Meeting Notes from 5 March 2021

Chipping Barnet Town Team

(held via Zoom due to Covid-19 restrictions)

Meeting Notes

5 March 2021

1.Apologies: Diane Whalley (DW). 
 In Attendance:  Penny Baxter (PB), Robin Bishop (RB), Nanna Blomquist (NB), Bob Burstow (BB), Gail Laser (GL), Janet Littlewood (JL), David Longstaff (DL), Chris Nightingale (CN), Mike Noronha (MN), Ken Rowland (KR), Susan Skedd (SS), Theresa Villiers (TV), Ave Vinick (AV). 
2.    Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising not covered below.   The minutes from 15 January 2021 were agreed.   
 Matters arising not covered in Agenda.   DL confirmed he had circulated an email exchange re the tree in the churchyard on 20 November but would re-send.  The response had been that the tree was protected and the Council were trying to keep it for as long as possible.  There was nothing in the response about the state of the brickwork on the raised beds near the bus stop.  BB reported that the Church Wardens had requested a repair several times but were not getting responses from the Council.   DL would investigate further.   RB reported that the owners of 70 High St had lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.  DL said appeals were taking 6 months to a year at the moment.   TV had asked the Council whether anything could be done about the state of the bins in Church Passage and outside Hopscotch.  The Council had said they would look at the issue.  She had also raised again the rubbish outside L’Antica and had suggested a bin cupboard but the Council had thought planning permission would not be granted.  DL reported he had been told that street rubbish would be put at the top of Moxon St for collection but he did not know if this was happening and would check.   KR reported a communication he had received from Peter Clifton at the Council about CCTV on St Albans Rd.  The Council were preparing to deploy a temporary camera there.  Following a site visit 3 or 4 weeks ago a solution had been identified to the limited power supply and lack of suitable structures for attaching the camera.  Specific details for the deployment were being finalised and there would have to be some testing and configuration before going live.  DL said that rubbish dumped over the fence was going on private land so it was up to the landowner to be proactive with the Council.  The Council did help get rid of the rubbish but they could not just walk on the land and remove it.    DL           DL                       DL
3. a) b) c) d)Tabling of AOB for Item 6 Artwork Exhibition 14 April Battle of Barnet Anniversary Update on Medieval Festival High St       
4.   a)         b)           c)                                                                                           d)           e)                                 f)      Reports and Updates:   MN reported that the Museum had just printed and published a book on the history of the Chipping Barnet War Memorial to mark its 100th anniversary on 3 April.  There was to be a service at the Memorial on Saturday 3 April at 10.30 am to which certain people would be invited.   CN reported that preliminary arrangements were being made for another Classic Car Show in September, either 19th or 26th.    They were waiting for permission from NCP car parks.  It was considered a good idea to combine the show with another event so asked for ideas from groups.  See item 6c below.   NB reported a Litter Free March campaign which would be socially distanced with people going out on their own. There was the possibility of there being an active day (possibly 21 March) to increase participation. She had asked the Council for more litter-picking equipment because all the equipment on loan was still on loan to reduce the number of times it changed hands.  One or two additional shops were prepared to serve as hubs for people to collect the equipment.   She asked if anything could be done about the old bucket style bins on Hadley Green.  Half of them had rusted bottoms so rubbish just fell through to the ground encouraging foxes.  There were some new mobile bins on the Green with covered tops and holes in the side which were much better.   If new bins could not be provided to replace the old rusted ones, she thought it would be better to remove them completely as they were counter-productive and encouraged people to put their rubbish by the side of the bin exacerbating the problem. The bin at the top of King George’s Fields had been replaced.   DL said he would take a look.  He asked that if NB did not get a response from the Council to copy him in on the follow-up email.   Other litter hotspots around benches were discussed where people seemed to picnic and then just leave their litter.  GL wondered whether signs could be erected to encourage people to take their litter home.  She also thought dog fouling was getting out of hand.   KR thought that because of lockdown the nation as a whole was eating and drinking outside more than ever so the Council had to recognise that and provide more bins and make sure they were regularly emptied.  NB thought the solution was not necessarily just providing more bins and using more resources to empty them.  What was needed was a campaign alongside that to remind people to take their rubbish home or use re-usable things.  She thought a strong cohesive drive from the Council might help. The Council had put up small signs at park entrances but they were very tiny.  GL suggested, if the banners along the High St were approved, some banners could advertise fines for litter dropping.   TV reported a similar discussion at a recent High Barnet Police Community Action Panel.  The Council officer was very aware of the problem and was looking at both litter and dog fouling, both of which were problems across the country.  She hoped the situation would improve once lockdown was lifted and fewer people were eating and drinking outside.  She would try and raise the issue in Parliament, where a lot of her colleagues representing beauty spots or coastal areas had similar concerns.  It was difficult to change people’s mindset.   TV reported that the Mayor of London had backed the Council’s decision on Whalebones, which meant for the moment that development would not be happening. There was the possibility of an appeal but the Mayor’s decision that the development would contravene the London Plan would make a successful appeal difficult.   TV mentioned that she had asked for Government support regarding pandemic insurance for festivals.  She was in discussion with the Association of British Insurers to see whether insurance could be obtained once lockdown started to lift but cancellation was seen as a big risk rather than routine health and safety insurance.  The difference between festivals and sports stadia events was discussed and TV would ask colleagues in the sports world what was happening there.  KR offered to ask some ex-HSBC insurance colleagues of his. SS reported that the individual re-enactors for the Medieval Festival were struggling to get insurance and they were also in a very niche market.  Luckily the Barnet Medieval Festival was light in terms of costs and, having to book people six months in advance, meant they could afford to push them back until later in the summer.  TV said that a series of pilot projects for big events was due to happen in April and she hoped this would produce clarity by the end of May which would unlock things in terms of insurance for festival events.   TV said she had been trying to get some debate time in Parliament to discuss the Battle of Barnet 550th anniversary in April but had had no luck as those back bench debating opportunities were more limited than before.                                                                    DL/NB                                                                                       KR                      
