Viva Vauxhall Annual General Meeting 12 July Minutes

Minutes of the July 12 AGM/GM meeting.

Viva Vauxhall Annual General Meeting 12 July

followed by a General Meeting

                                      8 pm, St Anne’s Settlement Hall, Vauxhall

Minutes
Committee members present: Chair Jane, Treasurer Margaret, Secretary Andrea, Marie (safety & welfare), John, Brian, Colin.

Apologies: James Fraser

John chaired the meeting.

Danny queried whether the AGM was quorate and whether committee members counted as members. John explained that according to VV constitution, the meeting was fully quorate, and committee members were full members.

Danny queried why his agenda items weren’t all on the AGM agenda. Andrea explained that an AGM was for election of officers and constitutional matters only. The meeting agreed to let the agendas run as presented.

In response to a member pointing out that they were unable to access the agenda had no computer/internet, Brian suggested that they could use the services provided by the local Tate library to view the website.

1) Correction/agreement of previous minutes

The previous minutes of 11 May 2011 were approved (10 in favour, 3 abstained).

2) Treasurer’s report

Opening balance April 2011: £231.82

Income: £ 195 from Vine HC. Raffle: £ 11.62. Total: 206.62

Expenditure: £ 150 (hall hire) of which £100 debit outstanding.

Total: 388.44

The meeting thanked Margaret for her work as treasurer, and also thanked Vine HC for their donation.

3) Secretary’s report
At the AGM 11 May 2011 more than half the committee resigned for personal reasons, except Margaret Norris (Treasurer), Andrea Hofling, Marie Johnson and James Fraser.

A new constitution was proposed, but opposed by the majority of the meeting.

Jane Vuglar was elected as chair, I was elected as secretary and website editor, Margaret Norris stayed on as treasurer, John Mullineaux joined the committee.

I was also elected to represent VV on the board of the KOV Forum last month.

As the new website editor I took care to identify and discourage those bloggers on the website, who were apparently using fake e-mail addresses, or multiple identities. Some of the blog entries concerned had regularly denounced any voices critical of tall tower developments as nimbys or reactionaries.

The website has become a bit quieter since then, but also a lot friendlier.

In September 2011 the VV website went down, and for some time it was hoped that it could be restored. In the end this turned out not to be possible, and after purchasing a new domain a new website created in December 2012.

At the GM 1 November 2011 a vote was held in favour of continuing VV. New members were voted onto the committee: Colin McCall, Brian Vos and Logan Ross. Logan resigned soon after due to work commitments.

The new committee introduced some changes to make Viva Vauxhall more accessible to its residents, to promote real life debate, and to make it more responsive.

To this end instead of just holding a single annual general meeting (AGM) in order to elect officers and committee members we held general meetings (GMs) at fairly regular intervals.

The new committee introduced making public the minutes of the committee meetings for the first time.

In our mission statement we encouraged participation by welcoming residents to present their concerns to the committee directly at a committee meeting, i.e. with a view to have them put on the next GM agenda.

Furthermore we have recently given members the opportunity to suggest points for GM agenda items directly.

Safety & welfare
Marie established and maintained close links with our local Safer Neighbourhood Team and Neighbourhood Watch representatives. As there was a spate of incidents regarding crime and anti-social behaviour in the weeks before and after Christmas, she worked closely with both bodies to deal with these problems. Latest reports suggest that this co-operation and the efforts of the police have resulted in a reduction in local crime and anti-social behaviour.

Two night time neighbourhood walkabouts organised by the Bonnington Pleasure Gardens and Viva Vauxhall, and assisted by our local Safe Neighbourhood Team were held during this period, and a lot of advice and support was given by Marie and on the VV website.

Lighting issues, especially in Bonnington Sq and Langley Lane have been identified, and a security light was installed on the corner between BS and LL, possibly more to follow. Also some bushes and trees have been pruned back for security purposes, supervised by James Fraser,

In March 2012 the committee met with Danny/Firewatch (at their request) to discuss Club Fire. Accusations made against us were rebutted, and a suggestion made by Cllr Jane Edbrooke that she would write a letter to Club Fire was agreed by almost all present; in response to this letter Fire confirmed they are happy to engage with a range of community groups and individuals and to hold an open day.

