Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Progress Residents Association’s 2015 Group Receives St.Mary’s Volunteering Award

Press Release no: 2014/06  
  19 November 2014

The Association’s 2015 Group, having developed plans for the events that will be mounted in 2015 to celebrate the Estate’s centenary, is now concentrating on their delivery.   Their hard work, time and efforts have been recognised by St. Mary's (Eltham) Community Complex Association who have presented them with their 2013/14 Volunteering Award.

The Association’s Chief Executive, Patrick O’Sullivan, said ‘St Mary’s introduced these awards in recognition of the fantastic work Volunteers are doing with our Affiliated Groups.   We believe that volunteering is both valued and necessary in our society and there is a forever growing need for volunteers.  We want to raise the profile of volunteering and make sure it is talked about as much as possible to facilitate and encourage opportunity’s for the future’.

Our photographs show Lynn Bennett Usher receiving the Award from Patrick O’Sullivan on behalf of the 2015 Group and (from left to right) Lynn with fellow Group members Jill Holmans, Avril Martin and Lisa Jonker savouring the moment at a subsequent committee meeting.

Note for Editors:

Originally named the Well Hall Estate, The Progress Estate was built in 1915 to provide housing for the many additional workers the Woolwich Arsenal needed to manufacture the armaments required by the services during the First World War.   Conservation Area status was granted in 1975, in recognition of its unique architectural character.

For additional information, please contact:
Keith Billinghurst
Progress Residents Association committee member
56 Arsenal Road
London  SE9 1JY

tel: 020 8856 5593 or 07962 877389
Twitter:             @ProgressEstate

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Guidance for the installation of roof lights on the Progress Estate

The latest edition of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Planning Guidelines for the Progress Estate was published in October 1998 (‘Planning Guidelines’) and has been replicated in the Resident Association’s leaflet The Progress Estate: When do I need planning permission?    

Periodic changes in the number of applications to install roof lights is probably cyclical; as house prices rise, and supply falls, many people would rather turn their loft spaces into living accommodation than sell up and move to larger properties.

One of the governing documents for the granting of planning permission on the Progress Estate is the Progress Estate Character Appraisal, adopted in December, 2007:

Para 7: In architectural and historic terms, the Progress Estate houses are a successful sophisticated exercise in the picturesque tradition of garden suburb town planning.   There was a conscious attempt to emulate the organic growth of the traditional English village …Factors which contribute to this architectural effect include ...roof forms … 
Para 14: … The damaging effect on roofscape of … roof lights: The estate was designed and built entirely on two floors – ground and first floor - and its roofscape is an important visual characteristic. …

Planning permission is not required for the installation of roof lights on rear roof slopes.   All other works to roofs on houses in the Progress Estate, including the installation of roof lights on the front and flank roof slopes along with dormer windows and the replacement of roof tiles, will require planning permission.   The installation of roof lights on front and flank walls that are clearly visible from the public highway (including foot paths) are unlikely to be approved.   The open character of the estate means that cases will be decided on their individual merits.

People considering undertaking alterations/works to the roofs of properties in the Progress Estate Conservation Area are strongly advised to contact Royal Greenwich’s Planning Department to discuss their requirements before committing themselves to any expenditure.

Neither the Progress Residents Association nor its committee members, jointly or severally, can be held responsible for this note or if the Royal Borough publishes revised Guidance.   The Planning Department is split into teams.   

To find a team’s telephone number, go to then scroll down to Telephone enquiries, enter the name of your road and click on the button marked ‘search’. 

Any Resident is free to contact the Residents Association at who will provide further assistance where possible.

Monday, 17 November 2014

December 2014 Newsletter

Dear All,
I hope you are well.
It was nice to see many of you at our Fish and Chip evening this summer and I look forward to seeing you at our AGM/Christmas Event on December 6th

You have helped us in our endeavours by communicating your concerns to us and I would like you to feel you can continue to so.  We are always open to suggestions to make the work of the committee appropriate to the ongoing needs of the Estate. If you have some ideas or would like to be involved, please contact me -  Rita Billinghurst 07947 043479.

