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Welcome and Apologies
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mahmut Aksanoglu.
Declaration of Interests
Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non pecuniary interests relating to items on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
Change in the Order of Items on the Agenda
It was agreed to change the order in which items were considered at the meeting. Item 5 on the agenda was taken as the next item. The minutes reflect the order of the meeting.
Bus Economics and the Costs of Running Services
To receive a presentation from Transport for London on bus economics and the costs of running services.
The forum received a presentation from Bob Blitz (Bus Network Planning Manager) and Esther Johnson (Community Partnerships Specialist) from Transport for London.
The following points were highlighted in the presentation:
· Transport for London’s income has fallen dramatically since the start of the pandemic. There have been drops of 95% in the number of journey’s being taken on the tube and 85% on the bus network. On the 13 January 2020, there had been 5.8m journeys on the bus and 3.7m on the tube. On the 13 January 2021, there were only 1.1m bus journeys and 300,000 on the tube.
· A significant amount of Transport for London’s income comes from fares: 72% of the budget. This has created a huge financial challenge. It cost £600m a year to run the network. Over £80m a week.
· Transport networks in other countries receive far more support from their governments. Since 2015, Transport for London’s operating grant has been phased out making it even more dependent on fare income.
· Before the pandemic Transport for London had been successful in reducing deficits and had been on track to achieve an operating surplus by 2022.
· Government support had been critical during the pandemic. Two short term bailouts had kept the services running.
· Transport for London were working on a new sustainability plan to be published shortly.
· Transport for London planned to provide a comprehensive bus service in all areas throughout the week. It was aimed that everyone, all except those in very rural areas, should live within 5 minutes walk of a bus stop.
· The service should be simple and easy to use, keeping routes as straightforward as possible. The aim was that all services should be high frequency, reliable, turn up and go with known journey times. To protect from congestion delays, and unreliability, they could not be too long. One hour each way was an optimum service.
· Services also had to provide value for money. The average cost of a bus was £250,000 per vehicle, per year.
· Bus stands with toilets were essential. These were often difficult to site.
· Services were usually tendered for 5-7 years.
· The threshold for service change was a benefit to cost ratio of 2:1.
· It was not possible to do everything that they wanted to do.
· Other criteria were also essential such as access to hospitals.
· Transport for London were always looking to fill gaps in the service.
· Parts of Winchmore Hill/Firs Farm area was in a network gap. The current W10 provided a limited inefficient service. A new route had been devised. The 456 which would run from Chase Farm Hospital via Winchmore Hill, Firs Farm to North Middlesex Hospital. At first it would run every 30 minutes during the week to see how the take up went. The service would be hourly on Sunday.
· Consultation on this route had concluded and it was being implemented. It would start running in March 2021.
· There would be fixed stops, not hail and ride. For disabled access it ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To note the details of how to raise an item for discussion on planning applications and other planning policies.
Members noted the procedure for referring items for discussion at the forum, as attached to the agenda.
Edmonton Green Shopping Centre Proposals
To receive a presentation on the proposals for Edmonton Green Shopping Centre.
The Forum received a presentation on the proposals for Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. Copies of the slides are attached to the agenda.
The following points were highlighted during the presentation:
· Edmonton Green Shopping Centre was owned by Crosstree, a small London based investment and development company, which also owned fifty percent of the O2 centre in North Greenwich as well as other developments across London.
· The owners were hands on. They were working with well-known architects and top professional teams with the aim of creating a good development for the local people living in Edmonton.
· The last 9 months had been very tough for the business, but the best performing asset had been the Edmonton Green Shopping Centre.
· Since taking ownership of the centre two years ago, many improvements had been put in place. Four separate engagement events had been held. Initially some short-term measures had been carried out, including improving customer welfare and family facilities, removing charges and building a playground. A second stage had included creating a new branding, a way finding strategy, a deep clean, some refurbishment, redecoration, improved lighting, and new seating areas. A third event had invited people to put forward ideas for a large scale redevelopment. This had been followed up with a final consultation event on the new proposals. The new designs had been popular.
· The market had been a key focus throughout. The centre contained a diverse range of shops but few of the high street brands. There was room for improvement; for a wider range of food and drink outlets; for places to bring people together; for measures to make people feel safer; to create new homes and for more greenery. The developers had spoken to many people including locals, retailers and organisations.
