The agendas and minutes of past Friends of Russia Dock Woodland meetings. Click the back button on your browser to return to the previous page.
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM 21/02/13 (Agenda)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM 08/12/11 (Minutes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM 04/11/10 (Minutes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM 04/11/10 (Agenda)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 16/12/09 (Minutes)
Downtown Defence Campaign Public Meeting 25/06/09 (Minutes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 13/11/08 (Minutes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 26/09/07 (Minutes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 22/08/06 (Minutes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 22/08/06 (Agenda)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 24/11/05 (Agenda & Notes)
Downtown Defence Campaign Meeting 16/08/05
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 24/05/05 (Agenda & Notes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 15/12/04 (Notes)
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Meeting 29/09/04 (Notes)
AGM: 21st February 2013
Please note the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland (FoRDW) will be held on Thursday 21st February , 2013 at the YHA (Youth Hostel Association) 20, Salter Rd SE16 5PR.
- Minutes of the 2011 AGM held 8th December 2011
- Approval of the minutes
- Matters arising
- Election of Officers
- Report from the Chair & others
- The new website
- Russia Dock Woodland Area Residents Group (RDWARG)
- Treasurer’s report
- Planning applications
- Looking forward in 2013
- Any other competent business
John Wills, Secretary.
Minutes of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM held Thursday 8th December 2011 at the Stave Hill Ecological Centre
Steve Cornish (Chairman), Tom Godfrey (Vice-Chairman) John Wills (Secretary), Ben Dewhurst (Treasurer)
Nick Kaur (NK), Greg Carson (GC), Jerry Hewitt (JH), Alan Chadborn (AC), Alan Camp (ACa) & Daria from Alan Camp Architects
Apologies were received from:
Lisa Rajan, Simon Hughes, Kath Whittam, Guru Kaur, Andy Chatterton & Rebekah Clark
The meeting commenced at 19.05
The minutes of the AGM of 2010 were read. The phrase “bike thefts were on the increase” was inserted to make sense.
The minutes were then approved.
JW mentioned the Globe Pond Fountain; SC said this would be dealt with later in the meeting.
Election of Officers
All of the committee stood for re-election. JH proposed that the committee be re-elected and this was seconded by AC. The committee was returned by a unanimous vote.
The Chair’s summary of the EGM of 26th May, 2011
SC said the meeting was attended by 40 people and it had been called so seek membership approval of FRDW involvement with the developer of the proposed QWIE development. Alan Camp Architects had made a presentation to the meeting of their vision for the site. Based on that those present had given the committee a mandate to liaise with the developer and architect from the outset.
ACa said that he had informed the CWF meeting of 5th December 2011 that the Planning Committee meeting to grant approval/refusal of the scheme had now been postponed pending the Planning inspector’s decision on the urban/suburban designation of the site. He said he felt it was immaterial because of the design but the Planning Committee would now meet to discuss it in January 2012.
Building would start at the Redriff road end of the site and would move, phase by phase, up the road. Lisa Hollamby of DMGT had expressed concern at noise levels. ACa said the scheme was completely different from any before and included walks and courtyards through the estate with fingers into the woodlands. The developer wanted a sustainable scheme with water and there was a Section 106 agreement to provide the site with a SUDS and an ecological wall. GC said there was an interface gradation with the woodlands and the green spaces within the development. The detail would be worked out in cooperation with the FRDW.
SC asked if planning permission was granted in January when would work commence. ACa replied that Kenneth Jasby (developer) wanted an easy exit for leaseholders on the site and vacant possession would not happen until the end of 2013.
SC explained that the FRDW had put in a letter of observations on the development to the Planning department and had asked for written assurances on what had been promised. He said that it was vital to keep the proposed underground parking rather than undercroft. He said it was good that Greg Carson and Ben Dewhurst were working together on the environmental aspects.
Jerry Hewitt warned that the Metropolitan Church could flood the planning department with objection letters.
The Chairman’s report
SC read out Guru Kaur's report on the Meditation in the Park event:
2011 brought many successful community events to Russia Dock Woodland, all designed to improve the usage of the Woodland and the Ecological Park in an inspiring and educational way, supported by Awards for All, the Rotherhithe Community Council, and a number of local businesses.
The highlight was Meditation in the Park, now in its third year, attended this year by 2,000 people, and featured in The Times, Time Out and London Town. In the run up to it, meditation classes were taught at SHED to about 200 local school children and a number of community making days took place making meditation mats and decorations for the summer's events.
Other events were Photography in the Park, attended by over 50 people, Painting in the Park, attended by over 60, and Woodland Surprise, attended by about 80 people. The SHED sewing circle, which started for this year's Meditation in the Park, continues to meet each week.
- He said that these together with other events in the Park were getting bigger every year and we needed to get down to finding funding streams for them.
- Green Flag status had been won again in 2011.
- There was some concern by local Friends about the Council’s tree-felling policy; it was felt that they were being over-zealous.
- The CCTV by Waterman’s Walk had been out of action but was now repaired.
- The best news of the year was that the wind turbine pump has been replaced and a deeper level (60m). We now had complete control of all the waterways throughout the woodlands & he complimented Andy Chatterton’s contribution throughout.
GC asked if water would now extend further into the site. SC said there was to be an investigation into the possibility of opening up the old, blocked-up section so that this could happen. This might take priority over the reinstatement of the globe Pond fountain.
AC asked about the wind turbine. BD said he was trying to find out if the feed-in tariff was still working and thought that Andy Chatterton would probably be able to sort it out; he said it was important to get it working and with a proper maintenance contract in place.
- SC said 2 new interpretation signs had gone up and had so far remained undamaged.
- 12 oak trees are to be planted by St John’s School ~ these had been donated by the BFI. 50 Black Poplars have also been planted.
GC asked if these were female; BD replied he was not sure but he had lots of cuttings which were female.
- SC said many bird & bat boxes had been constructed and put up
The Treasurer’s Report
BD said that most of the “Awards for All” grant had been used. Our bank balance was now £4,579.70.
He said that the constitution had been amended, based on the Friends of Southwark Park, and was now fit for purpose.
He asked the meeting to adopt the new constitution.
AC asked for more notice. This was agreed.
JW suggested that future AGMs be held in September when the weather was better and the nights longer.
JH suggested checking with LBS before adopting the new constitution as the F of SP had now made theirs more complicated.
After discussion the new constitution was adopted with the proviso that BD & JW would investigate the background to changes in other constitutions.
SC said that Downtown was again the subject of a Judicial Review and that Lord Cornworth had over-ruled the previous decision made by the 2 judges. It would go to appeal in March 2012; one option open to the judge was to overturn LBS’s planning approval.
Greenland Dock had been the subject of a planning application for 225 yacht berths. This had been refused at a well-attended meeting but the developer is said to be coming back with a revised application reducing this number to 200.
Any other business
SC said that it was hoped to put a pipeline through the lower reaches of the woodland to make wetlands there using Cleaner, Greener, Safer funding.
It was also hoped to stem the leak around the girder so that water went over it instead of around it.
SC thanks Nick Kaur for his work on the Photography in the Park event and the “village-fete” atmosphere that prevailed upon these occasions. AC suggested green wood turners would be an added attraction at future events.
JH raised a point of information: the LBS consultation on Localism closes on 5th January 2012.
SC thanked Alan Camp & his team for attending and everyone else who attended.
The meeting closed circa 20.30.
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM Minutes 4th November 2010
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND
THURSDAY, 4th NOVEMBER 2010 AT THE YHA, SALTER ROAD @ 7.00pm
Steve Cornish (SC),Chair, John Wills (JW) Secretary, Ben Dewhurst (BD),Treasurer, Tom Godfrey,Rebekah Clark, Kath Whittam,Hari Karam Singh, Jerry Hewitt, Alan Chadbourn (AC), Paola Miller,M Reardon, Andrew Doyle.
Apologies were received from:
Chandra Eastwell, Peter John, Lisa Rajan, Barry Mason, Anne Chadbourn, Guru Kuar.
The Minutes of the AGM held 1th December 2009 were approved by the meeting as a true record.
Kath Whittam (KW) asked if another meeting had been held within the year since the previous AGM. SC said that though it had been intended to hold one his illness had prevented it.KW said she thought it would be good to hold two meetings per year. All agreed. KW asked if any funding had been applied for. SC said that for the same reason this had not happened yet.
SC said that fly tipping had decreased and passed round photos from 2002 showing the level it had reached then. Jerry Hewitt said the he believed vandals had been made a police target group but he said bikes were on the increase.
Election of Officers
Rebekah Clark proposed that the committee be re-elected en masse. This was seconded by KW. SC asked that Tom Godfrey be elected to the position of Vice-Chair. This was proposed by RK and seconded by KW. The committee and Tom Godfrey were duly elected unanimously.
Report from the Chair
SC reported that Green Flag status had been awarded again to RDW and that Festivals in the Park had been a contribution to this renewal.BD said that the signage needed to be improved if it was to be won again in 2011. Interpretation was a problem. SC said that Paul Highman had promised a 2nd notice board. Hopefully, 3 or 4 would be an optimum number for the park. RC said that one was needed at Globe Pond.
This is a new development. SC said this would start in Nov-Dec 2010. BD said that throughout the wet woodland areas the idea is to create a bio-diversity enhancement. It would attempt to retain more water with min weirs leading into a series of descending pools. The banks will be weeded and covered with a wild-flower turf. Wild berry hedging will be put in where house gardens front the woodland and all species are native to a wet woodland environment. KW asked if the infill used originally would affect the berries. BD said he thought RDW was a new woodland and that tons of topsoil had been imported to create it so he didn’t think there was a huge risk. He mentioned that Stave Hill tests had shown the heavy metal content to be light.
BD said that the whole Natural Ribbon scheme involved some £20k worth of work. SC added that the proposed development on Quebec Way would involve “SUDS” (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) to replenish the ponds. He said that it had been suggested that an English Oak could be planted in the middle of the green. This would be expensive but he hoped that Section 106 money could be found to pay for it. BD said that the results of a slow growing oak would not be seen in the present meeting’s lifetime and asked about the future style of RDW. At the moment there were no exceptional or notable trees planted with the exception of the Trees of Heaven. Black poplars were new and a swamp cypress had been suggested. He felt that after the Natural Ribbon had been implemented some thought should be given to the idea to making the woodland more individual, planting was currently short-term e.g. willows which do not have a long life.
SC mentioned the duck weed problem in the waterways had improved this year. BD said the war was not over yet. SC proposed a vote of thanks to Quadron. RC suggested a meeting with Quadron, their boss and Paul Highman to re-jig the Quadron work schedule. BD agreed and said that he thought there was no scoping or management plan at present. RC said that there were some things still being done that were no longer necessary e.g. indiscriminate strimming which was in danger of destroying the new wild flowers. SC asked if Quadron needed to liaise more with T.R.U.E.
BD said a plan was needed and RC reminded that there must be a plan somewhere. SC agreed that there must be a meeting with Paul Highman to resolve this.
SC said that 3 new benches had been installed and that he felt that woodland users thought this was now sufficient. AC said that after any good day there was always a problem with litter. He suggested that photos be published to show this and that people be asked to take their rubbish home with them. Andrew Doyle suggested a slogan:
“You may be tidy, but the wild life isn’t!”
