Agenda and minutes

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.

Welcomes, introductions and declarations of interest

2.

Minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Scheme of Management Committee pdf icon PDF 100 KB

3.

Minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group pdf icon PDF 205 KB

4.

Operational Update pdf icon PDF 925 KB

    Minutes:

    Kevin Crook, Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:

    ·           Three memorial benches were scheduled for removal, with the 2019 programme to start soon.

    ·           Grass-cutting to start this week in Streatham Cemetery and West Norwood Cemetery (WNC) in a few weeks’ time.

    ·           Over-winter scrub clearance had been successful; with the area behind the Greek Chapel cleared and work continuing on Ship Path.

    ·           £35,000 money from the Capital Programme had been assigned for tree works in WNC, with the Chair of the Advisory Group having met tree officers to identify urgent and priority removals.

    ·           The Dulwich College community payback scheme was ongoing.

    ·           The work on the Johnstone memorial had been commissioned and was to take place imminently.

    ·           Work on the Beeton memorial was under review by officers, with cemetery staff reporting that it was the memorial that had received the most requests for directions and that its disappointing condition did little to enhance the Cemetery.

    ·           An additional excavator had been purchased and was to be kept on-site for future grave re-use, although its parking location needed to be confirmed, with the Chair noting that parking was a sensitive matter.

    ·           Officers were awaiting feedback from the Interserve programme on delays and the low brick wall repair works.  It was noted that there were no critical works impacted by the delays, and that Lambeth Facilities Management (contract managers) would seek another contractor if the original works could not be completed and work was expected to commence in April-May.

    ·           The Grounds Maintenance team had two vacancies and were currently unable to maintain two cemeteries at the same time, but this would be rectified in the coming weeks.

    ·           The recent vehicle collision with a heritage-at-risk memorial (Gabriel) had been passed onto the risk Insurance team, and an insurance claim would be pursued pending a costed damage assessment. The Chair asked that this be pursued fully as he believed it wrong that Lottery funding should be applied for the repair.

     

5.

Project Manager HLF Project Update pdf icon PDF 170 KB

    Minutes:

    During the discussion of this item, Councillor Ben Kind, Vice-Chair of the SoMC left proceedings at 18:03.

     

    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, introduced the report and noted:

    ·           The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had been rebranded as the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).

    ·           The NLHF’s substantive feedback was complimentary and had expressed confidence in the team and mission credibility.  Further NHLF conditions were awaited, but none had currently been placed.

    ·           The timelines (agenda pack, pages 9-10) would be worked into a programme and used to measure progress.

    ·           The Chair noted the desire of the Scheme of Management Committee (SoMC) to seeing its dissolution and a transition to a Strategic Partnership Board after consultation with the Archdeacon and via petition to the Consistory Court for decision.  This would align the governance to other models such as in Brockwell Park, but it was likely that the Advisory Group (MAG) would continue in some form. 

    ·           The Chair of the MAG was working with Councillor Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, on developing proposals for a shadow body to sit alongside the NHLF Delivery Board, prior to delivery of works.  The delivery of works was expected to complete in 2024, and it was proposed that a Strategy Partnership Board would thereafter administer cemetery governance.

    ·           The creation of a Strategic Partnership Board was to be agreed within Lambeth in order to achieve change and reduce cost, although this still required petition to the Consistory Court.  Until the Chancellor gave a ruling, the SoMC would continue along current arrangements.

    ·           Raj Mistry, Director for Environment, had noted that he was content with the model that delivered the NHLF development phase and was seeking to adapt and strengthen that for future works.

    ·           The Council was obliged to meet funding outcomes, and provide quarterly reports and financial submissions to the NHLF.  Draft cash flow outlines detailing the time of expenditure had been drafted and the NHLF role would mainly be in mentoring and financial administration.

    ·           There were a number of unknowns in the Bid and the NLHF had congratulated Lambeth on its transparency of these unknowns, with a risk-based approach to be taken on project components. However, tolerance needed to be articulated in relation to future problems arising and it was planned that these would go to a Strategic Partnership Board with operational authority.

    ·           The NHLF did not want to be a part of the Board, but would have representation on it. There would be regular monitoring meetings with the Board to provide an increased level of scrutiny.

    ·           Procurement was broadly split into two major work packages: civil works (including paths, drainage, etc.) and conservation works (heritage, monuments, chapel, etc.). 

    ·           The Cemetery was an operational, working cemetery and future works needed to manage these needs as disruption occurred, so that users had an equitable and satisfactory level of service.

    ·           Kevin Crook and the SoMC Chair would discuss the Board’s roles and responsibilities with councillors, in particular on ensuring accountability for expenditure.

    ·           The Cemetery had previously experienced civil  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Cemeteries Investment Update pdf icon PDF 578 KB

    Minutes:

    During the discussion of this item, Julian Briant, member of the SoMC, left proceedings at 18:16 and the meeting became inquorate, but proceeded on an informal basis. 

     

    Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, noted the report and provided the following responses to questions:

    ·           The Letts and Thomas memorials reconstructions were complete and had received significant scrub clearance. 

    ·           The lessons learnt would be applied to future monument restoration in the Cemetery and the Council now had a model for future work on a further 16 identified heritage-at-risk monuments. 

    ·           Lessons learnt mainly centred on processes and permission, including preparation in receiving assurance from stakeholders and that intervention was not standard due to the differing conditions of monuments and the deceased’s remains.  There was a need for an executive voice, covering the numerous parties, to allow swift decisions under a chain of command.

    ·           The quality of monument restoration was subjective as they were not restored to original conditions, but had been assessed positively.

    ·           It was acknowledged that the Council had been concentrating on the NHLF Bid, but the operational update detailed the ongoing and wider cemetery management.

    ·           The initial review into costed Catacombs interventions (including design options and cost implications) were not complete, but would be reported to the SoMC in May 2019 and comprised both access works and safety works via meanwhile investment.

    ·           Funding was needed to investigate design proposals and cost for the Catacombs to be a sustainable asset, prior to bidding the NHLF.  In addition, a consultation on potential future uses was needed.

    ·           It was noted that past schemes to restore the Catacombs required a structure over the central part so that the catafalque could rise into an enclosed space and would likely need delivery via partnership scheme.  In addition, the Catacombs was a listed structure, and the unused portions were a potential asset to the Cemetery and could be used to generate revenue.

    ·           The future vision of the Catacombs would determine the duration of current scaffolding.

    ·           The Catacombs had suffered from damp after the Chapel over the central portion was demolished and had damaged the protection from water ingress, leading to deterioration of coffin timber and potential health hazards from exposed contents.  There was also a columned façade along the Catacombs’ length, however it was not possible to confirm the existence of other lost structures.

    ·           It was confirmed that the damp readings had improved after the erection of the scaffolding.

    ·           An initial Catacombs feasibility study, funded by the Council, would give rise to options, and from that the Council would bid to the NHLF.

    ·           Diocesan authority was needed to confirm the potential use of unused space in the catacombs, such as further internment, which could be used to generate income.  It was noted in discussion that use of mausolea for internment was increasing, as demonstrated by Highgate Cemetery and Kensal Green cemeteries.

    ·           Planning permission for railings atop the wall adjacent to the Library was nearly complete and the Conservation team were content with the design.  They still needed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.