Present: Anne Orange (Chair), Michael Grimwood (Secretary, note taker), Helen O'Brien, Bernie Bullbrook, Joe Ward, Richard Moore, Gabrielle Garton Grimwood, Simon Berlyn, John MacDonald, Paul Tobin, Councillor Robert McConnell, Councillor John Whelan
Apologies: Gerry and Daphne Slaughter, Rod Brown, Jane Pickard, James Slattery Kavanagh
Minutes and Matters Arising from Previous Meeting
2. The Secretary apologised for the problem with production of the Minutes, copies were distributed to those attending and would be circulated with the minutes of this meeting.
3. Anne Orange would write to both the Town Centre Manager and Railtrack about the second hand Volvo trading on Auckland Hill and the problems it was causing.
4. John MacDonald mentioned that the cop-shop was not open when it was supposed to be, he had been told this was due to the requirement for Lambeth to support the extra policing in central London. Bernie Bullbrook said that he had raised with the police the lack of a sign in the shop giving opening hours.
5. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood had received a letter from the Lambeth Community Liaison Officer, Ian Bolton, approving a grant of £200 for the Gardens Competition. He would very much like to talk to NAG about other projects that might be funded - he could not promise further funds but had sounded very positive. He had also sent a leaflet about a community grant scheme run by the Co-operative Insurance Society with which, it seemed, he had a link. John MacDonald confirmed he had arranged for three prizes for this year: from the flower stall, the fruit stall and the company he worked for.
Strategy for the Coming Year
6. Anne Orange said that Rod Brown had made two suggestions:
Inviting Beverley Burton of Lambeth Voluntary Action Group. He had spoken to her and she could speak to NAG about financing projects.
Inviting Mr Walter from Go Via (the company taking over the rail service from Connex) to a public meeting on transport.
Bernie Bullbrook referred to a recent news item about the extension of the East London Line to Dulwich. Councillor Whelan mentioned that Transport for London were consulting about the bus routes in Norwood Road (between Lancaster Avenue and the South Circular. Proposals could make life more difficult for businesses (further reducing passing trade). Councillor McConnell mentioned that there were to be meetings on 16 and 18 October in Stockwell and Brixton concerning cross-river transport proposals.
7. Anne Orange, Bernie Bullbrook, Joe Ward and Simon Berlyn all said that St Luke's Gardens ought to be an issue for NAG to pursue. Richard Moore supported the principle suggested at the previous meeting that NAG should focus on two or three major items. He made the point that, not being a council body, NAG could qualify for Lottery funding to progress, for example, St Luke's Gardens. A project involving the Gardens would be a good way to raise NAG's profile. Simon Berlyn said that part of the land at St Luke's was managed by the Council and part remained with the Church. He thought the status of the memorial garden (whether owned, leased or managed by the Council was unclear).
8. Richard Moore said that he had recently spoken to Councillor McGlone who had said that, if invited, he would be very happy to attend the NAG meeting in November to answer questions.
9. Paul Tobin said that from a neighbourhood Watch point of view issues included: getting a proper programme to improve street lights; lopping trees that affected lighting; removing abandoned vehicles; extending CCTV coverage (especially to Rosendale Road); inviting Lambeth parking contractors to explain their enforcement policy.
10. Councillor McConnell suggested that it might be appropriate for the Chair to write to the Met Police Commissioner about the force's new Resource Allocation Formula (RAF) proposals which would reduce the number of police posts in Lambeth.
11. Councillor Whelan hoped that NAG could keep an eye on the sort of major planning issues that arose from time to time. Anne Orange suggested a standing agenda item on planning. Planning and transport were both areas where there were issues for NAG to respond to.
12. Helen O'Brien said that she didn't know where matters stood on the old Library, Councillor McConnell said that the current position was a disgrace.
13. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood agreed that there was need for NAG to carve out a separate role from that of the Forum and Board and set its own agenda on which it could make the running. Crime and Planning were both important issues but were also issues the Forum and Board pursued. She suggested NAG might identify issues involving the environment for example, ones that affected community safety. There were a range of transport problems on which NAG could attempt to drive the debate forward. There was also the example of the Gardens competition. Money had now been granted for this year and there was the possibility of further funding next year but the competition would need more direct support from within NAG. Gabrielle also thought there was scope for NAG to take a lead in debates about the future of Norwood Road and Norwood High Street.
14. Anne Orange invited councillors' views on the impact that NAG could have on planning decisions. Councillor McConnell confirmed that independent views could have a big impact. Richard Moore mentioned that the Planning sub-group of the Board looked at individual planning applications, although he thought the sub-group's views did not always seem to reach the Board.
15. Simon Berlyn thought that if NAG took an interest in the issues it might help to overcome some of the inertia that he thought the planning sub-group was battling against. Simon also mentioned that the Board's role did extend to environmental issues.
16 John MacDonald mentioned that he had taken part in a three-hour walkabout with the Council Leader to look at West Norwood's problems. The walkabout had covered Norwood Road and High Street, Gipsy Hill, Knight's Hill, two parks, Rosendale Road and Waylett Place and had been quite successful. The Council Leader had offered to provide a de-brief on the Gateway Scheme for Luke's Gardens. John invited Anne to attend this to enable a report to be made to NAG, she agreed to.
17. Anne Orange summarised the items raised for consideration for future strategy as: parking, safety, transport, environment (particularly St Luke's Gardens), the Old Library, planning issues, financing projects, the Gardens competition and town centre re-generation. Paul Tobin said that there was a risk that NAG would focus on some issues to the detriment of other equally important ones. Although there were major subjects to be discussed, that might be suitable for a whole meeting, there were also many basic but important issues (eg lighting levels) on which NAG ought to try to exert pressure for improvement.