JH asked if the litter bins were of the correct type. He said that those on Hampstead Heat were of the brick variety. Maybe MacDonald’s be approached as a sponsor.
SC said that there were now no issues with foxes and that Agnes Appleby had done as promised at the last AGM and put up notices.
SC said that there had been several serious fires over the summer with incidents of exploding trees. These had shown that there were access problems. There was a post in the way for the Fire Brigade. The fires had been caused by 4 youths of about 16 and these had been drawn to the attention of the safer neighbourhoods team, who had approached the youths in question. Since then the fires have stopped.
There were plans to get the fountain playing again. SC had suggested Cleaner, Greener, Safer (CGS) money could be found for this. The meeting agreed that a funding request should be submitted for this. JH said there was currently some concern about the future of CGS.
BD asked what had happened to Section 106 money and the much publicized Project Bank. Where had it gone? SC said that we had always been told it could not be ring-fenced. JH suggested exploring the viability of events and filming etc.
SC said that Downtown was now the possibility of another Judicial Review since Barratt’s had removed the promised provision of a Community Hall from their plans.
SC said that the developer had come up with conceptual visions in 2004 that were unacceptable but had now employed Alan Camp architects. The Committee had met with the developer and architect on site and the initial opinion was that the new plans were an improvement. The plans indicated that there would be no sheer building against the woodland and gardens would back on to it. There is an ongoing argument about urban/suburban densities. Fiona Colley and Peter John have promised to keep the area designated as suburban.
Meditation in the Park
HKS said that the event had been really successful. It had been more like a village fete with a tight schedule. It was hoped to repeat and grow it in 2011. It was hoped to advertise it more extensively. KW suggested book bags. Funding will be applied for a series of events on the Green: photography in the park, painting in the park etc from “Awards for All”. BD said there should also be wild-life events. KW suggested approaching the Amicable Trust or Consolidated.
The Treasurer’s Report
This was distributed, explained and adopted.
Any other Business
RC asked about hedgehogs. M. Reardon (MR) said that they had spread widely on the peninsula. RC reminded the meeting that they are officially an endangered species and suggested a Hedgehog Watch. SC said that we are awaiting the return of the Kingfishers, Reed Warblers had nested in the Downtown Pond area and that Sparrow Hawks were trying to muscle their way into RDW after losing their nesting site in Deal Porters Walk due to the ongoing development of Site A.
SC paid tribute to Lisa Lewars and her work for local wildlife. He suggested that her name be put forward for “Woman of the Year” as a posthumous award.
SC thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting at 20.35hrs.
Friends of Russia Dock Woodland AGM Agenda 4th November 2010
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING THURSDAY, 4th NOVEMBER 2010 AT THE YHA, SALTER ROAD @ 7.00pm
- Minutes of the 2009 AGM held 16th December 2009
- Approval of the minutes
- Matters arising
- Election of Officers
- Report from the Chair & others
- Treasurer’s report
- Planning applications
- Looking forward to 2011
- Any other competent businesss
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland 16/12/09
Held 16th December, 2009 at 7.00pm
Andie Byrnes; Steve Cornish (SC); Janet Hughes; Patricia read; Mairi Mills (Bede Centre) John Wills (JW), Lisa Luars (Bermondsey & Old Southwark Conservative); Catherine Crook; Agnes Appleby (Southwark Outreach); Guru Kaur; Hari Karam Singh; Dave Burns (Quadron); Barry Mason; Denise Pawlett; Dominic Roberts; Rebeka Clarke (TRUE); Kath Whittam (Surrey docks Farm); Eddie Williams; Paul Metcalf; Simon Hughes,M.P.
Apologies were received from Ben Dewhurst (TRUE), Paul Highman, Alan & Ann Chadborn, Darryl Telles, BRDP, Kam & Beatrice Leung, Toby Prescott, Lorraine Smith.
The Minutes of the 2008 AGM were approved as correct.
SC said that since the last meeting fly-tipping had decreased
Election of Officers
SC said that Lorraine Smith was retiring as secretary and thanked her for all her hard work over the years. He said that John Wills was prepared to take on the role. JW then read out the names of those committee members who were submitting themselves for re election. Rebeka Clarke proposed that those members of the outgoing committee who were standing again be re-elected. Seconded by Andie Byrnes. The committee was re-elected unanimously on a show of hands. Kath Whittam then proposed JW for the position of secretary and was seconded by Andie Byrnes. JW was elected on a show of hands.
The Chairman’s & other reports.
SC said that RDW had achieved Green Flag status and thanked Paul Highman for his help. He showed the meeting the woodland’s 2009 London Tree & Woodlands Award for the community woodlands project. SC reminded all how the woodland had looked previously with burnt-out cars etc and how it had now been turned around. More people are using the woodland and this was thanks to passive surveillance. He thanks Quadron & Southwark council for all their hard work.
Terry Burns from Quadron outlined current work in the woodland ~ pruning, seedling planting, deep litter cleaning, leaf clearing etc. he said that 2 staff to continue this programme and a 3rd member of staff will be made available in the run up to Green Flag renewal
In the absence of the treasurer, no report was available.
Rebeka Clark reported that fishing in Globe Pond had caused some banks to degrade but the anglers had moved on. More chalk had resulted in less duckweed and less work. Duckweed is still a problem in Mahogany Pond because of heating pipes that pass underneath. The cobbled edges to Globe Pond will be covered with chalk and turfed over. A walk around with Paul Highman & Rosalie Dobson, the tree officer, had resulted in the reduction of 2 willows to ground level and a major prune on the corkscrew willow. Work was continuing on the wildflower bays restoration; they had been cleared out and planted and seeded with wild flowers. All this was part of the Natural Ribbon project and there was enough money for this. RedriffSchool will be included in the project.
SC said that Cleaner, Greener, Safer funding will be sought to fund a “globe” fountain for Globe Pond. He said that the AlbionBridge sculpture had been taken down for repair. Three new picnic benches were now ready to be put in place. He said that wildlife came first and these must be sited sensitively. The cycle path had been repaired and was now safe. There was the chance of another notice board for the Moby dick end of the woodland & it was agreed by the meeting that this would be a good place to site it. Hari K suggested siting another near the new picnic tables. SC mentioned “Meditation in the Park” and said that it had been a great success. Guru Kuar said that she would like to repeat the event in 2010 and that it would be even more successful. The idea was that people took away with them more than had brought and it was to teach people to honour the woodlands themselves. Guru said she wanted to hold more events to attract families and she suggested a series: Painting in the Park, Meditation in the Park & Photography in the Park. All would involve people being inspired and educated.
SC outlined the history of recent events concerning foxes in the park and asked Pat Read to elaborate. Pat said that she had noticed a drop in the number of foxes in July and had discovered that people had been using cats and foxes to throw to dogs. SC said that this had led to the involvement of the Fox Project. Janet Hughes asked if the Council would put up official notices to deter people. Agnes Appleby said she would she what she could do. Eddie Williams suggested contacting the Wildlife Crime Officer or the Council’s Wildlife Protection Officer.
Simon Hughes said he was happy to provide the names of the responsible persons at LBS.
SC asked Andie Byrnes to put the Fox Project number on the website.
SC said that RDW needed to be protected. The Downtown site would be before committee on 12th January. The plus points are that there is now a buffer strip between the development and the woodland.
Quebec Way is an 8½ acre site that borders the woodland. The council has changed the designation of the site to residential and commercial?, SC had met with Tim Cutts (LBS) and told him that if any development on the site was unsympathetic then LBS would have another Downtown on their hands. Tim has contacted the owners who have indicated that they want to discuss a buffer strip. Simon Hughes confirmed that the land had been sold and that the council had by law to get “best value”. To have bought the site back would cost £7million. He agreed that potentially it was quite a big development.
Looking forward to 2010
There will continue to be quarterly stakeholder meetings between the Council and FRDW. The woodland s infrastructure will continue to be maintained. The burnt out underpasses will be tidied up and painted. Rebeka Clark said that stakeholder groups of RDW should report to the FRDW. It should involve local schoolchildren and would discuss issues affecting the woodland and could be brought back to FRDW meetings. She said stakeholder groups are popular and attract funding.
SC said that he would like to hold at least 2 meetings of the FRDW per year and formalise membership. Simon Hughes said:
1. it would be good to have 2 meetings per year and one of them in the summer could combine with a social event, perhaps with a guided walk etc.
2. He said that he was against a formal membership and preferred an informal membership where people signed up to be kept informed via a website. Barry Mason said it should be an open group and he was against inclusive membership After some discussion it was agreed to keep the informal approach to membership.
3. He suggested writing to local organisations e.g. the YHA, Docklands Settlement etc to ask them to contribute to funds and the arrangement could be reciprocal with members of the Friends could give talks. There was a Young Friends of Southwark Park which had proved successful. Guru said that there was an untapped resource amongst local people from the eastern bloc countries who had expressed a wish to get involved. SC asked her to approach them and find out their origin and tell them there was a website and how to get involved. Simon Hughes said that the 2nd Monday in March is Commonwealth Day and the 8th May was Europe Day. He suggested that events could be organised around these days. Lisa Luars suggested putting something in “Southwark Life”
Any other business
Guru said that when she had needed to contact the police they had said they did not know where RDW was. Rebeka Clark said that this could only have been an individual as local police and fire know the relevant entrances.
SH said that on Europe Day the Russian Ambassador could be invited together with representatives from the RussianSchool to visit to establish a link between the woodland and the school. He said that there were many possibilities to establish links.
Rebeka suggested a European volunteer day.
Steve Cornish thanked everyone for coming and the meeting closed at 9.15pm
DOWNTOWN DEFENCE CAMPAIGN PUBLIC MEETING 25/06/09
Minutes of the Downtown Defence Campaign Public meeting held in Holy Trinity Church Hall
25th June 2009-06-27
Among those present & speaking were:
London Assembly member for Southwark Val Shawcross (Labour)VS
London Assembly member Andrew Boff (Conservative)AB
Surrey Docks Councillor David Hubber (LibDem)DH
Andrew Howard (Hardhat Communications, for Barratts Homes) AH
Simon Hughes MPSH
Southwark Councillor Chris Page (Labour)
Chair – Steve Cornish SC
Vice Chair - Lorraine Smith
Secretary – John Wills
Treasurer – Sue Agnew
TOTAL ATTENDANCE – 103 PEOPLE
The meeting began at 19.08
Val Shawcross as Chair opened the meeting and thanked the Rev. Andrew Doyle for making the hall available for the meeting. She then introduced those politicians present and the DDC committee. She said however that this was the people’s meeting. The Downtown development was an emotive issue but could have been solved at the start given willingness on all sides. She then introduced Steve Cornish.
2. The DDC
SC gave a brief history of the campaign to date and said that as an action group the DDC had been fighting for 8 years for sensible development on the site. He held up the current issue of “Southwark News” which had a 4-page Barratt’s wrap-around advertisement published the same day, 25 June 2009, but which he pointed out had nothing new concerning the development. The deadline for submissions to the new Planning enquiry is July 1st.
