Council meetings

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Calabash Centre, 24 - 26 George Lane, SE13 6HH

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


Chair's welcome and apologies


Cllr. Walsh welcomed those present, and explained that Calabash had kindly hosted our meeting, Civic Centre being unavailable as a result of the Referendum.

Apologies – Cllr Muldoon was unable to attend due to representing local residents on essential council business.  Apologies were also given by Laurel Sanders (Coordinating Group member) and Kathleen Sheridan (Lewisham Irish Centre)


Teatro Vivo


Actors from Teatro Vivo played part of a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then asked people to share their views on living in Rushey Green – what makes it a good (or not so good) place to live.  They explained they would be creating a poem about Rushey Green based on people’s contributions.


Neighbourhood Forum


Cllr James introduced this item by explaining that if set up, a ward-based Neighbourhood Forum would offer a framework within which local people could influence council plans in future. 

Francis Shaw (Locality) showed a video produced by his organisation giving an overview of the Neighbourhood Forum policy nationally. Francis explained that the benefits of a NF include CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) monies, raised from developers to compensate for pressure on local communities/services resulting from new development.  A Neighbourhood Forum can set the policy on how these monies can be spent.  Also Neighbourhood Forums become statutory consultees on any new development.  The presentation given by Francis Shaw was circulated in hard copy at the meeting, and is available on the Rushey Green Assembly page of the Lewisham website (  Further information is available from Locality at


Q & A session with Francis Shaw

Q There is a plan saying there is sensitivity to high buildings in Catford.  How did the 19 story block get so far towards planning approval?

A Cllr Walsh explained this was a local matter not able to be addressed by Francis who is from a national organisation.

Q Would a Parish Council not be preferable to a Neighbourhood Forum as Parish Council plans are binding?

A Both a Parish Council and a Neighbourhood Forum plan have a statutory basis.  The NF plan has exactly the same weight as that of a Parish Council.

Q How far along the process are we at present in Rushey Green?

A This meeting is to find out local people’s views on setting up a NF.  No action has been taken yet.  Councillors are keen to see one set up.

Q Who leads on this process – the community or the council?

A Cllr Walsh explained he is very committed to seeing this happen.  Some community groups have been canvassed and are keen on it.  Cllr Walsh would like to see groups from across the ward involved.

Francis explained that the average time taken to set up a Neighbourhood Plan is 18 months.

Q Culverley Green residents association are registered as a consultee for planning, but in practice find that this gives them very little influence. Would a NF give greater control to local people?

A NF can state aspirations.  There are a large number of policies set at regional national level that developers have to work with in any case. A NF allows a very “granular” level of influence on an almost street by street basis.  However it cannot be contrary to local borough, region (London) or national policy.

Q What is Community Infrastructure Levy? 

A This is money the developer has to hand over to the community in order to be allowed to progress the development.

Q From the map shown, it appears some other NF’s overlap with Rushey Green ward. 

A Yes – a very small part of Rushey Green ward has been included in another NF.  Two NF’s cannot overlap, so those would stay with the other NF.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Catford Library


Liz Dart – Head of Culture and Community Development spoke on current plans for the library. 

A consultation was carried out around 1 year ago.The council had listened to people’s concerns and in response has decided to retain two full time librarian posts in Catford library.  In addition there will be a peripatetic team out in the community promoting reading and use of library services. 

Draft plans were available on tables at the meeting.  These include revolving doors, lounge style seating and design to encourage self-service on online resources by users.  The library will be open from 8.00 am on a self-service basis.  The aim is to make the whole of Laurence House ground floor more open plan.  The Library will occupy broadly the same space as currently. The entrance and pathways around the building will be upgraded, enabling more “joined-up” working between the ground floor and access teams. 

Question and Answer session with Claire Gray

Q What will be in the business centre?

A The sketch circulated is a “work in progress”.  Plans have not been finalised.

Q Whilst it is welcomed that Laurence House ground floor will be more accessible and user-friendly, is it not the case that the building is scheduled to be demolished?

A The long term plan may involve demolishing the building.  However improvements to the ground floor are long overdue and the feeling is that they can no longer be postponed.  Spending will be restricted taking into account the longer term plans.

Q What is the cost of the upgrade?  Is there a council-wide strategy?

A All capital spending is very carefully scrutinised and kept as low as possible. 

Cllr Walsh invited people to address any further questions to councillors at their surgeries or via email (details on the LB Lewisham website).


Safer Neighbourhood Team


The Safer Neighbourhood team were unable attend the meeting. An update will be given at the next meeting.


Rushey Green Assembly Fund Launch


Cllr Walsh declared the Rushey Green Assembly Fund open.  Bids are invited from local groups for projects benefitting people who live, work or study in Rushey Green Ward, and which meet the priorities. The maximum grant is £1,500 and the deadline for applications is 1st September.

Application forms can be obtained from the LB Lewisham website or by contacting Laura Luckhurst on 020 8314 3830 or  (Please note the Fund is now closed for applications).


Neighbourhood Forum Discussion


The meeting broke into three discussion tables and considered:

           Advantages of a neighbourhood forum in Rushey Green? Is it thought to be a good idea?

           Any further questions?

           Would anyone present like to volunteer to be involved?


Tables reported back with the following observations and questions:

           All tables agreed that a neighbourhood forum for Rushey Green is a good idea

           People would value further information on the level of influence it will bring

           A NF will need to take account of the great diversity of areas within the ward

           More information needed on the process for getting started

           A “driver” will need to be identified to push the process along

           We would welcome input from other Lewisham NF’s (or beyond) to help us understand more about the practicalities


Stephen Colwell of the 19 Storeys Campaign commented that their group was entirely made up of members of the public, and had found they had all the expertise needed from within the group.  He urged people to be confident in their ability to progress a Neighbourhood Forum, and offered support and contacts from 19 Storeys Campaign.  He was keen to see the NF set up in order to enable local residents to be in a position to influence future development ahead of time. (At the end of the meeting a number of people came forward and volunteered to be involved in the Neighbourhood Forum).


Community Updates & AOB


There were no items notified.


Teatro Vivo - a poem for Rushey Green


The actors from Teatro Vivo returned to the meeting and presented their “Ode to Rushey Green” to enthusiastic applause.  The Ode is reproduced here, and can be viewed and downloaded from the LB Lewisham website at .


An Ode to Rushey Green

As captured by Kas Darley and Mark Stevenson from Teatro Vivo at the Rushey Green Ward Assembly on the 28th June 2016


The boggy land where once the rushes grew

Had mills and boating – now the trains come through

The Ravensbourne, South Circular and rails

The arteries through Catford never fail…


But by these roads a green lung can be found

And that is not the only public ground

From Mountsfield Park which stages People’s Day

To Ladywell Fields (which seems so far away)


The Catford Broadway’s famed throughout the land

With Gladys Knight, Roy Orbison and band

Among the famous names to grace the stage

It’s now transforming for the modern age


Some meet the change in Catford with a sigh

As 19 storey erections touch the sky

And as unfolds the nightmare or the dream

Let’s hope at least our streets will soon be clean


Our secret alleyways to treasures lead

When of a pint of beer you are in need

The Catford Constitutional shines bright

A welcome from the locals every night


No Eiffel Tower or London Eye for us

Tourists should flock to Rushey Green by bus

To see the wondrous Cat of stories old

The fibreglass feline sitting there so bold


But what should really truly draw the crowds

Are friendly local folk who do us proud


Close of meeting


The meeting closed at 9.10 pm