Local Planning
The November GM saw an exhibition of poster panels re the proposed student tower 30-60 South Lambeth Road and a decision was taken that Viva Vauxhall was to oppose the scheme. The development has not yet gone before the Planning Committee.

The issue of the ‘removal of the gyratory’ saw Andrea, Brian, and Colin, set up/join  DATA (Development and Transport Action) together with other local community associations with a view to discuss transport options with TFL. A meeting with TFL was held during which rail transport alternatives to the Northern Line Extension were discussed, and a second meeting with TFL regarding the NLE and local road traffic issues (the gyratory) is pending.

At the February 2012 GM a representative of DATA of which VV is a member held a talk on a meeting with TFL re the Northern Line Extension and a vote was taken to oppose the Northern Line Extension swallowing up the lion’s share of planning gain from the proposed tower developments in Vauxhall.

Also at the February 2012 GM a decision was taken to oppose any development in Vauxhall unless the gyratory was made fit for pedestrians and cyclists.

The planning application for the Kylun Towers development which VV had voted to oppose in January 2011 was turned down by Lambeth and in March 2012 an inquiry into the Kylun Towers development was held. Andrea representing VV was joined by many others speaking against the development. A decision by the Secretary of State is expected in August 2012.

In June 2012 planning permission was granted to the One Nine Elms, New Covent Garden (both Wandsworth) and Sainsbury’s (Lambeth) redevelopments.”

The chair thanked Andrea for her report.

Danny accused the committee of not connecting with frontline members re Club Fire, and of engaging with Fire to the detriment of local residents.  John & Marie responded saying that Marie first had contact with Philippe of Club Fire at a community anti-crime walkabout; he wanted to liaise with her as part of the Safer Neighbourhood Network. Marie invited John to come along because he was interested in what was happening re Club Fire. They asked questions about the re-opening of Club Fire as concerned local community members; it was still active.  John and Marie pointed out that VV had no official relationship with Club Fire. John added that at this point he was not aware of ‘FireWatch’, and that whatever Philippe said to Danny/FireWatch were Philippe’s words, not his.

Further to the FireWatch – VV meeting, Cllr Edbrooke had received a positive response from Club Fire re their obligation to the community.

Marie mentioned that VV had maintained good working relations with the local community and with other agencies.

Danny asked why there had not been a Special General Meeting (SGM) as requested by the ten people who had signed a petition and why there had been a delayed response. Brian explained that the General Meeting (GM) which followed soon after would act on the principle of Danny’s petition in terms of our constitution.

The secretary’s report was then agreed by 11 votes in favour and 1 against.

Danny queried why his proposal for a membership scheme wasn’t on the agenda. It was pointed out that this item was listed on the agenda under 5.6.

4) Election of officers and committee members

4.1) Re-election to the committee:  Margaret Norris, Marie Johnson, John Mullineaux, Colin McCall, Andrea Hofling, Jane Vuglar, James Fraser by a large majority.

Brian Vos is standing down for an interim period, while he focused on his own projects, i.e. the gyratory, but will be happy to report back to the committee.

Brian was thanked for his contribution.

Cllr Ishbel  Brown suggested that Danny should be invited on the committee, and Andrea said that he had previously declined to stand again further to his resignation.

Danny was voted onto the committee after the meeting chair; John Mullineaux used his casting vote in favour of Danny after the initial vote was tied.

Danny was asked whether he would now give up his VV Watch list and his FireWatch list. Danny said that they were a list of people interested in conversation with the VV committee.

There was concern as to whether Danny, as a member of the committee planned to continue to ‘converse ‘with his VV Watch list separately, or as a committee member and concern was expressed that this might lead to indiscretion.

There was a suggestion that the ‘conversation’ between VV and outside groups or lists had to be conducted openly, so that the VV committee had the opportunity to respond to what was being said, and to avoid possible accusations of slander or defamation.

The feeling of the meeting was that Danny, as a committee member must cease such private communication; anyone interested in conversation with the committee should contact them directly themselves. Danny was also asked to copy emails to the committee.

4.2) Re-election/election of officers:

Treasurer:  Margaret Norris was proposed and seconded, and elected as treasurer with 9 votes in favour, 0 against and 3 abstentions.