SC said that the campaign still had the backing of all political parties and had legal representation but that funds were needed in the form of donations. He was certain that Barratt’s will lose at appeal. He said that Nick Stanton (LBS Council Leader) would be held to his promise in the letter that he circulated to local residents that he would go back to the drawing board. The DDC was against inappropriate development but not opposed to development in itself. He said that 200 trees had been chopped down against the law. People liked where they lived and the Council needed to consult with them.
VS congratulated SC on his dedication over the years. She then invited David Hubber to address the meeting.
3. Southwark Council
DH said he had been elected in 2002 and had always supported appropriate development. He and the other Ward Councillors had objected to each of the planning applications. When the Southwark Plan was being formulated they had tried to have the whole area designated as suburban but had been unsuccessful but were trying to achieve this again. He said that each application had been edged down from oversized and over-dense. He said that a new health centre was needed as was affordable housing. The planning inquiry was pending and ward councillors will appear again so their position remained the same. His personal view was that the law was tilted in favour of the developer and as ward councillors their powers were limited. He was still waiting for a planning application that met the conditions previously imposed on Barratt’s and the land will not change hands until they have met them.
4. The Greater London Assembly
VS then invited Andrew Boff (GLA Member) to address the meeting.
AB said that in the past legislation was such that the Mayor could not intervene. This was not the case now and the GLA wants to force the Inquiry to respond to the objections to planning Application 3. The great irony of planning is that everyone is aware of the great need for housing and to reduce overcrowding but all developments seem to be just 1 or 2 bedroom flats. Local authorities are not being firm enough with developers because they are desperate for money and don’t stipulate that more family houses should be built. This means that communities were not being generated but just buy-to-let developments. VS asked DH if Southwark Planning had attached a planning brief to the sale of the land.
Chris Page (new Southwark Council Labour shadow spokesman for regeneration) addressed the meeting and said he was dismayed at the mess the site was now in. A plan was needed to implement a corporate strategy and the biggest problem was uncertainty.
5. Questions and Answers
VS then asked for questions from the floor.
“Is the freehold still owned by the LBS?”
“Why have Barratt’s moved onto the site?”
DH said that the site was still owned by LBS.
SC said that Barratt’s were allowed on site by Nick Stanton.
David Pilkington asked DH about the felled trees and the role of Councillor Paul Noblet in his role of responsibility for regeneration. It seemed local democracy was not working. DH relied that all 3 ward councillors deplored the cutting down of the trees. SC reminded the meeting that Barratt’s had been given permission by Nick Stanton who had taken on the role of regeneration at the time.
“Can the hoardings be taken down?”
SC said that what lay behind them now was quite horrific and it would be better to leave it hidden.
Charlie Smith asked why councillors were unable to influence Nick Stanton
VS invited Andrew Howard from Hardhat Communications to address the meeting. (Hardhat is the PR Company for Barratt’s.)
AH said that he had received hardly any notice of the meeting and therefore had little time for preparation nor had he consulted with Barratt’s prior to the meeting. He maintained that the tree felling had been legally carried out. Barratt’s will be coming back with another planning application and this will be in the public domain and open for comment. Barratt’s had an agreement with the landowner and will be back. Kath Whittam from the floor asked why Barratt’s never seemed to learn from their mistakes. She asked why they would not ask local people what they would accept.
Another local person said that the community should produce its own scheme. Another person asked if there was a termination clause in the agreement.
Lorraine Smith asked if the price was not too high. DH said that the council was obliged by law to ask a market price (“best consideration”).
SC outlined the “cop out” of the Community Hall and said that the price of the land was an important factor. He said that Barratts should come down and
consult with the immediate local community first and not other parts of Rotherhithe. AH said they would be doing this.
Alan Chadborn questioned the impartiality of planning officials and asked how councillors ensured this.
Another attendee asked why the council could not go back to the drawing board. VS replied that there could be penalties if they reneged on their agreement with Barratts.
Simon Hodge asked if now that the trees were gone wouldn’t this affect any objections on environmental grounds. SC replied that the DDC had asked for Elizabeth Fieldhouse to chair the Inquiry again and she had seen the site as it was and would have to treat the Inquiry with that in mind.
DH answered the impartiality question. He said that ultimately it was the elected Council Members on the planning committee that made the decisions.
Chris Page said that LBS needed to examine how they wanted the area to look.
7. The Member of Parliament – Simon Hughes
Simon Hughes joined the meeting.
He said that he always took the view that an MP should not get involved in local planning applications; that was for councillors. There were exceptions: listed buildings or anything involving a world heritage site. He does however take an interest if matters go to appeal. One of the most frequent requests he receives is for more social housing so he always supported those developments that offered that and more family housing and the Downtown site was suitable for that. He had opposed Ruth Kelly’s view and would submit that Applications 1 & 2 were unsuitable. He was concerned that an applicant could start work on a site without full planning permission. Given the economic situation there had been a tailing off of affordable housing & in principal a developer like Barratts should be encouraged. AB asked SH if he was concerned with the quality of affordable housing. SH said that the post-war Parker Morris standards were the best and that LBS should negotiate with developers to achieve similar. A mixture of affordable and family housing was needed.
John Hellings asked SH for clarification that he would be opposing Applications 1 &2 by the deadline of July 1st.
SH said that he would be and would ask to appear at the inquiry. He said that the population of the UK was growing & the reality was more homes were needed. A lot of council housing stock had been lost.
SH then had to leave to go to another meeting.
8. Survey of opinion and Conclusion
VS asked the floor for a show of hands in favour of one of three preferred options for the site:
1. No development at all
2. Low rise development in keeping with the surrounding area
3. For planning application 3 to stand.
The results were:
SC thanked all those who had attended for showing support. He thanked DH for his contribution and said that it was not easy being stuck in the middle. He also thanked Jenny Jones (Green Party) who was unable to attend put who had been consistent in her support from the very beginning. He reminded the meeting that money was needed to continue the fight and that at some stage we may be able to produce our own drawings but this, along with legal representation at the new Planning Inquiry, could only be achieved if we had a fighting fund.
Meeting closed – 8.40 pm
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND AGM 13TH NOVEMBER 2008
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of The Friends of Russia Dock Woodland
Held on Tuesday 13th November 2008 at 7pm
At the YHA Salter Road, Rotherhithe
Steve Cornish - Chairman
Toby Prescott - Vice Chairman
Ben Dewhurst - Treasurer
Lorraine Smith - Secretary
Carl Dyer Safer Neighbourhood Team, Mark Dykes – Surrey Docks Neighbourhood Team Rebeka Clarke – Stave Hill Ecology Park (TRUE), John Hellings – Canada Water Forum, Kath Whittams – Surrey Docks Farm,
1 - Election of Committee Members
The current committee stood down and
It was proposed and seconded that outgoing committee be re-elected, if they and were prepared to. All agreed and were subsequently re-elected.
Steve Cornish - Chairman
Toby Prescott - Vice Chairman
Ben Dewhurst - Treasurer
Lorraine Smith - Secretary
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending.
2 - Apologies
Apologies were received from the following members, Jeff Hook, Thea Sandle, Anne Chadbourne, Paul Highman
3 - Matters Arising
As there were no matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 26th September 2008 the minutes were approved as a true and accurate record
4 - The Safer Neighbourhood Team
A member of the Surrey Docks Safer Neighbourhood Team reported that there had not been much of a problem with relation to motor cycles being ridden in Russia Dock Woodland.
A question was raised regarding the Community Wardens. It was explained that the structure of how they operated had changed and from the 5th November 2008 they would be allowed to confiscate any vehicles if they had no insurance.
Wardens were not allowed to chase vehicles due to Health and Safety reasons.
There is an answer phone for people to leave messages for the Surrey Docks area only as the office is only manned for 50% of the time.
The Rotherhithe community safety call port is still not operational.
There was a mugging alone Waterman's' Walk, as well as drug dealing at the end of Somerford Way. A request was made for these areas to be monitored.
Fly tipping has decreased, the council has special vans which patrol each morning.
There were no arson attacks this year and firework night proved uneventful.
Concerned was expressed that there was a designated shop selling fireworks.
The meeting was informed that licenses allowing the selling of fireworks were not given out easily.
It was thought that there should be more PCSO's. It was suggested that community wardens could call into the portakabin where TRUE were situated to catch up on local information.
On the subject of BBQs, it was reported that a Bye Law was due to be created, as the police have no powers. The community wardens had approached people and asked them to extinguish their BBQs.
5 - Russia Dock Woodland
Steven Cornish along with Rebeka Clark and Ben Dewhurst of TRUE are to have a walk around to see what is needed for the area to be given Green Flag status. A Management Plan needs to be formulated as well as a tree survey and signage. It will take about a year to implement this scheme and a lot of the necessary boxes on the paperwork have already been ticked.
Some of the ponds are not in so good a condition, apart from Joe's pond which seems ok. A water license is needed , and the water supply in Russia Dock Woodland is not so good, 20 cubic metres of water is not nearly enough.
Ben Dewhurst said that there was not much of a flow between ponds due to leaves blocking the filters. A sustainable urban drainage scheme is needed and a ditch system (SUDS) might help.
A long discussion an explanation ensued on how to collect and divert water, this much needed water could be collected from from the houses nearby by a series of pipes collecting rainwater via the guttering and fed into a one cubic storage tank at the end of each row of houses.
It was suggested that in the meantime TRUE should apply to the relevant authority to increase the present quota of 20 cubic metres as RDW needs more water. At present the use of the water is limited to 4 days a week from between the hours 10am until 4.00pm daily and then 5 evenings a week between 5.00pm until 9.00pm.
TRUE is in trouble if the wind turbine or bore hole breaks down as it is quite expensive to repair.
A feasibility study could be carried out.
6 - Bird Boxes
There are approximately 75 bird boxes some 30 are beyond repair, 20 have been used for nesting an another 25 were unsuccessful due to damage by other creatures disturbing the nests.
A feeding plan is needed to help increase the number of chicks. There should be feeding station with live bait, as young birds need the protein.
Fund raising is needed , Ben Dewhurst said some £300. It was also mentioned that the nesting boxes need immediate cleaning.
A tutor from Bacon's would like to do a project with year 7 students involving 7 different designs of bird boxes. This would be done under the Duke of Edinburgh scheme
The Parks Manager Paul Highman said that there was excellent the community involvement with TRUE. Paul Highman also said that the Friends of Russia Dock Woodlands website was the best he has seen.
TRUE were involved with the local schools and St John's School in particular. The school and its pupils had been made aware through their involvement how to treat the woodland.
7 - Pathways in Russia Dock Woodland
There had been am edging installed to alleviate the wear and tear on the grass due to motorised maintenance vehicles using these pathways
8 - Bridges
The naming of the last two bridges within the woodland are Peter Hills and Albion Street and both these schools are to make a visit to their designated bridge to come up with ideas on what theme could be used to depict them.
9 - Canada Water Area Action Plan
Steve Cornish gave a brief outline of what can be expected between 2010/2012 and explained that all sorts of different ideas on how this are was due to be developed were mooted.
10 - St. John' School
The the role model the school had projected in their involvement with the woodland had won them an award.
