RAVENSWOOD RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
MINUTES OF THE RRA AGM PUBLIC MEETING
HELD AT 7.30PM ON TUESDAY 10thJuly 2017
AT RAVENSWOOD COMMUNITY CENTRE
Present: Susan Andrews Chair
Ginny Waterworth Secretary
Bryan Patterson RAG (Action Group)
Nick Neale Treasurer
Louise Gray General Committee Member
Guests: Cllr Bill Quinton Suffolk CC
Cllr Bill Knowles Ipswich BC
Cllr Sarah Barber Ipswich BC
Cllr Daniel Maguire Ipswich BC
Rachael Partridge Community Engagement Officer, Suffolk Constabulary
Carol Rogerson McDonald’s – Ravenswood Franchisee
28 residents signed the attendance log.
Apologies were received from Richard Venning (RAG Group) and the following General Committee Members:
The following items were discussed: -
Welcome & Introductions
Susan Andrews opened the meeting, welcoming residents and guests. An outline of the meeting format was given and an introduction to the Committee members.
Carol Rogerson – Ravenswood Franchisee of McDonald’s (McD’s)
Susan Andrews introduced our guest Carol Rogerson. The Ravenswood Residents Association (RRA) Committee had contacted Carol Rogerson following the stabbing incident in the McD’s car park in June asking if she would like to attend the AGM to talk a little about the incident, how this had affected her staff and the added security measures McD’s had put into place since. Also, to talk about when they would be opening 24/7, litter patrols, traffic issues and other matters.
Carol operates seven McDonald’s Franchises across Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.
Carol stated that the staff were still feeling the affects of the stabbing incident but have been reassured by the increase in CCTV throughout all areas of the restaurant including the car park (16 high quality cameras with footage kept for 30 days). Other safety measures have also been put into place such as a safe systems management system linked to the command centre if an incident occurs. The command centre can view all CCTV in real time and contact the emergency services if deemed necessary.
The 24/7 licence was recently granted and from 20th July the drive-thru will operate 24/7 for a trial period of 2 to 3 months. The success of this will then be reviewed and a decision made whether to extend to the include the restaurant.
Grass verges – Carol has confirmed that the grass verges will be reinstated once the weather is suitable and will include 2 bollards to prevent vehicles taking short cuts or parking on them.
Litter patrols – occur daily on a pre-arranged route however, if the patrol isn’t visiting the right areas Carol is keen for residents to let her know so the route can be changed. You can contact Ravenswood McDonald’s on: 01473 724767.
Traffic issues – Carol explained that there are 2 order points and vehicles are asked to move to the 2nd point to aid the flow of traffic. A resident pointed out that the 2nd point is often not manned and there is only 1 staff member operating the headset. Friday nights in particular are horrendous. Carol said she would look into this.
Another advantage of the CCTV is that when Carol is in the command centre she will be able to view any issues with traffic.
Residents can contact the Secretary at the Residents Association if these traffic issues persist on: firstname.lastname@example.org and she will collate and forward on any images and comments to Carol.
Carol is eager to improve the flow of traffic and the litter picks so please use the above contact points (McDs phone number and the RRA Secretary’s email to give as much information as possible).
Site UVW - plot behind the primary school to build 94 new homes
Susan Andrews – Chairperson – gave a brief overview and potted history of Ipswich Borough Council’s (IBC) proposal to build 94 social housing properties on the site known as UVW. IBC’s proposal deviated from their own pre-existing ‘mixed tenure plan’ for Ravenswood. The mixed tenure plan (a balance of approximately 65% private housing to 35% social housing) supports the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – to build all-inclusive and cohesive communities, where there should be no more than 12 to 15 social housing properties together in a cluster. This is the principle on which Ravenswood was built.
(Further information regarding the history of site UVW, the Government’s ‘call-in’ procedure and outcome can be found in the News section of the RRA’s web site: www.ravenswood-residents.org.uk). As a result of research by the RRA/RAG with other councils in East Anglia that revealed that to sell private housing, local councils such as IBC simply had to create a separate company to build the private dwelling homes, to keep the funds required separate from the usual flow of funds and rents for the social housing. After the Call-in by the Secretary of State, when the proposed 94 social housing plan was deemed against the NPPF guidelines, IBC has since set up a wholly-owned subsidiary called Handford Homes Ltd., which will now enable them to build homes for both private sale, as well as building social housing for rent. Councillor Bill Knowles is a director of Handford Homes Ltd.
Following Susan’s overview, Councillor Bill Knowles talked about his support for the RRA/RAG’s mix of tenure and also outlined the problems the Council has had enforcing this with new housing developers. A Government White Paper states that at least 10% of new build homes should be for social rent. House builders argue that they can only afford to build between 2% and 3% homes for rent, which is a problem across the Country.
IBC owns the land known as UVW and will bring forward a fresh proposal for the site, although to date no plans have been drawn up as Handford Homes’ focus is currently on their pilot programme at the Tooks Bakery site.
