Highams Park Forum
HIGHAMS PARK FORUM
1) Welcomes & Introductions
Oliver Shykles chaired the meeting and Mike Payne took the minutes.
2) Matters arising from minutes of meeting 9th September 2013
In the minutes it states that JB may be able to locate the original lead letters (spelling "Highams Park") which were removed from the signal box. Unfortunately, investigations have drawn a blank and the original letters can't be traced. Attendees agreed that this would not be a major problem as it would still be possible to purchase a modern equivalent.
3) The Highams Park Plan launch event (Saturday 16th November 2013)
GT & MP explained the background and progress so far.
Background: Highams Park was successful (September 2011) in its application for £20k funding from central government to create a formal Neighbourhood Plan. The application was made jointly by LBWF, The Highams Park Forum, and The Highams Park Society. The first step in the creation of the plan is to create a properly constituted body (separate from the Forum and the Society) made up of at least 21 Highams Park residents and businesses, to develop the plan. Two attempts to progress this over the past two years have stalled for practical reasons. These obstacles have now been overcome and MP recently polled members of the Forum and Society to find people willing to assist in setting up a launch event to get the project underway.
10 people came forward and the group have been meeting regularly, chaired by Gordon Turpin. This group is the "initiation committee" and its sole purpose is to find and setup the group of 21or more people needed to create the plan. To do this, the "initiation committee" is organising a large scale "launch event" to engage as many Highams Park residents as possible. It is hoped this event will attract and enthuse enough residents to make up (or hopefully exceed) the 21 people needed to develop the plan.
The event will take place on Saturday 16th November 2013 in All Saints Church Hall, Church Ave, E4 9PF between 12:30pm and 4:30pm. It will be a family friendly, drop in event, with free refreshments, rolling slide show, and displays to properly explain the project. Hopefully, having visited the event, people will want to be involved. It is important that a wide range of ages and backgrounds are involved to ensure the plan is fully representative. The benefits and possible contents of the plan are not immediately obvious to most people so the event is intended to resolve this and fire people's imagination. 6,000 leaflets will shortly be delivered to homes advertising the event and posters will soon be appearing all over Highams Park.
GT & MP asked for additional volunteers to help run the event. These people will wear name badges and be on hand to guide visitors and answer their questions (crib sheets will be provided to assist). OS, GR, MD & TC offered their assistance and DH & ML said they would like to help but needed to check commitments. MW is unable to attend on the day but expressed a desire to be one of the 21 taking the plan forward (with a particular interest in the topic of "Education").
are reading these minutes and would like to be involved (or just want to know
more) please contact the Initiation Committee on their dedicated email address:
They'll be pleased to hear from you.
4) Demonstration - HP Forum on Twitter & Facebook
OS gave attendees an interesting demonstration on Twitter and Facebook with a particular focus on the newly established Highams Park Forum accounts he administers for the Forum on these services. He showed how they can be used to get information out to residents and businesses in Highams Park. These social media accounts can also be used to "drive traffic" to the Forum's website by telling Twitter and Facebook users that something of interest has been posted on the website. This overcomes the problem that people usually only know that the website has been updated when they visit it. If they visit infrequently there may be a significant delay before the information is seen.
The Twitter account currently has 235 followers and the Facebook account has 81 likes. These figures are growing.
5) Youth Club looking to give grants to local youth projects
Background: The Highams Park Youth Club was set up in Winchester Road Methodist Church in 2008 as a joint venture between the Church, the Forum, and LBWF Youth Services. The club has been running since then and at one time had attendances in excess of 40 young people but closed in February 2013 because attendances had dropped to a consistent very low level. A number of advertising initiatives had failed to increase numbers.
The AGM of the Youth Club took place in September 2013 and made the decision to disperse the remaining funds of the club in the form of grants to Youth Projects in Highams Park.