11 - Downtown Development
An up date was given on the continuing battle by the DDC to ensure a suitable development was built was giving. The meeting was informed that there was to be a buffer zone of 12 metres from the end of Downtown Pond to the edge of the intended buildings.
Amenity play space to be fitted in somewhere.
The community hall has been cut back to 45sqm.
12 - Thanks
Thanks were expressed to Andie Byrnes for the excellent work she was continuing to do on the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland website.
The chair also thanked Beverley Robinson for her goodwill in allowing meetings to take place within the YHA.
13 - Brunel Statue
The Friends of Russia Dock Woodland had secured some £30,000 towards the implementation statue although there is still some way to go.
There appeared to be no objections to the idea of a permanent tribute along these lines.
The statue itself would be some 20 metres in height and is to be built in Rotherhithe by a local blacksmith. In order to given an all round balanced view.
The statue would see this great man juggling his many projects including his failures as well as his successes in the form of mini statues.
There was a suggestion that the statue it could be mounted on a granite plinth with a dug out space in the form of an amphitheatre where schools and other interested parties could sit and talks could be given on the many projects undertaken by Brunel.
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.20pm
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND MEETING 26/09/ 07
Minutes of the Meeting of The Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Held on Tuesday 26th September 2007 at 7pm At the YHA Salter Road, Rotherhithe
Steve Cornish -Chairman
Toby Prescott -Vice Chairman
Ben Dewhurst -Treasurer
Lorraine Smith -Secretary
Kevin Boys Alan Chadborn, Rebeka Clark, Max Housego, Heidi Kappelhoff, Beverley Robinson, Neil Lassus, David Meagher, Victoria Scott, John Syms. Lewis White. Kath Wittam.
Apologies were received from the following members, Pauline Adenwalla, Columba Blango, Ben Dewhurst, Jeffrey Hook, David Hubber, Stephanie and Jim Lodge, Andrew Pringle, Nicholas Townsend, Jon Sheaff, Andy Snazell, Philip Murphy, Paul Noblet, Lisa Rajan,
(2) Election of committee Members
The current committee stood down and It was proposed and seconded that outgoing committee be re-elected, if they and were prepared to. All agreed and were subsequently re-elected.
Steve Cornish - Chairman
Toby Prescott - Vice Chairman
Ben Dewhurst - Treasurer
Lorraine Smith - Secretary
It should be noted that Kath Wittam agreed to continue as the administrator/moderator of the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland email forum.
(3) Minutes from the previous meeting held on the 26th August 2006
The Chairman gave an update on an agenda item from last year’s meeting regarding the naming of the five bridges accompanied by metal sculptures. Three of bridges have now been completed with metal sculptures depicting the themes of the schools concerned these were made by Kevin Boys with the help of some of the children from the various primary schools. To date three bridges have been completed, St Johns, Alfred Salter, and Redriff. The remaining two bridges Peter Hills and Albion Primary are expected to be finalised soon.
There being no other comments the Minutes from the previous meeting were duly agreed as as true and accurate record.
(4) General Reports from The Chairman and Treasurer
Ben Dewhurst the Treasurer gave a report on the Friends’ finances and said that out of a total of £1,500 there had been a payment made to Kevin Boys of £1,000 towards the work he had done on the bridges, leaving a healthy balance of £500.00.
Rebeka Clarke the Manager of TRUE made a request that Quadron employees were vigilant when moving the grass on the hedges to check for hedgehogs.
Steve Cornish commended Rebeka Clarke on the chalk King Fisher Bank that has been built on Globe Pond. Ben Dewhurst said that King Fisher had been spotted investigating the area.
A long discussion ensued regarding the duckweed that gathers Globe and other ponds. . The mild winter and poor summer was blamed for the extra occurrence this year. Physically going into the ponds and drawing the weed away targeted the worst areas. Chemical intervention didn’t cure the
problem, but barley straw might help. A proper maintenance programme is needed
John Syms and Toby Prescott both local members of the RSPB Aid they were willing to make and site bird and bat boxes as required. They would also continue to clean the old bird boxes that they have installed over the years.
(5) Isambard Kingdom Brunel Statue
The assembled meeting were privileged to see the first official viewing of a maquette (sculptor’s small provisional model) of and intended 10 metre statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel which is to grace a grassed area to the left hand side of Rotherhithe Tunnel. It is intended to make this statue from the same type of railway lines that Brunel himself had invented. The statue is to be mounted on a large concrete blocks.
Large companies have been approached to help fund this project in exchange for some sort of recognition, which could mean chiselling names into the concrete upon which the statue will stand. Southwark Council will be involved in lighting the statue.
There is to be a designated website and a DVD available which will show will give a three dimensional view of how the statue will look once is place.
The meeting was asked to submit any ideas they had on the funding of this Venture, Kath Withams suggested approaching Rotherhithe Consolidated Charities as well as Newcomen College.
It is possible that Bacons College will be running Science and Engineering courses to tie in nicely with this statue.
(6) Update on the Warden Service
David Meagher an Area Manager for Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, which means covering two patches, gave an update on the current situation.
The warden service was in the process of being restructured.
There are to be team leaders who will be working closely with the wardens They are managing. At the present time there are eight wardens this is still Two short of the intended total.
The management structure is to change. The wardens will now be issued with radios with a central control, making them more accessible and will kitted out in new high profile uniforms. The warden service that is currently housed within TRUE’s compound in the Ecology Park will be moved to Galleywall Road School, and the Service Manager Chris McCracken.
The Safer Schools Route, which has been a jointly patrolled by Police and Wardens has proved very successful. One local school that was a ‘trouble hot spot’ is no longer so.
Steve Cornish asked about enforcing the no BBQ byelaws, was informed By David Meagher that there is no such Byelaw and that up until now The wardens have endeavoured to ‘bluff’ their way through this although not always successfully.
David finished by saying that the Warden Service had only a tenth of the manpower that the police had to cover the same area.
(7) Update by Max Housego and Lewis White from Southwark Council and Neil Lassus of Quadron Services Limited.
Max Housego started by saying that the water quality within the waterways was generally better. Albion Channel no longer suffered with the odour problem of last year.
There are plans and funding of £20,000 to improve Canada Water and various other projects.
Lewis White explained why there had been a delay in installing 36 nesting pontoons on Surrey Water. This was due to lack of planning permission and the fact that the Planning Department wanted an excessive amount to grant said permission. It was anticipated that it would take a further 8 weeks before permission was granted and installation of these pontoon could take place.
These pontoons were being constructed by TRUE with the help of corporate volunteers.
Regarding the Compass Fountain that is at present sited not too far from the Surrey Docks Medical Centre.
Neil Lassus of Quadron informed the meeting that at present there are two staff working to maintain Russia Dock Woodland. He had been on a walkabout with Steve Cornish and Lorraine Smith to familiarise himself with certain parts of the area that needed special attention. Steve pointed out that
Certain entrances to the woodlands needed to be cut back in order to make them more inviting and for the safety of anyone walking through as some pathways had high overgrown foliage making blind spots.
Neil Lassus talked about the possibility of joining forces with TRUE to Draw up a management plan that would involve both parties and would Crossover regarding the maintenance of both Russia Dock Woodland. As it now seems that the wardens would be vacating the portakabin sited with the fenced area that also houses TRUE the meeting felt that it might be more beneficial if Quadron could be allowed to use this portakabin as a base for their two workers and as a store for their tools. Both Ben Dewhurst and Rebeka Clarke and the meeting as a whole could see how beneficial this could be as it would allow the sharing of tools and resources, all within a safe compound.
Anne Chadborn produced a photograph of one of the pathways in Russia Dock Woodland that showed deep grooves either side of the pathways. The question was asked if Quadron were still driving vehicles along the paths? Neil Lassus said they were but were looking at the possibility of installing some hard edging materials that allowed the grass to grow through and as well as looking aesthetically pleasing would hopefully be the answer to the alleviating the deep groves the vehicles make, as the pathways were not wide enough to take vehicles.
(8) Any Other Business
Update on proposed developments on the Surrey Docks Health Centre and Surrey Quays Leisure Centre.
The Chairman gave a brief update on the proposed development on the Downtown Road Site. Disappointment was expressed at The Home Secretary Ruth Kelly’s decision to over turn the decision by the Government Inspector to disallow the development on this site in its current form. He further informed the meeting that the DDC intended to fight the Home Secretary’s decision and looked to the Council and the local MP to assist in this.
Naming of the ponds within Russia Dock Woodland. Lorraine Smith suggested formally naming the ponds within Russia Dock Woodland, as this would tie in nicely with the bridges that have been named
and through the sculptures of Kevin Boys been given a connection with the primary schools after which they have been named. Some similar recognition could be given to the ponds.
The meeting Closed at 9.30pm
Notes from the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland's 2006 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 22 August at London Thameside YHA, 20 Salter Road, London SE16
Daniel Ah Sun, Sally Burnell, Martin Cakebread, Alan Chadborn, Anne Chadborn, Steve Cornish, Ben Dewhurst, Kay Hammond, Max Houseago, Gary Magold, David Meagher, Katie Nicholls, Paul Noblet, Jeremy Pender, David Pilkington, Toby Prescott, Chris Rice, Joyce Sanwell, Jon Sheaff, PC Richard Skinner, Lorraine Smith, Will Walpole, Marion Weatherhead and Anne Yates
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Pauline Adenwalla, Kevin Boys, Terry Burns, Columba Blango, Andie Byrnes, Rebeka Clark, Roy Dawson, David Frampton, Paul Highman, Jeff Hook, Simon Hughes, Kim Humphreys, Kam Hong Leung, Danny O'Rourke, Lisa Rajan, Clióna Roberts, Thea Sandall, Andy Snazell, Nicholas Townsend, Lewis White, Kath Whittam and Charlie Willis
ELECTION OF THE COMMITTEE FOR 2006-7
Steve Cornish and Ben Dewhurst were re-elected as chairman and treasurer, and Toby Prescott and Lorraine Smith was elected as, respectively, vice-chairman and secretary.
NOTES FROM THE MEETING ON 24 NOVEMBER 2005
There were no comments.
GENERAL REPORTS BY THE CHAIRMAN AND TREASURER
Steve Cornish presented his chairman's report, saying that the systems that had been set up by Southwark Council all now seemed to be working quite well and, in particular, that there was general satisfaction so far with the performance of the current main contractors, Quadron and Southwark Cleaning. Also, some good work had been achieved through the extra funds that had successfuly been bid for through the Cleaner Greener Safer Awards scheme and others like it, such as with new signage for the woodland's bridges, most of the work for which had been done by Kevin Boys and his blacksmith team at Surrey Docks Farm, working in conjunction with local schools.
Unfortunately, the policing of the woodland was still sometimes falling short of expectations in many of its visitors' eyes, though all parties concerned did seem to be trying hard to remedy this. However, it was a continuing worry that there were often no staff even on duty at some of the times when problems were known to occur, in particular during the late evening hours. The future seemed to lie at least partly in striving for much better coordination of the police and the wardens' shifts and at the same time in extending the use of CCTV both as a deterrent and as an aid to investigating the offences which did happen to be filmed. It was also important that the Council's contractors working on the woodland were kept aware of the need to take such everyday measures as ensuring that the motorcycle barriers were always locked at the end of the working day and in arranging for the prompt removal of materials which could be used for destructive purposes, such as starting fires.
