Harrow proposal to charge for use of Parks etc

If you are not already aware, Harrow Council is proposing raising a charge for any events held in its parks or on the Highway. So far as Pinner is concerned this could affect the future of events such as the Village Show, the Pantomime Evening, the Summer Band Concerts and even the Annual Remembrance Day service held at the War Memorial in Pinner High Street.
As you may have read in My Pinner News (MPN), in theory there is now a ‘consultation’ process, which was launched in October but was not communicated to the Pinner Association.  We found out about only by chance earlier this month. Since the details were published in MPN the web site reference to the consultation document has now changed to
The Pinner Association has responded to the proposals as follows: 

Response to the Proposed “Events in Harrow” Policy – December 2015

The Pinner Association strongly objects to the Council’s proposal to impose charges for the use of parks, open spaces and streets in Harrow for events organised by charities, voluntary, community and non-profit making organisations.
In section 16 “Partnership working” of the proposed policy it is stated that:

This policy relies on strong partnership working. The council will work with the following key partners in delivering the policy.”

It is therefore very disappointing that we only got to hear of this proposed new policy via a third party, after it had been prepared and when it was already out for consultation. No attempt at liaison was made with The Pinner Association, which being a residents’ association is one of the “key partners” listed in section 16 of the proposed policy. The Pinner Association has been organising the summer band concerts in Pinner Memorial Park for more than 12 years, and we therefore have considerable experience of running a community event in a public park. Other local voluntary organisations, such as Pinner Rotary, have likewise been organising community events for many years. Neither we, nor any other local voluntary organisation that we have contacted, were involved with the preparation of the proposed policy.   Is this an example of the level of “liaison” that we could expect should this policy be enacted?
In section 1, “Introduction” of the proposed policy the Council’s stated aims are as follows.

“The council’s aim is to balance the need to hold events with its obligations to residents, businesses and visitors, ensuring that these activities continue to be regarded by all as safe, lawful, successful and fair. In addition, the council wants to enhance the use of parks and open spaces by supporting community, cultural, charitable and commercial events which in turn provide cultural, social and economic benefits to the borough.”

We consider that the proposed policy will have exactly the opposite effect to this as regards all charity, not-for-profit and community events; many if not all such events would cease to be held, due to the overly onerous charges required to use the public open spaces or adopted highways, to the overly onerous requirements of the required deposits and the excessive time before such an event that a completed application form is required to be submitted to the Council.

Pinner has a strong community spirit and this is to a very large extent the result of the many events held by different local charitable and non-profit making organisations. These include the four band concerts organised and paid for by the Pinner Association, the annual Mayor’s wreath-laying ceremony in the Peace Garden which is attended by local people and 90 children from West Lodge Primary School and is organised by the Pinner Association, and the Pinner Village Show organised by Pinner Rotary, all in Pinner Memorial Park.   In the Pinner streets, we have the Sunday Remembrance Service organised by the United Services Club and the Pinner Association, the St. George’s celebrations organised by Pinner Rotary and local businesses, Pinner Pantomime Evening organised by local businesses together with the Pinner Association and Pinner & Northwood Business Club, and “Carols by Torchlight” and the Good Friday Walk of Witness organised by the Pinner Association of Churches.   In addition, local people organise parties to raise money for local charities in the streets and open spaces.

The additional costs it is proposed to impose on charities and voluntary organisations are excessive and would, in our opinion, mean that most of the events listed above would cease to be organised. For example, The Pinner Association has calculated that, even with the discount for charities, the cost of organising the four free to attend, open air summer band concerts in Pinner Memorial Park as a result of the proposed charges will increase by at least £2,796, i.e. over and above the cost of the bands, etc.:

The band concerts would be classed as “medium” scale events, therefore the charges would be (from document Appendix A3):

Application fee: £660 – reduced by 40% (The Pinner Association is a registered charity) = £396

Hire charge: £1,000 per day for four days (four Sundays) = £4,000 – reduced by 40% = £2,400

Discounted Total: £2,796.

Additionally a deposit of £1,000 per day (with no discount for charities) would be required and would only be returnable if, in the opinion of Harrow Council, no damage had occurred to the venue, no noise or other disturbance had occurred, there was no litter to clear up, etc..   Therefore in addition to the £2,796 booking and hire charges The Pinner Association would need £4,000 available in additional funds in order to hold the band concerts and in the worst case situation the four concerts may cost us £6,796 before we have paid the costs of hiring the bands, etc..