18. John MacDonald mentioned that he had recently gone on an environmental bus ride organised by the town Centre Manager. He thought more local groups should have been invited so that they could give views on the issues. Councillor Whelan thought it scandalous that councillors had not been invited onto the bus ride. It was agreed that the Chair should write to the Board Chair about NAG and Councillor representation on future such bus rides.
19. Bernie Bullbrook suggested that if town centre re-generation was no longer in the Town Centre Manager's job description NAG should press for it to be re-instated.
20. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood suggested that it was important to distinguish between NAG taking up individual cases of abandoned cars etc and pursuing points of policy with the Council. So far as the individual items were concerned a way forward might be for members to bring lists of these to each meeting which could be forwarded to the Town Centre Manager for action and NAG could monitor performance in dealing with them. She thought NAG could and should pursue the Old Library issue on which the Council seemed to have no fall back position if the youth survey didn't identify a role for it. If NAG had an alternative it might find itself pushing at an open door. As a Board member, she knew that the Board was setting up a re-generation sub-group but NAG could create a separate role to try to pursue re-generation of the High Street.
21. Joe Ward suggested that one way of enabling NAG to consider a wider range of issues would be for people who wanted to raise points to write short papers in advance of meetings to speed discussion of the issues.
22. Councillor Whelan said that Council Leader's walkabout and the environment bus-ride were great initiatives, but actually there should be proper council systems to pick up the sort of concerns/problems these had highlighted. John MacDonald disagreed with the idea of pursuing points potholes etc through the Town Centre Manager. Streetscene should deal with these issues. He suggested inviting Streetscene to a future meeting. Anne Orange recalled that originally the Town Centre Manager was to have some money for dealing with environmental issues. John said this had now changed, which was why contact with Streetscene was important.
23. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood agreed with John in principle but said that the Town Centre Manager's office was monitoring Streetscene performance and she thought it might be worth writing a separate letter to try to clarify the Town Centre Manager's role. Simon Berlyn said that NAG sent letters but rarely saw answers. There was a need to follow through and ensure not just that letters were sent but that replies were received.
24. Michael Grimwood suggested that the list of possible issues for NAG to pursue should be circulated with the minutes and members invited to give their view of priorities. This was agreed.
25. For the next meeting, the meeting voted a) to invite Streetscene, and b) to write to Councillor McGlone thanking him for his interest, as reported by Richard Moore, and saying that NAG would be very pleased if were able to come to a future meeting once the issues about St Luke's Gardens were clarified.
Waste Transfer Station
26. Simon Berlyn reported that the applicant who had withdrawn the planning application for a waste transfer station had subsequently applied for planning permission to use the site for light industrial use and for general industrial use. He had subsequently heard of a new application for use of the site as a waste transfer station but had not seen the application. Asked by Anne Orange, Simon said that there was nothing for NAG to pursue until the planning application could be seen.
Lambeth College Site
27. Simon Berlyn said that a planning application had been made which proposed a self-storage facility, offices and a leisure and fitness suite. In total these were forecast to create up to 100 full time jobs. The outline plans were for all the activities to be housed in industrial style buildings. Simon understood that the council had tried to insist on industrial use for the site, he thought perhaps because, as a college, the site had generated employment. Simon said the site was a sensitive hillside one and he questioned whether the current application represented best use of it.
28. Simon said that the Planning sub-group of the Norwood Board had suggested there should be proper consultation and a public meeting. This had been broadly endorsed by the Board but, he understood, that Council Planning officers were trying to ensure that there should be only one meeting to cover both the waste transfer station proposal and that for the college site. The Norwood Board Chair had suggested a special Forum meeting to discuss the proposals but Simon was concerned about the timing of this in the light of the deadlines set for commenting to the Council on the proposals.
29. Councillor McConnell said that the planning officers did not want a public meeting at this stage because there was only an outline planning application. However, the site was presently designated for employment use and the issue of type of use was crucial. The Council could agree to a change of use at the outline stage. The Council could be pressed to extend the consultation period. There was a link between the old college site and the waste transfer station planning application because the new UDP might put both areas into a multi-use category. Joe Ward added that it was important to learn from the example of the Crystal Palace campaign which only got going after outline planning permission had been granted. That had made objecting much more difficult by limiting the grounds for objection. It was agreed that Anne would write the Chair of the Norwood Board supporting both a public meeting and pressing the Council to extend the consultation period.
Neighbourhood Renewal Update
30. It was agreed to carry this item over to the next meeting and to ask the Town Centre Manager for a paper reporting the position.
Any Other Business
31. Anne Orange asked who else was going to attend the meeting about St Luke's Gardens on 29 October. Gabrielle Garton Grimwood and Richard Moore both said they intended to. Anne suggested that they should go with the intention of taking the lead in the project. Gabrielle suggested sounding out Ian Bolton about the possibility of a small grant to help put together ideas, perhaps to commission a design that could be the basis for a Lottery funding application. Councillor McConnell suggested an approach to the School of Landscape at Greenwich - it might be a suitable student project. Simon Berlyn said that members of the previous St Luke's gardens group should be involved. He added that he knew which firm had restored the railings of St John's church Waterloo - they might have relevant expertise. It was agreed that Anne and Gabrielle should see Ian Bolton and that an approach should be made to Greenwich University.
PRIORITIES FOR NAG
Please use this form to say which things you think it is most important for NAG to pursue.
Please number the issues in order of importance. If you think Safety is most important give that number 1, if environment is the next most important number it 2 and so on.
There is space to add other issues if you think the list is not comprehensive
Please return this to [45 Thurlby Road or 58 Thurlestone Road] or bring it to the next NAG meeting