Ben Dewhurst presented his treasurer's report, saying that the various grants he had bid for on the Friends' behalf had been duly authorized and that the expenditure he'd so far incurred on various management projects had been appropriately offset, with the result that the accounts had been passed as being in order. Donning his Trust for Urban Ecology hat, Ben went on to say that he had sent a report on his work in the local area generally to the Friends' email group, and this had now been archived at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/the_friends_of_russia_dock_woodland/message/744. In this report, Ben had explained, among other things, the procedures he has set up under his arrangement with Southwark Council's Max Houseago for tending the woodland's water areas.
UPDATE ON THE WORK OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE FORMED AFTER JULY'S ROTHERHITHE FESTIVAL
It was too soon after this year's Festival to say with any certainty what the approach to the 2007 one would or ought to be, but the general feeling seemed to be that the woodland had benefited considerably from the extra attention it had had at this year's event and that, as a result, it was likely to receive many more visitors in future than might otherwise have been the case. If the woodland were once again to become the focal point of the event, it would be necessary to make sure that all the proposed activities were essentially in harmony with the surroundings, a consideration which perhaps would not be so relevant in a less sensitive environment. For example, all agreed, it would be inappropriate to have alcohol on sale in such a setting.
UPDATE ON PROPOSED DEVELOPMENTS ON THE SURREY DOCKS HEALTH CENTRE AND SURREY QUAYS LEISURE CENTRE SITES
The negotiations about the Surrey Docks Health Centre site were continuing, and, as the group would be hearing later on when Andie Byrnes spoke about its Internet arrangements, the Downtown Defence Campaign (DDC) now had a new webpage. Representations were continuing to be made by the DDC on the Friends' behalf about the importance of ensuring an adequate buffer zone between the woodland and the proposed housing.
No further news had come to light about the Surrey Quays Leisure Centre site, and it was not likely there would be any further announcments until the plans for Quebec Way itself were further developed. All proposals for creating new points of entrance at the southern end of the woodland would be examined very critically indeed.
UPDATE ON MELLISH FIELD
Developments with this site continued to be extremely slow, and Southwark Council appeared to be no nearer announcing the date when work would commence than when the group had last discussed the matter. A steering group which had been set up had apparently not held any meetings yet, but it seemed that people were still being invited to join it. The officer at Southwark Council that any interested parties should contact was Nigel Robinson.
The Friends had been told of a proposal for a new footpath to be created on Mellish Field's southern perimeter when the site becomes operational, but that had been strongly rejected on the basis that it would cause grave interference with the wildlife habitats around Globe Pond.
UPDATE ON THE FRIENDS' INTERNET ARRANGEMENTS
Andie Byrnes reported that there was a new main website for the Friends now -- www.russiadockwood.ukfriends.com -- but that there was also a related site -- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/the_friends_of_russia_dock_woodland -- specifically for everyday discussions about matters of interest and for maintaining a public archive of the group's correspondence. Kath Whittam had now kindly agreed to help Andie run this discussion group.
The existence of these facilities meant that a lot of the matters that might in an earlier era have had to be dealt with at actual meetings could now be dealt with online, and it was probably not going to be necessary to hold meetings except when there were exceptionally serious matters to discuss or when the officers of the group needed to be elected or the treasurer's reports needed to be presented. The chairman's telephone numbers were well publicized, and he'd already agreed to be the group's main point of contact between meetings and to make sure that everyone without Internet access was kept up to date with news.
As had been mentioned during the discussion earlier on during the meeting, there was now also a dedicated page at the main Friends site about the work of the Downtown Defence Campaign, and this was to be found at www.russiadockwood.ukfriends.com/html/downtown_defence.html.
DISCUSSION OF SHORT-TERM MANAGEMENT ISSUES (LED BY PAUL HIGHMAN, CHRIS RICE, MAX HOUSEAGO, JOHN REID AND WILL WALPOLE AND/OR THEIR REPRESENTATIVES)
Although the local parks manager, Paul Highman, had been unable to attend the meeting, Jon Sheaff, Chris Rice, Max Houseago and Will Walpole were all present and were able to confirm that, broadly speaking, Southwark Council was content that much had been learned from the mistakes of the past and that there was now quite a reliable collection of systems in place. Nevertheless, there was recognition that more work needed to be done in protecting the woodland from unwelcome attention by vandals and other undesirables, and new approaches that might help were constantly being examined.
As had been mentioned in the description of the Friends' new Internet arrangemets, many day-to-day matters were simply dealt with online nowadays, one of the most recent examples being what was being done to tackle the latest Japanese-knotweed outbreak. Another ongoing debate concerned how best to avoid accidents on the woodland's bridges, there still being uncertainty about the best techniques for making them less slippery in wet and icy weather.
David Meagher reported that his wardens were often asked whether some noticeboards could be sited in the woodland to help visitors with directions and give them general news about upcoming events in the area. He would write up a report about this and see what his superiors at the Town Hall thought of the idea.
DISCUSSION OF LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT ISSUES (LED BY LISA RAJAN, JEFF HOOK, PAUL NOBLET, ALISON McGOVERN, JOHN FRIARY, JOHN HELLINGS AND/OR THEIR REPRESENTATIVES)
Although Lisa Rajan, Southwark Council's portfolio holder for parks and open spaces, had been unable to attend the meeting, she had sent a report to the Friends' online discussion group giving her views about how she saw her role, and this was archived at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/the_friends_of_russia_dock_woodland/message/756.
Lisa had written of the importance of Southwark Council's Community Outreach Teams in helping to encourage the formation and continuation of residents' groups like the Friends so that all decisions being made by the Council took full account of all viewpoints and so that the groups themselves could be made fully aware of the processes through which those decisions had to be made, taking due account of financial and legal considerations.
Lisa's report went on to stress the importance of the links between maintaining and improving the borough's parks and open spaces and in encouraging people to try to stay healthy and be more active generally. Clearly, though, there were special considerations with Russia Dock Woodland, which was more of a facility in which one observed and listened than one in which participated in vigorous sport, for example. Also, of course, there was a strong relationship between the woodland and the adjoining Stave Hill Ecology Park, and this needed to be cherished and enhanced. An example, Lisa had said, of her work in this connection was her approval of a Biodiversity Action Plan, aimed at encouraging a diverse range of flora and fauna throughout Southwark. Also, given that the local supervision of the woodland was grouped with that of Southwark Park, she felt confident that the same management skills and hard work which had led to the park itself having recently won a Green Flag award again were also being applied in the woodland by Paul Highman and his team. However, because, as already noted here, Paul too had been unable to attend the meeting, it was not possible to go into any more detail at this stage about his long-term plans, so such discussions as had been intended about these would now have to wait until a later date.
Paul Noblet said that a Southwark-wide parks debate was taking place on 6 September and that anyone who was interested in attending it should contact him for an invitation.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
There was none.
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND MEETING AGENDS 22/08/06
The Friends of Russia Dock Woodland's 2006 Annual General Meeting will be at London Thameside YHA, 20 Salter Road, Rotherhithe, on Tuesday 22 August starting at 7pm.
1) Apologies for absence
2) Election of the committee for 2006-7
3) Notes from the meeting on 24 November 2005 (to be circulated)
4) General reports by the chairman and treasurer
5) Update on the work of the standing committee formed after July's Rotherhithe Festival
6) Update on proposed developments on the Surrey Docks Health Centre and Surrey Quays Leisure Centre sites
7) Update on Mellish Field
8) Update on the Friends' Internet arrangements
9) Discussion of short-term management issues (led by Paul Highman, Chris Rice, Max Houseago, John Reid and Will Walpole and/or their representatives)
10) Discussion of long-term management issues (led by Lisa Rajan, Jeff Hook, Paul Noblet, Alison McGovern, John Friary, John Hellings and/or their representatives)
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND MEETING 24/11/05
Rotherhithe Youth Hostels Association,
20 Salter Road, SE16 (opposite Smith Close),
Thursday 24th November 2005, starting at 6.30 p.m.
1) Apologies for absence
2) Notes from the last meeting (24 May 2005)
3) Chairman's report
4) Treasurer's report
5) A progress report by Quadron Services Ltd.
6) Update: the CCTV arrangements
7) Update: the Surrey Docks Health Centre site
8) Update: the Rotherhithe Pet And Wildlife Support (PAWS) project
9) A presentation by Andie Byrnes about a new Friends of Russia Dock Woodland website
10) A presentation by Kamal Prashar about the Rotherhithe Community Radio project
11) Any other business
Terry Burns, Andie Byrnes, Martin Cakebread, Anne Chadborn, Steve Cornish, Ben Dewhurst, Rosalie Dobson, Alex Farris, Kam Hong Leung, David Meagher, Jeremy Pender, Thea Sandall, PC Richard Skinner, Marion Weatherhead, Lewis White, Kath Whittam and Charlie Willis.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Kevin Barry, Jon Best, Alan Chadborn, Sgt Roy Dawson, Marcus Harvey, Adam Hickman, Paul Highman, Max Houseago, Simon Hughes MP, Joe Moore, Colin Palmer, Cllr Lisa Rajan, John Reid, Chris Rice, Lorraine Smith, Clive Teal, Dennis Thurgood, Will Walpole and Roy Wayre.
NOTES FROM THE MEETING ON 24 MAY 2005
It had emerged that there was just one member of Southwark Council's staff administering the Young Friends of Southwark Parks scheme across the entire borough, which might explain why there had been no response to the invitation to address the meeting.
Thea Sandall said that Hazel Wright, Southwark Council's Healthy Walks coordinator, had been on sick leave but that the Russia Dock Woodland walks had now started and were held every Tuesday. Hazel was now back at work and available to answer any questions.
David Meagher said that the new working hours for the community wardens assigned to the streets and housing estates would be 8.30am-10.30pm seven days a week and that the park wardens' hours, as might be expected, would be dependent on the opening times of the parks being patrolled, the implication being that Russia Dock Woodland, being permanently open, would need to be looked after by both of those teams.
There was little doubt that the fortunes of Russia Dock Woodland had improved greatly in the past few years, and everyone concerned should be thanked for their efforts.
Despite some initial reservations about Quadron on the basis of their previous performance, they seemed to have settled into a fairly satisfactory routine, and it was much better to now have a nearby Council officer to turn to (Chris Rice) when things occasionally went wrong with the grounds maintenance instead of some distant consultancy, as had been the case a year ago. On the policing front, it was probably fair to say that as much was being done as could reasonably be expected, given the current restrictions placed upon both the police and the community wardens (for example, the instructions not to pursue or try to obstruct motorcyclists). Furthermore, through the joint efforts of the Friends, the Council, TRUE and the Environment Agency, much had been done to bring the woodland's water areas back to life. The arrangements for everyday repairs and maintenance were working well, the Friends still having direct access to Jim Broadrib, the Council's team manager, as had been reported at a previous meeting. Where necessary, the interpretation of "repairs and maintenance" was quite liberal, and where actual replacements were needed (as in the case recently of some of the dog-waste bins, one of which had actually been blown up!), the Council was being cooperative.