This is a large sum of money and the Pinner Association trustees may consider that it would no longer be a good use of the charity’s funds to continue holding the band concerts, which are free of charge to attend and which we sponsor entirely from our own resources. As the organisers, we know how disappointed those attending would be if the concerts no longer took place. For many of the elderly who attend, the free concerts are a very welcome outing on a summer Sunday afternoon; somewhere local that they can go and be with other people and enjoy the music. And it is not only the elderly, families from all backgrounds come out, many with their picnics, and join in what is a very happy community event.

The terms and conditions of the required minimum time for booking would also create a real problem for the organisers of many community events. It is understood that for parks that do not have a licence for the activities to be undertaken at an event it is necessary to have a 10 week (small event – TEN licence required) or 26 week (medium / large / special events – time limited premises licence required) due to the constraints of the Licensing Act 2003, but these limits need not apply to the parks that are already licenced (listed in section 9 of the proposed policy). In our experience it would be very difficult to have all the arrangements in place to be sufficiently confident to book a venue for a community event 26 weeks in advance when many of the entertainers or other groups involved also work on a voluntary basis and cannot be sure of their availability such a long time ahead.

The required booking fees would be only 50% returnable after an event is booked, or non-returnable if an event has to be cancelled within a month of the booked date. With events planned for the open air it is sometimes inevitable that they must be cancelled due to weather conditions, to comply with health and safety or to preserve the integrity of the site. This could make the decision to spend at least half the cost of the booking fee for an event six months in the future a difficult choice for charity trustees who are responsible for the prudent conduct of the charity’s finances.
The extremely legalistic application document that community groups would be required to complete for medium sized events (events with more than 201 persons attending, a category which many local community events would fall into) will also deter such events being organised.   The requirement for a named applicant to sign this form which informs them that:
“This is a legal document. By completing the ‘application form’ you agree to keep to these terms and conditions. Failure to comply may result in your deposit being held or other action being taken. Action could be taken against you if you break these conditions and you will lose any deposit paid and/or be required to pay a fine.”

will deter many charity and not-for-profit community organisation volunteers from making an application to hold a community event. While we can understand the need to have legally binding agreements with the organisers of large commercial events, using the same type of form for all events with more than 201 persons expected to attend will result in charity trustees and volunteers from community organisations being unwilling to put themselves at risk of legal action and they will therefore refuse to organise any events. The excessive length of time that will be required to complete the detailed forms by forty days before the date of an event, and the need to get two references even for community groups that have been organising successful events for many years, will be another deterrent to the volunteers who previously gave up their time to organise community events.

We do not understand how forcing these events to cease by the imposition of the proposed charges and other onerous conditions will, to quote the Council’s proposed “Events in Harrow” policy (section 1 “Introduction”):
“enhance the use of parks and open spaces by supporting community, cultural, charitable and commercial events which in turn provide cultural, social and economic benefits to the borough.”

We sympathise with the Council’s need to raise revenue, however charging charities and non-profit making groups for holding community events in our parks and streets is likely to be counterproductive. These groups may well not be able to afford the charges, and so will no longer hold the events. Everyone loses. The Council gains no revenue and the community is no longer able to enjoy the events.

In summary, the proposed charges and other new requirements will destroy, not support, community events in parks, open spaces and adopted highways, and they will certainly not enhance the use of parks and open spaces. They will not achieve the stated aim of “Enhancing the borough’s reputation.”, rather they will further diminish the standing of Harrow Council in the opinion of many in the community.

The Pinner Association – Registered Charity 262349                                      December 2015

Parking Report

Summary of Responses re Pinner Revised CPZ and Parking Restrictions 2015: 

We received 14 responses to our appeal for people to let us know their experience of the revised parking schemes in and around Pinner.   Some responses covered multiple issues, and these were summarised and submitted to Harrow Council Traffic Officers in mid-October.

We have since been informed that the following locations / issues have been included in the Harrow Council current statutory local consultation on the Traffic Order for the six-month review of the revised CPZ:

(a) High Street Pinner – Loading bay outside Nos. 33/35 High Street, Pinner.

(b) Bridge Street, Pinner – existing disabled bays – Max Stay 3 hours.

(c) Leighton Avenue – additional Zone A permit bays.

(d) Paines Lane – 11am to 12 noon Monday to Friday waiting restrictions between Nos. 73 and 83.

