December Green Coffee - news
Wimbledon Town Centre
1. New ideas for Wimbledon Town Centre
Leigh has passed on the Brainstorming Notes from the last Green Coffee to the Wimbledon Society and Paul McGarry Future Merton at Merton Council - see them HERE. Below are some additional ideas from Green Coffee members, which will be added to the Brainstorming Notes. If you have any more ideas for Wimbledon Town Centre, please do send them to Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org
It was pointed out that it is unlikely we will get a new community hall after all this time and perhaps its better to go to different places for events. However, others were in favour of continuing to ask for community space, provision of which could be a condition for planning approval of a new development. The YMCA development might include community space. And some churches will provide space for free, if a meeting is very important. All of these places do have to recover their costs and so have to charge. See more about community spaces in the Public Spaces & Wimbledon Library article BELOW.
A survey by Friends of Wimbledon Town Centre (completed by 700 or so people) identified the top 5 priorities of Wimbledon residents - see below. These are roughly in line with ideas put forward in our brainstorming session. See more details HERE.
- Construct new pedestrian and cycle routes alongside the railway to link Wimbledon town centre to Wimbledon Park and the Wandle. The Crossrail 2 development presents a unique opportunity to build these links!
- Good signage is essential. Signs should be rationalised. Also, clear signage for pedestrians as well as a town centre map is needed.
- All new buildings should have ventilation systems which filter out particulates and NO2
Workers should not be breathing in dirty air (brought in from the street). Expelled air would be cleaner and would dilute pollution in the street.
- An information centre which would be a one-stop shop where people can see all the community activities going on around Wimbledon. This could be in the library or a new concert hall.
- A community space that is flexible and affordable. Again, this could be part of the library or the concert hall development.
- Historic buildings are popular.
- Towers are not welcome in Wimbledon.
- Buildings should be 7 storeys or less.
- People appreciate traditional architecture.
- The town centre could be improved with ‘more diverse shops’
Leigh attended a meeting on Sustainable Drainage Systems i.e. SUDS. New approaches to drainage include diverting water from drainpipes so that it soaks into grassy areas. This can reduce the volume of water going into the drains by 30%. Also, water in streets can be diverted to trees and greenery, which also provide a means of separating roads from cycle paths and pedestrians. Speakers included a spokesman from Lyon, France which is taking a strategic approach to understanding the benefits of trees and ensuring that they are properly included in urban development - see more information on trees in hard landscapes HERE And the Greater Lyon Tree Charter HERE.
3. Public Space & Wimbledon Library
The Wimbledon Community Association meeting on 23rd Nov discussed what space is available to groups to use. The WCA has set up WIMBLECOM, an excellent website where people can find space to hire and venues can publicise their space - see HERE. If you are looking for a venue, you can easily find one near you, its capacity and how much it costs.
There have been considerable changes at Wimbledon Library. A lot of space has been lost to create the Arts Space at the back of the library - this is used for performances after 7pm. Reference books have been replaced by online access to information sources. It was suggested that we find out more about current facilities at the library.
4. Merton Council Air Quality Update
The recent air quality report from Merton Council included 21 further measurements of NO2 levels from around the borough taken this year - see HERE. We have put these measures together with figures from Sustainable Merton and the Green Party.
It's important to appreciate that there are many variables in measuring air quality (distance from road, height of measuring tube, time of year etc. etc.) and the impact of these variables and the different ways results have been analysed and presented should be understood before comparing one set of results with another. Nevertheless, the figures give some indication of where pollution hotspots might be and show how it is well worth avoiding busy roads. Thanks to Tom K for sending in the Merton Council report.
5. Green Infrastructure & Air Quality - meeting report
A meeting on 24th of Nov was organised by London Sustainability Exchange and UCL to look at how green infrastructure in London can impact air pollution.
News from this meeting:
- Funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy could be used to investigate air quality, so groups are encouraged to ensure that air quality is a priority for CiL spending. (Coincidentally, Merton is holding a survey on this very issue - so if you want to ensure that air quality or any other issue is a priority, input your ideas HERE)
POST MEETING NOTE: The Building Regulations 2010: Ventilation (see it HERE) says:
- We should be focussing on air quality INSIDE buildings. Ventilation systems take in large quantities of air. This should be filtered (mechanically or using a biological filter) to remove NO2 and particulates to improve air quality for people working in those buildings and consequently the expelled air. Building regulations should ensure that all new buildings with ventilation systems have these filters in place.
- Reducing traffic volumes and transferring to cleaner vehicles remains the biggest priority. Trees and green walls can clean up air in limited spaces, plus have many other benefits. But clean ventilation systems could also make a significant contribution to air quality in our town centres.
