The St Leonards Neighbourhood Association Annual General Meeting
Our meeting this year was on the 21st May and around 35 residents attended.
Nigel FitzHugh gave us an account of the last year in St. Leonards.
Nina Morgan MBE died at 95 in February this year. She contributed much to the community and was on our committee and acted as Road Safety Officer for many years. Nigel still attends the Secanim Animal waste processing liaison meetings and the Energy Recovery facility meetings as a community representative. He can arrange visits to the latter if residents are interested. The ERADE site (Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education) demolition and redevelopment will start in about 6 months time. Nothing has yet happened to the Church Hall in Roberts Road which was bought in the hope of redevelopment. The Dissenters’ Graveyard continues to open monthly. The wall of the Jewish Cemetery which joins Bull Meadow Park has been repaired. The Salmon Pool Lane Playground is to go forward. The SLNA website is updated at least weekly by Nigel. (slna.org.uk) with information about recent and upcoming events.
The proposed almshouse development in Fairpark Road has had its planning application delayed due to the strong opposition to taking a slice of Bull Meadow Park as a parking and turning space. Nigel hopes they will take on board an alternative plan of parking spaces on Fairpark Road. The last Generation Linking Event has been cancelled as there were not enough older people interested. One event was held last year for the Royal Wedding and another before Christmas, these were both successful. Ideally we would like a list of people who would like to attend these events so if you know anyone who might be interested you can contact the SLNA
The next Christmas Fair is to be held 7.12.19, there will be 50 stalls, (there have been 106 asking to run stalls). The last Neighbourhood News advertised a party in the park which is now not happening and in place of this there will be a Wellness and Fun Festival in Magdalen Road at the same time as ‘Exeter City Futures’ runs a road closure on Sunday the 7th of July. Niall Macleod gave us some details that there will be music, arts, crafts, tai chi, the cafés will have tables on the pavements. It will end with a long table meal where you can book a table for 6 for £10 and bring your own supper. There will also be advice sessions on dealing with stress symptoms and insomnia. The ERADE playing field at Mount Radford Lawn is possibly, depending on planning permission, to be developed by Burrington Estates to have 8 houses and a small area of grass for the community owned by a management company. Many people turned up at the Consultation. Nigel has put a vision document on the website for a plan of a single storey low impact community building and 5 a side football and other sports. The area has been used by the Maynard School and Isca School of English for sports. Other support for it remaining an open space are the St Leonards Primary school which would find it of enormous value (school head) and the Sport England rules that you can’t build on a playing field unless it is surplus to requirements. 300 people have so far filled in the online survey. Several residents have offered to donate money. Gordon Read asked about the charitable aims of ERADE but as Nigel said that these are the education of the hearing and speech impaired and they want to maximise the funds from the sale. Another audience member asked if Mount Radford Lawn could be listed as a community asset but apparently it has to have been regularly used by ‘ the community’. The local councillors who were both present, Matthew Vizard and Richard Branson, have been helpful with the approach to the council. A patch of land in Topsham (Goat Walk) was bought by local people and maybe this is possible for Mount Radford Lawn. An anonymous source however postulated the value of the land would be £150,000 without planning permission and £1.5 to £2 million. A tax specialist in the audience, Jane Evans pointed out the advantages of it being a charity allowing donations to receive 45% tax relief. Another possibility is of the community buying it as a community interest company. Niall MacLeod suggested that we form a sub-committee to organise the strategy for protecting Mount Radford Lawn from development.
Jane Leavers our local Community Builder gave an update of her work fostering new community activities.. She has helped coordinate residents to have a lunch on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at Buckerell Lodge. Wellingtonia Park residents now have a book club. The residents at Good Shepherd Drive are going to have coffee mornings and would be interested if anyone knows someone to give an occasional talk at these. A knitting and crochet group meets weekly in Newtown. Faraday House has quiz afternoons for older people and wants to build up a board games library (if you have board games you don’t need they are interested in donations). Eaton House is going to have an accoustic band evening. The neighbours in Codrington Street have collaborated to plant up window boxes. Clifton Cottages residents have worked to reduce antisocial behaviour in alleyways by putting in a communal compost heap and barbecue area making it more useful.
Nigel announced that Catherine Adcock who is Vice Chairman and John Adcock our Treasurer are standing down after a great many years. Catherine was part of the Neighbourhood Association at the beginning when it formed from a pressure group to stop Western Way being routed right through Bull Meadow Park. Luckily Craig Walker has stepped up to take the role of Treasurer. Catherine and John were thanked and applauded. The rest of the committee were voted in nem con. They include Nigel FitzHugh Chairman, Craig Walker Treasurer, Mike Wozniak, Brigid Shiel, Norman Shiel, Kate Stych, Dave Parsons, Cathy Moran and Susan Melzer (secretary).
Other issues raised in our meeting were the lack of places for people wanting to park in Salmon Pool Lane and use the riverside area for walks. Lack of parking is also a big problem for people visiting doctors in the Barnfield Road area where apparently around 40 parking spaces have been removed. Devon County Council has responsibility for this and it was suggested that our Devon County Councillor Carol Whitton might be the best person to contact about this.