Highams Park Forum
HIGHAMS PARK FORUM
1) Welcome & Introductions
Roger Torode chaired the meeting on behalf of chair Oliver Shykles who was unable to attend. Mike Payne took the minutes.
2) Mary Dunhill
RT spoke on behalf of all members in an expression of great sadness at the passing of Mary Dunhill, one of the founder members of the Forum and a major contributor to many of the Forum's projects over the years.
Mary was involved in many activities and especially those involving wildlife, such as the protection of trees and the creation of the wildflower meadow in the park. Her creativity came into play for the Forum's exhibitions at Highams Park Day; the year of the Tudor theme remains fondly in the mind of many people when she took on the huge task of making costumes for all the Forum participants. And back in 2002, Mary was one of the small group who successfully campaigned to save the signal box from demolition.
Mary's book "A History of Highams Park & Hale End" remains the definitive history of the area and I'm sure we'll all think of her fondly every time we consult it. She will be greatly missed.
3) Matters arising from minutes of meeting 23rd July 2018
Item 7e (Parking over dropped kerbs: Who to contact): JB noted that the hours of operation of the phone line are as follows:
· Monday - Saturday: 6:30am to 10pm
· Sunday : 9am to 5pm
Item 7f (Renting out parking spaces on drives): The minutes show that attendees were suspicious of a letter received, purporting to be from a local resident, and suspected they that it was part of a marketing campaign. Following the meeting, the Forum received a message (via Facebook) from the resident in question (who had read the minutes) explaining that the request in the letter was totally genuine and personal; not part of a marketing campaign at all. The Forum's suspicions were unfounded.
4) Action List: Review of outstanding items
The Action List was reviewed and updated (distributed separately from these minutes). One item of specific interest is listed below:
· Item A618 relates to the project to plant a tree with circular seat at the junction of The Broadway and Larkshall Road. The tree planting season starts in November. A Black Walnut tree (as large as the site can bear) is due to be planted and GT has asked for it to be done before Xmas so the works don't impact the Xmas Fayre. If possible, officers intend to do the site preparation works (and identification of underground services) prior to the start of the planting season, so the planting can take place as early as possible.
5) Borough of Culture "Fellowship Funding" opens today (10th Sept)
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 opens today (10th September).
Attendees agreed that the Forum should encourage 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".
The official announcement is quoted below between asterisks:
Full details can be found by following this link: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWALTHAM/bulletins/209ef7b
6) Waltham Forest News delivery monitoring
Waltham Forest News (WFN), the free newspaper published by LBWF, is intended to be delivered free to all households in the borough. Attendees noted that the subject of missing WFN deliveries has been a common topic at numerous Forum meetings. Because the paper does not only contain news but also official announcements (e.g. planning, road changes, grants, etc.) this can sometimes have a big impact, because parties can be left in the dark about changes/opportunities and miss relevant deadlines.
Following a discussion it was agreed that the Forum should publish a document to all members containing the following:
A schedule containing:
1. The planned production dates of each numbered issue into the long term future.
2. The dates when residents can expect to receive delivery of each.
3. The date by which a delivery should be deemed to have been missed.
4. An email point of contact to report missing deliveries.
Cllr Tim James volunteered to seek out such a document and provide it to MP for distribution.
Forum members will then be asked to check receipt of WFM against the schedule and report non delivery to the appropriate email address (with cc to MP).
7) Rubbish bags on the pavement - A shop resident's perspective
The Forum has often discussed the problems associated with rubbish bags left on the pavement at the wrong times by residents living above shops. Attendees CH & BB live over a shop in The Avenue and were able to provide the meeting with a first-hand perspective.
The properties are not provided with wheelie bins for weekly collection but are instead asked to put out waste and recycling in plastic bags during very precise time windows. These are: Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6am and 9am. Bags found on the pavement outside these hours are liable to a £150 penalty.
Attendees highlighted problems with this system:
1. Some residents are not clear on the collection times (or ignore them) and appear to put bags out at the wrong times. Bags are then broken open by foxes. The council's enforcement procedure is intended to prevent this.
