THCAT MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY 9TH JULY 2019, 7-8.30PM
AT THORNTON HEATH SALVATION ARMY HALL
1. Welcome, apologies, health & safety
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting especially new members who were invited to introduce themselves. She thanked the Salvation Army for hosting this meeting and those of our Street Action Project and invited Louise to tell us about what activities were taking place in the hall.
Louise informed us that Palace for Life will be running a free holiday club. The dates and ages of children catered for were still to be confirmed. People who are interested could check on the Salvation Army Facebook page and check Legacy and Social P for other events. The Salvation Army also runs an over 50's Club on Thursdays.
Louise also gave the Health & Safety briefing.
Apologies: Karen Jewitt, Pat Clouder, Jamie Audsley, Dahlia Kariuki, Vân Dang, Rev Nadine Wilkinson, Barbara Benjamin, Gill from St. Paul’s, David Fell.
2. Minutes of external meetings
Mohammed Mir suggested that we need to keep records of meetings with public bodies eg Police and Local Authorities, so that they can be held to account. In the past actions have been promised at meetings but nothing has happened subsequently. We agreed that a volunteer should be nominated on the day to record the main decisions.
Some organisations do distribute notes of their own. After the Croydon Community Consortium meeting last Friday, Dave Stringer sent out an email of the key points to all interested parties, including those not at the meeting and a much more detailed document can be found on their website: https://croydoncc.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/croydon-snt-bulletin-19-july-2019/#more-13564
3. Satisfaction Survey
Marley King has created a satisfaction survey asking for local people's views on key issues in the area and how the Council is dealing with them. It has been posted on THCAT and other local Facebook pages etc. and Marley will post the link again tomorrow. Results so far are interesting. The survey is open until 24th July when Marley will collate the results and send them to Councillors and others who need to know. No names will be included with the data. The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/survey-taken/?sm=fq_2B3Jrf917DfVusHJW5HmTy3acOCX9TWyACqiRty_2BXIhphahU3Iz73O2BZYhtdq_2FJ9KyD8BMhXHfOHrdyH_2FoAgJvbmcCnR6xvAKRdkzT_2Bzg_3D
4. Updates on Council Projects
a) NSO's - Stuart Collins has been intending to come to a meeting to update us on deployment of Neighbourhood Safety Officers. The Cabinet was meant to decide on this issue in June but this has been postponed until September. He is now hoping to come and tell us about this in the autumn.
NSO's help in dealing with ASB and violence reduction part of the time and Police have asked them to help with the street drinkers. They say they cannot seize alcohol and can only give a ticket but this needs to be clarified. They also visit people with rubbish filled front gardens and issue litter fines so their role is environmental and social.
b) Immediate Article 4 - This item was held over until the next meeting as neither Alison nor Barbara was present.
c) Ambassador House Forecourt and Market - Zohra, the Council Regeneration Manager, informed us that the forecourt is an adopted highway and is the only part of Ambassador the Council owns. There are multiple issues with Ambassador House but limited opportunity because of the ownership issues.
The redevelopment includes public art, planting and seating. The bus stop garden is currently being installed with seating on giant steps and big planters. Ducting channels are being installed for lights and footings for the walls. Lighting columns are to come and it should be done in the next few weeks. Vân will be painting a mural and on 30-31 July will be running a workshop with young people aged 12-19 and the Youth Engagement Team. New flooring was proposed but it depends on the budget so it is on hold at the moment.
Activities will be put on to provide positive use of the space. Funding has come from the Mayor of London's £5k Get Active programme. There have already been 2 sessions with various classes run by Palace for Life. The last will be on 21st July. There will be classes over the summer. The most popular are circuits and table tennis.
Market - There is some funding left from the Thornton Heath regeneration to try to set up a market. A proposal was put out last October and there were 2 applications which were very different but both needed work so a meeting was held to discuss collaboration between the two. Ian Tate, who works with Chetna, proposed a market with activities and buskers. Chloe Court runs Share My Space which aims at getting properties into use with meanwhile lettings for businesses.
They will come back to the Regeneration Steering Group/THCAT. The plan is for 2/3 pilots in the warm weather. 21st July was proposed for the first one but there will be no space as this is the last Activity Day. Chloe Court had emailed Andrea for potential contacts for a 5-8 stall market on this day but it will not work. It is also too short notice for advertising.
Linda said that THCAT ran 3 pilots in poor weather. The last was on a match day, on the pavement outside the Job Centre and worked well there.
Zohra - There is £11K left over for the markets. The onus will be on stall holders to provide stalls, insurance etc.
Gaëtane - Who will water and weed the Ambassador House plants?
Zohra - There will be a water supply - we can use the pub. Community input would be good but there should be funding for this but it is not appropriate for the Community to do the deep clean.
Q - The planted strip outside the Library is not looked after. It is all weeds and litter.
Zohra - This is down to the Grounds Maintenance Team.
Marley - The lack of numbers at the Ambassador House Forecourt events had been disappointing. Marley had been asked by the Council to share information about this but the information was not sent to her and she was told to go and look for it on another website. This is not appropriate.
Zohra - There were more people last Sunday but not all the time. There needs to be more advertising and the Council needs help to get the word out.
Averil - Is there provision for our Christmas Tree to be secured? Last year we had problems with the wind and with the stand being stolen.
Zohra - Could we put it at the clock tower?
