Minutes of December 2018 Meeting

1. Welcome, Apologies and Health and Safety
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting.  She also took the opportunity to thank all those who had watered our various plantings over the summer which had been very difficult because of the drought and the lack of taps both at the Pond, Clocktower and at Ambassador House (once the Flora Sandes closed) where Louise from the Salvation Army did a lot. There had been a couple of complaints about the condition of some plants but we had to bear in mind the difficulties.
At the year end she also wanted to thank and congratulate the Committee and all members who had taken part in projects this year.
Chris gave the health and safety briefing.
Apologies were received from: Rev Nadine Wilkinson, Jasmin Choudury, Arti and Rudvig Vaid, Katie from Croydon Festival of Peace, Hanna Arkwright, Margaret Scanlan and Leeman Francis.
2. Reimagining Thornton Heath - Update
Below are Andrea's own notes which will form the basis for the brief to be issued for the architectural competitions next year,  She also circulated land registry drawings of the spaces involved:
Urban Heath and Wellbeing zone incorporating a better quality of life with a design promoting air quality, improved levels of activity and increased mental health leading to savings to the economy.
Sites to be incorporated in the design
1.Ambassador House
Ambassador House forecourt
Chancellor Court
Car parks adjoining
2.Iceland (best opportunity for redevelopment)
Car park
Builders yard
Shop fronts
4. Tesco
Kettering Court and Laxton Court
Rear car parks and underground car park.
The design vision is for a high-density mixed-use sustainable series of development with access to amenities and open space incorporating the existing infrastructure
The brief emphasises the following requirements:

  • Affordable workspace for artists and entrepreneurs (think Peckham Levels)
  • New exits from the station creating tree lined green space.
  • Affordable housing. Housing for key health care workers (linked to Mayday hospital).
  • Appropriate provision of facilities and services (crèche, play zones, community meeting spaces and healthcare facilities) with an emphasis on health and wellbeing.
  • Inclusion of creative education zone providing tech/media/music studies for 16 plus age.
  • Entertainment experience: cinema, theatre/entertainment space, restaurants, bars, market space.
  • Cultural and leisure activities which promote and respond to local culture, youth, sports, media and art. Community meeting spaces.
  • Connectivity within and beyond the sites including the existing three parks,
  • leisure centre, library and football ground.
  • Cycling, paths, green trails, incorporating local history and art. Health fitness provision with outdoor street activities/gyms.
  • Streets designed for people. Pedestrianise where possible, open up green space and pedestrian links between the fours sites. Seating for elderly, better disabled and sensory facilities.
  • Environmental sustainability. Solar panels, wind turbines, rain collection, plastic free zone, rechargeable energy, vertical planting and food growing spaces.
  • High-quality design throughout.
  • Integrated transport. Cycling, tram link, pedestrians

