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Dukinfield East Residents Association (DERA) Minutes of Meeting, 13th July 2011

The inaugural meeting of Dukinfield East Resident Association (DERA) was held on the evening of Wednesday 13th July at Astley Sports College, Yew Tree Lane, Dukinfield. The opening address by the interim Chairman, Mr John Heywood, introduced the founder members and committee; Steve Fisher, John Bevan and Chris Wall all residents on the Chester Avenue estate and Co-ordinators for the local Homewatch scheme. In addition to local residents, the following invited guests were in attendance: Dorothy Cartwright Councillor Eileen Shorrock Councillor John Mayes Deputy Headmaster Astley College Jane Harrison Business Manager Astley College Sally Barlow New Charter Ben Buckley New Charter Barry Sheridan New Charter Mike Wardle PCSO, GMP Mr, Heywood explained how the Homewatch scheme, introduced about two years ago, had been successful in reducing anti-social behaviour and low-level crime in the area. It was this success that had prompted the co-ordinators, with help and support from local councillor Dorothy Cartwright, to form a Resident Association with the objectives of: providing a democratic voice representing residents in dealing with the various agencies that affect their neighbourhood, such as the Tameside Council, New Charter, Astley Sports College and local businesses; regenerating neglected lands and calling for new recreational facilities in the area; improving community relations and generally improving life in the community.
This was not a new idea. There had been previous attempts to bring people together for similar reasons that have withered on the vine. So, why was DERA different? DERA membership is open to all residents in the neighbourhood whether they are New Charter Tenants, Owner Occupiers or tenant of private landlords. The only qualification is that they live in the area. The Association is set up and run by its members for the sole benefit of the membership, though outside agencies will of necessity become involved in its affairs and will be welcome to attend and participate in meetings, by invitation. During the meeting it was agreed that DERA would meet quarterly, the existing committee would be retained for the first 12 months after which elections would be held, and Councillor Cartwright was appointed President of the Association. Moving on to new business, the reinstatement of a play area for young children which had been lost during the housing development at the top of Yew Tree Lane was raised. It was suggested that a grassed area at the west side of Chester Avenue, known locally as The Circle might be suitable. Committee member Steve Fisher is to establish who owns the land

and pursue this issue. (Note that, since the meeting, Councillor Dorothy Cartwright has offered her assistance with this project). Concerning older children and teenagers, Jane Harrison was keen to make local people more aware of the facilities that were available at the sports college and informed the meeting that it was a key policy of the college to become more involved with the community. John Heywood will follow this up and disseminate information by various means. Chris Blenkinsop, from the bakers shop was concerned about the growing problem of litter outside his and other shop premises which he had, unsuccessfully, tried to resolve by approaching both New Charter and TMBC. Councillor Shorrock and Ben Buckley gave a commitment to address the matter. A resident of Chester Avenue was experiencing severe problems the behaviour of a children and a dog that was continually barking throughout the day. The member was introduced to the PCSO for our neighbourhood and Homewatch promised to try to help. There followed some discussion with the representatives from New Charter, as a major landlord in the neighbourhood, in an attempt to gain better appreciation of problems created by antisocial tenants and various other concerns. To promote mutual understanding of the subject, members of the DERA committee will be invited to participate in future walk about tours of the area and will discuss various issues that may be revealed. The chairman summed up by declaring that the foundations of the association had been laid but that there was much work to be done. He said that, with effort and commitment from all the members they would begin to reap rewards and see tangible benefits in the near future. The next meeting is to be held on 5th October at Astley Sports College, at 7:00pm

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