Linda - We have had it at the clock tower before but when it is at Ambassador House people see it as they exit the station.
5. Feedback from the Meeting with the Borough Commander - Andrea
There have now been 3 meetings - at Winterbourne, at St. Paul's and the recent meeting to reassure the public after the recent murder. The key points were:
- We will be getting an extra officer for Thornton Heath from the autumn
- ASB around Tescos - Borough Commander is bidding for 4 extra officers from the Met for more patrols and visibility in the centre of Thornton Heath.
- An off-licence has been fined for selling alcohol to people who are drunk.
- Stop and search has increased and a knife seized.
- Police numbers have been cut to the bone so there are very few PCSO's so the police need the public to be their eyes and ears.
- They are working with the Council and businesses with a Design Out Crime Officer re ASB, drink, drugs etc.
The people outside Tesco are often not homeless so if you give them money it is only for alcohol. They will not take food. The have long-term alcohol abuse issues and there are opportunist crimes to fund their addictions.
Sarah (Police Officer) said that the Design Out Crime Officer is coming on 22nd July and will also be contacting big stores. Sarah gave the ticket to the off licence and they have been told they will lose their licence is they repeat. She will be visiting other stores. The street drinkers are banned from Tesco. There may need to be training for shopkeepers. If the drinkers are aggressive when refused alcohol they can call 999 and should employ enough staff so that they are not in the shop alone. The initial fine is £90 and the licence can subsequently be removed. Their obligations not to sell to drunks are the same as pubs.
The public should email the police directly if they see this happening. A criminal behaviour order has been sought by the police for one of the men but the court has not had time to issue it as he fails to appear in court and they will not issue it without him there. He has been rehoused in central Croydon.
9. ASB related to Crystal Court Residents/Orbit Housing - Andrea
This item was taken next as it is linked to the last one.
The flats are an affordable housing initiative from Orbit. There are issues with flytipping, drugs, drink and people going into the building. The door was smashed and then disappeared so there is now a security guard with a dog in a van outside instead of a door. There has been human excrement, people sleeping in the bin area and fires set. It is connected to the Tesco ASB group.
It was raised with the meeting at St. Paul's with the Borough Commander. They knew about the ASB from April.
Alison will write to Orbit, the Sarah said Orbit will not reply to email or phone calls from the Police. There are people living there with mental health problems. Orbit has promised to replace the door by 17th July. The Council needs to pressurise Orbit to take action, especially as they advertise Crystal Court to people on their housing list. Orbit has a home improvement advice centre and wants its tenants to be comfortable and safe. They need to support those who live there with children etc.
Strongly worded emails have been sent to Orbit asking what action they will take re their tenants and it has been discussed with the ASB team but nothing gets done. If nothing happens a closure notice will be served on Orbit and those causing problems will be out.
Q: Can this be done through the housing regulator?
A: The Council needs to do it.
Q: Could THCAT or individuals go to the regulator?
A: Paul Gibson is the ASB Officer. Initially one tenant invited other people into the block.
Andrea: We have spoken to Council Officers but their answers are generic.
Paul V: Will find out contact details for the regulator and Chief Executive or Orbit. The tenants are not fulfilling the terms of their tenancies. We will liaise with the police.
ACTION - THCAT to write to the regulator on this issue.
6. Updates on THCAT's and Local Projects
a) The Pond, Our Green Mile - Pete
This is year 2 of the Pond project. It is becoming a pleasant gateway into Thornton Heath. £2k has been spent from the W. Thornton Ward Budget.
Our Green Mile is a project to green up the area from the Pond to W. Croydon Station. The next phase is the Hospital Garden which will start in September. The community will help to create a community garden including a mosaic. CRO (Croydon Reuse Organisation) has been a great resource for planters, workshops etc.
b) Street Action Project - Gaëtane
This project, funded by the People’s Health Trust, finishes at the end of August. 20 streets have been involved over 2 years and people have had a chance to get to know their neighbours. The latest streets include Cassland Road, Buxton Road and Alma Place where hanging baskets and window boxes have been planted and Grange Park Road where actions include extra lighting. This Sat/Sun a mosaic will be created in Frant Road. There has been much work behind the scenes to make this project happen eg. hours of shopping and paperwork.
7. THCAT Finances - This was held over to the next meeting as David was unable to attend.
8. Friends of Thornton Heath Rec - Graham
Friends of the Rec has been reconstituted and has a new Committee. They have received some funding from TK Max for environmental work. They will liaise with the Council to see the budget is spent fairly. There will be a public meeting soon.
A Clean Up of Norbury Brook will take place on 20th July.
10. Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is high in Croydon. Members agreed that they would like to hear about the subject from an expert at a future meeting.
- In Bloom - There have been more than 80 entries plus 50+ planters meaning there are more and more flowers in Thornton Heath. The winners will be announced at the prize giving on 17th July.
- Croydon Mela - takes place in Wandle Park on 14th July. 2-3 people are needed to help with evaluations (paid).
- Picnic in the Park - 1-5 pm on 14th July in Grangewood Park.
- Thornton Heath Arts Week - Various activities from 14-20 July. A leaflet will be available soon in the Library.
- Croydon Uncovered - Averil discovered there was no local history group in Thornton Heath so she has arranged for the Borough Archivist to give a talk on Croydon local history tailored to the area which will take place at Thornton Heath Library on Tuesday 16th July at 2pm.
12. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 20th August from 7-8.30pm, venue to be arranged.