Wards Corner Coalition Minutes of meeting Mon 21st April 2008-04-24

Present: Ruth, Morris Cowidy, Brian Millington, Wendy, Mital, Jackie, Vicky, Elize, Carlos, Candy, Roy, Raul, Alix, Marta, Blanca, Manuel, Hazel London, Mrs Patel, Mrs Patel’s sister, Tiffany, Paul, Carol Ingram, Sara

1. Council elections
Candy informed us that Council elections for cabinet posts are coming up soon.

2. Councilor Isadores
Has informed Roy that he would like to meet with us

3. George Meehan
Is in the process of replying to Roy’s letter. He has taken so long because he has been seeking legal advice about issues to do with the legal status of the NDC.

4. Brian Milligan (Person who developed and wrote the council’s social enterprise strategy last year)

He runs a business development agency “without strong links to the council”
He has links with Bill Slade on the council.
He says that he can help organisations to structure themselves to raise funds and trade as a group.
He works from an office on Tottenham High Rd. Contact no.s were taken.

Roy, Candy and Vicky pressed him about who pays his salary – wanted to be assured that he was not linked to the council – that we could trust him. Asked what motivated his interest in our campaign.

He stated that he was not being paid by the council – although he also said that some of his funding may come indirectly from them.
His interest in our campaign, he said, comes from his “passionate interest in social enterprise”.
He wants to help communities to take control of their economies.
He thinks that he could be good at helping us to develop a strong argument including financial viability.
He would be able to do “a certain amount of work” for us free of charge.

5. Discussion about NDC Meeting 17th April

a) NDC’s letter to us re “incident”
Wendy has received a letter from Tim ? (one of the NDC people who chaired the meeting) saying that he wants to get in touch with us about an alleged “incident” that occurred during last Thusday’s meeting. He was asking who – which individual – he could deal with.
Wendy responded saying that we are a coalition and there isn’t any one individual person to speak to.
We don’t know what the incident is. Paul thinks that it may be when he stood over the minute taker to see that she was recording things properly. (I don’t remember him doing that)

b) Report back about the meeting
We didn’t report back on the meeting in a clear way. I suggest people look at the letter Ruth has drafted to the NDC if they want to get a clearer picture of what happened.
Briefly, for those who weren’t there, I will try to summarise:

Discussion of Wards Corner was last on the agenda.
It was left to the last 10 minutes of the meeting. (the meeting was then extended for at least another half hour)
They seemed to think that it was fair for them to attempt to report back on documents which we had not received from them. (we had managed to get a copy by another route with difficulty)
They presented the Cushman Wakefield report as unbiased even though it claimed to cover both the Graingers and the Community plan without having contacted us about it.
Graingers were represented on the panel to speak to the public – but we were not invited to have a representative, even at the meeting.
They didn’t enlighten the people at the meeting about the contents of the report beyond stating that it favoured Grainger’s plan.
They were very dismissive of our questions / contributions.
They appeared to support the Graingers man claim to have taken pains to consult/ negotiate with individuals affected by the proposed loss of their homes and livelihoods.
They questioned the motives of the Coalition – saying that it seemed that perhaps we were more interested in the buildings than people.

We responded robustly. People got very upset. The minute taker stopped recording what was going on. We requested another meeting to discuss it properly.
After the meeting we spent time talking to Tim on the street. He appeared to be listening. Jackie has sent him the link to the English Heritage document.

c) Our written response to the NDC
Ruth has agreed to draft a letter of formal complaint about the meeting to the NDC. She will email it around to us for approval/ comments before sending it off. (She has drafted it by now. This is the letter I suggest you read to get a fuller picture)
Brian and Tiffany suggested sending a copy to the Ombudsman to have it formally registered.

d) How do we deal with the NDC in the future?
Carlos raised this question. We had a discussion about how worthwhile it was to try and maintain some good relations with them. Should we remain hopeful and if not, at what point should we give up and try to expose them as a sham.
Carol Ingram, who was very involved in earlier deputation to the council in defence of Wards Corner, advised caution. She has had very demoralising experiences with the NDC in the past.

(Minute writers note; This has been a real headache to try to record and write about. I suggest in future we aim to let them take up as little of our time and energy as possible)

6. Press release
Tiffany suggested that we prepare a press release with a focus on human interest stories of individual people and businesses. She said that she would be willing to help to put it together. (She is an experienced journalist)

7. Community Plan development work.
Keep them coming.
They don’t have to be perfect – can be outlines and can be largely about our commitments and intentions.
Elize has done hers!

8. Open London
Very brief discussion about should we join them. Some people thought definitely yes.
Possibly some people in meeting don’t know much about it yet.

9. Sustainable Haringey.
There was a rushed discussion about ideas for what to do to represent Wards Corner Coalition at the Sustainable Haringey event on ?? (not sure of date)

10. Google mail
It was suggested that we set up a google mail account which would allow us to communicate with the whole group much more easily. Consensus of the meeting was that this is a good idea.

Chair – Ruth
Minutes - Sara