Minutes of meeting 16th April 2019

Hello Everyone,

Please see below the Minutes of our last meeting held on 16th April 2019.

Meeting held on 16/4/19 at St Andrew's Church Hall
from 7-8.30p.m.
1. Welcome, Health and Safety, Apologies
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting and Chris gave the Health and Safety briefing.
Apologies were received from: Humayan Kabir, Jasmin Choudhury, Margaret Scanlan, Rev. Nadine Wilkinson, Stuart Collins, David Fell, Samantha Warren and Alison Butler.
2. Launch of Thornton Heath in Bloom Competition 2019
This will be the 4th year of the competition which aims to deter litter and flytipping and make the streets more welcoming.  Planting enhances our well-being, pollination, anti-flooding measures and helps to improve air quality, particularly hedges.
There are different categories for entries: Organisations such as businesses, schools, churches etc, front gardens, street planters, concrete spaces with pots/baskets/planters and children’s flowers or vegetables.  The closing date is 3rd July.  The judging will then take place and the Awards Ceremony, to which all entrants and helpers will be invited, will take place on July 17th at St Andrew's Church Hall.
The publicity leaflet will be out at the end of April.  Help is needed to distribute and co-ordinate and to knock on doors where there are attractive gardens and ask people if you can fill in the form on the spot to enter them.  We also need helpers to seek prizes from local businesses, the Council, artists etc.  On 17th July help will be needed before and at the prize giving to prepare nibbles/drinks etc , to meet and greet people as they arrive and clear up afterwards.
Andrea Perry, a member of our Committee and professional garden designer, has done a brilliant job of judging in the past but she is having a break this year so we need judges for each of the categories.
If you can help with any of the above, please contact Linda asap.
In the first year we had 39 entries.  Last year there were over 80 so more people are making an effort and we hope to spread this.  The competition covers the whole of CR7.
3. St Christopher's Hospice Compassionate Neighbours' Project
Maria Colimao from St Christopher's joined us to tell us about this project.  St. Christopher's is prioritising work within communities.  The hospice was founded by Dame Cicely Saunders.  It takes the view that death is natural and it addresses spritual and social pain as well as medical conditions.
The project involves volunteers working with terminally and chronically ill patients within the community as a way to build the social element.  Many patients want to talk about normal things and not always about their condition.  The project connects local people to go weekly to visit (within 30 minutes travel time).  There is a 2 day training.  It is not a traditional befriending service as participants can exchange phone numbers.  There is a 24 hour helpline and Maria and her manager can also be contacted.
The Hospice is also aiming to form partnerships with local organisations such as THCAT and could run training in places like this.  Volunteers are needed in Thornton Heath and Norbury.  The next training takes place on 25th and 26th April.  Anyone interested can visit the website or look at the leaflet which Maria distributed.  You can contact Maria at M.Colimao@stchristophers.org.uk. The Hospice is in Sydenham but is in the Borough of Lewisham.
Mohammed raised a query about a person who was referred to the Hospice but not admitted, but Linda ruled that this needed to be a private conversation. 
4. Big Belly Bin Project
These are solar bins which compress the contents.  There are two lights.  The green indicates there is room inside and the red sends a signal to the Council that it needs to be emptied (although this does not always happen).  They have been in use in Croydon for 2 years and cost £3,000 each.  There are 11 in Thornton Heath High Street from Whitehorse roundabout to Brigstock Road.
The bins have poster frames on the sides but the Council only provides £150 littering fine posters or old ones from last year.  We asked for something else with a more positive message.  We have the semi-green light from Stuart Collins to put in our own "Welcome to Thornton Heath" posters which thank people for keeping it clean rather than threatening fines.  These are copies of the banners in Melfort Road (as part of our Street Action project funded by the People’s Health Trust) which local designer, Samantha Warren, has scaled down to fit.  They have been paid for with THCAT funding and are now in the frames.  Unfortunately one with sunflowers on it has been stolen.
There were 2 big belly bins outside Tesco which were removed during the repaving and need to be put back.  There needs to be one outside Patty Palace as this is always very messy.  When members see this they need to take a photo and report to the council to stress the need for a bin.
Gaetane has access to the frames.  We could put one in for the "In Bloom" competition.
5. Ward Panel Meetings
Graham reported on the Bensham Manor Meeting:
The last meeting was held at CALAT 3 weeks ago.  Mohammed also attended.  Sgt Lewis, 2 PC's and PSO's made up the Bensham Manor team and 5 members of the public were there.
They discussed the antisocial behaviour in Brook Road last summer.  There had been no reports for the last 4 months.  1 previous report was referred to the Borough Commander and 6 Community Protection warning letters were issued but not followed up.  CCTV was a waste of time.  The current lack of reports may be affected by the weather.  The Police are downgrading their operation so do get evidence and report.
3 priorities were:

