Highams Park Forum
HIGHAMS PARK FORUM
1) Welcome & Introductions
Malcolm Shykles chaired the meeting (standing in for Oliver Shykles) and Mike Payne took the minutes.
2) Matters arising from minutes of meeting 21st January 2019
Re item 3 (election of officers): RG offered a vote of thanks to the officers who stood for re-election in the absence of others coming forward.
3) Action List: Review of outstanding items
The Action List was reviewed and updated and a revised copy is distributed separately from these minutes.
4) Keynsham Avenue problems
A resident of Keynsham Avenue had sent MP a long email detailing some problems that were being experienced in that road. MP had invited the resident to the meeting so the matters could be discussed but the resident did not attend. As a result, attendees did not feel they were able to evaluate potential ways forward without the input of the resident. Attendees asked MP to forward the email to Cllr Fitzgerald so she is aware of the reported issues. MP agreed to do this.
5) Location of litter bins in The Avenue, in the shopping centre.
CH had pointed out (via MP) that a litter bin seemed to have been removed from the east side of The Avenue near to the bus stop outside Choice Cards. As a result, there were now three litter bins on the west side of The Avenue in the shopping area but only one on the east side. Attendees asked if the missing litter bin could be reinstated. One attendee suggested moving one bin from the west side to the east but others felt that the existing bins should remain in their current locations and that the missing bin should be replaced without removing others.
Attendees asked MP to ask if Cllr Fitzgerald would be willing to approach council officers to achieve this.
6) Highams Park Day 2019 (13th July)
The creation, setup, and manning of the Forum's tent at last year's Higham's Park Day fell rather heavily on the shoulders of OS. MP was not as able to assist as much as he would like because he was involved in duties relating to the organisation of HP Day itself. As a result, OS stated (via MP) that he may not be able to organise the Forum's tent at HP Day 2019 unless he gets some help from others.
Attendees asked MP to send out an email to the Forum's distribution list (77 people) appealing for people to come forward. MP agreed to do this.
Cllr Doré kindly volunteered to assist with the Forum's presence there.
7) Feedback from site visit in The Avenue: Traffic calming options and house damage.
Speed humps/tables in The Avenue were introduced to help enforce the 20mph speed limit. Residents on The Avenue have complained about vibrations to their houses causing cracks and the fact that some drivers still drive dangerously and well over the speed limit. Cllr Fitzgerald has been working with residents on The Avenue and with council officers to try to find a solution that reduces the vibrations and better enforces the speed limit. To achieve both is proving to be a challenge. This matter was documented extensively in the minutes of the last Forum meeting.
Cllr Fitzgerald arranged a site visit on 13th February with residents and council officers to explore possible solutions. MP attended for the Forum.
Finding a practical solutions or solutions remains difficult but following the discussions the council officers agreed to consider the problems further and come back the Cllr Fitzgerald with some proposals. These are awaited.
8) Transport & Street Scene
a) Telephone Box removal - Some more success
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 some public phones available was acknowledged for those people without access to a mobile phone or for people whose phone battery is flat.
There are six public phones in the Highams Park area. Their current status (plus that of a broken exchange box) is listed in the table below (the numbers have been allocated by the Forum to facilitate discussion). If all the requested actions take place, there will be 2 phones boxes remaining (#3 and #6) and it was felt that they were in good locations; convenient for potential users and not causing an obstruction.
The removal of items #4 and #5 were reported at the last Forum meeting. Since that time items #1 and #7 have been removed and attendees complimented BT for the quality of their reinstatement work. It is now hard to see where the objects were originally located.
The removed items have been shaded grey in the table below.
The removal of #5 was reported at the last Forum meeting but this has not had the pavers reinstated by owner New World/Clear Channel. Council officers advise us that the temporary tarmac has to be replaced by pavers within 6 months of the removal of the box. This time will expire at the end of May 2019.
