Present: Anne Orange (Chair), Jeremy Galloway, Michael Grimwood (note taker), Helen O'Brien, Bernie Bullbrook, Joe Ward, Ann Ridley, Daphne Slaughter, Gerald Slaughter, Pat Fisher, Richard Moore, Gabrielle Garton Grimwood, Simon Berlyn, Marvin Hanson, R Vogles, Graham Fearon Wilson, John MacDonald, Andy Brown, Rod Brown, Ronald Holder
Apologies: Paul Tobin, Councillors John Whelan and Robert McConnell (hoped to come to NAG following the AGM of Centre 70)
1. A minute's silence was observed to mark the terrible events in the United States.
Minutes and Matters Arising from Previous Meeting
2. John MacDonald mentioned that the second hand Volvo garage discussed at the last meeting had now started trading on Auckland Hill and the anticipated problems had begun. Anne Orange apologised for not having written to the Council, as agreed at the last meeting, but said she would do so. Richard Moore noted that the garage had been visited during a recent joint sweep by the council, the police and the DVLA. No problem vehicles had been found on the road at that time.
3. Bernie Bullbrook and Richard Moore said that they intended to go to the meeting being organised by Southwark Community Health Council (CHC) on 12/09 about the future of the East Dulwich hospital site. It was agreed that Bernie should raise the suggestion that some of the land should be used for housing for key workers in the health, police, fire and ambulance services. Helen O'Brien raised the idea of a birth centre and Richard Moore agreed to make the suggestion. Joe Ward noted that the available car parking made the site better than King's for outpatient appointments and hoped this would not be lost. Pat Fisher said she thought the CHC recognised this, but East Dulwich was not conveniently accessible by everyone and the CHC were looking at the scope for more dispersed service provision and possible transport arrangements.
4. The elections held over from the AGM were then held. Simon Berlyn queried the holding of elections as the minutes of the last meeting referred to them being held in October. The meeting agreed that the intended reference had been to the next meeting not to October and agreed that the elections should proceed.
5. Anne explained that Teresa had had to stand down as Secretary and Marion Kavanagh had had to stand down as Treasurer through ill health. Richard Moore suggested that the Town Centre Managers office might be able to offer support for NAGs administration. John MacDonald suggested the retiring committee members should each make a short statement before the elections:
Anne Orange had chaired NAG's meetings and responded to various contacts. She had led on raising the issue of the former allotment land, which had been the subject of a planning appeal. Relationships with the Norwood Board were good.
Jeremy Galloway, as vice-chair, had supported Anne and provided assistance to NAG with copying etc. He acted as a funnel for business views. Jeremy said that the retailing situation looked bleak. He had been disappointed when the Forum concluded against the proposal for a supermarket in West Norwood. He suggested that the future and structure of retailing should be a future NAG agenda item and that the Town Centre Manager should be invited.
Gerry Slaughter, as vice-chair, thought that NAG did not take enough action. The group should be more focused, pick some particular tasks and follow them through - for example car parking or shopping facilities.
Jane Pickard, had led the NAG campaign on Thameslink 2000. The survey conducted had been used in the public enquiry. She had carried out most of the role of Secretary after Teresa had had to step down. Jane had only been able to produce two newsletters - more money would be needed for more newsletters.
Helen O'Brien, reported that membership had fallen from 62 to around 50 during the year. The Thameslink survey had provided a useful list of potential members but only six had joined. It was good that many people were interested to see the minutes on the web-site, but that produced no subscriptions. Helen thanked those who had helped with distribution.
Ronald Holder, had been on the committee for a year. West Norwood Community Development had been involved in the founding of NAG. The pressures arising from progress on the Old Library had made it more difficult to attend NAG meetings. He emphasised the importance of maintaining links between different community groups. It was important for groups in the community to think about how they could use the Old Library and he would try to consult NAG about this. He identified the lack of engagement with youth as a serious issue and suggested it would be a good thing if a way could be found of encouraging more youth involvement through funding. There was little or nothing in the area for young people to do.
Graham Fearon Wilson, from a business point of view, as an estate agent, he had noted that the two things that weighed most with people considering moving to the area were the environment - condition of the streets etc - and transport.
Rod Brown, had suggested inviting the SSRA to the Thameslink meeting which had proved very worthwhile. He had also proposed inviting W S Atkins to the meeting about bus routes, also a very useful step.
Bernie Bullbrook, reported that the police consultation arrangements had changed to a ward-based sector working party. They had pushed for the opening of the cop-shop and a lot of useful information was coming in through it. A police officer was present daily for people to talk to. At the Cop-shop opening Bernie had spoken to Sir John Stevens (the Commissioner) concerning the opening of Gypsy Hill police station. Lambeth was the worst London borough for street robbery. Apart from this role Bernie had also promoted NAG at the Lambeth Country Show.
Michael Grimwood had taken minutes of NAG meetings and the Thameslink public meeting. He had helped with the gardens competition and the Thameslink survey.
