Held at The Hob on 22nd October 2014
The Chairman, Michael Abrahams, welcomed the assembled to the AGM, in particular the three Forest Hill Ward Councilors. Apologies for absence had been received from Alisa Owens, the Vice Chair and Treasurer, and from Membership Secretary Belinda Evans, Quetta Kaye, Alona Sheridan and Jake Twyford.
Michael introduced local architect, Ed Holloway, who would describe the outcome of the workshop of local architects and town planners that had considered plans for the town centre.
Urban Design Workshop
Ed Holloway said the workshop had drawn on the part implemented Supplementary Planning Guidance from 2003, Neighbourhood Plans and a useful Street Clutter Report commissioned by the Ward Assembly. Four development zones had been identified.
1. The Station front and London Road: There was potential to develop the area in front of the main entrance to the station. New trees could be planted symbolizing Forest Hill, a piazza built and mixed use made of the rest of this important area, while maintaining drop off access to the station.
2. Perry Vale and to the east of the Station: A new crossing over the railway line would link what felt like a separate area to the rest of the town centre and encourage greater use of the Perry Vale car park. Also, there was potential for the north end of Perry Vale to be a pedestrian area with a street market.
3. Dartmouth Road spaces: Themed public spaces could be developed, making better use of what was already there.
4. Dartmouth Road/railway links: The area to the immediate west of the railway line had seen several new unconnected developments. Improvements could be made to the footpath to make this area more accessible on foot and by bicycle.
A report of the workshop had been drafted and when completed details would be available on the Society web site. Many of the ideas from the workshop could be implemented without major expenditure. With a little more work, the report could be the basis for a submission from Lewisham for money from the new Greater London Authority (GLA) High Street Re-generation Fund. This would be in addition to the Council’s successful bid for £650,000 from Transport for London to improve the north end of Dartmouth Road.
In discussion, the following main points were made:
· More use was made of the Perry Vale car park when it was free possibly easing he pressure on local streets. Options included lengthening the time parking was free, dividing the car park into pay and non pay zones and improving the road signs directing cars to the car park.
· The idea of a new bridge over the railway line was welcomed.
· There was support for better walking and cycle routes and for improved access for the disabled in the town centre. Crossing Perry Vale outside the eastern entrance to the station was hazardous.
· How could the Horniman Museum and Park be integrated better with the town centre? Options included Horniman style bollards up London Road and signs inspired by items in the museum’s collection.
· There was concern about pollution including on Dartmouth Road. The Society would continue to press for more hybrid buses to join the new 122 buses. Ward Councillor, Paul Upex would raise the issue of new buses with Len Duvall, the GLA member for the Lewisham and Greenwich.
Michael had prepared a written report, copies of which were available to the meeting. He thanked all who had volunteered. Michael especially thanked Annabel for the four excellent newsletters published during the past year, to Jake for his support to the music festival, to Quetta for the success of the planting at the station and the Edible High Road, to Hilary for organizing the Urban Design Workshop and to Alisa and Belinda for their contribution to essential administration.
Michael drew attention to the consultation regarding Hamilton Lodge, which was earmarked for the homeless, and also the consultation regarding the extension of the Bakerloo line. Looking ahead, we should keep the Edible High Road going but consider new plants perhaps with more colour. Michael closed by encouraging more people to volunteer with the Society.
Michael Abrahams presented the report in Alisa’s absence. The Society has a healthy bank balance and brought in more than spent in 2013/2014.
Further details were made available at the meeting and are available to members on request.
By way of introduction, David McKenzie described what it was involved in being a member of the Executive Committee and its Sub-Committees.
Michael Abrahams stood aside for the election of Chairman for the coming year. Katrin Klinger proposed Michael as Chairman and this was seconded by Hilary Satchwell. Michael agreed to stand again was duly elected as Chairman.
Michael Abrahams proposed that Alisa Owens be elected as Treasurer, John Firmin as Secretary and Belinda Evans as Membership Secretary. All were prepared to stand and were duly elected.
The post of Communications Officer was left vacant. John Wysocki would however be editing the newsletter.
Existing members of the Executive Committee were willing to stand again and the following were duly elected:
Hilary, Quetta, David, John W, Penelope, Katrin, Alona, Jake, Sheila, Richard, Stefan, Katherine and Helen.
It was agreed that Brendan would join the Planning and Development Sub-Committee. Other can join sub-committees at anytime throughout the year, if they desire.
In further discussion the following main points were made:
· The platforms at Canada Water Station were overcrowded and dangerous. This had been raised with LONDON OVERGROUND, who was responsible for the station. The matter would be taken up by the Transport Sub-Committee.
· The London Road – Dartmouth Road junction was dangerous for cyclists. The junction was part of the TFL programme of consideration for 2015-16, when this might be addressed.
· In some locations, new street lamps did not adequately light up the areas beneath them because of trees.
· Close links should continue to be maintained with other local civic societies e.g. those in Honor Oak and in Sydenham.
The AGM ended with a vote of thanks from the floor to the officers of the Society and to all who had served on the Executive Committee and its Sub-Committees during the past year.