Jane Vuglar was proposed and seconded, and elected as chair by 9 votes in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention.

Secretary:  Andrea Hofling was proposed and seconded, and elected as treasurer by 9 votes in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions.

Marie proposed, seconded, and confirmed as Safety & Welfare co-ordinator with 9 votes in favour, 0 against and 3 abstentions.

5) Constitutional amendments

5.1) The right to expel a member  For Decision

Proposal to remove the last paragraph under point 6 of the VV constitution:

“The committee may at its absolute discretion suspend or terminate any membership in respect of disruption or misconduct at meeting or of bringing the group into disrepute.”

Andrea stated that a member had been ‘expelled’ a few years ago, which prompted the question: ‘am I no longer a resident?’ because VV is open to all residents in its designated area, and that all residents are members.

Marie pointed out that you cannot expel members from the community.

However, any member can be asked to leave a meeting if they are causing disruption.

A vote was taken 8 for, 1 against 3 abstentions

5.2) Proposal by Danny Walsh   For Decision

“To allow only one member per household to be elected to the committee.  Discussion and vote.”

Danny outlined that his proposal was designed to lessen the dominance of a particular group of the community, specifically Vine Housing Co-op. He also objected to two members being close friends and to two members on the committee being from the same household, in the latter instance they should have one vote between them.

Danny claimed that Lambeth Council officers had advised him that although this was normally not a problem, it would be a precautionary measure to limit the influence of the above mentioned persons/groups.

Concerns were raised from the floor that this measure would be anti-democratic, that members living in shared households could have very diverse opinions. Marie said that people had fought for the individual vote, and let us not dismantle the vote. Colin said that he never heard of a democracy with one vote per household, Monika said that she had never heard that either and she has a degree in Politics.

Danny was pressed repeatedly to reveal the contacts at Lambeth Council who had advised him; Cllrs Edbrooke and Brown also expressed concern and wished to know who at Lambeth Council had endorsed his proposal.

Danny then stated that this advice had not come from any contact at Lambeth Council.

Julia asked for an explanation and clarity, as Danny was appearing to contradict himself..

Danny now said that his contacts hadn’t suggested that two members of a household should be a problem, but that couples were.

Vote:  9 against, 1 for, 2 abstentions.

5.3) Proposal by Danny Walsh  For Decision

“Permit members to attend and observe committee meetings.

Discussion and vote.”

Danny’s reasons for having residents as observers present at meetings: other organisations such as Tradescant Road and St Georges Wharf TRAs allow this.

Various committee members reiterated that members were welcome to attend committee meetings on request to raise a specific issue, or if anyone were  sufficiently interested they could stand for election to the committee at a GM.

Turning committee meetings into meetings open to all members would present logistical problems as well as blurring the distinction between GMs and committee meetings. These are to be maintained to enable the committee to function effectively.

Also the proposer’s intentions were questioned, as it was felt that it could subject  the committee to undue pressure.

The motion was rejected by a large majority; there were a number of abstentions.

5.4) Proposal by Danny Walsh

“Reword the constitution to take account and make clear the differences between a Special General Meeting, Extraordinary General Meeting, General Meeting and Annual General Meeting.”

Danny accused the committee once more of not complying with residents’ requests for SGMs, that the committee refused to respond to his petition for eleven weeks.

It was pointed out that there was a GM which had both petition items on the agenda, and this wasn’t satisfactory and that he had wanted a single issue meeting in response.

It was pointed out by Brian that SGMs did not exist in the VV constitution, so there was no basis for this request. In addition single issue meetings have been used historically as a tactic to destroy grass roots organisations; he cited the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa which used SGMs in order to load a quorum and force a change to the constitution; he added that this was also used by the corporate world.

There were other reasons such as limited resources that make it impractical to hold SGMs in addition to the regular GMs. Jane pointed out that when the first petition was received in December, it was not long after a GM had discussed these very issues, but that none of the petitioners had attended.

According to Marie some local people she’d spoken to had only signed the petition because it was about crime.

There was a community anti-crime walk-about before Christmas with two PC’s in attendance to answer residents’ questions.

