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 29th April 2019 (Approved)

 

 

Present:

Cllr Tony Bell, John Avis, Trevor Calver, Michael Shellock, David Jennings, Jeff Beaton, Ian Thomson, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, Roger Torode, Oliver Shykles, Mike Payne, Cllr Zia Rehman, Cllr Rosalind Doré, Cllr Tim James.

Apologies:

Nicolas Haines, Anne Haines, Robert Tatam, Roger Gillham, Ros Newnham, Gordon Turpin.

 

1)         Welcome & Introductions

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

 

2)         Matters arising from minutes of meeting 11th March 2019

There were no matters arising.

 

3)         Action List: Review of outstanding items

The Action List was reviewed and updated and a revised copy will be distributed separately from these minutes.

 

The review was particularly thorough and as a result of the discussion, the meeting was able to close 15 items.  Some points from this discussion are listed below:

a)    There have been no recent problems with the Tesco communal heating system which had previously been found to shut down if a smoke alarm in the main Tesco building was accidentally triggered.

b)    A member had asked if the repair works on The Avenue were part of a full resurfacing.  Cllr Tim James received the following information from council officers:

"We recently patched around 9 tree pits on The Avenue E4 due to root issues. We also raised 2 large patching orders from 38 - 50 & 9B - Richmond Ave.

These are expected to be completed by the end of March.  These 2 orders include 8 large tree pits that also have root issues."

c)     At the request of the Forum, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald had asked officers to replace the litter bin next to the bus stop outside Choice Cards in The Avenue.  [Note added after the meeting:  This bin has now been replaced.]

d)    The Forum was aware that the council was in the process of redesignating some disabled bays from "Advisory" to "Designated".  Cllr Rosalind Doré sought clarification from council officers as to the implications and provided a brief document to MP which explains the background to the process.  MP will distribute this document with the minutes.

e)     TfL are creating history boards for some of their stations, and RT has provided words for Highams Park, with an illustration provided by V&A Books.

 

4)         The remaining unwanted Telephone Box

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 are in good locations, with fair pricing, convenient for potential users and not causing an obstruction.

 

At the time of the meeting all the items requested to be removed had been removed with the exception of #2 and Cllr Marion Fitzgerald undertook to chase up its removal.  However, immediately following the meeting it was noticed that the box had been removed and the pavement neatly reinstated with matching brick pavers.

 

The table reflects the current status of the boxes, with the removed items shaded grey.  All removals requested by the Forum have now been completed.

 

 

Location

Type

Owner

Status

#1

Outside the library

Shoulder height booth

BT

Removed neatly: Paving slabs reinstated.

#2

The Avenue, opposite station

Phone box painted black

New World/

Clear Channel

Removed neatly.  Brick pavers reinstated.

#3

By clock tower near station

Shoulder height booth

BT

Forum wishes this to remain.

#4

North side of The Broadway

Shoulder height booth

BT

Removed neatly.  Brick pavers reinstated.

#5

North side of The Broadway

Phone box painted black

New World/

Clear Channel

Removed.  Brick pavers not yet reinstated. Due by end May 2019

#6

Outside Royal Oak Pub

Phone box (Silver/Black)

BT

Forum wishes this to remain.

#7

North side of The Broadway

Broken junction box

BT

Removed neatly.  Brick pavers reinstated.

 

5)         Highams Park Day 2019 (13th July)

At the last meeting it was explained that 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 had stated that he may not be able to organise the Forum's tent at HP Day 2019 unless he gets some help from others.

 

At the last meeting, attendees asked MP to send out an email to the Forum's distribution list (77 people) appealing for people to come forward.  MP did this and a number of people came forward to assist on the day.  What is now missing is some creative assistance to come up with and create an attractive display for the tent.  Although the prime purpose of the tent is to allow people to find out about the Forum and possibly become involved, the tent needs an attractive and interesting display, otherwise HP Day visitors will find a plain tent rather uninviting.

 

Attendees suggested contacting the Highams Park ARC group.  They are often looking for wall space for artistic displays.

 

After the meeting MP suggested that a "Meridians of Highams Park" display might be possible based on a presentation that is expected to be given at the launch event mentioned in 9b below.

 

6)         Reporting Issues to the council

A Forum member had contacted MP with the request to inform other members (via the meeting and the minutes) of the effectiveness of the council's online reporting services (e.g. potholes and fly tipping).  The member had very good experiences of reporting problems via this route and found that the problems were promptly dealt with.  He recommended other members to use this route.  The full list of online reporting link can be seen via this link:
https://walthamforest.gov.uk/service-categories/report-neighbourhood-problem

 

For some reason, pothole reporting is not on that page.  It can be found here:

https://walthamforest.gov.uk/content/report-pothole

 

7)         Transport & Street Scene

a)    New Trains Delay

RT reported on the delays in the roll out of new trains for the Chingford to Liverpool Street line.  It was originally hoped that the trains would appear on our line during 2019.  The roll out schedule is due to commence with the Barking - Gospel Oak Line before commencing the larger roll out to lines including ours.  The pilot is however behind schedule due to software issues in the trains and also the need for building up "run-in miles" on the trains.  It now seems that the earliest we can expect to see the new trains on our line is the end of 2020.
[Update after the meeting: It is understood that driver training is taking place, there have been test runs on the Chingford Line, and equipment is being installed at Chingford depot.]

