Camden Residents’ Association

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Minutes of the Camden Residents Association AGM 2016

Claremont Methodist Church Hall 15 November 2016

1. Welcome by the Chairman

2.   Minutes of the 2015 AGM  

These were approved.

3.   Chairman's Report

Richard mentioned the survey that had been carried out of the residents of Belgrave Crescent regarding the traffic calming measures there, and how this had proved a springboard for a discussion of the wider issues of traffic on Camden Road and the adjoining roads. It had been estimated that some 7000 cars a day were now using the Camden Road. He had calculated that the Council was receiving something in the order of £50,000 from residents’ parking and wondered whether we were receiving an equivalent level of spending.

He pointed out that the Association had helped achieve the repainting of the lines along sections of the road. It had also put pressure on the Council on the litter problem after waste collections. It had given the Committee 's opinion on the replacement of the green roofs of the Snow Hill estate. And it had objected to the extension of the annual Christmas market in the centre of the city.

4. Treasurer's Report

Nigel Pollard explained that he had sorted out the difficulty with the internet banking at RBS and as a consequence the bank had made a donation of £50. Total receipts were £59.78, payments £79.99. Cash funds carried forward were £969.58. In the savings account (money donated for the railings) was £5601.79.

5. Discussion of road traffic problems

Richard invited comments from residents. He cited the following problems:

 Volume of traffic

 Speeding and the gaps between speed bumps

 Careless driving, particularly the mounting of the pavement

 Illegal parking

 Safety, particularly of children and the elderly

 Pollution

He said there was a need for a Camden Road Management Plan which we could then take to the Council.

Clr Patrick Anketell-Jones pointed out that Camden had been notorious for its traffic problems for a great many years. But before the traffic calming measures were brought in 1998 - 2000 the average speed on the road was over 30 mph, and it was now 23mph.

He felt the road was safer as a consequence but agreed that the volume of traffic was increasing.

Deepali G said that on Camden Crescent where there was room for 4 cars abreast the vehicles felt they could really speed up, and we needed something at the entrance to the road to immediately alert drivers to reduce their speed.

Chris S said that the measures might have succeeded in slowing traffic but had increased pollution as cars were stationary while waiting to pass.

Nigel S said that after the speed bumps were installed some were removed as they fell apart with use and these had not been replaced. We did not have enough to be effective and many were not up to standard.

The missing 20 mph sign at the entrance to Camden Crescent had not been replaced despite requests to the Council.

The flashing light sign he said should tell drivers to slow down rather than just giving speeds.

As to speeding, he suggested setting up a community speed watch.

Somebody asked about HGV weight limit on Camden Road and mentioned a Kingsmill Flour lorry that came along at great speed early in the morning. The Co-op lorry was also mentioned. There is a weight limit on the road, but it is difficult to get it enforced.

Lydia H mentioned the problems of HGV s on Bennetts Lane, and Richard pointed out similar problems on Gays Hill where there was no warning sign for HGV drivers at the bottom end.

Clr Tony Clarke spoke about traffic in Bath.

He said that local problems were a result of increasing volumes of traffic coming in to the centre of Bath, and of the need in particular to reduce the number of HGV and other vehicles passing through the city. He said the Council were tackling this by aiming to provide adequate eastern bypass facilities, firstly by getting the A350  'trunked' and providing an A36/A46 link to take traffic headed for and coming back from the south coast.

Only then could congestion be improved and measures could be introduced to help reduce pollution.

Most of the rat-running related to people getting to and from work, and they were hoping that the new Metro West would help, and also measures encouraging people to use public transport, to work and cycle.

As to speeding on Camden Road, he said figures suggested this was not a hotspot and we were unlikely to get Council funding for further mitigation measures. It was true that some excessive speeding was seen, particularly at night, and that there was bad driving. The police were too busy to enforce speed limits etc and it was difficult for the Council to do anything. It was their policy to try to get the authority for enforcement changed from the Police to Local Authorities.

Personally, he said, he was not in favour of more speed bumps. There was little evidence that they improved road safety, some to the contrary. They were unwelcome to buses and ambulances. Of other mitigation measures, the use of parked cars had proved the most successful.

