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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Now we are talking . . . The bulk of Blakedowns' work is now complete. The pathways and their artwork all look great. The covered seating area is finished and all additional benches have been installed, including the remaining dog bins.

The community garden got it's new fence too just this week - Roots & Shoots are particularly pleased, and so we're just trying to sort out an interim gate solution, while the performance area really does look smart!

The biggest achievement in the last few weeks has to be the Kennington Road frontage. Work started on preparing the new access from the main road and bus stops last week and the hideous black fencing behind the billboards has been pulled down.

Blakedowns are back onsite there as well and clearing the mess built up over years of neglect, dumping of household and other rubbish plus the tonnes of tangled and matted undergrowth and weeds that's all the Ethelred Youth Club and locals have seen since the fence went up.

The billboard advertising that was the main reason for the fence remains tough in the short term as they are still some issues for Lambeth and the outdoor advertising company to resolve. The pest control mob were on site on Saturday as well making sure that there aren't too many foxes and rats planning to share the Space at little too intimately with our kids.

One of the new residents of Lollard Street decided to knock a hole in their back boundary wall with the park to put in a back gate for their bicycles. Diana has made a complaint through the appropriate channels to show how things ought to be done when a community asset is concerned and to keep reinforcing the message that our park's amenity isn't just open slather for anyone to co-opt or exploit without regard for bye-laws or courtesy. An application for Planning permission is a pretty good place to start...

Trees for Cities - Outreach Work;

Walnut Tree Walk Primary Workshop (03.05.05): The Chair attended the workshop and the school kids (Green Class) were great, and even planted some more beech saplings for the Space hedge. Diana managed to get a story in the South London Press (06.05.05) with a quote from the head teacher and FoLWOS.

TfC are doing an initial glyphosate spray in the park (around the perimeter) in preparation for the wildflower meadows being planted - to knock down all the weeds and invasives that would out-compete the native wildflowers - and they should be creating the grass maze for the new dog-free area shortly as well.

Lollard Street Adventure Playground; TfC are working with Joyce and her team to develop an edible garden close to their facility. If this picture (click it to go to the amazing LbL archive of images of Lambeth - where Kennington for once is well represented) is to be taken at it's face value, this ground has seen local kids working to build something worthwhile and fun out of the wartime rubble just a few inches under our park's grass (and under our feet) at least once before. . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


City Gardener, Matt James, applies his green fingers to the new Lambeth Walk Open Space Doorstep Green

Matt James, Channel 4’s City Gardener, will be joining local residents and Trees for Cities’ volunteers in Lambeth Walk Open Space Doorstep Green on Saturday 2nd April for a community planting day that will transform this valuable open space. Trees for Cities and the Friends of Lambeth Walk Open Space are inviting all members of the community to come and help out with the planting of more shrubs and trees; there will also be face painting, music, planting workshops and refreshments for all those taking part. The event will run from 11am until 3pm and everyone is welcome. All tools and equipment will be provided and people are advised to wear stout boots and waterproofs!

The project aims to involve the local people in regenerating the park through tree planting and landscaping. Local residents are being encouraged to participate in a variety of activities and events that will take place at the park throughout the project. These will include workshops, public planting days with live music and refreshments and consultation events. In addition local schools will be encouraged to use the site for a range of educational activities to introduce young people to local environmental issues.

This project has been made possible through funding support from the Biffaward, the Countryside Agency, the London Borough of Lambeth, the ERM Foundation and Spirit Advertising. Biffaward is an environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

Graham Simmonds of Trees for Cities, says: "Lambeth Walk is a rare green space close to Waterloo – this is an area with high levels of traffic pollution lacking in green space that desperately needs more trees. Our aim is to involve local people in a much needed improvement that will create a wonderful green space where people can relax and play, thereby making a difference to all those who live, work or simply pass through the area. “

Diana Braithwaite, Chair of the Friends of Lambeth Walk Open Space says: “The refurbishment and improvement of Lambeth Walk Open Space is a culmination of 5 years endeavour by the Friends of Lambeth Walk Open Space and the local community. It’s been a remarkable journey from saving this much treasured open space from undesirable development to realising with the help and support of the Countryside Agency, Trees for Cities and the London Borough of Lambeth - an open space that the local community deserves.”

Cllr Charles Anglin, Princes Ward Councillor (Liberal Democrats) and Chair of Lambeth Walk Open Space Doorstep Green Steering Group says: “This is wonderful, this is one more step towards making the open space the park everyone wants it to be.”

