Inaugural meeting of the St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum
St Helen’s Church Hall
The meeting was chaired by Henry Peterson, chair of the St Helens Residents Association. The meeting was attended by all 10 prospective members of the Forum’s management committee, Cllr Matthew Palmer, Rosemary Pettit (chair of Hammersmith Society) and approximately 35 other members of the public.
1. Welcome and introductions – It was explained that 2,000 leaflets had been distributed to households and businesses in the NF area, inviting people to join the forum and asking if they wished to stand for the forum’s management committee. 10 people had responded expressing interest in being on the committee, and each introduced themselves to the meeting.
It was clarified that existing 260 SHRA members need not complete the online form and are deemed to be members of the forum (unless they wish otherwise). All will receive notification of workshops and consultation sessions as preparation of the neighbourhood plan progresses.
2. Brief explanation of neighbourhood planning – the process for preparing a neighbourhood plan was outlined to the meeting, along with an initial set of slides showing the location of local facilities, businesses and shops, open spaces, and a map of key issues likely to need addressing as the plan was prepared.
It was noted that while RBKC was designating the part of the proposed NF area in their borough, LBHF had not yet made a decision on designation. If the LBHF part the area was designated at a later date, it was assumed that a separate referendum would be held by LBHF prior to any decision on whether the council adopted the relevant parts of the neighbourhood plan
3. Adoption of constitution – hard copies of the draft constitution for the St Quintin and Woodlands Neighbourhood Forum were circulated, and the draft had been available on the websites of RBKC and LBHF and at stqw.org. It was explained that the constitution provide for a minimum of 3 open meetings a year, and for a management committee with 8-14 places (plus up to 3 co-optees).
The draft constitution was agreed.
4. Election of management committee for the forum –
The forum agreed to elect the following 10 individuals to the management committee
It was noted that Cassie Goldman and Andre Michaud lived in those parts of the forum area that were not part of the original SHRA catchment area, thereby widening geographic representation. Richard Ehrman convened an informal group of businesses and commercial building owners in Latimer Road, and Joy Smith would be representing the voice of older people.
Henry Peterson reported that 2 further individuals had expressed interest in serving on the management committee, subsequent to the agenda being circulated. It was felt that with 4 places remaining vacant these expressions of interest should be held over to the next open meeting, in case further candidates came forward.
5. Election of chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer for the forum
It was explained that not all prospective members of the management committee had yet met each other, as there were 6 members from the SHRA management committee and 4 ‘new’ individuals who had responded to the leaflet. Hence two options were on the agenda as alternative means of electing officers for the forum (chair, vice-chair, treasurer, secretary).
After discussion on the merits of the options, including the need to make early progress on plan preparation, a vote was taken. There was a unanimous support for Option A.
The 10 management committee members will therefore meet and seek to agree amongst themselves on office-holding. If no agreement is reached the matter will come back to the next meeting.
6) Update on local planning issues
6.1 Noted that Imperial College was acquiring from Helical Bar/Aviva the 11 acre former Dairy Crest site. This would give Imperial a combined landholding of 22 acres for an expanded campus on Wood Lane. Not yet clear what sort of buildings Imperial would wish to place on the site, in lieu of the 1,150 housing units in the currently approved planning permission. It was agreed that every effort should be made to persuade Imperial to rethink their plans for the unbuilt part of the Woodlands site and to develop the joint site as a coherent development worthy of a world class university, with reduced heights of very tall buildings.
6.2 The long awaited revised version of the White City Opportunity Area Framework had been published for consultation, and local residents had been leafleted by GLA/LBHF. Closing date for comments is Friday 2nd August. Noted that the revised version had taken little account of objections to very tall buildings along Westway, and that (as shown on slides) the concept of two tower of 35 and 32 storeys remained in the document, as a ‘gateway’ to London. Increased traffic generation on Wood Lane, resulting from a series of developments, is a major issue that had prompted a further look at the scope for a station on the West London line. The design of the proposed east/west underpass from Imperial West to Latimer Road is a further issue which the neighbourhood forum intends to influence.
It was agreed an email would be circulated advising forum and SHRA members of points to make in lobbying and in consultation responses to the WCOAPF.
6.3 An appeal hearing had been held on the application by Network Rail for a further 30m advertising tower on (an application refused by LBHF. There was a reasonable prospect that the appeal would be dismissed, because of the impact of flats in Oxford Gardens and Latimer Road (within the conservation area). It was explained that RBKC was taking a very tough line on outdoor advertising, but that the commercial companies involved were relentless in their pursuit of profit.
It was agreed that outdoor illuminated advertising was a worsening blight on both boroughs, and should be fought with maximum vigour. Agreed to circulate details of how best to lobby the council to make rapid progress on the discontinuance notice on the Westway advertising tower.
6.4 The government’s recently introduced policies on change of use were explained. RBKC had been granted a ‘whole borough exemption’ on the new flexibility on change of use from business to residential, so planning permission was still needed for any such change. On change of use within A class and from A to B1, the new national flexibilities would apply (2 years of deemed permission, for up to 150 sq.m). This offered the potential for alternative uses of vacant shops in St Helens Gardens and North Pole Road, and SHRA was alerting building owners to this new situation.
6.5. It was noted that the Alpha Plus Group was submitting a revised application to relocate Chepstow House School to 49 Bassett Road. Local residents would be objecting on grounds of noise and traffic.
6.6. The issue was raised of the long-term future of ‘backland’ open spaces including the West London Bowling Club and the Clifton plant nursery. The Forum would want to include the potential uses of these spaces in the Neighbourhood Plan.
It was clarified that the original use of these sites, when the St Quintin estate was first built, was as private tennis and sports clubs, rather than public open space.
The meeting ended at 20.50