MP (who is Treasurer for the Youth Club) asked attendees if they know of Youth Project who may benefit from a grant and to spread the word to others working with young people in the Highams Park area. The Club has £2,883 to disperse. Organisations wishing to be considered for a grant should send brief details of their proposed project (and amount requested) to MP via the normal Forum email address: (see "Contact us" page of this website). The Youth Club committee will then consider all applications.
DH stated that he was planning to start a youth football organisation and would apply for some funding for that.
6) Snow Angel Scheme
OS explained that the local Council is looking for volunteers over the winter months to help keep the paths and pavements of vulnerable neighbours clear of snow and ice. The scheme has been running for three years and last year had 500 people involved across the borough. Previously, volunteers had to go to a depot to pick up the equipment, but this year it will be delivered direct to their homes.
The Council delivers to volunteers:
- 20kg bag of grit
- A branded hi-visibility vest
- Protective gloves
- Snow scoop or plastic shovel
More information can be found at:
If you want to join in please contact Waltham Forest Direct on 0208 496 3000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To provide reassurance as to the legal position, OS read out a quote from the Government website:
"You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. It's unlikely that you'll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you've cleared it carefully." [https://www.gov.uk/clear-snow-road-path-cycleway]
A number of attendees expressed an interest in the scheme and planned to apply.
7) Agree meeting dates for 2014
MP had previously circulated the proposed meeting dates for the Forum in 2014. These were approved by attendees with one change. It was agreed that the meeting which had been set for 20th January 2014 should be moved to 27th January 2014. This was to avoid a clash with a Community Ward Forum meeting which has been set for 20th.
MP will update the list of dates. This will be circulated with the minutes, posted on the Forum's website, and displayed on the library notice board.
a) Broadway Island Planting
At the July Forum meeting, attendees gave their enthusiastic support to a suggestion (from the Highams Park Day interactive map) to use Community Ward Forum money to plant some trees in the long central reservation of The Broadway (the wide section of road at the end of Winchester Road, close to the level crossing). Or, if trees were impractical, some other form of planting to make the area more attractive.
To progress this, at the last Committee Ward Forum meeting (30th September 2013), MP completed a form to bid for Ward Forum funds for the project. In the form he requested that LBWF Greenspace be commissioned (with Ward Forum funds if necessary) to survey the area and determine what options are practical. In the form they were asked to produce a short list of alternative (costed) proposals which can be submitted to the Ward Forum for consideration, selection and approval.
It is hoped that a response will be provided at the next Ward Forum meeting on 20th January 2014.
b) Farmers Market
The first Farmer's market took place in the station car park (parallel to The Avenue) on Sunday 27th October 2013. The market was well attended and both visitors and stallholders reported that they were pleased at how it went.
The market runs from 10am until 3pm outside the station on the fourth Sunday of the month. It is on a trial basis at the moment but will continue long term if it continues to be a success.
The next dates for the market are:
Sunday 24 November
Sunday 22 December
Sunday 26 January
c) NHS Facilities on Tesco site and use of S106 monies
Background: The plans for the Tesco development included the creation of a new health facility and this was shown on the architects' drawings. The plans reserved an area of land for this and £1m of Section 106 monies to go with it. This work was to have been taken forward in conjunction with the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). At the last meeting of the Forum it was noted that, with the disbandment of PCTs, this aspect of the development seemed to have lost its way and it was understood that plans were being submitted for housing on the area originally reserved for the medical facility and the £1m was now to be spent on "Health & Well Being" expenditure throughout the borough (not ring fenced for Highams Park).
Attendees of the last Forum meeting were horrified by this news. GR wrote to the council expressing the Forum's position and requesting clarification. Other residents also wrote in. Points raised in the letters include:
· The medical facility was to mitigate the impact of the influx of new residents in the Tesco development. Attendees were concerned that not building it and then adding even more housing will put a strain on existing facilities.