Nevertheless, there was still scope for further improvement, and some people still complained that the woodland lacked any coherent leadership vision. That said, it was often just as effective to simply try to respond to problems as and when they were identified as such, as trying to impose some sort of overall management plan might not turn out to be as worthwhile an endeavour as some might think, given that one 'vision' might not be to everyone's liking. For example, there were still arguments going on about how woodlands (as opposed to parks) should generally be run, yet there was little prospect of an agreement on this ever being reached. The best answer seemed to be to have officers and contractors who were generally trusted to be reliable and responsive to residents' criticisms and suggestions but also wise and experienced enough to know how to sift through the various blueprints being offered to them.
It should never be forgotten that part of the attraction of Russia Dock Woodland to both locals and visitors alike stemmed from its being right next to the Trust for Urban Ecology's (TRUE) Stave Hill Ecology Park, and everyone clearly benefited from the good work being done on both sites. Indeed, Stave Hill's ready supply of volunteers meant that, in the water areas of the woodland, for the care of which TRUE has a contract with Southwark Council, a great deal more was usually achieved than would be likely if the workers had to come from far afield. Additionally, there were arrangements for people on community-service orders to work under supervision in both the ecology park and the woodland, and some of the results had been most impressive, such as the new pathways.
The policing issue was always difficult to deal with and speak about. People's expectations about what should be being done often could not be fulfilled. However, the police and the community wardens and other officers of the Council, such as those involved in the CCTV installation, were working together as best they could, and despite the limitations placed upon them, good results were being achieved in identifying some of the local wrongdoers and their families and in getting them to consider the effects of their actions. For example, the Police Reform Act powers to confiscate motor vehicles used inappropriately and recklessly were being readily used, and very few people could possibly now be under the impression that irresponsible behaviour would never have unwelcome and unpleasant consequences. In addition, local traders in these vehicles were now constantly being reminded that it was expected that they would do their best to see that their customers were always made aware of such potential consequences.
The establishment of the Rotherhithe Angling Club had helped greatly with the lingering problem of people fishing in Globe Pond, and the police and the wardens alike now routinely gave the club's details to the anglers they caught, all of whom so far had been cooperative. In addition, the club's members themselves were empowered to act as bailiffs.
The finances were generally in good order, and full use had been made of the various grants for improvements that were on offer, both those being made available through the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) network, such as those through the Bridge House Trust and the Peoples Places Awards, and those being made available through Southwark Council, such as through the Cleaner Greener Safer arrangements. Sometimes the expenditure was being used for the joint benefit of the ecology park and the woodland, but everyone seemed generally happy with this, given that there was a widespread popular perception that the two sites constituted one green area rather than two separate entities administered by separate bodies. Just to give one example, no improvements in the woodland's water areas would have been possible without corresponding improvements in the ecology park's portion too.
Sometimes it was necessary to combine money from different sources to enable projects to take place. For example, one grant might be used to pay volunteers' expenses but another one might be used to supplement whatever the Council was paying TRUE under contract to cover the cost of the actual materials being used.
One of the areas of expenditure in the spring and summer of 2006 would be for metal nameplates and arches for the woodland's bridges, and Kevin Boyes, the blacksmith at Surrey Docks Farm, had been asked to quote for this work. The local schools had been asked to run competitions to help choose the names. One of those schools, Bacon's College, had also been active in helping to make birdboxes for the woodland.
PROGRESS REPORT FROM QUADRON SERVICES LTD.
Terry Burns from Quadron said that he was pleased so far with the reaction from both the woodland's visitors and the Council to his staff's work and that most of his initial teething problems now appeared to have been solved. There had been some delays with getting suitable workers earlier on in the year, as it had been expected that Brian Angell from Continental Landscapes was coming to join Quadron and to continue in a role similar to that he'd performed for that company. In the event, though, that plan had fallen through, and it had been necessary to bring new staff to the woodland.
Since the institution of a seven-day rota, there had been few repetitions of the vast accumulations of weekend rubbish associated with the previous Monday-to-Friday-only regime. On the negative side, though, it was still proving occasionally necessary to remind staff not to take short cuts and drive their vehicles across the grass. Also, the routine of locking the motorcycle barriers at the end of each working day was still not being as religiously followed as might be expected.
The arrangements for interim reviews of Quadron's performance during the financial year were still in force, and any Friends who were interested in being involved in this process were always welcome to make themselves known.
UPDATE: THE CCTV ARRANGEMENTS
Lewis White for Southwark Council reported that the plans for extending the current CCTV arrangements in Rotherhithe were generally well in hand but that there would be some delay with the new installation at the junction of Lady Dock Path and Waterman's Walk, as it had emerged that planning permission was now required for the trench and duct that would lead to the Redriff Road entrance of the woodland to house the cable to the relaying point at Onega Gate. However, it was likely that all would be in working order by the spring of 2006, and the emphasis would then shift to considering what use was going to be made of all the new facilities and to ironing out the ongoing legal difficulties about the admissibility in court proceedings of the evidence that might be gathered. The police and the Council were operating a CCTV steering group, and interested residents were welcome to ask to become involved with its work.
UPDATE: THE SURREY DOCKS HEALTH CENTRE SITE
The next stage in the process would be a hearing under the auspices of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Planning Inspectorate, and this was scheduled for April 2006. A report would then go to the Minister, who would then make a decision on Barratt Homes' appeal against the Council. The Friends would be continuing to give their colleagues in the Downtown Defence Campaign as much help as they could in preparing for the hearing. A site visit by the inspector was also expected.
UPDATE: THE ROTHERHITHE PET AND WILDLIFE SUPPORT (PAWS) PROJECT
Andie Byrnes reported that the project's emphasis in recent months had been on improving r-paws.org.uk, its website. There were now links to several more rescue organizations and their associated animal charities. Contact had also been made with the police, the community wardens and Southwark Council's dog warden, as well as all the local veterinary surgeries. The Friends looked forward to working closely with the project in the coming months.
PRESENTATION BY ANDIE BYRNES ABOUT A NEW FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND WEBSITE
There were now in fact two Friends of Russia Dock Woodland websites. The main one was russiadockwood.ukfriends.com, which was where Andie posted general information about the group and its activities, including the agendas and reports from its meetings. The site also provided links to many of the Friends' associated groups, such as the Rotherhithe Community Safety Forum and the Downtown Defence Campaign.
The second website, groups.yahoo.com/group/the_friends_of_russia_dock_woodland, was intended for discussions between the Friends and other interested parties on all day-to-day issues concerning the woodland and to provide a permanent archive of those discussions.
A PRESENTATION BY KAMAL PRASHAR ABOUT THE ROTHERHITHE COMMUNITY RADIO PROJECT
Kamal Prashar was not present, but Kath Whittam spoke on his behalf. The project was described on a website, kampra.com/rcr, and was the second of its kind in London that Kamal had been involved in setting up. Community radio was authorized by the Office of Communications (OFCOM) to provide what was sometimes described as a third tier of broadcasting -- local public radio with some of the attributes of commercial radio. Licensees were usually nominees of local authorities, and at least half of their stations' income had to be in the form of public-sector grants, the rest being whatever could be raised through advertising and other means.
Rotherhithe Community Radio's inaugural meeting had taken place just a week before, and much enthusiasm had been voiced about how the project could benefit groups like the Friends by introducing listeners to opportunities for becoming involved in all kinds of local activities. Further developments would be awaited with great interest.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
The chairman was asked to make sure that Bev, the new manager of the Rotherhithe YHA, was thanked for letting the group hold a meeting there again.
DOWNTOWN DEFENCE CAMPAIGN MEETING 16/08/05
Thank you to those of you who joined us when we went to support our friends from the Downtown Defence Campaign (DDC) at Southwark Town Hall on 16 August 2005, when Southwark Council's Planning Committee thankfully rejected the application by Barratt Homes to build their proposed "Downtown Place" complex on the Surrey Docks Health Centre site. Shamelessly, though, Barratt have already begun the process of lodging an appeal with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister! Please see both our Yahoo! discussion group's page and the DDC's own website for updates:
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND MEETING 24/05/05
Our last Friends of Russia Dock Woodland Group meeting was on Tuesday 24 May 2005. Here's the agenda:
1) Apologies for absence
2) Notes from our last meeting (15 December 2004)
3) Election of officers for the period up to April 2006
4) Chairman's report
5) Treasurer's report
6) Update: Rotherhithe Police's Safer Neighbourhoods scheme
7) Update: the CCTV arrangements
8) Update: Southwark Council's Community Wardens (Rotherhithe and Parks sections)
9) Update: Southwark Council's Streetleader scheme
10) Update: the Healthy Walks scheme
11) Update: the prospects for launching, in conjunction with local schools, a Young Friends of Russia Dock Woodland group
12) Update: Southwark Council's new waterways officer
13) Update: the Rotherhithe Festival
14) Update: the Surrey Docks Health Centre site
15) Presentation by Andie Byrnes to mark the launch of her Rotherhithe Pet And Wildlife Support (PAWS) project
16) Report from Southwark Council's Environment & Leisure Directorate's visual audit of 10 May
17) Report from the pre-meeting at 5.30 p.m. with Southwark Council's Parks Unit and Quadron Services Ltd.
18) Summing-up: the overall management arrangements for the woodland from July 2005
19) Any other business
Notes from the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland's meeting on 24 May 2005 at Rotherhithe YHA, 20 Salter Road, London SE16:
Andie Byrnes, Martin Cakebread, Alan Chadborn, Anne Chadborn, Steve Cornish, Sgt Roy Dawson, Ben Dewhurst, Alex Farris, Max Houseago, David Meagher, Jeremy Pender, Thea Sandall, Jon Sheaff, Lorraine Smith, Marion Weatherhead, Kath Whittam and Charlie Willis.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Jim Broadrib, Nicky Costin, Noel Hudson, Katalin Morath, Frankie Newell, Cllr Lisa Rajan, Dennis Thurgood, Nick Townsend, Will Walpole, Roy Wayre, Lewis White and Christine Wildhaber.
NOTES FROM THE MEETING ON 15 DECEMBER 2004
Jon Best spells his name without an 'h'. Otherwise, there was nothing to amend or add.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO APRIL 2006
Steve Cornish, Ben Dewhurst and Jeremy Pender were re-elected as, respectively, chairman, treasurer and secretary, and Stephen Cox was elected (in his absence and subject to his acceptance) as deputy chairman to replace Marion Weatherhead, who was thanked for her service in this role during the past year. Also, Alex Farris and Thea Sandall were added to the committee.
With the appointment of new Southwark Council officers like John Cordner, Lewis White and Max Houseago, who between them had much of the responsibility for making sure that Rotherhithe's water areas were looked after and made good use of, there were plenty of opportunities for the Friends to reach out to and help other groups on the peninsula, who would no doubt help with some of the Friends' activities in return. For example, the new Rotherhithe Angling Club, much of whose activities would be concentrated on Canada Water and Greenland Dock, was forging strong relationships with organizations like the Environment Agency, who could doubtless be called upon in the future to give advice and assistance on woodland projects.
