Highams Park Forum
A group of local people all interested in the betterment of life in their area.

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Looking up: An old oak tree putting
on leaf near the lake

 

 

 

 

 


 

HIGHAMS PARK FORUM

 

Minutes of meeting Monday 26th January 2015 (Approved)

 

 

Present:

Jeff  Beaton, Anne Haines, Nicolas Haines, Gordon Turpin, Chris Holmes, Mark Herring, Cllr Tim James, Mike Payne, Cllr Tony Bell, Oliver Shykles, Graham Reeve, Cllr Paul Braham, Roger Gillham, Ian Pleasance

Apologies:

Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, Mary Dunhill, Trevor Calver, Danny Hunt, Roger Torode, Mary Wilson, John Kear

 

1)         Welcomes & Introductions

Oliver Shykles chaired the meeting and Mike Payne took the minutes.

 

2)         Matters arising from minutes of meeting 8th December 2014

·         Re item 2 (Matters Arising - First bullet point - Parking in the Broadway):
The workshop described in the minutes took place as planned on 22nd January 2015 with residents, council officers, and councillors.  The Forum was represented at the meeting.  This was arranged as a "pre consultation" with a small number of interested parties to explore various approaches to traffic calming in Winchester Road and The Broadway.  The idea is to ensure that any proposals, which will eventually go to more widespread consultation of residents, will have been well thought out first.  The formal consultation on firm proposals is expected by early May 2015 with the agreed works being performed during the summer of 2015 to minimise disruption.

·         Re item 3 (Town Centre benches), second paragraph:
The minutes identify a bench which attendees considered to be an example of a good design for benches which may be installed elsewhere in Highams Park.  The minutes imply that the bench is made of metal and this led one attendee to express concern that it might be cold to sit on.  AH clarified that the bench is actually a mix of wood and metal and the part you sit on is made of wood and so does not feel cold.

 

3)         Rights of way - Access to the Definitive Map

Background: The council is responsible for maintaining a formal document known as "The Definitive Map and Statement" (DMS).  The purpose of the document can be summarised as follows:

 

The DMS is a legal record of the public's rights of way in one of four categories (footpath, bridleway, road used as a public path, or byway open to all traffic).  If a way is shown on the map, then that is legal, or conclusive, evidence that the public had those rights along the way at the relevant date of the map (and has them still, unless there has been a legally authorised change). But the reverse is not true.

 

For various historical reasons and failures in record keeping over many years it has been suggested that the DMS for Waltham Forest is incomplete/inaccurate.  At the last meeting of the Forum, attendees agreed that the Forum should attempt to have known rights of way in the Highams Park area added to the DMS to ensure that footpaths and cycle ways are not accidentally lost during developments.

 

OS has now researched the procedure for doing this and has found that it is very complex and time consuming.  The procedure was explained to him in an email as follows (in italics below):

 

In brief you will need to submit a formal application to the Council which will not be valid until:

 

An application form in the prescribed form has been completed and submitted to the Council (template copy attached). This needs to be accompanied by  a map drawn to the prescribed scale (not less than 1:25,000) and showing the way or ways to which the application relates; and  copies of any documentary evidence (including statements of witnesses) which you  wish to adduce in support of the application

 

A notice has been served on every owner and occupier of land affected by the application and submitted a copy to the Council as part of the application (a notice template is attached). Details of ownership can be obtained from the Land Registry. You can be exempted from this requirement and can post the notice on the land instead if you can show you have made every reasonable effort to trace the owner and occupier.

 

You must submit to the Council a signed and dated 'Certificate of Service of Notice of Application', listing the names and addresses of all the people you have served the notice on.

 

This is all contained in schedule 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. On receipt of the certificate the Council has one year to determine the application. If the Council fails to determine the application within one year, you can make representations to the Secretary of State.

 

The DMS is difficult to find and is not available to view on the internet.  It is only available on paper at the Town Hall but can be loaned out to libraries for viewing

 

David Boote, local resident and Waltham Forest footpaths secretary of The Ramblers (formerly known as The Ramblers Association), has expressed an interest in working with the Forum on this matter.  David has a copy of the DMS.  RG stated that he also has a copy.

 

David was unable to attend tonight's meeting of the Forum but has been invited to the next meeting (9th March).

 

The specific instance of the Ching pathway from Hale End Road to Beech Hall Crescent was raised at the last meeting since efforts were in hand by the council to improve safety at the entrance to the path following an incident.  These efforts risk closing off the path (which is missing from the DMS).  A gate has been added but with a promise that it would not be locked.  However, a padlock has appeared on the gate.  Cllr TB agreed to ensure the padlock is removed.