- A Camden study tracked a pedestrian, cyclist, person on bus and person in car along a route on a Friday afternoon during rush hour in May, measuring the amount of black carbon aerosol each were exposed to over the journey. The person in the car was exposed to BY FAR THE MOST POLLUTION, the cyclist the least. See the excellent results HERE. PLEASE NOTE: this is not the same as the amount of pollution inhaled. A cyclist will be breathing more rapidly and deeply and may well be inhaling more pollution than sitting in a car.
"Ventilation is simply the removal of ‘stale’ indoor air from a building and its replacement with ‘fresh’ outside air. It is assumed within the Approved Document that the outside air is of reasonable quality."
It then advises that ventilation intakes should be placed away from parking areas, loading bays etc. and high above busy roads. But there do not appear to be standards for air quality or requirements for use of filters for incoming air. Perhaps worth investigating more.
6. Meet the Transport Providers
The next meeting of the Public Transport Liaison Committee is 17th Feb at the Council Chambers. Anyone can go along, meet TfL and other transport operators (buses, taxis, rail, car club, trams) find out what is happening and ask questions. See HERE
7. Lack of Bicycle Hoops
Juliet found that there were no bicycle hoops in the middle part of Wimbledon High Street, near The Ivy. It was suggested that she writes to FutureMerton's cycling officer Paul Miles at email@example.com to suggest putting bicycle hoops there.
8. Merton Cycling Campaign
Following the positive report at last Green Coffee, Charles has continued to liaise with Merton's cycling officer, Paul Miles. New routes are being considered including one from Merton Civic Centre to Kingston.
9. Stop Idling!
It was reported that a bin lorry sat for nearly an hour in the street with its engine running. It may have needed to do this to provide power for lifting bins. Also police cars have so much equipment that they need to keep their engine running to power it. However, there is often no apparent reason for leaving an engine on when stationary. Anti-idling policies have been introduced in several London boroughs - see HERE. Merton Council could apply to introduce this legislation as they are designated as an "air quality management area" i.e. air quality is a problem. A Green Coffee member will write to the council to ask if there is a policy on idling by public vehicles.
Waste & Recycling
10. South London Waste Partnership - news
The recent report from South London Waste Partnership includes a survey assessing how satisfied people are with the recycling centres, including Garth Rd - see it HERE. However, there are some concerns with the survey:
It was suggested that the drop in use of Garth Rd could be due to more being collected from the kerbside. However, collection of recyclate has been edging downwards overall. Some Green Coffee members said they are not using Garth Rd, but are going to other recycling centres which they find more user-friendly.
- Only people using Garth Rd have been surveyed. Many people don't use the site or have stopped using it and their opinions have not been sought.
- There was a 2% drop for the April - September period, including nearly 5% drop in Sept. This could indicate that dissatisfied users have stopped using the site.
- The quesionnaire says the opinions are "representative of the views of the local population as a whole". How can that be when only a self-selecting section have been interviewed?
SWLWP has organised a series of 15 events across the four boroughs - Restart Parties, Jumble Trails, Love Your Clothes. They will be looking for more opportunities in the future, so please do contact them with your ideas.
POST MEETING NOTE: Joyce has written to Cllr Garrod expressing concern about the survey and asking for more information about the questions asked in the SLWP survey.
11. Card Making Group
If you fancy making all sorts of greetings cards there are spaces for new crafters to join the small friendly group. It meets Wednesday mornings for 2 hours at the New Horizon Centre in Mitcham. Everything is provided to make a card although you might like to bring your own scissors. See HERE
12. Missed Waste Collection?
One Green Coffee member said that her waste was not collected last week. She was advised to report it via the council website HERE
13. Streetlife or Freegle your Waste Packaging
Alyson reported that bubble wrap and cardboard boxes are usually quickly claimed on Streetlife and Freegle. So you should use this for disposing of your waste packaging.
14. Buying Sustainably - Unpackaged & Suma
The shop Unpackaged lets you refill your bottles and bags, helping to save hundreds of pieces of packaging from your recycling box each year. Shopping at an Unpackaged also means less food waste as you buy just the amount you want. It is now 10 years since the first Unpackaged shop - and there are now hundreds of refill shops around the world. Thanks to Craig for sending this article. Find out more HERE
SUMA is a wholesaler which will deliver vegetarian, organic, Fairtrade and eco-friendly products, with a refill service for many products. Green Coffee member Joanna clubs together with neighbours to get a delivery every 3 months. Find out more HERE
15. Make Cotton Buds Sustainable & Keep On Campaigning!
Many people don't realise that flushing cotton buds down a toilet causes a problem, due to the plastic sticks not degrading and getting washed into the sea. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have all agreed to switch to paper. This demonstrates the success of petitioning! See the 38 degrees petition on cotton buds HERE
Many people feel disheartened at recent events here and around the world. However, it's important to remember that campaiging does work! So keep on getting involved.
