Highams Park Forum
HIGHAMS PARK FORUM
1) Welcome & Introductions
Graham Reeve chaired the meeting on behalf of chair Oliver Shykles who was unable to attend. Mike Payne took the minutes.
2) Matters arising from minutes of meeting 11th June 2018
There were no matters arising.
3) Action List: Review of outstanding items
The Action List was reviewed and updated (distributed separately from these minutes). Three items of interest are listed below:
· Item A589 relates to the need for better anti idling signs at the level crossing. New signs (much larger and of a more standard design to those currently present) can be expected in about 2 weeks.
· Item A630 relates to data from the diffusion tube monitoring station at the junction of Hale End Road and The Avenue. This is useful in looking at the impact of the behaviour of traffic queues waiting at the level crossing. After the meeting Cllr RD provided to MP (for circulation to Forum members) the annual report on air quality monitoring for the borough in 2017 and the raw data for the Highams Park diffusion tubes collected since their activation in October 2017. This shows that all three tubes present at the monitoring site measure Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and that readings are taken monthly. Apparently, the measurements indicate at this stage that the objective for NO2 at the crossing will be met but it will be interesting to see the impact of the new anti-idling signs when installed.
The annual review on air quality and the raw data for the Highams Park diffusion tubes have been placed in a shared folder which supports these minutes. The contents of the folder can be viewed by clicking this link: https://tinyurl.com/HPF23JUL18
· Item A623 relates to problems relating to the residents using the central Switch2 heating system which shuts down when the Tesco fire alarm is triggered. Cllr RD has written to Switch2 for an update on resolving the issue.
4) Lobbying for Borough of Culture funding
The process of providing "London Borough of Culture" funding to local groups is referred to as "Fellowship Funding" and £0.5 million is available. The application/bidding process has now been agreed and will open in September 2018. Full details can be found by following this link: https://walthamforest.gov.uk/content/make-it-your-year-funding-and-volunteering-opportunities-first-ever-london-borough-culture
Attendees agreed that the Forum should play a part by encouraging local groups to apply and perhaps apply for a project itself. It was noted that there were 3 funds which could be summarised as "Activities", "Projects" and "Venue Improvements".
5) Feedback from Highams Park Forum Representation at Highams Park Day (14th July)
Attendees congratulated the organisers for a very good day. There were a good number of visitors to the Forum's display and many interesting conversations were had with local residents.
6) Hatch Lane Ward Forum Meeting - 7th August, 7pm, All Saints Church
A ward forum meeting will take place for the residents of Hatch Lane Ward on Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 7pm in All Saints Church, Church Avenue, E4 9QD. On the agenda will be:
· WARD FUNDING 2018 - a vote to indicate to Councillors which of the items submitted should receive funding (the list of items under consideration will be available at the meeting).
· DISCUSSION WITH COUNCILLORS on matters of concern to the Ward.
The HP Forum will put in an application for funding for the period until the end of 2019. MP tabled a budget setting out the likely expenditure for that period and RT has agreed to prepare the application. The budget demonstrates that the HP Forum's costs are very low, consisting mainly of room hire and web hosting fees for a very basic hosting package.
7) Transport & Street Scene
a) Proposed changes to bus stops and status of bus times
TC highlighted a consultation currently in progress by TfL and LBWF known as "Walthamstow Gyratory Bus Changes". This relates to proposed changes to Walthamstow Central bus stops and timetables which may impact Highams Park residents. The consultation runs until 3rd August. TC showed the meeting a response to the consultation from pressure group "Save our buses" which is very critical of the proposed changes.
The consultation can be seen here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/walthamstow-gyratory/
The Save our buses response has been placed in a shared folder which supports these minutes. The contents of the folder can be viewed by clicking this link: https://tinyurl.com/HPF23JUL18
b) Feedback from activation of the new ticket barriers at the station (Wednesday 13th June)
As planned, the barriers were activated Wednesday 13th June 2018 and the exit via the underpass was closed from that day onwards. As expected (and as predicted to TfL in advance) the closure of the exit was unpopular and caused significant issues during the evening rush hours due to increased numbers trying to use the footbridge.
TfL have now responded positively to the problem and have agreed to open the subway exit during the evening rush hours from 5pm-7pm on weekdays. The ticket validators at that exit will be turned back on during those hours to allow passengers to touch in and out there.
c) The water leak at the station
Attendees expressed concern that the significant water leak outside the station entrance (in the car park) had been left for such a long time. Several members had raised it with staff and had been told that it had been reported.
Attendees were not clear who owns the land where the leak is present and therefore who is responsible. Is it TfL, Network Rail, the train operator, NCP, or LBWF?
