Minutes of 50th AGM

Copy of the un-adopted Minutes of the meeting held at 8pm on Wednesday 24th October 2018 at St. Paul’s United Reformed Church, Croham Road, South Croydon is shown below.

FIFTIETH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE CROHAM VALLEY RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION

 The meeting commenced at 8.p.m.

The meeting was presided over by the President of the Association, His Honour William Barnett Q.C. Our local MP, Chris Philp, addressed the meeting after arriving later as notified, but local councillors: Jason Perry, Helen Pollard and Maria Gatland, who had hoped to attend, sent their apologies.

Committee officers present:

Edward Glynn

Anna Kirton

Peter Knight

Wendy Love

Linda Oram

David Rutherford

Angela Shaw

Paul Sowan

Apologies were received from:

Jeremy Gill

Jaffer Kapasi

Kate Lynn

Sara Pevsner

All attendees to the AGM had been asked to sign in.

Welcome

His Honour William Barnett addressed the meeting. He welcomed all attendees, announced apologies and advised the meeting that Chis Philp would be arriving late following his attendance at a meeting in the House.  Peter Knight acted as the Chairman of the Association in the absence of Jeremy Gill.

Requests were made for submission of any additional nomination forms for officers of the Association in particular Honorary Secretary, Vice Chair and Distribution Manager.

There were no submissions for the offices of Honorary Secretary and Vice Chair.  Therefore, these two posts remain unfilled. Mary Knight offered to help with distribution arrangements.

Minutes

Following a number of corrections to spellings and dates and the name of the newly elected chair, which should have read Jeremy Gill, the minutes of the A.G.M. held on Wednesday 18th October 2017 were approved and adopted as an accurate record.

Matters Arising

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

Treasurer’s Report

The honorary treasurer, Wendy Love, presented her report with the Statement of Accounts for 2017/2018 duly audited and signed. Copies were distributed to those present and will be available on the website.  Mrs Love’s report was approved.

Election of Honorary Auditor for 2018/2019

Mrs Kate Lynn who had been the honorary auditor since 2008 resigned after ten years’ service.

Mr Jaffer A. Kapasi OBE FFA, a new resident of Bankside, volunteered for the office, by email, prior to the meeting.  He proffered his apologies for being unable to attend tonight’s meeting due to a prior appointment at the House of Lords.  Mrs Love proposed his appointment, which was seconded by Mr Knight. Mr Kapasi was duly elected Honorary Auditor for 2018/2019.

Mr. Barnett proposed a vote of sincere thanks to Mrs. Lynn for her many years’ service.

Chair’s Report for 2017/2018

In Jeremy Gill’s absence the chair’s report was read by Peter Knight.  The report updated the meeting on the situation with the Coombe Wood school application and the actions taken by the committee and noted the really poor residential schemes that are being approved by the Croydon Planning Committee and the subsequent adverse effect on our area. The report in full was distributed to those present at the meeting and will be available on the website.  Mr. Gill’s report was approved.

At this point Mr Barnett stood down from the chair and Mr Knight took over.

Election of the President of the Association and up to 4 vice-presidents for 2018/2019

His Honour William Barnett QC was proposed and seconded as President for 2018/19 and the meeting approved his re-appointment nem. con.

Mrs. Angela Shaw and Mr Edward Glynn were proposed and seconded as Vice-Presidents and the meeting approved their re-appointment nem. con.

Having been re-elected Mr Barnett once again presided.

Election of offices of the Association for 2018/2019

  • Jeremy Gill being the only nominee was proposed and seconded as Chair for 2018/2019 nem. con.
  • There was no nominee for the office of Vice-Chair. It therefore remains vacant.
  • Wendy Love being the only nominee was proposed and seconded as Honorary Treasurer for 2018/2019 nem. con.
  • There was no nominee for the office of Honorary secretary. It therefore remains vacant.

Election of (no more than 9) executive committee members of the Association for 2018/2019

Peter Knight, Linda Oram, David Rutherford and Paul Sowan were the only nominees. Therefore, all four were proposed and seconded as committee members for 2018/2019 nem. con.

Amendments to Rules

Amendments to the Association’s rules proposed in the formal notice of the Annual General Meeting by the Executive Committee in accordance with the current constitution.

Mr. Barnett read through the six proposed rule changes offering explanations and clarification as needed. After discussion the rule changes were approved with additional or substituted wording as indicated in italics.

