Archive for Meetings

Notes on Jan 2014 VRG Meeting: Dates for Diaries

Dear neighbour,

Below are edited minutes of the recent VRG meeting. To note especially are the coming events: please diarise them

OxClean                              Sat 8th March, morning, somewhere nearby,  details tbc
Victoria Road Quiz           Sat 12th April, 7:30pm, local venue tbc
VR Green Balloon Day     Sun 11th May, morning
VR Garden Party               Sunday 13th July, afternoon
VR Safari Supper               Sat 20th September, evening

Our thanks to Mary for opening her home for a lovely Christmas drinks after the usual lusty carols

Our thanks to Peter for the wonderful embellishment to the notice board; Please contact Paul if you want to post items onto the board.

We are looking for a host for our next regular meeting (all welcome, as always),  on Weds 5th march.

 

Minutes of Victoria Road Group meeting 7th January 2014

Present: Sam (Chair), Ali, Philippa, Mary, Sally, Anna, Manda, John

Apologies: David (Brown), Barbara, Paul, Mireille, Jonathan, Gordon, Mick

1.     The minutes of the 30th Oct 2013 meeting were agreed. Anna confirmed that payment for the map night hall rental had been banked, with thanks.

2.     The Christmas event (carols and drinks), was reviewed: well-attended and warm, positive party, lovely that it was at a new house. Heartfelt thanks to Mary for hosting, and to all the helpers. Carols were also excellent, thanks to John for organising and Peter for playing. Agreed that next year, we’ll consider a short performance of 4-part harmony carols during the party.

3.     Quiz night – at last meeting, agreed range of ideal dates but Feb 22nd only availability for  Church Hall and quite a lot of key organisers not around then. Proposal to use 12th April date (originally mooted for Safari Supper) for quiz. Philippa to see if Church Hall available then. If not Mary to look into other venues. Getting critical that we run this event soon as it’s our main fund-raiser and we are low on funds (see later).

Quiz planning team: Philippa, Ali, Manda, to meet soon to get moving on format, questions, jobs that need doing etc. Also to look back at lessons learned from last time.

Discussion on questions  – may solicit from others (agreed central editor essential). Noted that Anna’s son runs quizzes and has good sources  – Anna to pursue. Other ideas – identify chocolate bars round, local photos and sounds – all to go into the mix.

Publicity should emphasise that people are encouraged to bring friends, family etc. Tickets, £5 per head, no concessions. Come as a team (up to 6) or join on the night. Drinks for donations. 7:30 for 8.

Bookings either by email (to mandajoyce@hotmail.co.uk), or on paper through Anna’s letterbox (with payment).

Publicity – first one alerting all to date ASAP – (to go on paper to all VR houses with other VRG dates, see later item).

Nearer the time, 2nd paper mailing, specific reminder on paper, with tear off slip for paper bookings.

Manda, John, Sam all happy to do delivery.

Mary kindly offered to do photocopying.

4.     OxClean – Morning of Sat 8th March. Mary and Philippa organising. Mary to liaise with OxClean to book our patch (as local as poss), and contact others as required, including collecting kit.

5.     Sam floated idea of VRG “Secretary” role – not to do minutes but to maintain list of people in road, mailing list, skills available, offers to volunteer etc. A bit like a membership secretary. Meeting thought a good idea. Sam and Mary offered to write a short job description for review at the next meeting. Noted that Welcome Pack not great at recruiting people to VRG. Suggested we might use Garden Party and Christmas Drinks to recruit residents.

6.     Oxfam International parking request. Had a request via a member of Seven Roads Group about whether VR residents might offer parking on drives etc to Oxfam staff as Oxfam is losing some parking spaces in Summertown.  After discussion, agreed not to use VRG mailing list to circulate this request (would not want precedent of using list for charitable appeals, and also some concerns about encouraging people to drive into Summertown, and relative ‘merit’ of Oxfam workers vs other workers). No reason, however, why Sam should not put the appeal on the VR notice board.

7.     Notice Board. Thanks were expressed to Peter for beautiful addition to the board. As ‘Board monitor’, Paul, in his absence, asked to put an acknowledgement for Peter (cheerfulchippy) on the Board.

Barbara has offered to paint the board. Sam to say ‘yes please’.

8.     AOB

·       Betty really loves to have visitors – see Mary for more info about location etc.

·       Signatories on VR bank account now changed – any 2 signatories from Anna, Mary, Sam, Manda

·       Anna confirmed VR Funds.