5.5) Proposal by Danny Walsh

“Reword the constitution to state that a Special General Meeting (or whatever we decide to call it) requested by local residents must be held within a reasonable period of time and the agenda agreed with them. The committee must seek the agreement of those calling for the meeting if it wishes to do anything other than hold the meeting as specifically requested.”

The meeting rejected this proposal. 1 for.  9 against, 2 abstentions

5.6) Proposal by Danny Walsh     For Decision

Proposal to introduce a membership scheme (constitution is unclear on whether this is required). Discussion and vote.”

Danny: other organisations have membership schemes.  Who are our members? Some people felt that VV was not representing their views. Brian: there’s no ambiguity; the membership is defined by the area bounded by certain streets, but the extent of the area could be reviewed. You do not opt out of democracy. If people choose not to take part, they effectively opt out, but this doesn’t invalidate the democratic mandate.

Danny maintained that people lack confidence in VV, and were under-informed.

Marie observed that a lot goes on outside the meetings, such as information sharing, which is extremely good. People have a great deal of confidence in what we’re doing.

Rowan remarked that if the meetings were allowed to be more positive, more people would attend.

Marie said that a fee paying membership would exclude people, and everyone should have free access.

There was a proposal to discuss as an organisation the possibility of a subscription membership scheme.

Julia repeated that she felt out of contact lacking a computer, and that despite living here longer than anyone, she felt that there wasn’t a great sense of community.

It was suggested that she’d made a very valid point and that this should be discussed further as a worked out item, how to restore a fuller sense of community.

Brian suggested hard copies for those without computers and increased liaison to address this problem.

9 for, 1 against, 2 abstentions

There was no other business.

Viva Vauxhall General Meeting 12 July

1) Correction/agreement of previous GM minutes  For Decision

Minute taker Frances Forest of KOV Forum, 1 November 2011.

There has been an error in the minutes of the GM 24 November 2012 re the vote re the 30-60 South Lambeth Road development (item 6.1). The decision was to oppose, with two abstentions, but this was not recorded under that item, but on the item below (6.2) by mistake. The vote on the item 6.2 was not recorded at all.

We propose to agree the minutes for the GM 12 November 2012 with that correction as follows:

“6.1 Proposed student tower/Leisure Centre opposite Vauxhall Park: Student accommodation for 580 students in South Lambeth Road plus a 9 x 20 metre swimming pool was proposed.  Alice Hammond from Camargue had sent display boards but was not able to attend.  Sport England was negotiating to enlarge the swimming pool in the development.  David Boardman, Chair of the Kennington Association Planning Forum (KAPF) said that developers wanted to talk to them (KAPF), particularly as they were obliged to undertake community consultation.  A stronger case could be made when opposing applications by using planning terms.  Density was high and the plot seemed over developed.  Any S106 money was likely to go towards the Northern Line Extension project rather than benefiting the immediate vicinity.  Arguments about overshadowing had not been convincing enough.  It was too high, too dominant and too dense.  Would the swimming pool be for community use?  Would there be affordable housing?  There probably would be no affordable housing obligation if the block was intended for students.

Lambeth still did not have an adopted plan, though one was planned for adoption in December 2011.  The original Supplementary Planning Document had been drafted in 2009.  Councillors would be briefed in November and a Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea (VNEB) ‘Expo’ would take place 24 and 25 November exhibiting all current proposals.  Consultation on the revised Opportunity Area Framework was due to take place between January and mid February 2012.  Lambeth was being driven by its desire for employment, but would the jobs be for Lambeth residents or outsiders?  A vote was taken:

For the development:       0

Against:                14

Abstentions:                    2

6.2    That the Viva Vauxhall Committee be empowered to critically engage with developers/planning authority re any proposed local developments:

The proposal was agreed by a majority of the meeting.”

The proposed correction was agreed by 10 votes for, 1 against, 2 abstentions

The minutes were agreed with the correction by 12 for, 1 against, 0 abstentions

Correction/agreement of previous GM minutes: minute taker Frances Forest of KOV Forum, 23 February 2012.

Agreed by 10 votes for, 0 against, 3 abstentions.

2) Local developments

2.1) Kylun Towers  For information

Decision by secretary of state expected in August.

Andrea introduced this item. Danny questioned Andrea as to who spoke against Kylun Towers at the inquiry. The chair intervened saying that this was not relevant, and referred him to the planning inspector. Jane pointed out that this information was held in the public domain.

