It didn’t take long after the last litter-pick for a lot more to appear. HCERA was planning one in April, but this cannot now go ahead. So why not, on your one permitted daily exercise walk, pick up some litter and deposit it in your wheelie bin when you get home?

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by Peter Martin

I have been clearing out the house a bit! I wondered if you would be too, and when the summer comes, we might have a table top sale on one of the greens in Ethelburt Avenue on a Saturday morning. We could ask for a small fee of say £4 to raise money for the Basics Bank, and then enjoy the community activity, re-use and re-purpose our unwanted goods to help the environment. You might make a bit of money too! All this would depend on the present COVID-19 Government regulations changing, of course. If you think this might have lift-off please contact me on or send me a message on our Facebook page.

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by Ray George

On the occasion of John Dixon retirement as coordinator of the road repair teams after 16 years, new residents may be interested in how we got here.

When the estate was built, the usual practice, quite different from today, was for the developer not to make up the roads. This applied to Ethelburt Avenue and Leaside Way. It was expected that the Local Authority would soon make up the roads and recover the cost from the frontagers. The Council prepared schemes for Ethelburt Avenue but none was agreed. The war came along and stopped this programme. Leaside Way did get made up in 1955. Ethelburt Avenue was placed on the priority list in 1963. The reorganisation of local government in 1973 meant that highways became a responsibility of Hampshire County Council. Eventually, Ethelburt Avenue moved from being a priority to make up, to a quaint anachronism.

As soon as HCERA was formed, it had to confront what to do about the terrible state of Ethelburt Avenue and established an Ethelbert Avenue Repair Fund Sub-Committee. A questionnaire dated 1st March 1995 established that there was very little support for the road to be tarmacked. One famous voice of dissent was the artist Peter Foukes who wanted the road made up to adoptable standards. A meeting at the Bassett Green Community Centre, Leaside Way [beside the Stoneham Arms, (The Co-op) but now demolished] on 26 July 1995 overwhelmingly supported a proposal for a company to scarify, break up large stones, mix with limestone scalpings as needed, then put a layer of path gravel on top and compact. They would also lay a strip of tarmac at each end. A pledge of £300 was sought from each house, which soon exceeded the target. A separate bank account HCERA No. 2 was opened to receive the money and when the amount needed was received, HCERA contracted for the work, which commenced in October 1995. Two residents, John Scoates and Maurice Drake used a metal detector to discover the gratings of buried rainwater gullies, not seen for many years, which needed to be dug out. And then it rained on the new surface.

[To be continued]

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by John Green, Director

We believe that there may be new residents who are unaware of the history of Herbert Collins Estates Limited, and that people may have missed the last two HCERA AGM presentations on progress. Since the company was formed in October 2017, there have been regular updates in the HCERA newsletters. These are all published on the HCERA website where you can find all previous editions, and there is also a link to the company’s web pages and to the Companies House website. This website is where the Articles of Association are published. Herbert Collins Estates Limited adopted the model articles of a company limited by guarantee, but there are additional and amended provisions at the end (pages 36 to 39) specific to the company. The Companies House website also gives details of Director appointments.

New residents should get a letter of introduction to the company in their HCERA Welcome Pack and a letter of explanation was sent to all residents when the sale had been completed.
Some people have asked why we have not asked all residents for a contribution to the legal costs of acquiring the freeholds of the properties with long leases, rather than just those who pledged money at the start of the process. If we had been paying the full amount (before Julie Ozwell’s generous gift) and asking for the original sum of up to £200 each, and were facing a significant shortfall, we may well have widened the appeal for money. As it is, we calculated that £35 from each of those making the original pledge should cover our costs, and allowed for those who had moved.

The current task for the company is to raise invoices for the ground rents that are now due. This is in hand, and invoices are about to be sent to leaseholders. To give you an idea of what we have taken on, the Ethelburt Avenue (Bassett Green Estate) Conservation Area consists of 223 properties. The company owns the freehold of 118 of these and the private roads, greens and tennis courts within the Conservation Area. We are also responsible for 18 Herbert Collins designed properties in Thornhill.

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by Peter Martin

Thank you for your extremely generous response to the appeal for food for the food bank over the Christmas period. The response from you all was very heart warming. In the end, I took three separate loads to the food bank in Burgess Road which were all gratefully received. My thanks to everybody for making a very practical difference.

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We will be holding our Open Gardens Day this year as it is an even numbered year. We have not yet selected a date, so now is an opportunity to help us choose by telling us when you expect your garden will be looking its best.

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by Ray George

The North Southampton Community Forum held its AGM on 13th November. The meeting was rather unbalanced by the time taken up with the Southampton Common Forum, since the Forum had its own AGM two weeks later which is dealt with separately in this Newsletter.

Police Community Support Officer Hayley Morrison, one of now only five for the Portswood Neighbourhood, said they had a Facebook page, SouthamptonCops. There was some good news that the large number of burglaries by smashing windows had now stopped because someone had been caught. In fact, they were not getting many burglaries at the moment. Portswood Police Station is open again Tuesday to Saturday.

Helen Owens who is involved with the Council’s Community Engagement and Consultation said that the first consultation on the main component of the development plan “Southampton City Vision” will start early this year. The National Planning Policy Framework, which was revised in 2019, requires a much bigger role for views of the community. When adopted, it will provide the City’s development plan for up to 2040. To meet its housing requirements of 1000 new homes per year, Southampton, with limited space, will have to build upwards.

A favourite theme of the Forum is Houses in Multiple Occupation and Stephen Harrison, Senior Manager, Planning and Enforcement, addressed this topic. Under an Article 4 Direction in Southampton, HMOs require planning permission for change of use and also licencing. These are separate and houses can be licenced without having the required planning permission.

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by Sue Kench, HCERA Treasurer

The Association’s financial year ends on 31st August. This is so that the accounts can be finalised and audited by the time of the AGM which usually takes place in October. We are going to try to get in all the subscriptions before the end of our financial year by starting the collection earlier. So please anticipate an early request for payment starting in April.