·       Confirmation of 2014 programme so far

 

OxClean

Sat 8th March, morning, somewhere nearby,  details tbc

Victoria Road Quiz

Sat 12th April, 7:30pm, local venue tbc

VR Green Balloon Day

Sun 11th May, morning

VR Garden Party

Sunday 13th July, afternoon

VR Safari Supper

Sat 20th September, evening

 

 You can start booking your place for the excellent quiz evening (April 12th) now: just email Manda.

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The Guardian Angel: Your Community News & Views

The first edition of a new community publication has been distributed, entitled ‘the guardian angel: your community’s news & views’. It has no association with Victoria Road News and Views except a shared interest in communication with many of the same neighborhoods. The angel is produced by a ‘team at St Michael & All Angels Parish Church, Lonsdale Road, Summertown’.

St Michael & All Angles Church

St Michael & All Angels Church

The newsletter looks very informative, and notes that you can get parish news, services and event information on their website at http://www.stmichaels-summertown.org.uk

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Fixing Fuel Poverty in Oxford

Last year there were 44 excess winter deaths in Oxford resulting from Fuel Poverty. With a legal responsibility placed on Government to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, it is getting worse.

Brenda Boardman trustee of LCON and author of Fixing Fuel Poverty will address the AGM of Low Carbon Oxford North on May 22nd at 7.30pm at Beechcroft Road Baptist Church hall. All are welcome.

Doors open at 7; AGM starts 7.30; speaker at 8ish; refreshments 9.

Fuel Poverty

 

 

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Minutes of Victoria Road Group Meeting on 9 January

Minutes of VICTORIA ROAD GROUP MEETING
Monday 9th January 2012, 8pm at Jonathan and Sally’s (59)

Attendance: Mary Lewis (Chair), Jonathan and Sally Bromley, Carol, Bill Dutton, Mick O’Connor, Betty Marshall, Anna Buchanan (Treasurer), Gordon Buchanan, Paul Lewis, Jelly Williams.

Jonathan took the minutes.

1       Apologies

Received from Sam, Ali, Nick, Sue, John, Manda, Mireille, Philippa and Diana.

2       Minutes of last meeting, and matters arising

Minutes were approved.

Matters arising:

  • Anna pointed out that the sum of £23 received was in fact a tax rebate.  The actual sum was larger.  Needs correction in the minutes.

action: Mary

  • Photographic competition: 16 entries were received, 6 were shortlisted and displayed at the Christmas party. The winner was Da Cornock-Taylor, the runner-up Jonathan Bromley.  Those photos are already on the blog. Thanks are due to Elman Poole for setting up and generously funding this event.  Sally asked whether it brought in any people who don’t normally participate in VRG activity.  Mary reported that all six shortlisted were VRG “regulars”, but the others aren’t known at this time.  There was a suggestion that we could exploit the results by using the images on merchandise such as tea towels or calendars. Prize money is available for a second run of the contest.

3       Newsletter

Chair suggested that one issue should be circulated as a matter of urgency, even though Sam and Manda’s plans for a revamp of the newsletter are not yet complete.  In the medium term we hope to make it more arresting and informative, with VRG contact information appearing in every issue.  More immediately there is a need to publicise the Seven Roads Jubilee event and VRG Quaffers’ Quiz.  A very simple flyer should go out ASAP.

Several members indicated that there is already a good level of information about VRG activities.  Perhaps a year’s calendar of anticipated events, with approximate dates, might be useful?  There was some discussion of possible formats.

Jonathan will prepare a simple newsletter, for immediate circulation, by 15th Jan.

action: Jonathan

The relationship between the newsletter and the existing Welcome Pack was briefly discussed.  It was felt that the Welcome Pack is genuinely useful.

This topic will be reviewed at a future meeting.  Paul will prepare a mockup example for discussion.  Sally to investigate colour print costs.

action: Paul, Sally

4       Recent and upcoming events

The Christmas party took place at no.56 with about 40 participants including a few new faces.  Thanks were expressed to Ali and Sam for hosting, and to Nick for preparing fine mulled wine.

Mick and Sally reported on progress towards the wine tasting challenge evening (“Quaffers’ Quiz”).  Helpers will be needed before and during the event.  We need to inform Juliet Field (church hall bookings secretary) of our requirements for tables and chairs in the upper hall.  Mike and Mireille have helped extensively with planning and are familiar with the organization of such events.  Carol (and Alan in absentio) offered to run the drinks bar (donations).  Mary and Paul can help at the event but not beforehand.  There was a problem with cleaning of the upstairs hall when we last used it; we need to check with the hall whether they have yet provided a suitable large sweeping brush.  Hall cost will be about £80.  Total budget for the evening about £240, with the intention that it should roughly break even.  The organising team will seek feedback on what people liked and disliked about the event.  Sally and Mick briefly outlined the evening’s format.

action: organising team, helpers

OxClean is March 3rd-4th this year.  Mary has registered us, but there has been no response from the Council yet.  We will tackle the same area as last year (around the Marston flyover on the A40).  Highlight this event in the Newsletter.

