Minutes of the Norwood Forum Open Meeting - September 1st 2011
Local Residents and Businesspeople
D Blackwood R Brown T Donoghue R Lord Dutton
P Fisher B Goodrick M Hannigan R Jackson
A Jones M McVie M Mitchell J Pavia
M Priestley G Pycock S Tirbutt
It is estimated that about a further 20 people were present who did not sign the attendance sheet.
M Goulbourne Friends of West Norwood Library
C Griffiths Friends of West Norwood Library
D Heath Lambethans Society
O Opanuga Friends of West Norwood Library
J Price Norwood Action Group
J Rahman Norwood Community Group
M Sexton Friends of Norwood Park
D Tooze Friends of West Norwood Library
Invited Speakers and LBL Officials Councillors
PCSO Archer Knights Hill SNT, Met Police J Brathwaite Gipsy Hill
J Kerridge Adult & Community Services, LBL N Francis Gipsy Hill
D Prentice Cultural Services, LBL A Kingsbury Thurlow Park
Cllr J Pickard Deputy Cabinet Member, LBL J Pickard Knights Hill
J Smith Licensing Manager, LBL J Meldrum Knights Hill
C Whelan Thurlow Park
C Evans Head of Active Communities, LBL
S Coyte Adult & Community Services, LBL
Norwood Forum Committee
S de Swarte (Chair) C Williams (Vice Chair) H Grigg (Treasurer)
M Deckers Dowber (Secretary) S Donoghue R Falaiye
M Khan Lodhi I Kimm D Maddix
N Patel B Pavia S Williams
H Penn and R Penn
LBL = London Borough of Lambeth
1. Welcome, Introductions & Apologies
Chair opened the meeting at 6.35 pm and welcomed all attending. She asked that everyone, including Forum Officers and members of the Forum Committee, comply with the Forum’s Code of Conduct regarding respectful and polite behaviour. Forum Officers and Members of the Forum Committee introduced themselves. Apologies had been received from: Cllrs Florence Nosegbe, Leanne Targett-Parker and John Whelan and from Emily Georghiou, Shaun Francis, David Walker and Julie Goldie.
2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting on 16 June 2011:
The draft minutes dated 21 June 2011 were accepted without amendment.
3. Matters Arising from the Minutes:
3.1 Re Item 1: Lord Dutton noted that his verbal apologies had not been included. Chair apologised for having forgotten to pass them to the minute takers.
3.2 Re Item 1: Graham Pycock said that having given apologies for the AGM, he expected a motion he had proposed for that meeting to be on the agenda for this meeting. He said it was not for Forum Officers to decide whether or not motions should be debated and he wanted the motion to be on the agenda for the next Open Meeting. Chair said it would be.
3.3 Re Item 7.1: Cllr Francis said Andrew Gibson should apologise to Olusegun Opanuga. Mr Opanuga said Mr Gibson had brought the Forum into disrepute and should be disciplined. Chair said she would ask Mr Gibson to send a written apology to Mr Opanuga.
3.4 Re Item 7.4: Cllr Meldrum asked what had happened to missing nomination forms. Chair said she did not know although she had checked at the post office. Max Deckers Dowber said the Forum would introduce a new system for submitting nomination forms next year.
3.5 Re Item 8: Cerian Griffiths pointed out that since Harvey Eagles was no longer chair of Friends of West Norwood Library (FoWNL), the position of Forum representative to FoWNL would be taken by Olusegun Opanuga at least until the FoWNL meeting in October.
4. Report on Fatal Shooting Incident on 6 August on Norwood Road:
4.1 Although not on the agenda, Chair had invited Police Community Support Officer Neil Archer to give a report on this incident to the meeting.
4.2 PCSO Archer said he was not involved in the incident investigation. He understood the incident to have taken place after people had left the nearby snooker club. He said most incidents of this type in Lambeth were gang related and posed no direct threat to ordinary members of the public. He said that overall the area was safe and that this was an isolated incident.
4.3 Cllr Clare Whelan said Cllr John Whelan had, in view of this and previous incidents, requested a formal review of the snooker club licence. Graham Pycock asked why the club’s licence had not been withdrawn 2 years ago when a gun was found on the premises. PCSO Archer said the club had tried to control noise nuisance and had a policy of searching users for weapons but that licensing was not a matter for the Safer Neighbourhoods Team. Irene Kimm asked PCSO Archer to report the views of the meeting to police dealing with licensing issues.
5. Getting Involved in Norwood Youth Forum (NYF):
5.1 Dave Maddix said NYF was founded in February 2011 and now had 13 regular members. It had recently held an event on Skills and Attitudes for employment which had been well attended. Irene Kimm asked how NYF was responding to the recent riots while Olusegun Opanuga, praising the work of NYF, said the riots reflected systemic failures to address youth problems. Dave Maddix thought cuts to youth services were one factor behind the riots and said the next NYF event would be on Citizenship. Hippo Grigg praised the work of Dave Maddix and his team and said discussions would take place soon about future NYF funding.
5.2 Jamal Rahman criticised the lack of cooperation between NYF and youth groups operating from the Old Library and Irene Kimm suggested the two groups merge. Dave Maddix said he would discuss the matter with Mr Rahman.
6. Update on West Norwood Library and Cemetery:
6.1 John Kerridge (JK) Assistant Director, Adult and Community Services (ACS), LBL, explained that his role was to listen to ideas for the future of the Nettlefold site and develop a vision to put to councillors. Meanwhile, Derek Prentice was in charge of on-site work. JK reminded the meeting of the views expressed when he attended the Forum Meeting on 24 March 2011, (for example the need to involve the local community and to delegate management and budget responsibility) and said he had encountered similar views when attending a meeting of Friends of West Norwood Library in June.