(e) Love Lane – proposed school stopping prohibitions.

(f) Cannon Lane – Pay & Display in service road fronting Nos. 42 to 60 Cannon Lane.parktable1

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Pinner Pantomime Evening

As has been the case for many years Christmas was launched in Pinner on the last Thursday in November with the Panto Evening when many of the shops decorated their windows and staff dressed up as pantomime characters.  There were also street performances by School choirs and the Merrydowners Morris dancers.  Pinner was thronging with locals of all ages, all being entertained by a fabulous fireworks display to round off the evening. Competition Winners were:

Panto Fancy Dress Competition
Joint First Dri Blow Salon and Visage Salon
Second Shaketastic
Third ShuShu

Panto Best Dressed Window Competition
First Rawlinson Gold
Second Groomerz
Third Petals From Heaven

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Gibbs Gillespie Window
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Reddiford School
The ShuShu girls
ShuShu Girls
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Snow Queens

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Harrow Arts Centre – The Future

Following the tremendous response to the suggested closure of Harrow Arts Centre and Museum last year, you may remember that the Arts & Heritage service was given time by the Council to set up a company to manage the services  in future.The Council stipulated that we put a business plan in place to increase income and therefore become sustainable. Plans to meet this challenge have been created and include, amongst other things, the building of a new cinema.

Our new company, Cultura London, was incorporated in August this year and is currently awaiting confirmation from the charities commission regarding its charitable status. Further information on Cultura London can be found at www.culturalondon.uk. By January 2016, we need to show the Council how we will raise the funds to build the new Cinema.

We would never have got this far without the tremendous groundswell of support from the local community, for which we are incredibly grateful.

We are now holding drop-in sessions for you to come and view our plans so far and find out how you can help us achieve our aims. We have made progress with fundraising (the Council have agreed to a loan of £1million pounds) and our public campaign will be starting shortly.

If you would like to find out more about our plans, please do come along to meet the team and ask any questions you might have.
Sandra Bruce-Gordon
Arts and Heritage Service Manager/CEO Cultura London

 

Reply-To: [email protected]

NB Open days to publicise the plans were held on 11th and 12th November, but as has happened in the past insufficient notice was given, so I would suggest those interested should write to the above address asking for future dates.

Ed.

 

 

Remembrance Day Service

The usual multi-denominational Rembrance day service was held by the Pinner War Memorial on Sunday 8th November. It was a very moving service at which many wreaths were laid. The crowds attending the ceremony were greater than ever on a mild November morning.

At War Memorial in Pinner High Street
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                                                          Representing the Youth of Pinner
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Service was well attended
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                                                    The Parish  Church choir

 very mild November day.

Planning Application for 17.5 metre high telecom mast

Planning Application for 17.5 metre high telecom mast on the corner of West End Avenue and Marsh Road

There is a current planning application, number P/4612/15 on the Harrow Council Planning website, for the “Installation of 17.5 Metre High Monopole Supporting Six Antennas and Two 300mm Microwave Dishes; Installation Of Two Radio Equipment Cabinets; Associated Development” in West End Avenue, adjacent to the flank wall of 171 Marsh Road.
The Pinner Association has submitted to the Harrow Council Planning Department an objection to this planning application to install a 17.5 metre high telecom mast adjacent to a residential area, citing the following reasons for our request for refusal of this application:

  1. Although the address on the application is 171 Marsh Road, the proposed site for the new mast and associated boxes and infrastructure is in West End Avenue, a residential road of attractive Edwardian style properties.  The industrial appearance and bulk of the proposed boxes and mast would not be appropriate in this location being quite incongruous in the streetscene.  In their “Design and Access Statement” the applicants state that the site is “in a built up area with a large amount of street furniture”, even though their “as existing” site plan illustrates that this is not the case.  Currently on the site there are six small bollards (to stop parking on the pavement at this corner site), a lamppost and one small existing cabinet, all on the kerb edge of the pavement.
    2. In their “Design and Access Statement” the applicants concede that the new 17.5 metre high mast would “be a relatively tall structure and would have an impact on the surrounding area”, but then go on to seek to detract from that statement by saying “this minimal impact is acceptable”.   To whom would it be “acceptable”?  The new mast, which would be over 57 feet high, and the associated boxes, would be highly visible to anyone approaching along Marsh Road from the central Pinner direction, and from all those approaching down West End Avenue.  Due to the excessive height of the proposed mast it would tower above the surrounding buildings and be completely out of scale in this location, and be visible, and therefore intrusive, over a wide area.  The impact would be far from minimal and entirely detrimental.
    3. The two new large boxes are proposed to be sited alongside the flank of the corner shop at the bottom of West End Avenue, but the new mast would be positioned in the centre of the pavement, and therefore could be a hazard to any visually impaired, or an otherwise disabled, pedestrian, as well as parents with buggies, etc..
  1. This application has no exhibited site notice and very few local properties have been sent letters of notification.  We feel that additional notification letters should be sent and that the time for responses should be extended to allow local people time to consider and comment on the proposed plans.
  1. There is currently no extant planning consent for the former petrol filling station site in Marsh Road and thus the applicants cannot be under immediate time pressure to relocate.  They should use this time to identify a new site free from the objections above, e.g. on top of an existing commercial building.
    6. If, in spite of the above objections, and those from local residents, planning consent is granted for the new mast and boxes, we ask that a condition be applied such that once the technological requirement for this intrusive infrastructure ceases then all the equipment should be removed from the site.

Pinner Poetry Success 

          

Neil Elder, long-time resident of Pinner, has won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize with his collection, ‘Codes of Conduct’ that has now been published.

The collection falls into two parts: firstly, a sequence focusing on life in the world of work which centres around the character of office worker, Henderson, and the second part of the book concentrates on poems encompassing a wider interpretation of codes of conduct. Neil does not say whether his time as an English teacher at St Helen’s School, Northwood or his present role at St Augustine’s Priory in Ealing are inspiration for the satirical edge to part one of the collection. However, one of his colleagues said, ‘These poems are absolutely wonderful, witty and an annihilation of the corporate world’.

In his adjudication, Prof Ian Gregson, judge of  the Cinnamon Pamphlet Prize, said about ‘Codes of Conduct’:

“This collection  is  entertaining  throughout  but,  in  particular,  it  starts  with  a  sequence  focused  on  a  persona,  ‘Henderson’,  whose  experiences  of  office  work  satirically  depict  this  key  aspect  of  contemporary  life  in  a  series  of  representatively  farcical  and  self-­defeating  episodes.”

Neil hopes that the poems will highlight the discrepancy between what we believe about other people and what we really know. He says that his poems raise pertinent questions about the way we work and live under the guise of humour.
A fellow member of the English Department at St Augustine’s Priory added, ‘He executes the poems with great sensitivity, bringing to mind a modern day Willy Loman (character in Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’)’.
Some of Neil’s students have also been enjoying the work, and Katarina Krneta, Upper VI, commented, ‘This collection is simply fantastic’ and Shivali Sharma, also Upper VI, said ‘Mr Elder’s teaching, like his poetry, is inspiring’.

‘Codes of Conduct’ is available to order now from Cinnamon Press, and the usual online book sellers.

 

 

 

Wreath Laying in Pinner Memorial Park

On 20th October the Mayor of Harrow laid a wreath of Poppies in the Peace Garden of Pinner Memorial Park. A large contingent of pupils from West Lodge School attended and were subsequently given a tour of West House  and told about the significance and history of its Shrine Room and about Heath Robinson.
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WEA Northwood Courses

Theatre Studies: Plays In Performance 1
12/01/2016 to 22/03/2016 (allows for half term date – TBA)
Sessions: 10 (8 x 2hrs, 2 x 2.5 hrs); Total number of hours: 21
Tuesdays, 10.30am to 12.30 (1pm for 2.5 hour sessions)
Tutor: Stewart Permutt
Theatre Studies: Plays In Performance 2

12/01/2016 to 22/03/2016 (allows for half term date – TBA)
Sessions: 10 (8 x 2hrs, 2 x 2.5 hrs); Total number of hours: 21
Tuesdays, 2pm-4pm (4.30pm for 2.5 hour sessions)
Tutor: Stewart Permutt
Booking a place on a Study Day

 

Send your name, address, telephone number and cheque (£25 per person) payable to WEA Pinner and Hatch End Branch, with the title of the day on the REVERSE of the cheque to:
WEA days: Sandra Cheetham, 10 Holmwood Close, N Harrow. HA2 6JX
Please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for receipt and confirmation of your booking. A place cannot be reserved for you until your cheque has been received and confirmed.
No refunds within two weeks of the Study Day.