Council meetings

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Sydenham Centre, 44A Sydenham Road, SE26 5QF

Contact: Laura Luckhurst 

No. Item


Welcome from the Chair, Introductions


Announcement of poetry competition winners


The winners were announced as:

Runners up: Alex Mills, Mischa Soobramony.

Winner: Erika Alba

All three won a book token for £10, and performed their poems for the Assembly.  The winner will meet Isabel White, a locally based, published performance poet for lunch.  If you would like to know more about Isabel White, visit her page on the LB Lewisham website here:



Poetry performance and photographs with Cllrs and Assembly


See above.


London Wildlife Trust: Funding application for conservation project


Sam Bentley-Toon spoke about the Great North Wood project, which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project involves a number of woodland areas in South London, including Sydenham Hill Wood, and will involve conservation work and engagement with local people.  There is a programme of interesting events over the summer including a bat walk and fungi walks.  Sam invited people to sign an email list to indicate their interest in being involved.  Cllr Onikosi encouraged people especially those from around Sydenham Hill Wood to get involved.

Unfortunately due to a connectivity problem we were unable to show London Wildlife Trust’s presentation.  This will be made available on the LB Lewisham Website at:



Safer Neighbourhood Team Update


Angela Hall, Chair of Sydenham SNT Ward Panel gave a brief report as no member of the Safer Neighbourhood Team was available to attend.

Rogue traders – Sydenham is experiencing a high volume of rogue traders. The SNT have received reports of rogue traders all over the Ward. Rogue gardeners, fish sellers, roofers etc. They are targeting the elderly – best advice is do not answer the door if you are not expecting visitors. Report any rogue trader to the local SNT.

Fly-tipping – a local resident was attacked by a fly-tipper on the corner of Jews Walk and Longton Grove when they attempted to stop them. 


Best advice in case of discovering a fly-tipper in the act is to take down registration number and type of vehicle, a brief description of the driver and contact the Sydenham SNT on  0208 649 3598 or Sydenham’s dedicated PC Shaun Rodway via email

Cash point robberies – We have a number of cash points in Sydenham Road and there seems to be a high volume of cash robberies targeting the elderly as they walk away from the cash point or distraction robberies as they use the machine. The SNT are on high alert and are watching the area closely.

Motor scooters/quad bikes – The Metropolitan Police guidelines advise officers that they should not chase motor scooter/squad bikes, as they remove their helmets as soon as the chase begins. If possible we need to note the registration number and report to the local SNT.

Speeding continues to be a problem within the Ward. The SNT have been out with their mobile speed camera on a number of occasions in hot spot areas. Please let Angela know if you have concerns about speeding within the Ward.  Angela Hall can be contacted at: A campaign continues for a controlled crossing on Westwood Hill.

If you would like to get involved in improving safety in your local community, you are welcome to join the Safer Neighbourhood Panel.  Contact Angela Hall at email address above. 


Planning process in Sydenham


Annabel McClaren, Chair of the Sydenham Society, explained the relationship with Sydenham Society, who comment on planning applications in the Sydenham Ward.  There has been an increase in planning applications particularly for housing.  Sydenham Society agreed to put a short item in their newsletter to inform people.

In Longton Avenue – there is a proposal to demolish an old house to create a block of maisonettes.  This is out of keeping with the local streetscape.

We are fortunate that LB Lewisham still uses the “Yellow Notices” that have to be displayed in public when a planning application is made.  This is no longer in use in other boroughs.  The Yellow Notices do alert local people giving them the opportunity to comment on proposed developments.

Cllr Best added that a meeting took place recently at St Lady and Philip Neri Primary School regarding a proposal to expand the school to accommodate the junior site.   At the meeting, local residents raised concerns about the lack of parking space on Knighton Park Road and that any further increase in school size will exacerbate the problem.  It is hoped that residents and the developer can work together to reach an acceptable way forward.

Cllr Onikosi encouraged people to attend Planning meetings in order to be better informed about local planning proposals.

