Venue: TH1 - 04 Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, London, SW2 1RW
Contact: Nicholas Joseph Democratic Services Officer
Welcomes and Introductions
The Chair, Nicholas Long, welcomed all to the meeting and proposed meeting informally due to inquoracy arising from Council delegates. The following declarations of interest were raised:
· Julian Briant was a grave owner; and,
· Nicholas Long was a grave owner.
Election of SoMC Chair and Vice-Chair
The election of the Chair and Vice-Chair was deferred to the next meeting.
To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 01/05/2019
The minutes of the meeting dated 01 May 2019 were noted as an accurate record of proceedings, but would be deferred to the next meeting of the Scheme of Management Committee (SoMC) for formal approval.
To note the minutes of the West Norwood Cemetery Advisory Group held on 12.06.19.
The minutes of the meeting dated 12 June 2019 were noted with the following points discussed:
· The £75,000 funding from the Trustees regarding the Greek transfer was a contribution for the Greek Enclosure boundary wall and was not for the monuments nor the Chapel.
· The Management Advisory Group (MAG) had discussed the cemetery-cinema walkway as part of earlier conversations on linking assets and had not recommended any course of action.
· It was noted that the pruning and felling of trees was becoming more urgent.
· The cleaning and restoration of kerbs to Mrs Beeton’s Memorial was a decision that should have come before the SoMC and might have required Faculty and was not for unilateral action by the Head of Bereavement Services.
Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, introduced the report, noting that:
· The scaffolding covering the Catacombs was no longer serviceable and would require a meanwhile investment partly funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF) to ensure it remained watertight and safe.
· Surveys had been undertaken to ensure the Catacombs were safe for working and visiting, and had been rated as generally good, with the following points raised:
o No further action was needed on asbestos;
o Air quality was acceptable, with minimal concern over dust samples, but visitors might disturb dust and it was recommended to clean up contaminated debris and dust.
o Bats were not present, but would require a further survey following future works.
o Continuing oversight of moisture levels was required, but there were no overall or immediate issues, and monitoring options were being assessed.
o All engineers had reported that the scaffolding needed attention, and the existing structure would be dismantled and be replaced with a partial covering of much lower height and lower cost. It was noted that the Norwood Forum had expressed concern over the current aesthetic value and that this needed to be heavily considered in future proposals.
o Additional trial pits were to be undertaken to determine waterproofing structures, as the asphalt layer had not been found when there was documented evidence of the use of asphalt. If asphalt were found it might affect the listing grade of the Catacombs (currently Grade 2) due to this potentially being the earliest known example of its use.
o The trial pits had been carried out with Heritage England’s involvement to ensure they were to standard and so as not to damage the membrane.
o The structural engineer had recommended three options following the environmental and the Council’s Quantity Surveyor was providing costing. Options 2 and 3 (agenda pack, page 6) would require dismantling of some of the rose garden.
o Waterproofing options (agenda pack, page 6) would all require drainage and work with Quantity Surveyor for affordability and suitability.
o Officers were costing improved Catacombs access works and would then seek Faculty permission to progress. Access to the public would be in the form of guided tours and supervised access; whilst the works would be of short duration once Faculty was received.
· A structural survey of the railings between the cemetery and library showed damage due to vegetation and trees on the library side, with the foundations also noted to be of a poor and non-consistent build. Trial pits would be required to examine the foundations whilst the wall was unlikely to be able to support replacement railings and it was likely that the wall would need to be replaced by metal railings in its entirety. Officers would work out options and costs and report back. In discussion it was noted that:
o railings had been submitted as part of the NHLF bid and would be of a traditional design (similar to the forecourt railings), but would not necessarily replicate those on ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes, noted the report and provided the following responses to questions:
· The agenda pack, page 11, set out the table of governance and escalation procedures.
· The delivery phase table (agenda pack, page 14) set out the timeline and management of works, with work currently in Phase 1 with works going out to tender in July for consultant expertise and credible packages of work across the three packages.
· The new Capital Works Project Manager was to be in place by August, and would have construction experience.
· The Communications Strategy would link in with Lambeth’s Communications Team and set out work over the next five years, aimed at widening the appeal of the Cemetery.
· Two of three Faculty petitions had been lodged with the outstanding Robson Road entrance submitted and a reply awaited.
· The Project’s cash flow project was on track with £6.7m to spend, with £210,000 scheduled to be spent by the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
· Concern was raised over governance, as under current arrangements the SoMC was required to provide formal authority to proposals and Faculty was required to amend the existing Scheme of Management. This matter was now urgent as the setting up of the NLHF Implementation Board and Shadow Strategic Partnership Board required the MAG/SoMC dissolution, whilst members of these bodies needed to report back to their constituents.
· Dan Thomas would press Kevin Crook on the Cabinet Member Decision (CMD) proposal to change governance, and attendees noted.
· The drafting of the Faculty petition would be undertaken by Lambeth officers and come to the SoMC for sign-off prior to being sent to the Diocese.
· The Chair noted that strong communications were required, especially on timelines and works, to manage wider public expectations.
Dan Thomas, Programme Manager for Capital Programmes; introduced the report and responded to questions as below:
· Information available outside the Cemetery Office had been improved to provide explanation and set explanation for cemetery works such as grass cutting.
· Grass cutting had been resumed, however the team had been understaffed to date and further staff were being taken on to close this gap.
· The conifer removal programme continued, with help from families and grave-owners.
· Plastic and other unauthorised objects were to be removed from graves, with a 28 day limit set after which items would be removed from graves.
· Year 13 Dulwich College students had been undertaking ivy clearance, weeding, vegetation clearance and cleaning on the Maddick and Maxim monuments, and had removed 27 tonnes of material.
· Community Payback was ongoing, focused primarily on trees and in future would involve a wider audience of community members.
· The Beeton Memorial works would complete by 08 July 2019.
· The removal of trees required improvement as the Cemetery garnered more publicity, as this would alleviate pressures to repair and clear monuments and vaults. In discussion, it was noted that there were c.500 unwanted or self-set trees due to a lack of maintenance since 1965.
· The SoMC noted their congratulations for the repair of the Maddick Mausoleum’s glass door, but that the external door handles required replacement.
· The SoMC noted its pleasure that the Bereavement Services and Cemeteries Maintenance teams now had a full complement of staff.