Present: Anne Orange (Chair), Jeremy Galloway, Michael Grimwood (note taker), Helen O'Brien, Bernie Bullbrook, Councillor Robert McConnell, Councillor John Whelan, K Langton, Pat Fisher, Ann Ridley, Derek Perry, Richard Moore, Gabrielle Garton Grimwood, Trevor Nye, Romano Barca, Simon Berlyn, A Collaço
Apologies: Jane Pickard, Marion Kavanagh, Rod Brown, Daphne and Gerald Slaughter, Councillor Clare Whelan, Councillor Janet Grigg..
A Committee Meeting
Minutes of last meeting
1. Minutes were approved.
2. Anne Orange reported a message of thanks from Gina Medcalf. There was speculation about what might happen to the former allotment site but no-one was aware of specific new proposals. It was agreed that Anne would write to enquire about the outcome of the planning appeal and ask about a possible road on the site. Jeremy Galloway mentioned that there were disused allotments behind Auckland Hill, possibly owned by Railtrack.
Plans for AGM
3. It was agreed that this would be on 9 July. It was agreed that Asit Acharya, Town Centre Manager (TCM) should be invited. Bernie Bullbrook said that the TCM's team would need to know about the AGM by the end of the week if it was to be publicised in "Norwood Eye".
4. Councillor Whelan explained that the publication "New Lambeth" has been re-formatted to a new more community focused magazine called "The Magazine". He suggested that NAG should try to get mentioned in this and should send it the AGM details. He said that Robert Blower was the relevant council officer to contact. Richard Moore agreed to draft an item about NAG for "The Magazine".
B Main Meeting
Minutes and Matters Arising
5. Alvaro Collaço, Chair of St Matthews parochial church council, mentioned that he had been present at the last meeting. He said that, in reporting the discussion of the bus route proposals, the minutes should have recorded the acknowledgement by the consultants of a point made about moving the bus-stop from in front of St Matthew's church.
6. Councillor Whelan suggested NAG might invite relevant Council officers to a site walkabout to discuss problems that could arise from some of the 68 bus route proposals. The relevant contact would be Pat Kent, Director of Transport. This proposal was agreed.
7. Bernie Bullbrook suggested, in view of the dangerous state of many roads, that a pot-hole patrol should be undertaken to highlight the problem. Anne Orange wondered if the TCM had money to address this. Councillor Whelan said that he issue could be raised through the TCM, though he did not have money to address it. Pat Fisher reported that there had been a meeting of the Environment sub-group of the Norwood Board that evening. The TCM team had asked for photographs of pot-holes that the team could forward to the relevant officers.
8. Romano Barca said that the Council had wasted money appointing street wardens but couldn't afford road repairs. Councillor Whelan said that he supported much of what Romano had said. Simon Berlyn said that pot-holes might deter speeding and that foot-way repairs were just as important. Richard Moore said NAG could ask why repairs appeared to be such a low priority. Pat Fisher agreed to find out about the legal requirements (depth etc) for when pot-holes had to be repaired. Romano thought there was a legal notice that could be served on the council to require pot-hole repairs. Romano agreed to find out about this. Anne Orange agreed to write to ask the council for information on why roads were so dilapidated and why no money was being spent on repairs.
9. Councillor Whelan said it would help NAG if a councillor from the administration came to NAG's meetings, he suggested one of the ward councillors. Councillor McConnell said that there was no money for re-surfacing in Lambeth as a consequence of the council sticking to maintaining the 5th lowest council tax. Many services had been reduced. Romano added that he believed there was a large sum owed to the council in un-collected parking fines.
10. Anne Orange asked what obligation there was on the Council to make repairs. Councillor McConnell said that there was an obligation only where a pot-hole was dangerous. Richard Moore wondered if this matter could be pursued through the Council scrutiny committee. Councillor McConnell said that there might be, but it was for the Chief Executive to decide if a matter was appropriate for the committee. Bernie Bullbrook said that if there was no money for road repairs, NAG should alert the local press. Richard Moore volunteered to be involved in any event intended to do this – eg a "best pot-hole" contest.
11. It was agreed that NAG would write to ask the TCM about money for repairs and then to the Borough Solicitor about the dangers of not making repairs. Richard Moore would contact the local press.
