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 24th October 2016 (Approved)

 

 

Present:

Roger Torode, Robert Tatam, Cllr Tony Bell, Trevor Calver, John Avis, David Roper, Jeff Beaton, Ian Thomson, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, Graham Reeve, Mike Payne, Oliver Shykles

Apologies:

Steve Webb, John Kear, Cllr Sheree Rackham, Gordon Turpin, Oona Kelly, Mark Herring, Roger Gillham, Cllr Tim James, Mary Dunhill, Nicolas Haines, Anne Haines

 

1)         Welcomes & Introductions

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

 

2)         Matters arising from minutes of meeting 12th September 2016

Re item 6 (Wheelie bins not being replaced after emptying):† JB wished to compliment the operators who deal with Evanston Avenue.† All their bins are consistently being replaced in their correct locations.

 

Re 7b (HGVs in Winchester Road): JB noted that recently two HGVs had become "stuck" in Evanston Avenue and required much assistance to reverse out.† The vehicles had turned off from Wadham Road into Winchester Road (missing the small "Unsuitable for HGVs sign") and then exacerbated the problem by driving straight on into Evanston, rather than following Winchester round the tight right turn.† It was clear to attendees that the current signage is too small and badly located.† Currently the sign is located in Winchester Road and will only be seen when vehicles have already committed to the turn.† It would be better if larger signage was place in Wadham Road on the approach to the junction.† Cllr Bell agreed to follow up with officers.

 

3)         Administration

a)    Approve Forum meeting dates for 2017

The proposed meeting dates for 2017 were approved and will be distributed with these minutes.† MP will also post the dates on the Forum's website.

 

Cllr Fitzgerald pointed out that the April date clashed with a Conservative Group meeting but when the attendees looked at rearranging the Forum dates it created other problems so it was decided to leave the dates as proposed.

 

b)    Proposed change to Forum email address

MP asked the meeting to approve a change to the official email address of the Forum.

MP explained that the current address is linked to his personal account with Virgin Media and in the event of him changing his ISP this address will be lost.† The proposed new address is linked to the Forum's website subscription and so will be secure.

 

The meeting agreed the change.† MP will update the website to notify people of the change and will activate an automatic reply on the old address so anyone using it will be advised of the new address.

 

[The paper version of the minutes lists the old and proposed new address. They are not included in this web version of the minutes to avoid the risk of the addresses being picked up by spammers automatically scanning the web. Please see the "Contact us" page of this website for the new address. Sorry for the inconvenience.]

 

c)    Forum Funding

RT advised the meeting that he had now received a second tranche of funding from the previously agreed grant from the Community Ward Forums.† He is now in a position to reimburse costs of room hire and website fees already incurred by members.

 

RT estimated that, based on the current "run rate", the Forum will not have to seek additional funding for two years.

 

4)         Signal Walk issues

Two residents have contacted the Forum with very similar comments.† They relate to Signal Walk (the pedestrian area outside the main entrance to Tesco) and highlight an ongoing litter problem plus a tendency for groups of youths to hang out in doorways.† There have not been any reported incidents but sometimes high spirits can make people feel uncomfortable.

 

Cllrs Tony Bell and Sheree Rackham have been looking at this.

 

CCTV (monitored by council staff) is going to be installed shortly.

 

The area is cleaned daily but the bins are often filled to overflowing.† Larger bins are required.

 

The "ward walks" have proved effective at highlighting issues to council officers.† This is where a small group of residents, councillors, and officers walk a small area of Highams Park looking at any issues in detail and exploring solutions.† It was agreed that Tesco management should be encouraged to join ward walks that cover their site so they can participate more actively in the resolution of problems.† This might also address problems associated with the basement (lower level) car park referred to in item 7b below.

 

5)         Transport

a)    Changes to The Avenue speed calming measures - lack of consultation

Residents had been initially consulted on the works to install road humps and tables in The Avenue but following feedback from this consultation, the plans have been changed and some residents feel they have not been properly consulted on the changes that impact them.

