At the last Green Coffee of 2014, we had some really interesting discussions.
First of all, we welcomed new member Maya to the group. Then we talked about recent developments - the decision to outsource Green Spaces management, the delay to planting the Remembrance Wood (including a response to the article) and the refusal of permission for the PassivHaus. See reports on these and other discussions below.
On 15th Jan, you are invited along to the 'Celebrating Sustainability' event. Sustainable Merton has invited the leaders of some of the most exciting community projects to tell us how they are making Merton a better and more sustainable place. Also, if you would like to join the trip to the Biodigestor next Tues 16th, please contact Jane.Alexander@merton.gov.uk
The next Green Coffee will be on Tues 6th Jan 2015 at The Gooseberry Bush, 115 Kingston Rd SW19 1LT. Please do join us at any time from 9.30 to 11am - or at the one after on 3rd Feb.
Wishing you all a very happy time over the Christmas holiday!
And if you're looking to mend your ways in the new year, then why not join Merton's "Stop Start January" - see HERE
December Green Coffee - news
1. Planning application for PassivHaus refused again!
The Built Environment
This is an application to build a PassivHaus (highly energy efficient home) in Merton Park. The first planning application was refused and so was the appeal. This second planning application (14/P3132) was heard by the council's planning committee on 13th November.
Despite the planning officers being satisfied, the application was refused. The main objection of a local councillor seemed to be that we should stick to British standards for sustainability and this was a German standard. The planning officer advised that this was not a good reason for objection and it would be better to object on the grounds given by the planning inspector for rejecting the appeal first time round i.e. the bulk and height of the planned building. The councillors voted to reject the application for those reasons. Find the draft minutes from the planning meeting HERE - see page 3.
Edyta and Dean are awaiting the official statement for refusal before appealing against the decision. There will inevitably be many more months of waiting before the appeal is decided.
2. News from Wimbledon Park
The butcher's shop in Arthur Rd has received a Grade 2 heritage listing. Since its closure, it was feared that the beautiful tiling inside and outside the shop (see HERE) could be lost through development. This listing should provide protection, but any work on the shop should be closely monitored to ensure it is complied with.
The Wimbledon Park Hall cafe is now open and is going well. Following many years of negotiations, this is a quite a success story for Wimbledon Park Residents' Association!
3. Green Coffee's Sustainability Check-list
This is a checklist for sustainable features that developers should be putting into practice or at least seriously considering. This has been put together by Green Coffee members and can be used by anyone to send to developers, especially when major projects are being planned. The aim is to encourage sustainability to be built in right from the start. The check-list can be used as it is, or modified to suit the particular development.
Please have a look at it - see HERE
If you have any suggestions for additions or amendments, then please send them in. The more input from everyone, the better it will be.
4. A new fund from the Green Deal
The last Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) of £120m was launched in May. The scheme generated a lot of interest and was closed in July when the money ran out. By Nov 2014, it is reported that 6,611 households has installed energy saving measures under the Green Deal Improvement Fund.
Laura and Polly have set up a company called Eco-Renovate to provide authorised green deal assessments and to help people to reduce their energy use. When the Green Deal was being set up, the government was told that trustworthiness of groups offering services was key to its success and any incentive acting against the interests of customers would destroy it. However, this advice was ignored and the result is that inferior services are being offered. September Green Coffee reported an example of such poor behaviour - one Green Coffee member found unwanted add-ons were added to a quote and the energy company representative ticked the box saying the client was not interested in the Green Deal without even discussing it.
The Green Deal has led to lots of people having their homes assessed. Many of those have installed some of the energy saving measures suggested in the assessment. However, not many have taken up the financial package, as it is usually cheaper to finance the work in some other way. People have been finding the Green Deal helpful for installing measures under the Renewable Heat Incentive and Laura has been doing a lot of assessments for this. Although there have been some areas of progress, an overhaul of the Green Deal is needed to encourage more people to make their homes more energy effient. This is unlikely to happen this side of the election.
POST MEETING NOTES:
DECC has announced they will be accepting applications for the next GDHIF from Wed 10th Dec. The fund is for £30m. As before, applications have to be accompanied by
(1) an EPC or Green Deal Advice Report recommending the improvements and
(2) quotes for those improvements.
There are grants of up to £4000 for solid wall insulation (it was £6000 in the last scheme) or up to £1000 when people instal at least two other energy-saving measures e.g. double glazing, new boiler.