6.2 JK said he had consulted a range of local groups but had still to meet the Old Library Steering Group. He also hoped the meeting with Nettlefold users, proposed at the 24 March meeting, could go ahead. He said a vision was starting to emerge but was unable to give any details except to say there were no plans not to reopen the Nettlefold Centre. He said he hoped to present his ideas to LBL Cabinet and to the Forum by November 2011.
6.3 Derek Prentice (DP), Acting Divisional Director, Cultural Services, LBL, said the delay in reopening the Nettlefold was due to asbestos being discovered in the walls and roof. He hoped the removal would be complete by the end of October, but until then no assessment could be made of remaining works required. Consequently, he could not give any reopening date but undertook to keep the local community informed. He said the decision to relocate the library to the Resource Centre in Park Hall Road, taken by Jo Cleary, Executive Director of ACS in consultation with colleagues, was made after finding the Old Library unsuitable because of lack of secure storage and the demands of other users. However, the relocation remained under review.
6.4 Bob Goodrick said the Nettlefold had suffered a catalogue of problems since October 2010 resulting in a risk, made worse by the cuts in council funding, that it would never reopen. He asked for an assurance that there will still be a library in West Norwood in the future. JK refused to speculate on the future of the Nettlefold Centre but said that LBL, along with many other local authorities, had a long record of poor building maintenance.
6.5 Cllr Clare Whelan said the costs of repair would be some £300,000. DP said that LBL had funds available and committed for the repairs. He also said that the building is insured and that most claims made on that insurance have been paid, although he was not sure of the value of these claims.
6.6 In response to a suggestion from John Price, JK agreed to try to get an information poster prepared quickly that could be displayed during the FEAST market on Sunday 4th September. Olusegun Opanuga called on members to support the campaign by Friends of West Norwood Library to press for rapid progress on repairing the building and Chair encouraged members to complete the Library Questionnaire, copies of which were available at the meeting.
6.7 Graham Pycock blamed councillors and council officials for the current state of the Nettlefold Centre. He said that after 6 months of consultation there was no sign of progress and that inadequate security had allowed the roof to be stripped 4 times. He called for local people to be given the funding to run the library [applause].
6.8 DP said security for the cemetery was being increased with extra patrols and CCTV and liaison with the Safer Neighbourhood Team and that security for the Nettlefold would be reviewed nearer to reopening. He confirmed that different materials (not copper or lead) would be used for re-roofing.
7. Pensioners Want their Say in Norwood:
7.1 Cllr Jane Pickard (JP), Deputy Cabinet Member for Older People LBL, summarised her role as representing older people throughout Lambeth. People over 65 were 9.2% of Lambeth’s population (national average 15%) and the concentration of older people was highest in Streatham and West Norwood. JP said the number of older people was expected to rise and that one of the main problems faced by the elderly was isolation. A group facing particular difficulties was older people of Afro-Caribbean background, many of whom lacked savings and support networks. JP said that in view of expected financial pressures on LBL, a greater voluntary sector role in caring for the elderly would be needed.
7.2 JP described plans to rebuild the sheltered housing in Cheviot Gardens with a dining room and café open to the local community, although the details and timetable of the project were not yet decided. There was criticism of the lack of information for residents and Max Deckers Dowber said any further information that JP could provide would be welcome.
7.3 JP said LBL supported two groups for the elderly in Norwood, the Pensioners Club run by Clover Williams, and the University of the Third Age. She acknowledged both groups had been adversely affected by the closure of the Nettelfold Centre. JP also said a series of special events for the elderly was planned in October 2011. There were calls for more support to help the elderly access council services; for support for those approaching retirement; and for GP involvement with projects for the elderly. JP said there was already close working between the council and health service on care for the elderly.
7.4 Olusegun Opanuga called for more measures, such as bicycle hire, to make Norwood Park attractive for the elderly. Hippo Grigg pointed out that recent improvements in the park, for example the new café, were attractive for the elderly.
8. Adult Entertainment Venues (AEVs) Policy Consultation:
8.1 John Smith (JS), Licensing Manager, Housing Regeneration and Environment, LBL said that new legislation gave local councils greater powers to control AEVs. JS said the current consultation on how those powers should be used closes on 5 September and the council will meet to determine policy in early November. JS said there were currently just 2 AEVs in Lambeth and these would need new licences. The point was made that the council should take account of the wishes of AEV users as well as of local residents.
8.2 JS said the review of the licence for the Norwood Road Snooker Club would be a public process. In response to a question about Scandals Club, JS said that licensing decisions were made by councillors and that the role of officials was to present councillors with information but not to make recommendations. Some Forum members expressed concern that young peoples’ need for places of entertainment was not fully recognised.
9. Any Other Business:
9.1 Rod Brown asked members of political parties present at the meeting to encourage their candidates for London Mayor to visit Norwood.
9.2 Cllr Francis said he had asked council officials for better 20 mph traffic signs on Gipsy Road and Salters Hill. He said the council will be consulting soon on a raised pedestrian crossing outside The Paxton public house.
9.3 Lord Dutton thought the proposed opening hours for Norwood Hall were excessive. JP agreed to look into it.
9.4 Attention was drawn to the following forthcoming events:
• 10 September: 4 ALL event at All Saints Church
• 11 September: Hexham Road Bazaar
• 18 September: Car Free Day in West Norwood
• 8 October: Norwood Park Centenary Event
10. Date of Next Meeting:
The next Open Meeting of the Forum will be on Thursday 8 December 2011. The provisional venue is the Norwood Old Library Centre. The venue and the time of the meeting will be confirmed in due course.
Chair closed the meeting at 8.30 pm.