Matters Residents want to be considered at the AGM are called Resolutions. These include nominations for people to serve as Committee members, which must be seconded by a Resident who is present at the meeting. Resolutions will be accepted if a majority of Residents present vote in favour. 

Resolutions must be in writing and be received no later than 7 days before the AGM. They should be sent to the acting Secretary, Margaret Oliver, ideally by email by 29th November, 2014. Those without access to email should telephone heron 020 8856 5280 to be told the address to which they should write. Letters must be received by her by the same date so please allow time for postage. Please include your name and address in your email or letter.

Starting at 2:00 p.m.

Refreshments, including mulled wine and mince pies, will be served afterwards.

Raffle with seasonal prizes – tickets on the door

1) Minutes of the 2013 AGM
2) Annual reports (included in this Newsletter)
3) Resolutions submitted to the acting Secretary
4) Election of Officers and committee members
5) Election of sub-committee members:
a. The 2015 Group
b. The Social Media Group

2015 GROUP
The Group has been working hard all year and new members have joined it. The list of events for next year’s celebrations is just about finished. Although we were unsuccessful with our Lottery bid, our contingency plans mean we remain able to hold them all.

We have been supported and helped by a number of businesses, schools and organisations for which we are very grateful. 

The events (to be held in the Progress Hall, Admiral Seymour Road unless otherwise stated)are as follows:-

March 21st. Garden talk and plant sale. 

April 17th BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions. Gordon Primary School.

May 22nd John ‘Antiques Roadshow’ Sandon evening. 

July 10/11th Old Time Music Hall. Priory Players. 

July 25th Summer Celebration and Treasure Hunt. Lovelace Green.

Sept 11/12th Art and Photography Show. St. Mary’s Community Centre, Eltham High Street.

October 3/4th Estate History Walks.

Nov 6th Forgotten Voices. Recollections of WW1. Priory Players. 

Dec 12th Christmas Carols and Social. 

I hope a number of these events will be of interest to you and look forward to meeting you at them. 

Please watch out for more details on the posters we will be displaying locally and advertising in SEnine next year.

Please contact me if you would like to help at any of these events.
Rita Billinghurst 07947 043479

As listed above, we will be holding a Garden Talk on 21st March 2014. This will be during the afternoon. If you have cuttings or unwanted
plants they would be very welcome on the day.

I know a number of you have gardens of which you are rightly proud so we are asking if any of you would be willing to open them up for one day next summer. If you are interested, please contact me. 
Rita Billinghurst 07947 043479

The creation of our website, an active email address list and the option for people to ‘like’ us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter has been a significant achievement in the development of the Association since these were launched in the Summer of 2013. 

By the end of September, we had created 82 pages of information on our website. The most popular were those advertising the items we have for sale to mark our forthcoming centenary and the ones dealing with Planning permission. The site had been visited by over 17,000 people.
About 25% of the page views were from other countries:
USA 2,364
Ukraine 258
Russia 245
Germany 208
France 164
Turkey 68
Brazil 55
Iran 36
Netherlands 35

Our Twitter followers number 278, to whom we have issued 259 Tweets.

We are ‘liked’ by 135 people on Facebook and each post has reached an average of 108 users.

Two hundred and seventy-one Residents receive our emails (a 50% increase since September 2013). There are also 61 non-residents who do so.

Anyone may email us at Messages will be forwarded to the person best able to deal with each query and (s)he will reply directly to you.

These are the only forms of communication that enable us to communicate pressing matters to Residents. They range from local events we believe might be of interest, to bogus fund-raisers and door-to-door callers who have been reported as being active on our Estate.

To join one of these communication streams, please see the right-hand side of the page to the subheadings under ‘Connect’.

If you are already receiving communications from us in one of these ways, perhaps you would be kind enough to check that your friends and neighbours do so as well. There are about 1,350 homes on our Estate so we estimate there to be 600 - 1,000 homes who do not yet receive our electronic communications in one form or another. 

