Held on 11th May 2015 at the Turk's Head, Winchester Road
Welcome & Introductions
Stephen Alexander ("SA") introduced himself, the other committee members present and David Allister ("DA") Head of Parks LBRuT and Bill Reed ("BR") Community Liaison Officer for Village Plans for LBRuT
Apologies were received from Mandie Adams-McGuire and Moir Leslie
In order to attend another meeting BR spoke first. He gave an insight into the Village Plans consultation. He distributed a contact sheet, a flyer and short questionnaire.
The point of the Village Plan is:-
*a)* To assist with planning policy so that new building is in line with existing character and to protect the environment, and
*b)* For residents to make suggestions for development by the Council or other groups.
The crucial period for involvement is now, following the meetings held in February 2015. Now, post election, LBRuT is ready to go ahead. A pamphlet has and is being distributed to all houses to inform and invite people to comment. There is an exhibition at Twickenham Film Studios this Saturday and a walkabout in East Twickenham and St Margarets on this Sunday.
2. Annual Report from the Chair
SA said that he had distributed his report by email to all registered Friends. He did not read it out but said that the main points would be covered by other agenda items.
3. The minutes of the last AGM, held on 14^th^ April 2014 were adopted
4. Nominations and re-elections for the Committee
Those offering themselves for re-election were proposed by John Monhemius and
seconded by Harry Zutshi.
The members of the Committee are:-
* Stephen Alexander - Chairman
* Mandie Adams McGuire - vice Chair
* James Bishop
* Nikki Gouldstone
* Harry Jacobs
* Barney King
* Moir Leslie
5. The Pavilion
DA was then invited to talk about the Pavilion and other matters relating to Moormead.
bq.. "Contracts for management of parks were changed 2 years ago. As a result of these changes LBRuT is recognised nationally as a leader in parks management. To allay fears of safety in parks there has been a programme of cutting back hedges and lifting tree canopies. The overall satisfaction levels in parks has gone up from 93% to 94%, the highest in the country
The current contracts expire in January 2017. Tenders for new contracts will go out in late 2015/early 2016. The contract start date has been changed from April to January to reflect the natural growing season.
Moormead specifically hasn't been on the radar with problems. But the drain cover, next to the tennis courts, has been fenced off to try to discourage noisy groups of youths. The fence has already been cut and, as of today, hasn't been repaired. There is concern that youths may continue to abuse it but experience shows that their issues in parks tend to be of a cyclical nature and they may cease to abuse it.
Regarding the Pavilion, 3 years later we are still talking about it. It is not fit for purpose and is an eyesore. There have been many different approaches re the possibility of siting a cafe there.
Recently there have been 2 fresh approaches, one from a nursery provider who would make a small extension with a cafe and toilet facility. Another is from a local resident who wants to run a cafe.
It will cost 80k plus to 100k to restore it to its previous use. It is not functional as it is. To change its use, from a planning perspective, would be difficult and it is unlikely to be allowed to extend beyond the current footprint. The possible change of use to a nursery may cause some problems. There may be some objections. There is concern that any permission given now may be open to change in the future through new planning applications, changes of staff etc.
Regarding cafes - all cafes in parks struggle to stay in business. LBRuT has not yet been shown a viable business plan for a café.
The biggest problem for any enterprise is the amount of investment needed. A nursery or cafe would require at least £100k. A bank would require certainty of 20 years business and would not be flexible. If the Council were to put in £100k, in these times of austerity it would have to have a very strong business case and would be in competition with other projects. £100k with rent at 6k then cafe won't work.
So, what to do?
An early survey by the Friends of Moormead suggested that what the public want is a place to buy a cup of tea and ice creams, a seating area and toilets.
An option is to knock the building down and erect a small prefabricated hut for a cafe with toilets.
Another proposal would be to offer a mobile café on the site to see the take up. DA said he had names of possible operators".
There was then a general discussion.
Councillor Ehmann suggested that there is a different approach. There are proposals on the table that could present viable outcomes. The Council should have a look at what has been put forward by local residents. He suggests widening the pool of ideas and putting it out to competition. DA agreed, with caveats, that it is a way forward.
Councillor Ehmann suggested that the Council should consider a nursery; that there should be a specification document with other business models suggested. Then it could be seen what local residents will support.
The revenue from the building is zero at present.
A member said there has been a change in the local population and there is now a definite need for a nursery and cafe.
Harry Jacobs asked what is the ideal lease term that LBRuT offers. DA said 3 years plus 4.
DA was asked if demolition had been costed. He said that it hadn't yet been considered but he thought that it would be in the region of 30-40k. To rebuild would be 80k - 100K.
A member expressed concern that Moormead would be overwhelmed by a nursery. DA said that was a possibility but there are 2 or 3 other nurseries in parks in the borough where it seems to work well.
It was then suggested that there should be a show of hands for three different options for the pavilion. There was voting but it had to be abandoned as there was no precision or consensus on what was being voted for.
Harry Jacobs then suggested that ideally he would like to see a social enterprise running a cafe. DA responded by saying that it would take a very strong core group of volunteers to run something like that.
Liya Rickards ("LR"), a local resident, then spoke about her proposal for a nursery with community use of the building outside nursery centre hours.
SA asked about numbers of children. Answer was 20 to 24. LR said that most of the clients would be from a few streets away.
A member opposed the idea of a nursery.
It was agreed that DA will meet with the 3 local Councillors to talk through how to move forward.
Moving on from the Pavilion a member asked if the Crane can be naturalised.
DA said this is an aspirational thing. The Crane Valley Partnership is coordinating the whole Crane development. Money is tight. FORCE is the immediate party who are working on developments. There needs to be a significant biodiversity gain if any proposal is to be funded.
A member then expressed concern that there is nothing for older children to do.
DA said teenagers want to be safe and they want to be seen. He asked for suggestions.
Suggestions were - a facility for basketball, lit areas with seating, youth shelters, and fitness props. .DA "One to one" basketball is available in some parks.
A member said that the younger sections of the community don't have a voice. DA suggested consultation through Youth Service.
A member asked whether there could be planting inside the wire around the concrete block? DA said it can be looked at. SA suggested pyrocantha which when fully grown could allow for the removal of the wire.
A member who has spoken to the youths who congregate around the concrete block said that they are angry about the cage. They were not consulted and questioned the attitude of the council to people like them. Councillor Ben Khosa said that the police are unhappy about it. Drugs paraphernalia has been found inside the cut open wire. A member said that at least it was safe for teenagers there. Only one house in the row opposite complained.
On a positive note a member said it was lovely to see all the flowers.
A member asked if the council could ask teenagers in schools what they want. If they were involved then they will respect the area. DA said that schools are too busy. There is a local Youth Parliament that could be consulted.
Barney King asked for assurance that the proposed meeting with the 3 local councillors will actually take place. DA said it would be within the next few weeks.
Councillor Ehmann then asked the hall whether there would be any objections to youth facilities. There were no objections.
SA then wrapped up the meeting by saying that there is a tension between the 2 main uses of Moormead, namely Peace and Quiet and some sort of development of the pavilion.
5. Any other business
This item was covered by the general discussion
6. Date of next meeting
SA said that Friends would be given notice of the next AGM in Spring 2016
SA closed the meeting. He expressed thanks to everyone attending and especially David Allister, Bill Reed and Councillors Geoff Acton, Alex Ehmann and Ben Khosa.