Find more details HERE
Green Deal uptake figures are published monthly by DECC and show the total number of households undertaking the following :
- green deal assessements - 389,703
- green deal finance plans - 2,581
Find the full report HERE.
Gardening & Green Spaces
5. Decision to Outsource Green Spaces management
On 10th Nov, Merton's Cabinet decided to outsource the management of the borough's parks, roadside verges, allotments and cemeteries to South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) in partnership with Sutton Council. Attending this public meeting were councillors, Green Spaces managers and workers, members of Sustainable Merton, Tree Wardens and Friends of Parks groups and many expressed their unhappiness at this decision.
Since then, there have been community meetings to discuss the issues and a petition has been set up to oppose this decision - find it HERE
. At the scrutiny meeting on Thurs 4th December, the decision will be put under the spotlight. The issues raised include the following:
POST MEETING NOTE:
- management of Merton's green spaces is supported by voluntary groups - it's feared that people will not want to volunteer to do things, when their efforts will be contributing to a private company's profits. There has been no evaluation of the input from voluntary groups - it is estimated that over 1000 volunteers currently help to look after Merton's green spaces.
- the working relationship between the council and voluntary groups relies on there being a partnership approach, which is much more difficult between a commercial company and volunteers. For example, it's unlikely that the proposed umbrella organisation for Merton Friends of Parks groups could be formed if this goes ahead.
- SWLWP has no experience in managing green spaces and may have to subcontract to another group, making the lines of communication even more difficult.
- this contract will possibly last 25 years. Although there will be 5 yearly reviews, the contract could be difficult to get out of, if things go wrong, as happened repeatedly (in 2006, 2009 and 2012) when privatisation was tried before.
- there might be a counter-bid from council workers to manage green spaces, but for this to work, expertise will be needed in financial matters e.g. how to allocate overheads.
- it's unfortunate that there has been some politicisation of the outsourcing issue, as this is off-putting to many people.
the scrutiny meeting on 4th Dec was well attended, but it was decided not to challenge the decision made by Merton Council Cabinet. Find out what other cuts are planned in the Wimbledon Guardian article HERE
6. Remembrance Woodlands - planting postponed
At October Green Coffee, Keith announced that 420 trees would be planted in Wandle Park from 11th to 16th Nov. Volunteers from the Aymadiyya Mosque, local residents and school children would be helping with the planting. The Mayor agreed to come, children at Singlegate School had taken part in workshops and the trees arrived from the Woodlands Trust.
However, a local resident (the chair of Colliers Wood Residents Association) objected to the council, saying that this planting would take away open space and would be dangerous, because it attracted litter and drug-dealing. (The plan was to plant trees 75cm apart and to surround them with prickly plants to protect them. This approach has been used successfully elsewhere, with removal of prickly plants once trees are well established.) In response to the objection, the council asked for the planting to be postponed and asked the objector to lead a consultation to decide where to plant them.
This woodland is intended to mark the sacrifice of local young men who died in World War I, to provide a habitat for wildlife in an unused part of the park as well as all year-round colour, and to improve air quality (which is poor in Colliers Wood). The
schoolchildren would also plant poppy seeds around the Remembrance Woodland in the Spring of 2015 to create an additional visual feature.
There is now concern that the delay may result in the trees not being planted. The project had the approval of the Tree Wardens and the council officers responsible for trees and for green spaces. If you would like to support the planting as originally planned, then please send an email to Future Merton team members paul.mcgarry @merton.gov.uk and email@example.com.
Colliers Wood Residents' Association chairman (Kevin Godding) responds
At the Colliers Wood Residents meeting on the 4/11/14, residents were given the opportunity to express their views about the planting of these trees. This meeting made a democratic decision to put the project on hold pending further consultation. (See section 12.4 of the meeting minutes HERE
My only views on this matter are:
- As Colliers Wood is 1 of 10 areas of intensification within London - as outlined HERE - it is important that we understand what this means. We all ready know that at least 400 new flats will be built within a stone's throw of Wandle Park over the next 2½ years, all with no gardens.
- The LBM must ensure the provision and retention of sustainable, varied, quality open spaces and recreational facilities, thereby meeting the medium and long-term requirements for Colliers Wood.
- These must be managed and maintained to meet the requirements of residents and workers, whilst respecting the needs of wildlife and the environment.
- The range of uses should be varied, balanced, including recreation, sport, physical activity, informal, quiet activities and biodiversity, so contributing towards the quality of life, environment and community in Colliers Wood.