British Land - Integrating health and wellbeing into design and development
“Better designed cities could save our society and the UK economy an estimated £15.3bn by 2050 – and make us all happier and healthier. “
Local Government Association - Developing Healthier Places
How councils can work with developers to create places that support wellbeing
“…the places in which we live shape the way we live. People who live in neighbourhoods with clean air, good parks, streets that are easy and pleasant to walk and cycle along, places to meet and socialise, jobs and opportunities, and it easier to live healthy fulfilling lives than those who are not so lucky.”
The NHS Healthy by design: The Healthy New Towns Network Prospectus
“Low-density living and a lack of good community facilities are associated with increased social isolation and a lack of appealing green space reduces levels of physical activity and mental wellbeing, childhood obesity is clearly associated with accessibility of fast-food outlets and densities of physical activity facilities are associated with lower levels of adult obesity. In short, town planning, transport planning and house building have inadvertently contributed to the lifestyle associated diseases that place an unacceptable burden on both individuals and the NHS.”
After Andrea's presentation the group generally felt that the brief sounded good.  The Iceland site is big and underused and Ambassador House is important visually.
Q: Have we ever had a cinema in Thornton Heath?
A: Yes, where the Leisure Centre is now.
Q: Does the brief take account of the Ambassador House forecourt redevelopment as a market square?
Comments: It could be like the Peckham Levels.
Creatives in Thornton Heath are isolated because they have nowhere to meet.
Linda: Is there anything about how to develop the space so as to discourage ASB?
Andrea:  It has not been specifically researched.  Where space is occupied by people ASB generally reduces.
Secure by Design have done work on this to encourage looking at how to set out street furniture to make it safer.
Additional station entrances would not lead onto land owned by Network Rail.  All parties would have to come together. 
Andrea: This is just an attempt to kickstart things.  The brief is for ideas and will not necessarily go ahead.  It is a vision that the freeholders would need to take on board.  Only the builder's yard behind Iceland is currently designated for redevelopment.
Jill: They have spoken to the MP and others and the light bulb goes on as soon as Health and Wellbeing is mentioned.
Peckham has now changed beyond belief and has a buzz and we can imagine that in Thornton Heath.  If you bring one benefit , others follow.  Chetna has a contact with the people who set this up  and will pass it to Andrea.
Iceland are redeveloping many of their stores and have very green credentials. Can we invite an executive?
Using renewable energy sources is in the brief.  We had a talk about this some time ago but have not heard back about it.  Should we chase it up?
3. GLA Good Growth Fund Bid Update
We are planning to make a joint bid with the CVA for a Community Hub linking with Health and Wellbeing.  We have written to the GFA admin and hope to meet and have discussions with them before the bid.  A small group have held a meeting at the CVA.
Chetna said the ideas are similar to the re-imagining project.  Can we put a questionnaire out on what people would like to see in a Community Hub and how they would use it?  Hopefully it could go out in the next Chronicle.  The more feedback we can get, the better.  The hub could be virtual or else we need to have a plot of land earmarked.
There has been a tour of the CVA and a small meeting with the Council's Building firm, Brick by Brick.  They are willing to discuss have housing above with community space below.
All 9 Councillors from Thornton Heath, Bensham Manor and West Thornton have been contacted and Linda will be offering meetings with them regarding the bid.
The bid needs to be ready in the Spring.  S. Norwood will hear the result of their bed in January.  If they are successful we will need to find out if it will affect our bid.  Will only one be allowed in each borough? 
Linda will clarify the timeline for the bed.
A lot of groups have their own premises so may not be interested.  The hub will need to be self-sustaining.  We need to match community needs to the space available.  It could be rented out for weddings etc.
4. Neighbourhood Watch
Colin Carswell presented to our last meeting and encouraged us to link with Neighbourhood Watch.  Gaetane has put this to the Street Action Project Leaders.
Copies of the Winter Croydon Eye (neighbourhood watch newsletter) were distributed.  Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators deliver these to every door in their street (or 2 or 3 co-ordinators can do it in long streets).  There are 3 deliveries per year.  The idea os to bring neighbours together to decrease ASB etc.  It could be combined with the Street Action project or to act as a continuation after the project is finished.
Co-ordinators are screened before taking on the job.  If interested, people can email the address at the end of the newsletter.
Mary (Quadrant Road) is a long-term Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator and had many contact in the street at the start of the Street Action Project.  Co-ordinators can give out information on security and reporting.  It makes for a friendly street. 
Averil said it works well in their street and they have been effective in getting a stolen car removed.  Leaders can be quite pro-active but don't have to take on too much.
Barbara said she used to be co-ordinator for Melfort Road but it was too much for one person on such  long road.  There are 19 co-ordinators in West Thornton.
6. Free Art Collection
This item was taken next as Van needed to leave.  She is making a collection of items for Christmas presents for refugees to be given out at 3 parties.  The one at Brigstock House is on 21st December and there are two others on 12th and 17th at South Croydon and Dulwich.  Mitra and Chetna have been helping with wrapping etc.  Toiletries are particularly needed for the adults and toys for children.
5. Blue Plaques
Andrea has contacted English Heritage about the possibility of an official blue plaque for Flora Sandes who could be nominated as nobody has nominated her before.  However, this could take 3-4 years.  We have £1k from Wetherspoons for a memorial to Flora Sandes so we could set up our own version.  S. Norwood have done  a similar thing and have given us details of the firm they have used. 
Flora Sandes and also Desmond Decker could be considered.  We would need to approach owners of properties and need a small panel for the wording . S. Norwood have a design artist at the company they used.
It was suggested a local potter cold probably makes plaques more cheaply but members felt these would be less durable.  The group was almost unanimous about going forward with this project.
7. Pond Progress
We now have a tap which is in a big cabinet so next year watering will be much easier. Peter, Graham and Mohammed have been working very hard and hope to set up an irrigation hose before next summer. About 700 bulbe have been planted and they will come up throughout the year.  There will be a mosaic next year which Grace will design for the curved wall with Karen.  It will be part mosaic, part painting and they will get ideas from school children on the theme of "pond".  A mosaic weekend if planned for 9-10 or 23-24 March 2019.
Next year there will be lights but more work is needed on the power supply.  Could we use solar?
A plastic fountain will be built with ecobricks and a plastic cascade and sculpture to symbolise water.  The designs will be done after Christmas and there will be visits to schools to get children involved in making ecobricks.  Eveyone can do this.  It involves stuffing plastic bottles with non-recyclable plastic until they are rigid.  It greatly cuts down on landfill bin contents.  There are specific weight targets for the bricks. Further details can be found on-line eg at ecobricks.org and other websites.
Our Green Mile is a project which will running from West Croydon Station along London Road to the Pond.  Signs are going up and people will be needed to water the planters along the route. There is a large space at Broad Green which will be developed as a green area.
8. Compassionate Neighbours
THCAT received a letter from St. Christopher's Hospice about their project Compassionate Neighbours which aims to befriend people who are bereaved, lonely etc asking to make contact with our members.  Chris asked if we might advertise it on our Facebook page, website etc and allow anyone interested to contact them direct or if we should invite them to one of our meetings to tell us more about it.  We agreed on offering them a short slot at one of our meetings.
9. Any Other Business

