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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Woodstock Studios, Woodstock Grove, London W12 8LE

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.” 


Friends of The Grove Park – Highlights of the year 2015-2016

The following was received from the chair of the Friends of the Grove Park and is reproduced by his kind permission….

The Grove House Heritage Lottery Fund 2nd stage bid by the Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (SCVS) who hope to take it on when vacated by the Council. In the Autumn work got underway with local consultations and the appointment of a Bid Project Manager. The final HLF submission is expected in the late Spring. The Friends of the Grove (Park) have been supporting the bid throughout.

Grove Café has reopened. The new tenant Wayne Spiller currently runs his own Coffee & Sandwich Bar Sassis in North Street. The Café has been completely redecorated and has been opened since November.

The Demolition of the Wall in the Drive was opposed at the 2015 AGM, and planning application to carry this out was withdrawn. The tree behind the cracked wall section has been removed, and is hoped the wall can be stabilised and repaired in the cracked area rather than being demolished completely.

Bandstand in the Park. Although a number people had heard about the idea but it was not made public till October, at the Local Ward meeting where the Carshalton Village traders group gave some details and showed a picture of the type of bandstand being considered. Funding would be from a number sources. To date I am not aware of any formal proposal has been submitted to the Council.

Mill Lane Sports field, now forms part of the park after no longer being required by the Harris Academy. The south eastern side of the field forms an ancient boundary with the main park area, formed by the tree line, hedgerow and a ditch once forming a water channel. It is considered an ecologically important boundary forming the habitat for a variety of wildlife. After representation from a number of parks users about the heavy cutting back around this new park area I met with the leader of the council team carrying out the work and confirmed the old boundary line and the undergrowth would be preserved.


Holidays are coming to Sutton & Carshalton’s Frost Fair

Christmas in Cheam Village 2015

Residents have a range of events to choose from to help them get the festive season underway.

Cheam marks the start of the holiday season on Friday 4 December. The annual Cheam Village Late Night Christmas Shopping event, run by Cheam Traders with the support of Sutton Council, starts at 5.30pm. The theme for this year is Star Wars – so expect to see light-sabers and Sith Lords alongside food, jewellery, and handicraft stalls as well as singers, street entertainers and even an appearance from Santa himself. Whitehall Museum will be open late allowing visitors to enjoy the building dressed for Christmas, and a special snowman trail is sure to delight the little ones. The festivities culminate at 6.20pm as the lights themselves are switched on. Last year’s event attracted nearly 4000 visitors so expect busy streets and bustling market stalls.

Saturday 5 December sees the festive fun move on to Carshalton Village where area charity EcoLocal will host the Frost Fair, starting at 1pm. All Saints Church bells will peal to get the event underway when attendees will be able to enjoy a varied range of tasty treats and a variety of craft stalls selling wonderful gift ideas such as glassware, pottery, woodcraft and much more.

Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said:

“There are lots of events taking place across our borough to mark the start of the holiday season. There’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy this Christmas – we can’t wait to welcome you to one of our fantastic festive events.”

Sassis Café, The Grove Park, Carshalton opens…

Jill, Alan and Hamish received this message in our capacity as members of The Friends of The Grove Park, Carshalton.

151103 grove cafe 2Dear Friend of the Grove Park.

You will be aware that the Small Café in the Grove Park has been closed for a long time and some members have asked me when it might reopen.

I am pleased to report that last Saturday saw a special Halloween opening of the Café as “ Sassis in the Grove”.

If this name is familiar to you it is because the new Grove café proprietor is Wayne Spiller, and he has run the Sassis Coffee shop in North Street  Carshalton since 2005.

I can report that one member of the Friends Committee made a visit on the first day of operation and was very impressed, reporting,  “The coffee was excellent and reasonably priced”.

Sassis in the Park will be open daily, and we wish Wayne and his staff well in this new enterprise. 

Best regards 

John Freeman for Friends of the Grove Park.

(Photo courtesy of Mr. John Freeman)



The Grove Park Café and crazy golf course being marketed

Sutton Council’s Asset Management team have commenced the marketing for new lettings of Grove Park cafe together with the crazy golf course and also “Lawn View” the former Parks Police Station, currently used by the Parks service, this week. They have arranged for an advert to go in the Sutton Guardian, direct e-mailing to previous applicants on the Council’s database and published the details on the London Borough of Sutton’s website.
Sutton Council, and Alan, Jill and Hamish (as pictured by the Ponds) as local ward councillors, all of whom are Friends of The Grove Park, are keen to maintain the crazy golf use, with any successful applicant carrying out improvement works and to ensure that a vibrant cafe with an experienced operator re opens to serve the park.
“Lawn View” would be suitable for offices and ideally small craft / start up workshops. The space is not suitable for more intensive workshops and obviously has no vehicular access. The Council will look at alternative uses, but do not propose anything that would compete with the nursery next door at Grove Hall.
The premises will be available on a full repairing and insuring lease excluded from the security of tenure provisions of Part ll of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 for a term to be agreed, but anticipated to be a minimum of 5 years. The council is seeking operators who are prepared to take responsibility for all aspects of the site including the opening, closing, cleaning and maintenance of the public toilets during cafe opening hours.
All offers must be made by 9 June 2015 in writing to Asset Management, London Borough of Sutton, 24 Denmark Road, Carshalton, Surrey SM5 2JG or by e-mail to

The Grove, Carshalton

The Grove is a Victorian house set on the edge of the ponds in the centre of Carshalton. It is surrounded by the park which was once the gardens and grounds of the house.

It is generally believed that the house was built at the very start of Queen Victoria’s reign, probably around 1840 although it may be older.

We do know that in 1856 the Reverend A.W.B. Cator took the lease. He was the rector of Carshalton and was to live at The Grove until his death in 1879. It would be Cator who created the Victorian garden around the house, parts of which are still visible today.

The next owner was Sir Samuel Barrow, a wealthy tanner who lived at The Grove until 1923, extending the building and altering the grounds. Sir Samuel was one of many business men who benefitted financially from the First World War but we believe he was also a benefactor, like Cator before him. This photo shows wounded soldiers being entertained at The Grove in 1917.

Wounded soldiers 1917

When Barrow left, the house was put up for auction but failed to reach the reserve price. Carshalton Urban District Council bought it the following year ‘to preserve it as an open space forever’. The mansion became offices and the grounds were opened as a public park. This photo shows The Grove in 1923 just before it was bought by the Council.

Grove 1923

We know very little about the life of the building either as a Victorian and Edwardian family home or as council offices. We do know that the council converted one of the original sitting rooms into a council chamber, the panelling and a board listing the council leaders is still in the building today. We also know that The Grove was used for art and craft exhibitions.

Sutton Centre for the Voluntary Sector (SCVS) in partnership with Sutton Volunteer Centre and Sutton Citizen’s Advice Bureau along with the London Borough of Sutton are preparing a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to open the building to the public and voluntary organisations. We need your help to piece together the story of The Grove. Do you have any information about The Grove or the people associated with it? Do you remember working there? Visiting or attending meetings? Did you or one of your relatives exhibit art at The Grove? Do you have photos or papers which feature The Grove?

If you think you can help us, please contact Jane Allen –

Thank you

Photographs reproduced courtesy of Sutton Local Studies and Archives Centre


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!