5       Seven Roads Jubilee event

A team is working on a party on 26th May – avoiding the Bank Holiday week and being sensitive to those who might object to royalist celebrations.  A format similar to the millennium party, but on a smaller scale, is planned.  It will probably run from noon to midnight, with closure of King’s Cross Road from Victoria to Portland.  Mary and Sally are Victoria Road’s representatives on the team and will keep VRG informed.  VRG has pledged to contribute £100, and a total of £280 has already been given or promised; the organisers expect to go ahead once £1000 has been raised.  It was suggested that a contributions box could be available on Green Balloon Day.

5.1     Provisional dates for 2012

The following dates were agreed:

Sat 4 Feb Quaffers’ Quiz
Sat 28 Apr Green Balloon Day (Carol kindly offered the use of her driveway for coffee)
Sat 26 May Seven Roads Jubilee party
Sun 1 July VRG Garden Party (venue to be arranged)
Sat 17 Nov Media Madness
Sun 9 Dec Christmas party

 

6       Communications received

  • Information had been received from the City recycling team about the Refashion event (see below)
  • The parents of Catriona (VR resident who died unexpectedly) send us £20 each year as a contribution to Christmas celebrations.  Nick has already thanked them.
  • Mary had received a response from Jean Fooks (councillor) regarding concerns about the forthcoming Sainsbury’s supermarket in Suffolk House and our regret at the loss of local retailers.  It was disappointing; the building does not require permission for change of use, so the council are unable to intervene.  The site is owned by a London Property Company; apparently there is now no retail property at all in Summertown that belongs to the council.  This issue had also been aired at the North Area Forum in December 2011.
  • Paul had received a response from Nicola Blackwood MP regarding support for a Post Office in Summertown (perhaps in the Library).  The response was long and thorough, but noted that current improvement plans for Summertown Library are on a small scale.  There are vague longer term plans for more extensive changes to include a Post Office.

7       Recycling

The battery recycling bin is now outside No.46.  Thanks were expressed to Mary and Paul for hosting this useful facility.

Carol (Recycling Champion) has been in touch with the City Council’s recycling team, two new employees who seem very energetic and have organised the Refashion event.

8       AOB

  • Gordon noted that he has used the Post Office’s online postage prepayment service, and it could be useful to other residents.
  • Carol is considering holding a yard sale, and asked if VRG might wish to get involved with more vendors participating.  Some concern was expressed that this is not something that should be directly promoted or sponsored by VRG, but of course there were no objections to the idea of an individual sale and it was suggested that it might be even more successful if several residents were to hold such events on the same day.
  • Gravel from some driveways, particularly on the sloped north side of the road, tends to spill on to the footpath making walking difficult for all but the most agile.  Could residents perhaps be reminded of their civic responsibility to keep the footpath passable?  The meeting’s opinion was that it could perhaps be mentioned in the newsletter in a general way, but it would be inappropriate for VRG to approach individual householders.
  • Bill noted that the Animal Sanctuary in Stadhampton always needs old towels, sheets, rags and newspapers for animal bedding.  He could accept contributions at No.55.
  • Anna asked whether last year’s successful skip hire could be repeated.  There was general agreement, with a suggestion that anyone putting more than a trivial quantity into the skip be asked to contribute £10 to the cost.  Suggested date 7th July.  Various people offered to have the skip on their driveway but it was felt that Sam and Ali’s at no.56 would be best, if available.

9       Thanks to hosts

Sally and Jonathan were thanked for their hospitality.

10   Date of Next meeting

8.00pm, Wednesday 14th March 2012 at No.102A (Mick and Philippa).

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Oxford’s North Area Forum at Cherwell on 15 December 2012

The next North Area Forum, which is meeting at Cherwell School (North Site – Music 2) on 15 December.

6 – 6.30pm Informal networking  – Conversations with councillors/officers

6.30 – 8.30 Forum – Welcome, introductions, and updates from Councillors

6.45 Open-agenda discussion

7.15 Neighbourhood Plans and the Sites and Housing Policy DPD – Michael Crofton Briggs, Head of City Development

For more information, on the Area Forums for Oxford, see: http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decCD/Area_Committees_occw.htm

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VRG Meeting Minutes of a meeting held on Thursday 1 December 2011

VRG Meeting

Minutes of a meeting held on Thursday 1 December 2011

At No. 46

Appointment of Minute-taker: Philippa

In attendance: Mary (in the chair), Paul, Suzi, Bill, Celia, Jelly, Sue, Nick, Betty, Sally, John, Ali, Da, Diana, Mick and Philippa

Birthday congratulations to Betty!