If it is established that we have more than enough space to meet these requirements, we can decide whether we want a Memorial Woodland. I cannot comment on the consultation process, as I have no involvement.
I should also say, the first time anyone saw a plan showing the location of these trees was 21st
Oct 2014 and Future Merton were unaware of the project until I questioned it this October. Hopefully this explains why I raised my concerns and why the residents' association made the decision it did.
Finally, I have discussed the matter with Sustainable Merton. They believe there are 5 alternative sites within the park to accommodate the trees. This was discussed at the Tree Wardens' AGM two weeks ago. Tom Walsh is reviewing this as an alternative with Doug Napier.
7. Colliers Wood - gardening now mornings; cooking & horticultural classes
At the Christ Church community garden, the work time has been changed to Friday mornings from 10-12am. It was getting too dark to garden in the afternoons! The new time means that members of the playgroup in the church hall and elders in the church can now take part in the gardening.
The wonderful Rosemary Jeboo will be cooking with Jerusalem artichokes and other produce from the garden on Dec 18th and Jenny Mortimer is holding a series of horticultural classes in the New Year. These have been made possible with funding from Merton partnership. There are still places in both. Please book soon if you are interested. Find out more in EVENTS below.
Making Colliers Wood Happy has a new cycling group and a running group. This joins several dance groups, laughter yoga, and lots more - see HERE
Recycling & Waste
8. Plastic bottle tops
There is still some uncertainty about what is the best thing to do with plastic bottle tops. One suggestion was to take the hard plastic bottle tops to Lush. However, it seems that Lush only recycles its own bottle tops and takes the rest to Garth Rd. People were unsure whether to leave the bottle tops on plastic bottles in the recycling box or to take them off.
Following the meeting, Jane advised that it's best to
remove the lids from bottles and put both the lids and bottles in the box. This is council policy and Viridor do recycle the bottle tops.
Other points made at Green Coffee:
9. Polka Theatre - ends coffee packaging recycling
- SavaCentre collects recyclables and sells them off, so they have an incentive to find a good use for things.
- A 'non-recyclables' label should be put on bins for landfill waste as it would make people reluctant to put recyclable things in these bins and so encourage recycling. Alternatively, a 'landfill' label might bring home to people what happens to the contents of this bin.
It was confirmed that the Polka Theatre will no longer be recycling coffee packaging. The Polka Theatre was collecting coffee packaging for recycling through the TerraCycle scheme - a website which allows recycling of items not taken by the usual routes e.g. baby food jars, pens & pencils, coffee packaging. The scheme requires somewhere public to host a collection box. Juliet is looking at alternative collection points in Wimbledon. Find out more about TerraCycle HERE.
10. Recycling bras
There is a collection point for bras at 'Naked Health' at 261-263 Coombe Lane, Wimbledon SW20 0RH. The collected bras are then sent for re-use. There can be problems with dumping second-hand clothes in developing countries, so distribution of used clothes must be done intelligently.
Books, Films and Events
This film will be screened on Thursday 4th. It stars Jeremy Irons, who travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution. We learn what happens to the huge amount of waste that goes unaccounted for each year and about individuals who produce almost no waste.
Unfortunately, it now clashes with the scrutiny committee meeting about Green Spaces and so some key people may not be able to come. Sustainable Merton and the council are paying for hire of the venue.
POST MEETING NOTE: There was an excellent turnout to see the film and Jane Alexander gave a short talk after the film. Hear more about it at Jan Green Coffee.
12. Celebrating Sustainability in Merton
At this event on 15th Jan, Sustainable Merton has invited people from around the borough to tell us about their sustainable projects and businesses. So far, SM has had acceptances from Alison from the Morden Hall Park Nature Club, Dave (the heritage orchard in Merton Park) and Leigh (the winning community ideas in the Future Wimbledon competition). Several other speakers are expected to come too.
Find more details under EVENTS below.
Other things Local
13. Wimbledon Winter Wonderland
Some Green Coffee members went along to this annual Wimbledon town centre event. The afternoon started with a screening of the Disney film 'Frozen' which went down well with children, then there were attractions such as rotating tea cups, a walk-in snow globe and lots of stalls. The Broadway was blocked off for the occasion and marshalls and police helped keep people moving along. The children's rides were quite expensive (thought to be £2 per ride compared with 50p last year). However, the fireworks were excellent and free!