Friday, April 15, 2005

"Our park is changing daily, and I'm taking photos all the time. The performance area is pretty cool already and they're about to install the dog free area. Blakedowns are making a real effort on all the edgings of the pathways and more of our green (sic) fencing went up this week. Trees for Cities had a reasonable planting day too, and they are now working on planting at the seating area - at the Denby Court end. It's really starting to look amazing. We've actually gained more green bits!

Roots & Shoots new building is scheduled to be completed in June this year. It looks great, and David said we can certainly use the new hall for our meetings. We should also find out at the end of the month if their WREF bid was successful for the new gate and access to the Space. The fencing for the community garden will be installed shortly as well.

"St Olaves is practically complete too, and they're just doing the snagging. I'm not sure when the residents are due, but at least some of the old lot will be coming back.

"The Kennington Road frontage is proving bloody hard as we expected. However it looks as though the park will get all the land from the Portacabin to Fitzalan Street and all the land outside of the current EYC footprint on the Kennington rd frontage. It's a shame that we've had to resort to simply divvying up' the site [but sometimes that's all that left to agree . . . ed]. . .

"Adam continues to be simply amazing, he's thought of everything. I suppose all we have to do now is plan our opening!"

Diana Braithwaite, Chair, Friends of Lambeth Walk Open Space

Friday, January 28, 2005

While the webmaster has been buying a house in Australia and taking on a new job with a thing called the National Fire Ant Eradication Program - which is definitely another story - FoLWOS has been continuing the fight to improve the Open Space.

Struggles have been won or fought over the content of the UDP, regaining contiguous access to the Kennington Road frontage and with assorted contractors, neighbours and developers.

Thanks to the committee and the park landscape designers we are a LOT further down the road. More shortly . . .

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

If you live near the park you'll have been concerned at the disgraceful way in which the builders working on fixing up the Lollard Street terrace houses have approached our public park by simply exploiting the Open Space to store their materials, dump rubbish, damage or trash plants and bushes, grass, walls and so on without any apparent regard for the park or the local people who use it and value it.

Not to mention the public health and safety risks they are creating - and often leave behind them overnight quite unprotected - and appear not to care about at all.

FoLWOS has been working with Parks and the Council to try to get them to clean up their act and our park, but several personal representations to the builders have failed to make them behave any more responsibly.

So we've agreed with the council to take legal action against the builders and the houses' new owners to enforce compliance and proper care.

At no time before construction began (or since) were we or the Parks department approached to discuss the project in a basic neighbourly fashion, so this seems the next step we have to take.

There are quite heavy fines associated with this kind of construction work problem, and if they are levied we will push for them to be returned to the Doorstep Green to help fix up the damage already done.

And try to repay the loss of amenity and safety we have all suffered by improving our park - perhaps in a way the DG could not otherwise afford?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Hey, hey! New, better, more efficient path lights are at last installed to replace the old ones (well, new light heads on top of reconditioned DG green poles where they could be reused and new ones where they couldn't)!
Plus the long story of the 120m of new metal fence is complete and the sections are finally in place along the northern length of Fitzalan Street where the broken sections, temporary wooden replacements and huge gaps were a problem for years. This is the style we'll be using for the rest of the fence around the park in the next steps along the DG path.

It has surely taken a while (can it really be three years since we started?), but with proper bins, lights, fence, new trees and new signs all in place and lots more stuff to come we can finally begin to see what the old patch of green desert will turn into . . .

As long as the old ways of treating the park as though it was a rubbish tip / dog-toilet / building site / cheap dump don't persist (see tomorrow's post).

We are also negotiating hard with Trees for London to see if they can deliver what we want and good value for money from the Doorstep Green planting money this month. Wish FoLWOS luck (or better still, join us . . )

Saturday, August 14, 2004

This is the latest ground plan for the Doorstep Green project as drawn up by our landscape consultant, Adam Thomas.

It shows the re-landscaping planned, plus the new planting we envisage putting in to start with this year.

You can see where the main user improvements will go as well (like the reshaped paths and entrances, the new childrens' play areas, the new seating area near Denby Court and several new waste and dog bin locations),

It also shows the structural improvements to be made to the hard-standing areas and accesses around the Adventure Playground and the electricity sub-station.

All these works are scheduled to go ahead in late September and October of this year, while the park is still dry enough to work on, but most of our users and locals have decided that its pretty cold to be running about in it much. . .

And by next spring the whole thing should be bedding down well and ready to burst into blossom - as well as provide a robust platform for us all to build a better and better park on.

