22 Jan 2019 THCAT Minutes

Meeting at St Paul's Church Hall, 22.1.19 from 7-8.30pm
1. Welcome, Health & Safety and Apologies
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially our visitors from Croydon Council, Veolia and the Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team (Bensham Manor).  Chris gave the Health & Safety briefing.
Apologies were received from: our Councillors, Barbara Benjamin, Rev Derrick Thompson, Mel Hollett, Emma Rowland, Peter Lawrence, Margaret Daly, Suzie Woos, Zee Zee and Cedric Monvoisin.
2. Hello from the Safer Neighbourhoods Team
The Bensham Manor Safer Neighbourhoods Team, Jason Singer, Horatiu Cozmu and Jacqueline Kufuor introduced themselves.  They would like to encourage more people to bring their concerns to the meetings they hold: informal meetings (eg Coffee with a Cop in Costa) held every couple of weeks or Ward Panel meetings every 2-3 months.
Members asked how to find out about these meetings and were informed that posters are put in the library, Costa, Sainsburys etc and Graham posts details on our Facebook page.  Andrea asked how many people can come as the Thornton Heath Team do not seem to want the general public coming to Ward Panel meetings. 
The policy is that it is ot an open meeting to discourage trouble makers but the Bensham Manor Team are quite happy for genuine residents to come, although they are held in quite small spaces.  Currently few people come and Andrea commented that the agenda is generally not very engaging.  People can email to say they would like to attend if they see an advert.
One member asked what the difference was between the SNT meetings and the large Neighbourhood Meetings which used to take place.  These were held by the Council but the Ward Panel meeting are organised by the Police.
There are changes coming as Croydon is being merged for policing with Sutton and Bromley because of funding cuts.  However, the local offer should remain much the same with most changes in middle management.
One lady asked about starting Neighbourhood Watch for her road after a man was caught and admitted to breaking into cars.  Linda mentioned that Supt. Colin Carswell was advocating Neighbourhood Watch at an earlier meeting.  Mary Cameron is a long term Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator and it was suggested she talk to her after the meeting and look at the Croydon Neighbourhood Watch website.  The SNT members said they would also be around at the end of the meeting to talk to people.
Here are Bensham Manor SNT’s details:
3.  Update Visit from Veolia and the Council
Linda introduced this item setting a time slot of 30 minutes. She said that the north of the Borough has a bad reputation for flytipping, littering etc but there are many of us who care greatly. She asked for a show of hands of who recycles and who takes part in clean-up actions with almost unanimous responses - we want the best for our environment.  She asked members to say how the condition of our streets makes them feel:


  • Detrimental to mental health
  • Embarrassed
  • Sad
  • Disrespectful
  • Soul destroying - what's the point
  • Not everyone has the appropriate bins
  • More public education is needed on bulk waste etc. (but the system is much too slow)
  • Some dumping happens from out-of-area