1.            Apologies for Absence

Anna, Chris, Sam, Manda, Peter, Mike and Mireille

 

2.            Minutes of last meeting and Matters arising from them

Agreed.

3.            Photographic competition

Winner will be announced at the Christmas party.

 

4.            Events:

            Performance Evening 22 October

Report on the Evening: It was agreed that it went very well. Thanks were expressed to the core team – Manda, John, Paul and Mary – and all those who helped on the day. The upstairs hall was better in some ways than downstairs, although some felt it would have been better staged lengthways. Unfortunately staged that way, the performers might have been right on top of the audience as it is slightly narrower than downstairs. There was some time to chat at the end: however, some kind volunteers had started clearing up straight away. It was agreed that we would try hard to prevent this next year. Some people had to leave at half time but that was thought preferable to them not coming at all. The proportion of audience participation numbers was higher this year than previously: the majority agreed that this was a positive thing but the balance needs to be monitored and also the choice of sing-along-songs needs some care. Some new things were tried and they generally worked well. Suzi suggested checking out the United Reformed Church hall as it has a real piano, and the shape is perhaps better.

There was a complaint following the event from the Church Hall that the floor was left rather dirty, and they were not able to charge the two classes the next day. Mary had given a donation of £40 on behalf of VRG as compensation to the Hall. It had been swept on the night but clearly it was not entirely clean. It was suggested that we bring vacuum cleaners next time or buy a big broom to use. We will also urge the Church Hall to provide more adequate equipment themselves.

            Green Book Day/Media Madness  19 November

Report on the Day: a very pleasant event. A bit disappointing that we did not have many new people. A lot of books were exchanged. Thanks to Mike and Mireille for hosting the event and Jonathan and Bill for depositing all the remaining books with Oxfam. Mike and Mireille were complimentary about the organisation and help they had received.

5.            Future Events:

 

Christmas Drinks/Carol singing   Sunday 11 December, at No.56:

Meet 5.15pm for carol singing outside No. 105. Drinks would be from 6-8pm at No. 56. Sufficient wine was available from the Performance Evening. Ali would sort out glasses. Nick would get mulled wine spices, juice etc. Guests to bring festive finger food. Celia has a preserving pan if needed for the wine. Ali would clear her pinboard for displaying the photographic entries. Mary would arrange to have prize money available.

 

Green Balloon day was the next scheduled event: a date in May would be fixed at a future meeting.

 

Seven Roads Party: There is an extra bank holiday at the beginning of June for the Queen’s Jubilee. For the Millennium there was an event for the Seven Roads that connect in the area, and everyone in those streets was involved. Most of King’s Cross Road was shut off with a number of attractions going on. It was a wonderful event. There is a proposal for a similar event for the Queen’s Jubilee. The VRG is not committed in any way and people can participate individually. There are three street representatives on the committee: Mary, Ali and Sally. There were alternative dates still being debated: either the actual day, or the previous weekend. There was not a strong view from the group present about which was best. It was agreed that we would provide a donation of £100.

Additional event: Mike and Mireille had suggested a wine tasting. This was along the lines of Call My Bluff with the ‘experts’ presenting the vintage of the wine etc, and people guessing which description was true. Nick and Sue would find out what was needed to run this. Mick, Philippa, Sally, and Ali volunteered to assist with organising. Proposed dates: 4th 11th 18th or 25th February. Mick would check with the venue asap.

5.            Communications Received

From Scope thanking us for the goods we gave them after Green Balloon Day which, along with a gift aid declaration, have raised £23.

A communication had been received re. Hernes House Residential Home concerning an application to develop 9 family size houses with 18 car parking spaces. This communication would go on the noticeboard.

A reminder that Oxclean would take place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd March: people were encouraged to join in with the litterpicking.

 

  1. 6.              Any Other Business

Newsletter: It was reported that Manda had done some work on this. Ali and Da will distribute if it is ready in the next week or so. News about the winetasting event would be incorporated. Paul and Mary would print it.

Finances: £535.35 in the bank before the donation to the Seven Roads event.

Suzi raised concerns about the spate of business closures in Summertown and proposed contacting newspapers or local councillors. Everyone supported the idea of writing to the Councillors. The Chair of the Group agreed to write.

 

            Date and venue of Next Meeting-

Monday 9th January 2012 at Sally and Jonathan’s.

Finally, thanks were expressed to our hosts, Mary and Paul.