Councillor Bill Knowles confirmed that the design of the properties for Ravenswood in the original planning application were well received.
At this point the RRA Secretary talked about the parking issues around the school and asked if additional parking could be built into the new scheme. A lot of people have more than one car per household and provision needs to made for this, for example: where grass verges were originally planned could these be made into extra parking areas (similar to laybys). The grass verges will be parked on and damaged which has occurred along Ravenswood Avenue and in Downham Boulevard and other areas, so why create them in the first place?
A show of hands was asked for on the approval of the ‘mixed tenure’ (65% private/35% social homes for rent). The majority of residents present approved this mix. Some residents chose not to vote or make known their reasons.
Bill Knowles assured the residents that a full consultation will take place once the process begins again. IBC will be employing consultants shortly to develop the scheme.
Single access into Ravenswood/Bus Gate in Ravenswood Avenue
The bus gate continues to be abused by inconsiderate drivers using it as a cut through to and from Maryon Road. The bus gate is for the sole use of buses and emergency vehicles. The RRA have previously made enquiries as to whether the bus gate can be monitored at key times (morning and evening rush hours) and perhaps a few fines issued. The last monitoring took place several years ago however, since then the Police have had to make cut-backs and the shortage of Police resources means that monitoring is unlikely to happen again in the foreseeable future. Residents are concerned that if a vehicle should get stuck in the bus gate that not only busses are unable to get through causing traffic issues, but also emergency vehicles are unable to access Ravenswood.
A resident asked if taking photos of the culprits abusing the bus gate would help but advice from Rachael Partridge (Suffolk Constabulary) was that this could cause issues for the Police and endanger residents safety.
Rachael Partridge – Suffolk Constabulary
Susan Andrews introduced our guest Rachael Partridge who is the newly appointed Community Engagement Officer for East Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge. Rachael holds one of nine new Community Engagement Officer (CEO) roles in Suffolk. The CEOs will work closely with the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) to build engagement opportunities to keep communities better informed of what the force is doing, identify crime trends in the area and be responsible for organising some public meetings. The CEOs will be using a dedicated Facebook account for their locality to ensure residents are aware of and can take part in, events, campaigns, initiatives and meetings. Contact details below:
Rachael has been a police officer in Ipswich for 16 years so knows the area well. Her role will be dedicated to tackling local crime, antisocial behaviour and solving local issues. Rachael will also work closely with councillors and housing associations, promoting public events and supporting volunteers and cadets.
At this point Councillor Sarah Barber mentioned having experienced the Police ‘ride along scheme’. The scheme is to help the public gain a greater understanding of the work of police officers and staff in Suffolk. This is open to all residents of Suffolk and Rachael urged anyone who is interested to get in touch with her via the above contact points.
Community Speed Watch – If any Ravenswood residents are interested in volunteering for this scheme, again contact Rachael. Setting up an official Ravenswood Speed Watch could act as a deterrent to the bus gate abuse and speeding issues encountered around Ravenswood.
Pedestrian Crossing between McDonald’s and Harvester Restaurant
A resident again mentioned that the lights at the pedestrian crossing appeared to take a long time to change back to green. It was pointed out that there are set timings for these crossings and sufficient time needs to be allowed for children and disabled people to cross.
White hashed areas on Thrasher Roundabout
A resident asked if these could be repainted as they are getting rather faded.
Clarity was asked for on whether these are mandatory or advisory. Suffolk CC Highways Dept will be contacted.
A resident also asked if the new lane structure around the Thrasher Roundabout was operating as expected and wondered why this had been changed from both lanes exiting Ravenswood proceeding straight across into Ransomes Way. (Left hand lane being for turning left towards the town & straight on; Right hand lane being for straight on and turning right). As the roundabout has only just been reconfigured following Suffolk Highways survey, it is unlikely this will change again.
As the only official entrance and exit to Ravenswood (for residents, shoppers and the restaurants) it is the source of some considerable frustration to residents that both the Ravenswood roundabout (flying ladies/angels formation) and The Thrasher roundabout are regularly blocked and traffic is backed up into Ravenswood Avenue, Alnesbourn Crescent and Nacton Road.
The current cause of the additional traffic congestion is due to the road works along Felixstowe Road and St Augustine’s Church with traffic backing up to the A14 slip road at peak times. Nothing can be done about this.
Defibrillator for Ravenswood
Bryan talked about the research he had been doing over the past months into acquiring a defibrillator for Ravenswood and that he’d later discovered that resident, Samantha Murray was also working hard on the same project and had been communicating with McDonalds and the charity – Heart2Heart. Bryan talked about the confusion this had initially created. Heart2Heart was separately introduced to Bryan by Priory Heath Councillor and last year’s Mayor, Sarah Barber. Bryan had been talking to the Coop as a siting possibility for the defibrillator, through an introduction by Cllr Bill Knowles. Bryan was now working with Samantha Murray to identify the best location and the best way forward.
