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Agenda and minutes

Contact: Consultation and Community Engagement Team 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The meeting was held via Zoom and chaired by Councillor David Chung and Councillor Joan Henry. Two residents and three councillors attended on Zoom with 94 additional views on YouTube. The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained how the meeting would work.



Commonside Trust update pdf icon PDF 2 MB


Naomi Martin, Chief Executive of Commonside Trust gave a presentation on activities at the New Horizon Centre. The presentation is attached to this report. Naomi set out the activities currently taking place at the centre:

  1. Step Forward – practical support for families including welfare, benefits, housing and a food bank. Outcomes include reduced isolation, maximised income and reducing inequalities
  2. Lunch club for older people – the Trust delivered hot lunches throughout the pandemic and provides food supplies, exercise and activities. Naomi said they plan to develop a ‘Living life to the full’ Hub
  3. Kicks – youth football supported by the Metropolitan Police
  4. Lockdown film project – working local young people and professional actors
  5. Polish Family Assocation is now based at the New Horizon Centre providing support on EU Settled Status, and food supplies


In-person activities at the Centre are beginning again and rooms are available to hire. Details can be found on their website, or you can email Naomi.


Councillor Henry asked about the foodbank moving to the Baptist Church. Naomi said there are number of different sources of food now operating with the Baptist Church open on Wednesday and Friday. The New Horizon works with the Community Fridge to deliver fresh food and host cooking session. There is also fresh food available from St Michaels Catholic Church on Friday mornings.


Cllr Henry asked if the Ghanaian Saturday lunch club is returning. Naomi said not yet but will be looking at other options


Warm and Well project


Olivia McKay, Winter Warmth Engagement Officer for Wimbledon Guild, gave an update on the Warm and Well Project. The project started in 2019 and is a partnership between Merton Council, Age UK Merton and Thinking Works.


Thinking Works is a free service in operating across five south west London boroughs that provides home energy assessments and assess eligibility for additional utility support. Thinking Works also provide a starter pack to residents that can help improve water and energy efficiency. Wimbledon Guild provides also provides referrals to Thinking Works for fuel vouchers. To be eligible you must be a Merton resident, and either over 65, have a long-term health condition or be on a low income.


Wimbledon Guild also provide a handy person service, a free service for small jobs that do not need technical qualifications.


The Warm and Well project also provides outreach to share information and can refer to other Guild services.


For more information, please email Olivia   


Cllr Akyigyina asked what publicity is provided to promote the project. Olivia said that she distributes promotional materials and attends outreach sessions.


Naomi Martin said that the New Horizon Centre is hosting a fuel saving day on 30 April in conjunction with Thinking Works.


Canons Update pdf icon PDF 5 MB


Amy Keen, Community Engagement Officer from Merton Council, gave a presentation on the Canons Heritage Project. The presentation is attached to this report. 


This is the final year of the project as funding runs out in December 2022. Improvements to Canons House include new windows; smarter interior; a new terrace; a new community room to be let by a workspace operator; and repairs and restoration to the Blue Room. The Dovecote has also been restored and is no longer on English Heritage’s ‘At Risk Register’. The Dovecote is now open and safe to visit. There is a new entrance to the site that incorporates the Obelisk. A new plaque celebrates the contribution of the Mitcham community.


In the grounds the running track has been re-instated, and a new interpretation space will explore the heritage of the track. In the pond silt has been removed, and wildflower meadows installed. There is a new community garden by the car park with volunteers involved in creating the space. A new play area was designed with Mitcham school children. Amy said she is still looking to make the surface and planting more robust. In the walled garden the surface has been repaired and the urn relocated.


Amy said that an attempt to let the café in 2021 was impacted by COVID-19, instead the plan is to have an interim arrangement for this summer so refreshments and toilets will be accessible. It was difficult to hold many events in 2021 but Amy hoped to be able to announce a schedule of events for spring and summer 2022 shortly. You can keep up to date by signing up for the newsletter.


Naomi asked if frogs and newts had been found in the pond and Cllr Henry asked if there were any fish. Amy said there were no frogs yet but ducks have returned. There are no plans to introduce fish. Naomi asked if it would possible to use the site for a lunch club picnic and Amy said that would be great she would be in touch to discuss further. 


Cllr Chung asked about the accessibility of the site and if disabled residents would be encouraged to use the site. Amy said that the house and grounds are accessible, and Amy would be happy to speak with any relevant groups to encourage use.


Community Forum review pdf icon PDF 93 KB


Kris Witherington, Engagement and Consultation Manager at Merton Council, gave a presentation on the review of the Community Forum meetings currently taking place. The presentation is attached to this report.


Merton Council is asking residents to provide feedback on their experience of the community forums, what they think works, and what they think could be improved. Kris has looked at what other types of engagement is taking place across London and ran through seven other models for engaging with residents.


Cllr Akyigyina asked about returning to face to face meetings or hybrid meetings. Kris said that currently the council policy is that non-decision meetings are still be remote but that should be reviewed. The hope would be return to face-to-face meetings and have online access by the autumn meeting.


Cllr Chung said some of the other models seemed quite complex. Kris he said he had simplified this for the survey. Any changes would be part of a wider context for how the council engages with residents.


Open forum


James McGinlay, Head of Regeneration at Merton Council had provided an update on the Rowan Park development. Final plans for community facility and health centre have been agreed and are currently going through the final sign off by the developer’s partner, CSM, and the Clinical Commissioning Group. James hopes to be able to provide a start date soon.


A resident asked if it was possible to create dedicated parking bays next to the on-street electric car charging points. AFTER THE MEETING: The Highways team said that we have had some complaints about residents not being able to access EV charging points, so we are looking to retrofit dedicated bays adjacent to some of the chargers, subject to the statutory consultation process. Residents can email to request a dedicated EV bay adjacent to an existing lamp column charger.  


Cllr Henry asked about the plans for Mitcham Carnival. Kris said that colleagues were planning for this summer and have been asking residents to feedback through a survey.


A resident asked if when the final works to the Mitcham bridge would be completed with boundary marker, fencing and tree planting. AFTER THE MEETING the following update was provided. The parish boundary marker sign is being cleaned and refurbished and will be reattached to the bridge in May/June. Some trees have been planted but more will follow.


Cllr Chung said that we had asked for the NHS to provide an update on the Wilson and the Mitcham wellbeing-hub as this project is essential for reducing inequalities, but they were not able to attend.


Councillor Henry thanked residents for attending and closed the meeting.



Date of next meeting

Thursday 6 October 2022


Thursday 6 October 2022 at 7.15pm, venue to be confirmed