PCA Newsletter 97 - October 2016

In This Issue

At the time of our last newsletter, the consultation on a CPZ for the Kent Gardens area had closed but the results were not yet available.  The results have now been posted on the Council web site.  In stark contrast to an informal poll conducted by residents that had suggested over 80% in favour of a CPZ, the actual results in the core consultation area were 50:50.  And not even roughly 50:50, but exactly 121 votes in favour and 121 votes against.

There’s a story behind those headline statistics, though, with thevoting strongly polarised between the streets on the outside of the block (in favour) and the Templewood Estate (against).  We don’t yet know how the results will be interpreted, but it’s difficult to see how even the most ardent CPZ enthusiasts on the Council (and there are a few of those) could justify changing the status quo on the strength of a 50:50 vote.

In addition to the core consultation area, residents in an outer area made up of Castlebar Park, Sovereign Close, Victoria Road and other parts of Cleveland Road, were also polled.  But they were asked a different question, namely “should a CPZ be introduced in the core area, would you like to be included?”.  The answer to that question was 76% Yes, 21% No and 3% no opinion.  Residents in the outer area were not asked for a view on whether the CPZ should go ahead in the core area, so no support for the core CPZ can be read into the outer results.  Furthermore, the Yes votes in the outer area will have been made up of some residents who want a CPZ anyway and others who do not really want a CPZ but were voting defensively against commuter parking displaced from the core area.  There’s no way of breaking the outer Yes vote down into those two categories – and of course we respect all opinions - but it’s difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions.

As it stands, there’s no justification from this consultation for introducing the core CPZ, so the vote in the outer area does not even come into play.  We urge our ward councillors and council officers to look again at the problem of commuter parking in Pitshanger (which is made worse by council officers displaced from Dickens Yard) and to come up with an alternative, less divisive solution.

The consultation results are on the Council web site here.

In previous newsletters we’ve been tracking the struggle by The Twyford CofE Academies Trust to find a site for its proposed third high school, known (for now) as North Twyford CofE High School.  Although the main site is still not confirmed, the Trust is confident enough of further progress to invite applications for Year 7 admissions in September 2017, with the embryonic new school to be housed initially at William Perkin High School in Greenford.

Applications made via the above route are said to be in addition to the six choices offered by the Council’s normal high school admission process.  The Trust has stuck by its earlier commitment not to include religion among the entry requirements, and the all-important tie-breaker criterion will be the straight line distance from home to St Peter’s Church, Mount Park Road (which is not far from Pitshanger).  Applications for Year 7 entry in September 2017 will close on 31st October 2016.  The application form and other details can be found on www.northtwyford.org.uk.

We’ve heard numerous reports of a recent increase in fly tipping, mostly minor rather than whole skips’ worth, starting roughly at the same time the wheelie bins were introduced.  We’re grateful to residents who have cleared up some of the mess and taken it to the dump, but the Council should really be dealing with the problem.  There are a couple of ways you can report instances of fly tipping or graffiti etc: the first port of call is the prominent “report a problem” page on the Council web site here.  Alternatively, the www.fixmystreet.com web site and associated smartphone app provide both an on-line form for reporting problem and a map view of local problems reported by others.

There have also been reports of wily foxes, who can no longer find their dinner in black bags, opening food bins instead and making a nasty mess.  We don’t think foxes can be prosecuted for fly tipping, but several countermeasures have been suggested on social media, including putting the food bin in a tight corner, storing it on top of the main recycling bin (or even inside, if there’s room) and clamping the food bin closed with a bungee cord.  Please let us know if you have any other ideas.

It's rather short notice, but the next consultation meeting on the Gurnell redeveopment will take place on Thursday 20th October at Gurnell Grove Community Centre, W13 OAR, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.  Details here.

A bit more notice for this one - the next meeting of the Cleveland Ward Forum will take place on Tuesday 22nd November at The Drayton Court Hotel start at 7pm - details here.

On Thursday 22nd September our senior members gathered at the Brentham Club, with guests from St. David's Home and Downhurst Residential Home, for our annual tea party for older residents.  Attendees enjoyed fizz and an afternoon tea served on vintage china, with entertainment in the form of a musical quiz and songs from the golden age, followed by a free raffle and a themed cake. As usual, this highly enjoyable event – now a firm fixture in the Pitshanger social calendar - was pulled together by our director of tea urns Lynda Pullman.

Our thanks go to the Brentham Club for the wonderful catering and the donation of the main hall for the event, and to the volunteers who made the afternoon a great success.

