Present: Anne Orange (Chair), Jane Pickard, Michael Grimwood (note taker), Helen O'Brien, James Slattery-Kavanagh, Bernie Bullbrook, Rod Brown, John MacDonald, Dave Maddix (West Norwood Community Development), Ronald Holder (WNCD), James Lindsay (WNCD), Graham Fearon Wilson, Helena Kowalska, Richard Moore, Paul Tobin, Keith Langton, Linda White, Joan Challis, Jan Anstey-Hayes, Simon Berlyn, Councillor John Whelan, Gabrielle Garton Grimwood, Suzanne Watkin (NAG Gardens competition winner), Pauline McQuade (L'Arche, NAG Gardens competition winner), Derek Williams.
A Committee Meeting
Minutes of Previous Meeting and Matters Arising.
(i) Further to the discussion of the competition the Committee agreed that all entrants to the 2000 Gardens competition should be given free membership of NAG.
(ii). James Slattery-Kavanagh had neither suggested nor agreed that un-approved minutes could go on the web-site. There were legal risks in such an approach. The Committee agreed that James would get draft minutes following each meeting and would publish one month's minutes when he received the draft minutes of the next months with the agreed corrections/amendments to the previous month's minutes. Only approved minutes would therefore go on the web-site.
2001 Gardens competition
Gabrielle Garton Grimwood had written to schools and youth groups inviting them to enter and offering free seeds as an incentive. There had already been two entries. Gabrielle would send the competition details to James Slattery Kavanagh for the web-site and to enable production of A4 posters.
B Presentation of Prizes to NAG 2000 Gardens Competition Winners
Anne Orange said that the presentation marked the culmination of a year's efforts and she invited Gabrielle Garton Grimwood, who had initiated the idea and kept it going to say a few words. Gabrielle said that the idea had sprung from her own interest in gardening and the competition provided a means to complement work the Council had done by celebrating the success of individuals and groups in brightening up Norwood. The 2000 competition had been a small-scale start in Knights Hill. She thanked the Mayor, Councillor Clare Whelan for coming to present the prizes. She thanked the local businesses - The Floral Hall and South London Decorators - for sponsoring the prizes.
The Mayor presented the prize for the best garden in the business and community group category to Pauline McQuade on behalf of L'Arche (the prize was a spade donated by South London Decorators). Pauline explained that L'Arche aim to work alongside people with disabilities. The Mayor said that L'Arche contributed to the community in many ways.
The Mayor presented the prize for the best garden in the front gardens category to Suzanne Watkin (the prize was a bouquet donated by The Floral Hall).
The Mayor thanked NAG for inviting her to present the prizes. She said that the quality of local gardens could make a big difference to an area, some were truly inspiring. She was sure the competition would go from strength to strength and she congratulated the winners and thanked all the entrants, NAG and Gabrielle.
Gabrielle thanked the many NAG members who had helped and said that publicity for the 2001 competition would start shortly.
Anne Orange thanked the Mayor.
C Main Meeting
1.1 None offered
2. Minutes and Matters Arising from Meeting on 13/3/01
2.1. Richard Moore had written as agreed to the Town Centre Manager concerning her attendance at NAG meetings and was not happy with her reply. He thought this was to have been an agenda item for 14 April. Anne Orange had arranged a meeting with the Town Centre Manager.
2.2. In respect of paras 2.5 and 2.6 Richard Moore thought there had been a vote over separating the issues of the future of the old library and support for WNCD in respect of the old library. No one else recalled such a vote.
2.3. Simon Berlyn said that he had also said that he would like to see the old library building retained for community use.
2.4. The minutes were approved with agreed amendments.
3. Bus Services
3.1 Rod Brown had carried out a survey of West Norwood's local connections compared to other town centres. Some improvements were coming, there would be a Sunday service on the P13. Richard Moore asked if he was aware of the bus priority proposals for the route 68. Rod said they involved changes to bus stops, light controlled pedestrian crossings at Ernest Avenue and making parts of Thornlaw and St Julians Farm roads one-way. John MacDonald said the plans had not been approved but he was disappointed about the range of consultation undertaken. Linda White was concerned that the plans were for the benefit of the proposed waste re-cycling plant. Richard Moore said that so far the proposals had been made as a paper based exercise - the accident record of the area had not been examined and the planning officer dealing with the waste proposal had not been aware of the bus priority proposal. The map provided as part of the consultation was very partial and did not show the proposal for an urban clearway on Norwood High Street. Jan Anstey-Hayes said an overall co-ordinated plan for the area was needed. She asked if Nag were aware that the new Unitary Development Plan for Lambeth was being drafted. Helen O'Brien said that the present entry to Thornlaw Road was dangerous. Rod added that he had spoken to W S Atkins who had told him that no parking spaces would be lost.
