NORWOOD ACTION GROUP
Notes of the meeting 12 Sept 2006
Jane Pickard (minutes), Anne Orange (chairing), Richard Moore, Pat Fisher, Jeff Avis, Clover Williams
Apologies for absence.
Minutes and Matters Arising
Discussion about making a contribution for the meeting room (basement of
St Luke’s Gardens Update
Pat Fisher reported there had been a meeting of the executive management group, but she had been the only resident representative present. New tenders had come in for the railings. The lowest tender had come in at less than the money we had available although all tenders were to high specs – either replicating the original iron railings or copying them using steel. It had been agreed that Trevor Uprichard, project manager from Lambeth Council, would discuss details with Atkins and English Heritage representatives and report to the Area Committee. If there was a shortfall in the funding, because the lowest tender wasn’t chosen, it looked as if English Heritage would pick up the bill.
The meeting had also discussed a new design for the planting. It had been decided to do away with the rectangular flower beds up the side paths and put a timber edge around the beds at the centre. There would be a purple shrub rose and some trees, but the rest would be grass. The horse chestnut seemed to have been hit by mite, but Lambeth thought it would recover.
It also looked as if there would be no lighting in the grounds although the money available had included £10,000 for lighting. PF had queried this and been told by council officers that the money earmarked could not be held over from one year to another, so we needed to wait until another lighting scheme came up next year.
In the discussion on PF’s report, Richard Moore asked about a water supply for watering the plants. He suggested NAG and/or the Church could put in for a grant for lighting from O2, which was offering grants for community enhancement.
JP and RM objected to the way in which the council officers seemed to have decided among themselves to change the planting design without consulting residents. JP said it was typical of the way the scheme had been run. It had been decided at the start that all major decisions would be taken by the Steering Group, but this hadn’t happened. It was this lack of contact and consultation with the Steering Group which had been partly to blame for the mess we got into over the railings and now it was happening again. It was supposed to be a partnership scheme but had become a council scheme. RM said that it would have been better if Lambeth Horticultural Society had had some input into the planting design.
PF said that in fact residents’ views had been taken into consideration on the planting scheme. For instance, the officer responsible had included lavender and box because the Steering Group had mentioned that after its tour round Lambeth gardens more than a year ago. Also, they had taken out the climbing rose on frames because we weren’t happy with it.
Agreed: JP to ask Trevor Uprichard for a bit of a delay on the planting until the Steering Group had discussed it.
Several people commented on the way in which the cost of the railings seemed suddenly to be within our budget after we had been told repeatedly that it wasn’t and that compromises would have to be made on the design.
Agreed: JP to write to Graham Pycock, chair of the Area Committee, to say that NAG would be interested in discussing the management of the project again, after it was finished.
JP and RM then reported back on the Area Committee investigation into the management of the project.
JP had felt the steering group should have been more closely involved in decision-making and that the council needed to learn more about the art of managing external contractors which was very difficult and challenged many organisations, both public and private sector, in this era of outsourcing.
RM had suggested the council needed contract management specialists but had been told that the last administration had got rid of them. RM had also criticised the management of the planning application process. It was a structural failure within the council.
JP reported that she had attended an open-air meeting at the cross roads between officers of Transport for
It now appeared that TfL officers were happy with the Lambeth Council plan for a pedestrian phase without creating an extra bus lane. It would, however, involve a longer red light for traffic on York Hill and
There had been agreement that it was better to go ahead with the pedestrian phase and then tweak it if necessary in response to reactions from the public, bus companies, etc, than not to have it at all.
There was a discussion about the fact that heavy goods vehicles were now being diverted along
There was not enough time for a full discussion and the membership secretary wasn’t present. But it was suggested that AO investigate a grant application for capacity building to increase membership and that we try a team approach to building members from existing data rather than relying on one person. AO also to investigate a BT grant to help volunteers financially to take time off from their jobs for voluntary work and offer broadband access for free..