In the late 1980’s this neighbourhood of Victorian middle class houses was under threat from insensitive development. Of particular worry then, as now, was the demolition and alteration of buildings with excessive ungainly extensions and the destruction of front gardens to create parking space. In 1988 under pressure from the existing individual street associations, and in recognition of the homogeneity of the area’s buildings with their varied, often richly ornamented architecture and large mature gardens, Camden Council finally designated it the Swiss Cottage Conservation Area. In 1989 CRASH – the Combined Residents' Associations of South Hampstead - was formed, bringing together the existing street associations into a more inclusive and representative umbrella group for residents of what has now been renamed the South Hampstead Conservation Area.
Our constitutional aim is “to monitor all matters affecting the South Hampstead Conservation Area and act to protect and enhance the area in all aspects for the benefit of the residents.” We keep an eye on local development and alert Council to breaches of planning applications, lobby Council for improved council services (e.g. street cleaning, lighting and pavement repairs) and care for the environment, local trees and greenery and public transport. Regular committee meetings are held (which members may attend by arrangement) as well as other occasional talks and social events. All members are encouraged to help and communicate with the committee and are welcome to stand for election at the AGM, which is held in June each year
CRASH’s primary intention is to ensure the adoption of sensible policies and reasonable and effective controls to protect and enhance the ambience and advantages of this interesting and attractive area of London for the benefit of future generations.
Combined Residents’ Associations of South Hampstead
1. The Association shall be known as The Combined Residents’ Associations of South Hampstead (CRASH)
2. The aim of CRASH is to monitor all matters affecting the Swiss Cottage Conservation Area (the Area) and act to protect and enhance the Area in all aspects for the benefit of the residents. Without prejudice to that general aim, CRASH will in particular monitor and act on planning applications, developments and alterations to buildings, traffic and parking controls, the preservation of trees and gardens, the provision of services to the Area and all other environmental matters and will liase with the relevant authorities on these. CRASH will encourage architectural restoration and planting wherever possible. To further these aims, CRASH may negotiate with or affiliate itself to any body the Committee agrees. CRASH may do any or all of such things as may be incidental to or conducive to the attainment of its aims.
3. Membership shall be open to all residents of the Area over the age of eighteen, irrespective of sex, nationality, colour, race, religious or political belief. Membership shall also be open to those who live close to the Area and who subscribe to the aim of CRASH and to those who having been members, have moved from the Area. The Committee shall have the right to refuse or rescind membership. Each eligible person wishing to join CRASH may do so directly on payment of an annual subscription, the rate of which shall be decided by the Committee, and may obtain a receipt on request. All members shall inform the Secretary of change of address. Residents’ Associations or Associations of Blocks of Flats may join CRASH as a group on payment of an annual subscription, the rate of which shall be decided by the committee. Membership of CRASH shall lapse if the subscription is not paid three months after the due date of renewal. The Committee shall set the dates of the membership year. If a member resigns from CRASH, no membership fee can be returned.
4. A copy of this Constitution shall be available to any member on request from the Secretary.
5. Members are, as such, bound by the aims and rules of CRASH and they must conduct themselves in a reasonable manner at all meetings organized by CRASH. Where they do not do so, the Chairman has the right to expel any member from that meeting.
6. All subscriptions and monies raised in the name of CRASH shall be used only for the furtherance of the stated aims of CRASH. A record shall be kept by the Treasurer of all income and expenditure for inspection by any member following twenty-one days written notice and the Treasurer shall provide an annual report of the accounts for presentation at the Annual General Meeting (the AGM) and any interim reports as may be requested from time to time by the Committee. A Bank or Building Society account shall be held in the name of The Combined Residents’ Associations of South Hampstead from which and into which all monies collected and spent must flow. Bank or Building Society statements shall be retained for possible inspection as above. The Committee shall decide the arrangements for signatories authorised to operate the account.
7. The Committee shall comprise a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and up to eleven other members. The Committee shall be responsible for the management and administration of CRASH and shall have full powers to act and speak in the name of CRASH.
8. The Committee shall be elected annually at the AGM. All positions shall be contested and any member of CRASH may stand for election. Vacancies in the offices of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary or in the membership of the Committee may be filled by the Committee, those persons holding the post until the following AGM. The Committee may constitute Sub-Committees and may disband them. Where a Committee member so wishes, the Committee shall accept a substitute in place of that member from time to time. The substitute may speak and vote on behalf of that member but not in addition.
9. Ordinary members of CRASH may attend and speak at Committee meetings but may not record a vote.
10. The Committee shall meet at least once in every calendar year in addition to the AGM and shall meet as often as necessary. Notice of meetings shall be conveyed verbally or in writing at least ten days in advance other than in exceptional circumstances. Votes taken at Committee meetings shall be decided by a simple majority with the Chairman deciding in the event of a tied vote. A quorum of five or one third the current total Committee membership, whichever is the smaller, is necessary, not including any non-Committee members present.
11. The Committee may co-opt members from time to time where appropriate.
12. The Chairman shall conduct Committee and General Meetings. Another Committee member shall be nominated in the Chairman’s absence, it usually being the Vice-Chairman. The Vice-Chairman shall assist the Chairman. The Treasurer shall perform the duties described in paragraph 6. The Secretary shall convene all meetings giving the appropriate notice to members and shall keep an up to date register of all members. Also the Secretary shall keep a written record of all Committee meetings in the form of Minutes and a suitable written record of all General meetings. The Minutes shall be distributed to all Committee members soon after the Committee meeting and shall be available to any member before the meeting. The Secretary shall liase with all members, both ordinary and Committee, and shall pass on information and messages appropriately and promptly.
13. The AGM shall be held once in every calendar year and not less than twenty-one days written notice shall be sent to all members at their recorded address. At the AGM, the Treasurer shall give a report of the accounts of the previous year and the prospects for the coming year, the Chairman shall report on all the activities of CRASH and the work of the Committee during the previous year and the Secretary shall give a report on the membership levels. The Committee shall be elected; nominations to be requested by the Chairman and seconded by any member present. Any member nominated must agree to stand. All members shall be eligible to vote at the AGM but must be present personally. All votes shall be decided by simple majority with the Chairman deciding a tied vote. The Chairman may hold a written secret ballot in exceptional circumstances. A quorum is necessary at the AGM, this being ten percent of the total number of current members of CRASH.
14. Any proposed alteration to this Constitution by any member can be decided only at an AGM or an Extraordinary General Meeting (an EGM) which shall be held under the same rules as for an AGM excepting that a majority of two-thirds of those present is required to carry such a proposal (this over-rides the condition in paragraph 13).
15. If the Committee decides to dissolve CRASH, an EGM or AGM must be convened in the usual manner. The members present shall decide on the distribution of assets remaining after all liabilities have been met.
This Constitution was agreed in principle at the first General Meeting of CRASH dated 25th May 1989 and, as agreed then, has been amended in Committee. Paragraph 3 was amended in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution at the Annual General Meeting of CRASH held on 28 January 2003.
Signed: Alan Selwyn, Chairman of CRASH
Signed: Jean Austin, Chair of CRASH