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 5th December 2016 (Approved)

 

 

Present:

Robert Tatam, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, Trevor Calver, Ian Thomson, Anne Haines, Nicolas Haines, David Roper, Chris Holmes, Oliver Shykles, Mike Payne, Roger Gillham, Jeff Beaton

Apologies:

Gordon Turpin, Mary Wilson, Mary Dunhill, Roger Torode, Sean Lyons, Cllr Sheree Rackham, Cllr Tim James, Simon Milthorp, Antranik Kasparian, Patrick Rowley, Graham Reeve, Cllr Tony Bell

 

1)         Welcomes & Introductions

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

 

2)         Matters arising from minutes of meeting 24th October 2016

Re 2 (HGVs in Winchester Road): JB noted that on 21st November another HGV had become "stuck" in Swanage Road.  The ongoing problem was raised by JB at the recent Chapel End Community Ward Forum meeting and suggested a traffic island be installed between Winchester Road and Evanston Avenue.  This would hopefully dissuade lorry drivers misunderstanding their Sat Navs and taking the wrong turn.  The suggestion was positively received and it is hoped it can be scheduled for the new financial year.

 

Re 7e (Works at Highams Park Station): RTa, on speaking to an operative working in the station subway, was informed that the subway was due to be taken over by LBWF.  RG however thought this was unlikely based on his Chingford line contacts.  It was agreed that MP should ask RTo if he can seek clarification via contacts at TfL.

 

[Following the meeting MP spoke to RTo.  His understanding is that nothing has been resolved as yet and discussions are ongoing between TfL, Network Rail, and LBWF].

 

3)         New ideas on litter

"We have the "perfect storm" of a large number of take-aways plus hungry children on the way home from school.  What new ideas can we come up with to deal with the litter problem caused by this?"

 

This subject was raised by an attendee at the last meeting and since then by a couple of residents emailing the secretary.  The meeting agreed that the problem was very real and a number of attendees related first hand experiences.

 

It was noted that there were potentially two problems:

a)    Children returning to school carrying take-aways

A couple of extra litter bins near the school gates might help.  Cllr Fitzgerald agreed to contact officers to see if this could be organised.

 

b)    Children on the way home from school carrying take aways

Litter near the take away shops should ideally be dealt with by the shop owners ("polluter pays").  Unfortunately, "walking and eating" means that litter is dropped in a wide radius from the shops based on the duration of a meal.  There is no easy answer to this other than to encourage the school children not to do it.  OS agreed to write to the school head teacher to ask him to remind pupils of what they probably already know, but peer pressure makes it hard to do the right thing.

 

4)         The new speed ramps on The Avenue

CH introduced the subject of the new speed ramps in The Avenue.  He has been advised by council officers that "ramps" is the correct term for the particular design, not "humps" or "tables".

 

The design for The Avenue is rather mild compared to designs elsewhere in Highams Park and apparently this is deliberate because of complaints received from owners of properties on other roads with more aggressive designs.  Cllr Fitzgerald has received some complaints of cracks in properties.  The design in The Avenue is also to take account of the particularly problematic sub structure of the road; it is concreate slabs on top of clay.  This can cause vibrations to travel more than on other roads.

 

Based on experiences to date, attendees felt that the new ramps might not effectively slow down traffic movements.  The works in The Avenue are not, however, complete and more tables and yellow lines are due to be constructed.  In addition, four 20mph flashing signs are due to be installed.

 

OS & RG noted that the humps in Coolgardie Avenue and The Charter Road are very effective and have slowed speeds in particularly dangerous locations.  AH also suggested that the road islands in Hale End Road were effective in slowing traffic because of the necessary change in direction.

 

Attendees noted the recent NICE report on air pollution which was critical of the impact of speed humps.  This document suggests average speed cameras were a better solution since they encourage drivers to keep at a constant speed rather than speeding up and slowing down.  Attendees suggested that London boroughs should work together to come up with a network of average speed cameras.

 

5)         Transport

a)    The proposed "Give & Take" speed calming in The Avenue - Update

The minutes of the last meeting of the Forum (item 5a) report the disquiet among residents about a proposed modified feature of the traffic calming measures in The Avenue.