The only outstanding item for removal is #2 which Cllr Fitzgerald is pursuing via council officers. For reasons that are not clear, the owner of the box (New World/Clear Channel) is not being as helpful in removing this box as compared to item #5 (now removed) which they also owned. For item #2 the owner is requesting reimbursement.
b) Update: How to resolve rush hour congestion in Handsworth Avenue
The problems of rush hour congestion in Handsworth Avenue have been discussed at previous meetings and have been documented in the minutes of those meetings.
The problems result from:
· The volume of cars rat running to avoid the junction of The Avenue and Hale End Road
· The volume of cars dropping off children at the schools, nursery, and medical centre in the road
· Cars approaching from different directions unable to pass
The Transport Group of the HPPG (chaired by RT) is looking at the problem in detail. RT reported (via MP) that they are writing to the schools to gather their input and are planning a consultation/survey of Highams Park Residents. This survey will be executed after the referendum on The Highams Park Plan so as not to cause unnecessary confusion amongst residents.
c) Update: News on repairing the charging point in The Broadway
At the last meeting it had been noticed that the new electric vehicle charge point in The Broadway, which had been working, had been taped off (out of action). Cllr Bell asked officers for an update and determined that the charge point had been flagged for repair by "Chargemaster" (the operator) but they were waiting on parts.
Cllr Doré volunteered to seek a further update. [However, shortly after the meeting IT reported that the charge point had been reinstated and was working normally.]
d) Clarification on change from Advisory to Designated Parking for Disabled Persons.
JB noticed in Waltham Forest News that several parking bays for Disabled people were being changed from "Advisory" to "Designated". Attendees were unclear as to the difference. Cllr Doré volunteered to seek clarification from council officers.
e) Should SKIPS be netted outside properties before collection?
JB noted that on a recent windy day polystyrene packaging was blown from a skip in the road outside a resident's house. The packaging found its way (broken into increasingly smaller pieces) into many locations in the surrounding area. JB wondered what the rules were regarding placing netting over skips to prevent this. Attendees noted that skips on the highway require a licence but those on private property do not. Cllr Doré volunteered to seek clarification from the neighbourhood officer. Although licenced skips could possibly be dealt with through their licencing conditions, this would not apply to those on private land.
Attendees considered that the problem might be best dealt with as a litter problem, with the owner of the source of the litter being responsible whatever.
f) Putting back Wheelie Bins
JB noted the introduction of new "Wheelie bin presentation" procedures. Residents are now required to have their bins located at the boundary of their property on bin collection days. It is understood that this approach saves a considerable amount of money from council budgets. It is assumed that the operatives will return the bins to the same boundary location.
9) 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. For appeals, the link is: https://www.gov.uk/appeal-planning-inspectorate]
a) Application id: 183379: Addition of 3 floors to 472-478 Larkshall Road to create 21 flats.
This is the block from Inside Job to Breeze Restaurant.
Status: No decision as yet
b) Application Id.181027: Proposed development at 70 The Avenue, backing onto Castle Ave.
Appeal reference: APP/U5930/W/18/3208729
This application is the 5th set of proposals for this site. All including this one have been rejected by the council. The applicant has lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate. Any comments to the inspectorate needed to be received by them by 17th December 2018.
Status: No appeal decision as yet.
c) Application Id 172438: 19 - 21 The Avenue. Change of use from care home (Class D1) to HMO (Class C4).
Appeal reference: APP/U5930/W/18/3207945
The officer proposed approval of this application but the planning committee declined it, three against two. However, the applicant has lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate. Any comments to the inspectorate needed to be received by them by 17th December 2018.
Status: No appeal decision as yet.
d) Application Id 174221: Variation in Tesco Delivery Times.
Appeal reference: APP/U5930/W/18/3203302
The council refused this application but the applicant has lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate. Any comments to the inspectorate needed to be received by them by 10th October 2018.
