Contact: Letizia Gambacorta
Welcome from the Chair
1. Welcome from Cllr Luke Sorba, Chair of the Telegraph Hill Assembly
1.1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and set out the main purpose of the meeting, which was to agree Ward NCIL funding recommendations to Mayor and Cabinet and to host the “Meet the Mayor” Q&A session with the Mayor of Lewisham.
1.2 The chair announced that the meeting would be recorded for the purpose of ensuring accuracy of the note only and would not be used for any other purpose.
19:00 Grants for local projects. Applications and allocations for NCIL Ward funding
2. Grants for local projects - Applications and Recommended Projects for NCIL Ward Funding
2.1 A short presentation was given by officers, outlining the process followed in allocating the Ward NCIL Fund. This included consultation with residents via the Commonplace platform, and opening up the fund to residents for applications in September 2021 for 8 weeks. A programme of support had been offered to enable less experienced residents to present bids for funding. The projects recommended for funding were presented.
2.2 Telegraph Hill ward had £96,167 available and received 6 applications to the value of £118,305.
2.3 The priorities set by Telegraph Hill Assembly following the Commonplace consultation were:
· Transport and streets
· Community safety
· Community facilities
· Open/green spaces and nature
· Children's services
· An additional priority of COVID Recovery was added to all wards as agreed by Mayor and Cabinet in September 2021.
Q: As each project has been allowed less than they wanted, have you assured yourself they can do the work for a lesser amount?
A: Where reductions have been applied the team ensured, after an analysis of the budget and application, that a consistent part of the project could be delivered.
Q: It is important in terms of transparency of the programme to look at the scoring structure was. It was based on how the questions were addressed but you have also mentioned priorities and a panel of experts. Could you please clarify this?
A: Most of the questions were scored between 0-4 and few others between
0-2; there was a final general comment. No weighting has been given to the priorities but the team had to make sure they projects were aligned with the priorities chosen.
Two people have been marking independently the applications and the moderator was a manager; after the moderation the projects would go to the experts (such as highways, green spaces, etc.) and include their comments to the report that would go back to senior managers and director panel. Recommendations and summaries went back to the councillors.
Q: When I initially heard about this funding I thought that there would be a voting process at the assembly meetings to decide whether something would be funded or not. It sounds that if it hasn’t reached this stage the project isn’t going to be funded and the public has an opportunity now to comment on the bids that have been accepted for funding and those will be taken in consideration when the final decision gets made, unless somebody raises a concern. Is my understanding correct?
A: The decision will always be made by Mayor and Cabinet but this local assembly has an opportunity to influence that decision; it’s very important for the Ward Cllrs, elected to represent you, to get the feelings, the comments, the mood of the meeting and any specific issue is communicated along with the officers recommendations.
Q: Why other wards have more money allocated to them?
A: It’s a formula based on the value of planning developments that are ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
20:00 Ward Councillor Update
3. Ward Councillor Update
3.1 Cllr Sorba thanks the officers for the presentation and the delivery of the programme, then handed over to Cllr Millbank and Cllr Bell for an update.
3.2 Cllr Millbank thanked the Council Officers and public sector staff for the extra work carried out within the community because of COVID during the last couple of years.
3.3 Due to the Public Health restrictions the local Councillors have not being able to hold face-to-face surgeries and after an initial period of not being able to go to the Town Hall, they have been there most of the time; the decision-making process happened through remote meetings.
3.4 The Councillors are very proud to represent Telegraph Hill for the community involvement; in the “Feed the Hill” initiative 1 in 8 residents got involved and it was a good example of the public sector and the community working together.
3.5 The casework has now increased because of the pressure of Covid on local families for issues around job loss, benefits, fuel poverty, cost of living increase, etc.
3.6 Unfortunately the fly tipping has increased during this time.
3.7 The three Councillors work as a team and work strategically to maximise the impact in the neighbourhood. Cllr Millbank is the lead on Community, supporting community groups to liaise, Cllr Bell leads on Housing and Cllr Sorba Leads on Environment.