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VRG Minutes 15 July 2010

Minutes of the meeting on Thursday 15th July

Present: John (chairman), Sue, Nick, Betty, Gordon, Sally, Jonathan, Mary, Paul, Mick, Philippa, and Oona.

1       Appointment of Minute Taker

Philippa

2       Apologies

Received from Anna, Sam, Ali and Celia

3       Events

a Garden Party(review)

This went extremely well. Approximately 50 – 60 people attended. Formal thanks were expressed to Da and Andrew for hosting.

b  Quiz Night 2010
We decided on 16th October, and there will be a meeting of the organising team on Wednesday 8th September 8pm at number John’s.

c Green Book Day 2010

The date of 13th November was proposed and agreed. Sue and Nick volunteered to host.

d  Christmas Drinks 2010

The date of Sunday 5th December was proposed and agreed. Jon and Sally offered to host. There would be carols beforehand as usual.

e A new event was proposed: Film Night.

Paul would think through the logistics to discuss in more detail at the next meeting.

It was suggested that we try to keep the list of events fresh and have new events which would give as many people as possible to participate in something.

4       Matters arising

  1. a. Music evening follow up – Mary and Paul

It was proposed to include some drama and dance, including some revue-style sketches. It would be held in the upper hall.  The first half of the evening would be in the existing format and would include those children who were participating, followed by adult musicians. After the interval the revue-style performances would take place. It was suggested that an open evening be held a couple of months before the event to explore performance ideas.

There was a discussion of venue and several possibilities mooted: this would be explored nearer the time. The music evening would take place no more frequently than every 18 months. It would start and finish earlier providing more time to socialise afterwards. We would return to discussing this further in early 2011.

  1. b. VRG Money

In Anna’s absence, John provided the Treasurer’s report. The VRG financial situation was good: the bank balance was £435.12; Cash box balance £73.22; total balance £508.34.

There were no outstanding items apart from some possible expenses for the Garden party.

Transactions since 1st May:

Green balloon day: £50.88 taken in cash for refreshments, expenses £8.19, net income £42.69.

Garden party: £6.14 so far in expenses for invitation printing.

  1. c. Car-Share Scheme follow up – Jonathan

It had been thought that joining a local branch of one of the national schemes might be possible. Having looked into this in more detail it appeared to be too much work for this to be feasible. Thanks were expressed to Jonathan for looking into it. It was agreed that spare cars for informal sharing might be advertised through the website.

  1. d. Photocopier – Mary and Paul

The photocopier was remaining with Mary and Paul for now. At some future time it might be housed by Ali’s mother.

  1. e. Re-cycling champion – vacancy

The tasks of this office include:

i)                Being available to give advice to Street members

ii)              keeping the battery recycling box

iii)             signing up with the City Council

iv)            attending a Council meeting every few months.

Not onerous, but important. If you want to know more, contact Nick (jaylee@phonecoop.coop) or propose yourself, contact the VRG Chair (JohnFClarke@hotmail.com).

  1. f. The website – Paul and/or Bill

A proposal to discontinue the website and to concentrate instead on the blog was considered

It was agreed that firstly the communication requirements of the group needed to be specified. A calendar of events and a message board were agreed to be useful. To consider this further, including what web tools would best do the job, Paul volunteered to convene a subgroup and Jonathan agreed to participate. Oona reported that her husband Paul would be willing to set up the website if it was decided to continue with one, provided that someone else was willing to host it.

Anyone with views to contribute should contact Paul – paul@my-lewis.co.uk.

  1. g. Water on the pavement – Jonathan

Jonathan reported that there was a lack of clarity as to whether the City or County Council was responsible. Both had given friendly responses but no result so far.

  1. h. Solar Panels – Jonathan and Sally   

There were a number of ideas worth pursuing, and some people had come forward and were very interested in this. Jon and Sally would talk further with Sam and Nick and Paul and draw the information together.

5 Neighbourhood Watch talk from Oona and Paul.

Steve Morant of Thames Valley Police very kindly attended to give an overview of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. People were invited to sign up to receive notifications from the local contact (Oona) and information leaflets about this were distributed. Mick agreed to put up the neighbourhood watch signs on lampposts as you approached or entered the street.

Contact Oona at oona@feezey.net if you there are any specific questions you’d like answered.

6 AOB and letters received

a)    On 3rd July, we received a glossy from CAG OXFORD.

