Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 15 October 2014

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2014

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The Society’s 2014 Annual General Meeting was held on 15th October 2014 in the Howe Lecture Theatre (QA080), Queen Anne Court, The Old Royal Naval College, by courtesy of the University of Greenwich.

  1. Welcome and Introductions

Richard Baglin (Chairman) welcomed those attending and Lesley Hodsdon (together with Jonathan Chandler, both representatives on the Greenwich Line Users’ Group) introduced the speakers from Network Rail and southeastern Railways.

  1. Greenwich Line Rail Travel - The Impact of the Redevelopment of London Bridge Station and Thameslink Changes 2015 -2018. Presented by Olivia White, Communications Manager – Thameslink Programme, Giles Bayram, Project Manager (Change), Thameslink Programme, Jayne Hemingway, Programme Manager (Change), Thameslink Programme, Mike Gibson, Public Affairs Manager, Southeastern and
    Mark Wittekopf, Southeastern

Giles Bayram from Network Rail explained the aims of the redevelopment work at London Bridge, which is (1) to reduce overcrowding on both Thameslink and commuter services, (2) to reduce overcrowding on the underground, (3) to reduce the need for interchange between main-line and underground services and (4) to introduce new cross-London services and improve public transport for the whole of the South East. He reported that, at London Bridge, the main purpose of the work was to untangle the track layout and to provide more reliable journeys and end delays to services that passengers currently suffer. When finished, this new track layout will remove problematic line crossings and complexities to leave three main rail traffic streams – the Cannon Street lines to the North, Thameslink in the centre and the Charing Cross lines to the South.

Mike Gibson from southeastern Railways explained the specific changes that will take place during and after the redevelopment work, particularly those which will impact on the Greenwich line and the passengers who use it. He confirmed that work will start on the London Bridge through-platforms (1 to 6) in January 2015. There will, therefore, be major and unavoidable disruption both to Thameslink and southeastern services for the next three years. The station will remain open throughout the work but some service changes will be inevitable. As dedicated lines are created some of the changes will become permanent.

There will be no Thameslink service (Bedford to Brighton – calling at both Luton and Gatwick airports) at London Bridge between 20th December 2014 and 4th January 2015. Then from 5th January 2015 until January 2018 not only will no Thameslink trains call at London Bridge, but only a limited services will run between the station and Brighton.

The new timetable starting in January 2015 brings further changes. From then until August 2016, southeastern services to or from Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge – there will be no platform at which they can stop while the work is undertaken. All services to and from Woolwich Dockyard, Plumstead, Belvedere and Erith will also be diverted to Cannon Street for the same time period but these will call at London Bridge. Services to and from Westcombe Park, Maze Hill and Greenwich (as well as Deptford, New Cross and St Johns will) will cease permanently to connect directly with Charing Cross and Waterloo East. All services on the Greenwich line will run into and out of Cannon Street.  Then between August 2016 and the beginning of 2018, no southeastern services to or from Cannon Street will call at London Bridge – all the Greenwich Line trains will be direct, non-stop between Deptford and London Bridge for 18 months.

The main permanent change affecting the Greenwich line is that rail services will in future all run into and out of Cannon Street. However Cannon Street Station – both main line and underground - will be kept open for longer hours and over seven days a week. The Greenwich line will also be served by longer trains to boost its capacity There will be slightly fewer peak trains (2 fewer in the morning and 4 fewer in the evening) but southeastern will monitor passenger numbers over the course of the new timetable.

In a vigorous question and answer session that followed the presentation it was confirmed that although there will be provision by TfL for alternative routes to be taken throughout the work by tube and bus (and without extra cost to passengers), these would not include a rail shuttle between Cannon Street and Charing Cross. The main benefit of the work to Greenwich Line passengers would be fewer delays to services and a much-improved interchange at London Bridge – with escalator and lift access to all platforms - when the work is completed

Southeastern railways promised that, from November this year, further specific information specific to the Greenwich line will be made directly available to passengers with advertising at stations and more communication with both the Greenwich Society and GLUG.

Jonathan Chandler, the Society’s Honorary Secretary, requested the departure of non-members and commenced the formal business meeting of the Society.

  1. Apologies

Over 80 members attended and, with guests invited to hear the presentation prior to the business meeting proper, over all attendance exceeded 100.

Apologies were received from Janet Kitchen, Lizzie Loveridge, Clare Marchant and Andy Smith.

  1. Minutes of the AGM in 2013 - Approval of the Minutes

The minutes of the AGM in 2013 were formally approved by the membership.

  1. Annual Report
    1. Chairman’s report

Richard Baglin thanked the speakers and, arising from the Annual Report (circulated with the September Newsletter), he noted several priorities for the coming year (in addition to the Greenwich Line issues already discussed):

  • The Mayor was about to issue a new consultation document on the proposed Silvertown tunnel, with further information about implications for traffic and air-pollution. Opinions were divided, and the Executive Committee would welcome comments from members before the end-year deadline.
  • The Arches leisure centre was closing and the building was being marketed, with sale guidelines mentioning the importance of preserving at least the external appearance. Ursula Bowyer (President) had tried to get the building listed by English Heritage as of architectural significance, without success, and the Society would continue to urge at least partial preservation at the next stage.
  • The Society was pressing the Council to endorse new arrangements to consult local residents on regeneration issues, particularly on the Peninsula and in East Greenwich, in the light of changed rules for infrastructure funding, given that the management agencies for the Town Centre and East Greenwich had been allowed to lapse.
  • Society membership had increased during the year, and the Chairman urged members to do more to recruit friends and neighbours
    1. Treasurer’s report and accounts

David Matheson, the Society’s Honorary Treasurer presented the accounts to the membership.

    1. Approval of the accounts

The accounts were formally approved by the membership.

  1. Executive Committee elections
    1. Re-election of continuing members

Both Derek Fordham and Helen McIntosh were re-elected to the Executive Committee for further period of office of 3 years (expiring at the AGM of 2017).

    1. Election of Vice Chair

Alan Bailey was re-elected as Vic Chair for a further period of 1 year (expiring at the AGM of 2015)

  1. Questions

In discussion a number of topics were raised:

  • Cllr Mary Mills drew attention to the group set up to preserve Enderby House as a telecomms museum.
  • The issue of high-rise developments along the river was mentioned, as was the campaign to maintain a right of way across the green space between Bardsley Lane and Creek Road; in both cases the Society had commented on planning applications over a lengthy period.
  • The problem of through traffic from Greenwich South Street along Royal Hill was raised; the Chairman said that in the earlier consultation residents had only been able to agree on the road closure already implemented, but Cllr Matthew Pennycook said that the Council was re-examining the problem.
  1. AGM Close

The meeting closed at 9.15pm. Full reports of the rail presentation and questions are published on the Society’s website.

  1. Refreshments

Attendees were invited to talk take refreshments and to talk to the Executive Committee officers and members.