 

Officers have listened to residents and councillors, and Cllr Fitzgerald copied the Forum on an email to her dated 7th November from council officer Andrew Bourke, Principal Engineer which states:

 

"I can confirm that due to conflicting resident views and recent correspondence from local businesses we will not be installing any traffic calming features on the section of The Avenue from Castle Ave to Hale End Road including the proposed give and take measures and proposed double yellow lines.

 

We will undertake speed monitoring on The Avenue, post implementation of the remaining 20 mph measures on The Avenue north of Castle Ave. If speeds remain high we will undertake further investigation into possible measures to reduce speeds, this may include further localised consultation if deemed necessary."

 

b)    Highams Park Town Centre Scheme Update (also known as Mini Holland)

Background: LBWF has received £500k to spend on improvements to the road system (especially at junctions) to improve routes for pedestrians and cyclists in Highams Park.  An extended period of consultation has taken place and now that officers have considered the feedback they have distributed brochures to Highams Park residents showing the revised proposals.

 

Attendees were pleased to note that residents' concerns have been listened to and the plans have been modified.  In particular, the proposal for a complex set of changes to the junction of Handsworth Avenue, Hale End Road and Beech Hall Road are now labelled on the plan as "Further investigation / Develop options".   One aspect which generated a lot of concern in the original proposal was to prohibit vehicles from exiting Handsworth Avenue into Hale End Road.

 

c)    Missing hump in Hale End Road

A resident contacted the Forum to highlight that a speed hump shown on the plans for Hale End Road, just slightly north of the Hollywood Way junction, had not been installed, neither had some improvements to a crossing point close to the same location.

 

Cllr Tony Bell is understood to be investigating.

 

d)    Works at Highams Park Station

The works at the main station building are in progress and are scheduled to complete 23rd December 2016.

 

The works to create a new building on the footpath to Larkshall Road are in progress and are scheduled to complete 22nd February 2017.

 

Disruption to station users is to be expected.

 

A presentation was given by the project manager at the recent Hale End & Highams Park Community Ward Forum meeting.  An extract from the minutes of that meeting is given below:

 

The objectives for the project is to:

1. Deliver an improved quality service at stations

2. Reduction in fraudulent travel

 

Completed Works

The following has already been completed: -

·         New wayfinding and London Overground signage

·         All platform columns have been painted in London Overground palette

·         New benches have been installed on platforms and in waiting room

 

Minor Works

The scope of works at Highams Park includes the following: -

Station Systems

·         New digital CCTV System throughout the station

·         New public address system

·         New Customer Information Screens

·         New Passenger Help Points

 

Ambience Improvement Works

·         New/replacement fencing

·         Painting throughout the station

·         New flooring and entrance matting in ticket hall

·         New ceiling and lighting in ticket hall

·         Repairs to damaged render in car park

 

Major Works-Ticket Hall (Platform 1)

·         Widening of existing station entrance

·         New opening from ticket hall onto platform

·         Demolition of existing waiting room and store room

·         Creation of new waiting room in location of store room

·         Installation of automatic ticket gates

·         Installation of new ticket vending machine

 

Major Works- (Platform 2 side)

·         Creation of new entrance 'pavilion' at back of platform route to Wilton Place

·         New ticket barriers in the pavilion

·         New ticket Vending machine

·         Closure of access route from subway to Platform 2

 

6)         Planning & Development

a)    Redevelopment of Naseberry Court medical centre (on Larkshall Road) to residential

A planning application has been submitted to develop the site of Naseberry Court medical centre (on Larkshall Road).  This is planning ref 163572 and proposes the development of 48 residential units of various sizes.  The application date was 31st October and there is usually 28 days to comment on an application.

 

It has been suggested by some residents that because the application is from the NHS itself, they may not actually want to develop the site themselves but may just want to sell the land "with planning permission".  As a result, the ultimate purchaser may well submit their own plans and may seek a higher density than the current application.

 

It was agreed that the Forum should monitor this.

 

b)    Development at 271-275 Hale End Road

This building, a former care home for the elderly, has changed ownership and internal development of the building has been in progress.  Council officers at the end of October emailed the developer to request that they "submit a regularising application for the internal alterations done in breach of a conditional planning permission that was granted some years back for the Care Home."