There were still some misgivings about relationships with the Council in general, and it had turned out to be more difficult than time usually permitted to gain much of an understanding about how the Parks Unit actually operated nowadays. It was true that the Friends had been invited to participate in the process for choosing a new grounds-management contractor, but there were other aspects of the management of the woodland about which very little information at all was routinely made available. However, Paul Highman, the manager of Southwark Park, had recently had the woodland added to his portfolio, so there was every hope that the Friends would find their questions more comprehensively answered in the future.
As had been discussed on many previous occasions, the never-ending challenge for the Friends was to keep abreast of possibilities for raising money for capital expenditure from outside sources, it now being generally accepted that local-authority parks departments' emphasis in recent years has shifted to spending much of their budgets on trying to maintain the facilities they already have, as opposed to on actual enhancements. However, because of the success the Friends had had in the financial year just ended at acquiring the means to restore a good part of the woodland's ailing waterway system (for which many thanks in particular were due to the Council's Lewis White), there was general agreement that it would be unwise for the group to be seen to be too avidly pursuing money for further improvements just yet. Nevertheless, there was no harm in the meantime in trying to identify future projects that might attract outside support. The Council's new waterways officer, Max Houseago, would be coming to inspect the woodland soon and would be advising the Friends closely.
The ongoing problem of poor signage in the woodland didn't look as if it was going to be solved in the near future, however much money might be raised, as it had been made clear to the Friends that progress in this area would have to wait until Southwark Council had finalized its own plans for a borough-wide 'strategy'.
A grant from the Bridge House Trust had recently been made available for helping towards the Friends' administration expenses, such as those incurred in contributing towards the publication of the newsletter that the Trust for Urban Ecology (TRUE) regularly issued to provide information not just about its activities in the woodland but on all its other London projects too, such as the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park. It could well be that, after these current commitments were met, there would still be some money left over from this grant for other purposes.
UPDATE: ROTHERHITHE POLICE'S SAFER NEIGHBOURHOODS SCHEME
Roy Dawson admitted that policing the woodland was always going to be a problem, as it was open to the public round the clock. Accordingly, those intending to misbehave there often just waited until the hours when they knew neither the Safer Neighbourhoods team nor the wardens would still be on duty. Obviously, help in an emergency was still available, but what was generally regarded as 'low level' crime tended not to receive much attention late at night.
The current approach to the motorcycle problem ruled out the actual pursuit of the culprits, this being considered to be too dangerous. Accordingly, the priority was to identify them by whatever other means were available and then assemble evidence to use against them. The finalization of the CCTV arrangements was therefore awaited eagerly.
UPDATE: THE CCTV ARRANGEMENTS
Dennis Thurgood, the Council's new CCTV consultant, was now in touch with the Friends and had undertaken to provide details of his proposals for upgrading the facilities in the woodland soon.
UPDATE: SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S COMMUNITY WARDENS (ROTHERHITHE AND PARKS SECTIONS)
The duties and working hours of the community wardens were still being discussed, in particular those of the dedicated park wardens, the local manager for whom would be Will Walpole. Current by-laws allowed for fixed-penalty notices to be issued to people caught littering and allowing their dogs to foul, and it was likely that those powers would be among the first to be used.
UPDATE: SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S STREETLEADER SCHEME
As the relevant officer from Southwark Council was not in attendance, it was decided not to consider this item.
UPDATE: THE HEALTHY WALKS SCHEME
As the relevant officer from Southwark Council was not in attendance, it was decided not to consider this item.
UPDATE: THE PROSPECTS FOR LAUNCHING, IN CONJUNCTION WITH LOCAL SCHOOLS, A YOUNG FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLAND GROUP
As the relevant officer from Southwark Council was not in attendance, it was decided not to consider this item.
UPDATE: SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S NEW WATERWAYS OFFICER
Max Houseago, the Council's new waterways officer, was welcomed to the meeting. Although his responsibilities were spread across all of Southwark, he said he was well aware that a good deal of his time would need to be spent in the north of the borough to begin with, especially with helping to make sure that proper maintenance regimes were in place for the large bodies of water in Rotherhithe. In addition, he would be working closely with such fellow-officers as Chris Rice and John Cordner and with TRUE and such outside organizations as the Environment Agency to see that all reasonable steps were taken to keep the woodland's ponds and streams as healthy as possible.
UPDATE: THE ROTHERHITHE FESTIVAL
Plans were in progress for the Friends and TRUE to have their own marquee on the woodland's green this year, and this would serve as a base for such activities as face painting and organizing nature walks. Also, Martin Cakebread would be trying to interest his contacts in the Army in providing some displays and demonstrations and perhaps even a miniature 'assault course'. The Festival was due to take place on Sunday 3rd July.
UPDATE: THE SURREY DOCKS HEALTH CENTRE SITE
The Council's planning committee would be being convened later on in the summer to consider Barratt Homes' application, and the Friends would be continuing to work alongside their colleagues in the Downtown Defence Campaign to make sure that all the councillors and officers concerned were made fully aware of the ecological implications of letting the proposed development proceed in its current form.
PRESENTATION BY ANDIE BYRNES TO MARK THE LAUNCH OF HER ROTHERHITHE PET AND WILDLIFE SUPPORT (PAWS) PROJECT
Andie was welcomed to the meeting and proceeded to explain that what had mostly given rise to the launch of Rotherhithe PAWS was the haphazard official response at the time to the loss of a beloved pet of hers. She'd discovered that, despite all the efforts of organizations like Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, neither the police nor most local authorities in London were doing anything like as much as they could to reunite lost pets with their owners. For example, in Southwark, all the police stations were having to call upon the services of Jim Lyttle, the borough's solitary animal warden, to scan pets for embedded identification microchips, despite the cost of a scanner being well under £100.
As time progressed, Andie said she intended to forge links with as many interested parties and organizations as possible, and such suggestions were offered by the Friends as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Fox Welfare Society (on whose behalf Friend Lorraine Smith had given a presentation at an earlier meeting) and Egham's Swan Sanctuary.
Andie asked the Friends to help publicize her website (www.r-paws.org.uk) and was assured that the group would help her in as many ways as it could.
REPORT FROM SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S ENVIRONMENT & LEISURE DIRECTORATE'S VISUAL AUDIT ON 10 MAY
There would be a full report from Maria Arnold at Southwark Council in due course. In the meantime, what was particularly worth noting was that her colleague Jim Broadrib had attended the audit and had given the Friends a standing invitation to contact him and his team direct whenever there were concerns that information about needed repairs to gates, pathways and so forth might not be getting through the normal channels of reporting fast enough.
REPORT FROM THE PRE-MEETING AT 5.30 P.M. WITH SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S PARKS UNIT AND QUADRON SERVICES LTD.
Jon Sheaff from Southwark Council presented Clive Ivil, Joe Moore and Marcus Harvey, the representatives of Quadron Services Ltd., the grounds-management contractor expected to take over Continental Landscapes' role in the woodland from July. Brian Angell, the Continental employee who'd been looking after the site for the past several months, was interested in continuing his work there, and arrangements would be made under the Transfer Undertaking of Public Employees (TUPE) scheme to enable him to do so if he wished. He would report to Terry Burns, Quadron's local manager, who was based in Southwark Park.
As previously reported, the responsibility for overseeing the grounds-management contract was now passing from an outside firm, Scott Wilson, to a Council officer, Chris Rice, who'd also be based in Southwark Park.
Quadron's main responsibilities would be to maintain the 'soft' landscaping, cut the grass, empty the bins, lock and unlock the motorcycle barriers as necessary, and generally keep the woodland looking clean and tidy. They would maintain close contact with the other personnel involved with looking after the facility, most notably the Council's own repairs-and-maintenance staff (Jim Broadrib's team) and TRUE, which had a contract to look after the water areas. They would also, unlike Continental, have a 7-days-a-week responsibility: from Monday to Friday, there would be a permanent presence, and there would be a mobile team available at weekends and holidays to attend to any urgent problems.
There would be a formal performance review a year after the start of Quadron's contract, but there would also be informal ones more frequently if the Friends thought them necessary. Chris Rice would probably aim to have the first of these about three months into the start of the contract.
SUMMING-UP: THE OVERALL MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WOODLAND FROM JULY 2005
As already indicated, the main official day-to-day presence on the woodland would be provided by Quadron and, for the water areas, TRUE. Between them, they would make sure that all matters needing reporting upwards were attended to, and such Council officers as Chris Rice, Paul Highman, Max Houseago, Roy Wayre and Jim Broadrib would be on hand to help wherever necessary. Similarly, the Safer Neighbourhoods team, although not themselves Council officers, would make sure that their colleagues in the warden service were alerted to any problems that might require the intervention of other Council officers, such as those in the youth service.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
David Meagher was thanked for again providing the Friends with a meeting room, and Steve Cornish was congratulated on his recent receipt of a Southwark Council civic award for his services to the people of Rotherhithe.
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLANDS MEETING 15/12/04
Notes from the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland's meeting on 15th December 2004 at Rotherhithe YHA, 20 Salter Road, London SE16
Jon Best, Alan Chadborn, Anne Chadborn, Steve Cornish, Sgt Roy Dawson, Ben Dewhurst, David Meagher, Sue Morgan, Jeremy Pender, Jon Sheaff, PC Richard Skinner, Eileen Smith, Lorraine Smith, Henry Thompson, Roy Wayre, Christine Wildhaber and Charlie Willis.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Gemma Burns, Laura Collins, Barry Crawley, Sue Crawley, James da Costa, Alex Farris, Vickie Green, Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Christopher Laverty, Cllr Lisa Rajan, Jackie Rose, Lana Scott-Ellis, Helen Watson and Marion Weatherhead.
NOTES FROM THE MEETING ON 29TH SEPTEMBER 2004
There was nothing to amend or add.
Part of the money under the Friends' control is received under a standing contractual arrangement between the Trust for Urban Ecology (TRUE) on the Friends' behalf and Southwark Council's Parks Unit which is aimed specifically at helping to maintain the basic health of the woodland's water areas. The rest comes as a result of successful bids for grants both from outside bodies and from other sections of Southwark Council; for example, the "Cleaner, Greener, Safer Awards" scheme, which is under the control of the borough's Community Councils. This year, the Friends had been particularly fortunate, having now been provided with the means of restoring a good portion of the electrical and plumbing apparatus that had formerly enabled a reliable flow of water through the woodland's pond system. Works were still ongoing, but by the spring of 2005 it should be possible to evaluate how successful the remedial work has been and to then consider what needs doing next.
As it will be necessary to have a general review of the management arrangements for the woodland in the spring of 2005, it was thought inappropriate to speculate at this stage about the best way forward, bearing in mind in particular that the Council expects to have employed a specialist waterways officer by then. Nevertheless, there was no reason to expect that TRUE's contribution would not continue to be valued as much as it has been so far, given its proven ability (through its link with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) to attract the contributions of scores of helpers in any given year.
To sum up, the Friends' emphasis should be on doing everything it can to help bring the ecological value of the woodland up to the level of that of the local areas currently already being managed exclusively by TRUE, such as Stave Hill Ecological Park and Lavender Pond Nature Park.
TRUE had been doing excellent work in the ponds, and the last two years had brought great improvements. In addition, through an arrangement with Bacon's College, in particular its carpentry teacher and students, about 50 fine new birdboxes were now in position throughout the woodland.
