2021 ONA AGM: Thursday 13 May
Sat - April 17, 2021
Because of continuing concerns about indoor gatherings, the 2021 ONA Annual General Meeting will once again take place via Zoom. A link to the Zoom meeting will be emailed to members several times and the day before the meeting, which will take place Thursday 13 May at 6:30 pm. Please come a few minutes early and keep yourselves on mute. Please use the chat box for questions and comments. For the link, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes from the ONA Annual General Meeting on 18 November 2020
Secretary Laura Mosedale opened the meeting at 6 pm via Zoom and welcomed attendees. About thirty members of ONA were able to join. Previous to the meeting, 2019 AGM notes and Treasurer’s Reports for 2019 and for 2020 up to November 2020 were circulated via email and (where no email addresses were available) by postal mail.
The 2019 ONA AGM notes were approved.
Treasurer Susanna Trostdorf reviewed the accounts for 2019 and for 2020 up until 11 November. In 2019, ONA saw a net positive income of about £1,900, even after increased costs for the AGM, the expenses of the first Christmas/Holiday drinks and the costs for the South Kensington Post Office campaign. Total reserves went to £52,139 up from £50,000 the previous year.
Currently, about 330 households make up the paid membership of ONA.
She then noted the expenses ONA has incurred for the first phase of the campaign against the TfL/Native Land proposals to develop the area around South Kensington Station. To date, ONA has paid £12,500 of the £37,000 that was equally shared with the Pelham Residents Association (PRA) and the Thurloe Owners and Leaseholders Association (TOLA). This amount covered reports from four consultants on planning, heritage, transport and waste, as well as developing accurate images of the proposed Around Station Development (ASD). She thanked Michael Bach of the Kensington Society for the fact that accurate imaging must be provided for the application. The reports are public and were an integral part of the objection jointly filed by the three associations on September 4; they can be downloaded from the RBKC planning website. She observed that there will be further costs related to this campaign, but felt ONA was in a good position to meet potential future funding needs.
The 2019 and 2020 accounts were approved.
Chairman Charles Lawton proposed a vote to confirm re-election of the current committee members. There were no objections. He encouraged all attendees to put themselves forward if they are interested in joining the committee.
He then gave the Chairman’s Report, a fuller version of which is available on the ona.org.uk. In brief:
He noted that despite the year’s challenging pandemic conditions, ONA was still able to host an outdoor concert in Onslow Square on July 9, organised by Toby Brown, and residents and members were able to enjoy some wonderful singing.
He summarized of the issues ONA engaged in over the past twelve months.
Around Station Development: He noted that TfL and its commercial partner Native Land submitted a planning application in June to develop the area around the South Kensington Station, which is completely separate from the already-approved (but now on hold) plan to upgrade the station itself. In short, the ASD proposals, which include a four-story building atop the bullnose, the demolition of much of Thurloe Street which backs onto the station and a canyon-like development on Pelham Street, would forever change the look and feel of the area. The Resident Associations are united in opposing these changes, which are incompatible with the 2016 Development Brief TfL created in consultation with the RAs over two years.
ONA has worked tirelessly with fellow RAs, our Courtfield Ward councillors and our MP to oppose the current application. Our members were among the 1,400 residents who objected to the plan via the RBKC website. Most recently our councillors told us that ‘the applicant is still considering changes’ and we can only hope that TfL/Native Land will revert to a scheme closer to the 2016 Brief.
The Chairman thanked everyone who filed an objection, and noted that of all the responses, almost ninety percent were objections.
Streetscape Review of Thurloe Street: ONA learned that a Streetscape Advisory Group had met with the Council to discuss a plan to de-clutter the street that was based on the still unapproved ASD application. ONA and other RAs questioned this approach and as a consequence the Council put the discussion on hold.
Wellcome Trust Redevelopment of 40 and 63-81 Pelham Street. ONA broadly approves of Wellcome’s plans to redevelop 40 Pelham Street, but has objected to the height and mass, and potential loss of privacy for neighbours on South Terrace, of the building proposed to replace the existing structure on 63-81 Pelham Street. ONA continues to consult with the Wellcome Trust. We were sorry that Wellcome’s Jamie Trevedi-Bateman has left and hope they will find a replacement with the same positive approach.
Kensington Forum/Holiday Inn Hotel: ONA has continued to register its objection to replace this huge unsightly building with one even taller and more massive. ONA and 21 other RAs, together with the Council, the Ward Councillors and our MP, are lobbying the Secretary of State to call in the case for a review by a government-appointed inspector. The Chairman noted that the petition to the Secretary of State had just 540 signatures and encouraged all members to sign and share the petition so we reach over 1,000.
Estate Agents Board: ONA has supported RBKC in its application to extend the ban on these boards. The ban was imposed ten years ago and is due for renewal. We have argued that apart from being eyesores, the boards have been effectively made unnecessary by on-line real estate websites.
Extended Parking Controlled Hours: The Council carried out a long-awaited plan to extend parking controls on weekends in the Onslow Square/Cranley Gardens area. However, the Council did not make clear that their plan would also remove a number of residents’ bays, greatly inconveniencing residents, and replace them with pay-and-display bays. After representations by ONA, the Council was able to extend some of the residents’ bays.
Pigeons on the SKS forecourt: ONA has raised the issue of pigeon feeding on the station forecourt, which has created a growing unsanitary mess. The Council has taken to washing down the pavement, but we are pressing the Council to follow Westminster in passing a byelaw making it an offence to feed the pigeons.
V&A Telephone boxes: ONA and other RAs, as well as the museum, are objecting to a planning application to turn these boxes into coffee vending kiosks. (The application has since been withdrawn.)
Other issues: ONA members have continued to deal with the usual objections to ultra-late licensing hours, late night usage of outdoor tables and chairs, and the like.
The Chairman noted that the three ONA committee members have done their best to represent members’ interests over the last year and are willing to serve another, but would very much welcome some help. If you have any spare time, please consider our urgent need for support.
Finally, the Chairman noted that ONA’s founder and Trustee Emeritus, Bill Taylor, died earlier in the year, age 103. Bill was a familiar sight for many years, latterly bent nearly double but always immaculately dressed, with a beautifully rolled umbrella in hand. His foresight in starting ONA had made a huge contribution in helping our area retain its special character and appeal.
The issue of if and when the Royal Brompton Hospital was going to move south of the Thames, and whether the site would still be retained for some sort of medical facility, was raised. Plans are still not definite.
The Christies South Kensington site remains empty, though there have been rumours it could become a motorcycle showroom.
A member queried whether post Covid there will still be demand for office space in our area and if the Native Land developers were taking note of changed conditions. Susanna Trostdorf noted that she was sceptical that the Native Land developers would substantially review their plans.
The Chairman thanked attendees, and the meeting was adjoined at 7 pm.