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Forest Hill steering group and area f...

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Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 08 February, 2006 - 10:45 pm:   

I have read somewhere about a Forum meeting in February and would appreciate details. Where is this being advertised, as I have not heard anything about it.

I believe there was a Forest Hill steering group meeting in December 05 but I have not received any minutes, although I am on the list. It would be helpful and good practice to have the minutes issued promptly after the meetings so as not to lose momentum and also to provide details of the next meeting. Hopefully one can be fitted in before the Council elections.

As before, I am concerned still that these meetings are not as widely advertised as they could be raising some question marks over community inclusion and representation. Councillors, lets see something being done about this.
Joined 19-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 08 February, 2006 - 11:00 pm:   

It's due to be held at:
7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, 23 February 2006
The Grove Centre, 2 Jews Walk sultation/LewishamAreaForums.htm

According to the latest information I've been told, this will be the day after the Mayor will make the decision on Forest Hill Pools.
Joined 19-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 08 February, 2006 - 11:07 pm:   

PS: And yes, I'd agree that the Area Forum system could do with an overhaul. It's mostly a presentational event and we could look at how other boroughs work as far as these local bodies go: for example Southwark's Community Council system. Hopefully it's something we can all look at (on a cross-party basis) after May.

(Cllr Philip Peake)
Joined 20-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 11 February, 2006 - 02:15 pm:   

The next Area Forum Meeting for Forest Hill, Perry Vale and Sydenham will be on 23/2/06 @The Grove Centre Jews Walk Sydenham @7.30-9.30pm. Amongst other issues, there will be feedback on the FH Pools consultation and a discussion on community involvement. The minutes of the last FHSG meeting held on 8/12/05 will be available there, or will have been posted to those on the mailing list. Please inform me if you don't receive them. Notices for the area forum meeting will be going through residents' doors soon.
Please take the opportunity to attend
Susan Wise-Chair FHSG
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Sunday, 12 February, 2006 - 09:49 am:   

I've just yesterday received a general mailing re the Area Forum and also the minutes of the last steering group meeting directly from the council. I do think this is rather late notification however as its just 10 days away. To get maximum and relevant participation it needs to be a bit more , I think.

Additionally, there are no minutes of the last Area Forum meeting - just the steering group. When will these minutes be distributed?

These are interesting comments on the pools from both our esteemed councillors - Philip, you are saying its tha day after a decision is made on the Pools- Susan, you are saying that there will be feedback on the Pools consultation at the meeting. So is ' feedback' the same as being told the decision ?

Are we really done with this issue? I think there are still some burning questions about Louise House, and the requirement to retain two pools, not just put back one. It would appear from what I have read that these questions from the community have not been answered satisfactorily. The cost information presented does not, frankly , add up. Lets see something equating apples with apples, not pears, and more discussion on this.

I have read the minutes of the last steering group meeting - there is reference to the Sydenham Police station opening hours. One attendee apparently complained that is was closed on Saturdays but was told by the police rep that it was open. Actually I can confirm from a call to Catford Police yesterday that it closes at 2pm on Saturdays. Not quite the right answer then! So what is the point in a part time police station?

When is the next actual Steering Group meeting? There is reference in the minutes that one will be called early in the new year to look specifically at some Forest Hill regeneration proposals.

Finally, I am not sure how one proposes issues for the agenda for the FHSG meetings - how would I go about this?
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 13 February, 2006 - 05:59 pm:   

Looking at the council budget for next year and the year after I didn't see any reference to funding the regeneration of Forest Hill Pools. Does that mean it won't happen for 2 years?
Joined 18-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 14 February, 2006 - 12:35 pm:   

So where is the info for the council's budget posted for the next two years? Could you put a link in?
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, 14 February, 2006 - 04:53 pm:   

Dear Loneranger

You can't draw that conclusion.

Firstly, for constitutional reasons, items are only specified in the capital budget after a formal decision has been made.

Secondly, the project is affordable because of 'underprogramming' on the capital budget - ie overall we are spending less on capital expenditure than was planned. This underspend has been identified as suitable funding for the Forest Hill pools project.

Generally, the capital budget works differently from the revenue budget because it is composed of fewer items, some of which are very large complex projects subject to considerable risks and uncertainties. Therefore, we take a five year view, but keep things under review. There are, of course, risks with the revenue budget, but it covers a very wide range of activities, and there is a lot of regular predictable expenditure, so it is easier to keep revenue spending closer to programme overall.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 14 February, 2006 - 05:01 pm:   

Here's the link for the 84 page budget report:- CCF-4A88-A3A9-83DF5999F5BD/0/myr_cab_010206_budget report.pdf
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 15 February, 2006 - 01:13 pm:   

Hello Cllr. Whiting,
Didn't see you there...Has an indication been given when the work at the pools (notice the s) is most likely to begin? Could the current closure of the activity pool influence when work at the pools begins?

In meetings with the Mayor has he given you any indication which option he is likely to opt for?

If I understand you correctly when the Mayor identified resources to fund Wavelengths and Forest Hill Pools in March last year, the money was found by reducing planned Capital spending in following years?
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, 15 February, 2006 - 05:08 pm:   

These are mostly matters for the Mayor and you will have to await his announcement.

On two of your points:

1. I can't see any reason why the closure of the activity pool would have any direct effect on timetable for planning, design and construction.

2. The answer to your last question is 'no'. We keep the programme under review and if we can identify resources within the programme we may use them for things not so far planned. Nothing was specifically cut to deal with these two schemes. In a very general sense, of course, if you spend a sum of money on one thing, you can't spend the same sum of money on another. Thus, when it becomes apparent that there is a bit of spare money, the Mayor might conceived of a wide range of suitable projects and would have to make choices between them. In fact, in this case, having thought, he decided to advance these schemes.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 16 February, 2006 - 09:28 pm:   

Thank you for the response.