 

In particular, the plans now show one hump replaced by a "Give and Take" build out (restricting the road to one carriageway) near to the Library.† The change was made to avoid problems of vibration to houses which had historically been experienced in this area.† However, numerous concerns have been expressed regarding the change, including pollution due to stop/start traffic, congestion, and flooding risk.† This section of road has been problematic in the past when there is heavy rain with water entering some shops.† Construction of the build out has been put on hold whilst the concerns are looked into.† Forum member Mary Dunhill was in the fore in highlighting the issue to Councillor Marion Fitzgerald and liaising with council officers.† Cllr Tim James has now raised the matter with council deputy leader Clyde Loakes.

 

It was reported that some shopkeepers have also raised concerns about additional double yellow lines associated with the build out which will take away parking spaces.

 

b)    Mini Holland Update

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.† The scheme is known as Mini Holland and an extended period of consultation has taken place and officers are considering the feedback received.

 

At the last Forum meeting it was noted that "the final plan is expected shortly", but as at the date of today's meeting the plan had yet to be published.† Attendees were keen to see these plans to see how/if residents' concerns about the initial plans had been addressed.

 

TC showed attendees photographs of trees in, and adjacent to, newly created cycle ways in other parts of the borough.† The trees showed extensive basal growth (shoots and branches at the base of tree trunks often triggered by pruning of the crown).† The tree growth effectively blocked the path.† If paths like this are to be constructed elsewhere, then more regular maintenance of trees needs to be included in the plan.

 

c)    Traffic issues at the top of Charter Road and expansion of the Girls school

The Transport Group of The Highams Park Planning Group has been in communication with council officers regarding the situation at the top of The Charter Road outside Woodford County High School for Girls.† Problems are regularly being caused by cars parking and manoeuvring illegally or inconsiderately when picking up and dropping off pupils.† The situation can be expected to get worse when the proposed 50% increase in the size of the school takes place in the next few years.

 

A scheme to use the car park of Hawkey Hall as a drop off and pick up point is likely to be scuppered by the proposed redevelopment of that site.

 

The Planning Group suggested some measures to alleviate the situation and requested clarification as to how LBWF plans to spend £30,000 from Redbridge Council which has been provided to deal with traffic issues resulting from the school expansion.

 

d)    Proposed Extension to Ultra Low Emission Zone and the "T-charge"

Attendees wished to alert members to a consultation from Transport for London which may impact Highams Park Residents.† The consultation relates to a number of possible changes to London's "Ultra Low Emission Zone".† These include increasing the size of the zone so the boundary will come up to (but not include) the North Circular Road, and to introduce a £12.50 daily charge for older vehicles to drive in the zone.† A number of other ideas and proposals are also included.† Full details and the opportunity to comment can be found by clicking the link below.† The consultation closes 18th December.

Details & consultation link: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-2/?cid=airquality-consultation

 

In general petrol cars registered after January 2006 and diesel cars registered after September 2015 are clean enough not to pay the charge.† Cars prior to these dates will need to check their emissions class.

 

Attendees commented that the charge would be incurred to drive, for example, from Highams Park to Walthamstow.† Some applauded the proposals and suggested the zone should be extended across the North Circular into Highams Park.

 

There was some concern that traffic in Highams Park might increase if routes cause vehicles to try to skirt round the zone, but it was felt that vehicles doing this would probably use the North Circular.

 

6)         Planning & Development

a)    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.

 

Cllr Tony Bell agreed to contact the owners and council officers for details as to the proposed use of the building.

 

b)    Proposed warehouse development next to Shurgard

The planning application for this development can be found by typing the reference 161211 into the LBWF Planning Search facility.† The planning application shows plans for a small warehouse in the land behind the Shurgard facility in Hickman Avenue.

 

The application does not specify the use to which the building will be put.† There was a rumour that it might be used by delivery company Hermes but the origin and authenticity of this rumour was unknown by attendees.† If this were the proposed use it concerned attendees since this might generate a lot of traffic; large lorries bringing in goods and then numbers of cars collecting the goods for delivery.

 

c)    Proposed development at 70 The Avenue, backing onto Castle Ave

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 house on a very constrained plot at the bottom of a garden in The Avenue.† The plot would open onto Castle Avenue.† The new house would be in a very elevated position overlooking existing properties.† The planning application has reference 161280.

 

MP reported that the LBWF Planning website shows no decision on the planning application but strangely all the application drawings which were present on the site now seem to have been removed.† MP undertook to try to find out why.

 

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.