Those without computers at home could sign up at Eltham Library. 

TREASURER’S REPORT October 2013 –September 2014
The 12 months to September 2014 was a productive time for the Association. The fund raising enthusiasm of the 2015 sub-committee and the continued efforts of the association have secured over £1,000 towards the 2015 Centenary Celebrations. This is a great achievement and one we intend to build on in the coming year. A huge thank you is due to all the volunteers and to the community who continue to show their support through attendance at our events and by the purchase of our memorabilia. 

The funds received by the Association in the last year have been from two sources; grants and fund raising activities

We received two grants in the year. Hyde South East provided £350 for the period April 2014 to March 2015 (£175 relating to the year ending September 2014).

The Co-operative Membership Community Fund (operated by the Co-operative Group) provided a grant of £1,060 for the purchase of the mugs and tea towels as well as other 2015 expenses. In our accounts, we have deferred £230 of this grant to our 2014/15 year due to a restriction in its terms. 

The remaining funds were raised either via raffles or the sale of memorabilia. Raffles and donations raised £251 (£148 in 2013) and sales of memorabilia generated income of £595.

Total income for the 12 months was £1,851 (£680 in 2012/13).

The main purchases have been the memorabilia and raffle prizes at £872, a gazebo £106, stationery at £118, affiliation to the St Mary’s community £55, and other items such as refreshments and Land Registry search fees £64. Hall and stall hire amounted to £194.
Total expenditure for the year was £1,409 (£575 in 2012/13).
Income exceeded expenditure by £443 (£105 in 2012/13).
At year end the Association’s assets were £1,460. These were cash or cash equivalents.
At year end the Association had liabilities of £535, including deferred income of £405.

Copies of the Association’s accounts will be available at the AGM. Any Resident who would like a copy beforehand should write to the email address below stating their home address and postcode.
Lisa Jonker

Planning applications
Sixty-nine planning applications were decided in the 12 months to the end of September 2014, an increase of 24 on the previous 12 months.

The Association has four options in deciding whether or not to respond to any particular application:
 We can support it.
 We can object to it.
 We can comment.
 We can do nothing.
Our sole concern is whether or not, when judged by reference to the relevant planning and conservation guidelines, the proposed works will have a neutral or positive effect on our Estate. 

We support those that do and object to those that do not.

We comment if we are in basic support of an application but would like Royal Greenwich’s planners to ensure a particular aspect is made a condition of approval. For example, the proposed works might involve the demolition of a traditional wall or fence but the plans do not make it clear that the replacement will replicate the one being removed.

We do nothing if an application is for works that will not be visible from the Public Highway. These are commonly for the removal of trees in back gardens that are not visible from sight-lines from the road or for the construction of rear, single storey extensions for mid-terrace houses.

The table shows how we exercised these options for the 69 applications that were completed in the 12 months to 30th September. 

As at the 30th September, 8 applications had not been decided.

Three of the 5 applications that were approved despite our objections involved rear extensions  whose bulk we considered would be detrimental to the Estate’s appearance. These are often finely balanced judgements so we have no on-going concern with the approvals. 

Houses changing hands
During the 12 months to the end of August 2014 (the data is published approximately 5 weeks after the end of each month) 44 houses changed hands, 4 more than in the preceding 12 months. We have delivered Welcome letters to them all. 
Keith Billinghurst
07962 877389

Eltham North Team
A member of the committee attended the regular meetings with the police covering Eltham North. 
We are able to report any problems we have seen or heard about in this area and receive a monthly report back. This report is sent to everyone on our email list. If you would like to report any concerns and/or receive the monthly reports please let me know.
Rita Billinghurst
07947 043479

Eltham West Team
Two sergeants have moved on this year so we have welcomed Sergeant Ben Faxon from Bexley. 
The team has been held together during the year by PC Richard Greef. The back-up team, who can be called anywhere for other duties, consists of 4 PCs and a PCSO.

