Minutes of the GPRA AGM 1st September, 2017 at The Lodge, Graylingwell Park
Committee members: Sue Cressey (Chair), Rob Norris (Vice-Chair), Chris Waller (Treasurer), Susan Shord (Secretary), Brian Baker, John Eagles, Sophie Egleton, Barbara Howden Richards, Sandie Jenner, Irela Strachan
Paul Thompson (Technical support)
Apologies: Paul Rolfe
Invited guests: Trudie Hudson (Grange Management), Clare de Bathe (CCDT), Aidan Hickey (Graylingwell Energy)
In addition, 32 residents attended – 4 from Lloyd Road, 19 from Longley Road, 2 from Homestead Road, 6 from Penny Acre and 1 from The Clock House.
Welcome (Sue Cressey)
Sue welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of the AGM: to outline role and achievements of the GPRA, to elect a new committee and introduce residents to some of the partners with whom the GPRA works: Grange Management, the Chichester Community Development Trust and Graylingwell Energy. Sue thanked all those present for attending and introduced members of the committee.
Clare de Bathe (CCDT)
– Clare explained the role of the Chichester Community Development Trust, which is a registered charity. They undertake fund raising to support activities to benefit the communities at both Graylingwell and Roussillon Park, such as youth work, the Internet café, etc. All surplus money raised from renting out buildings, such as The Lodge, goes back into the community
– The Chapel: A bid has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £2million to re-develop it as a community facility. It is now vacant and CCDT hold the keys. Whilst they wait to secure funding there will be some remedial work undertaken and activities arranged to test what it might best be used for.
– The Water Tower – planning permission has been granted and work has begun for an extension at the base. This will give the CCDT permanent office space, which can also be used as a voluntary sector hub for meetings, counselling, etc.
– Eventually, the marketing suite will be taken over by CCDT together with responsibility for Havenstoke Park and the studios (scheduled to be developed from the old farmhouse outbuildings).
– The Pavilion building at Lower Graylingwell will also fall under their remit
– Clare invited residents to come for a coffee once they are in the Water Tower.
Annual Report/Chairs and Vice Chairs
Sue Cressey (Chair)
– Sue explained that the Saturday Café run by the GPRA is held in The Lodge between 10.00am and noon every third Saturday of the month. This gives residents an opportunity to meet in an enjoyable, sociable setting and, if necessary, raise issues or concerns. Committee members can provide advice on the steps residents should take to resolve issues as well as provide information. This monthly forum has removed the need for the AGM to fulfil this function. More intractable problems are taken up at the Quarterly Meetings alongside information sharing and forward planning.
– Quarterly Meetings (for which the GPRA sets the agenda) take place regularly with representatives from Linden, Grange and Clarion (formerly Affinity Sutton). Minutes of these meetings are available on the website. Although we have developed good relationships with these representatives, delays and difficulties can often be traced to other areas within these organisations.
Trudie Hudson (Grange Management)
– Trudie explained that Grange supplies services related to maintenance of the apartment blocks, the front gardens and open spaces. Part of her brief is to work on our behalf to keep costs down and contain management fee rises as much as possible. For example, the landscaping contract has been re-tendered cost-effectively. This year the rise in management fees is a very low 1.9%.
– Grange also collects the additional charge paid annually to CCDT in October to help them provide for the community.
– Trudie visits the site approximately once every two weeks (sometimes more frequently) and tries to respond to requests from residents. This is not always as straightforward as might seem at first sight. For example, a request from one resident for SCS to reduce the height of a hedge had to be put to others living nearby who would be affected by this change and Trudie is currently waiting for responses.
– Grange works very closely with Linden Homes and the GPRA. She complimented the GPRA on their work.
– A survey of trees on the outer perimeter of the park has just been undertaken to ensure there are none that might cause a problem during the winter.
– Grange are now managing the houses in phase 5A and working with Linden to take over management of the airing courts.
– Trudie’s contact details are available on the GPRA website.
There were some questions put to Trudie regarding the fountain base, the shelter and security of the Airing Courts. These issues will be raised with Linden at the next Quarterly Meeting.
Trudie also confirmed that, as the number of residents increases, the charges for the public realm are likely to be reduced.
Annual Accounts (Chris Waller – Treasurer)
– Surplus for the year has increased by £80.00. Everything we have is a result of voluntary activity such as the Saturday Café and running the car parking for the Summer Garden Party. Current funds stand at £1200 however there are some outstanding invoices. The surplus is just under £1000.
– It was asked why residents are not asked to contribute a small amount a year to undertake works around Graylingwell. Chris pointed out that we do not have the authority to make decisions, additions, etc. and there would also be insurance implications. We work with Linden and Grange in order to facilitate changes. An example is the installation of the three rubbish bins in the park for which we donated the money for one. The University also contributed, thanks to an approach by one of the committee members.
– Copies of accounts will be available on the website once they have been audited by Clarion. Accounts are prepared broadly in accordance with UK GAP.
Aidan Hickey (Graylingwell Energy)
Aidan gave a presentation regarding current and future operations:
– Total number of properties on board now is just under 400.
– The two new biomass boilers have now been installed and will soon be connected so the total overall carbon footprint will be reduced by 37%.
– Solar PV panels have been installed on top of the plant room and consequently consumption has halved.