Just prior to the meeting MP checked the Thames Water website which shows the location of reported leaks. The station leak was not shown on the map so MP reported it via that site. However, at the time of writing the minutes (25JUL18) the leak had not been added to the map.
d) New trains unveiled
RT alerted members to the details released about new trains which will run on the Chingford - Liverpool Street line (probably in mid 2019). The trains will have air conditioning, WiFi, and USB charging points.
An item has been added to the "News" page on the Forum's website with information and links to a video tour of the trains. The news page can be seen here: http://www.highamsparkforum.co.uk/news.html
e) Parking over dropped kerbs: Who to contact
A number of people have asked how to deal with vehicles parked over dropped kerbs preventing residents access to their driveways.
The following information was provided by Cllr Marion Fitzgerald (and from Jeff Beaton who had used the service):
LBWFs agent NSL will ticket and remove offending vehicles if requested by the owner of the driveway. They can be contacted on 020 3092 0112 (Option 5) and on Sunday on 0779 369 7477.
f) Renting out a parking space on your drive
JB showed the meeting a leaflet which had been put through his door purporting to come from a person looking to rent a parking space on his drive. He asked whether anyone else had received one but no one had.
The letter was slightly odd in that it referred to a specific day when parking was required. This seemed a lot of effort (delivering to several houses) for one day. Attendees wondered if this was actually a means for an agent to introduce themselves, selling the services of one of the many "rent your drive" websites.
Attendees warned that some councils require planning permission to rent space on your drive since they regard it as a commercial operation. LBWFs stance on this was not known at the meeting.
8) Planning & Development
[To the reader: We are advised that comments on planning applications sent to the planning department from individual residents carry more weight than a group letter from an organisation. If you would like to see the details of any planning application, including plans and any decision documents, you need to visit the council's website here: http://planning.walthamforest.gov.uk/application-search and enter the relevant application id. that is shown below.]
a) Fairview Homes proposals for the Naseberry Court site (2, Merriam Close, E4 9JQ)
At the Forum meeting MP reported that a planning application was not yet visible on the council planning website. However, since the meeting, the application has appeared under application id: 182249.
In November 2016 outline plans were submitted for this site (original application id 163572) seeking outline planning permission. This proposal was for 48 residential units. In March 2018 the developer commenced a consultation of local residents regarding a new proposal which incorporates 118 residential units. Details of the proposal can be seen here: www.fairviewnaseberrycourt.co.uk
b) The following 4 applications, which the Forum has been following closely, went to planning committee on 3rd July. Attendees thanked all those who spoke at the meeting. The decisions are shown below:
i. Application Id.170081: No. 2 The Charter Road - Demolition of existing house, and construction of an 8 apartment block.
Decision: Planning officers proposed approval but the committee declined the application unanimously.
The Highams Park Planning Group have written to planning officers, objecting to this application demonstrating the problems with the application and how it does not adhere to the principles set out in the emerging Highams Park Plan.
Cllrs Rackham and Fitzgerald both asked for this to be referred to the Planning Committee, if officers were minded to approve it.
DJ noted (like a number of residents from the Highams Estate) that the site is in a conservation area and felt that the development should not be permitted.
ii. Application Id.173176: Demolishment of 73 Falmouth Avenue and construction of an apartment block plus extension to 75 Falmouth Avenue.
Decision: The committee approved the application unanimously.
73 Falmouth Avenue is a large double fronted detached house built in the 1860s. 75 Falmouth Avenue is a small modern block of flats. The proposed development incorporates both sites; demolition of number 73 plus a small extension into the space behind number 75. The existing use of space behind number 75 will be changed by the proposal, integrating the two buildings (e.g. relocation of the car park so it is adjacent to the gardens of adjoining properties).
Nearby residents have expressed concerns about the proposed development and Cllr Fitzgerald asked for this to be referred to the Planning Committee, if officers were minded to approve it.
iii. Planning ref 172438: 19-21 The Avenue. Change of use: Care home (Class D1) to HMO (Class C4).
Decision: Planning officers proposed approval but the committee declined the application (3 votes against 2).
Attendees were concerned that the building already seems to have a number of occupants despite not having planning permission.
This application (Planning ref 172438) was submitted 31st July. Graham Reeve for the Forum has objected based on a number of reasons, not least of which is that some of the rooms are smaller than the Council's minimum space standards for HMO and have to share facilities. The HPPG has also objected and has stated a preference for the building to remain as a care home since there appears to be a demand for such facilities. It was also pointed out in the objection that the development does not meet the standards required by Policy HDA3 of the emerging Highams Park Neighbourhood Plan created by the HPPG.