“Community Action Groups, is a network of local volunteer groups in Oxfordshire. They organise events and initiatives to raise awareness and take action on climate change issues … to live a more sustainable and less resource dependent life in their local community.”

b)    On 11th June, we received a formal notification of a planning application for a single storey extension to No. 50.

c)     On 22nd June, we received an email giving the date of Spring Clean 2011 (the next Oxclean event) as 4th and 5th March next year.

d)    Streets for people – Seven streets event: Sally had spoken to several folk who were not keen to close the streets. Other streets were working towards achieving what Victoria Road had already done.

e)    Street cleaning: Sally’s osteospermum plant had been destroyed! The Streetscene officer was going to call.

7 Thanks to Sally and Jonathan for hosting the meeting and to Betty for distributing the agenda.

8 Date of Next meeting: the next meeting would be on 21st September at Mick and Philippa’s.

Website

http://www.communigate.co.uk/oxford/victoriaroadgroup/index.phtml

Blog

https://vrgblog.wordpress.com/

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Meeting over Victoria Road Blog and Web Site

A small group met this evening to discuss the value of the Victoria Road Web site and blog. The suggestion was made that we leaflet homes on the road about the blog, with instructions on how to reach and comment on the blog. Ironic? Maybe, but it could provide a simple, easy to use guide on how to keep up to date on developments, from neighbourhood watch to garden parties. With respect to the Website, we recommend that we keep a simple, skeletal Web site on Communigate, with limited information, and a link to the blog site.

Paul Contemplating our Blog

The suggestions from the meeting:

– That all future communications, whether by email or hard copy, refer to the blog with its address or the quick ‘Google’ way in to it.
– That the website at Communigate be left in place, but that the content be reduced to simply the calendar function and a short note about VRG and a link to the blog (it costs nothing to keep it available).
– That we produce a simple leaflet with a schematic ‘idiots’ guide’ to how to use the blog and how to register for email alerts about topics of interest.  The leaflet would go to all households – whether VRG aware or not.  Where we have email addresses this could be sent as an email?

Jonathan agreed to have a go at writing this leaflet.

We had serious doubts that anyone would use a new website as the access to the old one was about 90 hits a year for ten years – mainly those were me going in to amend stuff and people retrieving minutes that can easily be sent by email.  On the other hand, if someone moves in to the road and looks for a website they’ll at least find the residual one and the link to the blog.

I would suggest that as the chair of VRG you should have ‘moderator rights’ as well as Bill and I.

Ideally we would have a system that alerted everyone registered on the blog to new posts but there doesn’t appear to be an automatic function to support this (except where they add a comment and register for updates to that thread).  We could send an email once a month with a round-up but that would be labour intensive and a bit self-defeating?

What are your views?

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Local Environment Champions: Useful Notes from March Meeting

Questions raised and answers from the meeting of 16th March 2010

What can be done to recycle things like batteries, lightbulbs and old cars?

  • Batteries: Under a new piece of legislation, shops selling batteries and electrical items now have an obligation to collect and recycle them.  Oxford City Council have now got recycling boxes for household batteries in various locations (including the Town Hall reception) provided by Valpak.  You can also recycle batteries at Redbridge and some supermarkets such as Tesco.
  • Lightbulbs –Redbridge take energy saving and fluorescent tubes – traditional light bulbs are currently not recyclable in Oxford.
  • Abandoned cars are collected and taken to a licensed Environment Agency de-polluting plant where all the hazardous chemicals are removed and the vehicle parts are re-used or recycled as far as possible.

Plastics recycling – the publications say that the Council only collect plastic bottles and no other plastics, and yet when people put other plastics out they are indeed collected – what is the right message regarding plastic recycling?  Need clear information for householders.

  • The recycling facility that we are currently have a contract with can only accept certain plastics from us at present.  This will change by October and we will be able to accept more plastics and also Tetrapaks.
  • Information to householders has always been clear and consistent that we ask for plastic bottles only.  We will always ensure that any information going out about the scheme will be as clear as possible – could use Champions to consult on our future communications from a user’s point of view.

Some people are leaving wheelie bins outside their house on the path when they actually have room elsewhere  – surely this is wrong?

  • This is not acceptable as it may obstruct the highways – please report any incidents of this so that we can address  it.

There is a lot of fly-tipping around the A42 – could there be some sort of signage around to warn against this? What can we do to prevent fly-tipping?

Fly-tipping hotspots should be reported to the Council.  If it is a persistent problem, signage and CCTV can be installed and a £2,500 fine can charged to anyone caught.

  • Oxfordshire Waste Partnership are collectively dealing with the ring-road as a shared responsibility.  Problem is that sometimes dealing with fly-tipping requires expensive road closures and we cannot deal with the central reservations and areas directly adjacent to highways.  At weekends the OWP are trying to deal with gullies, glass and litter etc. and are using members of the probation service to help.
  • Many thanks to the Oxford Civic Society for their excellent work with OxClean.