Our visitors then introduce themselves.
From Croydon Council: Mariam Bee from Business Development whose role includes communication and engagement and Mark Digeorgio, Contracts Manager.
From Veolia: Andrea Lowe, Senior Contract Manager; Chris Stockham, Street Cleaning and Richard Gibb, Collections Manager.
Questions were invited from the floor:
Member from Penshurst Road: What happens when landfill is not collected for 6 weeks as happened on her road?
A: You can report missed collections online.  However, Veolia are aware of issues on a stretch of Penshurst Road where crews had difficulty getting the truck down the road.  When the collection system changed crews were on different routes they were not familiar with.  The old crews were later sent out with them to show them the ropes.
Q: Will the Council look into facilitating group reports for when collections are missed on a whole street?  At present only individual reports can be made.
A: The Council is looking into this.
Mitra: What should we do if other properties' rubbish is not collected because items are not put in the right bins.  It is a particular problem with HMO's.
A: Recycling crews can only take uncontaminated recycling otherwise the hole load will be contaminated.  If they cannot collect they report it and Veolia can build up a picture of hot spots.  The outreach team can visit to help residents recycle correctly.
Avril: Some houses, particularly HMO's, do not have enough bins for the number of people living there leading to overflowing bins and black bags which get pulled about by foxes but Avril was told that you cannot ask for additional bins for anyone else.
Q: Should they be fined.
A: Veolia do not have the power to do this.  The Council Neighbourhood Safety Team can do this.
Andrea: Why are bins not put back in the right place when they have been emptied even when they have house numbers on them?  A plastics bin recently put back much further up the road had already had landfill waste put in it by another resident by the time she found it (5 minutes).
A: Crews take an area at a time to deal with contamination.  They should be putting the bins back in the right place.  If your bin is lost you can report online via "My Account".
One member said he found the contact centre the best way to report.  Others said that while some crews put bins back tidily, others leave them scattered about the pavements etc.
Graham: Commented that people need educating and asked what education programme is in place for waste management?
A: This has just started.  They monitor addresses that crews have reported.  They door knock to speak to residents, followed by a letter.  If there is still a problem a stronger letter is sent and it is referred to the Council.
Mohammed Mir: Are they engaging with schools, for example Winterbourne School?
A: They are visiting all junior schools to talk about littering and recycling.  They have so far visited two thirds of junior schools and when they have completed they will visit again.  5, 6 and 7 year olds are very keen but older children are less interested.  The visits take the form of short assemblies but it is very difficult to work with the secondary schools.
Q: Do they speak to the parents?  Small children do not dump mattresses, fridges etc overnight.  Education of adults is necessary.
A: No general programme.
Q: Could we partner with them with positive messages to raise awareness?  For example, adults go to fast food outlets and then dump bags out of car windows.  Could there be leaflets in the Takeaways?
A: They will take this suggestion back to Stuart Collins.
Q: Some streets have not been swept properly for quite a while.
A: There are some tweaks necessary and they are working with the sweepers.  There are many nooks and crannies which are on private land which they do not cover.
Mary Cameron from Quadrant Road wanted to say thank you to the Veolia team who had sorted out a dumping problem in their street.
Q: There is a problem with the Council's large waste service because it takes 2 months to get a collection.  At the last meeting with THCAT in July a two tier system was suggested so that people who wanted a quicker service could pay. Have they considered it?
A: It can be a lot quicker, depending on where they have items to collect from.  They did not know about our previous suggestions as they had stepped in to attend at the last minute.
Jill: The Church requested two recycling bins months ago but they have not come.
A: This is trade waste through the South London Waste Partnership but they will take it back and chase it.
Q: Why did it take 8 weeks for a dumped mattress to be taken away?
A: Once reported it should be taken away in 24 hours but not if it is on private land.
Linda: Are there any new strategies in the pipeline?
A: Stuart Collins is keen to do something with plastic bottles and coffee cup recycling.  There will be capital money for this in the next financial year.  Recycling is up to 47%. They are hoping to get to 50% and be the best borough in London for recycling.
THCAT will stay in communication with Veolia and the Council and we need to work together with them to achieve improvements.  Veolia told us that they like the pallet planters THCAT have put around Thornton Heath.
4.  Planning Application Updates
Adult Gaming Centre: Luxury Leisure have applied for change of use of the old HSBC on the High Street to an Adult Gaming Centre (gambling machines).  There was a consultation period from mid-December to January 17th.  THCAT set up a petition against it and got 126 signatures outside Tesco last Sunday, plus 800 online signatures.  The decision will be made before 9th February.
Christina told us that Santander has proposed banking with coffee etc in Wandsworth but it was turned down.  It would be much better than Adult Gaming for the old HSBC site.
Station Yard Development: The developer has applied to build 58 flats in 4 blocks 6, 7, 8 and 9 storeys high.  There are problems with the design, access, amenities and parking planned.  The scheme needs to have longevity.  THCAT has set up a petition for a public meeting to discuss a master plan for the area.  The Council has asked them to withdraw the current plans and will oppose them if they do not.  We hope for a Community meeting to get an effective scheme in place.
One member said there are many trip hazards in the Iceland Car Park but there seem to be problems over responsibility and ownership.  Andrea informed us that the car park and Iceland are owned by the Nottinghill Housing Trust.
5.  THCAT Project Updates
Street Action Project: Gaetane informed us that this 2 year project, funded by the People's Health Trust, has been very successful.  It completes at the end of August but we still need 2 more streets around Meadow View.  If anyone lives in this area, or knows someone who does who would be prepared to be a street leader, please get in touch.
The Pond Project: Pete wants tiles for a mosaic to go on one wall, Ecobricks and volunteers for this project.  Andrea said there are tiles available which were left over from the Grangewood Park mosaic.
Ecobricks are empty plastic bottles stuffed until they are solid with non-recyclable plastic.  (Details online at ecobricks.org).  These will be used to build a fountain wall.  The mosaic weekend is planned for either 9, 10 or 23, 24 March.
Mohammed suggested there could be a notice board with the history of the Pond which THCAT notices could be displayed.  There could also be one at the station.
Good Growth Fund Bid: Chetna explained that we are putting in a bid for funding from the Good Growth Fund in partnership with the CVA.  We want a Community hub, either real or virtual.  There will be a questionnaire to find out what people want and how they would use a hub if it were provided.  It will go on the THCAT website.  The next meeting on the bid will be at the end of February.
THCAT Planters: Graham reported that there are now 33 planters around Thornton Heath.  An audit at the weekend was done to check on what refurbishment and replanting is needed.  More planters are being made and more people can be trained to make them is they want to.  The project aims to reduce flytipping.
5. Any Other Business
Ambassador House Forecourt: Andrea informed us that the Council are planning to spend £15k to improve the forecourt of Ambassador House to make it a useable public space ready to be used this summer.  It will be greened up with a stage and lighting and there will be a programme of events which Chetna might be involved in.  There is a meeting planned to involve the Community.  15 design entries have been received ranging from local artists to an architectural firm that works across London.
Veolia say that cleaning Ambassador House Forecourt is not part of their contract.  Chetna said she saw a sweeper there this morning.  The remains of the THCAT Christmas tree were still there although we had been told it would be cleared.
Domestic Xmas Trees: Veolia drivers would collect domestic xmas trees.  The last date for collection is 24th January.
CR7 Culture: They will be holding their first meeting of the year on Wednesday 30th January from 6.30-8.30pm in Thornton Heath Library.  It is a networking meeting called "Creative Survival Strategies" which will include a Q&A panel, Andrea introducing the Re-imagining Thornton Heath competition for student architects and a performance from Mitra.  The library is closed for the week for refurbishment but the meeting will take place.
The Leisure Centre: There has been some progress made and there are finally classes available on a Sunday.
Heathrow Flight Path Consultation: Paul Voden informed us that some residents had had received information about these plans delivered to their homes.  The information states that even if the additional runway is not built, Heathrow still plans to change the flight paths in and out of the airport.  It means we will have 17 flights per hour over 46 decibels.  The nearests public meeting to here was at the Royal College of nursing.  Members of the public can fill out the consultation questionnaire online or by post.  Details at:  https://www.heathrowconsultation.com/
7. Date of Next Meeting
Our AGM will be held on Tuesday 5th March from 7-8.30pm, venue to be confirmed.