Notes from West Ealing Neighbours’ Annual General Meeting on Thursday 26th April 2018 at St John’s Church, Mattock Lane, West Ealing
Review of past activities
David Highton, chair, opened the meeting with a brief review of some of West Ealing Neighbours’ activities over the past couple of years:
- Following the cancellation of the 2015 SoundBite Festival In Dean Gardens due to an overnight incident in the park, WEN took the initiative to try to start to tackle anti-social behaviour. It brought together local stakeholders such as housing associations, faith groups, residents’ groups, councillors, council officials and police in a series of regular meetings. With financial support a plan to redesign Dean Gardens was commissioned. This plan has been incorporated in to the new Liveable Neighbourhood project for West Ealing funded by TfL.
- This group supported the introduction of the Public Space Protection Order which came into force in April 2017 and which has helped reduce anti-social behaviour in West Ealing.
- WEN has been on the working group for the co-working business hub due to open later this year in St James Ave.
- The Abundance project continues and contributes £500-£1000 a year to WEN’s funds. The projects produce includes apple juice, chutneys and more and the main outlet is Cheddar Deli in Northfiled Ave. Thanks to Elizabeth Highton for all her hard work on this.
- In December we started looking after the planters/seats in Melbourne Ave and have cleaned them, replanted some and now maintain them on a regular basis. We have offered to look after the flower beds planned for the pigeon-infested patch of grass on the corner of Leeland Terrace and Melbourne Ave.
- We continue to help put on the annual Soundite Festival and Christmas Fair.
- Diane Gill and others manage our successful Facebook group which has about 4,500 members.
- The bookswap shelf is still active in West Ealing station
- Jane Humphreys runs the monthly book club meetings in the Star and Anchor on the last Wednesday of each month.
- The 2017 accounts show a bank balance of nearly £7,000. Some of these reserves could be spent for the benefit of the local community and this is an item later on the agenda.
Election of the committee
David Highton, Eric Leach, Diane Gill, Andrew Cazalet, Jane Humphreys were all willing to stand again for the committee and Laura Cross was willing to stand as a new committee member. These nominations were proposed and seconded and accepted by the meeting.
David noted that there were a number of other people interested in getting involved and we will follow up with them after the meeting
Difficulty of dealing with the Council over claiming benefits
Tony Eley talked briefly about his own experiences of how difficult it was to claim housing benefit now everything is done online. He asked the audience to raise this with candidates for the local election and what they could do to help improve this very difficult situation for many older people, non-English speakers and residents not able to access or use the internet.
Public Space Protection Order
Abbi Shaw, Safer Communities Officer gave some statistics about the impact of the PSPO:
As part of the analysis undertaken on the West Ealing PSPO, crime and ASB data from April – October 2017 was reviewed in comparison with the same period from the previous year (prior to the introduction of the PSPO).
The analysis showed that, compared to a borough wide reduction in overall crime of 5% during April-October 2017, crime in the PSPO wards is down 29%. Particularly striking for me are the significant reductions in criminal damage (45% compared to 9% borough wide) and drug offences (77% compared to 3% borough wide).
Reductions in ASB, violence and sex offences and public order are all significantly better than those across the borough too.
Wider analysis was also done around other emergency services data, which showed a 24% reduction in alcohol related calls to London Ambulance Service compared to the same period the previous year.
She then took questions covering problems about the PSPO displacing anti-social behaviour from West Ealing to Northfields, Hanwell and Ealing Broadway. As a result, the Council is working on a borough-wide PSPO with a consultation likely in December.
In reply to a question about the problem of reporting incidents on 101 she said changes were likely to be made to this service. But residents could contact her to report incidents and these would be logged and investigated.
West Ealing Business Inprovement District
Anna Elliott BID Manager explained about how the BID works in West Ealing. Busineses with over a£10,000 annual rateable value contribute 1.07% of the rateable value to the BID. There are some 400 levy payers. All the money raised is used to provide services and other benefits to local businesses such as a waste collection service, pest control services and a wide range of publicity and promotional activities such as the recent and successful children’s craft activities at Easter.
The BID’s first 5 year period ends next year so she is leading the campaign for the ballot in Novemebr when businesses will vote yes or no to renewing the BID for a further 5 years.
She explained a new BID initiative which is a map of the West Ealing shopping centre showing key businesses, cultural events and more on one side and a list of shops by category on the other.
West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood project
David Highton spoke briefly about this £8.6m TfL funded project. It has only just started and the most useful information is in the FAQs handout which everyone should have. The plan includes a redesign of Dean Gardens (as mentioned earlier) and a range of measures to improve the area along and both sides of the Uxbridge Rd. The improvements are aimed at making it more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists along with improving the air quality. WEN is on the stakeholder group which will meet regularly and help shape and guide the final plans.
Concerns were raised by a number of people about TfL not being car friendly and this could affect elderly and disabled people who need to use their cars to come to West Ealing. Also, concerns about wasteful ideas which may lead to unnecessary changes to pavements and Dean Gardens. Another question raised about ensuring pedestrians are properly considered in the plans.
One key role for West Ealing Neighbours is to give maximum publicity to this project and the plans so as many residents as possible know about them and are able to put forward their view and ideas.
West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum (WECNF)
Eric Leach, Chair of WECNF, talked through the group’s plans for West Ealing which will go to vote alongside the local election on 3rd May. If over 50% of both residents and businesses who vote are in favour then the plans will become part of the formal planning decision process. The plan can be seen at the local library and on their website www.wecnf.org
Using our surplus funds
David Highton explained that WEN has almost £7,000 in the bank. We don’t need to hold this amount so are there any ideas as to how some of it could be spent to benefit the local community? For example, WEN has spent about £3-400 on the improving the planters in Melbourne Ave. We could, for example, take on planting the flower beds that are due for inclusion in the Council’s redesign of the patch of grass by Sainsbury’s.
Two ideas were suggested: we could fund live music in St James Ave as part of making it a more inviting and attractive space and we could hold more public meetings as there are now only two ward forums a year.
The committee will consider these and any other suggestions and report back on its decisions.
Any Other Business
The meeting closed at 9pm and David thanked the committee for its work and support.