Click here to give us your feedback and suggestions, and here to see a larger version of the plan.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Brilliant feedback in July from the Countryside Agency after their hosting this year of the international "Great Cities - Great Parks" conference in London.

FoLWOS was asked to receive a delegation from the conference and offer a tour of the Lambeth Walk Doorstep Green to illustrate the kind of local work the CA and the Doorstep Greens are helping, and we were delighted to oblige.

Good relationships are crucial to continued support and the CA has been both generous and patient with FoLWOS as we got up to speed with their programme from pretty much Ground Zero in 2002. Michael Ball (Vice Chair) - who took the pictures - also gave a presentation on the history of the site and the subsequent planning issues. FoLWOS member Ian Nicolson accepted the suggestion earlier in 2004, but, because he now lives in Australia, current FoLWOS chair Diana Braithwaite hosted the tour with Cllr Charles Anglin.

The day went really well, and I am sure that the scale of what is needed and what we are trying to achieve on a very tight budget will have impressed delegates used to dealing in larger sums for smaller projects.

The delegates were:
Cllr Margaret Crooks
(Belfast City Council),
Ron Fleming
(President, Townscape Institute, North America),
Mark Blaxwell
(BTCV, Waltham Forest)
and Maria Teresa (architect, Holland).

FoLWOS Officers Doorstep Green Update,
July 2004

1. Certificate of Lawful use:
There is now a consensus that LBL will not need to consult on this application, as the land has been used as an open space for some time. This is good news as now the Report on Title can be issued to the CA shortly after the application has been approved, which means the Countryside Agency (CA) will finally be able to agree to
release our major grant.

2. Match Funding:
Greening Vauxhall will be writing to the CA to confirm that the DG will receive £60k over the next year towards the project. In addition, the LWOS DG has been nominated, but not yet approved as a project to receive £20-25k of funding from the North Lambeth Area Committee. We have also been advised to submit a bid for new fencing and a proper gate for the Community Garden to a new pot of money for environmental improvements (up to £5k) from the North Lambeth Area Committee.

3. Fencing:
The new fencing is still an on-going issue... Jonathan Meares (North
Lambeth Parks Officer) is back from leave and says that the rest of the Fitzalan section of metal fence will be installed from the 18th or 19th of August. LBL have agreed to pay the additional costs incurred due to the changes in the specification. This also means that when it comes to the rest of the perimeter fence (paid for by the DG grant) we will still be within budget.

4. Kennington Road Frontage:
In the second draft of the UDP it is agreed that the frontage will come back to the Open Space. LBL's solicitors are currently in discussions with L&Q Housing Trust (the current leaseholders) about how to return the land to LBL housing and then eventually to Environment.

5. Lollard Street Adventure Playground:
As the adventure playground are our neighbours and will be celebrating their 50th year here (Lollard Street Adventure Playground - 50th Anniversary Event - 27.08.04
) we have agreed to support them with this event. More news as it comes to hand.

6. Beech saplings for hedge:
I'm not sure if you will recollect that back in March at our last event local school children planted saplings for our new hedge into some pots. The plants are at WTW Primary School. The Adventure Playground and Roots & Shoots have now bothagreed to take the plants for the summer and look after them until we are ready to plant them. We just need to get access to the school!

7. DG implementation:
The contracts for commencement of the DG improvements are scheduled to go to tender in August/September with a view to start on site in Oct/Nov. We will provide more detail when Adam Thomas (FoLWOS Landscape Architect) is back from leave.

8. Newsletter:
We intend to send a newsletter to all FoLWOS members during the next few weeks and inform them of the recent improvements (new lights, fence, Great Parks, Great Cities etc.).

Monday, May 17, 2004

FENCE LATEST: it looks as though the new fence section at the top end of Fitzalan Street will be installed by McNicholas (Lambeth's main fencing contractor) from Friday the 28th of May. With a modicum of luck it will all be in place, sorted out and cleaned up by the end of the following week as well.

Wish us luck!

ian nicolson

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Click this link for some rather better than we usually get news about our biggest neighbour, Lilian Baylis School, currently closing down and shifting a few hundred meters away for 2005 opening. I wonder what will appear in its place?
EducationGuardian.co.uk | News crumb | School Letwin 'would rather beg' to avoid gets glowing report


Click the link below for some recent news on the problems that can be caused for parks and park users by too rigorous Lottery funding regimes - but hopefully not for us or our principal funder!

SocietyGuardian.co.uk | Society Guardian | Park strife


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