  • Mitra has a field maple sapling available if anyone wants it.It will grow very big.Let her know if you are interested.
  • Street Cleaning - one member asked if the new street cleaning regime has come into force as her street cleaner told her he know nothing about it and showed her his rota for one clean per week and the street was now much worse.

Barbara said that Melfort Road was mow beyond disgraceful and she had emailed Stuart Collins about it.  Linda said there was now no schedule on the council website.  Instead streets were supposed to be swept to a standard.  We need to invite Veolia back to one of our meetings to discuss these issues. Linda will ask Tom Laurence and Veolia to come and speak to us again.
Alison said if the standard was not acceptable we should report and send a photo.  Litter and flytipping are different.  Reporting should be done via Croydon's MY Account or the DMWC App.
Discussion included: if streets are swept to standard A, what is the expectation of how long it will stay clean?  There need to be more fines to stop people dropping litter.  This is not the only cause.  Today 3 bins were overflowing on the High Street and people also bring their domestic rubbish to public bins.  Takeaways, cans etc are sources.
We need to be more proactive in reporting but many people feel they pay their Council Tax and should not have to report their street before it gets cleaned.  If road sweepers were monitored the streets would be cleaner.

  • Concerns from Selhurst Residents' Association - Jasmine Gahda said that SRA liase every few days with David Wakeling.  They have pushed through residential parking so that their roads are clearer but the extra cars have been pushed onto Thornton Heath roads.

They are also concerned about the new Youth Centre in Whitehorse Road which they feel will affect both areas.  It will cater for 250 kids which SRA feels may lead to more gangs of teenagers roaming around.  Can Selhurst and Thornton Heath come together on this?
Linda asked if they had spoken to Legacy, who will be running it, to see what system they have in place to ensure the young people disperse.  We could ask Barnabus of Legacy to come and talk to us about this.
Alison said it is all about creating a positive environment and there will be roles there for local people.  Chetna mentioned that the young people will be bused in.

  • Local Updates from Alison - The Council are working with Parchmore Community Centre to make a hub for families in crises to open early in the new year.  Council services are going to be run in local areas - here it will be from Thornton Heath library.  Once established reporting points will be based locally.

10. Date of Next Meeting
Tuesday 22nd January 2019 from 7-8.30pm at St Paul's Church, St. Paul's Road.