There had been a discussion at a previous meeting about naming the bridges after real people instead of just giving them numbers, and it would be good to extend that approach to the ponds too, particularly as there was every hope that most of them would be in proper working order again by the spring of 2005. Southwark News might be happy to organize a competition of some kind to help the idea along.
In 2005 the grounds-management contract for the woodland would be being renegotiated, and the Friends would play their part. In the meantime, thanks needed to be given to the staff of Continental Landscapes, who showed that they could always be relied upon to be helpful to the Friends and other woodland users.
A COMPLAINT RECEIVED ABOUT BILLY'S BRIDGE (THE ONE AT THE JUNCTION OF WATERMAN'S WALK AND LADY DOCK PATH) HAVING BECOME SLIPPERY
Various treatments had been tried on wooden bridges generally in the past, but none of them worked particularly well. It might be better in the end just to post signs warning people to always use the handrails when the weather was bad.
AN UPDATE ON THE CCTV ARRANGEMENTS AND FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE POSSIBILITY OF A VISIT TO THE SOUTHWARK CONTROL ROOM
There was nothing more to report yet on the technical aspects of the arrangements, but it would be easy enough to organize a visit to the control room for those interested. Maria Arnold would make the arrangements.
A PROGRESS REPORT ON THE WARDENS' ACCOMMODATION UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN STAVE HILL ECOLOGICAL PARK
Various electrical connections had yet to be finished, but there was every expectation that the accommodation would be fully ready for use early in the New Year. A second Portakabin (in the Bacon's College car park) was also being planned.
There had been some unexpected problems with staff recruitment and training. These had to do with the rigidity of the police checks that were necessary and with the uncertainty surrounding the powers the Community Wardens were being expected to exercise.
CONSIDERATION OF THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WOODLAND OF PROPOSED BUILDING DEVELOPMENTS ON THE SURREY DOCKS HEALTH CENTRE SITE AND, IN THE MORE DISTANT FUTURE, ALONG QUEBEC WAY
As the Treasurer had suggested earlier in the meeting, the Friends would probably do well to concentrate on trying to enhance the ecological attributes of the woodland, thereby helping to increase general resistance to the attempts of would-be developers to dismiss it as something that's there merely to provide a pleasant view from upper-storey windows.
The first proposed development that local residents had had to contend with was the one on the Surrey Docks Health Centre site, and a local group, the Downtown Defence Campaign, had been formed to try to influence the outcome. The Friends would cooperate with this group on the ecological aspects of the proposals to the best of their ability.
A more recent proposal had emerged whereby the Surrey Quays Leisure Park would be demolished along with the small industrial units on Quebec Way and would give way to a new mini-city stretching right up to and partially into the woodland's southwest corner. The Friends would be watching for news of this and other such proposals avidly.
MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WOODLAND, BOTH CURRENTLY AND FROM APRIL 2005, INCLUDING A DISCUSSION OF WHETHER THERE'S A CONTINUING NEED FOR EXTERNAL ADVISERS AND CONTRACTORS
Continental Landscapes' contract was on course to expire at the end of March 2005, and the Friends would be invited to contribute to the negotiations for whatever new arrangement are then put in place. The contract with Scott Wilson, the consultancy which has been monitoring Continental's performance, was also due to end then. From April, that monitoring role for grounds-management contracts in Southwark's parks and open spaces would pass to a Council officer, Chris Rice. The Council's provisional preference was for there to be just one contract covering the whole borough, and Quadron Services Ltd., a company which did previously service Russia Dock Woodland, was among those being invited to offer their terms.
In the New Year, Jon Sheaff would be calling a meeting to enable the various parties to air their views and preferences.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Roy Dawson said that he thought that work on Mellish Field would begin around March 2005 and that there would then be some displacement of the motorcyclists and other troublesome youths who currently favour it with their presence. He and his team and the Community Wardens would be doing their best to keep them in order.
David Meagher was thanked for again providing the Friends with a meeting room
FRIENDS OF RUSSIA DOCK WOODLANDS MEETING 29/09/04
Notes from the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland's meeting on 29th September 2004 at Rotherhithe YHA, 20 Salter Road, London SE16
Pauline Adenwalla, Maria Arnold, Clinton Campbell, John Cordner, Steve Cornish, James da Costa, Sgt Roy Dawson, Alex Farris, Vivienne Lamaro, Chris Laverty, Kieron Macintosh, David Meagher, Jeremy Pender, PC Richard Skinner, Lorraine Smith, Roy Wayre, Marion Weatherhead and Charlie Willis.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Gemma Burns, Ben Dewhurst, Tony Evangelou, Vickie Green, Cllr David Hubber, Cllr Jonathan Hunt, Gary Magold, Cllr Gavin O'Brien and Cllr Lisa Rajan.
NOTES FROM THE MEETING ON 14TH JULY 2004
No additions were thought necessary, and there were no "matters arising" apart from what was already due to be discussed later in the meeting under way.
In the treasurer's absence, this would be postponed until the Friends' next meeting.
Because meetings like the Friends' ones were often dominated by discussions about particular problems and how to solve them, it was sometimes easy to overlook all the positive developments of the past couple of years or so. It should never be forgotten that there'd been a long period of neglect of the woodland, and the Friends should take at least some comfort from the fact that the Council was now taking a much greater interest in trying to put things right. Nevertheless, there was no time for self-congratulation, and all concerned should be doing their best to make sure that what had been achieved recently was seen as no more than the beginning of a chain of constant improvements.
REPORT OF THE FRIENDS' COMMITTEE MEETING ON 22ND SEPTEMBER 2004
This had been only a short and small affair, but what had been agreed was that it was important for the Friends to keep an open mind on the possibilities for becoming directly involved in the management of the woodland when the current contracts expired in March 2005.
REPORT FROM THE ROTHERHITHE COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING ON 28TH SEPTEMBER 2004
In light of the problems during the summer at Canada Water, Albion Channel and Surrey Water, the Council was now in the course of appointing a full-time waterways officer, whose remit would extend to the woodland as appropriate. Related to this were plans to launch a local angling club, whereby some semblance of order could be brought to the present chaotic situation, in which people just fished as they wished. There were no parts of the woodland itself, though, where angling would be allowed.
The plans for siting the Rotherhithe Community Wardens' base in Stave Hill Ecological Park were progressing well, and the local manager (Roy Wayre) had every hope that the scheme would be launched well before the end of the year. A good deal of encouragement had been gained from the launch already of the Metropolitan Police's Safer Neighbourhoods Scheme, which was being spearheaded locally by Sgt Roy Dawson and PC Richard Skinner and their team of Police Community Support Officers. There was still some fine detail to be worked out about how the various officers would arrange their duties and work together, but the expectation was that the Community Wardens would provide the main uniformed presence on the woodland, with the Met's staff being called upon to assist them as necessary. A particular problem that needed to be addressed, though, was the fact that there were still no by-law signs in the woodland.
There was plenty of scope for adapting the Community Wardens Service to local circumstances, and there was every hope that joint exercises could be held in the coming months with such groups as Rotherhithe's Streetleaders. The Council's Dave Taylor and local resident Thea Sandall would be asked for their ideas on this. Cleaning up some of the graffiti-strewn signs was one possibility.
More news from Roy Wayre and Roy Dawson and their respective teams would be welcomed at the next meeting. It might also be possible for additional people to be co-opted onto the Community Wardens Steering Group that had been set up by the Council.
THE PROGRESS OF THE WORK APPROVED BY ROTHERHITHE COMMUNITY COUNCIL ON 26TH JULY 2004 UNDER SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S CLEANER, GREENER, SAFER AWARDS SCHEME
Alex Farris of the Trust for Urban Ecology reported that he'd been contacted by Lewis White, the Council's officer in charge of releasing the money, which needed to be spent by the end of March 2005. In the absence of adequate documentation in the Council's offices about the location of the pipes for the original waterways, there would be some delay with the work while manual attempts were made to trace the paths of the relevant pipes. However, there was every expectation that everything necessary would be done in time to meet the March deadline.
SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S PARKS UNIT'S CONTINUING DIFFICULTIES IN PUBLICIZING SUFFICIENT INFORMATION ABOUT ITS MANAGEMENT AND CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENTS TO ENABLE A REASONABLE DEGREE OF PUBLIC MONITORING
Maria Arnold said that the contracts were too voluminous and technical to be reproduced on the Council's website and that the best that could be expected was the posting there of the Parks Unit's quarterly report. The Friends' response was that there'd never been any expectation that the contracts in their entirety would be reproduced and that all that had been asked for were summaries. There would be further discussion of the possibilities at the next meeting, when Jon Sheaff was expected to be present.
SOUTHWARK COUNCIL'S CONTINUING DIFFICULTIES WITH ITS MOBILE-CCTV ARRANGEMENTS DESPITE PREVIOUS ASSURANCES ABOUT TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS
What problems there were had mostly to do with the way the workings of the mobile network affected the quality of the images that reached the control-room monitors, and Nicky Costin's team and their advisers still had work to do to overcome these. All concerned, though, were satisfied that there was nothing actually wrong with the way the cameras themselves were now working.
There had been some confusion at an earlier stage in the proceedings about how best to transmit the images from the control room to the police, but this now seemed to have been overcome.
Some of the Friends present expressed interest in paying a visit to the control room to see at first hand what the problems might be, and Maria Arnold said she would ask Nicky to arrange one. It was agreed that it would also be interesting at some stage to hear what the Council-Met CCTV Steering Group thought about how well the system was working overall.
PRESENTATION BY JAMES DA COSTA, CHAIRMAN OF THE FRIENDS OF BURGESS PARK, COMPARING SOME OF THE VARIOUS APPROACHES TO PARKS MANAGEMENT BOTH WITHIN AND OUTSIDE SOUTHWARK AND OUTLINING PLANS FOR LAUNCHING A SOUTHWARK-WIDE UMBRELLA GROUP, THE FRIENDS OF SOUTHWARK PARKS ALLIANCE
James explained that there were several different models that could be applied in any given parks situation, but the first consideration should always be to determine how much willingness there was on the part of the local community to get involved in the intricacies of management, as the governing local authority in each case would be most unlikely to devolve powers without assurances that adequate administrative structures and appropriate guarantees were in place.
James said he would be glad to offer whatever advice he could if the Friends decided they wanted to pursue the possibility of becoming more formally involved in the running of the woodland, but he said he could not emphasize enough the absolute need for wholehearted commitment from local residents and organizations.
In Burgess Park's case, there were no fewer than 120 separate groups ("stakeholders") in the governing amenity society, which was classified as a community development trust with a notional lifespan of 125 years and was formally registered for charitable purposes. Putting this structure together had been a long and painstaking process.
Maria Arnold and John Cordner for Southwark Council said that suggestions from Friends groups about becoming more involved in the management of individual parks were always welcome, and each expression of interest would be evaluated honestly.
SUGGESTIONS FOR AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING
In light of the earlier presentation by James da Costa, there needed to be further consideration of the possibilities for future management arrangements.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
David Meagher was thanked for again providing the Friends with a meeting room.
DATE, TIME AND PLACE OF THE NEXT MEETING
No meeting was arranged, it being agreed that it would be better to wait until the New Year before doing so.