 

Bev Hendricks- Service Development Manager from Support and Provide -Hale End Resource Development gave the following update to residents at the recent Hale End & Highams Park Community Ward Forum:

·         Hale End Resource aims to provide a high quality residential environment for children diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition from the age of 11 years old

·         Placements will be accepted subject to a pre-admission assessment up to their 17th Birthday

·         Respite care & short breaks to young people aged 18-24 years old will also be available in our dedicated unit

·         An open day is proposed to the community on Sunday 11th December 2016 from 11.30am to 1pm for residents to speak to the Management Team.

·         Residents can email Hale End Resource on info@supportandprovide.com or telephone 0208 882 8372 Tues/Wed & Thurs

·         Cllr Braham thanked the team at the Hale End Resource Centre for giving him a tour of the building

 

Some Highams Park Forum members attended this Ward Forum meeting and felt that the answers to questions in the Q&A session seemed a little vague.

 

c)    Proposed development at 70 The Avenue, opening onto Castle Avenue

This item was discussed at the previous Forum meeting and 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.  Because of the elevated nature of the site there is a risk that the property will overlook existing properties.

 

The original proposal was for a single storey, detached, one bedroom bungalow on the site, level with the pavement of Castle Avenue.  The proposal now shows essentially the same building sunken into an excavation 1.7m below the pavement level of Castle Avenue with one corner moved right up to the pavement.  The roof and gutters of the sunken building will now be within a short arm's reach of pedestrians in Castle Avenue.

 

The modifications are presumably an attempt to solve the problem of overlooking but seem to introduce a whole new set of problems.

 

The planning application has reference 161280 and the application date was 30th November 2016.  Because this is being considered as "a revision" only 14 days are allowed for comments.  Any comments should be made by 14th December.

 

Cllr Fitzgerald has told the Forum at a previous meeting that because of the sensitive nature of the proposal she has asked planning officers to refer the application to the council's planning committee if the officers are minded to approve it.  Cllr Fitzgerald agreed to restate this request in respect of this revised application.

 

d)    Corner of Forest Glade & The Avenue

Works at the corner of Forest Glade and The Avenue concerned some residents since it looked like part of the Forest was being incorporated into a front garden.  However, checks by council officers reveal that this is a misunderstanding and there is in fact no issue here.  They state:

We have recently investigated this issue and the triangle of land is shown as part of the deeds of number 2. I have checked with highways and they have agreed that this is the case.

 

There is a small pathway that runs between the triangle and the garden of the property and that is being reinstated by the owner following any works being carried out.

 

7)         Brief Updates:

a)    HP Plan update

GT, chair of the Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG) was unable to attend but gave a brief update via MP on some of the large number of initiatives being pursued by the group:

·         The proposed policies for the plan have been commented on by council officers and their constructive comments have been incorporated.  The document has now been returned to council officers for their final review.

·         The recent concert in All Saints Church was a great success

·         Work is well in hand planning for the Xmas Fayre, a major event in the shopping area on Sunday 18th December (10am-5pm).  All stalls have been booked and there is now a waiting list.  Leaflets will shortly be distributed to all residents.

·         Regular meetings of the "Snedders" (old term for forestry work) have taken place by the lake and the cumulative effort is getting widespread appreciation.  "Windows" have been opened onto the lake creating vistas and promoting air flow across the lake which improves oxygenation levels.

·         A team has been liaising with LBWF regarding a suitable lease which would be the first step in bringing the building in the park (beside the lake) back into community use.  Good progress has recently been made on this and the project can now move forward.

·         HPPG proposed numerous projects for funding at recent Ward Forum meetings.  All projects were warmly received by attendees and all received funding.

·         HPPG continues to take a key role in working with officers to increase usage of the library (see item 7e below).

·         Members present at the recent Hale End & Highams Park Community Ward Forum meeting wished to congratulate GT on his excellent presentation at that meeting.

 

b)    Good news re Signal Walk shops

A resident emailed the Forum to give some good news regarding Signal Walk (outside the main entrance to Tesco).  He reports that a new Turkish restaurant is opening up in the unit to the left of the chemist; a new Café is opening; and a Gift Shop is opening immediately to the right of the chemist.

