Agenda and minutes

Venue: Boardroom - Brent Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ

Contact: Bryony Gibbs, Democratic Services Officer  0208 937 1355, Email: bryony.gibbs@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair and Vice Chair

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

    (i)        That Councillor Farah (LB Brent) be appointed as Chair of the committee for 2015/16;

 

  (ii)        That Councillor Khatri (LB Barnet) be appointed as Vice Chair of the committee for 2015/16.

2.

Declarations of pecuniary interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant financial or other interest in the items on this agenda.

Minutes:

Councillor Langleben advised that he had been appointed as a council nominated representative to the West Hendon Community Trust Fund.

3.

Deputations (if any)

Minutes:

None received.

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:-

 

that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 18 March 2015 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

5.

Matters arising

Minutes:

The Chair clarified that if any matters of importance arose in between the meetings of the committee, the Chair and Vice Chair could be notified and that it would be helpful to do so in good time before the next meeting.

 

Sam Thomas (Canal and River Trust) explained that an update could be provided before the next meeting on rough sleepers in the Welsh Harp Reservoir.

 

The committee then discussed and noted the following points with regard to the West Hendon Development:

 

·         It was noted that the outcome of the public enquiry regarding the Compulsory Purchase of the West Hendon Estate was due shortly and further information would be circulated to all members with the minutes of the current meeting.

·         A short written update was provided by Terry Garner (Principle Planner, LB Barnet) regarding the position of SSSI Warden. It was commented that this information had been shared at the last meeting of the committee. The London Wildlife Trust (LWT) would be hosting the position and the queries regarding whether any charge would be made by Barratt London for the provision of office space remained outstanding. Dianne Murphy (Chair, LWT Barnet) advised that the job description for the position was due to be signed off imminently; the post would be advertised in the coming weeks with interviews being held in September 2015. It was anticipated that the Warden would be in position in time for the next committee meeting in November.

·         Concerns were raised regarding the level of noise from the development and the impact on the birdlife of the Welsh Harp. The committee agreed with the view that the planned measures to inhibit noise were ineffective. It was further noted that the contractors were not complying with the restrictions on working hours as stipulated in the conditions of the planning permission. Roy Beddard (Welsh Harp Conservation Group (WHCG)) noted that there had been no discernable impact on bird populations as recorded by the monthly monitoring surveys conducted by the WHCG. It was agreed that the results of these surveys could be circulated to the committee and the Chair agreed to explore this issue and provide an update to the committee prior to the next meeting.

·         Clive Cohen (LWT) raised concerns regarding the impact of the development on water quality and suggested that officers explore funding opportunities to enable regular monitoring to be conducted. A member highlighted that the Environment Agency (EA) did undertake monitoring of water quality. The Chair agreed to seek comment on this matter from the relevant officers.

·         The committee reviewed the written update from Nathan Smith (Barratt London) regarding the use of prohibited roads by contractors. Members of the committee reported that the issue was ongoing. The Chair encouraged members of the committee to report any incidents. It was noted that it was not always practical to take down the necessary details to enable accurate reports to be made. Possible solutions were discussed by the committee including the installation of cameras by Barratt London and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Update - removal of swales pdf icon PDF 132 KB

In line with the committee’s request made at its previous meeting, Terry Garner (London Borough of Barnet) has provided a brief written update regarding the removal of swales.

Minutes:

The committee reviewed the update. Dianne Murphy (Chair, LWT Barnet) advised that she had spoken with Emily Dresner (Natural England) with regard to this matter and had been advised that the swales had been removed without appropriate consultation. The swales formed part of the drainage plan for the site but also the environmental protection plan. The alternative suggestion of an underground tank could not address the impact of the loss of environmental protection caused by the removal of the swales. The Chair agreed to speak to the planning officers in Barnet and to seek an explanation of the process undertaken with respect to this decision and why the relevant authorities were not consulted as required.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Vice Chair liaise with the planning officers in Barnet to seek an explanation of the process undertaken with respect to the decision to remove the swales and why the relevant authorities were not consulted as required.

7.

Management Plan (Barnet) pdf icon PDF 273 KB

The committee is invited to note and make comments on the on-going site management issues during this quarter.

