Deputations (if any)
To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 32.
NOTED the deputation received from pupils of Newman Catholic College School requesting the installation of public lighting in Roundwood Park and response provided by the Cabinet Member for Environment. Whilst no budget was maintained by the Council for the installation of new lighting the Cabinet Member for Environment advised she would be willing to explore (in conjunction with the Leader and Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) what other funding sources may be available and also to work with the school in developing a programme of advice for pupils around staying safe in the park.
The Mayor advised that, in accordance with Standing Order 32, he had received a request for one deputation at the meeting, which had been submitted by Mr Tahmid Islam (representing Newman Catholic College Community School) and related to the installation of public lighting in Roundwood Park. The Mayor welcomed Mr Islam along with the pupils attending from Newman Catholic College Community School and then invited Councillor Kelcher (as one of the local ward councillors in Kensal Green where the school was located) to introduce the deputation.
Councillor Kelcher introduced the deputation, advising that the speakers would be pupils from Newman Catholic College Community School who had been working with Citizens UK on various initiatives designed to improve the safety of citizens in the Harlesden area. These initiatives had included the creation of a safe space scheme involving local shops in Park Parade and Harlesden High Street as well as various other outreach work in which a number of local councillors had been engaged. He was therefore pleased to be able to welcome and introduce the pupils to the meeting.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Kelcher for his introduction and invited the pupils to address the meeting. As part of the deputation Members were advised that pupils at the school had been working closely with Citizens UK on various projects which had included the Safe Spaces community safety scheme, one of the largest in London for which the school had won an award. In addition, the pupils advised they were also campaigning for the installation of public lighting in the vicinity of the skate park within Roundwood Park as a means of preventing crime and improving safety in that area. As part of this process Councillor Muhammed Butt (as Leader of the Council) had attended an election assembly at the school in March. The Leader of the Council had advised that whilst keen to light up the park, funding constraints would make this difficult with the cost of the additional lighting being sought for the Park estimated at between £55-60k. As part of their research for the deputation, the pupils had identified the potential use of Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as an alternative funding source, with the estimated cost representing approx 8% of the current Neighbourhood CIL reserve. The pupils were therefore keen to explore with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways & Planning the basis for allocation of Neighbourhood CIL funding in support of community led initiatives for the local area in which the school was based, highlighting that the proposals were also backed by a 150 signature local petition, and to receive an update from the Leader of the Council on potential alternative means of funding the lighting proposals.
The Mayor thanked the pupils from Newman Catholic College Community School for their comments and then invited Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Cabinet Member for Environment, to respond to the deputation. Councillor Krupa Sheth thanked the pupils for attending and congratulated them for all their efforts and work being undertaken, recognising its positive impact on the local community. In terms of funding, she confirmed that the Council was unfortunately no longer able to maintain a budget supporting the installation of new lighting but would, be willing to liaise with the Leader of the Council and Councillor Tatler (as Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) in order to explore what other funding sources may be available.
At the same time Councillor Krupa Sheth felt it important to highlight that an analysis of anti-social behaviour data had identified a relatively low level of demand for new lighting in the park which may also have the unwanted impact of increasing numbers in the park late at night and the potential for anti-social behaviour. Recognising the concerns raised, however, Councillor Krupa Sheth advised that she would also would be willing to work with the school and meet again with the pupils in order to develop a programme of advice around staying safe in the park.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Krupa Sheth for her response and advised that this now concluded the item before once again taking the opportunity to thank the pupils and staff from Newman Catholic College Community School for attending in order to present their deputation.