Present: committee members: Jane Pickard, Anne Orange, Helen O'Brien, Michael Grimwood, Rod Brown, Jeremy Galloway, Gerry Slaughter. Also: John MacDonald, Geoffrey van Cuylenburg, Simon Berlyn, Gabrielle Garton-Grimwood, James Slattery-Kavanagh, Daphne Slaughter, Joe Ward, Keith Langton, Richard Moore, Romano Barca, Pat Fisher, Anne Ridley, Coun Robert McConnell, Andy Brown, ?H R Burn.
Apologies: Jane Pickard for lateness. Teresa Szcsotka.
Chaired by: Anne Orange.
A Committee meeting
Gardens competition: arrangements were discussed. James Slattery-Kavanagh said we could get 5,000 A4 double-sided newsletters printed for £195.
Gabrielle said a letter had should go to the winners of last year's inviting them to a presentation at the next meeting.
Grahame Wilson could take digital photos to put on the website.
A spade or similar would be donated by South London Decorators and flowers from the Floral Hall.
John MacDonald agreed to invite the Mayor to make the presentation at 7.30pm.
To encourage children, it was agreed to circulate schools about this year's contest. Also churches and pre-schools.
It was agreed we should ask local businesses, such as Woolworths or B&Q, to donate seeds for the schools. A specific award, such as for the tallest sunflower, might be an idea for pre-schools.
Entries were needed by the start of June, with judging in the first week of July.
Gerry Slaughter said it was possible to pay for a tree to be planted in Norwood Park with a plaque on. Coun Russell A-Court or Lambeth Tree Dept could be contacted.
Newsletter : agreed to include gardens contest, note about trees, Knight's Hill rec. ground and the waste disposal site issue.
Website: James said it should be kept up to date. It was agreed that unapproved minutes could go up, with a note saying they were in draft form. Jane undertook to be the go-between from the minute-takers to the website. James offered to typeset the newsletter.
B Main meeting
1. Minutes of the February meeting were approved with the following amendments:
under councillors' reports, Coun McConnell had said the council was "working on" a bid for regeneration; Andy Brown was the illegible name on the attendance sheet.
2. Old Library:
2.1. Rebecca Phillips, the project manager, had been invited but had a clashing meeting.
2.2. Council McConnell announced that the council had decided to launch a major youth survey in Norwood looking at how to satisfy demand for youth services in the area. A lengthy discussion ensued about the need for a survey, during which Coun McConnell read out the council's press release on the subject.
2.3 The press release made it clear that the council felt the survey in central West Norwood two years ago, which led to a recommendation to restore the old library as a youth/community centre was now out of date and on too small a scale. The council did not want to put money into a facility which no-one wanted, it said. Also, it intended to survey youth throughout the four wards of the Norwood area. The survey may well conclude that young people wanted facilities in the old library or on the estates.
2.4 There was some money available from the sale of the Dick Sheppard School site - although Coun McConnell said Brixton wanted some of this - and some more from the SRB6 budget, although this was not for capital spending.
2. 3 Several people expressed the view that the survey was a move by the council to renege on its promises to renovate the old library in the face of rising costs. The survey's scope was so wide that it would be unlikely to get a majority of youth calling for the old library as a youth centre, since they lived too far away.
2.4 Romano Barca said the kids on his estate simply wanted a room. He felt youth provision should be more local and smaller scale. The old library would cost a fortune to run.
2.5 Jane Pickard argued for the renovation of the old library for general community use - not just for youth - to be kept on the agenda. She felt the survey was irrelevant and unnecessary and should be opposed since, judging by the press release, it seemed aimed at undermining the longstanding campaign by local groups to get the old library re-opened. She recalled that support for West Norwood Community Development's campaign on this had been at the core of NAG policy since it began, although some members disagreed that it had been such a key issue.
2.6 John MacDonald argued that provision for the many young people who did not live on estates had to be considered. Romano Barca said that general community use for the old library might not be sensible since old people might not want to use the same building as young people.
2.7 Simon Berlyn said the old library was a listed building which was rapidly falling into disrepair. The council should either repair it and find a suitable use for it, or sell it to a suitable user.
2.8 Coun McConnell said one problem faced by the council was that only one local organisation had so far bid for SRB6 funding. This was the Foundation for Human Development, which included in its bid some money for an activity in the old library. He thought the council wanted to work up interest in youth projects in the area. He urged organisations to put in for some recreational facilities to get young people off the streets. He also mentioned a project proposed by Jan Anstey Hayes to involve young people in making a video about improvements they wanted to see in the area.
2.9 Romano said a number of tenants and residents associations would welcome money for youth activities. He urged NAG to support small sums for estate projects. Anne Orange said she felt we should support the survey but reiterate our support for the old library being renovated for community use. She suggested we get the consultants doing the survey to come to a NAG meeting.
Agreed by six votes to four with the rest abstaining to support the idea of a survey and ask the consultants to come and meet NAG. (As we already supported the use of the old library for the community, it was suggested we put this in our letter to the council, without needing a vote. We would also ask how much the survey would cost)
As it was late by then, the meeting agreed to move the bus service discussion to another meeting.
3 Councillors' reports
Coun McConnell said the primary school strategy was delayed, because the minister had refused to agree to a compulsory purchase order for Burlington Lodge next door to Crown Lane School, without which the school could not be expanded. The CPO was refused on the grounds that the council had not offered the right price. The developer could not tell what the market price was going to be until he had gone to a public inquiry.
4 Board report
Jane Pickard and others reported that the board's planning and commerce sub-group was organising a public meeting on March 27 on the planning application for a waste transfer station on a site next to the bus station on Ernest Avenue. There were worries about the environmental impact of the proposal.