3.2 Anne Orange suggested that: the proposers of the bus priority scheme should be invited to the next NAG meeting; that residents of Thornlaw and St Julians Farm roads should be alerted to this so they could attend; and that NAG should write to the company about the need to extend the closure date for consultation. John MacDonald asked if it would be possible to get funding from the Town Centre Manager for a public meeting. It was agreed that a suitable venue would be Chatsworth church hall.
The proposal for a public meeting was carried.
3.3 Richard Moore said that the space taken up by bus stops could be a problem where two were adjacent. Simon Berlyn said that Ken Livingstone had proposed the re-introduction of conductors on buses, this would be very good for journey times and the improved security would encourage bus use. He suggested NAG write to the GLA and London transport to ask what was happening to the idea. A further point was that many buses were poorly designed with varying floor levels, cramped seats, obscured windows, no grab handles. Simon also thought that a ticket valid for a whole weekend should be introduced and that the inner/outer London price differential should be abolished.
3.4 James Slattery-Kavanagh said that the Number 3 bus route was to be extended to take it past Crystal Palace railway station. Jane Pickard said that bus routes were good north to south, but poor east to west. Nag has previously supported improved east/west routes eg eastward to West and East Dulwich and westward to Tooting. She suggested NAG write to the responsible authorities asking for better east/west services and asking whether there were any arguments against such improvements and, if so, what they were. Simon Berlyn said that the effective veto of the college estate was one reason for lack of such services. James thought it would be better to ask the authorities views on the subject rather than ask for particular routes as NAG's research was rather old.
3.5. A speaker for L'Arche said that disabled access and driver training in respect of disabled people was very poor. Jan Anstey-Hayes said that that there were similar problems in respect of parents with children. Ronald Holder said that he supported the view that conductors would be a big improvement and that there was a customer service issue in relation to driver training - this also applied to the way in which buses were driven and that affected all passengers. Richard Moore suggested NAG write to John Stewart of Lambeth Public Transport Group, Anne Orange proposed that he should be invited to the June NAG meeting. Richard also noted that parking on bus stops was a problem. John MacDonald some buses now did have two staff and that some buses were being fitted with cameras to catch parking on bus stops. Bernie Bullbrook said congestion would be eased if people remembered they could drive in bus lanes outside restricted hours.
3.6 A proposal was made by Jane Pickard that NAG should write to the responsible authorities to ask about east/west routes. Simon Berlyn proposed a letter asking about the re-introduction of conductors and supporting such a move. Both proposals were carried with the addition of a request for full information about the bus priority route proposal.
4. Kids on the Grove
4.1. Anne Orange introduced Jan Anstey-Hayes and invited her to talk about the bid for Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) funding. Jan Anstey-Hayes said the bid was for money from SRB 6 over the next few years. This was a last chance as the nature of regeneration funding was changing. The background had to be understood. The proposal affected the old library. She perceived problems with Lambeth Council policy and with different parts of the Council. She had corresponded with English Heritage about the old library which was not the only "at risk" listed building in Lambeth. Community use of the ld library was in keeping with English Heritage's views. Jan said that Lambeth was very bad a consultation and at implementing its policies. Lambeth's policy on the old library and proposed use of it had been set out in the SRB 6 bid. The bid had been successful, therefore the money should be spent as the bid had proposed. Lambeth's latest proposals for further consultation seemed to have derailed that. The steering committee for the old library had been dissolved by Lambeth's Head of Lifelong learning without consultation. Jan thought that the tender specification for the proposed youth needs analysis was very poor and ignored the SRB 6 bid, even though SRB money was to be spent on it.
4.2. Jan Anstey-Hayes explained that her funding proposal was to develop and produce a community based consultation document in the form of a video. One project group would be involved in making the video. A further eight projects would include resolving proposals for St Luke's gardens, proposals for improving pedestrian routes and spaces for re-generation, proposals for opening the cemetery, an exhibition to ensure that people were aware the SRB money was available to be bid for. The project groups would develop proposals over 6 - 9 months and bring them back to the video project group. The first part of the video would define problems. The second part would take the proposals from the other groups and with the aid of photographs and the use of software create a vision of the future.
4.3 Councillor John Whelan said that SRB 6 was very important. It was geographically limited to Knights Hill and Gipsy Hill wards. He was concerned that few local groups seemed to have been consulted so far by the Council and this needed to be remedied, other parts of the borough eg Brixton were much further forward. He recommended that NAG invite officers to come and talk about SRB 6. The next 12 months were very important. There would be an overall strategic board for the borough to manage SRB delivery with local boards in each town centre. Grants could be for amounts as small as £2,000.
4.4 James Slattery-Kavanagh asked Jan Anstey-Hayes to whom and how the proposed video would be shown. He also wondered if it would be ready in time to influence funding allocations. Jan Anstey-Hayes said there would be public screenings in the old library and Nettlefold Hall and it could be copied to local groups. SRB funding would cover two years and the project would build capacity to make proposals and act as consultation evidence for funding applications.
