Minutes of HFRA General Meeting - Thursday 30th May 2002

RA Delegates Present: Maureen Towerzey - The Sandlings RA, N22; Bridget Cudd, Vivienne Cuming and Simon Fedida - Avenue Gardens RA, N22; Dave Morris - Tower Gardens Residents Network, N17; Paul Burnham and Roummie Chernaev - ‘Partridge Way TRA’, N22 (in formation) Others present: Kishore Johri (Beaconsfield Rd, N15 - interested in setting up RA); Mario Petrou (individual) Apologies: Tim Wilmott - Bruce Grove South RA, N17 (in formation); Frank Forni - Northumberland Park Independent RA, N17; Mike Towerzey, HFRA Chair - The Sandlings RA, N22; Steve Cook and Anne - Woodstock Road Association, N4; John Hajdu - Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association, N2; Andy Newman - Gardens RA, N4; Marie - Black Boy Lane RA, N15; Brenda Babalola - Grovelands, Lemsford and Leabank RA, N15; Marlene Dyche-Allison - Portland Place, N15 (RA details unknown)

Chair: Maureen Towerzey Minutes: Dave Morris

1. Minutes of AGM, and HFRA Constitution Agreed to be accurate, as mailed out to all contacts.

2. Local reports given or received (in brief)
Avenue Gardens RA, N22 60 attended their AGM, which included election ‘hustings’ question-time with local Party representatives. Discussed plans for coming year, including response to council’s proposed ‘Unitary Development Plan’. They are currently monitoring parking permits usage and protesting against the effect on elderly people and the disabled of official limits to visitor passes.
Partridge Rd TRA’, N22 Have had 3 meetings to set up a local RA, now planning to cover 2 tower blocks and some houses. (200 homes). Have drafted a new leaflet. Concerns over road maintenance, future of council housing, and anti-social behaviour.
Sandlings RA, N22 Have a new leaflet outlining the activities in their resident-run community centre (The Sandbunker), and a new Newsletter. Are in the final stages of negotiations over an ‘Estate Agreement’ with those servicing the estate (repairs, rubbish collection etc). Plan a Jubilee party.
Tower Gardens RN, N17 70 residents attended a highly successful AGM. Setting up a new Street Reps communications system. Activities include campaign for youth club, street maintenance and rubbish, traffic calming, environmental improvements to streets and local parks, setting up a skills sharing scheme, and organising their second residents’ arts and creativity exhibition.
Northumberland Pk RA, N17 Involved with Jubilee street party. Holding weekly ‘drop-ins’ for residents.
Gardens RA, N4 Issues regarding traffic calming, street cleaning, and launch of their very own Community Garden.
Bruce Grove South RA, N15 Have drafted a leaflet for their launch meeting.
Black Boy Lane RA, N15 Campaigning for traffic calming, and concerned with regeneration issues and rubbish collection.
Muswell Hill and Fortis Green RA In existence for 20 years. 600 members. Large range of concerns, including local environmental improvements.
West Green RA, N15 Their spring 2002 Newsletter describes how they are continuing to oppose over-development, and improve street cleaning and maintenance. They are formulating a traffic ‘action plan’, and discussing local health services.
Bowes Park CA 280 members. Working on improving the local street environment (planting their own trees, organising clean-ups, traffic issues etc) and campaigning for community space in local railway station.

3. Council Housing
The council is pressing ahead, seemingly against the wishes of tenants, with plans to set up an ‘arms length company’ to manage Haringey’s 20,000 council homes. But Paul reported that there have been recent tenant victories against privatisation which have forced the government to reconsider its policies to deny councils the right to borrow capital for improvements to stock, and to force them to sell-off council housing to Housing Associations. It was said that such policies have led to a huge increase in those forced to live in temporary accommodation in Haringey and throughout London and the UK. We agreed to discuss this matter in more detail at our next meeting, and to circulate material from the Defend Council Housing campaign. Action - next meeting

4. Democracy
With the meeting’s permission, Mario Petru gave a brief presentation about ideas for improving involvement and democracy within RAs, the Federation and the Council’s neighbourhood assemblies.

5. The Council’s proposed ‘Unitary Development Plan’
The Council is reviewing its planning and development policies affecting all communities around Haringey over the next 10-15 years, and has embarked on a long consultation exercise. All RAs are recommended to get the relevant documents from local libraries or from LBH ‘Policies and Projects Group’, 639 High Rd, N17 - 020 88489 5223.

6. Public consultation procedures
A firm of public management consultants (OPM) has been hired at enormous cost to ‘develop new ways of providing collective support and representation for voluntary and community organisations’. They want to set up a new ‘umbrella body’. Despite substantial reservations we decided to send 2 delegates to their 14th June meeting, to report back to the next Federation meeting. Action - DM/SF

7. Deputation to the Deputy Mayor of London
The deputy mayor of London, Nicky Gavron (who lives in Haringey) contacted us via an aide to tell us that she ‘wants to have a constructive relationship with the Federation, and to help in any way she can.’ We agreed to try and arrange for a delegation to go and see her after our next general meeting. Action - next meeting

8. Federation matters:
a. Publicity It was agreed that we try to publicise the Federation widely - to residents generally (in libraries, other venues, at public events etc), and in the media. Dave Morris was elected as HFRA media spokesperson. Dave will distribute Federation leaflets at the Tottenham Festival in Bruce Castle Park, N17 on Sunday 22nd June. Delegates present took leaflets to distribute. Action - DM
b. Finances and Fundraising The HFRA has clearly fulfilled the Council’s obligation (as set out in their Tenants Charter) to support the setting up of a Federation. A member of the Council’s Residents Participation Team (RPT) from its housing department has attended every meeting and we have been sending them invoices for the HFRA mailouts over the last year. We had been denied any Council funding or practical support pending the adoption of a Constitution and elections. This has now been successfully done. The Council have now responded by saying that the RPT will not be honouring the outstanding invoices or providing any funds to the HFRA in future. The housing dept is ‘re-examining its funding and consultation policies, and the Federation doesn’t just deal with housing issues so we can’t support it’.
We are therefore about 300 pounds in debt. We have recently received much-appreciated interim support from Voluntary Action Haringey for recent mailings, but need to pay off the debts and raise our own substantial funds for the future. Dave Morris and Simon Fedida will look into possible sources of future funds. We agreed to appeal to all RAs to send us an annual donation/affiliation: 10 pounds from funded associations, 5 pounds from unfunded associations. As agreed at the AGM, contributions are voluntary and non-contribution will not affect groups’ attendance and voting rights. Action - all RAs, DM and SF