Minutes of the Harefield Tenants & Residents Association Meeting held on
Monday 13th March 2023, Park Lane, Village Centre, Harefield
Chair Janet Brown
Secretary Wendy Rice-Morley
Treasurer Helen Conchar
Current Committee Members
Derek & Gillian Kent
Representatives from Align (HS2)
Emma Gaydon - Community Engagement Manager (South Portal and Colne Valley Viaduct)
Jemma Regnard - Social Value Manager
Mr and Mrs Marks
A total of 33 members signed in the book.
Thanks to JS for signing in members at the door.
Copies of the Meeting Agenda, the HTRA Constitution amendments, and Flyers for the Baptist Church were placed on the chairs for members
JB thanked everyone for attending and she welcomed the two representatives from Align, Emma Gaydon and Jemma Regnard and thanked them for attending the meeting. JB also thanked everyone for signing in the book for Fire and Safety and attendance purposes.
A raffle ticket was handed out to each person attending (who wanted one) for a bottle of wine draw (Not used at the January social meeting).
Presentation by Align
Route, colne valley site, the viaduct and the vision for the area around the south portal
Members were shown a PowerPoint presentation giving an overview of the work being carried out by Align in our area, including a short piece of drone footage. Members raised questions and most were able to be answered by EG. Those that could not be answered were to be taken back for a response or JB stated she would ask at the virtual meeting she would be attending on the 20th March 2023.
JR provided some information on funds that are available to support projects within the local community. Individuals or groups within the local community can submit bids for funding. The money in this fund is being donated by contractors. The grants can be up to £15k each but multiple bids can be placed to cover separate aspects of a project which must be community based. This fund is only open to those living in Bucks, Herts and Hillingdon. Currently Harefield is underrepresented in bids and therefore would be looked at very positively also acknowledging all the disruption the work has caused.
Following questions about water quality and a leakage; the environment agency; as well as others raised about the provision for wildlife across the eventual site it was suggested that a member of the Environmental Team from HS2 would attend a meeting of the Harefield Tenants and Residents Association in the future.
Webinars are planned for the near future so EG to forward the link/s to obtain tickets and JB to distribute the link, when it is received, to enable members to obtain tickets. All Webinars are published on the HS2 website.
JB thanked EG and JR for their time and the presentation. Members showed their appreciation.
Minutes of Last Meeting
Agreed as a true copy and approved, proposed by JS seconded by RD Members had all received a copy.
Matters Arising from the Minutes
JB reported that she did not have an update on the ‘Improving the High Street’ project. It was reported at the last meeting the shop identified as being suitable for a Charity Shop had been sold, along with the rest of the block, and she has not heard anything else pertaining to this.
The update on the crossing to be installed on Rickmansworth Road - the money to cover its cost had now been signed off at LB Hillingdon.
RD had nothing to report other than to read the information being sent out by the police and the OWL system via emails. These had recently warned about scammers and request for any information relating to an attempted burglary in Sullivan Crescent. Be aware of security!
The next meeting of the Police Panel is on 21st March at 6pm at the Harefield Cricket Club. It was suggested some other interested members may also like to attend. Note: After the meeting this date was changed to Thursday 30th March.
JB reported that she had been told by a member that the Practice Manager had left. She reported that the staff were working none stop. There had been no PPG meeting arranged.
The telephone system is still causing problems and some residents are finding it difficult to speak to reception.
Consultation – Update - NHS proposal to improve orthopaedic surgery in North West London.
Almost 2,000 people took part in the public consultation, online and in focus groups, on the proposal to develop a centre of excellence for orthopaedic surgery (particularly knees and hips) at Central Middlesex Hospital, Park Royal. 807 participated via an online survey, 59% agreed with the proposal and 31% disagreed. The two main concerns raised related to:
1) travel to and from Central Middlesex Hospital for patients, visitors and staff;
2) services at home for people after they were discharged.
DK advised that Planning applications have been low, and that people appear to be following the guidelines when applying for planning permission. He reported that the Garages in Sullivan Crescent had been demolished and planning was approved for six houses. This may, however, cause congestion with traffic in the area. A member requested an amendment be put forward to request that the dwellings are only for Harefield Residents. DK did not know the mechanism for this but would find out.
The garages in Ash Grove which had been sold to private buyers and their application for demolition of the garages and construction of 2 semi-detached houses had been rejected.
Harefield Grove have had an application in since January and a member requested that we try and find out what they intend to do on the site.
Development of Outdoor Water Activity Centre – LB Hillingdon held a consultation presentation in the library in relation to their intention to develop a new outdoor recreation site to replace HOAC. Several members had attended the event and there were several issues raised and discussed; site of the entrance, coaches arriving and departing; entrance shared with heavy lorries, car parking, depth of water / or lack of it in several places (limitation for boats and sails); hours of opening and impact on local residents. The situation was not helped by the fact that the plan on show on the day was an artist’s impression with many inaccuracies. Generally - it was a good idea in principal, but practical issues need to be addressed.
Meadow SEND school adjacent to Harefield Academy – JB
The conversion of the boarder’s house at the Harefield Academy into a Special Educational Needs School including Disabilities had been discussed previously. The lease had now been returned from the Academy to LBH.
GB gave an update on his findings of Widewater Place including information that the KSIMC had obtained a loan of £10 million from the Co-op, using the property as security. The loan has to be paid back in three years, so fundraising continues. It was also reported that two commercial letting agencies have been engaged to market the site, which has advertising hoarding outside. There is however no consistency of information relating to rents, rates or service charges from the agencies. It was queried whether this was an exercise to satisfy planners.
