The St Mary’s Island Residents Association (SMIRA)

SMI Panorama

The association for Island homeowners

The St. Mary’s Island Residents’ Association Ltd. (SMIRA) is run by unpaid volunteers who work, on behalf of the residents, with various agencies and entities which have an influence on life on the Island. These include Chatham Maritime Trust, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) who took over from SEEDA and who own the undeveloped land, Countryside Maritime Limited (CML) (the developers), Medway Council, Barratt Homes, Redrow and Moat Housing.

SMIRA have a website, www.smira.info, where information and news is posted including the minutes of SMIRA meetings. Recently, it has been used to consult with residents on the Traffic Regulation Orders that will be imposed following the ring road adoption (see below). SMIRA produce a yearly newsletter which is distributed to all households on the island, whether they are members or not.

SMIRA's membership covers over 700 homes and this strengthens their effectiveness when dealing with outside agencies in order to get our views across.

Recent activities

SMIRA have been active in a number of areas, here are just a few:

  • driven the adoption of the Island roads with Medway Council
  • pressed for the provision of two zebra crossings to provide a safe access to the Community Centre, Doctor's Surgery and Pharmacy and one to serve the elderly assisted living dwellings which should be completed in 2018.  The crossings should be constructed in 2017; exact locations and details have yet to be finalised   
  • SMIRA worked with Chatham Maritime Trust and Medway Council to get the walkway between Basin 1 and Basin 2 re-opened; this was officially opened in August 2016
  • SMIRA seek to resolve any issues that arise from Chatham Docks 
  • liaising with Medway Council Warden re dogs off leads
  • ongoing dialogue with Arriva to improve the bus services that serve the Island
  • maintains a good relationship and ongoing dialogue with the Environment Agency to ensure that no commercial operation in Chatham Docks adversely affects the lives of residents 
  • working with the marina and other agencies to get the marina cleared up.  Chatham Maritime Trust has fixed new mesh panels to the lower section of the perimeter railings alongside the marina to prevent rubbish being blown in.  
  • SMIRA  representatives attend regular meetings with other stakeholders in an effort to improve the quality of life for Island residents.  Residents are kept informed about what is going on across the Estate via their website, the SMIRA meetings and the annual newsletter. 

Latest news.....  Walkway open again.  After a period of three years the access under the HMS Chatham Bridge over the caisson between Basins 1 and 2 is now open again.  Those residents that used the access to the Co-Op and Dockside Outlet Centre previously will know that it provides a much safer route away from the main road, particularly for children and older residents.  

This is yet another example of SMIRA, who has been working alongside Chatham Maritime Trust on this over a long period, looking after the best interests of residents to ensure that our lovely Island is sustainable and a pleasant place to reside.  

The Chair of SMIRA, David Taylor, expressed particular thanks to Chatham Maritime Trust who headed up the protracted negotiations with Peel Ports to secure a licence that made this possible and went on to finance the construction of the new walkway and it's ongoing maintenance.   

An official opening ceremony took place on Wednesday 10th August at 10.30 am at the walkway.    The event was well attended by residents and representatives of the HCA, Marina Developments Ltd and Countryside Properties.  SMIRA's Director, Leslie James, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the new walkway which acts as a much quicker and safer route to the rest of the Chatham Maritime. The Trust's interim Chief Executive, Jonathan Sadler, said "I am delighted that the Trust has been able to facilitate the opening of this walkway which provides a vital link from St. Mary's Island to the rest of Chatham Maritime.  The Trust has paid for the construction of the walkway and railings allowing residents to once again use this much quicker and safer route."    

New contact at Moat Housing

Effective November 2016 there is a new contact at Moat Housing for St. Mary's Island residents:  

Peter Whatmore    Tel:  0845 359 6235    Email:  peter.whatmore@moat.co.uk.      

If you are a Moat tenant and have any queries or questions then please contact Peter as previous contacts are now working in other areas.  

Regular meetings

Every six weeks SMIRA holds a meeting at the Community Centre which is open to all. At these meetings issues concerning the residents of the island are discussed with other interested parties who include representatives from Chatham Maritime Trust and local councillors. It gives residents the opportunity to raise issues and ask questions of those people who influence life on the island. Membership of SMIRA does not mean you have to attend these meetings (we wouldn’t have the room to accommodate everyone) but anyone is welcome to attend.     

Any resident is welcome to attend these meetings without prior notice.  Meetings commence at 7 pm at St. Mary's Island Community Centre.  A Residents Surgery is held at 6 pm for residents to discuss particular concerns or confidential issues.  There will be a representatives from SMIRA, Moat Housing and a Ward Councillor in attendance.  

The minutes of the SMIRA meetings are published on their website.  

Click here to read SMIRA's latest annual newsletter.  

2017 meeting dates are:  10th January, 21st February, 4th April, 16th May, 27th June, 8th August, 19th September and 31st October.  The 2017 AGM will be held on 1st December at 7.30 pm in the Community Centre.  Formal notice and details of the AGM will be sent to members as usual prior to the meeting.  

Membership

Anyone owning a house or flat on the Island is entitled to become a member. Membership applications are included with house purchase documentation.  They can also be obtained from the CMT Office or downloaded here.  

Application forms can be sent to SMIRA’s registered office which is at the Trust Office (The Observatory, Brunel, Dock Road, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4AF). They will be forwarded to SMIRA’s Membership Secretary.

Membership of SMIRA is free to qualifying residents. However, if you would like to support SMIRA, a cheque for £10.00 made out to SMIRA would help cover administrative costs for your application and would be appreciated.

SMIRA can be contacted direct by e-mail on admin@smira.info. Their website address is www.smira.info.

SMIRA has the right to nominate two Trustees to the CMT Board. For details of current nominees, see Members & Trustees


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