Can I ask publicly, that one or all of you clearly and candidly explain the following:
I would hope that the response would not be a direction to the few out-of-date documents available in the public domain. Nor would I appreciate a "we'll be able to tell you soon" response. This thread might be a useful reference for the type of communication we have had to suffer thus far.
As you will all know the GLSG was set up in 2002 to address the very real problems happening in Green Lanes with the gangs, protection rackets, illegal drinking clubs and other criminality which resulted in gang warfare one afternoon where someone was fatally shot.
I am sure residents will agree that the GLSG has done a lot of good work over the years including bringing in the Mayor of London's Outer London Funding which is currently regenerating the area. Green Lanes is now unrecognisable from the dark days of 2002.
It was set up with council support with traders, residents associations and councillors making up the core group. I suspect the sensitive nature of trying to move forward from the problems of 2002 meant that the group had to be very tight and confidentiality essential to protect those involved. It is unfortunate that this has generated a culture of secrecy and mistrust but it is something that the current members want to address going forward. There has always been an option for people outside the main core group to come to the first part of the meeting.
The groups governance is currently being discussed and terms of reference revised – I have missed the last two meetings due to scrutiny meetings but I am sure Cllr Brabazon will be able to add more to this.
I don't know why the agenda and minutes are not on the council website – everyone in the group agrees they should be and going forward they will be.
The group's relationship with the Area Forum is a two way thing and both feed into one another.
Clearly the GLSG will be feeding into the 20 year plan though I haven't seen the final submission document yet.
I hope this brief summary helps but please let me know if you want more clarity and I will be happy to help.
A man with gunshot wounds from this famous "Battle of Green Lanes" is standing for the Enfield & Southgate constituency Labour nomination. He has an endorsement from David Lammy. No doubt he would have been allowed onto the GLSG were he a councillor in Harringay. Is the potential inclusion of Ali Gul Ozbek as leader of the GLSG the main factor behind the hurried adjustments to the constitution?
what does GLSG stand for ? Not as in morally and all that but actually what are the letters an abbreviation of?
Green Lanes Strategy Group.
I see, thanks John
Like Karen says the GLSG was established in 2002 after the shooting in Green Lanes. There were two very large public meetings with the police about all the problems of gangs, drugs, protection rackets, social clubs, waste, dumping and anti-social behaviour. These were organised by the Council's Neighbourhood Management Service. From that the local Neighbourhood Manager brought together residents' groups , traders, Council services like Enforcement and Waste, the Police and other agencies to develop a consensus and plan on what needed doing to improve the area. At the time there was significant conflict between residents and traders so having areas of agreement was vital to improving the area. Through our then neighbourhood plan, we brought improved streetlighting, timed waste collections, street trees, enforcement actions on social clubs, illegal gaming, etc and £100,000 to improve the bridge and the surrounding environment. I know how much work went into this and it was a terrific achievement. We also fought for the licensing scheme for HMOs. Nilgun was chair for all those years.
The GLSG also organised the Food Festivals obtaining sponsorship and liaising with the Council.
The three residents groups involved were the Ladder Community Safety Partnership, the Gardens Residents' Association and the Woodlands Park Residents' Association. They each nominated their reps who report back to their own meetings. The Green Lanes Traders reps report back to their membership in the same way.
The group was supported by the Neighbourhood Management Service until the Council closed that down in 2011.
I set that out by way of introduction since over the last 12 years the group has campaigned for the area. The Council acknowledged the role of the Group by designating it a formal consultative body, and whist Nilgun was Cabinet member for the Environment and Chair of the GLSG it was serviced by a Council officer after Dasos retired. She took minutes and sent out agendas and could post these on the website.
The officer moved jobs and Nilgun stood down. I took over as interim Chair from October 2013 and have tried to keep things going to ensure the current projects are realised. The main task has been to oversee the delivery of the Outer London Funding and Green Lanes Capital improvements projects. I should be clear here that the Green Lanes Traders and the GLSG applied for the Outer London funding, not the Council, which is a real achievement. Whatever your gripes about the group I think getting a million pounds for the area is something to celebrate and this was led by residents and traders working together.
Despite my best efforts and nagging, the minutes and agendas have not been posted on the website. I have chased this with the relevant officers and my next step will be to go to Haringey's Chief Executive. Its an administrative task which an officer has to do. A councillor cannot post things on the website.
As well as working to ensure delivery of the capital schemes -which include the new paving, the micro -squares, the bridge refurbishment, new shopfronts and the area outside the Salisbury, the other current priority for the group is the 2014 Food Festival.
I cannot predict what will happen after the local elections, but if it was up to me (and I speak for myself here, not he group) I would want it to work around issues like enforcement, dealing with HMOs, the night time economy and matters which affect residents and businesses and where people have very strong views.