– Metering problems on Lloyd Road are being investigated and they are trying to sort it out as soon as possible.
– Queries about consumption have led to an investigation by the billing provider. It transpires that refurb properties consume 35% more energy (heating and hot water, not electricity) than new builds, which is probably due to the high ceilings and large windows that they enjoy.
– All but 50 heat exchangers have been serviced in the last two years. As part of the standing charge they are serviced every two years. There are 50 that have not been serviced because access has proved difficult and they are struggling to contact these households – primarily private renters. Sue Cressey and Trudie agreed to help contact them.
– A brief diversion in Penny Acre will take place soon in order to connect phase 5B to the system – similar to the recent diversion in Lloyd Road during the connection for phase 4A. Households will receive a letter warning them of the planned outage of hot water and heating. Cold water will still be available.
– GE is working with the billing provider (ista) to create an online portal and app so that residents can track their consumption, meter readings, bills and also make payments. This should be running by 2018.
– Potential future connections might include the Harold Kidd Unit, the development at Lower Graylingwell, the Chichester Centre, the Chapel and the pub (the old farmhouse to the east). All this is currently being investigated.
– A plant room open day will be arranged in October once the biomass boilers are up and running, ideally on the 3rd Saturday to tie in with the Saturday Café.
– Wood pellet (biomass) is a more stable market than gas so residents’ charges should not increase.
A concern was raised about the standing charge and it was explained that this is linear, covering call out and maintenance charges and is based on the size of the property. If a heat exchanger requires servicing or even replacing this is covered in the maintenance charge. There is a comparison on the Graylingwell Energy website which details how the costs overall are very competitive.
Susan agreed to put a link on the website to demonstrate the comparison and the competitiveness.
Rob Norris (Vice Chair)
– Members of the committee had been invited by Linden to view the plans for Phase 9. This will run from the warehouse opposite the new Aldi along the left hand side of Kingsmead Avenue to the eastern entrance of Graylingwell Park, at the end of Palmersfield Avenue. Rob presented some of the plans. He emphasised that the plan includes buildings that are sympathetic to the architecture in Graylingwell and in other developments bordering the area. Trees will be planted along the right hand side of Kingsmead Avenue from the warehouse, providing a green approach to Graylingwell. The plans shown during this presentation will be available on the GPRA website in due course.
– The proposed development to the north east of Graylingwell has not been allocated to Linden Homes although access is likely to be via the eastern end of Graylingwell Drive. The GPRA will be keeping a close watch on this.
– Linden will shortly be implementing the plans for the two routes into and out of Graylingwell. There will be no access from Graylingwell Drive onto Connolly Way and there will be bollards and bus gates elsewhere to prevent transit traffic going through. At the last quarterly meeting the Linden representative confirmed this would be in the next few months, before Christmas.
– Lower Graylingwell is also a separate development of around 160 homes due to start in July but held up in planning. A small building company, Hills, has the contract for this. The plans have changed from including half the homes being sold at 20% below market price, under a government sponsored pilot scheme, to just forty-eight affordable rented and shared ownership properties.
– Martins Farm (the old building at the junction of Graylingwell Drive and Connolly Way). The developer of Lower Graylingwell wanted to demolish it and build houses which might have encroached on the dyke but Chichester District Council planning department has turned this down, requiring the farm to be refurbished as a prestige part of the development that must be preserved.
– Linden’s policy is to keep strictly to the covenants. This is to protect the interests and conditions for all residents. Some changes in the past which were agreed at the time, will no longer be given approval. The GPRA has delivered a reminder to every home regarding covenants. It might be that we need to remind people again.
– A second meeting with CDC will be arranged in order that we are kept fully in the picture regarding planning in future.
A resident expressed concern about delays in the provision of the adventure playground on the park and other items which must be provided by Linden as part of their contribution to the community (section 106). It was explained that each time a change occurs in the overall plans, the section 106 has to be resubmitted to the district council. Rob and Trudie will meet with the planning officer again to ascertain progress with the new 106.
– Social events. Even during the holiday period the Saturday Cafés have been very well attended. Thanks to the team, particularly Sarah Langmead, for organising them. The fish and chip quiz night, organized by Brian Baker, is also very much appreciated. Rob encouraged those who have not already been, to attend. The quiz questions are challenging but fun and the fish and chips are great.
Election of Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer)
The following officers were elected unopposed:
Sue Cressey – Chair
Rob Norris – Vice Chair
Chris Waller – Treasurer
The role of secretary will be considered at the first committee meeting as there was no candidate for this position.
Election of Committee Members
Irela Strachan – agreed
Barbara Howden Richards – agreed
John Eagles – agreed
Brian Baker – agreed
Sandy Jenner – agreed
Sophie Egleton – agreed
Susan Shord – agreed
New committee members:
Anna Bloomfield – agreed
Jack Wingfield – agreed
Susan encouraged other attendees to consider joining the committee.
Amendments to Constitution
Finance 11.5: “Any expenditure over £20 shall be authorised by the committee and two cheque signatories will be required.”
It was suggested that we raise the sum to £100 whilst keeping the two signatories. Proposed by Susan Shord and seconded by Tony French. Agreed.
Sue Cressey thanked residents once more and the meeting closed at 8.30pm.