FERGUSON RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION MINUTES OF THE FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE FERGUSON RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION, HELD IN THE ‘JOOGLIE BRIG’ ON THURSDAY 10th SEPTEMBER 2009. Present : John Marshall (Secretary), Irene Gray (Treasurer), Diane Fraser, Neil Johnston and Douglas Neilson. Also present : Cameron Blair, Morgan Naples and Blair Naples. 1. There were apologies for absence from Eric Stitt, Ian Fraser and Joy Immo-Palm. In the absence of the Chairman, it was agreed John Marshall would chair the meeting. 2. Development youth representatives. The Chairman welcomed Cameron Blair, Morgan Naples and Blair Naples to the meeting as Development youth representatives. He explained the thinking behind inviting youth reps to the meeting, namely that it provides the children with a direct avenue of communication to the committee and on the other hand, he said he hoped it would encourage not only the reps, but all the children, to adopt a responsibility and a maturity towards their surroundings and a consideration for the wellbeing of the Development as a whole. Whilst there was nothing specifically to discuss at this point, Cameron, Morgan and Blair said they were happy to stay and contribute to the rest of the meeting. 3. Matters arising from meeting held 9th April and AGM held 14th May 2009. The issue of scrambler bikes travelling along the Drive was mentioned at the AGM and the Chairman was to speak with a contact he has in the Traffic Police to see if further advice could be given. Given Eric’s absence from the meeting, the Secretary said he had no further information on this but would speak with the Chairman in the next few days to see if there was anything further to report. Irene Gray mentioned the lockable gate at the access to the steel bridge across the River and wondered if removing the option of the gate would discourage bikers, given that there is a ‘chicane’ entrance in the fence for pedestrians. The Secretary said he would speak with the Council’s Countryside Management section to see if this was an option. A letter had been received at the AGM, which mentioned the daytime operation of the Golf Club’s compressor, which at times had been a bit noisy for nearby properties. The writer had said he may speak with the Club about this himself and Irene Gray said she would also draw it to their attention. Nothing further had been heard of the problem and it is assumed it is no longer a concern. 4. Secretary’s Report. The Secretary had circulated recent correspondence to the Committee prior to the meeting. He had replied to a comment about ball games being played in Ferguson Green, saying that this annoyance is with us each year and of course, is commonplace in most Developments where children reside. The Secretary reminded the writer that the Association has no power in terms of the Development’s Deed of Conditions, to enforce any restriction of ball games in the streets, but in the past has often encouraged Parents to instruct their children to respect others people’s property and not to play ball games where it is likely that cars could be hit with the ball. Also the Association has purchased and erected a set of goalposts in the teenagers’ play area specifically to encourage the children to play their ball games away from the streets and it is hoped 2. they would make use of this facility. The Secretary addressed the youth representatives and said this was a message they could take away from the meeting. The Secretary said residents in Ferguson Court had spoken to him about problems being experienced with the height of some trees bordering their house. One particular tree in the toddlers’ play area was blocking the signal to a satellite dish and other nearby trees on the railway embankment were also causing concern. Irene Gray has spoken with the tree surgeon who will visit soon to assess what action is required. The Secretary said he has asked Greenfingers to apply a weed killing spray to some of the visitor parking stances in need of clearing. This will be done weather permitting, on their next site visit. The Secretary said he would like the Committee to consider his proposal of replacing the two small wooden fences around the landscaped area at the entrance to the Development, with a wrought iron alternative. He said he has acquired three quotations for replacement, the cheapest of which is £994 plus vat, from the same Firm as provided the goalposts in the teenagers’ play area. This would be for a basic replacement of the same length of that in Ferguson Drive and a shorter length of around seven metres in Monktonhall Terrace to run from the cottage wall to the shrub growth running down from the small brick wall. The Committee agreed the wooden fence has proved problematic at times with minor vandalism, has required a fair bit of maintenance and is now looking rather tired. It was also agreed the fence provides a token barrier and indication that the area is intended as a landscaped area only and should not be used for any other purpose. The Secretary said he thought a new wrought iron fence would enhance the appearance of the area and should be relatively maintenance free. Douglas Neilson remarked that the iron would need to be galvanised and powder coated to avoid the need to paint regularly. As regards the finances, Irene confirmed we have sufficient funds to cover the cost and following lengthy discussion, the Committee agreed the Secretary should refine the requirements with the supplier to take the suggestion forward. 