A local pub is sending all their glass to landfill – their excuse is that it is cheaper to do this than recycle – is this true?

  • Different contractors charge different prices.  Certainly with the Council’s City Works commercial waste service is it significantly cheaper to recycle than to send waste to landfill, so there is actually a financial as well as environmental incentive for recycling.
  • Legally, businesses are obliged to recycled at least 2 types of materials.

I understand that it is only Type 1, 2 and 3 plastics that currently get recycled in Oxford which covers a lot more than just bottles – do you have any figures on the rejection rates?

  • None of our loads have ever been rejected.  A very small amount of contamination is tolerated.

Quite a lot of litter gets created when the blue recycling boxes are collected and emptied by the crews. I can understand the pressures they are under to work quickly etc., but what can be done to address this problem?

  • When the new system comes in most people will have wheelie bins for recycling instead of boxes which will go long way to solving the problem.
  • Crews have regular tool-box talks where they are reminded not to leave litter in this way – if you find this is still happening them you can report it to us and we can find out which crews are responsible and talk it through with them.
  • Street cleaning is normally scheduled in for after the refuse/recycling crews have been round so should pick up most of the litter.

I have some concern over the quantity of containers that people are expected to have when they might not have room to store them – what about people in terraces for example who can’t have bins?

  • In future it will be acceptable to use sacks or boxes instead of bins if necessary.

How are you going to persuade students to get on board with the food waste recycling scheme?

  • We have a student liaison officer – Maria Warner – working hard with students to encourage them to recycle.

Regarding the food waste scheme, when the compostable liners that are provided have run out people might not bother/not be able to find further liners to use – problems might occur if people start to use plastic bags instead.  Not all supermarkets stock the compostable liners.  How can we get around this problem?

  • Liners are available at co-op, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsburys.  Additionally, Oxfordshire Waste Partnership have written to all supermarkets to inform them about the food waste scheme and request that they start stocking compostable liners.
  • It is possible to line the caddies with old newspaper  – there is a link on the website showing how to fold newspaper into a suitable liner.

Would we ever consider reducing the size of the green residual waste bins?

  • It is currently possible to downsize your 240L green wheelie bin if you don’t need/want a standard size one.  If you contact the Council we can arrange for you to have it swapped for a 180L or 140L bin instead.

Are we within the target margins regarding landfill waste?

  • Yes, we are within the target so we won’t receive any LATS penalties.

When people are committing environmental crimes such as fly-tipping, who enforces the fines?  How do we catch the people responsible?

  • Some Council enforcement officers are able to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs), as can PCSOs and Street Wardens.  More staff are currently being trained to be able to enforce.
  • Brookes University are now employing their own PCSO.

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Minutes of the VRG Meeting held on 30.03.2010

Minutes of the VRG Meeting held on 30.03.2010 at 56 Victoria Road

Present: Ali, Sam, Sue, Nick, Gordon, Betty, Paul, Mary, Philippa, Jelly, Jonathan, Da, Penny.  Apologies: Sally, Mick, Anna, Janet, Manda.

1. Matters arising:

  • Pavements: Jonathan (or Bill) will contact the council person again. The problem with water running is particularly obvious at the moment. There might now be an opportunity for Councillors and prospective Councillors to take an interest.
  • The Website: The password for contributing is “summertown99”. It continues to be generally agreed that this is a good thing to post these Minutes there. However, in view of the low level of activity, we tabled a proposal to discontinue the website and to concentrate instead on the blog. This proposal will be considered at the next meeting (27th May), and anyone with views to contribute should contact Paul (one of the Moderators), or plan to attend.
  • Open Streets: This took place as planned was brought without any specific VRG participation.
  • Spring OxClean event: Five Street members took part and said it was enjoyable and worth doing – as reported in https://vrgblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/.
  • North Oxford Low Carbon initiative: Sam reported that he is participating in meetings to set one up in North Oxford, along similar lines to other Low Carbon initiatives in W Oxford, E Oxford and Wolvercote.
  • Nick announced that he now wishes to hand over the role of “recycling champion” for the Street. The Street “recycling champion”:
  • Is available to give advice to Street members
  • Keeps the battery recycling box
  • Is signed up with the City Council
  • Is invited by the Council every few months to a meeting
  • This is now an open vacancy and anyone wishing to put themselves forward should contact Nick or the Chair (Ali). Nick will continue to keep the Box in his front garden until this is settled.

