This is a community website for the Friends (and others) of The Lambeth Walk Open Space. The Friends welcome new members whatever their financial or residence status, but local people who use, look at or enjoy our park regularly will get most out of our organisation. Anyone who would like to contribute to the Friends or this blog, please get in touch via the email link (at right, below). We are currently spending nearly £200,000 on the important basics like fence, hedge, play area and path works

Friday, April 30, 2004

We now look set to resolve two long-running issues for the Doorstep Green project by early May.

First one is what to do about Roots & Shoots' request to use more than half of the Community Garden as a building site for a year or more. We at last have a site meeting set for next week where we can finally discuss the detailed proposals (I hope, because there's not much chance of agreeing a-pig-in-a-poke) with the main contractor, Parks, FoLWOS and Roots' representatives and architects.

Second question is how to progress the community planting and engagement side of the DG project. We have already asked a local specialist horticultural charity, Trees for London - based a mile down the road in Kennington Park, to prepare a detailed proposal for us on how they would like to manage the process of planting, training and encouraging our locals to get involved with the DG (plus using their technical skills to sort out or improve our existing tree population and plant the new ones we propose). They have come back with a solid proposal which we hope to be able to ratify next week as well. They also propose to add another 50% or so in match-funding to the £25K we would pay them from the DG grant.

Meanwhile, Lambeth are inching closer to coughing up the necessary legal papers (Report on Title, Planning report etc) to allow the DG to get full steam up ahead asap. We've only been asking since July 2003, and now it looks as though some movement has been spotted in the undergrowth, and the papers agreed (if not yet delivered). . .

Details and/or results will be posted here as they come to hand . . .

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

A couple of problems to resolve and a success to report:

Roots & Shoots are rebuilding their main school and admin building as an eco-centre over the next 12 months, and to do that they needed to knock down and rebuild a wall that faced directly onto the Community Garden (that they partnered with FoLWOS to design, create and maintain).

They hope to be able to use some more of the garden as a works site during the year – although we have expressed our strong reservations about losing so much park to a building site for so long, particularly when there is likely to be rather a lot of other building work going on all around the park over the next few years.

What we did agree to as both reasonable, and the right thing to do for a partner and neighbour, was to let them erect a large hoarding around the demolition site for the old building. This keeps their site safe from intruders and ours safe from builders!

As part of the agreement we required that the hoarding be sympathetically painted - perhaps with a mural of the new building to come or some local kids ideas about plants and parks and play - and any damage or tagging rectified immediately.

Well, as you can see, the tagging started soon enough and unfortunately it is still there after three weeks or more, so we're chasing that one for action.

We struck another builder-related problem last week that I found very hard to believe: a builder working on one of the Lollard Street houses decided that storing his bags of rubble and skip rubbish right on the park was a good idea (see pic).

Well, he was wrong for a million pretty obvious reasons, and even he saw the light almost as soon as we approached him – and shifted it pronto.

I guess that too is what "Friends" groups are for. . .

Meanwhile the Greening Vauxhall tree we planted in march before the Open Day looked gorgeous for most of April as it flowered profusely almost immediately - probably because it was big enough and strong enough to shake off being replanted quickly and just got on with the job of being beautiful . . .

Wondering what's been happening with the park fence right next to Fitzalan St?

Well, around the 15th of April, Lambeth Parks' fencing contractors McNicholas were about to put in about 100m of brand new fence to replace the temporary wooden one we've had to put up with for years.

After a bit of lobbying we got Lambeth to agree that their fence section will be in exactly the same style as the Doorstep Green Team will install around the rest of the park - and line with beech hedge - in November this year. That way we won't have to rip it out again six months later!

Unfortunately, when their fence panels arrived (after the old fence had been removed - pic above) we discovered that they were the wrong colour - a shiny black - and not the Moss Green (RAL6005) we have specified for almost all the new park "furniture" and had agreed with the manufacturer.

(At left is a picture of our consultant Adam trying not to curse out loud as he found the black panels . . .). So back they went to be made right again while FoLWOS and Parks arranged to have the temporary wooden fence re-erected to stop the same kind of chaos and people driving onto the park we used to have and that the fence style is designed to prevent without making the park feel like a prison.

The replacement wooden fence should be down again and replaced by the new, new fence - if you see what I mean - by the end of May.

At which point we should also have our much-discussed new gap in the fence line (designed to let people get from the Royal Oak pub back to the Precinct without having to jump a fence when not in precisely the best frame of mind or body) in the right place as well!

So that'll be the right fence, in the right colour, in the right places, by the end of May. By then the park lights should be being serviced as well, with modern light heads installed as well as the switchgear and posts repaired (see March 18th post below). These will work much better as lights for the paths, and more reliably over the next few years than the existing stock, and waste far less electricity in the meantime.

More later . . .

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