Of the two which is your preferred option for the pools?

1) At Ladywell the damage could have meant it was demolished in 2002. Would it be better to demolish or reconstruct as soon as possible or leave it till 2008 when the other new pools are open. Whatever the case is likely the activity pool will be repaired?

2)Considering the council always says it doesn't have enough money I was surprised it found a spare £8m. I guess the request for £10M savings and the resulting £6M cut in spending is a seperate issue.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 01:32 pm:   

According to Keely Sherbird in today's South London Press page 22 the Mayor was still in discussions with cabinet collegues and council officers about which option to chosse.

The report continues there were 1,050 positive responses to option 1 rejuvenation and 1,168 for option 2 demolition.

In an exit survey (the pools?) 60% (289) preferred refurbishment whilst a leaflet drop showed 60% (1,049) wanted the facility rebuilt.

In addition a letter on Page 11 describes recent events with only one pool open.

I have asked before but is it known which option the cabinet members from Forest Hill prefer?

'Keeping you in touch with yourselves.'
Joined 25-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 03:22 pm:   

The same article also speaks about Focus Groups.

Black and minority ethnic focus group wanted a new facility whilst the disabled people focus group said neither of the option met their needs well enough.

I can inderstand the reason for a focus group speaking on behalf of disabled people, but I really don't understand what difference your pigmentation or ethnic background can make to your swimming needs.
Joined 19-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 11:40 pm:   

Max, I think they would say that BME groups are 'hard-to-reach' and running a focus group is an attempt to redress the balance. For example the responses from the e-Panel and the leaflet were 15% and 12% BME people respectively. (Although the BME population of the 3 wards is something like double that).

There should be a copy of the report should be at: ncilMeetings/MayorAndCabinetA220206.htm

but it seems to be missing, strangely. Although there seems to be a cover sheet for it in the file marked Agenda Part 5. Perhaps I've missed it, or maybe it will appear some time tomorrow.

In summary:

it presents public opinion as pretty balanced between the two options (with 130 in favour of neither), with a trend that people who use the pools regularly want refurbishment whilst non-users want rebuilding (despite the fact that non-users have a better impression of the pools than users).

Officers have not recommended either option to the Mayor in this report but have left the choice entirely down to him.
Joined 25-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006 - 02:42 am:   

Officers have not recommended?
Why, wouldn't that be their job?

You know that I managed to attend the consultation day that Lewisham Council did a couple of months ago for staff and partners.
They hired a consultant on consultations to explain consultation techniques and it was actually quite interesting to see their point of view.
They did a presentation on the different kinds of stakeholders and when they spoke of campaigners they projected a slide of a man being arrested.

Anyway,on BME, when I have to fill a form and see the ethnic origin box I always write human race.
Joined 19-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006 - 08:43 am:   

Found it. ncilMeetings/MayorAndCabinetB220206.htm

It's in the Supplementary Agenda (bottom of the list)
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006 - 11:07 am:   

Had a quick read and it looks at first glance as if the overall majority favour the refurbishment option, yet in the summing up it says the views are evenly balanced between both options.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006 - 07:28 pm:   

Option 2 would probably gain the loudest public opposition. To further investigate the risks and costs of both options could be a possibilty?
Joined 19-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006 - 08:02 pm:   

At Mayor & Cabinet tonight, Mr Bullock chose to further investigate Option 1 (refurbishment). Cllr Best and Cllr Wise both spoke in support of that option, as did I (with the obvious caveats about the limitations on the options available and the failure to study the community use site as a whole).
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 22 February, 2006 - 08:43 pm:   

Does that mean option 2 has been completely dropped? Thanks for the newsflash.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 13 March, 2006 - 12:48 pm:   

On Feb 13 I wondered if the work at Forest Hill Pools may not happen for 2 years? Looks like it won't begin before December 2007.

The following is an extract from Councillor questions of March 1st.

Question by Councillor Peake
of the Cabinet Member for Culture


When is the earliest and latest contracts will be signed for the Forest Hill Pools project?


The construction costs for the refurbishment of Forest Hill Pools will exceed the European Threshold Values, and therefore both the design team and the construction company will have to be appointed under OJEU rules. According to EU legislation, all contracts from the public sector which are valued above a certain threshold must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU, formerly the OJEC).

The legislation covers organisations and projects which receive public money. Local authorities, NHS trusts, Central Government Departments, Port Authorities are all covered by the legislation and must advertise in OJEU if their contract is covered.

The process requires a statutory 39 or 45 day’s notice period.

The constructor would therefore be unlikely to be on site before December, 2007, with a potential completion date of February, 2009.
Joined 19-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 15 March, 2006 - 10:14 am:   

FYI, I asked a verbal supplementary to that question: here is what was said (paraphrased, obviously)

Supplementary question - Cllr Peake

When will the studies and surveys authorised by the Mayor last week be complete and council be in a position to write the specification which the contracts will be based on?

Also, since the refurbishment is a complex project, will multiple
professional opinions be sought on methods for achieving a successful and value for money refurbishment?

Reply from Cllr McGarrigle

Since we don't know what we will find in the surveys, we can't make any estimate of when we will be in a position to draw up contracts. Because it is a complex project, we will certainly need to get multiple professional opinions.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 15 March, 2006 - 09:12 pm:   

Thank you for the information.

To all councillors, is there a reason why supplementary questions and answers cannot be noted and put on the Council website?

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