16. SCTP - update
The Sustainable Communities and Transport Partnership is where groups involved in Environment, Transport, Housing, Infrastructure and the local economy in Merton exchange information and ideas - see HERE. Sustainable Merton chairs the Environment sub group of the SCTP and reports developments and issues back to it. The SCTP is itself part of the Merton Partnership, which coordinates service delivery in the borough. Find out more HERE.
News from the latest meeting:
- There was little mention of Crossrail 2 in the Autumn Statement and the government has asked for more work to be done on the business case over the winter, suggesting that the current government may be less enthusiastic about the project.
One person commented that identifying empty properties and ensuring that they are used could easily lead to a lot more housing becoming available. Another questioned that public subsidies should be going to electric charging points, when it would be better to get people out of vehicles and participating in active transport. It was pointed out that some people are not able to use other forms of transport, so cars are essential for some, and these should be electric.
- One Public Estate - involves a borough-wide assessment of land and property assets owned by public services (NHS, TfL, council, fire service etc.) The aims are to see where assets could be used more efficiently (e.g. through shared use) and to sell off excess land for building houses and development.
- The Housing Strategy is being renewed. It is hoped to set up a hostel for rough sleepers, as sleeping out has increased markedly in the last few years.
- There will be a consultation in January on Merton Council’s proposals to charge more for parking permits for diesel cars and less for parking permits for electric cars, compared to charges for petrol cars.
- 50 electric charging points are planned in Merton by end of March - and perhaps 50 more by the end of the year.
- At the next Wimbledon Community Forum on 6th Dec, Paul McGarry will be giving an update on the Masterplan for Wimbledon - see HERE.
17. Green Coffee - now in Tooting
There is now a Green Coffee Club in Tooting - and everyone is invited along to meet, exchange ideas and to make plans for the future. This is being organised by Transition Town Tooting with the help of Muslim Women in Merton. TTT also runs a Green Drinks monthly meet up. See HERE
Other Things Local
18. Council Tax Rise for Adult Social Care
The outcome of the recent survey by Merton Council was in favour of raising council tax to fund adult social care. 48% voted for a 3.99% increase - the maximum increase allowed under the government's rules. This will raise £1.5m and will help to offset the £5m cut in Merton's adult social care budget this year. Central government is requiring Merton Council to cut their total budget by £35m by 2020. See the Wimbledon Guardian article HERE.
19. CAMPAIGN: Divesting Oil shares from Merton Council Pension Fund
There is a campaign to encourage the council's pension fund manager to sell off the shares in fossil fuel companies. This kicked off in Merton with a meeting at Trinity United Reformed Church on 29th Sept - see HERE a video of the evening, including speakers James Featherby (Church of England), Nick Robins (UN Environment Programme Inquiry into the design of a Sustainable Financial System) and Juliet Phillips (Share Action).
Around 11% of Merton Council's Pension Fund is invested in fossil fuel shares, higher than most other London boroughs. Waltham Forest recently announced that it is selling off its fossil funds - and Merton Council is being urged to do the same. This campaign has been organised by Alban Thurston. See his analysis of Merton Council's Pension Fund holdings HERE and a template letter HERE. If you decide to send a letter to the council, Alban asks that you send a copy to him at Alban.Thurston@Gmail.com so that he can keep track of the campaign.
20. Free Meeting Space at Metro Bank
The new Metro Bank offers free meeting space. The meeting room just has seating for 5 people but can take up to 20 people standing. An Abundance member recently held a pop-up consultancy session for local small businesses. They ask that you book it at least 24 hours in advance.
21. New Fund for Environmental Projects
There is a new £1m fund from Viridor attached to the Beddington plant, primarily intended to support environmental projects in the four boroughs. See HERE
22. CONSULTATION: Community Infrastructure Levy
There is currently a consultation on how to spend the Community Infrastructure Levy (£500,000), where people can say what the priorities should be - see HERE by 19th Jan. If none of your priorities are listed, you can tick the 'other' option to say what you would like to see as a priority in Merton. It was suggested that air quality improvements could be made a priority.
23. Jane Buchanan - sadly missed
Auriel reported that Jane had passed away. Known as 'The Red Queen' (due to her red hair), she had been a very active lady in Friends of the Earth and the Green Party and had worked for Robin Cook and Tom Walsh. Famously, Jane campaigned against never-ending growth ... just before the 2008 crash!