3.8 Within the Council Cllr Millbank chairs the majority group which is the Labour group, Cllr Sorba is the chair of Children and Young People Select committee and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Bell is the cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration.
3.9 The Councillors are still available to be contacted via email and phone calls; have been told to not go back still to face to face but they are out in the ward meeting people on the estates trying to respond to residents’ needs.
3.10 Cllr Bell provided an update on Housing. There are social housing developments, one on the Somerville Estate with 23 new Council Homes, Walsham Garages has now received permission for 5 new homes.
3.11 A planning application has been put forward for a new 3G artificial grass pitch on the Honor Oak estate, supported by the Football Foundation, the Ian Right Foundation and Lewisham Council that will be run by Turnham School and will be open with the support of the Millwall Community Trust.
3.12 There is an ongoing discussion with the developer to try to save the Montague Arms.
3.13 Cllr Sorba provided an update on Environment: locally there are 5 residents groups involved in roads and traffic.
3.14 One of our green objectives is to reduce journeys by private motor vehicles introducing staggered parking policy in 2 roads; we have introduced two “safer streets” programmes and there has been a tree planting initiative on the Honor Oak estate.
3.15 In regards of an issue concerning safety in the streets there has been a response from various agencies and the Cllrs were able to tour with ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
20:20 Mayor's Question Time
4. Mayor’s Question Time
4.1 Mayor Damien Egan gave a short presentation setting out Lewisham’s achievements over the past four years and priorities going forward.
4.2 The Chair thanked the Mayor for the presentation and opened the floor to questions.
Q. In regards of an innovative approach to quality social housing, what is the plan going forward?
A. We try to find difficult and unused sites, for example community land trust on an old car parking or Place Ladywell site using modular construction. We would like to bring back the radical tradition of Council Housing as high quality housing. Council planning is trying to resist the development of modular accommodation for individual living units and co-living such as students accommodation.
Q. The resident expressed the concern for the Borough to become a dormitory borough where people don’t get involved in the borough; part of this is because there aren’t too many businesses in the borough and there isn’t much in the local plan to attract business. What can be done to increase business and people living and working in the borough, that would also reduce traffic when people work where they live?
A. Through COVID there was a drop everywhere in terms of people spending time in the high streets, not in Lewisham, where the 70% are small independent businesses. This and the night time economy strategy are very important, Lewisham is still not a Saturday night destination.
Lewisham has the highest number of micro-businesses, there is a shortage of office space and this should be reflected in the local plan. Prior COVID we hosted a “Meet they buyers” event, a local marketplace where people could meet buyers also from providers across the borough and surrounding boroughs. However any idea on how to attract businesses can be fed back in the local plan.
Hatcham House is a good example in the ward of increasing community work space activities.
Q. It seems that work space is declining rather than increasing.
A. It is seen as a concern, Government planning rules make very easy to convert office to residential. Some office spaces have been converted into tiny units priced at housing benefits level.
Q. Southwark has a lot of notices for article 4 direction, preventing people turning shops into residential. What is happening in Lewisham?
A. Article 4 direction has been introduced in 3 wards Whitefoot, Bellingham and Downham where 3 bedroom houses were converted to house 6 people, sharing facilities. We are looking to extend this to the whole borough.
Q. I know that we want to support the independent businesses but what are we doing to attract chains as they are the bigger employers? People can live local, work local and juggle parenting commitments.
A. 30% of businesses are chains, we have seen growth around the gym chains that provide jobs and training, less around retail and restaurants.
Local businesses are more likely to employ local people and buy from local businesses, helping to keep the economy in the ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
21:00 Close of meeting
5. Close of meeting
5.1 Chair and Mayor thanked the residents for attending and giving suggestions and feedback.
Meeting ended at 21:07
Note: These are not verbatim minutes, so questions and answers have been summarised.