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PleasureFest Norwood 9th to 15th August
 
Living safely for yourself, family, friends and community needs constant awareness, and that has confined so much of what we would ordinarily do.  But the ingenuity of caring people in creating new activities for all in the community to enjoy is truly inspirational.  We thank them. 
 
This is the third year that West Norwood’s own South London Theatre has created a wonderful week on the theme of Resilience, of the most diverse and satisfying activities including amongst many sub-themes  film, comedy, zumba starting on Sunday!  And to stimulate even the most jaded of youngsters, every day there is Kids’ Stuff.  You can find out all here.
 
It’s not too late to register for the photography competition or to be part of our community’s art trail. DEADLINE SATURDAY 8th NOON.
• submit photos for the photography competition
• be part of our community art trail
Dear Neighbour,

Click on pix to enlarge. Welcome to the August NAG newsletter.  Please forward to family or friends. 

Poison...
Glyphosate – the highly controversial systemic vegetation killer that is increasingly regarded, particularly in Europe, as being carcinogenic.  Its ongoing use by Lambeth contractors is fuelling a growing storm of local protest when many other boroughs have long ceased permitting its use.  Lambeth has delayed phasing it out due to ‘more time needed’ to make alternative arrangements.  Here is the Lambeth briefing document.
 

Most frequently used by street teams to keep pavements and gutters clear of ‘weeds’, it has also been witnessed used on whole areas of otherwise grass on some local estates. 
 
Lambeth has sought to harness residents to keep their own streets weeded, which is controversial in itself.  It has opened a debate on ‘weeds’, or self-sown wild plants, some of which can be lovely.


But then there are some like buddleia, which readily self-seeds and can rapidly cause genuine disruption to pavers and cement infills.  Overall, more tolerance for ‘unwanted’ plants is needed.  Radio 4’s Open Country recently had a feature “Green Pavements, why the plants in our pavement cracks are attracting attention as urban flora”.


It’s a real challenge for all.  You can register with Lambeth for your street to opt-out of glyphosate spraying.  Sunday 9th August is the new deadline, go here.

There’s reference to Street Champions, and Cllr Jane Pickard reports:
“Street Champions organise an annual afternoon street party (in normal times) which is preceded during the morning by a group of us doing weeding, planting flowers in tree pits and troughs and giving the pavement a sweep (what the council calls a Freshview). This seems to keep the street looking reasonable for the next 12 months and none of us have encountered particular problems in doing this. Usually about a dozen people take part in the Freshview and we’ve done three or four of these. So it can work and has the added benefit of helping people get to know their neighbours.”
 
What’s possible when weed killers are not used indiscriminately.

 
Feast returned last Sunday
The first Sunday of the month is again Feast Day on the streets.  Stall holders were out in strength and a comfortable number of visitors enjoyed a lovely August day.  So looking forward to September all the way to December, cv permitting, till winter break.  This week it’s Fest Norwood – see top feature.
 
Leisure Centre is back!
As you may imagine, it has reopened with stringent virus control for both swimming and gym.  You MUST pre-book, which you can do
on-line, or download the app.
 
Water mains work complete, but what next?
We reported in January that cable works were due to follow, and then resurfacing of Norwood Road.  This is when we’ll see the diagonal crossing at Lancaster Avenue junction in its full livery.  But it’s gone quiet.  Originally timed for August, there’s no sign of this new set of major works, and enquiries by NAG have so far drawn a blank.
 
BTW – the replacement trunk main has no bearing on our local supplies – it’s like a non-stopping express train going through a country station.  This means that we can expect leaks to continue, but we would hope not a catastrophic one from the trunk main.  Listening devices that constantly monitor have been installed so that leaks can be detected at an early stage.
 
Those enamel panels under the bridge

NAG asked whether these panels under the rail bridge on Norwood Road, now particularly filthy after all the works, could be cleaned as part of the post-works clean-up.  The quick answer was ‘No!’  It seems they are to be entirely removed on Network Rail’s instructions.  No telling the timeline, so although they have never been loved, NAG just may undertake some ‘commando cleaning’Then, where could be a new home for them?
 
Tulse Hill station roof
Major works under way, also to improve other platform features.
 