 

4)         Crossing for Jubilee Avenue turned down

The meeting noted a report on the website of the local Guardian newspaper, stating that the council had recently turned down a request to install a pelican crossing across Jubilee Avenue close to the junction with Larkshall Road.  The request had come from the charity Clarity which employs blind and disabled people on the industrial estate next to Tesco.  The factory is situated on what could be seen as a large island surrounded by roads which are difficult to cross for employees.  A crossing on Jubilee Avenue would complete a safe route (including existing crossings) between the factory and Highams Park Station.

 

Details here: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/chingford/11702247.Disability_charity_boss_hits_out_at_crossing_refusal/

 

5)         Rubbish trouble spots

OS has arranged for a walk around of the Highams Park shopping area with council officers and councillors to highlight problems of rubbish accumulations and to look for solutions.  OS asked the meeting if there were any particular areas he should point out.  A number were noted, including:

·         Junction of Newbury Road and Winchester Road.  Accumulates between disused display boxes.

·         On The Broadway (outside Meads).  8 rubbish bags on the pavement this evening.  This is a symptom of the ongoing problem of shops, and flats over shops, putting out rubbish at the wrong time.  Rubbish is only supposed to be placed on the pavement for collection Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6am & 9am.  This is also a reflection of the underlying problem that these premises have not been designed with proper waste storage facilities.

 

Cllr TJ noted that a reorganisation within the council should improve enforcement of problems like this.  Officers are being given responsibility for specific areas of the borough and specialists in particular problem types are also being appointed.  This new approach will be explained at the next Community Ward Forum meeting (see item 7a below).

 

OS asked attendees to email him if they spot any problem areas over the next couple of days.

 

6)         Postal Carts chained to lamp posts remain a problem

At the last meeting of the Forum a recent practice was noted by a number of attendees of red postal carts being left chained to street furniture in different places in the area.  Some are being left overnight.  There was a general feeling that the practice was understandable (and tolerable) during the Christmas period but they would not like to see it as a regular occurrence long term and not overnight.

 

Following the meeting, MH enquired, via contacts he has in the sorting office of the post office, and reported back that the practice is indeed short term and the carts are supposed to be collected at the end of each day.  Any that were left were an oversight.  The post office noted the problem and will try to avoid it happening again.

 

Unfortunately, attendees report that the practice is still occurring with sometimes two carts being left, chained together.  Attendees were concerned that this was an accessibility issue since they sometimes block easy passage along the pavement.  Specific locations include the junction of The Avenue and Richmond Crescent, and outside the Library.  MH agreed to contact the post office again.

 

7)         Information received

a)    Next ward Forum Meetings - Voting on projects to be funded

MP advised attendees that the next Community Ward Forum meeting for Hatch Lane and  Hale End & Highams Park wards will take place as follows:
Date: Wednesday, 4 February 2015
Starting Time: 7.0 p.m. (doors open at 6.30 p.m.)
Place: Longshaw Primary School, Longshaw Road, E4 6LH

Included on the agenda is the voting on ward funding for projects submitted by residents.  Each ward has £10,000 to allocate to such projects.  The Forum has exhausted all its existing funds and has submitted an application for funding to pay for hire of its meeting room and the cost of web hosting for its website.  It is hoped that it will receive the support of residents at that meeting.

 

MP has asked the officers organising the meeting for a list of projects to be provided to attendees prior to the meeting.  Last year this was only available at the meeting and gave attendees very little time to evaluate competing applications and to flag up errors in the list (there were in fact duplications and omissions).  This list has not yet been supplied to MP but when/if it is supplied he will email to Forum members.

 

[After the meeting: On 28JAN15 the project lists were received by MP and distributed to Forum members by email.]

 

There was concern amongst some attendees that the ward forum meetings were not very well publicised and attendees would not have known if it were not for the announcement at this meeting.  Regular attendees of the ward forum meetings record their email addresses when they sign in and they then receive a reminder for the next meeting.  Cllrs stated that flyers were available if locations could be found to display them.  Cllr PB volunteered to email copies of the flyers to GT, IP and OS.  GT will post on the new public notice board outside Tesco and IP & OS will place them on local social media sites.

 

b)    New dedicated ward officer

PCSO Sue Coughlan has introduced herself to residents as the new dedicated ward officer for Highams Park.

 

c)    Tiny parking strips (between bays) in The Avenue.  Even small Smart cars block road.

A number of residents (including attendees at this meeting) have identified a specific problem related to commuter parking in The Avenue.  There are a number of very small strips between dropped curbs and marked bays which are just big enough for small Smart cars to park and they now do so on a regular basis.  Whereas the bays allow parking half off the road, the cars parking in the "strips" park fully on the road and narrow the road to one lane causing congestion.  Buses in particular find it difficult to pass when there is oncoming traffic.

 

The problem never occurs after 7pm and the same cars appear regularly so attendees deduce that it is commuters causing the problem.