24. New leaflet from WDC/CND
For 15 years, a peace vigil has been held in St Mark's Place at 6-7 every Friday evening. It was felt time to produce an attractive new leaflet. Please get in touch with Joanna if you can display these leaflets somewhere by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun 8th Jan 10am - 12 noon
The Information Centre, Wimbledon Common
This session will be encouraging children to use microscopes to see the wonder of nature. The Wimbledon Common Nature Club meets regularly - see REGULAR EVENTS
Fri 17th Feb at 7.30pm
Have your say on public transport
Council Chamber, Merton Civic Centre, Morden SM4 5DX
Everyone is encouraged to meet the people providing public transport in Merton and ask questions. The forum covers topics such as improvements to bus, train, tram and underground services, infrastructure improvements, particularly at rail stations, and bus operational issues including accessibility issues.
first Mondays 7.30pm
Wimbledon Beekeepers' Association
The Snuff Mill, Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, Morden SM4 5JD
The Wimbledon Division of the Surrey Beekeepers' Association is an organisation of Beekeepers, who operate in the London Borough of Merton and its surrounding areas. Each year, they organise beginners’ courses and a variety of educational and social events for members.
fortnightly Tuesdays on Wim Common - other dates elsewhere
Get fit and be sociable. Regular Walk4Life organised walks around Merton. Find out the dates and locations of Walk4Life walks HERE.
on hold at present!
The location of Green Drinks is under review. Watch out for new information on where and when.
every Wednesday morning 10am - early afternoon
Phipp’s Bridge Community Allotment
Join Gillian and her friendly group to grow fruit and vegetables. Disused land has been turned into a productive garden through people working together. You are welcome to join in, regardless of your gardening expertise - and you'll have the opportunity to take home some lovely fresh produce. If you would like to come and have a look or get involved, then please contact Gillian at email@example.com Find out more HERE
every Wednesday at 10.30 am
Merton Green Parents
Coffee in the Wood, 99 High Street, Colliers Wood
How do you balance the demands of being a parent and leading a more sustainable life? It can sometimes be difficult. Merton Green Parents provides a place to swap sustainable parenting tips and meet other like-minded parents. To join the group and for information about meet up times, visit the Merton Green Parents Facebook page or follow them on twitter @MGreenParents.
Merton Friends of the Earth - Monthly Meet Up
William Morris House, 267 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SD
Meetings have been suspended forthwith. Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
first Thursday of the month at 8.00pm
Merton Cycling Campaign meeting
All Saints Centre, All Saints Road, SW19 1BX
Meet other cyclists, find out about rides and other events and the latest on campaigns. No meeting in August. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email email@example.com or see website HERE for more details.
third Thursdays from 7pm
Morden Hall Park Nature Group
Snuff Mill Education Centre, Morden Hall Park
Find out more about the animals, vegetables and minerals found in Morden Hall Park. Or else share your knowledge with other like-minded people? The meeting is open to anyone interested in the work of the Nature Group. Find out more HERE or email NatureGroupMHP@gmail.com
every Friday 10-12am
Colliers Wood Community Garden
at the back of Christ Church Hall, in Colliers Wood SW19 2NY
Join local volunteers at the weekly workday to help with general maintenance and upkeep of the garden. Share the work and share the produce. For more information, please contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
second Fridays from 9.00 - 11am
John Innes Gardening Group
JI Gardening Group is currently meeting every second Friday of the month. Meet up by the mulberry tree. Bring secateurs and a trowel. For more information, please contact email@example.com
every Friday & Sunday 11am - 4pm
May Project Gardens
159 Middleton Rd, Morden SM4 6RW
Join Ian and the team. Very friendly gardening group, music, training and lots of other activities too. To volunteer or find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
every Saturday, 9am-1pm
Wimbledon Farmers’ Market
Wimbledon Park Primary School, Havana Road, SW19 8EJ
A chance to get your groceries direct from local farmers. Find out more HERE
first Sundays from 10am - 12 noon
Wimbledon Common Nature Club
Information Centre in Wimbledon Common
Fantastic nature club for children 6-14 years. Different topics covered each month e.g. pond dipping, shelter building, fungi foray and nature walks. For more information, please contact Auriel Glanville, Club Leader, on 020 8540 6154 or email@example.com
Friends of Ravensbury Park - Workday
meet at the bridge over the Wandle in the middle of the park at 10am
Help is needed to give your local park a general cleanup. Tools and refreshments provided. Sessions usually last about 3 hours, but please just come for as long as you like. For more information, call Jane tel. 07773 406 105.