Questions and Answers

Q. Is it possible to reinstate Amenity Panel Meetings?

A. Cllr Best responded that cuts from central government had impacted on these, but councillors were looking at ways forward to pick up the local amenity society’s issues.

Cllr Best mentioned the planning enforcement notice that is in place on the new development at 24A Sydenham Road and referred people to the written updates circulated at the meeting (please see Appendix A).

Q Please update us on the Greyhound

A The Greyhound public house has now been sold on and we await details of when the transaction will be complete.  Unfortunately we are uncertain when the pub will be operational but we have asked the planning department to seek clarification on relevant timescales.

Q Will the new owners of the Greyhound be responsible for trees?

A Yes

Pat Trembath commented that a retail unit next to Sainsbury’s is to become an estate agents, which will tend to improve the general environment on the corner.



SEE3 update


Cllr Best gave the update.  £2,500 was granted to SEE3 to organise High Street Happenings – events and entertainment aimed at increasing footfall in Sydenham High Street. SEE3 is working closely with Sydenham Arts to deliver the programme. Monthly markets are also held where we welcome new traders.  The next High Street Happening is on 13th August, and please be aware of Halloween and Christmas when we hope to organise an indoor market and Christmas lights switch on.  Volunteers are wanted for Halloween – please contact Cllr Best if you are interested in being involved.

Q. Will the works being carried out in Venner Road and locally on electricity supply be completed by 13th August?

A. We will be liaising with electricity companies in the hope this can be done.



Sydenham Arts updates


David Smurthwaite, Chair of Sydenham Arts charity thanked the Chair for the opportunity to introduce this item.  Sydenham Arts had a busy year, organising three festivals. Their summer 2016 festival attracted 9,000 people and involved 378 performers.  Planning is already under way for the next season.  They are seeking core funding as they are having to budget for a 25% cut to their grant. As such Sydenham Arts’ strategy is to re-formulate their package to appeal to the Arts Council. They are planning a photography festival in November, dates to be announced shortly (please check their website at for updates).  You are invited to help their funding by becoming a Friend.  A professional pantomime is planned for Christmas.

Helen Goward has left after many years sterling work, replaced by Ron Worshow.

Q. Can you engage more with people in Wells Park?

A. This is dependent on having more funding.  We would like to be able to provide money for embryonic arts organisations in other parts of the borough. We are struggling with staff needing to spend up to 70% of their time on fundraising.  We are looking at using crowd funding – LB Lewisham have set this up and it looks likely to be very useful.


Westwood Hill - safety measures


Cllr Onikosi spoke about the well-known problems with cars speeding on Westwood Hill outside the school.  Officers have recommended a pedestrian refuge, speed cameras and a patrol officer.  A new school patrol officer has been recruited.

Q. A 20 mile per hour limit is understood to be planned.  Due to the steep hill, this is impossible for drivers.  Kirkdale and Wells Park present similar problems.

A. Comment noted.



Car clubs


Cllr Onikosi introduced this discussion, following on from complaints of parking problems in parts of the ward. There is insufficient evidence for a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) consultation at a cost of £40,000.  An alternative way forward for those areas experiencing difficulties with parking, is to work with a Car Club.  Zip Cars are interested in the possibility, and would increase their numbers of cars in the area if interest from local residents can be shown.  They would also offer a discount.  Please let Cllr Onikosi know if interested.

Q. How many people interested are needed?

A. A minimum of 20 could be a good starting point.  We know that in some areas there are many multiple car owners, people in these households might consider using a car club rather than keep a number of cars on the road.  People could speak with neighbours about the car club.

One attendees’ daughter is already a Zip Cars user – Cllr Onikosi requested she get in touch to share her experiences of the service.

Cllr Curran suggested that this scheme should be given further publicity by the Assembly in order to encourage take up.


Fly-tipping - discussion and hotspots


Cllr Onikosi spoke of the council’s responsibility to remove fly-tipped waste and said that some fly-tipping is carried out by residents.  It is important that people understand what is meant by fly-tipping.