 

c)    Tesco Car Park Problems

Problems continue relating to the Tesco Car Park in respect of air quality, signage, and antisocial behaviour.  These matters are now being reported to the Forum from various unconnected sources.

 

Air Quality

DR has been liaising with Tesco management regarding the air quality in the car park.  Tesco have agreed to put up signs requesting vehicle users not to leave engines idling in the car park.  Tesco management reported that the signs have been produced and have been delivered to the store.  They reported that they expected to put them up before the end of October.  As of the date of this Forum meeting the signs had not been put up.  DR has now chased this and maintenance staff say the signs were delivered last week and will be put up very shortly.

 

Signage

At a previous meeting it was noted that signs displayed in the Tesco Car park state that the car park is only for Tesco customers.  A copy of the planning permission for the store (dated 2nd February 2011) states that the car park is: "for visitors to Highams Park Neighbourhood Centre but not commuters or long stay".  GR emailed council officers and they confirm the Forum's interpretation of the planning permission.  Planning Enforcement officers have now written to Tesco to request that they correct the signs.  This took place in September but we have not yet received confirmation that the signs have been changed.

 

Anti Social Behaviour

Several residents report ongoing problems in the lower level of the Tesco car park.  Car maintenance and testing seems to be a regular feature together with other antisocial behaviour.  People reporting problems have been critical of Tesco security staff.  It has been suggested that the CCTV in the car park is not recorded.  If this is true then this is a significant part of the problem since it will be hard to gather evidence for prosecutions.

 

The ward councillors for Hale End & Highams Park Ward are aware of the problem and are working with Tesco and the Neighbourhood Police teams.

 

d)    Community Toilets

Council officers have confirmed that the only members of the Community Toilet scheme in Highams Park are The Highams Lounge café and the Library (which is closed 3 days a week).  It was noted also that there was no central sign indicating the location of the Community Toilets.  Other shopping centres have such a sign.

 

Cllr Fitzgerald agreed to contact council officers to request the installation of a sign.  It was hoped this might also provide some motivation to engage additional members to the scheme.

 

e)    Hale End Library in Highams Park

This item has been documented extensively in the minutes of recent Forum meetings.  It relates to a council proposal to relocate the library to smaller premises next to Tesco.  The proposal assumed that increased usage would occur at a new location.  Following representations by residents the proposal to relocate the library is now on hold temporarily.

 

HPPG is taking a key role in working with officers to increase usage of the library in its current location thereby removing the need to move it.

 

A survey has been constructed which will be distributed to all Highams Park residents to determine what they would like to see in the building.  The survey encourages residents to think outside of what a traditional library offers.  Based on the responses to this survey, it is hoped radically new facilities and events can be organised.

 

It was originally hoped to launch this survey in December but library staff have requested that it be postponed so as to not risk confusion with another questionnaire that is in progress (organised by library staff) about the future of the other three Library Locals in the borough.  As a result the HPPG survey may not be launched until February.

 

8)         Action List: Review of outstanding items

Due to time pressure at the meeting, the Action List was not reviewed.  MP will review and update the list outside of the meeting based on his knowledge of progress.

 

9)         Any other business

a)    Dates of next Community Ward Forum Meetings

Hatch Lane

Date: Thursday 2nd February 2017

Time: 7pm - 9pm

Venue: Venue: All Saints Church, Church Avenue, Highams Park, E4 9QD

 

Hale End & Highams Park

Dates for 2017 to be advised

 

Chapel End

Dates for 2017 to be advised

b)    Water Meter installation programme

It was noted that Thames Water are in the process of installing smart water meters in Highams Park.  These meters will transmit (via the mobile phone data network) daily usage readings to a Thames Water website where residents can review their usage using a standard web browser.

 

The meters are installed in the pavement outside each property in the same hole as the stop cock for the property.  Attendees reported positive experiences so far.

 

Following activation of the meter, the resident can see (by looking at their usage on the website) if switching to a metered tariff will save money.  If it does then they can switch.  If it doesn't, they have 2 years in which to change their habits before metering is imposed.

 

Residents who don't cooperate with the installation team may find that they don't get a meter but do get a special punitive tariff applied to their property instead.

 

10)     Items for next agenda

None were identified at this meeting.

 

11)     Confirm date, time for next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 23rd January 2017 at 7:30pm in the Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.
 

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