4.5 John MacDonald fully supported community use of the old library but communications with the council always seemed to break down. How could the relationship be made to work. James Lindsay agreed that there was a lack of communication from the council. WNCD had had to withdraw from the steering group because it was unhappy over the group's composition and direction. WNCD was the only local group with any mandate in respect of the old library. Lambeth seemed to be about to carry out a third survey to find out what WNCD already knew. He though the position of the Head of Lifelong Learning was untenable. Anne Orange asked if a new group was needed to replace the steering group.
4.6. Richard Moore thought re-consultation might be needed because the successful element of the bid was only for Knights Hill and Gipsy Hill. He asked Jan who would pay for and have editorial control of the video. Jan Anstey-Hayes said management could be contracted out to a regeneration professional. The overall cost would be £100,000 but only £50,000 SRB cash was being requested the other £50k would be from other sources, including the value of the time of people involved. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood asked on whose behalf the bid was being made, what soundings had already been taken and when the video would be ready. Jan said she hoped the bid would be made by the Norwood Society. She was going to their AGM.
4.7 Ronald Holder said that WNCD had been trying to take forward the vision set by the community several years ago and saw itself as part of the community, working on behalf of the community: it was building capacity to undertake regeneration bids locally. The council had ignored consultation and is ignoring this scope to build local capacity.
4.8 Anne Orange said that the video proposal seemed to raise two kinds of issue: whether the proposed expenditure was needed to generate bids and whether a video was the best way of achieving this. Anne wondered how it would be possible to get the proposed project groups working. John MacDonald recalled a video produced previously by WNCD that had been very effective for communicating with local youth. Jane Pickard supported the aims that had been expressed but had doubts about the process, about the degree of linkage to youth and about the timescale. She asked if the project groups would be young people. Jan said they would involve young people. Simon Berlyn said that it would be unsatisfactory if the future of the old library hung on a video that might take two years to complete. Jan said that the old library's future would not hang on the video. Simon added that a video was necessarily an edited process and he was sceptical of any such process in which some views would be deleted.
4.9 Ronald Holder explained that for SRB purposes youth included 9-25 year olds. The major issue was not about the use of video but about consultation - was what the council did the only legitimate consultation. James Slattery-Kavanagh asked if the point was that a video was less likely to be passed over, or that it had added legitimacy and immediacy because it was not reported but actual.
4.10 James Lindsay said that WNCD was waiting for a meeting with the Lambeth Chief Executive about partnership - there was none at present. Anne Orange asked if NAG could help eg by writing to ask for a new steering group. James said it would be better for WNCD to have the meeting with the Chief Executive first. Jane Pickard said it would be helpful if WNCD was regularly represented at NAG meetings. Ronald Holder said NAG might write to the council to express concern that WNCD had still not been accommodated and couldn't build capacity locally. Jan Anstey Hayes added that a letter ought to question dissolution of the steering group. James Lindsay made the point that WNCD had been very involved in getting the project manager for the old library - who now had an office in the building - but WNCD were still left outside.
4.11 It was proposed that NAG should write to the Lambeth Chief Executive to: ask why the old library steering group had been dissolved; to express concern about lack of consultation over the new youth consultation consultancy; and to clarify what the council intended doing in future in respect of the old library, bearing in mind that the successful SRB bid was made on the basis of partnership with WNCD. The letter should also express concern about the lack of accommodation for WNCD. This was proposed by Ronald Holder, seconded by Rod Brown. The vote was carried with two abstentions.
5 Reports from Councillors and Town Centre Board
5.1 Councillor John Whelan reported that on the same night as the public meeting about the waste recycling proposal businesses had had a meeting on the future of the industrial area. There were big issues about its future. A number of developers were keeping land vacant in the hope of a change to residential use in the new UDP. He reported that consultants have estimated a cost of £100,000 to bring the Rosendale playing fields into use. Anne Orange asked how to follow this up and Councillor Whelan undertook to provide documentation. Councillor Whelan said the cemetery wall in Robson Road was due for repair in June. Finally he mentioned that the Roupell neighbourhood forum had been involved in proposals for a new crime reduction partnership.
5.2 Richard Moore reported that the Board's planning sub-committee had organised a public meeting on the waste recycling proposal. The meeting had voted unanimously against the proposed plant. Also most people at the meeting wanted the industrial area used for housing.
5.3 Rod Brown mentioned that Myatt's field had an Astroturf pitch, there should be similar provision in West Norwood.
5.4 Ronald Holder mentioned Lambeth Police Community Consultative Group. There is a crime reduction strategy for Lambeth. Preventative measures are key and WNCD works at contributing. Giving people the opportunity to participate can be more important than funding.
5.5 Simon Berlyn proposed a vote of thanks to Councillor Whelan. This was carried.