5. a)                                             b)Chipping Barnet Town Plan Consultation: Next Stages and Possible Milestone Dates:   AW thanked everyone for their support in getting the consultation material to the local community.  It had been noticeable that when associations had shared the material the website hits had increased.    3,000 people had visited the website and there had been 750 comments. With the possibility of duplication, it was estimated that 500 of those would be unique comments.  In addition, letters had been received from the Barnet Residents’ Association, the Barnet Society, TfL and statutory stakeholders, and a mini-workshop had been held with students from Barnet College and the Teenage Market to work through what young people thought of the Plan.  The number of consultation responses was much higher than, say, with the Golders Green strategy, which meant the process was taking longer.  Early next week, Architecture 00 would give him a steer and it had been agreed with DL to meet with local members to understand the situation and work on a future timeline.  He hoped to follow up in about a month and then there would be an opportunity to meet with the Town Team to go through the five initial projects, sound out the Town Team before making any public announcements.  It was agreed that this would not be a short discussion with the Town Team so it needed to be an additional meeting outside the Town Team’s normal schedule.   Moving Forward from the Banners Planning Application:   DL reported that 157 objections had been received on the recent High St banners planning application and it would go to Committee as there had been so many.  DL thanked RB for sending him the details because otherwise he would not have known about the application.   Discussion followed about how the 157 objections had been received because it was not like a normal planning application with a consultation process.   Several people confirmed they had submitted objections via the on-line portal but that ability now seemed to have been suspended.  DL offered to forward anything else anyone wanted to submit.   AW said that a link had been made to the Community Plan but he confirmed that the planning application had been nothing to do with the Community Plan.  It was part of a commercial contract that the Environment Team had with the lamp post providers, and part of the contract allowed for the supplier to explore advertising opportunities, all of which preceded his time in the Council.  A meeting had been set up internally with Council colleagues and it had been stated that his team did not support advertising on that scale across the town centre, and had clarified that the Community Plan was hopefully building on what the Museum was doing, ie building character and identity with perhaps some advertising for local individual businesses.  There was a commercial commitment that the Council could generate revenue from this but there needed to be a happy medium with the Community Plan.    BB thought that the application had blown any chance of an intelligent discussion within the town of getting an acceptable town identity.  He thought that should be agreed first and permanently tabled with Planning so there would then be no need to get planning applications for anything else because there would be a minimum requirement.  He thought the application had undone a lot of positive work which Architecture 00 and AW’s team had done.     BB was also concerned that it would scupper any plans the Museum had for putting up the Medieval banners for nothing.  DL understood from discussions with the agency involved that it had been agreed within the contract that a certain amount of usage would be for the community. BB said that the text DL had received from Paul Bragg suggested that the ability of the community to display would need to be renegotiated.  KR was concerned that the normal Conservation Area rules had not seemed to apply.  GL said she had been shocked by the application because she and BB had met several times with Paul Bragg, the Council’s Infrastructure Manager, in 2018/2019 and thought there had been agreement about the possibility of some commercial advertising which would offset community advertising or advertising by local businesses which did not have funds behind them.   DL said he would follow it up next week and in particular ask Paul Bragg about what he had taken from the meeting with BB and GL.   [See below for report on banners for Medieval Festival]                                    AW/BB                                                                                                             DL
6. a)           b)                       c)                                                 d)Any Other Business PB reported that the latest artwork exhibition covered U3A, retired and younger people but it would be good if it reached a wider group of people.  She was happy for the event to be held in The Spires but hoped it would be possible to go wider than that and asked for suggestions for the display of the artwork.   SS reported that the Council had started work on restoring the Battle of Barnet Monument at Hadley Highstone in time for the 550th anniversary on 14 April.  In normal times something quite major would have been organised for the anniversary but it was thought the rule of six would be in place by mid-April.  Invitations would be sent out for a wreath-laying ceremony when two wreaths would be laid for the House of York and the House of Lancaster.  Discussion followed about possible attendees in line with the rule of six.  BB asked about the possibility of live-streaming the event if Wi-Fi was good enough.  Other possible arrangements were discussed including fund-raising opportunities for the Festival in September.   The Medieval Festival in September was discussed.  Crowdfunding via Spacehive had started with 60 supporters so far and a little over £2,000 raised.  Help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated as the number of supporters was important when it came to approaching other trusts and foundations for support.   MN said that the Medieval banners were almost certainly going to be put up.  He was in negotiation with Bouygues who would do it for nothing as part of their community volunteering initiative.  It was hoped they would remain in place for the Medieval Festival in September.   The Museum was also in the final stages of writing a book about the Battle of Barnet which was going to be printed by the time of the Anniversary celebrations.   The play about the Battle of Barnet was likely to be performed the weekend after or the weekend before the Festival.  Because the players were concerned about performing it inside in confined spaces, various outside locations had been discussed, including the Monken Hadley Church House garden where crowds could be better controlled, or the Museum Garden. SE would have more details.  SS wondered if that could be tied in with the Classic Car Show.  NB warned that the Church House was without electricity at the moment and that was unlikely to be fixed this year.   Various new openings and closings on the High St were discussed.                                                                              CN
   Meeting Ended 5.08 pm 

Future meetings in 2021: 7 May, 9 July, 3 September, 5 November

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