2. The bags look unsightly and can be broken open even when put out at the correct times.
3. Residents who work shifts may be at work during the approved time windows and are therefore unable to comply.
4. If bags are missed by the collecting teams (for whatever reason) it can then appear that the resident has put out a bag at the wrong time and they risk receiving an unwarranted fine.
BB is currently challenging a fine which claims she put out a bag at the wrong time. She is clear that the bag was put out at the correct time but was not collected and was later found by the enforcement team. It is then very hard to prove your innocence. Likewise it is hard to prove guilt. The system is very unsatisfactory and flawed.
CH remembers a time (perhaps 10 years ago) when residents above shops did have proper bins and is unclear as to why this was changed. It was suggested that perhaps this was because of lack of storage space for bins but it was pointed out that the shops themselves have commercial bins and a place to store them.
Cllr Fitzgerald is in the process of arranging a meeting between council officers, CH, BB, and also MP (to represent the Forum) to better understand the issues and explore possible solutions.
8) Concerns over "Aldriche Way Public Square"
Some residents who live close to the new area known as "Aldriche Way Public Square" have fears about possible noise and disturbance. They say that whilst there was consultation on how the site should be utilised, there was not the option to leave the site unchanged.
Many people (particularly young people) are excited by the prospect and see many positives, so ward councillors are trying to find a way forward which is acceptable to all. Forum attendees wondered if CCTV would provide some comfort but it was suggested that the cost would be prohibitive and there was little left in the development grant to contribute.
It was suggested that residents should have a specific number to call in the event of any issues so that issues could be highlighted early on and be resolved quickly. Cllr Tony Bell suggested that the Hale End & Highams Park ward councillors could take on this role.
9) Feedback from Hatch Lane Ward Forum Meeting - 7th August, 7pm, All Saints Church
A ward forum meeting took take place for the residents of Hatch Lane Ward on Tuesday 7th August 2018. The main item on the agenda was for attendees to vote on residents' applications to receive portions of the £10,000 ward funding for 2018/19.
The ward councillors noted the level of votes for each application and approved all but 2 applications (which had received low numbers of votes). The approved applications totalled almost exactly £10,000 so the councillors increased the approved grants very slightly to fully utilise the £10,000.
The HP Forum put in an application for funding for the period until the end of 2019. This was one of the successful applications, and received a £300 grant.
10) Transport & Street Scene
a) Update: The water leak at the station
At the last meeting 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.
MP reported the leak via the Thames Water website. Although it may be a coincidence, attendees were pleased to note that the leak was fixed within a couple of days of the meeting.
b) Polar EV Charging point in the Broadway
Attendees noted the arrival of the Polar EV changing point outside shops in The Broadway. Although the meeting was generally positive about the provision of charging points, there were mixed feeling about its chosen location. The charging point causes two parking bays to be reserved for charging electric vehicles. Petrol & Diesel cars cannot use these bays and neither can electric vehicles if they are not intending to plug in. This therefore effectively removes two "pop in and shop" bays which would be used by passing customers of the shops (e.g. to pick up Fish & Chips). The "free 15 minutes" parking regulation was introduced specifically to assist shopkeepers in this way.
It was suggested that a better location could be next to a flank wall in a nearby side street. It is not necessary for charging points to be in prominent locations since apps (often built into the vehicle) will seek out the charging points wherever they are placed. It was suggested that residents may not be happy to lose parking in their street in this way although, given time, the residents in the street may well purchase electric vehicles and would welcome the presence of a charging point near their house.
TC wondered if Tesco would welcome a charging point in their car park so their shoppers could recharge whilst shopping.
The charging point is one of 10 installed as a batch across the borough. It can be expected that there will be more. Attendees wanted to understand the long term strategy for the roll out of electric charging points, including the reasoning for the precise locations being chosen (e.g. town centre vs side street), so they could comment and contribute. Cllrs TB & TJ volunteered to seek out the council's electric charging strategy document so the Forum could review it.
c) Vehicles trying to access Winchester Rd via Evanston Ave.