  1. The area covered by the Association shall embrace Ballards and the Croham Valley and any proximate areas which the Committee from time to time deems appropriate within the London Borough of Croydon.
    Approved by the meeting.
  2. Any person aged 18 or over in a household within the Association area as defined in Rule 4 shall be eligible for membership of the Association. A Society, Club, School or similar organisation whose headquarters are within the bounds of the Association area as defined in Rule 4 may be accepted as a member of the Association by the Executive Committee subject to representatives of such Society, Club, School or similar organisation being limited to three of their members each having the power to vote at General Meetings of the Association.
    Approved by the meeting.
  3. NOTICE OF MEETINGS. Notice of all General Meetings and Public Meetings shall be given by the Honorary Secretary to all members, together with the Agenda for such meetings, at least fourteen clear days before the date set for the meeting. For the avoidance of doubt the giving  of a notice (which may be by electronic communication or delivered to premises by post or otherwise)  to one member of a household is to be deemed notice to the whole household or organisation.
    After much debate, including clarification of the fact that electronic communication would be only one of several methods, the amended Rule as shown above was approved.
  4. Accounts of the Association for the 12 month’s ending 31st July duly audited, shall be presented by the Honorary Treasurer at each Annual General Meeting.
    Clarification was requested. The meeting was advised that the only change being made here was a change of date from 26th July to 31st July. This was approved by the meeting.
  5. OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION.
    There shall be a Chair, Vice-Chair, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary of the Association who shall be members of the Association and shall be elected (see Rule 15) at each Annual General Meeting and shall be ex officio members of the Association Executive Committee. Nominations for the officers of the Association shall be made, with the consent of the nominee, in writing and be in the hands of the Honorary Secretary or Honorary Treasurer before the start of the Annual General Meeting.
    In the absence of there being an Honorary Treasurer or Honorary Secretary, the Chair shall act in such capacity.
    Approved by the meeting
  6. CASTING VOTE. The Chair of the Association presiding at any meeting shall have a casting vote in the event of a tie. In the absence of the Chair of the Association the person who is elected to chair the particular meeting has the casting vote in the event of a tie.Approved by the meeting.

Mr. Barnett thanked the meeting for their input and perseverance with the above rules.  He then took the opportunity to introduce and welcome Mr. Chris Philp MP who had arrived a little earlier at 8.50 pm. This was Mr. Philp’s fourth attendance at the association’s AGM.  Mr Philp received an enthusiastic welcome from the members present.

Guest Speaker – Mr Chris Philp MP

Mr Philp thanked Mr Barnett for the welcome and apologised to the meeting for his late attendance which was due to his attendance at a special meeting of the 1922 committee addressed by the Prime Minister. He proposed to cover a number of topics and then take questions at the end.

Rail Services

Following the severe disruption to Southern rail this time last year the RMT strikes  over driver operated doors have now been resolved on this network and on Thameslink.

The introduction of the new railway timetable on 20th May reintroduced chaos due to the sheer incompetence of GTR and Network Rail. Although they restructured the timetable increasing the number of trains they failed to recruit sufficient drivers to staff the proposed timetable. The chaos that ensued resulted in the resignation of Charles Horton, the GTR CEO. Chris lobbied Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport on our behalf.  The Minister for State for Transport, Jo Johnson, reported that a new CEO has been appointed to GTR and that a new timetable is being introduced on 6th December. The plan is to reintroduce the 206 (170 off-peak 36 peak) extra trains per day, an 8% increase in service. They assure us they now have enough drivers to deliver the proposed timetable.

The upgrades to the Brighton-London mainline service, which Chris promised to support at our 2017 AGM have commenced. The extensive improvements and maintenance required due to long term neglect is estimated to cost £300m. Obtaining the allocation of funds was not easy. Chris rallied the MPs that were affected by the Brighton Line and despite initial refusals from transport ministers the group met with Theresa May and the money was found!  You will now notice the weekend closures on this line to complete these works, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

The heads up given to this meeting last year by Chris regarding his lobbying for the widening of Windmill Junction is materialising.  The estimated costs of over £2bn requires a serious high-level commitment from the government. We were reminded of the serious bottle-neck in the rail services that occurs just north of East Croydon, called Windmill Junction.  The current proposal, agreed in principle, is to widen East Croydon Station to eight platforms, the widening of the junction by the compulsory purchase of surrounding land and the building of a multi-layered crossing to enable trains to traverse other tracks without impediment.  Procedures for the compulsory purchases have commenced.  Chris is continuing his vigilance to ensure continued pressure on Chris Grayling to move this forward.

(Please note the government’s consultation period for this project is 5th November to 17th December, you are referred to the web-site:

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/our-routes/south-east/croydon-area-remodelling-scheme/)

            Planning

At our last AGM Chris reported that he had been successful in lobbying the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to call in the proposed development of a seventeen storey sky-scraper in the centre of Purley, which Croydon Council approved last year and have it reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate. He advised us today that no outcome was forthcoming and that the matter was still with the appointed planning inspector.

