- Stella Etheridge (SE)
- Dennis Moor (DM)
- Beryl Coxon (BC)
- Rodney Bennett (RB)
- Andrew Mollett (AM)
- Natalie Egan (NE)
SE opened the Meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed everyone, including Councillor Graeme Arthur. Unfortunately, Councillor Neil Reddin was unable to attend.
She addressed the Meeting, saying that for those who were present at our Open Meeting in October last, they may remember we combined it with an AGM which, due to Covid, had been unavoidably cancelled the year before. This Meeting was an attempt at getting back on track as AGMs are traditionally held in April before the financial year gets underway. Therefore there will only be 6 months to report upon since our last Meeting. We have gained three new Committee Members, Andrew Mollett, Natalie Egan, who now handles relevant planning enquiries, and our new Webmaster, Lee McIntosh, who is trying to get our website sorted out as it is badly out of date.
The battle for Christmas lights with TFL (who own the lamp posts along the red route and demand nearly £600 for a licence to use them) began early and it was only due to the sheer dogged determination on the part of Andrew Mollett, that at the eleventh hour, permission was granted and we had lights. AM will update us on the negotiations and fundraising already underway.
In spite of these very welcome recruits to our Committee, we still have gaps to fill. At present we have no one to run the Garden Competition this year and SE asked if the people present would think about this and possibly a Garden Sub-Committee could be formed.
When Sarah Chant left us, we presented her with a number of mini daffodil bulbs for the Community Orchard. These are now in bloom and should naturalize in time. The trees in the Orchard are now blossoming, so well worth a visit.
The Council has planted numerous young sapling trees along our streets and we hope that people in nearby properties will water them throughout the summer.
With the cost of practically everything on the rise, our Residents Association has to take into account the production of the twice-yearly Newsletter. So far we’ve frozen the cost to our Advertisers but printing is becoming more expensive and we are looking for economies. We like to think our twice-yearly Newsletter is a quality product and considered a fair exchange for the £2 subscription we ask for annually. Possibly it could be produced just once a year or in the form of a simple News Sheet or using lower quality paper for the inside pages. SE said we would welcome feedback on these possibilities.
Regarding immediate local issues, the state of the roundabout at the bottom of Glebe Way continues to be an eyesore, with TFL (who own and are therefore responsible for its maintenance) constantly prevaricating over every enquiry or complaint. The Coney Pub’s unsightly alfresco seating area is now demolished and we are keeping an eye on what replaces it. Most residents are aware of the proposals for the upper storey of Wickes. We recently investigated the rumour that the actual business was to close, but now learn that it will not be closing after all. However, there is much immediate concern over the exit from their car park onto the short section of Croydon Road, frequently used as a shortcut to Addington Road and often by speeding vehicles. Speed humps are suggested or the blocking of the exit altogether. Maybe someone would be willing to take this up with the authorities, rather than it be TFL’s responsibility.
In the 1930s Coney Hall briefly became National news when a new resident, Mrs. Elsy Borders, moved into 81 Kingsway and found the faulty structural condition was the result of the dodgy dealings between the Building Society and the Builders. Her property wasn’t the only one with problems. She founded the Residents Association, organised a Mortgage Strike and her valiant campaign for justice resulted in a new law providing protection for future first time buyers. However, with the outbreak of war in 1939 this episode faded from memory and became largely forgotten. We have decided the story is worth reviving and would like to erect a Blue Plaque on the house in which Elsy once lived, in appreciation of what she achieved. The present property owner is very keen to co-operate and the Council is considering the idea.
Unfortunately, the Police were not in attendance, having been invited, so there was no report from them.
Cllr. Graham Arthur then spoke. He is standing down at the next election and he introduced Cllr. Alexa Michael who, if re-elected at the May local elections, will be taking over from Cllr. Arthur. She was also present by invitation. Her area will cover Coney Hall, Keston & Hayes. Cllr. Arthur said because of the lead up to the local elections, he is limited to what he can say. He has enjoyed his time as a Councillor very much and has served Hayes and Coney Hall since 1998. He said that he had his Wedding Reception in the Assembly Rooms in 1966, so has been part of the area for many years and said how vital the community is. He spoke about the isolation and loneliness of people during Covid and how lovely it was to see so many people at the Meeting. DM, who joined the Residents Association in 1982, and is now our President, thanked the Councillors for all their many years of service.
The Meeting was then open to questions from the floor. SE asked Cllr. Arthur if he had any knowledge about Wickes and if the exit into Croydon Road could possibly be blocked off for safety reasons, but he said this could only be decided by the Landlord of Wickes. He said he would look into it and see if he could help, as many people were worried about the number of vehicles now coming and going out of the car park and also the traffic coming into the cut through to Addington Road. Sarah Chant said she could see chaos if that exit was blocked off so that all traffic would then becoming and going into and out of Kingsway. One resident suggested rubber speed bumps but that would have to be done by Wickes. Cllr. Arthur said that a Traffic Engineer could go and look at the situation.
A resident spoke about there not being enough sports facilities for youngsters in Coney Hall and much debate took place respecting this. Also, security was discussed as the park has to be secured at night to prevent travellers from going in with their vehicles. Because this subject has come up many times before, SE felt perhaps we should have a Sub-Committee to deal with this. RB spoke about the tennis courts and the fact that the nets were bought by residents. We will not get funding from the Council. Alison Regester, who runs the Nursery in the park and is a member of Friends of the Park, has done much fundraising for sports facilities and she has another project in hand at the moment with Bromley Council. She has been working at the Nursery for 25 years and is persistently trying to get more equipment in the park.
SE then announced that the next step in the Meeting was to vote on the Committee. All Members had been asked if they would be willing to stand again and all were happy to do so. Joy Lever proposed the Committee re-stand and this was seconded by Michael Lever. At that point, SE announced to the Meeting that she was going to retire next year and outlined what her role entailed. There used to be a separate Chairperson and Secretary, but as various Members have left, she has now taken on both roles. She asked that everyone present give thought to this and she would welcome discussing her role with anyone who might be interested.
SE then asked AM to speak about fundraising for the Christmas lights. He outlined the complexities of what was involved and the difficulties with TFL He is happy to deal with this but we need sponsorships, donations and fundraising. AM was thanked for all his efforts. SE is planning to have a garage sale for all of Brian’s old tools that he acquired over the years and would let people know when this would take place. She is happy to give the money raised towards the Christmas lights fund. She is also willing to put on her Exhibition of Coney Hall again but is worried about where to hold it as it needs to be somewhere very accessible to local residents. She spoke about possibly the empty premises next to the Vape shop and said she would make enquiries about this.
SE then introduced our Speaker, Alison Regester, who spoke about her Nursery in the park. She had displayed many interesting photos taken over the years.
SE thanked everyone for attending, drinks were then available and the meeting closed at 9pm.