2.2) 30-60 South Lambeth Road.   For Information

Contrary to what was claimed at the last GM, on the website for this proposed development there is no mention that three of the swimming pool’s lanes will be 25 m long, only 9 x 20 m as before.

Andrea introduced this item. What Danny reported at the last GM was seemingly contradicted on the developer’s website. Brian pointed out that it was also surprising that the water heating system appears not to be mentioned on their website, and that the technology necessary to heat the pool has been omitted from the plans. Cllr Jane Edbrooke said that the pool size, including three 25 m lanes, was a verbal agreement.

2.3) Recent planning permissions   For Information

One Nine Elms, New Covent Garden Market (Wandsworth) and Sainsbury’s (Lambeth) were given planning permission in June.

VV had submitted an objection to One Nine Elms on the grounds that at 200 m the proposed height is exceeding the height limit prescribed by the VNEB OAPF (150 m) considerably, which means that it will cast a long shadow over Vauxhall Park and the VV area on summer evenings, and on the grounds that the gyratory has not been addressed.

The planning decision for One Nine Elms was made three days ahead of the advertised date, and so people were not able to make a representation or even watch from the gallery.

2.4) The gyratory  For information

Brian introduced this item. There seems to be no thoroughly researched critique of the problem with the current gyratory, so Brian is planning to create a paper with his own research, and would welcome collaborative help.

Cllr Jane Edbrooke said that Lambeth Transport Officer was engaging in a review of the gyratory, and that Brian was welcome to plug in with him. Lambeth wanted to get rid of the gyratory, and TfL ‘was starting to turn round’.  We have to convince Boris to change the gyratory, but the Mayor is aware that there are large traffic problems in connection with the VNEB.  Current proposals are coming before the Council, which is a massive step forward and there were exciting new developments.

The meeting thanked Cllr Jane Edbrooke for her contribution.

3) Safety & welfare   For information

Marie reported that there had been quite a lot of crime for such a small area, but that this has now largely subsided. There have been a few incidents of anti-social behaviour with a few cars being broken into; there was also a hate crime (the perpetrator has been arrested).

Marie has liaised with SORT (Street Outreach Team) to assess problems due to homelessness.  Marie was invited to operations in connection with Vauxhall licensing issues. There have been some concerns with regard to older teenagers, and that there has been some support to resolve this.

The meeting thanked Marie for her contribution.

4) Space to be made available on VV website for community businesses   For Decision

Proposal to set up a category on the VV website to give residents running small local businesses the opportunity to advertise what their businesses are about and  what is available to the community.

Interest has been expressed by several residents offering alternative health services, such as massage and acupuncture.

Excellent idea. 9 for, 1 against, 2 abstentions.

5) Proposal by Danny Walsh   For Discussion

“How the committee can improve communicating with the local community”

Proposal to defer the discussion (see 5.6) of AGM agenda. This item is to be considered in more depth as a worked out proposal. 9 for, 1 against, 1 abstention

6.1) Brian and Colin pointed out that the gyratory is affecting the area as a whole, for at least a one mile radius, the pollution would travel well beyond the immediate area of the gyratory. Brian said that in fact it included the entire VNEB area.

6) Proposal by Danny Walsh   For Discussion/Decision

“Reintroduce, discuss and vote on the following motion submitted at the GM on 23.03.12 and minuted as follows:

‘Local residents are concerned that the gyratory in its current manifestation is unfit for purpose for cyclist and pedestrian use.  In view of proposed development of the area, the gyratory needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency before any future planning permissions are granted.’

6.1) The minutes should have recorded that the clause “before any future developments are granted” only referred to developments directly affected by the gyratory system”.

6.2) In an email dated 03.03.12, the committee refers to the “passing of the motion that VV would not support and would oppose all proposed developments in and around  Vauxhall until the gyratory is addressed” This is something completely different to the motion put to the residents.”

Colin pointed out that both wordings mean the same, and the interpretation is correct

The feeling of the meeting was to leave the wording as it stands.

Colin thanked the chair. John: we all try to do our best, it would be nice to move forward and email each other in a positive spirit.

There was no other business.

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