  • ASB around Tesco and Iceland.They are dovetailing with the Thornton Heath ward PC's on this.There are less people hanging round near Tesco in the evenings now.
  • ASB in the Rec and the Winterbourne Road Cul de Sac where people meet and drink.Mohammed has seen more police around.They have no transport but the Commander prefers Police on the beat.  They have visited the Rec on a Saturday to talk to the footballers.
  • Thefts from Motor Vehicles.Detection rates are poor.There has been no spike against other areas.

There were no numbers available for sexual violence or knife crime. There was a check for knives at the station but this was done by British Transport Police.  It was reported that Youths had been running through the station to avoid  violence from others.
There had been 5 incidents of stop and search.
The Police need more feedback from us.  More support at meetings would also be useful.
Graham made the point at the meeting that people stop reporting if nothing gets done as a result of their reports.  They are good Community police but are understaffed and overwhelmed.
No date was set for the next meeting.
Andrea reported on the Thornton Heath meeting:
The meeting was attended by the Chief Inspector, Sargent, PCSO, 2 Constables and Councillors attended.
The response to ASB around Tesco was negative.  They way they are dealing with it but it is a long process.  One individual is not homeless but has issues around alcohol abuse.  One has been housed in Thornton Heath by Sutton Council.  The man recently charged with planning to bomb a mosque was also housed here from Sutton so it seems they are passing some of their problem tenants on to Thornton Heath.
There were a number of drug arrests with drug paraphernalia etc seized.  There were 140 arrests over 2 months on London Road taking dealers off the street into vans.
Theft from cars has gone down by half.
There is not enough public reporting eg of knife crime.
There is an issue around the reputation of Thornton Heath.  They are trying to point out that Thornton Heath is separate from Bensham Manor and not all crime happens in Thornton Heath (ward).
They do not have enough money to re-open the Police station on Parchmore Road. They are looking for someone to offer them a space at a peppercorn rent as they want a presence in the area.
It is important that members of the public attend the Ward Panel meetings but best to let them know in advance by email if you intend to go along.
Andrea/Graham send dates of forthcoming meetings to Chris so they can be emailed out to our members.
Cuppa with a copper is not well attended.  Meeting the Police on the street is more effective.
6. Neighbourhood Safety Officers
Stuart Collins was invited to the meeting to update us on NSO's but sent an update to Linda as he was unable to be here.
There has been a delay with review and recruitment because of setting up the violence reduction unit.  Stuart wants an NSO team on the High Street and in the parks tackling flytipping etc.  A paper is going to Cabinet in June and Stuart will come and speak to us after this.  NSO's will do walkabouts to feedback.  Tom Lawrence will manage the NSO's.
7. CR7 Square Project
Andrea has been on the Regeneration Team Steering Group for some time and Linda and Chetna are now also on it.  The following items have now been carried out.