 

Some residents have been successful in having short sections of double yellow lines installed near their properties.  Others have been turned down.  It is understood that the resident has to be able to show that parking at the location is "dangerous" if yellow lines are to be sanctioned.

 

Cllr TJ agreed to liaise with council officers and the HP Plan Transport group to look for a solution.

 

CH & IP both stated that they were not looking for a CPZ to control the problem.

 

It was suggested that some commuter parking results from commuters attempting to save season ticket costs by driving from Chingford, where the station is in TfL zone 5, to Highams Park station which is in zone 4.  GT reported that unfortunately recent discussions with TfL show that they have no plans to reduce Chingford to zone 4.

 

d)    Unofficial CPZ Survey in Coolgardie Avenue area

Attendees had noted that a survey had taken place in Coolgardie Avenue and adjacent roads, asking for residents' views regarding the possible introduction of a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone).

 

MP explained that it was his understanding that this was a "pre-consultation" by ward councillors rather than an official consultation by council officers.  Councillors are reacting to residents' concerns in that area regarding overflow parking from the recent (and proposed) flats developed nearby.  Councillors want to get residents' views before they lobby the council (who would then have to do an official consultation before proceeding with a CPZ).

 

8)         Brief Updates:

a)    HP Plan Update

Background:  Highams Park was successful in its application for £20k funding from central government to create a formal Neighbourhood Plan.  The plan will be created by the residents for the residents, covering all aspects of life in Highams Park.  The application was made jointly by LBWF, The Highams Park Forum, and The Highams Park Society.  A separate body was formed (The Highams Park Planning Group) to create the plan.  The group has over 600 members.

 

Gordon Turpin (Chair of the Planning Group) gave the meeting a brief summary of some of the recent activity:

 

·       The AGM for the Planning Group will be held on 12th February 2015.  The group will report on its first year of work.

·       Draft policies for inclusion in the plan will be explained at the AGM.

·       A variety of projects to be taken forward will also be presented at the AGM.

·       The AGM will vote on changing the constitution to make the group a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).  This will make it easier for the group to receive grants for local projects.  The group can also act as fund holder for other groups and individuals seeking small grants.  At the moment such individuals/groups can find it difficult to get funding if they have no formal structure into which to receive funds.

·       The group has organised a survey to understand the parking needs of local businesses.  Around 100 responses have been received.  A survey of residents' views on parking will commence next week.

·       The council has allocated £80,000 to improve play equipment in The Highams Park (the park beside the lake).  The Planning Group has organised an online survey to seek park users' views on how this money should be spent.  242 responses have been received so far and the results are being fed back to councillors and council officers.  The consultation process with suppliers will begin with a drop in session organised by council officers on Saturday 14th February between 10am-3pm at St. Anne's Church Centre, Larkshall Road, E4 6NP.  This will allow residents to compare alternative equipment and design proposals.  The drop in session will also cover planned play area improvements to Chingford Memorial Park and Pimp Hall Park.

Attendees praised the work that has been done to the Vincent Road play park with the allocation of a similar sum of money.  It has been noticed however that the safety railing, which used to line the edge of the road outside the entrance to that play park, has been removed.  This railing was to prevent children running out of the park straight into the road.  Cllr PB is trying to have it replaced.

·       The Street Scene Group have submitted a bid to the GLA for a grant to improve the shopping centre.

·       The group are also lobbying LBWF for funding to improve shop fronts.
[Note added following the meeting:  Good news.  We have just been informed that the Council has decided to allocate £100,000 for shop front renovations in Highams Park].

 

9)         Action List: Review of outstanding items

The Action List was reviewed and updated (distributed separately from these minutes).  Two points of specific interest:

 

a)    Re item A556: Reinstallation of historic information boards

GT reported that the three boards in The Highams Park have been scheduled to be replaced in the new financial year.

 

Cllr PB reported that reinstatement of the board on the green outside The Royal Oak is in progress.  The display materials for the board have been produced and officers are now just waiting for the new frame and stand to be completed.

 

b)    Re item A562:  Are some recycling wheelie bins being emptied into general waste lorries?

Attendees seem to have seen different approaches in different roads.  Cllr TJ agreed to investigate and confirm that a consistent approach is being taken by the contractor.

 

10)     Any other business

JB noted that in the latest addition of the Waltham Forest London Magazine, Highams Park events are still being mixed in with the Chingford entries.  We had previously been promised that Highams Park would have its own section in the events section.  The Forum (and residents in general) are keen for Highams Park to be identified as a discrete area in its own right to ensure it attracts its fair share of funding and resources.  OS agreed to contact the publication to remind them.

 

11)     Items for next agenda

No specific items were requested.  It was hoped that David Boote (per item 3 above) could attend to provide valuable input to the Rights of way - Access to the Definitive Map initiative.

 

12)     Confirm date, time for next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 9th March 2015 at 7:30pm in the Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.
 

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