 

[Following the meeting, a couple of days later, MP queried the planning website and found that a new set of plans had been submitted with a date of 27th October 2016.† These new plans show the ground level of the proposed building some 1.6 metres below the street level of Castle Avenue and closer to it.† Presumably this change is intended to help overcome some objections about the proposed building overlooking existing buildings in The Avenue.† But the excavations seem to create a whole new set of problems and bring the roof of the sunken building within arm's reach of pedestrians in Castle Avenue.† Because this is classed as an amendment to plans, only 14 days are allowed for comments on the plans.]

 

d)    Redevelopment of† Dolphin Windows - Winchester Road

The leaseholder has been given notice to leave and it is assumed the building will be redeveloped but no planning application has been seen as yet.

 

e)    Plot of land on the corner of Belmont Close and Falmouth Avenue

Attendees had noticed preparations for building on this plot of land but were not aware of what was proposed.

 

[Following the meeting Cllr Fitzgerald provided documents which explain the development.† The planning reference is 160075 and the address of the plot is 12c Falmouth Avenue.† The application has received approval for a single 4 bedroom, two storey detached house with no parking provision.]

 

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 will be returned to council officers shortly for final review.

         New information boards have been unveiled at the entrances to The Highams Park (beside the lake).† Members of the HPPG had worked with officers on the content of these boards.

         HPPG is consulting residents close to the park regarding their proposed application for "change of use" of the disused building in the park.† This is part of an initiative of the HPPG to bring the building back into use as a community facility.† The HPPG is responding to the large numbers of requests it received from park users for additional facilities in the park to support their visits.

         Work is well in hand planning for the Xmas Fayre, a major event in the shopping area on Sunday 18th December (10am-5pm).

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

 

b)    Tesco Car Park: Air Quality, Parking restrictions & Problems in lower level

Background: Forum member David Roper felt that the air quality in the Tesco underground car park might be below standard and had started a dialogue with Tesco management.† At least one other resident has independently raised this as an issue.

 

Tesco have checked their equipment and confirm it is working properly.† The equipment does not however measure oxides of nitrogen (often referred to as NOX) and "particulates" (the minute carbon particles that originate primarily from diesel engines).† DR asked if he could put up his own monitors for these pollutants but this request was rejected since "3rd party equipment" on the premises was against their internal policies.

 

DR has also asked if Tesco could upgrade its own monitoring equipment to measure the pollutants other than carbon monoxide but has been informed that the current equipment meets all relevant standards.

 

Tesco have, however, agreed to put up signs requesting vehicle users not to leave engines idling in the car park.† Tesco management have reported that the signs have been produced and have recently been delivered to the store.† They expect to put them up before the end of this month (October).

 

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) was obtained and it 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.

 

A resident reported problems in the lower level of the Tesco car park.† Car maintenance and testing seems to be a regular feature.† The resident noted that although the area is covered by CCTV, Tesco security only deal with it if someone raises a complaint.† It was suggested that this problem could be included as part of a ward walk as mentioned in item 4 above.

 

c)    Hale End Library in Highams Park

This item was documented extensively in the minutes of the last meeting.† 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 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.† Some initial areas being targeted are:†

         Encouraging residents to use it and to behave in a way that their usage is recorded.† For example, some families use just one Library Ticket between all members.† This means that the number of library members is underestimated.

         Promote all the library services which are not well known to the majority of residents.

         Working with officers to offer services that are more relevant to a wider cross section of residents who don't currently use the library.

         Making better usage of the community rooms and other event spaces in and around the building.† The building has some unique and valuable facilities which would not be available at the proposed new location.

 

Attendees requested information as to the current cost of hiring rooms at the library.† MP agreed to include a link to the relevant page in the minutes.† The link is here: https://arena.yourlondonlibrary.net/documents/66175/0/Room+Hire+Charges+2016-17_new.pdf

 

Some attendees offered to assist by "knocking on doors" and distributing leaflets.† It was suggested that leaflets could be distributed at the same time as leaflets publicising the Xmas Fayre.

 

The HPPG has produced a comprehensive email to residents explaining the current situation and setting out what residents can do to help.† MP agreed to distribute this email to Forum members.

