Minutes of our meeting 30.10.18

1. Welcome and Apologies
Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting and everyone briefly introduced themselves.
Apologies: Humayan Kabir, Helen Buckland, Emma Rowland, Samantha Warren and Nadine Wilkinson.
2. Introduction to Supt Colin Carswell, new to the Borough Commander Unit.
Colin is the Supt for Neighbourhoods and Change.  He has been in the police force for 29 years and his role is making the community safer.
The Met has undergone a significant restructuring, financially driven by a £400m deficit (similar to other forces). 

  • They are trying to avoid front line cuts, retaining 30,000 officers.
  • Reducing from 32 borough operational command units to 13 by amalgamating boroughs.Croydon is combined with Bromley and Sutton.
  • No change in the 999 service - there will be more officers for this.
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams restructured: Every Ward to have 2 officers and 1 PCSO

Colin hopes the experience will be positive.  He does not know much about Thornton Heath and its issues so will not make promises for the area.  He cannot guarantee to be at our meetings every time but wants to ensure representation. He then took questions:
Q. (Andrea): Will the Thornton Heath Police Station re-open?
A. The police estate is being rationalised from 500 buildings to 140.
Andrea: The lease is still being paid and we were told by Officers that they were going to move back from Gypsy Hill.
A. He will find out.  There are a total of 67 wards.  Officers should be within 20 mins walk of 25% of the borough.
Q. (Mohammed): How can we reduce burglaries with your help?
A. Neighbourhood Watch.  We need to promote the Community taking an active part in looking after their own street.  People need to have confidence to call the Police and put out messages to neighbours.  We also need to take sensible precautions like locking doors and windows, especially now the dark nights are here.
Q. The regeneration of Thornton Heath is blighted by Anti-Social Behaviour but the Council don't seem to like PSPO's.  What is the Police view?
A.  ASB is a catch-all term.  Officers need to understand the issues - it could be crime not ASB.  The Police and Council need to work together  to gauge the level of an issue.  It must be serious enough to get a PSPO granted.
Jessica Twomey - There is a PSPO in place.  She will explain later.
Q. (Andrea) Why are reported crimes no always investigated?
A. Police do catch criminals but there is no crystal ball.  They need leads.  If there are no forensics, witnesses or CCTV then there is no lead to follow.  They will investigate any leads which can form part of a crime pattern.  Fear of crime can be far worse then the reality.  Police do investigate and it is a detailed process.  He does not have force wide statistics but there is quality asssurance: they will ask - have we missed anything? Is that right?
Linda: A few pockets in TH where ASB often escalates - drinking/urination/drug dealing/fighting/weapons.
A. Nothing will change unless the feedback loop with theCommunity, the Police an the Council is complete.  Otherwise we get an accepted state of how things are, but it is not acceptable.  Information can be passed on through Neighbourhood Watch.
Mary Cameron told us that she has been a member of Neighbourhood Watch in Quadrant Road for many years.  They have produced a leaflet but have no funding to produce it for every house in the Bensham Manor Ward.  Could this be available through Councillors' Ward budgets? Anyone interested in becoming more involved in Neighbourhood Watch should see Mary at the end of the meeting.
3. Linda Johnson - Air Quality
Air Quality is a public health issue.  Croydon is not quite an inner London borough but we have 300,000 population and more children with asthma etc.  9.400 people die in London through pollution exacerbating their condition (already ill).
Three schools in Croydon exceed the legal air quality and noise levels: Croydon College, Maple House and a TEFL unit.
Pollution is not visible as it was 50 years ago but it is still there.  Nitrous Oxideis the main problem.
The Mayor has plans for cleaner buses - the cleanest fleet in Europe.  Central London is compliant with Euro 6 but diesel cars already exceed the limit.  Taxis will also be cleaner.  London Road particularly needs work on reducing NO2 levels.
The Healthy Streets Initiative encourages walking and cycling.  Working holistically, if air is clean it is cooler so more people will choose to walk or cycle.
There are 4 automatic air quality monitoring stations in the Borough.  The North of the borough is worse than the South.  Monitoring has been going on for 30 years and there is new monitoring at 14 schools.  Pollutants disperse from more open sites but corridors between buildings encourage build up.  There is a high incidence of asthma and COPD in Croydon with more deprived areas having higher pollution levels.
Croydon Air Quality Action Plan
The Council has been working to this plan for 10 to 12 years and it has recently been updated.  There are 6 topics and 50 actions.  You can view a copy of Croydon's Air Quality Action Plan at:
or view more information about air quality in South London at:
Problems are not only caused by vehicles but also by gas heating.  We need to raise awareness and get vehicles off the road eg by timing deliveries and freight to reduce congestion.  Croydon won an award for construction logistics.  It is also bringing in a cleaner fleet of vehicles with all new vehicles being hybrid or electric.  They are also looking at creating a low emissions area along London Road.
The Idling vehicle project aims to encourage people to turn off their engines when they are stationary.
There are only 3 people in the Air Quality team for Croydon so they would like the community to get involved.  Talk to children who can then encourage adults to do the right thing and train Champions to assist. 