· During the first lockdown the centre had continued to perform reasonably well and had returned to 88% of footfall after the first lockdown.
· Ninety seven percent of the centre was currently occupied. Crosstree were keen to keep local independent retailers and had done everything that they could to provide proactive local support.
· The plans for the new development included a total of 750 new homes with a mix of tenancies and ownerships.
· The three tower blocks and Asda did not belong to Crosstree and could not be included in the redevelopment plans although there were plans to improve the residential entrances to the tower blocks to reduce crime and anti social behaviour and link them into the main development.
· The shopping centre was a brutalist structure originally built in the 1960’s and 70’s and there were now problems with the physical fabric of the building.
· It was set within the historic environment of Church Street and the busy Fore Street but was set apart, it did not engage socially and architecturally with its surroundings and was not a safe place to be outside of the 9-5 shopping hours.
· There were many good aspects such as the central location and connectedness to public transport hubs, both bus ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Enforcement in the Green Belt
To receive a presentation on enforcement activities in the Green Belt.
The Environment Forum received a presentation on Enforcement in the Green Belt.
Robert Oles (Pollution Control, Planning Enforcement and Appeals Manager) gave a verbal presentation. The following points were highlighted:
· There were seven officers including two trainees working on planning enforcement.
· Between them they covered a wide range of issues.
· Their work was led by the priority and severity of any breach.
· The team dealt with approximately 1,200 cases a year.
· Their work had been severely hampered by the covid pandemic. A new covid risk assessment had been introduced. They were currently unable to enter any premises to check for enforcement, but could view from public areas.
· Recently several members of staff had been allocated to support the NHS, time had been lost because staff had had to self-isolate, courts had been closed so no prosecutions had been progressed.
· Breaches on the green belt included unauthorised scaffolding companies, caravans, scrap yards and vehicle storage.
· There were currently 5 cases in court, 6 notices being investigated and 6 cases where the Council was looking to serve notice on hold.
· Conservation areas were a number one priority which would be investigated within 24 hours of a report.
· In 2019 there were 39 cases in conservation areas and in 2020 16 cases.
· Of the 25 cases outstanding in conservation areas: 15 were due to be taken to court when the courts reopen; 2 have been completed and notices are due to be served; 3 applications are awaiting decision: 6 cases have been completed and 3 cases could not be finalised due to Covid restrictions.
· The service was trying to be proactive and had a programme to look at empty and derelict buildings in town centres, and especially pubs. In April the team had planned a focus on each conservation area. They would be looking to serve notices where required.
· There were currently no issues in conservation areas that had not been investigated.
· A question about the land on a site next to 1 Old Park Ridings had been bought to the attention of officers before the meeting. Work on this site had been closed down three times, since it had first gained planning permission 4 years ago. In December 2020 an enforcement notice was served. The owners have until February to appeal. Officers had met the builders on site last Monday and they were keen to comply.
2.1 There were concerns about many derelict pubs across the borough which were often key buildings in a community. Many have been boarded up and look untidy. Officers aimed to review them all and would serve an untidy notice if necessary to make owners bring them up to an acceptable standard.
2.2 Officers were thanked for their work on the site next to 1 Old Park Ridings and asked to continue their efforts. It had been made clear to the developers that they could not make a new application for the site, but would have to stick to the original plans even ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2020 were received and agreed as a correct record.
To note the revised work programme for 2020/21.
The Forum noted the following changes to the work programme;
· The item for further discussion on housing need and housing typologies has been scheduled in for the March meeting.
· The Chair asked for members to suggest groups to invite to the next meeting to discuss community initiatives promoting environmental sustainability. The Friends of Firs Farm Wetlands was suggested.
Any Other Business
To consider any other items put forward for discussion.
Clarification was sort on the length of time that planning applications could apply. These lasted ad infinitum. Some minor amendments to the 13 year old Tottenham Hotspur application were queried. Andy Higham agreed to respond.
More detail on future landscape plans was requested.
Concern that too much time was spent on issues other than planning applications. Other members said that they liked the variety of issues discussed and would not want to change this.
Dates of Future Meetings
To note the dates agreed for future meetings of the Forum:
· Tuesday 16 February 2021
· Tuesday 30 March 2021
· Wednesday 28 April 2021
The forum noted the dates agreed for future meetings:
· Tuesday 16 February 2021
· Tuesday 30 March 2021
· Wednesday 28 April 2021