Minutes:

A report was introduced to the committee by Tracy Sawyer (Parks and Opens Space Officer, LB Barnet) detailing the on-going site management issues for the Welsh Harp area. Members were informed of the actions being taken to address illegal encampments in the Welsh Harp which included close working between the green spaces team, the safer neighbourhoods team and the police. Noting that the Canal and River Trust had been conducting similar operations, Tracy Sawyer confirmed that she would liaise with the relevant contacts on this matter. Aine Ryan (Strategy and Service Development Officer, LB Brent) highlighted that similar work was being undertaken by Brent and agreed to provide the contact details for the officer responsible.

 

Tracy Sawyer drew the committee’s attention to the incidences of wildlife crime detailed in the report. Clive Cohen (London Wildlife Trust (LWT)) highlighted that the Signal Crayfish referred to in the report were extremely harmful to native wildlife and action was required to reduce their numbers as recommended by the LWT and the Environment Agency. Following discussion, it was concluded that lobster pots which had been confiscated for evidence in relation to incidents of wildlife crime could not be used for this purpose. Sam Thomas (Canal and River Trust) asserted that this matter would be discussed between the LWT, Natural England and the Canal and River Trust to identify an appropriate way forward.

 

Tracy Sawyer concluded her presentation by agreeing to amend new signage due to be installed to include notice that fishing was not permitted at the Welsh Harp and to highlight that open water swimming was not permitted and was extremely dangerous due to underwater obstructions / currents.

 

RESOLVED:

 

    (i)        That the report be noted.

 

  (ii)        That officers be recommended to amend the proposed new signage at the Welsh Harp to state that fishing was not permitted and that open water swimming was not permitted and was dangerous due to underwater obstructions / currents.

8.

Management Plan (Brent) pdf icon PDF 119 KB

This report presents progress on the Brent Reservoir / Welsh Harp Management Plan since  the last meeting of the Committee and during the 2015/16 year to date.  The Management Plan is jointly managed by the three main land-holding organisations: Brent Council, the London Borough of Barnet, and the Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways). 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Aine Ryan (Strategy and Service Development Officer) presented a report updating members on the progress made in relation to the Brent Reservoir / Welsh Harp Management Plan since the last meeting of the committee. She advised that Giant Hogweed had been found in the east of the Welsh Harp Open Space, between the edge of the scrub woodland and mown path. Veolia had been notified and the area fenced off pending removal. Sam Thomas (Canal and River Trust) noted that the Canal and River Trust had also found Giant Hogweed on land for which it was responsible and similar action was underway. Aine Ryan explained that an infestation of the Oak Processionary Moth had also been found at Neasden Recreation Ground and had been treated by the Forestry Commission. It was highlighted that the caterpillar could cause skin irritation and respiratory difficulties for humans. Sam Thomas noted that a catchment area around the infestation would be checked to ensure that the moths had not spread to surrounding trees.

 

The committee was further informed by Aine Ryan that an Allotments Open Day was scheduled for Saturday 15 August 12pm to 3pm at Birchen Grove Allotment.

 

In drawing her presentation to a close, Aine Ryan advised the committee that the council had organised a Community Asset Transfer for the letting of the Welsh Harp Education Centre which was currently at the evaluation stage. Further details could be accessed via the council’s website. The Committee welcomed this approach.

 

With reference to the cessation of water sports activities provided by Brent Council, John Sheppard (Welsh Harp Sailing Association) and Phil Atkinson (Phoenix Canoe Club) agreed to explore whether their organisations could address the gap in provision.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

 

 

9.

Environment Agency - Verbal Report (if any)

Minutes:

None

10.

Planning Issues (if any)

Minutes:

None.

11.

Date of next meeting

The next scheduled meeting of the Welsh Harp is on

Minutes:

The committee noted that the next meeting was scheduled for 19 November 2015.

12.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Democratic Services Manager or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 64.

Minutes:

In response to concerns expressed by members of the committee, Tracy Sawyer agreed to speak to the team responsible for emptying the bins at the Welsh Harp to ensure that they complied with the current scheduled of three times per week.