Agenda and minutes

West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group - Wednesday 1 August 2018 5.30 pm

Venue: Room 1-04, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RW

Contact: David Rose, Democratic Services, 0207 926 1037, Email: drose@lambeth.gov.uk  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome, Introduction and Declarations of Interest

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    Minutes:

    It was noted that John Whelan, former Lambeth Conservative Group Leader, councillor and member of West Norwood Cemetery Management Advisory Group (MAG) and Scheme of Management Committee (SoMC), had passed away on 30 July and the Joint meeting offered its condolences to his family and thanks for his hard work over many years. 

     

    It was also noted that the SoMC was inquorate and would proceed informally.

     

    The Chair welcomed all to the meeting and the following declarations of interest were raised:

    ·           Robert Holden had a family interest in five graves;

    ·           Jill Dudman was a cremation plot owner;

    ·           Nicholas Long was a grave plot owner; and,

    ·           Julian Briant was also a grave owner.

     

2.

Minutes of the Previous Advisory Group Meeting (28 March 2018) pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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    To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2018.

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 28 March 2018 be agreed as an accurate record of proceedings.

     

3.

Minutes of the Previous Scheme of Management Committee (07 February 2018) pdf icon PDF 101 KB

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    To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 07 February 2018.

    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting dated 07 February 2018 were deferred as the SoMC was inquorate.

     

4.

Operational Update pdf icon PDF 303 KB

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    Minutes:

    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:

    ·           No further memorial benches had been removed since the last update, but removal would be speeded up.  Any questions on benches should be directed to the Bereavement Services Manager.

    ·           There had been an increase in the number of grass cutting complaints across all cemeteries, but none over recent weeks, and officers would put up more notices to explain why cutting might not take place and improve communication.  Grass cutting would resume once the seeding of grass was complete and the removal of self-set trees would commence in the autumn.

    ·           Some larger conifers would be removed later in the year by the Grounds Maintenance team.

    ·           The Community Payback initiative would be extended to cemeteries after success with parks.

    ·           Additional surveillance would be installed following theft of minor equipment from the Robson Road working area within the cemetery.

    ·           The Supervisor position in Bereavement Services had been filled and additional posts of Bereavement Services Technician and Bereavement Services Supervisor had been created.

     

5.

Project Officer Update pdf icon PDF 77 KB

    Minutes:

    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, gave the following responses to questions:

    ·           Sally Strachey Design Conservation team would rebuild the Letts and Thomas Memorials with work to start on 01 September 2018.  This would be used as a template for future work pending the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid outcome, but permissions for the work in hand were now in place.

    ·           The memorials would have their coffins removed, with the Crematorium or St Stephen’s Chapel used to store them in the interim.  Shrub clearance was required for access and was in progress, whilst the Museum of London Archaeology team would oversee the process. The works would take into consideration and respect the dignity of any new burials in the vicinity.

    ·           Historic England were content as two monuments were being removed from their at-risk register.

    ·           There would be no attempts to obtain DNA from the corpses in the coffins.

    ·           The Catacombs’ scaffolding had been visited by local contractors and a structural survey had been carried out.  The quote for replacement from first contractor was unaffordable, and officers were awaiting further responses, with an opportunity to consult a structural engineer to provide costed options to inform discussion.

    ·           The Chair noted that the long-term plan was to replace the original Chapel and repair the water seal destroyed with the colonnades’ removal, and that current arrangements were not sustainable.

    ·           There was no update on grave re-use.

    ·           It was also raised that the computerisation of the cemetery records had fallen into abeyance and officers agreed to find out what progress had been made.

     

6.

Project Manager HLF Project Update pdf icon PDF 130 KB

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    Minutes:

    Joahanne Flaherty, Project Manager for HLF Project, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:

    ·           Several cost plan review workshops with a Quantity Surveyor had taken place to finalise the final design’s cost plans and delivery of works.

    ·           The Project Manager and Activities Coordinator had secured resources beyond the 31 August 2018 to continue activities, and would be in post for the HLF evaluation stage (September-December).

    ·           The penultimate meeting of the HLF Steering Group on 17 July 2018 authorised the final bid proposals with a final Project Board meeting on 21 August 2018 prior to submission.

    ·           All surveying and investigatory works were now complete, with pre-planning submitted in March and the team were now dealing with feedback from Lambeth Planning and key stakeholders.

    ·           The June stakeholder event, with Harrisons the Consultants, had gone well and received general support.

    ·           Officers were liaising closely with the HLF mentor and the local business estate on second entrances, with a petition for Faculty to be submitted commence shortly.

    ·           Full planning permission was now applied for the proposed Robson or Hubbard Roads entrances.  A second entrance might see an increase of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and pressures on local parking, but there would be extra CCTV managed by the Bereavements team with additional volunteers operating across the site and greater activity to counteract negative effects.

    ·           The consultants thought that a second entrance would encourage greater accessibility, whilst the Police believed it would not have adverse side effects.

    ·           The Chair of the Scheme of Management Committee noted that two of the original entrances were closed so that the Cemetery could appropriate road space and install additional graves.

    ·           The HLF grant would cover the installation of CCTV.

    ·           A Hubbard Road entrance would involve extinguishing rights in respect of several graves.

    ·           The Visitor Centre would be located within the existing lodge building, with Bereavements Services on the upper floor and the lower floor housing the reception, events and an exhibition room.  These proposals had gone through consultation with the Conservation team, Historic England and the HLF mentor.

    ·           Full planning had been submitted for St Stephen’s Chapel and the 16 heritage-at-risk monuments, but further work was required to make an accessible route to the Chapel.  Further site meetings were required to reach a fully supported option with more surveying work to be carried out, but it was hopeful design and planning permission would be agreed for the Bid’s submission at August end.

    ·           Contract negotiations were continuing with the Lambeth Legal Team and lawyers acting for the the Greek Cathedral Trust on the ownership of the Chapel, with working proposals seeing Lambeth take over the site including the boundary wall.

    ·           There were approximately 20 volunteers registering interest in undertaking practical conservation work in the cemetery, but the recent heat-wave had stopped more than one working party taking place.  There would be another in August and the programme would then resume on a monthly basis.

    ·           The Citizen Volunteering Programme from Dulwich College was planned to be on-site weekly for general maintenance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

HLF Bid Summary of Proposals pdf icon PDF 353 KB

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    Minutes:

    Nicholas Long, Chair of the Scheme of Management Committee, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:

    ·           The diagram in the agenda pack, pages 19-20 set out future governance arrangements, which proposed that if the HLF Bid was successful, the SoMC would seek consent from the Consistory Court for winding up the SoMC and replace it with a Strategic Partnership model. 

    ·           The Strategic Partnership governance model was used at Brockwell Park and had been working well.  The view of the Diocese was that Lambeth had taken on-board the lessons and learning of the last 21 years and was now time for change, but the MAG would continue in modified form.

    ·           Submission of the Round 2 Bid was due by 31 August with a Project Board meeting on 21 August 2018.

    ·           Governance changes would be phased in before the post-2023 management and maintenance plan.

    ·           The Partnership would see the Council work with other stakeholders and it was thought essential that the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery (FoWNC) and other stakeholders would have a formal right of appeal to the Archdeacon and Consistory Court. 

    ·           The terms of reference would also allow local member representation.

    ·           Officers would circulate the terms of reference and standing orders of the Brockwell Park Partnership Board, but noted that the Executive Committee sitting below the Board would have tripartite representation (elected members, community and the Council) would allow for flexibility with persons able to be co-opted for specific issues.  In addition, Lambeth would be under obligation to produce an annual report.