Report from the Town Centre Board
12. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood reported that the most recent Forum meeting had had a presentation from the Director of Education and Youth. The future of the Vale St site had also been discussed as had the waste transfer station proposal (also pursued by the planning and commerce sub-group of the Board). Three members of the Board had resigned and there would be elections at the July meeting. Richard Moore said he had been told by the former business representatives that they thought the Board just a "talking shop". Gabrielle said she could understand such a view, since the Board was well into its year and still discussing its constitution. There was a need to finalise this and move on to real issues. Richard said he understood that the full council had voted on the constitutions, he was not sure why. Simon Berlyn thought there had been an attempt to push through the constitution without sufficient notice. Romano Barca said that he thought people did care about the rules of the Board.
13. Councillor Whelan said that the Council was now looking at all proposals for Vale St, including community led ones. The site's future would be decided by councillors and not by officers. Councillors would consider social factors as well as Best Value principles. The bid for a cemetery extension had been ruled out as neither Councillor's nor officers thought there was enough to it. There was a paper on the council's web-site. There was to be a meeting the following night and he hoped there might be progress in 6-7 weeks.
14. Anne Orange said that the ward councillors had been very active in this matter from the start, as had the Revd. George Anser(?). The council chief executive had given good advice and help and, gradually, an alternative way forward had emerged. Anne thanked councillor Whelan for his contribution.
15. Councillor Whelan said that he thought progress was being made on the Rosendale playing fields. Much depended on the attitude of the owners (the Dulwich Estate). The council was willing to go ahead and spend money on the site if it could get a long lease. Councillor Whelan had recently attended Lambeth primary schools football tournament held (expensively) at a South Bank University site. Previously the competition had been held at Rosendale playing fields but the site was now too dilapidated.
16. Councillor McConnell mentioned that the Board had discussed education and the possible need for a new boys secondary school. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood mentioned that the Board was waiting for the Gateway sub-group to be re-started. Richard Moore reported that he had been told that the scheme was in such a mess that it was only worth asking councillors, not officers, about it. Simon Berlyn said the last sub-group meeting had been last year. The sub-group had agreed the project should be about St Luke's gardens. It ought to be the responsibility of an officer from planning/conservation, not transport.
17. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood reported that she had to thank the sponsors of last year's competition, sending them a copy of the newsletter reporting the prize ceremony. Gabrielle had also sought sponsors for this year, writing to last year's and a further four. She had had no replies as yet. The competition poster was on the web-site and in shops in West Norwood and Gipsy Hill (where John MacDonald had taken some posters). The latest NAG newsletter had provided further publicity. There had been a number of entries including schools as well as individuals. She asked those present to encourage entries. Gabrielle had spoken to the council officer responsible for the community chest about possible funding. There was no guidance, except that the deadline was August, but she had been encouraged to apply. Gabrielle was concerned about the status of the competition and about its funding. She invited further suggestions for possible sponsors. B&Q, the South London Press and the Mercury were suggested. Simon Berlyn suggested the National Association of Horticultural Societies and, when asked, agreed to write to them about possible sponsorship.
18. Romano Barca introduced Trevor Nye of Norwood Against Waste Transfer Station, a group set up to oppose the proposal. The company had not responded to questions from Lambeth about the proposal and so the expectation was that the application would be refused. Romano was concerned because Lambeth had been late in submitting the questions to the company. There had been a 640 signature petition against the proposal, but its coverage of areas affected might not have been comprehensive and this would be checked.
19. Councillor McConnell said that the next big decision would be the planning appeal. He understood, but needed to check this, that the company was going to appeal. NAG should go to the appeal and make sure the highway considerations were brought out. It would be important to see the council's evidence in advance of the appeal. Richard Moore said that he had been among the founders of the Crystal Palace campaign and would be happy to suggest contacts. Richard congratulated Romano and Trevor for their actions. Gabrielle asked how the new group fitted in with the Board and its Planning and Commerce sub-group. Romano said that it did not fit in, it was a fighting group set up in anticipation of the planning appeal.
20. Simon Berlyn thought that the recent election campaign had been the dullest he could remember, he had not been canvassed. Simon thought the meeting should acknowledge the campaigns by Romano and by Councillor Whelan.
21. Helen O'Brien thanked Daphne and Gerry Slaughter and Gabrielle and Michael for distributing newsletters. She asked for a disk copy of the minutes of this meeting to be sent to the TCM team.
22. The meeting's attention was drawn to a letter from Sister Josephine Udie of Southwark Community Health Council. This seemed to have been widely circulated and was inviting views on the creation of the new Dulwich Community Hospital. This seemed to be an appropriate topic for the NAG AGM. It was agreed to invite Sister Udie to speak at the AGM.