GB raised the issue of the old Police station in Northwood. JB explained, for members not aware of the situation, that the Old Police Station in Northwood, near the high street, had been purchased by a faith group and a planning application had been submitted to develop a community facility with prayer room. The planning application had been refused by LBH. The documentation, which includes the reasons for refusal, covered 87 pages and a Heritage Report.
JB related that she had been sent an invitation for herself and HTRA members to attend Widewater Place for an Iftar - celebration of the end of the fasting period. As she was unsure whether this event would breach Planning permissions for the site, she had informed the local councillor of the situation. JB had also replied to the invitation that as she did not want to be in a position of possibly breaching planning rules, she would be unable to accept the invitation or on pass on the invitation to HTRA members. When asked about a date for this event she reported that as far as she knew a date had not been set. She had included in her response that she would be happy to attend an Iftar at the Stanmore Hujjat. JB believed that the group were to be sent a letter, from LBH planning, re possible breach of planning rules.
HTRA Constitution – Amendments
JB gave some background to the development of the current Constitution.
The current version of the constitution was developed in late 2021 by the committee members at the time, using an old LBH template as a starting point, as the previous one could not be located.
During the management committee’s 22/23 review of the constitution, some minor amendments were made such as grammatical correction or the order that something was presented, and these are included in the amendments.
However, as part of this review, the management committee deliberated on how the association needs to become more resilient. Committee members expressed the belief that members standing for and serving on the committee should have shown commitment to the association and its work during the previous year/s. And that members standing for the position of an officer should have gained experience serving on the committee and been actively engaged with the breadth of work of the committee.
It was considered and expressed that the breadth of work would, by need, be flexible and should include a range of issues that residents have expressed interest in / concerns about.
To this end the committee requested advice on their intended amendments from the London Borough of Hillingdon’s Customer Engagement Team, and subsequently have made the following amendments, highlighted in yellow, to the Harefield Tenants and Residents Association Constitution.
Copies of the amendments, in context, had been left on all chairs.
A small number of members in attendance voiced their concerns and disagreement with some of the amendments made by the Committee. The disagreements were focussed on:
5a) The need for a member to attend at least 6 meetings in the previous 12 months prior to standing for the management committee. JB put forward that this was very reasonable as it showed an interest in and commitment to the work of the Association. This was followed by an airing of views and discussion between members.
5b) The need to have served on the committee and to have attended 50% of committee meetings in the previous 12 months in order to stand as an officer. JB stated that the committee had felt this was a practical way for members to actively participate in and appreciate the range of work covered by the management committee on behalf of the members of the Association.
6) and 9a) b) The vote on amendments to the constitution at the AGM had been removed and replaced with agreed. This was believed to be undemocratic. The difficulties of voting on the constitution at the AGM had been discussed by the committee – it had worked on the understanding that the committee had been elected to undertake making appropriate changes as the constitution continues to develop. Management committee considered that sharing the amendments and obtaining members views prior to the AGM, taking these into consideration and then sending out the final version prior to the AGM would allow for it to be agreed at the AGM and this had been confirmed by LBH Customer Engagement Team. Discussion across the floor occurred.
Special General Meeting – If the Management committee have the final decision what happens if the issue raised is the committee? JB - this would need to be considered.
Issue of ‘what if more than nine members wish to stand for election for the management committee?’ Similarly with numbers standing for an officer position. JB agreed that this would need to be looked at.
Some members still challenged that the changes were not a democratic process and there were contradictions. JB stated that any apparent contradictions would need to be considered.
Note: After considering comments/feedback from this meeting, on 13.03.23, the management committee have, on 17.3.23 made two further amendments, to encompass some of the issues raised.
JB related that following her declaration of intention to stand down some members had approached her and asked her to reconsider. She had done so and would be standing for Chair for one more year, if elected.
A member had emailed JB with the belief that all current committee members would not be standing again. JB explained that ALL members stand down, some members were retiring from the committee, but some would be standing for election again.
GB stated he would be willing to stand as a member of the Committee.
A member had raised concern about some of the Yellow Lines, in the High Street, which have faded. This has been reported to Cllr Palmer and she had responded. She has already reported the faded lines in Park Lane and they are listed to be done. She would now report these in the High Street.
JB related the LBH review of library service and its five-year library plan, available on the LBH website, which is currently under consultation. JB summarised that, in the five year plan, Harefield Library was in the lowest tier, 4, and the plan indicated it would be closed 1 day per week – either Monday or Wednesday, and opening hours reduced by half an hour weekdays and on Saturday it would close at 2pm.
She explained some of the events and facilities in the library and it the association believed it was in the interest of the residents to use it more or it is a valuable facility that could be eroded/ lost.
As 2nd Monday in April is a bank holiday the AGM date is 17th April (further information to follow).
Note: The 2nd Monday in May also falls on a Bank Holiday so the May meeting will be on Monday 15th May.
Future Event Information
Recycle LBH are holding a free event at the Great Barn, Ruislip, on Saturday 25th March 10am – 2pm
Learn tips and tricks from Council Teams/ Local Groups. Ask any recycling questions you may have and obtain information on how to recycle in the Borough.
Get a free basic bike repair. They will check your bike, give you advice, make minor adjustments and fit some basic replacement parts if they have them. There's no need to book.
Learn Hillingdon will be promoting their reuse and recycling courses for adults.
Freegle will be raising awareness of their site, which (they describe) is 'like online dating but with stuff!' Freegle helps people give and get things for free in their local community, matching people who have stuff they don't want with people who want things they don't have.
TRAID LBH textiles partner, will be holding a free community workshop where you can learn how to mend your damaged clothes. Need to book a session.
Friends of the Earth - Bring along 1 small broken (or slow) electrical item and they try to help you fix them for free. Need to book a session.