The event is organised by Love Wimbledon. See the Wimbledon Guardian report, video and photos HERE
14. New member: Maya
Green Coffee welcomed Maya to the group. After living abroad for 11 and a half years, she now lives in Wimbledon Park. She would like to make new friends and is keen to get in touch with local artist groups. Find out more about Maya and her art HERE Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
15. The Nappy Library is up and running!
Abby sent a message to let Green Coffee know that the nappy library has started. Nappy demonstrations have been given, bookings taken for advice and hire, and there is a regular quarterly stall at Colliers's Wood Mothercare. Green Parents have helped four people convert to using nothing but cloth nappies.
The Green Parents coffee morning is going from strength to strength. Between 5 and 8 people meet each week and a community of people has developed outside of the Wednesday morning sessions. And a clothes swap event is being planned. Find out more under REGULARS below.
This small veggie box scheme supplies organic fruit and veg straight to your door. The quality is excellent, it's cheaper than buying organic veggies at the supermarket and the team are always willing to respond to requests. There is a special offer at present, with a standard veggie bag reduced to £7.10 this week. In this area, delivery is on a Tues morning. Check out the different bags HERE
17. Sunday Sound Lounge Festival
This is on the first Sunday of the month at Merton Abbey Mills. There is live music all day, cooking demonstrations, a drum workshop, a general market and the wonderful Colour House Children's Theatre. Occasionally, they show a green film. Find out more HERE
Sat 13th Dec 10.30am - 1pm
Soft fruit/fruit tree pruning and care
Regents Park allotment garden, central London NW1 4NR
Capital Growth is holding this short course where you can find out what care soft fruit trees and bushes require, from general maintenance and secateur care to pruning. We will also wander in the garden and look at the trailed fruit trees and the fruit bushes, with a chance for everyone to practice pruning. Book HERE Cost is £25 or £12.50 for members.
Tues 16th Dec at 2pm
Visit to Biodigestor
Trumps Farm, Chertsey, Surrey
Find out what happens to Merton's food waste by coming along. There will be spaces for about 5 people, so please register your interest with Jane at Jane.Alexander@merton.gov.uk
Sat 20th December 2 - 4pm
Reduce, Re-use, RESPARKLE!
Upstairs workshop, Tooting Library, 75 Mitcham Road, SW17 9PD
Crafts workshop using recycled materials. Transition Town Tooting's biennial free drop-in seasonal craft-making workshop. Using recycled materials to make creative presents, decorations or packages (for yourself or for others), with quite a lot of glitter. All welcome, all ages. Tuition and materials provided. Appeal for cardboard loo rolls!
Practical and fun session to illustrate how to make beautiful things from waste - and reduce our carbon footprints. See photos from our 2012 event HERE Find out more HERE
Thurs 15th Jan 7-10pm
Drake House (Wimbledon Guild HQ), 44 St George's Rd, Wimbledon SW19 4ED
Sustainable Merton invites you to join them for this annual roundup of achievements across the borough. It's an opportunity to find out about local green initiatives from individuals and community groups and learn more about Sustainable Merton.
7 pm doors open
7.30 pm Sustainable Merton AGM
8 pm speakers & discussions
Come along at 8pm for the presentations - or earlier if you want to participate in the AGM. Everyone is welcome. For queries, please contact email@example.com Find the venue HERE
every Wed morning 10am - early afternoon
Second Fridays from 9.30 - 11am
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Find out more HERE
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. Please contact Charles, Borough Coordinator Merton Cycling Campaign tel. 8949 0708 or email email@example.com for more details.
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.
Coffee in the Wood has cakes from local bakers, nice coffee and sometimes live music! It is also a Recycling Point for baby wipes and baby food packets.
John Innes Gardening Group
JI Gardening Group is currently meeting every second Friday. Meet up by the mulberry tree. Bring secateurs and a trowel. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
February to November only Second Saturdays 10am - 2pm
The Windmill Market
St Mark's Church, behind Wimbledon Library SW19 7ND
The local market in the centre of Wimbledon. A range of food and crafts from local businesses and artisans. Now free entry. To find out more or to book a food or craft stall, please contact email@example.com
Colliers Wood Community Garden
at the back of Christ Church Hall, in Colliers Wood
Join Keith, Nick, Peter and friends for some gardening. Also workshops on cookery and healthy living. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Keith at 07982 721 496
First Mondays of the month 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.
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