Parks News

 

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Dear Hamish,

Last week was an important one for those of us interested in the UK’s parks and green spaces.

On Saturday the long-awaited report from the Parliamentary Communities and Local Government Committee’s Public parks inquiry was published, setting out a series of recommendations for government and calling for clear leadership of the sector.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, BBC Breakfast TV and Sky News to respond to the report and champion our parks and playing fields. The report came just days after the publication of the Housing White Paper which could open the door to increased housing development on recreational land. We will be monitoring these policy developments over the forthcoming months and publishing our own research findings.

The CLG Committee’s report recommends recognising the wider value of parks to contribute to the health and wellbeing of communities; our new research report focussed on Centenary Park, Rugby illustrates, in microcosm, the value that access to green space provides for communities across the UK.

Also this month, our ezine highlights some funding opportunities that may be available for green space community projects and shares information about the Great British Spring Clean, a campaign we are supporting.

Remember, between ezine updates you can keep in touch with Fields in Trust via social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thank You

Helen Griffiths appears on BBC Breakfast
Parliamentary Inquiry reveal our parks are at a “tipping point”

Over the last few months the Communities and Local Government Committee has been reviewing the future of Public Parks, examining the impact of reduced local authority budgets on our open spaces and considering their future. The Inquiry report warns that parks face a period of decline from their current tipping point with potentially severe consequences unless their vital contribution to areas such as public health, community integration and climate change mitigation is recognised.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths appeared on radio and TV to respond to the report and champion our parks and recreation spaces.

Centenary Park in Newbold
Centenary Park, Rugby – A Case Study

The creation of a new public park on derelict land in Newbold, Rugby has resulted in local residents feeling healthier, happier and becoming more active.

The findings in a newly published research report focussed on Centenary Park, Rugby illustrates, in microcosm, the recommendations of the CLG Parliamentary report and demonstrates the value that access to green space provides for communities across the UK.

Our case study of this newly opened park shows the positive impact on the local community that has resulted from having local access to open space.

Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play front cover
New Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play

Our new Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play has been published in versions which take account of the devolved planning administrations in Scotland and in Wales, including a Welsh language version. These new benchmark guidelines for the design of spaces for outdoor sport and play and will provide a crucial tool for local planning authorities, developers, planners, urban designers and landscape architects in the design of outdoor sport, play and informal open space.

Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play front cover
Since the 1930s the Six Acre Standard has provided valuable information to planners and designers creating and maintaining sports and play infrastructure.

These new, updated versions are available as free to use interactive PDFs on the Fields in Trust website.

The Great British Spring Clean logo
The Great British Spring Clean

Fields in Trust is supporting the Great British Spring Clean, a UK-wide campaign with one simple ambition – to bring together like-minded people from all walks of life to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and coastline.

The campaign aims to get half a million people to get outdoors, get active and help clear up the rubbish that lies around us, over the weekend of 3-5 March 2017. By bringing people together organisers hope to create new community bonds and inspire volunteers to take further action to improve their neighbourhoods. Community groups, Friends of Parks, schools, charities, sports clubs, and Housing Associations are all invited to sign up and take part.

Community group
Focus on Funding

As well as legally protecting sites for play, sport and recreation, Fields in Trust is also keen to see these facilities supported and improved. It can be difficult to secure funding for improvement projects; to help identify sources we have upgraded our advice note detailing a wide variety of external funding sources available for parks and playing fields, which is available on the Fields in Trust website.

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Update on Sutton Council’s Parks, Cemeteries and Grounds Maintenance

150803 carsh parkThe following is a statement the councillors have recently received from Mary Morrissey, Strategic Director of Environment, Housing and Regeneration at Sutton Council.

“I am pleased to report that the contract with idverde to provide parks, cemeteries and grounds maintenance services on behalf of Merton and Sutton Councils has now been signed. idverde will formally take on responsibility for delivering these services from Wednesday 1 February 2017.  Over the last few months, the Council (through the South London Waste Partnership) has been fine tuning the details of the new contract with idverdeidverde has been meeting with Friends of Parks Groups in the borough to help identify priorities and reassure Friends Groups that they can continue to play a key role in their parks going forward.  idverde is an award-winning horticultural specialist with 100 years of experience under its belt. I have no doubt that they will continue to provide a very high quality of service for local residents at a reduced cost to the council.” 

