Save the Adventure Playground, refurbish Sporle Court, clear up dog mess: What Latchmere residents told the council leader

Wendy Speck on the Kambala Estate

My colleague Cllr Wendy Speck on the Kambala Estate: Wendy spoke about the future of the Adventure Playground at the York Gardens Library meeting

More than 70 members of the public came to a lively Latchmere Ward public meeting  at York Gardens Library and Community Centre on Thursday, 19th July. Your three Latchmere Labour councillors – Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and I – were present to answer people’s questions, as was the Tory leader of the council and senior Town Hall officers.

The meeting was spirited and we covered a lot of ground. Issues raised included the Adventure Playground, the future of the Winstanley Estate, anti-social behaviour, how council flats should be allocated and dog mess.

Detailed notes on the meeting (taken by the council) are below:

The Chairman, Councillor Govindia, invited the Councillors and Council Officers present to introduce themselves. The ward members each gave a brief description of their roles on the Council and the issues they were currently focusing on in Latchmere Ward. The Chairman then suggested that following the usual ‘formal’ style of meeting, Members and officers would mingle with the residents present to listen to their concerns and their views on what was working well in Wandsworth and what could be improved.
1.    York Gardens, Kimber Road and Battersea Park Adventure Playground
Residents of York Road requested that they be involved in discussions about the adventure playgrounds and invited Members to attend their meeting scheduled for 6th August 2012. Members present stated that subject to existing diary commitments, that they would try to attend if possible. Councillor Belton stated that he would support the community in keeping the adventure playgrounds open, but that the overall decision was dependent on the Majority Party in Wandsworth.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Govindia, advised residents that on Wednesday 11th July 2012, a proposal had been received from “Kids Company”, on behalf of parents and children who use the three playgrounds (York Gardens, Kimber Road and Battersea Park Adventure Playground). Councillor Govindia also advised that Kids Company had confirmed that a number of business leaders and high profile individuals would be supporting them in generating a Wandsworth-specific pot of money in order to facilitate Kids Company in making bespoke provision based on the requirements of parents, children and young people who use the playground. This included maintaining staff and improving the structure where appropriate.

Councillor Govindia stated that officers were currently analysing the feasibility of Kids Company’s proposal, and would be liaising with them to determine how their proposal fits in with the Council’s plans. Councillor Govindia added that he would be willing to meet with residents at a later date.

Another resident thanked the Council for ‘re-vamping’ the Latchmere playground and asked if the toddler playground could also be refurbished. Another resident questioned why the playgrounds were being closed as they provided an area where the community could mentor (and communicate with) children and young adults on the estate. He also stated that young people had helped with the refurbishment of the playground, that adult supervision of the playgrounds meant that youths/young adults did not gather inside the playground, and that despite Government cuts, huge salaries were being paid to some Council officers and Council offices were being refurbished.

Councillor Govindia re-iterated the points he made in his earlier response and added that although the Council had decided that staffing could no longer be funded, the adventure playgrounds were to be refurbished and retained.

2.    Environmental Improvements – York Road Estate, Winstanley Estate and Roehampton
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Govinda, explained that the consultation on further action to promote aspiration and improved life chances in the Borough, which includes planned phased improvement works to blocks on the Alton Estate as well as the York Road Estate and improvements to the York Road Estate square, was ongoing. Councillor Govindia added that the Council had identified possible investment of up to £100m to improve York Road Estate, Winstanley Estate and Roehampton over a period of years, but that at present there were no specific plans or a ‘blueprint’ that residents could comment on.

The purpose of the consultation was to start with residents’ views and it was still possible to submit these via the Council’s website. It was envisaged that by Autumn 2012 the views of residents from Winstanley and York Road estate would have been received.

Another resident stated that not many residents on the Winstanley Estate were aware of the consultation meetings that had been held in May 2012. In view of the equality impact assessment undertaken on York Gardens Library, the results of which indicated that this area has the lowest internet access and does not receive the Wandsworth Guardian, and that leaflets are often dumped instead of being delivered to households on the estate, the Council needs to do more than rely on the internet/leaflets to engage the local community in consultation about its area. Councillor Govindia responded by stating that the current consultation response had been 39%.

3. Estate Issues
Sporle Court Windows – One resident asked whether the rumour to demolish Sporle Court was true and when the windows would be sorted. Officers confirmed that the Court was not going to be demolished and that the Sporle Court window renewal scheme was on hold pending the full option appraisal of Winstanley/York Road Area. Officers confirmed that they were very close to tendering for the scheme and that consultation would not commence until Easter 2013.
(No further action required)
Sporle Court Cleaning – One resident complained about the lack of cleanliness on the estate, i.e. presence of human faeces and used needles.
ACTION – Mr. A. Pike to raise this with the Estate Manager.
Latchmere Estate – Overcrowding Officers advised that overcrowding was an issue in the Borough and that the Council was looking at ways of addressing this, for example through the incentive scheme which was offered to residents that were under-occupying.
ACTION: Mr. A. Pike to send details on the housing allocations points scheme. [Subsequent to the meeting the resident concerned has been supplied with information requested].
Surrey Lane Estate Windows (not in Latchmere Ward). Officers confirmed that Phase 1 was under consultation and that £9m was due to be invested in the estate for window renewals.
(No further action required)