There is some funding for greening.  Air Quality Audits are being done in schools and green screens and barriers are encouraged.  Behaviour needs to be changed, eg. walking to school.
400 electric charging points are due to be installed in Croydon for charging cars.
Some members were concerned about traffic and parking for Westfield  - ?3,000 parking spaces.
There is no set timescale for achieving good, clean air.  We are currently nowhere near this.
Alison said that properties are also a problem.  Gas boilers are the second biggest pollutant. 
Cedric said that more people are having bonfires in gardens, increasing density.  A ban did not get through.  30% of particulates are through wood burning.  Can this be banned?
4. Re-imagining project and progress towards GLL bid (Andrea)
Andrea briefly explained the re-imagining project.  A consultation was done at the Thornton Heath Festival to find out what people would like to see change around the Tesco/Iceland/Ambassador House area. A competition is now being planned for architectural students to redesign the area.  We need to put together a competition brief to go our in January.
At the Regeneration Steering  Group meeting last week they were informed that the Ambassador House tree planting will not happen because of ASB.  There needs to be a different vision and some work will be done to make it a square for activities and events, but there is no time scale or budget for this.
There was a Market meeting yesterday with Stephanie who runs Martha's Field market.  She was very helpful with ideas on location and how to make it more attractive.  The Council are looking for someone to run it and will negotiate to use the space in fron of the Job Centre an close the side road.  It would be either weekly or monthly and there would be help with start-up fees.    Please let us know if you know anyone who would be willing to run it.
Bid for a Community Hub
A meeting was held with Alison and Colm from Brick by Brick.  The volunteers for this will be contacted soon.  Alison asked us all to look out for land or premises near to the High Street which might be useable for housing and a hub.  The plan needs to be simple and it needs to be space to purchase and build nor to rent.  People can email action@thorntonheath.net with suggestions.   Those who volunteered to help with the bid will be invited to meet up soon.
5. People's Health Trust Street Action Project (Gaetane)
We are now in year 2 of the 2 year project working with the second 10 streets.  Some of the achievements in the first year are security lights in Grange Park Road, banners and hanging baskets in Melfort Road, the Brook Road mosaic, the Quadrant Road mural and Thirsk Road lamp post planters.  For year 2 leaders are in place or being sought for Woodville, Grange Park and the next section of Melfort Road, Ecclesbourne, Buxton, Cassland, Meadow View Road, Frant and the bottom park of Grange Road, Beulah Road, part of Brigstock Road and Bensham Lane.  Other roads within the People's Health Trust funding area are also possible.  Please see Linda or Gaetane if you want to lead in your street.
6. Jessica Twomey - Neighbourhood Problem Solving Co-ordinator
Jessica has been in post for 2 months and has a background as an ASB Officer and  a housing and social services background.  She lived in Thornton Heath for 20 years.  She is still finding out what the issues are.
Regarding Street Drinking, there is a PSPO in place which goes as far as the Rec (the former Street Drinking Zone) and new signs will be going up soon.  Until they do, Police Officers cannot enforce this but once they are in place they will.  Hopefully this will be in weeks not months.  This is also happening at Tesco, the Leisure Centre and Woodville Road etc.  Linda requested email updates on progress.
ASB can be reported on the Council website or by email to ASBteam@croydon.gov.uk.  We need to report as otherwise Jessica will not know the extent of the problem and action will not be taken.
7. Pond Update (Pete)
There will be a bulb planting session at the Pond on Sunday 11th November from 1-3pm.  Please come down and help.
8. Clear Up of Norbury Brook and the Rec (Graham)
Graham distributed flyers about the Clean Up which was taking place on Saturday 3rd November from 10am-1pm.  As Thames 21 would not be there this time, volunteers need to provide their own wellies to go into the Brook but help is also needed on the bank and around the park.
9. Any Other Business
i)             Croydon Healthy Homes Scheme (Malcolm)  - Malcolm distributed leaflets about this scheme which is to help those who need it to keep their homes warm through advice, improved insulation etc.  For more information visit
If you know of anyone needing this kind of help contact Malcolm at: bgrachair@gmail.com
ii)            Leisure Centre Update (Jeffrey) - Jeffrey has been attending customer meetings at the Leisure Centre and reported that new equipment has been installed but we need to keep the pressure on as the condition of the centre and service is not as it should be.  He will keep the group updated.  Anyone wishing to contact Jeffrey with concerns about the Leisure Centre can contact him at:  jeffrey.greaves@blueyonder.co.uk
iii)           CR7 Culture Update (Chetna) - This is a local group or creatives.  See more at:  CR7culture.co.uk.  They want to expand their Committee in order to extend their work.  Please see Chetna at the end if you want to be involved.
iv)           Market (Jamie) - Jamie asked us to consider the space, publicity and offer of the market and how to take the next steps.
v)            THCAT Christmas Tree - The tree will be erected on Saturday 1st December with times of Carol singing and the band to be coonfirmed - final details to follow.  Please come to help decorate the tree and Ambassador House railings (donations of holly and ivy requested) and to join in with the singing.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING:  Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday 4th December from 7-8.30pm - Venue to be confirmed.