 

Parks and Open Spaces

Sutton’s parks and open spaces offer some 1,500 acres of picturesque and tranquil oases in this busy London suburb. Find out more about parks, playgrounds & park activities here…

The Parks Service manages and maintains two cemeteries, one burial ground, five closed churchyards and 36 allotments. We also manage 66,000 council owned trees and various woodlands, including 22,000 street trees.

Carshalton Place canal's waterfall

Carshalton Place canal’s waterfall earlier this year!

The Safer Parks Teams, as part of the Safer Sutton Partnership, provide mobile security in the parks. Their aim is to help prevent crime, reduce vandalism and fear of crime, reduce litter, dog fouling and graffiti. Telephone Number 020 8721 2268.

Carshalton’s Parks

We have of course a lot of green space within the Carshalton Central neighbourhood…The Grove Park, Carshalton Park, Carshalton Place Canal, The Wrythe Recreation Ground and The Warren Park, plus Benhill Recreation Ground right on our western borders, plus Erskine Village Green on Erskine Road and so on.

There are 420 hectares of green space and more than 80 parks and open spaces in the borough as a whole.

Looking South towards Ruskin Road

Carshalton Place Canal Looking South towards Ruskin Road

Sutton is one of the greenest boroughs in London. There are SIX Green Flag parks (including The Grove Park in Carshalton) and Sutton has achieved a number of awards including the Silver Gilt award in 2013 for its overall entry in the competition for the fifth year running; a Silver Gilt award for Sutton Manor Park (near the police station); a Gold Award for Oaks Park and 1st place for the Floral Display award in the London in Bloom Awards.

We also have 75,000 trees in the borough’s streets, parks and other council properties and in addition there are many hectares of woodlands.

Not at all bad for a “small” London borough!

Poets Estate – 10 Big Actions by the FOCUS Team

Some things we’ve done for you in the Poets’ Estate:-

1) Benhill Rec. We installed new play facilities, planted lavender beds and removed the old skateboard ramp.

2) Westmead Road/Carshalton Grove. We asked the Council to investigate and prevent future floods in this area.

3) Colston Avenue/Coleridge Avenue/Court Drive. We installed new yellow lines to reduce commuter parking.

4) Free Grit. We installed new grit bins in many locations in the Poets’ Estate/Westmead area of the Carshalton Central ward, including at the junction of Sutton Grove/Waterloo Road.

5) Street Trees. We have got planted 81 street trees in Carshalton Central ward many of them in the Poets’ Estate.

6) Mead Crescent. Road was resurfaced.

7) Shirley Avenue. Road and pavements were resurfaced.

8) Westmead Allotments. Better secure fencing installed.

9) Shorts Road/West Street Footpath. We asked the council to clear dog mess and asked police to monitor the area.

10) Wrythe Rec. We installed new play facilities in the rec. We asked that the railings are refurbished and work is underway.

And….We have also kept residents informed and supported residents in the various planning applications affecting our area. Examples are the Carshalton Athletic Football Club’s applications for 3G plastic surface for the football pitch and extended hours of lighting both of which were unanimously refused by Sutton Council’s planning / development control committee.

Good citizenship and … nearly a million flowers planted in Sutton’s Parks

From the Sutton Borough Guardian:-

Residents and Carshalton Central ward councillors (and others) bulb planting in Benhill Rec

Residents and Carshalton Central ward councillors (and others) bulb planting in Benhill Rec

Almost a million bulbs are being planted to make the borough look blooming brilliant in spring. 

Council workers and volunteers have started planting the bulbs as part of a bigger project to spruce up Sutton launched after people told the Sutton Council they wanted to see the look of the borough improved.

More than 400,000 will be planted in Sutton, Carshalton and Clockhouse with the remainder of the 829,000 bulbs going across the rest of the borough. Sutton’s 17 friends of parks groups have been given 29,000 bulbs to use as they please.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, who is in charge of keeping the borough clean and green, said: “We always take on board the feedback our residents give us. In this case many have been telling us what they think would improve the borough.  We’ve listened and acted. The 829,000 new bulbs will bring a lot of colour to our parks and open spaces when they appear in the Spring. They’ll also ensure Sutton continues to be regarded as one London’s greenest boroughs.”

Other environmental projects around Sutton include the cleaning of war memorials and a programme of tree planting.