The problem of pollution in Bath, he said, was not a problem of particulates, which did not contravene EU regulations, and was likely to fall with the gradual introduction of cleaner engines. There was a problem with nitrous oxide, where the decline had stalled.

He would like to see a clean air zone for the centre of the city, and after the recent High Court ruling there was likely to be more money from the Government for this project.

Richard said that our present speed bumps do not comply with regulations for 20mph zones.

Cllr Clarke said that the Council's budget for road safety was very limited, and that it had to go to high risk points. Camden is very low on the list of priorities.

A resident from Belgrave Crescent spoke about the difficulty a fire engine had in attending a fire at her house in 2007, though another resident said that a fire engine had been able to get through to two other fires since.

Richard thanked Tony Clarke for explaining the Council's macro policy on traffic, but he was still hopeful that changes such as more bollards, a change to the colour of the road surface, built out pavements at the end of parking bays etc might be cheap and effective. Nigel P added to this the possibility of a priority sign for traffic turning into Upper Hedgemead Road and the removal of a couple of parking spaces to enable two cars to pass.

Cllr Clarke  explained that all road changes were expensive, even the zebra crossing on Lansdown having cost £50,000. It would be best, he said, to ask for changes to be made when work such as resurfacing was scheduled to take place.

Richard agreed that this was a good reason for us to draw up a plan of action.

Deepali brought up the suggestion of self funding, perhaps with a toll gate. Cllr Clarke  explained thar this might be possible in country area with parish councils, but this was not possible here.

One person pointed out that a clean air zone in the centre would make it worse for us as traffic would be displaced at the boundary. Richard agreed that this was something we should be very concerned about. There was a discussion about the need for new hybrid buses and taxis. Cllr Clarke said that he would keep us informed of all council negotiations on these matters. As to the central clean air zone, well, they had to start somewhere.

6. New waste collection services

Lorinda Trebaczyk, Campaign Manager, from the Council, came along to explain the Council's plans for changes to the waste collection services to be brought in next autumn.

Recycling was to stay the same, but the plan was to have collections of non-recyclable waste once every two weeks. She had brought along examples of the new 140l wheelie bins that are going to be distributed to those who can store them, and the 140l gull proof bags for those for whom bins are unsuitable. The aim was to encourage more recycling. (It had been estimated that at present about half of the non-recycled waste could be recycled. The aim was also to save money for the Council as waste was much more expensive to dispose of than recyclables.

In the spring the Council will send a letter explaining whether a bin or bag is thought suitable for each house, at which point the householder can get back to the Council if they wish to change this. In the summer there will be roadshows and further campaign work, and a further leaflet 6 weeks before delivery. Finally full instructions will be given out with each bin.

It was pointed out that in areas where the gull proof bags had been introduced there was widespread misuse, with the bags being left out on the railings all week, particularly in areas where houses were divided into flats. Flats often had no common areas and it would be very difficult to store waste, especially with fortnightly collections.

Lorinda admitted there were no easy solutions. They were looking at ways to improve the use of gull proof bags. She said they realised there was no 'one size fits all' solution and the Council was still consulting.

Many people thought we should be offered smaller bags or bins, as the large bins did not encourage recycling and were difficult to manage.

6. Wild Camden update

Steve G gave an update on what was happening on Camden Lawn. The Association is now engaged in more of a partnership with the Council whereby the Council will cut the meadow a couple of times a year and we will organise some volunteers to remove the cuttings so that too many nutrients do not enter the soil, which should ensure we have more wild flowers year after year.

The Council is planning a major cut of the trees before Christmas, which should improve sight lines down towards Upper Hedgemead.

7. AOB

Events at Claremont Hall

Jessica Dalton, a social worker with the Methodist Church, spoke briefly about community events they were organising at Claremont Hall.

Re-election of Committee

The Committee were re-elected without changes

Councillor’s Fund

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones explained that he had a small fund available for community projects and he asked if we would agree with him to give it to DHI, an alcohol and drugs rehabilitation centre on Julian Road. This was agreed.