5. Treasurer’s Report. The Treasurer reported that all maintenance payments for 2009/10 have been received and thanked all householders for their co-operation. The present balance in the two bank accounts totals £6670.92, with a landscaping payment of £499.10 due soon to Greenfingers, which will leave balance in hand of £6171.82. 6. Secretary and Treasurer’s remuneration 2009/10. Following discussion, the Committee agreed to set this year’s remuneration for Secretary and Treasurer as the same as last year, i.e. £400 and £100 respectively. 7. Visitors’ parking areas. The Secretary said he had received an email from a resident in Ferguson Green concerned about the number of visitor parking spaces regularly being taken up by residents’ vehicles, even when their own driveway is available. It was claimed that at times, a commercial vehicle together with trailer parks in visitor parking, despite there being space in the driver’s own driveway and despite our Title conditions dictating that commercial vehicles are not allowed anywhere within the Development. The Secretary said this problem is probably worse in the Green simply because it is the largest cul-de-sac, but it is evident elsewhere in the Development too. In answer to the Committee being asked what the Association can do, the Secretary said he could only repeat what has been said before, namely that this and similar situations come down to three things : common sense, respect and observance of Title conditions. He said each property’s Title Deeds contains two stipulations with regard to visitors parking spaces : 1) that (not surprisingly) they are for the use of visitors to the Development only and 2) that they are included in the definition ‘common ground’, which means they are owned equally by all households in the Development and thereby should not be treated as an ‘overflow’ car park to individual driveways. In the case when there is absolutely no room in the driveway, the Secretary said it probably had to be accepted that a vehicle had 3. to be parked elsewhere, but only as a temporary measure, with the vehicle being returned to the owner’s driveway whenever possible. In the case of the commercial vehicle, the Secretary said despite the Title stipulation that a commercial vehicle should not be parked anywhere within the Development, it has always been accepted by successive Committees that it would be unrealistic to enforce this, but that being the case, when such vehicles are in the Development, they should always be confined to the owner’s own driveway. The Committee agreed that purely out of respect to neighbours and other residents, each and every car owner should observe this. 8. Association Web Site. Neil Johnston spoke of the Association web site, saying that after the initial early interest in the site when there had been over two hundred visits, recent activity had seen a drop in those visiting the site. The Secretary said the site has a lot of potential and said Neil would welcome any contribution to the site on any relevant matter. The site presently contains information on fire and smoke alarms, tree maintenance and general information on the Development including a bit of history on the landscaped area at the entrance to the Drive. There is also a local quiz which will be of interest to all. The site can be found at www.fergusonresidents.we.bs 9. Recommendation / reference scheme. A little used scheme was suggested by the Committee several years ago, whereby anyone who had experienced a good standard of workmanship or a good value service, could make the Committee aware and it could be mentioned in the minutes for everyone’s interest. Douglas Neilson recalled that item and recommended a mention of a painter who has recently done work for several households in the Development. A number of people have recommended his work and he can supply and erect new flagpole spikes for £75 plus labour and paint cost. If these are ordered as a job lot, the price may be cheaper. Robert Johnson lives locally and can be contacted on 0800 0853592. [ Post meeting note : The Secretary telephoned Robert to make him aware his contact details would be mentioned in these minutes and in that call, he offered other trade work (plumbing, joinery etc) and if the enquirer quotes the Residents’ Association, a discount will be applied to any work done.] 10. Any other business. Irene Gray drew the Committee’s attention to the condition of the toddlers’ play area in Ferguson Court and wondered if ideas for improving it could be invited. The Secretary reminded the Committee that the spring chairs had been damaged over the years and replacement together with rising insurance and inspection costs had proved too costly. Immediate ideas included the removal of the chairs and planting shrubs in the central area or perhaps installing a rubber surface and possibly a basketball net for the children, although a possible increase in noise for adjoining households would have to be taken into consideration. Residents with suggestions for the area should get in touch with any Committee member or email the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org There being no other business, the meeting closed at 8.40 p.m. John Marshall Secretary.