Chris acknowledged the concern raised at the meeting and through his constituency about the recent plethora of family homes, especially in the south of the borough, that were being demolished and replaced with blocks of up to nine flats.  The Labour Council are granting 90%- 95% of such planning applications with disregard for valid objections from local communities. It was felt by members of his constituency that voting was being party controlled rather than examining the true value of each proposal. He pointed out that developments of nine flats or less failed to trigger social housing requirements and were therefore the more prevalent.  He felt this was an ill-considered policy removing family homes and destroying communities. The council do have a large home building target in Croydon but he felt that this could be better met by initially developing brown field sites and then developing many of the vacant buildings in the centre of Croydon, such as the Royal Mail and Nestles buildings. There are several sites in central Croydon that if refurbished could provide hundreds of flats enabling the Council to meet its failing targets.

Chris suggested three actions that could successfully address the problem for the south of the borough.

  1. For areas to develop separate neighbourhood plans
  2. To have separate planning committees for the North, Central and South of the Borough..
  3. To appoint a directly elected Mayor of Croydon.

His first step will be to propose the former option, but in the meantime, he will continue to exert pressure on inappropriate new developments.

Hospitals

After two years of renovation costing £22m the new Accident and Emergency department will be opening in December 2018  at The Croydon University Hospital (or Mayday, as many still call it). This is a fantastic new facility, which should assure the future of the hospital as an acute facility.

Purley Hospital is now open mornings and afternoons, 8am to 8pm and has an X-ray facility on site.   It is a GP Hub, which means that if you need an urgent GP appointment you can get one here.  Chris encourages all of us to use this facility as it has a better ambience than Mayday and if we don’t use it we could lose it!

Airports

As you all know Heathrow has now received approval for a new runway.  Gatwick was unsuccessful. However, they have come up with an ingenious plan, which Chris will support as long as the airport provides financial support for the local infrastructure i.e. roads and rail service. They are proposing to make use of their Standby Runway, which can be exercised from 2019 when the current restrictions on use expire, and will only require a limited amount of work to make operational.  Chris believes this will benefit this community.

1922 Committee

Chris explained that the reason for him being late tonight was that a meeting of the 1922 Committee had been called for 5.40pm. and he had to attend. For clarity he explained that the 1922 Committee is a committee of all backbench Conservative MPs that meets weekly when the Commons is sitting. It takes its name from a legendary meeting of Conservative MPs in October 1922 which led to the end of the party’s coalition government with the Liberals.

The meeting called this evening was to be addressed by the Prime Minister, Teresa May with regard to the Brexit negotiations. It was attended by most of the conservative MPs.

Chris reported that Mrs May’s main point were that:

  • Northern Ireland would not be separated;
  • transition time would be limited; and that
  • they would endeavour to keep trade flowing.

There was no leadership challenge or dissent and was mainly supportive.

Chris added that he didn’t think matters would be resolved by the November deadline but partly due to the pressure being exerted by DIHK (German Chamber of Commerce) he expected all to be settled by Christmas.

