Summary of ALRA AGM
Held on 10th May 2022 at 6.45pm, in the upper playground area of Aston Lodge Park.
Robert Townsend, Lee Mountford, Helen Townsend, Qamar Siddiqi, Nigel Holmes, David Hunt and 16 Residents.
Welcome, Introductions & Process
Rob began by welcoming everyone to the meeting, and thanked Nigel and Ed for providing the PA system. He introduced the existing committee, before outlining the Agenda and the following Residents Q&A session.
The following reports were delivered by the existing committee officers:
Rob delivered the Chair's Report, explaining that since the last face-to-face AGM, it had not been possible for ALRA to hold events as normal, due to the Covid situation, but he was pleased to announce that our next social event would be the 'Picnic in the Park 2022'*. The following is a summary of the topics covered in the Chair's report:
- The grassy site on Blackies Lane. No new or further developed planning application has been submitted. Feedback from Stafford Borough Council (SBC) Housing suggests that conditions for Rural Exception sites will be difficult for developers to meet.
- Thanks were expressed to the volunteers for their continued good work around the estate. Thanks also to Stone Town Council for a grant for tools and to Streetscene for their support of ALRA.
- The ALRA speed awareness campaign used children's artwork to deter speeding motorists. Thanks to Stone Town Council for a grant to enable this.
- There is an ongoing issue with dog poo. ALRA encourages reporting any incidents through the proper channels. ALRA has liaised with SBC enforcement team and put new stickers/signs across the estate.
- The ALRA Playground Project is aimed at finding ways to improve the play equipment on Aston Lodge. Enquiries are ongoing and a public consultation will be carried out if there is potential to get funding.
- The ALRA website has been launched. Thanks to Nigel and Ed Holmes for developing and managing the site.
- The ALRA Facebook membership continues to grow.
- A printed newsletter was distributed with the aim of keeping all households informed and connected.
* For details of this and other ALRA activities, please see our April 2022 Newsletter.
Helen delivered the Secretary's Report. There have been nine committee meetings since the last AGM, all of which have agenda and minutes. There has also been a Special General Meeting to enable some minor changes to ALRA's' constitution.
Dave delivered the Treasurer's Report. He reviewed the overall fundraising and expenditure since ALRA was formed. The majority of previous fundraising was to finance the Blackies Lane campaign, but, looking to the future, there is a need for ALRA to hold some fundraising events for running costs and fund new projects. The current bank balance is £251.31 credit.
Election of the Committee Officers
All existing committee members stood down from ALRA. Qamar explained that he would not be seeking re-election, due to other commitments. He was thanked by Rob, on behalf of the committee, for his services to ALRA over the last 5 years.
Rob, Helen and Lee were proposed by residents for re-election, seconded by residents and re-elected. Nigel Holmes was elected as a new member of the committee (also proposed and seconded by residents).
Nigel then gave an update on the website, explaining how it provides an additional means of communication for ALRA and will hopefully prove to be a useful resource for Aston Lodge residents. He also said that feedback and suggestions for improvement or new content, were always welcome, via the Contact page.
On completion of formal business, residents were invited to participate in a Q&A session.
Estate Green Spaces
There was some discussion about the various pieces of land around the estate and how we might adopt/improve them.
- It's not certain who the owners are. Enquiries have been made, but no conclusive replies have been received as yet.
- There's a possibility that ALRA could enter into a lease arrangement for the central park which is a prerequisite for ALRA to apply for a grant to improve the play equipment. This would:
- Require an agreement with SBC, for on-going maintenance of the park, equipment and grounds at no cost to ALRA.
- Need to be covered by ALRA's existing public liability insurance.
- Only be entered into, following consultation with Aston Lodge residents.
- A resident raised 'Plant a tree for the Queen's Jubilee'... ALRA advised that there were issues over land ownership. ALRA cannot support tree planting without permission of the landowner.
- Other Estate Issues:
- A report of a rotting silver birch tree on public land behind Lyndhurst Grove.
- A hole in the ground (where a tree has been removed)... the ALRA volunteers intend to fill it in.
- ALRA will try to establish who is applying weedkiller on the estate and why.
- A resident noted that there appeared to be less hedgehogs around recently, and suggested that we should stop using slug pellets, to prevent the accidental poisoning of hedgehogs and other wildlife.
- Dangerous, overhanging tree branch and broken fence at the playground... to be dealt with ASAP (via ALRA's SBC contacts).
- A resident advised that the SBC Local Plan, for development over the next 15 years, will be relaunched in June... ALRA will endeavour to find out how residents can contribute to this process.
- A garden village at the ex-MOD site in Swynnerton is being taken to the next level of consultation, after the feasibility study was approved. ALRA will endeavour to find out how residents may be affected by this.
- ALRA advised that, no housing providers were currently showing an interest in collaborating with any developers, in our area.
- A resident raised the idea of a defibrillator for the estate, they estimated it would cost £750 to purchase, and that we should raise funds to get one.
- Nigel advised that there is a defibrillator at the Little Stoke Cricket Club (on the Clubhouse wall) and there is also one in the town (outside 3B Barbers) on the High Street.
- Concerns were raised regarding training in the use of a defibrillator... Qamar advised that a defibrillator is user friendly, giving instructions on how to use it (once it is taken from the casing). Defibrillators can be accessed by calling 999 and giving location details.
- ALRA will consider the requirement to provide a defibrillator on the estate, and how it could be funded.
- A resident suggested that we should introduce an element of fundraising into all of ALRA's social activities and felt that residents wouldn't object.
- A question was asked about the Aston Lodge Gardening Club, and its connection with ALRA... The Gardening Club Facebook group is not directly associated with ALRA and the original administrator has now moved off the estate. They are looking for someone to take on that role. ALRA will consider promoting the gardening club, through its channels.
Rob thanked everyone for attending, and the meeting was concluded at around 7.45pm.