Park Tavern, Elder Road
As anticipated, a planning application has been made for conversion to five flats though retaining the late Arts & Crafts external appearance. Lambeth policy is to resist loss of pubs but multiple operators have found they could not make it financially viable.  Therefore as matters stand, NAG will not be objecting or commenting on the application.
 
St Luke’s clock, chimes and falcons
As reported in the last newsletter, there’s a planning application for more telecoms equipment to be installed inside the church tower.  There are also some relatively small external additions which NAG is seeking further information on.  NAG is requiring stringent conditions to protect the clock for which the community and enthusiasts funded restoration, coming to life again in June 2017, and chimes last November.  So as not to disturb the peregrine falcons, telecoms work must be within the period of August to January when they are not nesting.
 
One man crime wave
A local serial offender, wanted on a recall to prison, has been located and apprehended.  This should have a very positive effect on our neighbourhood, thanks to our local police.
 
Street Drinking
Lambeth is consulting on a new order to replace the one that expires in October.  It says: The order targets alcohol consumption in public places associated with anti-social behaviour. It requires those in breach of the order to surrender their alcohol to Council or Police officers, or face a fine. If fines are not paid, offenders will be prosecuted.”  You can make your comments
here.
Continued after feature on ward boundary changes...
Local ward boundaries’ review – Act 1
Consultation started on 14th July with the independent Local Government Boundary Commission stating that “it is minded” that Lambeth will have 63
 councillors, although this could change slightly if Lambeth chooses to offer evidence to support a different number. 
 
Although this is the same number as at present, there is likely to be some significant ward boundary changes to produce the required result of each councillor representing the same number (about ±5%, 10% max), of registered voters  as Lambeth predict for 2026.  How cv will play into this is anyone’s guess.
 
It is disappointing that Lambeth’s consultation and engagement team launched with incorrect information  “…to make sure each councillor represents a roughly equal number of residents.”  Many would consider this more sensible, but it’s incorrect!  In some areas voter registration is significantly lower, and some areas have much higher councillor workload per capita.  So equal voters per councillor will produce some large differences in workload.
 
Then we have the situation whereby some councillors are so busy being cabinet or committee members that they have less time available for their local population.
 

Everyone can comment and make suggestions for ward boundaries to unite communities with like needs and resources, but it’s not understood how this is feasible.
  • Firstly we don’t have an initial proposed new ward map of Lambeth, showing how many councillors per ward (could be one, two or three) and what the target voter count per councillor should be. 
  • Secondly, even if we know that, we have no way of calculating the 2026 predicted voter number within our modified boundary as this information is not available down to street level.
The on-line one-hour live discussion on 13th July produced some good questions.  You can view it at https://bit.ly/31iZmVP You don’t have to download MS Teams, just click-on ‘Watch on Web’, and then ‘join anonymously’.   A gentleman from Croydon Council (at 46:36) warned that the Croydon review had caused enormous problems because ward boundaries do not align with LSOAs and MSOAs for Ordnance data trends making it impossible for them to follow data trends within wards – this completely baffled the LGBC representative.
 
Then at 48:21 the astonishing information was delivered that the ward boundary review is NOT expected to be available in time for the parliamentary boundary review starting mid-2021.  It’s therefore expected the latter will be based on the current ward boundaries.  This means that the new parliamentary boundary will frequently go through council wards for the 2024 election, so that more than one MP could represent different people in the same ward.  This could remain so for many years till the next parliamentary boundary review.
 

You can delve into all this starting here with Lambeth, and here with LGBC.  Initial consultation closes 21st September.
 
Help!
Our local foodbank anticipates overwhelming need in the months ahead as various temporary cv support schemes are withdrawn.  You can find their August newsletter
here.  If you can be generous with food (garden and allotment surpluses particularly welcomed) or other goods, your time or money, you will be supporting many who never expected to need help.
 
Ira Court dental practice
Tulse Hill now has Ira Court dedicated to health matters with a dental practice replacing the One Stop mini-mart.  It has six dentists and two hygienists practicing in a modern surgery.  With Any Time Fitness, Elmcourt Pharmacy, Deerbrook Surgery and Elmcourt Health Centre it has resources to help keep you in good health and fitness.
 
