Present: Anne Orange (Chair), Michael Grimwood (note-taker), Jane Pickard, Helen O'Brien, Richard Moore, Gerald Slaughter, Joe Ward, John Macdonald, Angela Woodward, Graham Fearon-Wilson, James Slattery-Kavanagh, Jeremy Galloway, Pat Fisher, Bernie Bulbrook,
Geraldine Evans, Derek Taylor (friends of Knights Hill Park), Janet Grigg, Simon Berlyn.
2. Minutes and Matters Arising from the February Meeting
2.1. Item 4, Graham Fearon-Wilson said that his comment in relation to trees at the school playing field site in St Julians Farm Road was that he thought some trees had been cut down. Michael Grimwood reported that Councillor Gerry Evans had written to say that her comments on this matter had not been as reported. She had pointed out that Lambeth, like other local authorities, is under pressure from central Govt to find space for more homes (27,000 for Lambeth). Planners would no doubt be aware of this if an application for housing were made. However, this is not to say that the Council wants housing there.
2.2 Item 5, James Slattery-Kavanagh said that Susie Rowe had offered to write a news piece on the Gardens competition, not to have competition posters distributed with the paper.
2.3 Item 6, para 6.2, John MacDonald had not said that expansion of the Norwood Park site would be cheaper, he had said that such expansion was an option, he could not tell whether it would be cheaper.
3. St Luke's Gardens
3.1 Simon Berlyn had advised the chair that a meeting in connection with the project was to take place on Thursday. There had been a meeting with an architect and funding was in place for an architect's brief. Anne Orange noted that Simon and Luke Wickings were doing excellent jobs as Secretary and Chair of the project group and added that NAG could be proud of its role in initiating the project.
3.2 Richard Moore said that a real innovation was that a police officer trained in designing out crime would contribute to the preparation of the architects brief (rather than the more usual situation where attempts to design out crime were not made until further into a project). This might become a model approach across the Met Police area. John MacDonald added that the officer would also be drawing on experience in Westminster, which had demonstrated the crucial importance of taking the public's views into account. Bernie Bullbrook mentioned that all the borough crime prevention officers were now to undertake the relevant designing out crime training.
4. School Playing Fields – St Julians Farm Road
4.1 Graham Fearon-Wilson had written to the South London Press about the matter, but his letter had not been published. Gerry Slaughter wondered whether, if the council itself could not afford to buy the site, it might be able to attract funding from Government or the Sports Council. Richard Moore suggested that if a partnership could be established with a school, it might be possible to get Lottery funding. He suggested contacting school governing Bodies to propose this. Graham Fearon-Wilson would write to Chairs of Governors, copied to head teachers and (at Richard Moore's suggestion) to Helena Kowalska as the relevant co-ordinator for governors.
5. NAG Gardens Competition 2003
5.1 James Slattery-Kavanagh had produced A4 posters and had brought copies for circulation. Distributors were needed. John MacDonald volunteered to do Norwood Road. Jeremy Galloway said that he was now able to produce A3 or A4 colour posters. Richard Moore suggested copies should go on notice boards under the control of the Town Centre Manager and railway station managers could be asked to display posters. Other possible sites were the South London Theatre, blocks of flats, B&Q, the Floral Hall and schools. He added that the Communities Against Drugs programme was due to fund community safety notice boards, but these also might be suitable.
6. Knights Hill Recreation Ground
6.1 Michael Grimwood reported that the Friends of Knights Hill Park had been invited to attend the meeting to give their views on the proposed nursery. Although unable to attend, the Chair of the Friends, Derek Taylor had provided written comments:
"The friends is a small group of about six people who have not met for several months now. At one of our last meetings we invited Graeme from Platform and Barbara from Ujima to share their plans with us. This being a follow on from when Barbara last came to a meeting about a year previously.
The feeling was that this is a nursery looking for relocation rather than a park needing refurbishment, which is how the friends group sees it.
We had been working with Sam Woodberry at the Town Centre Team before she went of sick. Our moves then were to invite the Countryside Commission to see if they could help us with the water problem. We invited Doorstep Green to talk about proposals for making a garden area. We were feeling confident that in such a small area, relatively speaking compared to Norwood or Brockwell Parks, that the need was for a local park where local residents could enjoy some peace and quiet, play on safe children's equipment, go to the toilet, walk their dog, play football, ... These are the things which were talked about in the survey that was completed back in 2001.
