Mrs Benning took the chair: all committee members were present with a further 16 society members in attendance.
Minutes of the previous annual general meeting were confirmed and signed, proposed by Mr E Gaten and seconded by Mrs J Goodwin.
There were no matters arising from the previous minutes.
The chairman commenced her report by informing the meeting that last year had been very busy with an exceptional amount of empty properties. In total eleven had become vacant; these had now been re-let with the exception of one.
The time viewing these properties had lost the estate money; shareholders were not obliged to view a property if they are not in a position to accept one. By not viewing, it would save time and the secretary could then offer the property to the next person on the list.
We are coming to a situation where there may not be as many properties becoming available as in the previous years, although we can never be sure. If this is the case it will enable us to rebuild the funds in the bank.
No lead water pipe replacements were carried out last year, as there were no funds available, but this will go ahead this year. The painting programme will be assessed in the summer.
Mrs Benning said that she would like to thank Mr Parr, Mr Richardson and Mr Pawson who along with herself, attended and gave evidence to the adjudicator in April 2009, regarding the land dispute at the rear of Lilac Avenue. Although the adjudicator did not award Anchor Tenants Adverse Possession, this matter is not yet closed.
Lastly, Mick Woods has now retired after twenty five years service; he was overwhelmed with the card that everyone had signed and the gift of £250.00. Mick was very surprised when arriving to work on his last day to see the balloons and bunting that had been put up at the estate office to mark his retirement. This concluded the chairman’s report.
The result was as follows:
• Mr M Carter 130
• Mrs J Benning 396
• Mr Ridgway 347
As there were two positions to fill, Mrs Benning and Mr Ridgway were elected to the committee.
Mrs Benning thanked everyone who had voted, and Mr E Gaten and Mrs P Smith for acting as scrutineers.
Mr Mee began his report by saying that is had been a very expensive year for the estate, with a deficit of £20,500, this included professional fee’s totally £12,500 due to the legal action regarding the disputed land at the rear of Lilac Avenue. After taking this into account there was a deficit of £8,000 this was ordinary expenses over income.
The rent income is considerably more than twelve months ago. The £1.75 per week increase generated approximately £13,000; this shows what a moderately small rent increase can mean to the society in terms of revenue. Along with the properties that have been upgraded this brought in extra rent. The interest rate fell far more than estimated, earning less that anticipated.
As far as spending is concerned, the retirement of one man working part time was replaced by one fulltime, plus the annual pay rise increased the cost of wages. Some of the expenses previously in repairs for subcontracting will be reduced, as these will now been done in house.
There was more expense on the estate than the previous year, due to empty houses, the number of houses becoming empty can not be anticipated, so it is very hard to budget for building work, skip hire etc. But this work needs to be carried out so that the properties can be re-let and generate the extra rental charged.
Taking everything into account this means that the estate spent £20,500 more than they took in income. Hopefully the estate will be in a position to put funds back into the bank, as the newly refurbished houses will generate funds for years to come.
Mr Mee finished by saying that at the end of the day the society was still in a healthy position.
Mrs I Gaten proposed that the accounts were accepted as a true record, seconded by Mr M Osborne.
Mrs J Goodwin proposed the re-election of Nixon Mee Limited as auditors for the coming year; this was seconded by Mrs J Ryan.
Mrs Benning said that as no one had submitted any names, the committee would appoint the Arbitrators for the coming year.
Remuneration of Committee
Mrs I Gaten proposed that the committee fee stay at £2.00 per meeting; this was seconded by Mrs P Smith.
Before opening general business, Mrs Benning said that the committee would like to remind tenants, that before having work carried out in their properties, they must seek written permission. If this entails plumbing or electrical work, this must be carried out by a registered/approved contractor.
Would people with wood burners installed at their properties please remember that they need to have their chimney swept regularly. Going on from this, the estate has to have trees taken down when necessary, anyone interested in using the wood for their stoves should contact the secretary.
A letter has been received regarding the state of the grass verges where people have parked. The committee appreciates that not everyone has parking spaces, but they ask that people try not to park on the verges.
The secretary is in regular contact with the parks and recreation department and has succeeded in getting new trees planted at the top of Lilac Avenue, and others pruned and maintained, to try and better the estate, as we do like it to look nice.
Mrs L Osborne said that the problem with the grass verges will be worse when the buses start coming down Fern Rise, Laburnum Road and Lilac Avenue.
Mrs J Goodwin said that buses will not be able to get down Fern Rise with the amount of cars parked.
Mr Gee asked what the feeling was regarding buses; the majority of shareholders present did not want a bus route.
Mrs Benning said that if people feel strongly about it they could write to the bus company. Mr C Smith said that a timetable had already been produced.
Miss L Johnson brought up the age of letting properties, she went on to say that some people younger than twenty five could afford to take a property, and because of problems that occurred with two people, this had spoilt it for all the others.
Mrs Benning went on to explain the reasons why the age for eligibility had been changed. It had been found that at the age of twenty one, they could not financially afford the upkeep of these houses, as they are big properties for a single person to manage, and at twenty one they would probably not be on the salary needed for the upkeep of these properties. And also not mature enough for the responsibilities that taking on a property entails. Mrs Benning went on to say that if they age limit was reduced to twenty three; there is a glut of people on the housing list at the age of twenty three up to twenty five, so the twenty one year olds would not be in line to be offered a property anyway.
Mr M Potterton suggested that if twenty one year olds were married they could be eligible. Mrs Benning said that they could not discriminate between married and single people.
Ms E Osborne suggested bringing the age down to twenty three, and use a vetting procedure. Further discussions then took place amongst the shareholders regarding who should be offered properties, and whether age should be the issue. Mrs Benning went on to ask the shareholders that if they had any suggestions, the committee would be only too pleased to listen to them.
Mr Pawson said that by having a vetting system the committee would be picking and choosing tenants. With the system that we have at the moment, we go down the list, people accept a house or they do not, if they accept then checks are carried out.
A show of hands was then asked for, as to whether shareholders thought that the age to be eligible for a house should be twenty three. Mrs Benning counted 8 in favour with 7 against, one member declined to view an opinion.
Mrs Benning said that the committee had thought long and hard regarding the age that people are offered houses, and agreed that taking everything into consideration, twenty five is the best option.
Mr M Potterton brought up the question of parking on grass verges and asked if the estate could do anything regarding the contractor’s vehicles that are parked on the verges on Keyham Lane, where the new houses are being built.
Mr Gee pointed out that the grass verges are owned by the council, it was suggested that they should be approached regarding this problem. Mrs Bradshaw said that tenants could attend the council area meetings, to bring this up.
This concluded the business of the meeting and Mrs Benning thanked members for their attendance before declaring the meeting closed at 7.55pm.