Bryan is also checking if the 3 ‘care homes’ on Ravenswood also have access to a defibrillator.
With both the Co-op and McDonald’s willing to provide a suitable location for the defibrillator, this project should proceed smoothly hence forward. This needs to be a safe place, monitored by CCTV, requires a continuous electricity supply and would need to be checked on a regular basis with maintenance/replenishment etc., put in place.
Sarah Barber in her capacity as a nurse at Ipswich Hospital has worked across Ipswich Town Centre to increase the number of defibrillators for public access and has good experience if we should need her advice. Councillor Daniel Maguire also has experience of maintaining defibrillators during his service at the Co-op.
Bryan also talked about Samantha Murray’s research and good work in securing funding for the defibrillator from an anonymous resident, which means the project could proceed much quicker than if funding was required from the local authorities.
Samantha Murray explained that she had contacted the Co-op but didn’t get a response however, when McDonald’s had been contacted they responded positively very quickly.
Bryan confirmed that the Co-op had confirmed back to him that the defibrillator could be located at their Ravenswood branch and that several of their branches already have them.
Obviously, the defibrillator needs to be located at the best location but it is heartening to know that both the Co-op and McDonald’s have come forward.
Land left vacant between Restaurants, Blue Bird Lodge, Prince George House (care homes) and Charles Church properties
Councillor Bill Knowles confirmed that the land between the restaurants and Blue Bird Lodge/Prince George House was marked for Commercial use and the plot between the care homes and Charles Church properties was originally designated for a skateboard park or similar however, there has been no interest to develop this. A resident remarked that a skateboard park would not be welcome.
The area marked for Commercial use (between restaurants and care homes) has seen no demand recently, and may be considered suitable for housing however, Bill Knowles remarked that there is interest for another plan but financing and planning is needed and he’ll report back when this has progressed further. Bill indicated that we might be encouraged if this mysterious project goes ahead.
A resident remarked that we do not need anything on these plots of land that would attract more traffic congestion and Bill Knowles confirmed that the plan being looked at would not attract additional traffic.
Flagship Housing – heating issues over last Christmas
The RRA had been made aware of the lack of heating and hot water over Christmas 2017 in some Flagship Housing properties.
Samantha Murray explained that she was also made aware and had raised this with Sandy Martin at an open meeting around Easter time, but had not heard back.
At this point in time neither the RRA or Samantha Murray know if the heating / hot water has been fixed – it was thought that the problem stemmed from a heating system that wasn’t ‘fit for purpose’ and was being replaced.
Samantha said she would post on the RRA’s Facebook Group to see if those residents who had raised concerns to her had any further update which the RRA could then pursue with Flagship Housing.
Some time ago (approx. 3 years) and to save money local authorities agreed that street lights would be switched off at Midnight around Ravenswood.
A resident had asked if switching the lights back on again would help to deter recent criminal activity – break-ins and similar.
For example, the lights along Nacton Road had been switched on again since the incident at McDonald’s however, whilst some residents considered that if this was extended throughout Ravenswood it would not have any effect on criminal activity, others were of the opinion that it could have a beneficial effect. Bill Knowles indicated that IBC could look at this.
The Head of Ravenswood Primary School attending, confirmed that she didn’t think it would make any difference.
Rachael Partridge stated that in general the Police don’t see that the lack of street lighting has encouraged more criminal activity.
Committee member Bryan Patterson was pro keeping the lighting on Ravenswood Avenue, Mansbroook Boulevard, and Downham Boulevard as speeding cars are still a problem late into the night.
Susan Andrews asked if there were other issues that residents wanted to bring to our attention. There were none.
We were due to make a presentation on behalf of Ravenswood Wildlife Group but as time was getting on this was abbreviated. The Wildlife Group had made several flyers and information sheets available to us which residents were encouraged to take when they left.
At this point Susan Andrews thanked our guests for their valuable input into the meeting and they duly left.
RRA Finance Report
Ginny Waterworth provided an overview of the RRA’s finances – this being:
Current total: £769.17 with 2 payments being made over the year.
1. Renewal of the RRA domain and web hosting totalling: £42.75.
2. Printing and distributing the AGM flyers: £112.00
Income from sponsorships: £165.00 and £150.00.
Interest on account: £1.64
Electing & Re-electing of Committee Members
Susan Andrews stood down as Chair and Bryan Patterson (formerly of Ravenswood Action Group) was voted in. Bryan thanked Sue for her sterling work during her time in the role.
Both Nicholas Neale and Ginny Waterworth received support to remain in their roles as Treasurer and Secretary respectively.
Seven residents came forward for the role of General Committee Member, these being:
Andrew and Juliet Albrighton also expressed interest as keyholders for the Community Centre and Ginny Waterworth will progress this.
Susan Andrews thanked everyone for attending the AGM.