Venue: Sydenham Centre, Sydenham Road, Sydenham, SE26 5QX
Contact: Winston Castello
Welcome from the Chair
Cllr Jack Lavery welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Minutes of the last meeting - Saturday 3rd December 2022
Attendees were informed that copies of the minutes of the meeting on 3 December 2022 were available in printed form and could also be viewed on the Council website.
The following was addressed as a Matter Arising in reviewing the minutes:
Extending number of Air Quality Monitors as part of NCIL contract: Cllr Curran confirmed that the request had been forwarded to the relevant Council officers and feedback was expected shortly.
The minutes were accepted as a true record.
Street Trees for Living
The item was introduced by representatives from Street Trees for Living and covered a number of key points regarding how the scheme operates, including:
Range of work undertaken by the organization and its volunteers
Benefits of street trees for residents and visitors
Work which has been undertaken in Sydenham
Details of the most popular species of trees that have been requested and planted
Details of the key stages in consultation and the planting of trees.
The following points were made following questions from the meeting:
· It was noted that budgets for tree planting include ongoing upkeep and maintenance.
· With regard to whether a minimum width of pavement required, it was stated that this was dependent on the types of trees that were being planted and the below-street level services in the area.
Residents or groups in the borough can get more information from https://www.streettreesforliving.org/ or visit https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/environment/trees/how-to-get-new-trees-planted
Sustainable Streets Programme including controlled parking
Cllr Lavery provided a presentation on the rationale behind the Council’s approach to Sustainable Streets. Full background information can be obtained at:
A discussion followed, during which a number of statements were made and questions raised.
Key points raised included:
Questions and answers:
1. How would the proposed system be agreed?
The exact process has not yet been confirmed. However, it would involve those residents most affected by any change.
2. A significant number of parked vehicles belong to people from out-of-borough. How would the system address this?
It was noted that other boroughs, such as Bromley, have restricted parking hours which prevent all day parking for people seeking to use the borough for commuting. Approaches such as this would be explored in developing proposals in Lewisham.
3. Is the Council aware that parking fees represent a regressive tax, particularly during a time of cost-of-living crisis?
The Council’s developing policy is taking this into account and one of the principles of the scheme is that the proposed changes would be funded from income derived from any parking scheme.
4. A question was raised about the statement in the consultation that specific initiatives would not be introduced unless there was “overwhelming support” for them. The question related to how “overwhelming support” would be defined and it was suggested that this should be added to the FAQ document.
Councillors agreed this isn’t clear and would raise this with officers.
5. A question was asked about the cost of the consultation.
Councillors confirmed that the consultation had been costed and would be funded from S.106 funds specifically earmarked for the purpose.
Additional questions raised included queries about the rates to be charged for business parking and whether any of the proposed scheme included improvements to pavements.
Statements and concerns raised included:
· Glad consultation is taking place as there is a need to reduce car use for health reasons.
· A related point was made about engine idling and the need for an education campaign in Lewisham to help increase understanding of the health implications of this.
· Half of Lewisham households don’t own a car.
· This is the fourth time that Sydenham residents have been consulted on parking zones.
· Many people use cars out of necessity and to meet basic needs, e.g. medical reasons.
· Many concerns were voiced about the implications of parking restrictions for people visiting residents by car. However, a point was made that controlled parking would be integral to addressing the climate crisis and that there were already 25 Controlled Parking Zones across the borough.
· A point was raised about the prospect of treating Lewisham as one zone for parking and whether this was realistic, given the variety of geographies and demographics across the borough, e.g. differences between town centres and residential streets.
· Improved signage is needed to enable people to take advantage of current parking. This would be more the case under any future scheme.
· Lack of public transport is a major concern if people are to be encouraged to ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Sydenham Safer Neighbourhood Police Team
Cllr Lavery drew attendees’ attention to an update on the previously circulated report which highlighted an increase in burglary reports, specifically shed burglaries, often resulting in bikes being stolen.
The work of the ward panel was also highlighted and those in attendance were reminded that the next meeting was due to take place on 11 April.
The SNT team can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was further highlighted that there is a Community Roadwatch Group and that residents who would like to volunteer should contact James Mitchell.
NCIL Funded Projects - progress
The following updates were provided about NCIL funded projects:
Venner Road Hall – a representative from Venner Road Hall reported that the project had resulted in a new dementia group being set up. She explained that there had been a delay in some of the capital project due to difficulties in identifying an appropriate roofer. The project’s planned garden is progressing in partnership with Sydenham Gardens.
Ageing Well – the project at the Grove Centre is progressing well, with three well-supported groups delivering services for local residents.
JRHYS – James Ross-Hunter Youth Support reported on the work of their project which had resulted in a number of young people receiving support to develop their resilience and well-being. The planned well-being Glow Walk on 31 March was highlighted.
Sydenham Library – feedback was received on the work of the two projects. It was noted that up to 30 adults and 45 children have been involved in the quarterly workshops.
SEE3 – SEE3’s various activities were highlighted, including work undertaken before Christmas to obtain and instal the sustainable Christmas tree outside the Sydenham Centre and work with local schools including Our Lady and St Philip Neri to support Christmas activities. Future planned activities include an Easter Bonnets workshop on 8 April and a Coronation Day tea party on 8 May. It was reported that there were plans in place to widen access to the Assembly newsletter produced by SEE3 by having a link to it on the Council website.
The meeting’s attention was drawn to the previously circulated community update document. The following specific points on the update were made:
Tannsfeld Road – the support provided to Tannsfeld Road residents was noted. It was further noted that the developers have continued to undertake work on the site despite planning permission being refused. Councillors promised to keep working with Enforcement Services to support residents.
Modal filters – it was noted that 400 responses had been received on the consultation, with a small majority in favour of retaining the filters. Councillors were also looking at improving the junction of Mayow Road and Sydenham Road to improve traffic flow.
Bell Green – Julia Webb provided an update on the Bell Green Neighbourhood Forum. She reported that a number of proposals, including improved bus services, had been submitted. She reported on concerns regarding the proposed Barratts development.
Date of Next Meeting - 17th June 2023
The date for the next Assembly meeting was confirmed as being 17th June 2023.
1The benefits of having a centrally located noticeboard was raised and Councillors agreed to look into the feasibility of this.
2Councillors’ attention was drawn to the current difficulties Lewisham Homes tenants are experiencing in having payments credited. An update was also requested on the Lewisham Homes buy-back scheme.