2. Musical Evening – 13th March

  • This was judged to be a great success and well received; in particular great atmosphere, high level of performances – very enjoyable; thanks were expressed by the Chair and others, to John, Mary, Paul and Mick who did all the work organising it, to the great performers and to others who helped on the night.
  • A number of “lessons were learned” that might help further improve future events, and Mary together with Paul agreed to start drawing up notes to be filed for the future. (Similar notes have been found to be very useful and a contribution to the success of other Street events.)

A particular point was that we should try to start promptly no later than 7:30, and continue to “time box” the program so that children attending or participating can stay to the end.

  • The suggestion was welcomed that we plan to hold this event again in 18 months; every year felt like a bit too much.
  • John expressed the view that although we drew on a surprisingly wide range of talent from the Street, there was still a lot of known performing skill in the Street which was not on display. Maybe we need to find an even more inclusive format that would encourage contributions from other people able to entertain. Obvious examples might be dance and drama. But there must be others! Any ideas, please get in touch with John, Mary, Mick or Paul.

3. Green Balloon Day – 1st May at No.46.   (note this has been changed from the original; 8th May)

  • Because of collisions with other events, we agreed to bring this forward to the 1st May, still holding the tea beach at number 46 (Mary and Paul).
  • Nick will ask Dick if we can have the Morris Dancers again.
  • A 1st Notice will be sent around the week of 3rd April: Paul to edit and product; Betty, Da, Jelly to distribute. This will highlight the change of date.
  • Following a discussion of “themes” for the day, it was proposed that we decorate some or all of the lamp-posts with red, white and blue paper [Ali to deal with this)
  • The volumes of things for exchange and the number of people participating seem to have been falling in recent years.

–      Individuals agreed to talk to known newcomers to the street in person about Green Balloon Day. If you were one of the ones who offered to talk to a newcomer please try and do so soon, so they can get it in their diary!

–      Children in particular value the Day, and so we should take any opportunities to make sure we address their needs: encouragement to all to put out toys, etc.; thought about activities for them.

–      Recognising the value of the Day for newcomers, should we have specific activities for them? It was agreed that the Notices should highlight the Day as a “chance to meet the neighbours”.

  • Ali will organise a Pet Show.
  • A 2nd Notice will be send around the 24th April.  Paul will design and produce, Ali will add green balloons, Betty, Da, Jelly will distribute.
  • Logistics on the day:

–      Mary will do shopping

–      Nick, Sue and Mary will set up at #46

–      The tea rota will be:
10:30         Nick, Sue
11:00         Penny, Jenny
11:30         Jonathan, Sam
12:00         Betty, Ali

–      John and Jonathan will clear away.

4. Money

Treasurer Anna reported that the Musical Evening collection was £20, and the net cost £133, which leaves a balance of £471.

There are currently no proposals to spend this money on anything in particular. Suggestions should be passed to the Chair (Ali).

5. Repainting of Street signs

Gordon pointed out that the Council have repainted some of the signs, and that the work is satisfactory. It was agreed that we should wait and see if they attend to the remaining signs before we do anything further ourselves.

6. VRG Chairperson

Ali again asked people to think about a change of Chairperson; she would like to step down before the summer break in VRG activity, and points out that it is good for the Group to have a regular change of Chair.

This is an open vacancy and anyone wishing to offer themselves should get in touch with Ali. The duties are light; there is considerable experience among VRG members in running events; previous Chairs have found it an excellent way of getting to know the Street and residents. Meanwhile Ali will continue as Acting Chair, but she asks everyone PLEASE to think seriously about who can take over.

7. Garden Party

Da has volunteered the use of her garden (number 80), with Jelly’s as backup. She will confirm the 11th July as the date.

8. Any Other Business

  1. The Chair expressed thanks to Betty for her outstanding and essential work in distributing Notices up and down the Street.
  2. It was agreed that Nick should write to Catriona’s mother on behalf of the Street say that she is fondly remembered.
  3. Betty reported what looks like fire damage to the Street notice-board. Gordon will look at it and report to the next meeting with a recommendation.
  4. Paul and Jonathan both spoke on the proposal for a car-sharing scheme in the Street. Jonathan will investigate and consider the possibility of participating in existing commercial schemes, in particular “StreetCar”.
  5. We considered whether the new houses facing the Street in Water Eaton Lane should be added to the distribution. The balance of view appeared to be generally favourable.  Distributors please keep this in mind when distributing GBD leaflets.
  6. Paul said that Gresham Books were disposing of a large, high-speed photocopier, and wanted to see it go to a good home where it would be available to Street members. Anyone who has room for this machine with a mains supply should contact Paul.

Next Meeting: 27th May, at number 80 (Da’s), 8.00pm.

Many thanks to Sam and Ali for hosting this meeting.

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