4.    Policing
The Inspector for Battersea, Inspector Ellis, confirmed that after the Olympics there would be a local policing model in place, which would mean a sergeant, 3 PCs and a min of 3 PCOs per neighbourhood, i.e. the number of police officers per neighbourhood would increase. The response team would reduce in size and concentrate on emergency calls.
(No further action required)

5.    “Housing into Work” Pilot
One resident stated that priority should be given to those in need of housing and not based on those who are working; also that 60% of social housing had already been sold off and therefore, there were very few properties remaining to offer those in need of social housing. By a show of hands and at the invitation of Councillor Hogg, residents attending the meeting indicated a preference for priority being given to those who had been on the waiting list for a long time and to those with children. Some supported giving priority to applicants who are serving or who have served in HM Regular Armed Forces, and have a local connection with Wandsworth. No resident indicated support for giving priority to those who were working.
(No further action required)

6.    Antisocial Behaviour and other issues
Harling Court – Tree branches obstructing light. ACTION: Mr. A. Pike
Dog fouling in Coppock Close. ACTION: Mr. A. Pike
Officers confirmed that the Council works in partnership to tackle street drinking, for example with outreach workers. Officers also confirmed that the Police can confiscate alcohol and direct people away from the immediate vicinity. There is a Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) in Tooting which prohibits street drinking in a designated area and enforcement action can be taken against those breaching the Order.
(No further action required)
Request for Council to repair cracked pavement outside Battersea Chapel and to create dirt track or skateboard ramps for children in Pennethorne House.
ACTION: Noted and would form part of the regeneration discussions.
Culvert Road recycling bins: It was suggested that the recycling bins near the Wilditch Centre, behind the shops regularly suffer from fly-tipping both in and around them (the recycling crew had recently been observed having to pull lumps of paving out)
ACTION: Mr. M. Singham
Officers confirmed that public highways within Council managed housing estates are covered by the Housing Department’s estate cleaning contracts and that other public highways are cleansed by the Council’s Waste Management Service contractor. Public highways outside housing estates are cleaned at least twice a week with a thorough sweep on one occasion and a litter pick on the other. The litter pick should follow the weekly sack-based waste collection service to ensure prompt clearance of any spillage. No waste collection or street cleansing should take place before 6.30am. Officers also confirmed that the Waste Services homepage on the Council’s web-site includes a search function for residents to check when their street is scheduled to be cleaned. A resident was concerned that the frequency and quality of street cleaning on the Latchmere Estate had deteriorated.
ACTION: Mr. M. Singham
Pedestrian crossing on Trinity Road opposite Nantes Close – issue regarding pedestrian safety using this crossing as cars come round from York Road at speed and the crossing is immediately upon them .Resident has written to TfL regarding this issue, however, there has been no response.
Clapham Junction, Grant Road entrance to station – pedestrian crossing should be closer to the Station entrance at this site or there should be another crossing. Officers confirmed that this crossing had been sited correctly in view of the number of people that would be crossing and where this desire line is (i.e. where most people would normally wish to cross the road) and the highway space to accommodate people waiting to cross.
Candahar Road – Resident mentioned that drivers abuse the vehicular one-way traffic operation in this road and that this is dangerous as there is a school nearby.
ACTION: As the first matter falls within the remit of TfL, Mr. W. Adeyoyin to facilitate a meeting between TfL and residents to discuss this issue and will get contact details for resident at the end of the meeting so that a site meting can be arranged. Candahar Road issue – Mr. W. Adeyoyin to speak to resident following the meeting.

Renting Community Room for Educational Purposes
A resident requested assistance in finding a room for educational purposes during the summer holidays for children from the Turkish community on the estate. The resident was unable to afford the £36/hr charged by York Gardens Library/Community Centre. Councillors Hogg and Speck asked residents to support their local library/community centre and advised that the hire charges reflected the income required to sustain the operation of the community centre. The resident was also advised that the rate was £10/hr for the Kambala Estate clubroom.

Council Members
Councillor Govindia (Leader of the Council – in the Chair), Councillors Belton, Hogg and Speck (Latchmere Ward Members) and Councillor Osborn (Leader of the Minority Party).
Council Officers
Mr. Andy Pike – Head of Technical and Programming Services (Housing Department)
Mr. Stewart Low – Head of Community Safety (Administration Department)
Mr. Steve Jolley – Assistant On Street Services Manager (Environment & Community Services Department)
Mr. Mike Singham – Waste Policy Manager (Environment & Community Services Department)
Mr. Wale Adeyoyin – Head of Parking, Road Safety and Highway Infrastructure (Environment & Community Services Department)
Mr. Tim Cronin – Head of Development Control (Environment & Community Services Department)
Mr. Frankie Belloli – Head of Executive and Committee Services (Administration Department)
Ms. Thayyiba Shaah – Assistant Head of Executive and Committee Services (Administration Department)
Police Officer: Inspector Ellis, Metropolitan Police

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