website or a hard copy can be made available from any member of the committee.

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Roundabouts and Gate Posts – Eg Pk News (Summer 2015)

One resident at the AGM drew our attention to the state of the bottom roundabout that was full of litter, overgrown with weeds, and ivy which was slowly stifling the tree.   This work has now been done and many thanks to Richard, a resident of the park, who did the work for us at a cost of £50.   The shrubs have been pruned, a considerable amount of litter removed and ivy cut at the base; this will eventually die back and will be removed.   We will try to keep the roundabout in this state, paying for it to be professionally maintained.   The top roundabout also needs some repair work, as does one of the entrance pillars so we hope to complete this work in the forthcoming months, thanks to two residents who will be giving their time and expertise free.

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Top Roundabout – Eg Pk News (Spring 2015)

The roundabout at the top entrance to the park had suffered some damage which we believe was caused by contractors’ vehicles working on the development at Silverdale (numbers 49/51 Egerton Park).   A member of your committee approached the site manager at Silverdale several times and asked that the workmen carry out what is a relatively minor repair to the roundabout, suggesting that this would be seen as a gesture of goodwill, also bearing in mind the inconvenience and disruption caused to residents whilst the work has been ongoing.   When this had not produced a response your committee decided to make this request more formally in a letter to the developer of the site.   We do not feel residents should have to pay for this damage which needed to be completed before the brickwork became dangerous.   We are still waiting.

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AGM 13th June 2012 – Chair’s Report

At last year’s AGM the following priorities were set by residents:

1.    Ongoing pothole repairs
2.    Complete the Byrne Avenue traffic island
3.    Continued surveillance of planning applications
4.    Continued engagement with residents and more email communication
5.    Fundraising events and “Your Wirral” fund application.

1.    Ongoing pothole repairs      As always the state of the road has dominated the meetings of the committee and no doubt the concerns of residents.   Finding a reliable tarmac company has always been difficult and experiments that we have conducted with concrete and quick-drying, hard-setting cement have not, on balance, been successful.   Nonetheless the greatest difficulty we have had in relation to road repairs is the lack of adequate funds provided for this purpose by residents themselves.   Not only is £5.00 per month woefully inadequate but the number of households who contribute nothing means that, longer term, we will not be able to sustain regular road repairs.   This is the most difficult issue facing the association and needs to be resolved.

2.    The Byrne Avenue traffic island was completed in 2011 and the railings and planting of evergreen shrubs should leave it relatively maintenance free.

3.    Surveillance of planning applications is something that the committee undertakes at least twice per week.   Probably due to the recession there are, at present, very few planning applications.   However, the committee met with a planning officer from Wirral Council during the year who informed us that the vast majority of proposed applications which involve larger developments will be refused because it is felt by the council that the Bebington Road entrance is at traffic saturation point.   As a result the council highways department will oppose all new planning applications which have the potential to increase the number of car journeys in and out of the park.   Contrary to popular belief, the committee has not opposed any planning applications at all in the last year.   Properties that have become derelict have become so either because their owners have submitted no planning applications or because they have been advised by their architects or the council that it is futile to apply.   The committee has always been in favour of limited development of run down or derelict sites but does not support the replacement of Victorian properties with large blocks of flats.   Smaller developments of residential dwellings, which our road and our community can sustain, are certainly welcome.

4.    Continued engagement with residents has continued and we have been more consistent in the production of a quarterly newsletter and placing news and information on our website as well as sending out group mails and receiving emails.

5.    Fundraising and “Your Wirral” fund application      Following consultation with residents, a potential application to fund street lighting in Delyn Close was pursued.    The committee met with the council’s lighting section and subsequently held a meeting to which all residents of Delyn Close were invited.    Sadly there was too little interest shown in this project and it has therefore not proceeded.    Instead the committee is about to submit an application to the “Your Wirral” fund for the maximum grant of £2,500 towards road repairs.    We will get a decision in August 2012 and will let you know via the newsletters.

As ever I owe an enormous thank you to the committee members and to those residents who pay into the association’s funds and who, through their kind words of support, make our often unseen efforts feel more worthwhile.

Please make an effort to attend the AGM and give us your views.

With Kind Regards, Chair, Egerton Park Residents’ Association

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