Q. If you leave an extra black bag on the pavement by your black bin, is this fly-tipping?

A. Yes

Q. If you drop your own refuse in the large blue bins provided for large blocks of flats etc., is this fly-tipping?

A. Yes

Q. Leaving a mattress by a blue bin if you are a resident, fly-tipping or not?

A. Yes it is fly-tipping.

Cllr Onikosi invited further questions from the audience.

It was agreed that the Fix My Street app should be given more prominence in the next issue of Sydenham Assembly Newsletter.

Q. Can we have an agreement between LB Bromley and LB Lewisham for residents in the south of LB Lewisham to use the Bromley recycling centres where they are more convenient?

A. We are currently negotiating with Bromley on this.

Q. The Bromley sites are not useable for traders – we need to negotiate more favourable terms for traders.

A. Agreed

Q. Some people may not realise that if you leave items out on the pavement for collection (as a donation), this may constitute fly-tipping. 

A. This point will be covered in the next newsletter

Q. Bins left on pavements are an obstacle to wheelchair users and mums with buggies.  We are also concerned about people putting their refuse and litter into bins left out awaiting collection.  This can contaminate recycling, for example.

Q. Bins are left in unhelpful locations by the refuse operatives e.g. right next to street trees, obstructing the pavement.

A. Please speak to your councillor directly about these concerns.

Q. Are collections going to be changed?

A. Garden waste collections have begun – this is a charged-for service.  There will also be a new weekly food waste collection.  Once this is introduced, the residual waste (black bin) collection will become fortnightly.

Q. Can we have smaller bins where we don’t fill the bin?

A. We will be happy to work with individuals – let us know what you need.  Contact Environmental Services via the website at or call 020 8314 7171.

You can also report fly-tipping, book a mattress or large item collection and manage other environmental issues by following the links from the above page, or you can use one of our apps: or

Your local councillors can be contacted at:

Cllr Chris Best

020 8676 9516


Cllr Liam Curran

020 8314 6937


Cllr Rachel Onikosi

020 8314 9957



Community Updates


Sydenham Community Library: Ilse Towler spoke about the community library, which is looking for more volunteers.  People have been generous with children’s books, and the library is running a summer reading programme for children plus a number of craft sessions and other activities in August.  Some activities will not run in August e.g. Rhyme Time.  For more details visit LB Lewisham web page at, email or call 020 8778 1753 during opening hours 9.30 – 5.00 pm Monday & Saturday, 9.30 – 7.00 pm Tuesday and Thursday.

Q. Are the opening times published?

A. Yes, on LB Lewisham website (see web address above).  We do not open on Wednesday when the library is hired by the Bridge Club.


Black History Month: Local resident, Natasha Dhondee addressed the meeting about her proposal to organise an event in Home Park during Black History Month, as a positive statement of the value of diversity following the Brexit vote. The event would involve a range of fun and enjoyable activities such as a football match, balloons and lots more.  She is working with the community library, and has support from schools, local residents and shops.

The proposed date is 29 – 30th October.  Please let Laura Luckhurst know at if you would like to get involved and help organise this event.

Cllr Onikosi welcomed the proposal and pledged that Sydenham Assembly will give all possible support.



Questions from Assembly


Q.  Sydenham Centre – is it going to become a community centre?

A. The next meeting about Sydenham Centre is on 5th August.  Silverdale has been closed and most of its users will move into Sydenham Centre.  The meeting room upstairs will mostly be used for the arts.  The Rear space on the ground floor is being taken by a micro-brewery.  Councillor advice surgeries will be held at the library.

Q. What furniture is being installed in Sydenham Centre meeting room?

A. The council will ensure that adequate tables, chairs etc. are provided.  The important issue is that the community’s access to this space has been safeguarded

Q. Please explain the change to the management of this space. 

A. The original model was to have an “anchor tenant” to take responsibility for the centre.  We are now thinking of contracting this out to a facilities management organisation, and will probably tender.





The meeting closed at 13.10 pm