6. In a general discussion Simon Berlyn offered to help with minute taking. Gerry Slaughter emphasised the need to promote NAG - membership was tiny in comparison to the local population. He further suggested that NAG should lobby the council about the state of the roads. Anne Orange suggested that the future of NAG and promotion of it should be the subject of a future meeting. Jane Pickard recognised the need to improve publicity emphasising that the newsletter was a good means of doing this, especially if distributed by members. John MacDonald said that the cop-shop was not working and that the police needed to get out into the community. He added that NAG also needed to reach out. Jeremy Galloway noted that the Thameslink campaign had been NAG's most successful venture during the year. It had been a high profile issue affecting a lot of people. It pointed to the need for NAG to focus, to pick an issue and work towards a public meeting.
7. Elections were then held. Anne Orange was elected Chair. Jeremy Galloway and Gerry Slaughter were elected as Vice Chairs. Michael Grimwood was elected Secretary and Jane Pickard was elected as Assistant Secretary. For the post of Treasurer, Richard Moore was proposed by Gerry Slaughter. Richard was prepared to cover the post temporarily but not to stand for election. Helen O'Brien was elected Membership and Distribution Secretary
8. The following members agreed to take responsibility for special subjects on the committee: Jeremy Galloway, business; Jane Pickard & Graham Fearon Wilson, Newsletter; Ronald Holder, Youth and Community; Rod Brown, Transport; Bernie Bullbrook, Crime; John MacDonald, Environment.
9. The lack of a candidate for Treasurer was the subject of considerable discussion. Ronald Holder noted its importance if NAG was applying for grants and suggested that it might be possible to contact an organisation that could identify potential volunteers. Jane Pickard emphasised the importance of obtaining newsletter funding and the need to keep separate records of this. NAG MEMBERS ARE ASKED TO NOTE THE VACANCY FOR A TREASURER AND TO CONSIDER TAKING ON THIS ROLE.
St Luke's Gardens
10. Richard Moore said that NAG and other groups had put a lot of effort into the Gateway scheme which, in West Norwood, had taken over a smaller scheme for improving St Luke's Gardens. He had asked the Lambeth Scrutiny Committee what was happening and had been told the level of community interest meant that the scheme would take longer. A later question asked by councillors received a reply that £300,000 ring-fenced for the scheme in 2000/01 would be rolled over into 2001/02. More recently a question to the Environment Scrutiny Committee received the answer that the scheme had been scrapped. Richard said that NAG could not revive the Gateway scheme but ought to have a view on what should be done. The scheme could have been very important to regeneration of the area. Richard thought the council had done very badly by West Norwood.
11. John MacDonald had seen a report which indicated that the Gateway scheme was still live. He would pursue this as he now had the NAG Environment interest. The council leader was coming to walk round the streets of Norwood on the following Friday. Jane Pickard was surprised by John's report. She had been told at a meeting with council officers in July that the scheme no longer existed and that there was no funding, although they acknowledged St Luke's gardens needed action. Jane proposed that NAG should take a lead, as the council had neither money nor interest. John said that a new initiative "Get the streets sorted" was supposed to cover the Gateway scheme.
12. Simon Berlyn said that he had been part of the original St Luke's Gardens working group and thought that the focus should now return to the community. A scheme should be agreed and costed and consideration should then be given to how to raise the necessary funds. Jane Pickard agreed with Simon. She added that such an approach did not preclude trying to access some council funding. The Town Centre Manager had told her that council officers wanted to meet to discuss to talk about a range of issues, including this one, but she thought that St Luke's Gardens was too important an issue to be dealt with in just part of a meeting.
13. Ronald Holder said that what had happened illustrated the need to build capacity in the community to engage with and respond to such issues, ask questions etc. Jeremy Galloway said that following council intervention the scheme had mushroomed and then collapsed. The council should not be allowed to take over any further proposals. He thought the starting point should be restoration of the railings and improvement of the garden area. Councillor Whelan offered to put a question to the council the next day to try to clarify what was happening to the Gateway scheme. This offer was welcomed. Simon Berlyn remarked that the church seemed to sit on its hands - he had written to the Parochial Church Council and to the vicar but they had not come to a meeting about the gardens. Anne Orange suggested that the subject should be further discussed at the next NAG meeting.
14. Anne Orange moved that this item be held over to the next meeting. Jane Pickard explained that it could not be held over, as the Board would have to make decisions at its meeting on 4th October. There was an open meeting at the Nettlefold Hall on 25 September between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. Ronald Holder said that bids were already being made for Neighbourhood Renewal funds.
Any Other Business
15. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood provided an up-date on the Gardens competition. Judging had been completed and letters notifying the results and thanking competitors would go out shortly. Gabrielle hoped the competition had raised NAG's profile. She had applied for a Community Chest grant for prizes, as, so far, the only response to requests for sponsorship had been a £5 voucher from a gardening catalogue company. The application would not be decided before 31 October. A decision was required on whether to hold the prize giving in November or in the spring. John MacDonald agreed to identify two sponsors. It was agreed that the prize giving should be held in November.