The priorities for the police team are Anti-Social Behaviour (including drugs) Burglary and Vehicle Crime.

Crime is relatively low compared with the rest of the Eltham Sector but has been slowly increasing. The current biggest problem is theft from motor vehicles (anything on display) which is happening all over Eltham West. Burglary from sheds is still a problem. The Eltham West Team continues to execute drug warrants. Other anti-social behaviour has been relatively low this year.

A number of measures are in place to try and reduce crime in Eltham West. These include alerting householders to insecure premises and leafleting parked cars warning the owners not to display goods. There are a limited number of crime prevention kits (Selecta DNA) available to Eltham West residents on a first come, first served basis from Eltham West Police Team.
Margaret Oliver
Association Vice Chair and Chair, Eltham West 
Safer Neighbourhood Panel

Monday, 3 November 2014

Direct Dial Numbers For Royal Greenwich's Planning Department

The fastest way to contact the Royal Borough's planners is by phone.   To ascertain the direct line for the section dealing with your address, go to:

Scroll to the foot of the page, enter the name of your road and, if prompted, select the block of numbers that includes your address.   Click Search and the appropriate number will be displayed.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Limited Quantity of Gift-Wrapped Progress Estate Bone China Mugs for sale

You may remember seeing advertisements for our bone china mugs before.   Now, with the Festive Season approaching, we have gift-wrapped them.   The price remains the same (£8, or £15 for two).   Each contains individually-wrapped chocolates and arrives in an attractive cellophane wrapper.

To order your mugs, simply telephone 07947 043479.   No postage or packing charges if you live in SE9.   Payment in cash, or by cheque with a bank guarantee card, on delivery please.

Dates for your Diary - 2015 Centenary Events

We are pleased to announce the dates for our 2015 celebratory events:

Garden talk and plant sale.   Progress Hall, Admiral Seymour Road.
BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?   Live broadcast from
Gordon Primary School, Grangehill Road.
An evening with our Patron and Antiques Roadshow presenter
John Sandon.
Old Time Music Hall presented by the Priory Players, Progress Hall.  
Summer celebration on Lovelace Green and  a Treasure Hunt.
Art and photographic exhibition.   St Mary’s Community Centre, Eltham High Street.
Estate history walks.
Forgotten Voices.   Recollections of WWI.   Priory Players,
Progress Hall.
Christmas Carols and Social, Progress Hall.

Progress Hall Location
We will provide fuller details about each event nearer the time.   In the meantime, perhaps you would like to note the dates in your diaries.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Vacancy for a Committee Member Designate to take Responsibility for Planning Applications

Responding to planning applications from our Estate is a core function of the Residents Association.   Typically, 45-50 are submitted to Royal Greenwich each year.   About half are for work which will not be visible from the public highway so we do not comment on these.   As to the remaining 20-25, it is usually clear whether or not the proposed works fall within planning guidelines for our Estate.   We support those that do and object to those that do not.   Very occasionally we notify residents who will be able to view the proposed works from their houses if we think they are especially contentious.    This has only happened two or three times in the past four years.

Keith Billinghurst, the committee member who currently reviews planning applications, would like to hand the duty over to someone else by the end of 2015.   The intervening time will allow sufficient time for whoever takes it over to become accustomed to it and for him to be on call if required.

Under our constitution the Committee can co-opt up to two people between one AGM and the next.   This has already happened since our 2013 AGM, which is why we are referring here to a ‘Committee Member Designate’.   The existing two co-opts will stand for election at the AGM in December, 2014.   The person who takes on planning matters needs to be a full committee member because of the importance of the task.   We are therefore looking for someone who will be willing to stand for election this coming December. 

Committee meetings are held on the Estate on a weekday evening every 4-6 weeks.   However, planning work can be carried out at whatever time suits the individual concerned, because the need to meet with others is very unusual.   A reasonable level of computer literacy is a pre-requisite.

Estate Residents who are interested in applying for the role, or those who would like additional information about what is involved, are invited to contact Keith Billinghurst by email at