The owner engaged a PR company to approach residents (by meetings and knocking on doors) with the intention of putting their minds at rest and reducing the level of objections. Attendees who had received this briefing were not impressed and remained concerned about the proposal. 14 occupants in the space of two semi-detached houses (each occupant quite possibly bringing a van or car) seems likely to cause issues with their neighbours.
At previous meetings attendees were concerned at the possibility of setting a precedent. Converting family homes to HMOs is likely to be attractive to landlords since it yields significantly greater rental income.
iv. Application Id.181027: Proposed development at 70 The Avenue, backing onto Castle Ave.
Decision: Planning officers proposed that it should be declined and the committee upheld this.
This is the 5th set of proposals for this site that the council has consulted on.
The application relates to a proposal to demolish half a semi-detached garage and create a small residential property on a very constrained plot at the bottom of a garden in The Avenue. The plot would open onto Castle Avenue. The development would be problematic for a number of reasons discussed at previous meetings.
A number of applications have been made for this site, each varying the precise location and size of the property. Each has been refused to-date. This latest application is for a small sunken bungalow, built at a level below the street level of Castle Avenue. This is very similar to an earlier application which was supported by planning officers but rejected by the planning committee.
Cllr Fitzgerald asked for this application to be referred to the Planning Committee, if officers were minded to approve it.
9) Brief Updates:
a) HP Plan update
MP, on behalf of Gordon Turpin, chair of the Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG), gave a brief update on the progress of the development of The Highams Park Plan.
The HPPG Coordinating Committee met 18th June and agreed the wording of the final version of the plan.
The plan is now with statutory consultees until 13th August. Any feedback from this may require the plan to be tweaked slightly before it is then formally submitted to the council.
b) Highams Park's Library ("Hale End Library")
The HPPG continues to work with Library staff to expand uses for the library and a working party of residents and library staff continues to meet regularly. Our library has been selected to pilot a number of new and positive initiatives which will eventually be rolled out to other libraries in the borough.
The library is in the process of being connected up to the council's 24/7 control centre based in the town hall. This will make out of hours use much more practical since access and activation/deactivation of the alarm can be controlled remotely, removing the need for staff or a caretaker to attend to let hirers into the building.
c) Abbots Crescent waste bin promptly relocated.
Attendees were impressed by the speed of response of council staff. At the last Forum meeting it was noted that the new waste bin installed in the Abbotts Crescent garden had been placed right next to the seat. This rather spoilt the experience for users of the seat. However, less than 24 hours after the end of the last Forum meeting, council staff had relocated the bin to a much better location, further from the seat.
d) Proposal for Handsworth Primary School to become an academy has been dropped
The Governors of Hansdworth Primary School have been considering the possibility of converting the school into an academy and have been consulting staff and parents. On 22nd June 2018 they decided to halt their plans. Full details can be found here: http://www.handsworthprimary.org.uk/MAP.aspx?pid=GovernorsNews_en-GB&aid=nn_235816934_85843282
Available on a link from that page is an FAQ page which explains why it was being considered and the likely impacts.
10) Any other business
a) Feedback from Chapel End Police ward panel
The subject was discussed of the merger of the LBWF and LB Newham police forces. Assurances were given that this would not adversely impact the level of service experienced by residents. It was intended to create savings by sharing administration resources. By completing paperwork using tablets in cars it was intended that there would be less need for officers to return to a (more remote) base.
Anyone can attend these meetings and members who had attended recommended them and said that in the absence of regular ward forum meetings these panels sometimes cover subjects which would not normally be considered "policing" topics.
Hale End and Highams Park Police Ward Panel is scheduled for tomorrow (24th July).
b) Progress on the Regal development
Following the planning approval, this development is going ahead. Cllrs suggested that the cinemas could be expected to open to the public before the end of 2020. HE&HP councillors met with senior representatives from Rio (the cinema operator) for a discussion and brief walk about in Highams Park. They talked about events in the run up to the opening, especially in the context of the 2019 borough of culture. It was suggested that the cinema may operate as a "members" organisation (at a low annual membership cost) to encourage a sense of ownership by residents. This could also operate as a discount card.
c) Community Road Watch in Hale End Road
A Community Road Watch Session will take place in the Southern portion of Hale End Road in September. This involves residents working with police to measure the speeds of vehicles and issue warnings to speeders. Anyone interested in participating should contact HE&HP ward councillors.
d) Clean up task force in HE&HP ward Thursday (26th June)
The council's clean up team will be dealing with issues (e.g. fly tipping) in HE&HP ward on Thursday (26th June). Anyone who is aware of any areas requiring their attention should contact the ward councillors.
11) Items for next agenda
No specific items were proposed.
12) Confirm date, time for next meeting
meeting will be held on Monday 10th September 2018 at 7:30pm in the
Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.