Meeting Minutes May 2019

Meeting held on 29th May 2019 at St Alban the Martyr Church Hall.

1. Welcome, Health & Safety and Apologies
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked our hosts at St. Alban's.  The new vicar, Father Sean, introduced himself and Jenny from St. Alban gave a Health & Safety briefing.
Apologies: Hannah Arkwright, Rev. Nadine Wilkinson, Margaret Scanlon, Barbara Graham, J. Cross, Cllr. Karen Jewitt, Cllr. Pat Clouder, David Fell, Karen Barnett, Marley King and Rev. Derek.
2. In Bloom Competition
There have been 3 previous In Bloom competitions.  This year it will again be run in combination with Thornton Heath Arts Week.  The closing date is 3rd July and the presentation will take place during Arts Week. Please let Linda know if you can deliver leaflets and which roads you can do so there are no duplications.  Members can also knock doors (if they feel comfortable to do so) where there are good front gardens and fill in the forms on the spot to encourage people to enter.  Last year there were 80+ entries and we hope to top that this year to make Thornton Heath greener and more attractive.
3. Thornton Heath Station
At the station THCAT members have already set up the Book Exchange, hanging baskets outside (not currently in place) and the piano which is waiting to be tuned.  Averil and Vân have been involved with the new mural.  GTR agreed with the Department for Transport to set up a £15m Fund to spend on tangible passenger benefit schemes, from which £30K has been allocated to Thornton Heath Station.  The new manager has suggested a deep clean of the station twice per year.
Linda asked for suggestions of what people would like to see at the station:

  • Brightly coloured fixed table and picnic chairs outside café on Platform 2.
  • Better lighting at the exit.
  • More artwork on Platform 1.
  • Plants/trees serviced by a water butt with more input from staff.
  • Brightening up the front of the station.
  • Piped classical music as at West Croydon Bus Station.
  • A notice board.
  • Toilets open whenever the station is open.
  • More staff to keep the station tidy.
  • More books - (Station Manager has asked for a large CCTV sign to be installed to discourage book theft).
  • Something to cheer up the bridge - local art work?

4. Re-imagine Competition - Winners' presentation of their scheme and prize giving
This architectural competition was set up by THCAT to generate ideas for the possible redevelopment of the area including Ambassador House, Tesco, Iceland and the Station.  Details of the background, competition brief (prepared by Gaëtane, Jill and Andrea), the winners and their winning entry can all be viewed at:
The winners (Maria, Becky and Sam) gave us a presentation of their work and the rationale behind it which included a greener environment with community, youth and healthy living facilities and a second entrance from the station into a newly developed Tesco Square to improve pedestrian flow.  They then took questions.  NB There are currently no plans for these ideas to be implemented.
Q. What would happen to Tesco?
A. Ground floor space would be allocated to it with other things above.
Alison informed us that Tesco have already said their current store is too big for their needs.
Q. Do they have any advice for implementation?
A. The site has potential and the ideas could be used to work with owners and developers.  The costs could be earned back quickly.  The scheme includes high end affordable housing and quadrupled usability of space.
Q. What would happen to Ambassador House?
A. It would be developed along the lines of the Peckham Levels which is a very successful redevelopment of an old car park with stalls, small business units etc.
Q. Would the station be demolished?  Could the frontage be kept.
A. It is not listed.  The plan shows a new station but this is just for ideas.  Peckham has been successfully done out.
Q.  How could the inside of the station be improved?
A. There is a problem with visibility.  There needs to be better way finding.  This scheme would open it up using glass at the side making it safer.  East Croydon Station has been improved with open spaces and is more multi-purpose.
Chetna - How can the ideas in this scheme can inform future planning designs.  The ideas here are much better than the plans for redevelopment behind Iceland.
Alison - These ideas were wonderful but plans like this do not often come in to the Council largely because of cost.  Owners put in planning applications and if there are no grounds the Council cannot refuse.  There has been recent supplementary planning guidance on design.  The Council can use examples like this.  There is a pre-application process where the Council can give guidance and you can ask for certain things to come forward under Section 106.
Andrea - The Council has its own company, BxB, which sets standards.  Why allow others to do poor work?
Alison - The system is in favour of applicants. The Council can only refuse on certain grounds and the applicants can appeal which is expensive for the Council.  They can work with the Place Review Panel of architects, developers etc. and it then goes to the Planning Committee.
Zohra from Croydon's Place Department said she has been working with developers.  She invited the winning team to go to see her with their ideas at the Council.
Mohammed said this looks very nice on paper but Thornton Heath is already very congested and there is a lot of residential property in this plan.
A. It is high density, quality urban.
Andrea said our MP, Steve Reed, was unable to come to this meeting but he would like to meet the winning team either at his Thornton Heath office or at the Houses of Parliament.
Jamie then congratulated the team and presented them with their prize - a cheque for £2,500.
A small celebration with prosecco and nibbles followed with special thanks given to Andrea, Jill and Gaëtane for their work in setting up the competition.
5. Adult Gaming Centre
Gaëtane reported on the Licensing hearing which took place on 9th May which she attended with Marley, Mohammed and Vân and Karen Jewitt was also present.  There were 17 objections which had been provided in a pack. It was supposed to be a paperless meeting but they had brought along several volumes of their e-learning training course for their stall.   It seemed that the outcome had already been decided.  What we had to say was listened to but not taken notice of.  The Gaming Centre had a team of 6 including a Barrister.  The Council would have a very heavy appeal bill if they objected.  The Police had not objected.
The Licence was granted. They do not have planning permission but they are appealing.  Only people who objected last time will receive notification and will be able to object again.
Alison said there are strong grounds for objecting under the local plan.  Our Councillors will put up a strong case against. There are only a few grounds you can object to the Licence on.  If people object to the planning application again, they should use the local plan as evidence.
Gaëtane said they were told to keep the handbook so that they could object if they do not keep to it.
Mohammed said there are problems with Islamophobia and antisemitism.  Will there be a clash?
Linda - It is very important that if this should happen, it is reported.
Ron - Is there evidence of what happens in other places with this type of premises?  Why does it need to be open until 2am?  This can attract undesirables.
Alison - The Croydon branch does not create problems outside.  The refusal was on what is allowed on a shopping parade.
Andrea - They said they would enhance the area.
Alison - They would not.
6. Flower Tubs and Troughs

  • What should we do about the flower tubs which were at the clocktower?They are currently on Parchmore Road.It was agreed they look good where they are now and hopefully can stay there.Linda and Averil agreed to weed them tomorrow.


  • When do we need to move the planters at Ambassador House for the redevelopment work?

Zohra said the contractors would move them.  We had to decide where to move them to.
The space in front of Iceland was suggested.Graham would look into it as he had already developed a relationship with the manager and send the manager's contact details to Zohra.

  • said the planting may need to be changed as it would be moving from shade to sun.  How would it be watered?

If Iceland is not possible, Pete suggested they could be moved to the Pond.
7. Date of Next Meeting
Tuesday 9th July, 7-8.30pm.  Venue to be confirmed

Chris Milton (Secretary)