 

d)    Deep Cleaning of roads

At the last Forum meeting Councillors were asked if they could determine if the "Deep Clean" process for the borough's streets still took place and if so to what timetable.† Cllr Fitzgerald followed this up and received this following response from council officer Gareth Jones (North Neighbourhood Area Manager):

Deep cleansing will only normally take place where it has been identified that such cleansing is required.

 

The main roads are cleansed with a large mechanical sweeper that has a jetwash capability so these do not normally require additional cleansing.

 

If you have any particular locations of concern please let me know and I can get them looked at and determine what we can do.

 

MP then emailed Forum members for "locations of concern" and received just the following list:

         Abbotts Crescent, between No. 1 and No. 33

         Alma Avenue, Evanston Avenue, Lyndhurst Road, Swanage Road, Wickham Road and part of Winchester Road up to the River Ching.

Cllr Fitzgerald then passed these locations to Gareth Jones.

 

e)    Works at Highams Park Station

The proposed works at the station were described in the minutes of previous Forum meetings.† RT summarised this for attendees and noted that the works are scheduled to commence at the end of this month (October).

 

The works at the main station building are scheduled for 31st October 2016 to 23rd December 2016.

 

The works to create a new building on the footpath to Larkshall Road are scheduled for 31st October 2016 to 22nd February 2017.

 

Disruption to station users is to be expected.

 

RT has created a detailed email describing the works and the impact on station users.† MP agreed to distribute this to Forum members.

 

Following the works, the exit to the subway from the Chingford bound platform will be permanently closed (except for emergencies).† It is assumed that the reason relates to the difficulty in installing barriers here (and staffing them).† Attendees noted that this will be a very unpopular measure as the exit is well used.† It can be expected to create additional congestion on the already crowded pedestrian bridge, especially in the evening rush hour.

 

f)     Secure Cycle parking at the station

The Forum has been informed that secure parking for 28 cycles will be provided by the council at the station in 2017.

 

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)    Prosecutions for leaving rubbish bags on the pavement?

Waltham Forest News reports a crackdown on fly tipping.† Leaving rubbish bags on the pavement in the shopping area is officially considered as fly tipping.† Can we determine whether anyone has been prosecuted for this?

OS agreed to enquire.

 

b)    Enviro-heroes

The council has launched a volunteering initiative called Enviro-heroes. It sees Enviro-Heroes as "the thousands of community minded residents of Waltham Forest who volunteer their time and energy to keep their environment and local neighbourhood cleaner, safer and a more enjoyable place to live".

The Enviro-heroes initiative consolidates "many established volunteering initiatives and include new volunteering opportunities which the council is developing with partners and offering to residents and businesses".

More details are here: www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/volunteering-opportunities

Residents "will need to follow a simple registration process in order to sign up and take part in the volunteering events".

Residents can also register their own volunteering opportunities, either as a Resident Association or as individuals, by emailing environmental.services@walthamforest.gov.uk with details and this will be advertised on the website to help promote the event.

An attendee also wished to highlight the Cleaner Air Champions scheme.† MP agreed to include a link to the website in the minutes.

This is the link: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/volunteer/our-volunteers/cleaner-air-champions

 

c)    Dates of next Community Ward Forum Meetings

Hatch Lane

Date: Thursday 10th November 2016

Time: 7pm - 9pm

Venue: Longshaw Primary School, Longshaw Road, Chingford, E4 6LH

Note: Meeting will include a discussion on funding of community projects (deciding which applications can be approved).

 

Hale End & Highams Park

Date: Monday 21st November 2016

Time: 7pm - 9pm

Venue: Selwyn Primary School, 102 Cavendish Road, Highams Park, E4 9NG

 

Chapel End

Date: Monday 28th Novemeber 2016

Time: 7pm - 9pm

Venue: Chapel End Infant School, 3 Beresford Road, Walthamstow, E17 4LN

 

d)    Chapel End ward and boundary commission

A consultation is in progress regarding proposed changes to Parliamentary constituencies.† A change which would impact the Highams Park area is the proposal to move Chapel End ward from the "Walthamstow" constituency to the "Chingford and Woodford Green" constituency.

 

If you have views on this (for or against), the consultation site is here: www.bce2018.org.uk

 

10)     Items for next agenda

      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?

11)     Confirm date, time for next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 5th December 2016 at 7:30pm in the Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.
 

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