· The process as to how this position has arisen was not clear to attendees or councillors. It would appear that much had gone on "behind closed doors" without consultation of local residents or their elected representatives. Attendees wanted a clear explanation of the process so they could satisfy themselves that all avenues have been fully explored to deliver the original plans (with medical facility) as approved by planning committee. There was concern that the move to "build housing on the medical facility site" might have been taken too lightly because it was an easy option.
Some clarification has now been received from council officers but concerns remain. Approximately half of the S106 £1m has been earmarked for Thorpe Hall School (works to the hall and kitchens). The justification as to why this is "Health & Well Being" expenditure is (apparently) that healthy eating (food from the kitchen) and exercise (in the hall) is important for reducing childhood obesity. The remaining half of the money is being ear marked for use at Handsworth Avenue Medical Centre to expand its facilities so it can cope with the expanding population of Highams Park.
d) Lake & Dam works (incl. Café & Toilets in the Park)
Background: Because of the design of Highams Park lake (a dam holding back a large volume of water), the Department of the Environment have designated it a "reservoir" and mandate that it needs some works to be performed to ensure it can survive unusually heavy rainfall. The DoE have served notice on the lake's owner (The Corporation of the City of London) to perform these works. The exact schedule of works has not been seen by the Forum but they are expected to include: strengthening of the dam, dredging parts of the lake, and clearance of some trees surrounding the lake. The works are expected to take place in 2014.
One thing that is clear is that the Scouts' boathouse which is built on the dam will be demolished and a boat house on the improved dam will not be allowed.
The Forum, the Scouts, and The Friends of the Highams Park are working together to try to turn this problem into an opportunity. An ideal outcome would be the creation of a new (and better) boathouse incorporating (the much requested) café and toilets for the Park. A mixed use facility with greater community use could attract funding from a greater variety of sources. Examples suggested include:
· Sport England
· The Lottery
· The Corporation of the City of London
· Tesco S106 Health & Well Being Money
· Communities Ward Forum funds.
The reaction of the attendees suggests that such a project would have widespread support.
Local MP Ian Duncan Smith is meeting with representatives of the groups described above on Friday 1st November where he will hopefully lend his support.
e) High Level Graffiti adjacent to Signal Box
At the last meeting, DH brought photographs of High Level Graffiti adjacent to Signal Box. Since then, Cllr Paul Braham has reported the matter to council officer Gareth Jones so action could be taken. The Forum is advised that as at 16th September 2013 council officers have served notice on the owners of the property requiring them to clean off the graffiti. If the work is not done in three weeks of the notice the council has powers to clean off the graffiti itself.
DH agreed to monitor the location and report to Cllr Braham if no action is seen.
f) Relocation of speed reactive sign in The Avenue - Success
The long running saga of the problematic speed reactive sign in The Avenue has finally been resolved with the involvement of Cllr Fitzgerald. The sign (which had been turned off because it was causing light disturbance to a nearby resident) has now been moved to a better location and is working properly. It is now situated close to the corner of Falmouth Avenue.
g) Take up of Business Litter Pledge
As at 16th September 2013 council officers report that only one shop (in Winchester Road) has signed up to the Business Litter Pledge. Attendees were disappointed to hear this and were not clear if this was a problem with the shop owners or the way the scheme had been publicised.
9) Any other business:
TC reported that at the last Community Ward Forum meeting he had been prevented from speaking because he lived just outside the relevant ward boundary. TC pointed out that, although he lived outside the boundary, he used facilities inside the boundary and had a great interest in decisions affecting it. He asked attendees if they felt the decision to exclude him was fair. Attendees agreed with TC that they thought this was not fair. Cllr Fitzgerald also agreed and since she will be chairing the next Ward Forum meeting, she stated that it will not be a problem in future.
10) Action List: Review of outstanding items
The action list was reviewed and updated. Copy distributed separately from the minutes.
11) Items for next agenda
· Tesco Illuminated sign. Actual times of activation don't seem consistent with those stated by Tesco.
12) Confirm date, time for next meeting (9th December2013)
meeting will be held on Monday 9th December 2013 at 7:30pm in the
Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.