Present: Anne Orange (chair), Jane Pickard (minutes), Ann Ridley, Helen O'Brien, Pat Fisher, Clover Williams, Richard Moore, Jeff Avis, Joe Ward, Rod Brown.
Apologies: Michael Grimwood.
Minutes and Matters Arising Minutes were agreed.
1. There was some discussion about how to exploit the idea of Tulse Hill as a transport hub.
Agreed that we would brainstorm this at the next meeting, looking at bus routes to and from the station, bus access, the implications of the new secondary school there and possibilities for some limited station parking.
2. The meeting heard that the old library project was now almost complete and the building would soon be in use. Anne Orange thanked those whose efforts had helped get the old library restored, particularly WNCD and Coun Robert McConnell, who had campaigned over many years; also Coun Jackie Meldrum who initiated the application for the SRB grant. Coun McConnell stressed that NAG's support was also invaluable. Anne said she felt it would give a boost to the St Luke's Gardens project.
3. Richard Moore said the council was offering the South London Theatre the chance to buy its building. He said we could have our own arts festival. The whole area around the church was a site of historical interest and if completely restored could bring money in.
Jane Pickard and Rod Brown reported that, in their role as members of the forum's transport sub-group, they had met Tessa Jowell and two Strategic Rail Authority representatives the previous week, along with Coun Jeremy Baker, Kanti Patel and town centre manager Khadiru Mahdi. The meeting had been to protest at the removal of the East London Line extension from its planned route through Tulse Hill to an alternative route further north and to see if there was a chance of improvements to Thameslink instead.
The SRA men had held out no hope of improvements of any kind for users of Tulse Hill station. Tessa Jowell had said this was unacceptable and further meetings were planned to explore the detailed facts and possible improvements. The sub-group members had proposed a further public meeting, although Tessa Jowell had appeared not to be keen.
Agreed that NAG back the idea of a public meeting, sending a message to the forum that it wanted to support a Thameslink meeting involving councillors, Tessa Jowell and others to take forward the campaign. This should happen as soon as possible and definitely before the next forum meeting.
Richard Moore said the town centre manager had been asked to find the answer to our question put to the area committee about the loss of Norwood's Lambeth Council community safety officer. We have been promised the money is still there for a replacement, but it takes time - up to six months - to recruit one. Meanwhile, Pat Fisher said there were concerns that some of the money ear-marked for community safety might go towards the bill for extending the contracts of community development officers. JP suggested we write to the town centre to find out if the money ear-marked was still intact. Agreed.
St Luke's Gardens
Members of the steering group reported that various applications for funding had been sent off. The next step was to visit some of the sites funded by Southwark Groundwork, one of the bodies which might provide funding for an architect and project management. Anne said she was available at half-term to go on a visit.
St Julian's Playing Field
Robert McConnell said the planning appeal had been fixed for 30 March at Lambeth town hall. But it was an informal hearing. Jeremy Baker was going and someone ought to go for NAG. Gerry Evans was getting all the schools to express their strong need for a playing field. Joe Ward asked if we had explored funding or support from the National Playing Fields Association. Richard suggested we approach the Environmental Law Society which might help with publicity.
Agreed that JP, Joe Ward, if available, and Pat Fisher should go to the appeal. JP should email Gerry on an approach to the playing fields association. Also it was agreed to pass on our condolences for the death in her family.
Any Other Business
1. Jeff Avis said he had spoken to Val Shawcross, the GLA member, at the forum meeting, about the York Hill junction, after which she visited the site and confirmed it was dangerous to pedestrians. She would try to bring her influence to bear on getting a speedy improvement, as it was part of the 68 bus route which came within her remit, even though it wasn't a TfL route. Robert McConnell said he thought it would be a priority for next year.
2. Pat Fisher reported that a team from NAG and the board had come second at the Mayor's Quiz Night.
3. Richard reported that the council's new licensing policy was out for consultation. Local authorities had taken over licensing of pubs and alcohol at public events from magistrates. There had been criticism of the Lambeth policy and concern about whether the council had the people to operate it. Anne Orange said it was incumbent on all of us to read the policy and respond. Robert said it was budgeted for.
4. Richard suggested we might be able to take advantage of some courses in community safety being run by the Community Safety Advisory Service and the Black and Ethnic Minority Cracking Crime Project.
5. Jeff Avis said he understood B&Q in West Norwood was definitely closing. He felt the site should be a carpark. Robert McConnell said he had heard a major developer was looking at the whole site including the laundry. The whole site was owned by a single property company. If a major supermarket built on the site, that would provide a carpark. But it would also generate a lot more traffic. Richard Moore said that an academic report out the previous week commissioned by the Greens said categorically that supermarkets in town centres ruined local shops. Ann Orange suggested we all keep an eye on it.
6. Helen O'Brien said she could only manage one more meeting at St Matthews. Agreed: we approach Luke Wickings about hiring one of the St Luke's rooms. Also that we make a donation to St Matthews for their past generosity.