Present: committee members: Rod Brown, Jane Pickard, Helen O'Brien, Jeremy Galloway, James Slattery-Kavanagh, Romano Barca, Bernie Bullbrook, Bill Clifford. Other members:.Joe Ward, Richard Moore, Simon Berlyn, Pat Fisher (Royal Circus Neighbourhood Watch), Gabrielle Garton-Grimwood, Keith Langton, Daphne Slaughter, Gerry Slaughter, Paul Tobin, Siobhan Dempsey, Nathalie Dempsey, Mary Sexton.
Non-voting: Isabel Trist, Coun Robert McConnell, Norman Winbourne, Yvonne Brown, Michael Brown.
Apologies: Anne Orange, Linda White, Grahame Wilson, councillors Paul Connolly, Janet Grigg, A'Court, Gareth Compton, Claire and John Whelan, Dave Maddix.
Chaired by: Jeremy Galloway, followed by Romano Barca.
A) Committee meeting
1. Constitution: Jane Pickard showed the committee a sample constitution she had procured from the Lambeth Voluntary Action Council. She said the main differences from our own centred on provisions for managing and auditing accounts. We probably needed to add some similar clauses. Romano Barca said he could produce some additional constitutions to compare ours with.
Agreed: Jane, Romano and Rod would form a sub-group to discuss and draft a new constitution with the aim of having it approved by our AGM in June.
2. Newsletter: JP said we had got very few responses indeed to our survey - only seven responses in the library and area office boxes. We now needed to discuss what to do about our next newsletter and contributions.
Bill Clifford asked who had been involved last time. The answer was: JP, James Slattery-Kavanagh, Grahame Wilson and Anne Orange. BC had disagreed with the Post Office story and felt it should have been agreed by more people in advance. JP said the story had only been quoting someone else's views, not advancing them as our own. It was agreed we should continue to involve as many people as possible in the production of the newsletter. BC proposed an article on the library.
Helen O'Brien said it would be nice if we could feed into the new town centre newsletter Isabel Trist had mentioned. Were we in danger of losing our grant? JP said there seemed to be other grant posssibilities if that happened.
James S-K said the website could be used to publish more information. Also, it did not present the same problems of length and deadlines which the hard copy did.
3. Finance: JP's letter to BC asking for clarification of his position was discussed. BC confirmed that he wished to be in a position to act properly as treasurer, ie: receiving all bank statements, including back copies, and all invoices - also notification of new members. As far as he could make out, Berneice, the former treasurer, had done a worthwhile job and things had broken down due to her resignation.
Agreed: we would seek copies of all monthly bank statements going back to the start of 1999. Bill should be a signatory to the existing bank account and the two new accounts. The bank should be asked to send future statements to him.
BC and Jeremy Galloway then signed copies of the mandate forms for the bank.
B) Main meeting
Minutes and matters arising
Bill Clifford said the coverage of the finance debate was not sufficiently detailed: it had left out several things, including details of correspondence he had mentioned in which he had asked for paperwork to be made available by 4 January.
Richard Moore suggested that if someone wanted something minuted they should request it at the time, since the minutes were not supposed to be a court report.
Committee members reported back on their meeting. Romano Barca suggested we ask people what kind of constitution they wanted. Richard proposed that any ideas on the constitution should be put to the committee before the next meeting. Agreed.
Suggestions could go to the website (email@example.com) or to the secretary.
1. Robert McConnell said there was a sizeable gap in the council's budget. Also, he was very concerned about the future of the mobile library service. The four stops in Knight's Hill (Lakeview, Tivoli, Holderness and Royal Circus) had been scrapped. Romano said there were other stops in the area - what was happening to them?
Agreed: to find out what is happening to the mobile library service throughout our area and report back to next meeting.
2. Robert McConnell urged people to turn up to the public inquiry into the college site on 22 February. There was a discussion about the pros and cons of housing v commercial use for the site. Jeremy Galloway said Lambeth's policy for the whole area between the college and the station had been quite consistently for commercial use. Norman Winbourne argued that commercial property stood empty in West Norwood and there was no need for more. Jane Pickard reminded the meeting that NAG policy was in favour of mixed use.
Town Centre manager's report
1. Isabel Elder reported on the town centre forum meeting. She was still looking for a second housing representative for the board and had written to all housing organisations. In the report-back forms from the meeting, a majority had showed in favour of employment use rather than housing.