A recent but worthy tradition has been the inclusion of the PCA Chairman on the judging panel for the Pitshanger Allotments annual show.  This year it was Debbie Edwards’ turn to peruse the produce, along with committee colleague Linda Rivans and former allotments chairman Brian Field.  Debbie writes “I can’t pretend it wasn’t nerve wracking as I gave up my allotment some 25 years ago, but my experience of vegetable growing still “bore fruit” and I found it really interesting especially when seeing the sheer variety of beans one can grow nowadays.

"Amongst the prizes we awarded were best vegetable monster, best arrangements, best jam (which we probably discussed the most) and tallest sunflower.  A happy two hours spent with the allotment society showing the joys of home grown produce”.

Calm down, calm down, we’re not going to tell you how many shopping days are left before Christmas.  But there are some key dates you might like to note in your diary.

Light Up The Lane – Pitshanger’s premier winter event will take place this year on Sunday 27th November, from 4pm to 8pm.  We’ll bring you further details in due course.

St Barnabas Frost Fair – the regular warm-up act for Light Up The Lane, the frost fair will take place on Friday 25th November from 5.30pm to 9pm.  We’re told the event will be markedly different this year, moving from the hall into the church to make room for more stalls and attractions.  For children there will be a Snow Disco and Fancy Dress Parade, and the entertainment will include performances by Innovation Dance, the Gospel Choir and a Brass Band.  Full details on www.barnabites.org.

Ealing Choral Society – will be performing Bach's Christmas Oratorio on Saturday 19th November at St Barnabas Church.  According to ECS, the oratorio “depicts the birth of Jesus and the first days of his life, concluding with the adoration of the magi. The story is told through plaintive recitatives, contemplative arias, big choruses and rousing chorales”.  Tickets are £17 each (concessions available) from 020 8993 6465 or here, and further details on the ECS site here.

The PCA AGM took place on Thursday 13th October, and for the first time in the PCA’s history we didn’t quite make the required quorum (the quorum being the minimum number of attendees to make the meeting “official”).  Rather than just shutting up shop, your committee presented the report and accounts as usual.  The other business of the meeting was to elect the committee for the coming year.  None of the committee positions was contested, so as it stands your committee is made up of Debbie Edwards (Chair), Greg Swarbrick (Treasurer), Linda Rivans (Secretary), Belinda Harrison, Lesley Higgs, Eva Link, Lynda Pullman, Olivia Rawlings, Ingrid Waloff and John Waters (membership secretary and events manager).  No other business had been notified in advance.  We’ll be advising you about the way out of this constitutional mini-crisis in due course, but in the meantime we would be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and whether you would like to receive the AGM report pack via e-mail.  Please contact us via pca [at] pitshanger [dot] org [dot] uk (subject: PCA%20AGM) ()pca [at] pitshanger [dot] org [dot] uk.

Members in their mid fifties or older will surely remember the terrible news that the spoil tip of a Welsh colliery had collapsed onto the village of Aberfan taking 144 lives, most of them children in the local school.  (Your editor remembers the shock and grief, as filtered through the staid and formal reporting style of the BBC at the time).  That was 50 years ago this year, an anniversary that will be marked by a new BBC documentary.  A book inspired by the documentary Surviving Aberfan: the People's Story has been written by local residents Sue Elliott and Bevan Jones.  On Wednesday 2nd November at Pitshanger Bookshop the authors will read extracts from the book and BBC producer Steve Humphries will talk about the making of the documentary.  The event, which starts at 7pm, is free but please reserve your place via info [at] pitshangerbooks [dot] co [dot] uk (subject: Aberfan%20Event) ()info [at] pitshangerbooks [dot] co [dot] uk or 8991 8131.

The Brentham Club has announced the appointment of Anwen Roberts as their new club manager.  We know Anwen very well as a former PCA committee member and former proprietor of Roberts&Co, and wish her all the best with this new role.  The club has refreshed its website www.brenthamclub.co.uk and they are also now on Facebook.  The web site and Facebook are the places to go for the most up to date information, but a few dates you might like to note are Friday quizzes on 28th October and 18th November, the renowned Brentham fireworks night on Saturday 5th November and a comedy night on Friday 25th November.  For enquiries and reservations you can now go to anwen [at] brenthamclub [dot] co [dot] uk.

We reported in our last newsletter that the Council would be installing further boot-scrapers at more sensible locations in Pitshanger Park.  They’ve been dragging their boots so far but we will keep chasing until the job is done.

A slightly tangential piece of news is that the Council is currently running an online consultation into the history of flooding in the borough.  Anyone living near Pitshanger Park will have seen the River Brent burst its banks and creep across the park towards the play centre.  You can report your experience of flooding on the Council web site here.  The consultation closes on Sunday 30th October.