JB tabled some photos of heavy goods vehicles (multi-axel, articulated) getting stuck in Evanston Avenue. This occurs because the drivers consistently misunderstand their Sat Nav instructions when directing them to Winchester Road from Wadham Road. This is a regular occurrence and the residents of the road are in conversation with council officers about the best solution.
Closing off the Wadham Road end of the road has been proposed in the past but this was contested by one of the shops at that end. The shop in question has now changed function so may not now object. An alternative could be a one way system with a constricted "out only" exit at this end of the road. This would then present internationally recognised "No Entry" signs to vehicles unclear as to the correct direction.
Officers are in the process of data collection and analysis for Evanston Avenue and the wider area in order to come up with a proposed overall solution.
d) Removal of unwanted phone boxes
At previous meetings attendees expressed a desire to have removed some unattractive phone boxes which were now regarded as unnecessary street clutter. The ongoing need to have public phones available was acknowledged and the remaining boxes were considered unobtrusive and close to the locations of those proposed for removal.
To facilitate discussion, all the boxes in Highams Park were number as per the list below:
#1 - Shoulder height booth outside the library [ Owner = BT]
#2 - Glass phone box painted black in The Avenue, opposite the station [ Owner = New World]
#3 - Shoulder height booth by the clock tower near the station [ Owner = BT]
#4 - Shoulder height booth on the north side of The Broadway [ Owner = BT]
#5 - Glass phone box painted black on the north side of The Broadway [ Owner = New World]
#6 - Glass phone box painted silver & black outside the Royal Oak Pub [ Owner = BT]
Forum discussion at the 22nd January 2018 meeting requested removal of #2 and #5.
Following a ward walk with councillors and officers in Hale End & Highams Park ward, #4 was also proposed for removal and at this current Forum meeting attendees supported this proposal.
Cllr Rosalind Doré has taken up the challenge of getting #4 and #5 removed since they are in her ward (Hale End & Highams Park). She has been in contact with both BT and Clear Channel (who appear to be responsible for New World Boxes) and they both appear to be responding positively to the request and have started the necessary procedures.
Cllr Marion Fitzgerald (Hatch Lane Ward) has volunteered likewise to take up the removal of #2 and Cllr Doré is providing details of her contact at Clear Channel.
11) 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)
In November 2016 outline plans were submitted for this site 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
Fairview have submitted a planning application for the new proposal under application id: 182249. No decision has yet been recorded and the application does not yet feature on the agenda of the Planning Committee.
12) 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 feedback from statutory consultees has now been incorporated into the Plan. There will be a meeting with council officers on 28th September to consider how the new draft LBWF growth capacity study will impact the Plan. Following this meeting any changes that are deemed necessary will be made and the Plan formally submitted to the Council.
It is interesting to note that the Fairview Proposals referred to in 11a above, already mention the Highams Park Plan and state how they have shaped the design to accord with it.
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.
MP showed the meeting the current action list from this working party. It runs to several pages and as a result highlights the large number of projects being undertaken to improve the library and the way it operates.
c) New gates for The Highams Park
At The Picnic in the Park (Sunday 9th September) there was a display showing the design of the new gates for The Highams Park (the park next to the lake). These are being made possible via the successful Making Places grant. The park has 2 pedestrian entrances and one combined pedestrian and (locked) vehicle entrance.
Attendees who had visited the exhibition explained that designs for new gates at all 3 entrances were displayed. The external colour of the gates will be green but visitors to the picnic were asked to vote on the shades of the colours for the inside of the gates. The insides of the gates will have different colours (Red, Yellow, Blue) so it will be possible to say, for example, "Meet you at the blue gate".
13) Any other business
There was no "Any other business".
14) Items for next agenda
· Banners on railings at The Avenue & Hale End Road: Font too small to read without standing in the road.
15) Confirm date, time for next meeting
meeting will be held on Monday 22nd October 2018 at 7:30pm in the
Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.