2. Bill Clifford and Romano Barca said they were very concerned about the closure of Bielomatik, Abbey National and possibly Kwiksave in the town centre. Bill asked if there was a policy for promoting commercial property development in the area. Romano stressed that he understood Bielomatik had once employed 60 people, even though that was now reduced to a handful. Isabel agreed that closures were a matter of concern, but said there were only about three vacancies for retail in the stretch from Olive's to the Post Office. Norwood High Street and Knight's Hill were the main problem areas. She was organising promotional material to advertise the 20-minute parking bays and continuing to offer shop front grants.
3. Simon Berlyn asked if board meetings would be open to the public. Isabel said the plan was that they would not be, but the minutes would be made available.
SB said this was utter nonsense. We had been through months of debate about grass roots democracy to end up with meetings held in secrecy. There was no reason why admitting the public would prevent the meeting from conducting its business.
Norman Winbourne suggested the board should vote on the subject. There was a long discussion. Jo Ward said that he did not support the meetings being closed, but there was a danger that board members would feel under pressure from their "constitutency" bodies even though they were meant to carry out the wishes of the forum. Others envisaged problems if the board changed from a small group meeting into a public event while still in its infancy. A bigger room would be needed and members would feel on show rather than focusing on the action they needed to take.
Simon proposed the following motion "NAG calls on Lambeth Council and the Norwood Board to hold the board's meetings in public": For: 5; Against: 5; Abstentions: 9. This left the matter undecided and JP said she felt obliged to abstain on the vote at the board meeting, as the NAG representative.
1. Rod Brown said NAG policy should "aim to improve the mobility of people who want to use public transport and to help people gain access to business in the area, for regeneration purposes." Seconded by Romano Barca. Agreed.
2. There was a discussion about the prevalence of buses, including double-deckers, using unsuitable residential roads when not in service. Gerry Slaughter, who raised the matter, said this was a regular occurrence in Glennie Road. Others said Park Hall Road was another popular short cut.
Agreed: JP to write to bus company and bus garage saying that buses have been observed using residential side roads as short cuts when not in service, to complain that this is a nuisance to residents and ask for an explanation.
3. Thameslink: Norman Winbourne said Thameslink 2000 plans would be detrimental to local commuters. The branch line to Moorgate station would be closed and the Sutton line trains which go through Tulse Hill would be terminated at Blackfriars, with passengers having to change platforms. This would be a significant deterioration in our service when what we really wanted was for it to be augmented.
Rod Brown said we should be asking the rail regulator to stipulate a minimum through service for our line as part of the new contract when it came up for renewal.
Agreed: We invite a speaker from Thameslink to address a future meeting about their plans, in the light of our dissatisfaction with the existing service. Also, we write to Railtrack, Thameslink, the rail regulator and MPs to explain why we need this service, pressing for a minimum through service from our area.
4. There was a long discussion on road humps and other traffic restrictions, including controlled parking zones, with some disagreement between members about the pros and cons. People living in the Tulse Hill area said that a promised consultation on controlled parking had never materialised. Simon Berlyn said there was no legal right to park on the highway and he didn't see why people should be able to buy the privilege. Gabrielle Grimwood said we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that there was a real problem in some streets where there were more cars parked than the street could take. Robert McConnell also raised the issue of a one-way-street consultation in the Tivoli Road area.
Agreed: that JP to raise the issue of road humps and other restrictions at the board to establish Lambeth's policy and to ensure the NAG is included in consultation. Also, to ensure we are included in consultation on extending the controlled parking zone and to invite the highest ranking officer we can (preferably Pat Kent) to our next meeting to answer questions on both these subjects and to set out the various points in dispute on the agenda of our next meeting, ready for a vote.
5. Rod Brown asked if he could raise the issue of the Victoria service with the rail regulator, since the Connex contract was about to come up for renewal.
Agreed: that Rod Brown write to the rail regulator and propose an improved service on the Victoria main line.
1. Bernie Bullbrook said the inspector responsible wanted to combine the four sector working parties in the four wards of West Norwood into one. Members thought this was expanding too far and there was a meeting on the following day to discuss it. In the past, information had gone from the consultative group, chaired by the superintendent, to the sector working parties and thence to neighbourhood watches.
2. At the last Lambeth crime prevention panel, the meeting had to be cancelled because no police could make it. The crime reduction officer had left and not yet been replaced.
3. Vehicle crime had gone up in the area and levels of burglaries and robberies were still not good. So the police were putting more officers into the area for a period.