Benhill Recreation Ground: Bulb planting

Alongside many residents and other local councillors, your local Focus team of Jill, Alan and Hamish planted some bulbs (daffodils and crocuses) in Benhill Recreation Ground this morning, 27th October 2013.

We worked in the area near the east-west footpath that goes between the Harold Road gate right on our Carshalton Central ward boundary (!) and the steps up to the Benhill Road gate almost directly opposite.  Hopefully next Spring will see a blaze of extra colour in this recreation ground…

Sutton Council have also recently planted a lot of bulbs in a large triangular area immediately north of the east-west footpath.

Alan and Jill planting bulbs (picture taken by Hamish)

Alan and Jill planting bulbs (picture taken by Hamish)

Streetcare Survey

Local Cllrs. Jill Whitehead and Hamish Pollock undertook a street care survey of some roads on Friday morning, 28th June 2013 and we have reported the following matters:-

Cllr. Jill Whitehead at the Kings Lane south bridge where the pavement was widened by Sutton Council recently

Cllr. Jill Whitehead at the Kings Lane south bridge where the pavement was widened by Sutton Council recently

1) Waterloo Road, Sutton:  Yellow lines very worn at junction with Sutton Grove and white parking bay lines very worn outside 20-22 Waterloo Road.
2) Junction of Waterloo Road and Sutton Grove: the white lines and Give Way signs painted on road are very worn.
3) Kings Lane bridge (north) asked that the council clear weeds on the east side near Weihurst Gardens junction.
4) Kings Lane bridge (south) to clear weeds and renew double yellow lines worn on both sides approaching bridge from the Warren Park side.
5) Kings Lane southbound lane heading towards the south bridge a “SLOW” sign is required on road. We observed speeding cars at this point.
6) Next to no. 19 Kings Lane by the alleyway entrance the “No cycling” sign is very worn away and the supporting pole is very rusted away – could this be replaced?
7) Hawthorn Road: Lots of weeds in the gutter outside no. 24.
8) Harrow Road: we noted lots of excessive basal growth to street trees outside numbers 54/56 and 58/60, and also outside 62/64. We asked the council to please try to keep hollyhocks at the latter location!
9) The junction of Harrow Road on the west side junction with Carshalton Road. Could the area by the advert sign be tidied- TfL responsibility perhaps? Lots of long grass and weeds which are very unsightly!
10) Ringstead Road: Please could the broken kerb be mended by the street tree near to 14 Ringstead Road, north of the junction with Croft Road.
 11) Outside no. 75 Westmead Road lots of weeds noted on pavement outside the QVS depot/yard entrance.
12) Harold Road: The hedge by the pavement on the west side of road leading to Benhill Recreation Ground needs clipping back to the chain link fence line.  

Potholes Reported by Cllr. Jill Whitehead

Cllr. Jill Whitehead has recently reported a large number of pot holes in and around the Carshalton Central neighbourhood including:-

1) The length of Gordon Road in the approach to Carshalton Beeches railway station.

2) In the centre of Cambridge Road (off Carshalton Road) where there are some wide white hashed markings.

3) By tree in Milton Avenue close to junction with Shirley Avenue (on the part of Milton Avenue that is between Shirley Avenue and Brookfield Avenue), and potholes at all four corners of Milton and Shirley Avenues junction.

4) Outside no 46 Milton Avenue close to the pavement and outside nos 52 and 54 Milton Avenue (ditto), (on the part of Milton Avenue that is between Shirley Avenue and Brookfield Avenue).

5) By tree in Milton Avenue, in middle of road close to green triangle and the junction with Byron Gardens (on the part of Milton Avenue that is between Brookfield Avenue and Erskine Road – this part of the road is in poor condition generally).

6) Benhill Recreation Ground: Large potholes in the park path alongside the children’s playground on the Harold Road side.

7) Potholes in Byron Avenue close to the junction with Westmead Road, and at the junction of Byron Avenue with Byron Avenue East.

8) Potholes in Kingsley Avenue at junction with Byron Avenue East.

9) Pothole near drain outside no 9 Kingsley Avenue.

10) Potholes at junction of Cowper Avenue and Byron Avenue East.

11) Potholes at junction of Kingsley Avenue and Shirley Avenue.

We hope that these can be attended to before too long.