  • The planting at the clock tower has now been done and a designated community space has been left so that we can plant bulbs for the Spring.
  • Anti-graffiti paint is being applied to the mural by the Job Centre.
  • There was a business support meeting held by "Save the High Street". 50 attended but there were none from Thornton Heath.
  • Champions will be available to help.
  • "Croydon Works" apprenticeships.

The CR7 Square Project is a "meanwhile" project for Ambassador House forecourt.  There will be giant steps with planting to sit on creating a more open garden by the bus stop. Opening up the front steps to meet the crossing was considered, but is too expensive.
There will be artwork from Vân Dang and Bare Face which is already funded.  Patterns in paint (similar to road marking paint) will made on the ground.  Lighting is also expensive so they will probably use the current contractor Skanska but the lamp posts will have sockets for fairy lights etc.
The Community will decide which elements are to be included according to costs.
Chetna explained that the idea is to activate the space to minimise ASB.  Hopefully it will be ready for Arts Week and there will be fitness sessions, performances, screenings etc with a Youth focus.  The programme cannot be finalised until the dates for finishing the work are known.  If anyone has ideas for specific events they would like to see, please contact Chetna.
In the long term the Council is trying to engage with the various owners of Ambassador House to bring about change.
Linda reported that there were applications from 2 operators to run a market in Thornton Heath.  One plan to close the streets was unviable.  One was for a market with street performers.  Both are re-working their proposals.
Mohammed said there is also an issue with job creation.
The Council are applying for funding from the High Street fund.  This is not a master plan for Thornton Heath but a Redevelopment Plan hoping to include Iceland, the station and the High Street.  The council team is drafting a report for summer 2019 and putting it out to tender.
8. Re-Imagining Thornton Heath
This is a competition to re-design the area from the High Street to Iceland for architectural students.  The deadline is being extended to try to get more entries  and Andrea/Gaetane/Gill are chasing these up.  A new date after Easter will be set.  There seems to have been a lack of communication between their contacts at the colleges and the students.
9. Objecting to Planning Applications
Barbara took us through the process for objecting to planning applications on-line.

  • If you see a planning application posted on social media you can click on the link and go through to the application where you can object if you wish. (Our Councillors sometimes post relevant applications on our Facebook page.)
  • Alternatively, you can go on the Croydon Council website
    • Go to planning applications and put in a specific address or just a road.
    • You can view the documents and go on the comments if you wish to object.
    • You will get an email back and be informed once a decision is made.
  • NB - When filling in the form you have a limited length of time so if you have a long objection it is best to type it in word and then copy and paste into the form.
  • You need to object on specific points.

10. AOB
a) Thomas Farley - Barbara told us that although the Thomas Farley is boarded up and appears to be for sale, the is a sign up saying that it is available to hire for functions. Barbara will make an enquiry about booking to find out what is happening.
b) Station Piano - The instructions to move the piano were not followed.  It was put back in its previous place and got wet.  It is now closer to the booking hall doors but some keys have no sound.  The contractors agreed to have it tuned and local artist Pins will do the decor on the piano when he is free.
c) Station Book Exchange - The idea of the book exchange in the waiting room on platform 2 is that people take one book and bring another for the shelves next time they are at the station but the books tend to disappear.  The ticket checker said he saw a woman taking a bag full; the manager has  suggested it might be safer to keep the shelves in the booking hall.  However, after some discussion, the group decided to leave it in its current position.
d) Guiding Hands - Tracey Davis told us about this organisation for young Mums.  It is like a food bank but the Mums are taught about healthy eating and cooking and they take away bags of food.  There is going to be a term time only nursery at St. Andrew's which is currently awaiting approval by OFSTED.  There will also be "Foody Fridays" for Mums aged 16+.  Further details can be obtained from info@guidinghands.org.uk.
11.  Date of Next Meeting
Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday 29th May 2019 from 7-8.30pm at the church hall of St Alban the Martyr, South Norwood, London SE25 6RE (situated at the roundabout at the end of Thornton Heath High Street, by Whitehorse Lane).
Chris Milton (THCAT Secretary)