Even after looking at the current plans for a single storey building, with access to Dassett Road, I personally do not feel it is the best use of a much needed green space. Yes it does tackle the derelict building and may do something about the water drainage problem BUT it feels to cut the park in half. For someone who takes their children on a weekly basis to run of steam, I would feel uncomfortable going in and out past the nursery. I believe the survey of traffic that was submitted with the plans is misleading as it shows some areas of the streets where it is not possible or would be dangerous to park at. It does not show the street in the evening when it is hoped that this facility would be open for community use.
I hope these comments are helpful to your meeting."
6.2. John MacDonald echoed the view that this park should be a local facility, that Norwood Park was more suitable for a development of the sort proposed - it had the necessary space - and that the traffic survey had been inadequate. He also pointed out that without resolving the drainage problems (argued over for 10 years between the Council's Housing and Parks Depts) nothing would work on the site. Gerry Slaughter said that the infrastructure and ongoing provision for running costs was in place for Norwood Park, not for Knights Hill. Knights Hill Park had been donated to the Borough 100 yrs ago because, being waterlogged, it was no use to the former owners. Bernie Bullbrook thought such a development would seek to serve Croydon as well as Lambeth.
6.3. Helen O'Brien pointed out that to get Surestart funding the development had to be in Knights Hill ward. There was no necessary incompatibility between a play area and the develop Graham Fearon-Wilson said that he was concerned that in the long-term there would be expansion to take over more of the park. Jane Pickard said it was not clear what the level of interest/concern was amongst local residents in the immediate area. Helen O'Brien said that the Holderness estate tenants and residents association did not seem to have much interest. Graham Fearon-Wilson wondered if it could be left as an unmanaged open space - Anne Orange thought that rather than developing as a wild area in such circumstances the space would just become derelict.
6.4. Pat Fisher said that she had had long involvement with attempts to improve the park. No one had money to fund the drainage improvements. Local views had been sought at the fun day held in the park. Local residents had not been keen on the original, much larger proposals for development and nursery appeared to be a commercial venture. There were many problems with the park apart from drainage – unsuitable planting, broken drain covers, gates that didn't shut properly and locals were scared of what happened in the park. The park is needed as a play area for young children and a kick about space for older ones. James Slattery-Kavanagh suggested the Council be asked to confirm who is responsible for dealing with the drainage problem.
7. NAG Constitution - Civic Society
7.1. It was agreed that this should be the main item for the next meeting agenda with the intention that a formal proposal should be made at the AGM. The description of aims of a Civic Society appeared to be close to what NAG was pursuing. Material from the Civic Trust Website is enclosed with these minutes.
8. Day and Time of NAG Meetings
8.1. John MacDonald was disappointed at the fall off in Councillor attendance. This appeared to be attributable to their council commitments. There was some discussion of alternative days for NAG meetings but no clear view was reached. It was proposed that the next meeting should start at 7.00pm. This was carried with three against and one abstention.
9. Any Other Business
9.1. Jane Pickard had received an invitation to an event organised by Lambeth Voluntary Action Council on 11 April from 12-7pm at Stockwell. Richard Moore expressed interest and said he might be able to attend.
9.2. Gerry Slaughter expressed concern about developments signalled in a newsletter from Lambeth Primary Health Care Trust. There was to be investment in refurbishment and expansion in some places (eg Crown Dale health centre) but it seemed to mean that services elsewhere would suffer (eg other GPs wouldn't take blood samples, there would be increasing requirements to provide hospital transport for services that could have been provided by GPs). Gerry suggested NAG could invite the Chief Executive of the Trust (Kevin Barton, based at 1 Lower Marsh) to explain why spending was taking place on refurbishment at the expense of other GP services.
9.3. John MacDonald mentioned that the Crown Lane school site had been occupied by travellers who appeared to be creating a great deal of mess.
9.4. John MacDonald noted the large increase in Council Tax and wondered about the explanation. It was agreed he should write to ask the Council for an explanation on NAG's behalf.
9.5. James Slattery-Kavanagh mentioned the sad death of his friend Doug Barnes the well known and respected Chair of the Chamber of Commerce. NAG would write to express condolences to his widow. James would be ready on request to let people know details of the funeral arrangements, when they had been made.
9.6 NAG AGM - it was agreed that this should be the June meeting, on the second Tuesday in June. Emmaus would be invited to make a presentation. Angela Woodward from Emmaus had attended this meeting and it was clear that many members were interested in Emmaus' work in the area.