NORWOOD ACTION GROUP
Notes of the meeting 11 July 2006
Jane Pickard (minutes), Anne Orange (chairing), Chris Pointon, Bernie Bullbrook, Richard Moore, Rod Brown, Pat Fisher, Jeff Avis
Apologies for absence.
Coun David Malone
St Luke’s Gardens Update
Members of the St Luke’s Gardens Steering Group reported back on progress re the railings problem. Jane Pickard distributed copies of her report describing how the tender for the railings ended up being calculated on the basis of three-foot high posts which were clearly inadequate. The report had been approved by the steering group and was going to the Area Committee later that week.
Steering group members said it now appeared that Atkins was going to re-tender for railings which replicated the originals. English Heritage had urged the council to apply for a grant for the work. However, there were fears that, even with a grant, replica railings would be too expensive. The steering group had not originally expected cast iron to be used or the cross sections to replicate the originals.
Richard Moore sd English Heritage would have to approve the railings design even if it didn’t agree a grant. And Michael Copeman, Lambeth Council’s conservation officer, would only support restoration of the railings as near as possible to the originals. The old castings from the restored railings at
Bernie Bullbrook said we wanted the job done properly, regardless of cost. But Chris Pointon said that if the cost was astronomical we would need to have a conversation with English Heritage to ask if other church railings required this kined of investment or whether there were compromises available.
There were mixed views about this: CP and JP were happy to compromise if necessary, BB and Jeff Avis wanted full restoration, Richard Moore wanted restoration as approved by English Heritage and proposed applying for further funding if necessary, Pat Fisher would go along with an English Heritage compromise but suggested we waited until the tenders had come in before making a decision. Rod Brown felt the whole design was old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy and that something much more imaginative could have been done with the space.
There was a discussion about general lessons to be learnt from the railings experience. A number of steering group members and NAG members felt they had not been sufficiently involved in the process. NAG had initiated the project with the church, but in the past year architects and council officers had not attended a steering group meeting let alone a NAG meeting. They were part of the executive group but even this had not met regularly.
The meeting agreed:
1.. NAG would like the railings to be as close a replica as possible to the originals, but would be guided on this by English Heritage.
2. We needed to see the new designs that were going out to retender.
3. NAG would like the Area Committee and others involved to use this experience to learn lessons about partnership working.
4. Members of the community should not be excluded from regular consultation on the progress of the project.
5. The executive group comprising half the steering group plus council officers, Atkins and others should meet regularly.
6. Information on critical stages of the project, such as design drawings and decisions by the executive group should be written down and passed to NAG via the steering group.
7. Further discussion on the project to be resumed after the new tenders had come in and the new cost of the project was known.
JP pointed out that we had heard nothing on this for months and suggested we try to promote some community involvement in any decision which might be being hammered out among officers of Lambeth and TfL.
Agreed JP to organise a meeting between officers and NAG representatives.
Norwood Rail Users’ Group: JP reported that the group was waiting for Tessa Jowell’s office to organise a meeting with the relevant transport minister over First Capital Connect (formerly Thameslink).
1. RM said he feared
2. CP and JP had reviewed the website run by former member James Slattery Kavanagh and the process of receiving notification of meetings by registering through a blogger system. This was a new system and not all NAG members had registered on it. JP suggested it might be easier for NAG to distributed agendas and minutes to those members with computers through means of a simple email distribution list. Agreed that we would maintain the blogger system for now but discuss distribution and membership in the autumn.
3. Agreed not to hold a meeting in August. Next meeting: Tuesday, 12 September.