Love Lambeth Community Round Up
News, involvement and events –
here.
 
Rosendale and Norwood Road junction

NAG has yet to hear from any enthusiasts for the new layout of the junction.  Pedestrians and cyclists get too close for comfort with non-intuitive layout that is confusing for newbies.  As seen in the photo, cyclists can be legitimately following the markings that show two west-bound and one central east-bound track, though two merge when crossing Norwood Road.  This is not friendly for family cycling, which was one of the objectives.  Meanwhile pedestrians have to be very wary.  If crossing Rosendale northward one’s instinct is to look left at the cycle track, but one needs to look right as well.  Then there’s the zebra-crossing where it can seem like you’re under-fire from all directions.  Do send in your observations.
 
efine gone quiet
The relaunch of the proposed citizens’ initiative to report parking offences has yet to materialise.  The countdown to 31st July has come and gone with no new announcement.  Nothing to look at
here!
 
The pleasures of door-to-door leafletting

 
The Phoney War - Waste Metal Recycling site
All is now silent.  As seemed inevitable, there will not be a decision any time soon on the application for Southwark Metals to convert the old West Norwood Car Breakers’ site beyond the Royal Mail sorting office to massively intensive use.  The statutory expiry date for a decision is 10th August.  It is up to the applicant as to whether they wish to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who would effectively take over the case, then the best part of a year is a likely time frame, perhaps longer with cv backlog.
 

Alternatively the applicant can agree a new decision date with Lambeth.  When this happens, the due date often gets put back again and again so that a decision could still be very many months away.
 
A nearby example is application 19/01267/FUL for 125-133 Norwood High Street – statutory expiry date 5th July last year!  The decision date has been deferred 20 times now, currently standing at 18th August.  This isn’t unusual, nor even the longest delay by a large margin. Knollys bridge application is still running after more than four years.
 

As for whether the site is designated industrial or ecology park, Lambeth has acknowledged that mistakes have been made and states that the adopted statutory planning document, Lambeth Local Plan 2015, has errors. Lambeth insists due process had been followed for the land to be part of the KIBA – Key Industrial and Business Area.  This is totally at odds with the plan on page 197 of LLP 2015.
 
Sorting office good news…
…with vigorous local campaigning by united local community groups and MP Helen Hayes it looks like Royal Mail has decided to keep our local office when so many others have been closed.  Although no announcement has been made, affirmation of this seems evident from improvements to the internal infrastructure and external fabric.
 
And outside the sorting office
After more than two years of NAG campaigning to Lambeth, Station to Station and our MP Helen Hayes, at last some action is being taken concerning the dumping and street-side dismantling and repair of vehicles in Windsor Grove and surrounding streets.  Not only is this anti-social, unsightly and dangerous but it also makes visiting the sorting office by vehicle a tactical challenge with all the legal parking usually blocked-out.  As always, it is those with mobility challenges that suffer most.  Both sides of the road have now been cleared of vehicles, a half-hour parking zone instigated outside the sorting office and double yellowed on the other side.  This makes it easier to enforce against illegal uses. BUT don’t park with wheels on the pavement otherwise you may well get a ticket!
 
Knight’s Hill, 1925
Largely grand homes, plus a pub, The Rosemary Branch at no.
 79 (swallowed-up by expansion of the bus garage in the 1950s), as well as West Norwood Technical Institute located on the corner site of Chapel Road, empty since demolition in about 1995.  The Rosemary Branch in the 19th century had a large garden for refreshments and entertainments extending all the way to the garden of The King’s Head at 82 Norwood High Street.  Known as Tivoli Garden, there was a small zoo, and cricket was played, even bands played in the forecourt.



Please show patience, kindness and generosity to all in these difficult times -
we don’t know what others are undergoing.
Go well, from the NAG team
NAG needs more paid-up members to increase our authority when lobbying or campaigning, and to cover our modest costs. 
If you think we’re good for our neighbourhood and worth £5 a year, the best way to join is by electronic transfer to our bank account: Norwood Action Group, Barclays, sort code 20‑94‑67, account 20410489, ideally annual standing order, or payment at any meeting.
A brief note to say you have done the deed to
membership@norwoodactiongroup.org 
would be appreciated.  All details kept confidential.
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