 

b)    Could vehicle recharging points be installed in the Tesco car park for shopper's use?

The idea of installing vehicle recharging points in the Tesco car park was generally considered a good idea by those present and should be a win-win for Tesco since it could be zero cost (if partnered with a charging company) and be attractive to shoppers with electric vehicles.  It was acknowledged though that approaching the local store with the suggestion was unlikely to be successful since Tesco would probably deal with such matters as a nationwide strategy.  DJ agreed to write to senior management in Tesco head office with the suggestion.

 

8)         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: The Appeal has now reached a decision and the inspector has supported the decision of the council thereby rejecting the development proposal.

 

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: The Appeal has now reached a decision and the inspector has overturned the decision of the Planning Committee thereby permitting the change of use.

 

9)         Brief Updates:

a)    HP Plan update

MP, on behalf of GT, chair of the Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG), gave a brief update.

 

The plan has very recently been submitted for formal "examination" by an experienced external planning inspector.  This is the last step before the plan is presented to residents in a formal referendum which it is hoped will take place later this year if the examination goes smoothly.  The referendum will take place on a single day, with polling stations and polling booths in the same manner as a political election.

 

The question that the referendum (by law) has to ask is: "Do you want the London Borough of Waltham Forest to use the neighbourhood plan for Highams Park to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?".  Anybody registered to vote in the area covered by the Plan will be entitled to vote. A simple majority of votes (over 50% of those voting) in favour of the Plan is sufficient for it to succeed.

 

b)    Project to install a pavement plaque for The International Reference Meridian

MP & IT, encouraged by the Forum and working with the Heritage Group of the HPPG, submitted 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.

 

Shortly before the meeting MP received notification that the application had been successful and the project will now be taken forward.  The location is in Hale End & Highams Park ward and MP thanked the councillors of that ward for their enthusiastic support of the project.

 

The project will comprise:

·         The installation of an impressive bronze plaque in the pavement.

·         An unveiling ceremony.

·         An evening launch event (an entertaining presentation/social to introduce "The Meridians of Highams Park" to residents).

·         The creation of materials for local schools to engage the interest of students.  There will be learning opportunities in many subjects, such as History, Geography, Geology, Science, Astronomy and Space.

 

c)    Forum Funding Grant

The Forum was granted £300 in the 2019 allocation of ward forum funding by Hatch Lane ward.  This is to cover the regular hire of the meeting room and web hosting fees.  The Forum is quite frugal with its spending and the grant would cover costs into 2020 but the new rules of ward forum funding mean that "carry over" into a following year is not allowed.  RT reported that discussion with the Council officers, and support by Hatch Lane Councillors, has resulted in us receiving the full grant for use into the following year.

 

d)    Signal Box Update

RT explained that the current problems that are keeping the signal box closed continue but progress is being made.  It has been a constant feature of the signal box story (since the box was saved by the Forum in 2002) that getting things done, when dealing with a huge organisation such as Network Rail, always takes a long time.  They always have more pressing priorities and to make any progress requires constant chasing.

 

The subject of scheduled line closures was mentioned and attendees asked if a litter pick along the line could be organised during one of these.  RT agreed to suggest this to his rail contacts.

 

10)     Any other business

a)    Spring Clean Litter Pick event in The Highams Park

10am on Sunday 5th May.  Meet at Humphry's café.

b)    Anti-Idling

There will be an anti-idling event outside Oak Hill Primary School on Tues 7th May.

Cllr Rosalind Doré will pass on to Cllr Marion Fitzgerald details of a resident's request for anti-idling events at some schools in Hatch Lane ward, these being Whitehall Primary and Woodford Green Primary.

c)     "School Streets"

The council is exploring the possibility of introducing some "School Streets".  This is an idea that has been successful in other boroughs where the road outside a school is closed to traffic at school opening and closing times.  Formal consultation will take place before anything is taken forward.

d)    Regal Rumours

There have been some completely unfounded rumours that the project to redevelop The Regal Cinema has stalled.  These are incorrect and the project is proceeding as planned.

 

11)     Items for next agenda

No items were requested at the meeting for the next agenda.

 

12)     Confirm date, time for next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 10th June 2019 at 7:30pm in the Selwyn Lounge, All Saints Church, Church Avenue.
 

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