Questions

  1. Some of the houses in Castlemaine Ave, Campden Rd, Croham Rd and Croham Park Ave are locally listed and registered with the Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER) as historic buildings of special interest.  Can this listing be used to save them being demolished for flats? Chris explained this listing was not the same as the national grade 1 and 2 listings but whilst it may not prohibit demolition it should afford some protection at the local authority’s discretion.
  2. Is it true that Williamson has handed over the defence of the UK to the European Union? Chris stated categorically that there are no plans to amalgamate the UK armed forces with Europe.  We will continue as a member of NATO under Article 7. We currently have two battalions of troops in the Baltic and one in Bulgaria working as part of NATO.  There is no European Army and the government of the UK would not pass any legislation that would delegate the defence of this country.
  3. What is the position with the proposed shopping centre in Central Croydon? This time last year the proposed new Westfield shopping Centre was at stalemate.  The council wanted £70m from the developers towards improving the infrastructure but the offer was only £30m.  Last December the government intervened. The council reduced their demand to £50m and developer increased their offer to £40m so the government bridged the £10m gap.  Whilst this hurdle had now been overcome a further issued prevailed with Minerva the owners of the Allder’s building and other land and property in the proposed building area.  Minerva are now being compulsory purchased with the strip-out expected to commence in 2019.  Steve Yewman is the Development Director at Westfield, responsible for the delivery of this £1.4bn regeneration project which will transform Croydon’s two main shopping centres into the retail and leisure destination of South London. Building is expected to commence in 2020 and John Lewis, despite their financial position, have agreed to be the anchor store.
  4. Is this the right time to be investing money in retail? It is suffering due to online shopping. Westfield, as you can see from their other centres, is more than a shopping centre it is a leisure facility that is a destination in itself. This new business model bucks the trend.
  5. Is Fairfield Halls part of this development? If not, what is happening to it? Chris expressed disappointment with Croydon Councils planning and lack of progress with Fairfield Halls. He had recommended that the council keep the facility open and refurbish it in phases.  This was ignored. Croydon Council are managing the work themselves and claim it will be completed by June 2019, a year later than originally announced in 2016. Overall it has been managed ineptly with the proposed costs of £30m continually rising, total loss of income and service to the community, and they have also failed to complete the proposed building of flats at the rear that were supposed to offset the overall cost of the project. Concerns have been expressed over cutbacks in the planned improvements, employed to combat the escalating costs.
  6. What can be done about the disappointing lack of professionalism exercised by the Croydon Planning Committee?| Heather Cheesbrough, Croydon’s director of planning and strategic transport, emphasises the need to increase the borough’s number of dwelling units. The emphasis is on units and the need to vote them through without considering the quality of the planning applications, the validity of the objections and the negative impact upon the community is intensely frustrating. Councillor Paul Scott, chair of Croydon’s planning committee, appears to follow party politics and fails to consider the needs of the local communities.
  7. What leverage do we have over the council when they are flagrantly ignoring our needs and wishes? The community could submit a petition for a referendum to have a directly elected mayor of Croydon.  This would reduce the party-political bias from decision making as the Mayor would be accountable to the whole borough, as every individual vote will count. To initiate a referendum the residents would need to submit a petition of at least 15,000 signatures. Whether this could be done electronically or not would need to be clarified.  There are already directly elected mayors in the UK with four in London boroughs; Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets. A directly elected Mayor of Croydon has been discussed before and would be welcome by many. It is a feasible option.
  8. We are not happy with the implementation of the 20mph speed limits in the side roads. It is a farce. What are your thoughts? At this point the audience became quite lively and a discussion ensued in which the audience voiced strong opinions on the absurdity of the traffic restrictions imposed.
    Chris agreed the measures had proved counter productive and that the Council had proceeded with the implementation despite neighbourhood consultations giving a resounding NO to the proposals. It was a costly proposal and a serious waste of resources.
    Concerns were expressed over the increase in Road Traffic Accidents; creating a situation where normally law-abiding citizens break the law; and finally, the effect of a 20 mph speed limit in areas of need, such as outside schools, had been seriously diluted.
  9. What is the current position with travellers’ encampments in the borough? There are no immediate concerns over travellers. When he receives a report of travellers encamping he immediately advises the police who will move them on if they do not own the land.  The quicker this is done the easier it is.  Where they own the land, such as Hawkshurst Road, the situation is far more complex.  The council will need to deal with it.

With no further questions the acting chair, Peter Knight, proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Chris Philp MP for his support.

Any other business

David Rutherford addressed the meeting. He reminded everyone of the planning application web-site that CVRA is now subscribing to. Any member of CVRA may access the site to see what planning applications there are in our local area. The application can be accessed directly from the following web link:

http://www.localplanningapps.co.uk/croydon/cvra/anupdate/planningtable.html

There are currently two contentious planning applications submitted for 11 and 148 Ballards Way.  Objections have been submitted and David will be addressing the planning committee, possibly, on 8th November or a later date when advised that they going before the committee for decision. He encouraged all interested to support him by attending in the public gallery.

As regards other developments, the approved 10 Croham Valley Road is progressing very slowly. There is a potential new development at 5 Croham Valley Road where the owner has committed to sell to the very active developer Sterling Rose with the site already been cleared of trees. It is reasonable to assume that when the application is submitted it will be for a block of flats to replace the house, however where there is a road both front and rear of the site it does leave other options open for the developer.

A member raised a question over the excessive parking on both sides of Ballards Way, which impedes progress.

The acting chair advised that Maria Gatland had said she would look into this and in her absence we have no updates.

David advised that the proposed developments in Ballards Way did not include sufficient parking for all new dwellings and the assessment of parking in the case of 11 Ballards Way was that residents could park on the street in Ballards Way or on Croham Valley Road!

Concern was expressed, from the floor, that there is already serious parking issues at the junction of Ballards Way and Croham Valley Road due to the number of day time parkers leaving their cars there to catch the bus, avoiding the parking restrictions which commence a little further down the road.

Further concern was expressed over the parking issues and traffic congestion occurring around Coombe Wood School.  The displaced traffic is causing radiating congestion. This is the first year with only 180 pupils. There is a serious concern over next year as the school grows in numbers, which will be exacerbated by the heavy traffic and further disruption during the construction of the main school buildings.

Safety of pupils should be priority but the request for an additional tram stop had apparently been denied on cost grounds.

It was also pointed out that the school will incorporate leisure facilities open to the community outside of school hours. It appears there will be no let up to the traffic as they are not providing any public parking facilities.

The President brought the discussion to an end.  The situation as regards the school is an on-going concern and there was a general feeling of discontent.

Thanking those present for attending and sharing their concerns the President brought the meeting to a close at 9.55pm.