Governance has been an issue for a long time because the group's role is so unclear now within the local authority. Nilgun's departure made the issue even clearer. So people have begun work on drafting some terms of reference so the group can have its own structure and formal status.
Regarding the Council's 20 year development plan, the fact is the Group has not had time to discuss this given the pressure to deliver the big capital schemes. We had a brief talk about it the other night and about the need to respond. The GRA and LCSP have submitted their own comments and I have posted these on HoL.
The people involved in the GLSG have been, and are enormously committed to the local area. They don't always agree, but they do all work hard for people in Green Lanes. We have all done our best to keep things going in what have been a very difficult few months.
Regarding the Area Forum in an ideal world the GLSG should and could report to the forum. No reason why not. I've tried this. Maybe the next lot will reinstate it. But the fact is at present there is little commitment to the old community engagement model which existed when Neighbourhood Management was around. Without some staff and resources holding things together is a lot harder. I think Area Forums need rethinking. During my tenure I've tried to generate debates on local issues and to make meetings relevant and interesting. I write to people and try to encourage participation, post it on HOL etc. But this is a different time now and the money and political commitment to community engagement went a long time ago.
Maybe after May 22 it'll all be different.
Councillor, St. Ann's Ward
Chair, St. Ann's and Harringay Area Forum and Committee
Hi Zena, given that everyone in the group agrees the minutes and agendas should be made public and that despite your best efforts and nagging the council website isn't getting updated with them in a timely manner how about for now lets have them posted here on HoL? Just add me to your GLSG distribution list so i get them when you send them out to the Traders, GRA, LCSP etc and i'll post them here on HoL for you, if you don't trust me to do it then pick someone else. What do you say?
Zena it's all very well to say that they people in the GLSG are good people and do good things (which nobody doubts) but the fact that it's a secretive organisation and wields a fair amount of power locally means that it is open to abuse, one day.
Karen and Zena, I'm not sure that I've ever heard anyone seriously question the motivations of all those involved in the GLSG. Nor have I seen anything but explicit recognition of the hours many of the members put in and the good results that come out of the group's work.
Having said that, I can't believe that either of you fail to understand that, it's not just the intentions of those who 'govern' that matter, nor even is it just about the results. Were that the case, we might all look east, laud the noble intentions of China's rulers and marvel at what they've done with the old place.
In my book, it's critically important that people feel welcome and involved. Let's take the festival as an example. It's been an unmitigated success and I would be the last one to want to knock it or the long hours that people like Rob and Andy put in to making it work. However, as I kept repeating to the GLSG in 2011, I would like to see local people given the opportunity to be involved from the get-go, to be co-authors of a neighbourhood festival. The first outline of this year's festival looks fantastic and I sense that I can read some of the handwriting. I'm sure it's going to be even better than ever before. But I wonder how it would feel if the GLSG had openly invited people to be involved in designing it?
Through everything that came out of HoL, I've been involved with enough community development projects around the country, done enough reading and been a speaker at enough events to have dipped my toes well into the Pieran Spring of community development and engagement. I know how hard an area this is to work in and the challenges that local government and the third sector face.
No doubt you are both better versed in this field of work than I. This is why I fail to understand why the reaction to requests for greater openness from the GLSG always seems only to occasion defence of what is good about the group. It smacks to me of a circling of the wagons. I would hope to see both of you embrace with open arms the interest that people show and their willingness to get involved, to grab the the opportunity eagerly and to throw doors wide open.
We all know that far fewer will pass through the GLSG portals than who claim the right to so do. But some will come and they will make a difference. And those who don't come will at least know that they can if they want to, and that too will make a real difference.
The minutes from the January 28 GLSG meeting are attached below. The GLSG has done great things and I am sure the 2014 festival will be a success. I don't see why anyone who wants to volunteer can't be involved. Nilgun is chairing so why don't you just contact her, find out when the next meeting is. I think the more people involved the better as it is a community event.
The GLSG is going to change. I think everyone realises that. I've explained why in my previous posting and can only say I am pressing hard for that to happen.
Regarding posting of minutes and agendas on the website I am writing to the Chief Executive this weekend. The Council's lack of response is unacceptable and it certainly isn't doing much for community engagement.
Cllr, St. Ann's Ward
I'm sure people will be able to volunteer as they were last time.
The festival will be great.
But these facts miss my point. I used the festival to illustrate a wider issue.
As for the festival itself, when I was attending the GLSG in 2011, I repeated many times a request to get people involved as festival authors not just actors. There's a big difference. It didn't happen last time; I fear it won't happen this time and it sounds like things have been pretty much shaped already. The festival will still be great and the GLSG members should still be applauded for their contribution.
I'm sure you're keenly aware of my point, but for the record, it would be great to hear all councillors enthusiastically embrace a wider involvement of locals as authors as well as actors in both the festival and all sorts of other activities that get led by the GLSG.
Thanks for attaching the last minutes.