Status: The appeal was decided 8th March 2019 and was successful, allowing a single delivery (two vehicle movements) during the currently restricted hours.
10) Brief Updates:
a) HP Plan update
MP, on behalf of GT, chair of the Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG), gave a brief update.
The council's formal consultation of residents regarding The Plan has now been completed and the comments have been passed to the HPPG. The coordinating committee have reviewed these comments and have created a response document, giving a formal response to each comment. In some cases some minor changes to The Plan will be required.
After making these changes the plan will be submitted for formal "examination" by an experienced external planning inspector.
b) Project to install markers for GPS meridian & Greenwich meridian
At the last Forum meeting, attendees encouraged MP & IT, working with the Heritage Group of the HPPG to submit an application for a "Make It Local" grant for the installation of a bronze plaque to mark "The International Reference Meridian" which runs through Highams Park. This is the Prime meridian (Longitude zero) which replaced the Greenwich Meridian as the global standard in 1984. GPS receivers (e.g. in mobile phones) show zero longitude at this point. The proposed location for the plaque is on the corner of The Avenue and Hale End Road. This application has now been submitted. The location is in Hale End & Highams Park ward and the ward councillors for that ward will decide shortly if Make It Local funding will be allocated to this project.
The original plan was to have a pair of similarly designed plaques marking the International Reference Meridian and the Greenwich Meridian with the plaques cross referring to each other. The meridian lines run on either side of the level crossing and as such are an unusual feature of the shopping centre. However, it was viewed that the cost of two plaques would take too large a portion of the Make It Local budget for the ward and so the application was reduced (in this year) to just one plaque.
c) Feedback from meeting with Tesco Manager re Signal Walk and Car Park issues
Cllr Doré explained that she had had a successful meeting with the manager of the Tesco store and had agreed positive ways forward in respect of anti-idling in the car park and problems in Signal Walk. The security teams have been patrolling the car park and approaching people idling. New signs have also been added. This seems to have had an impact since Tesco's air quality monitors show an improvement in air quality. CCTV was being considered for Signal Walk.
11) Any other business
a) Banner readability at the junction of The Avenue and Hale End Road
Attendees criticised the readability of council banners on the railings at the junction of The Avenue and Hale End Road. The small font size coupled with the curving location meant they could not easily be read by pedestrians without standing in the middle of the road. Cllr Doré agreed to advise the council's communications department of the problem.
b) Digitising footpaths
RG reported that the subject of digitising the footpaths across the borough was being discussed at the transport liaison committee meeting at the council on 12th March. This has been a topic that the Forum has been following and promoting because it is part of the process of ensuring footpaths are recorded on the official "Definitive Map and Statement" (DMS) which will offer the footpaths protection against being lost as rights of way.
c) Hall Farm Curve
RG gave a detailed update on efforts to promote the reinstatement of "The Hall Farm Curve". This piece of rail track would allow the Chingford - Liverpool St line to connect to Stratford via the replacement of a curve of track on Walthamstow marshes just south-west of St James Street station. In addition to the recreation of the curve, other issues are the need for additional platform space at Stratford and the slotting in of additional services into already busy lines. This is being discussed at the Transport Liaison Committee on 12th March. RG explained that the council has said that if the campaign groups can make a good case they will consider using council capital funds to fund the project. Capital funding for projects such as this allows the council to spread the cost over a long period of time, thereby making an expensive project more viable.
d) Tesco Mulberry Tree
AH reminded attendees of the loss of the old Mulberry tree when the Tesco site was developed. The tree was supposed to have been relocated during the development but did not survive the process. Attendees wondered if Tesco could be encouraged to fund a new Mulberry tree at an appropriate location on the site.
12) Items for next agenda
a) Signal Box update
b) Could vehicle recharging points be installed in the Tesco car park for shopper's use?
13) Confirm date, time for next meeting
meeting will be held on Monday 29th April 2019 at 7:30pm in the
Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.