Friends of Norwood Park AGM next month

The Friends of Norwood Park are holding their AGM on 1st July at 7pm (venue tbc) – you can contribute your thoughts on what you would like to see in the park and get involved in making the park a successful community space for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.

To take part fully, why not become a member? You can sign up on their website here – http://www.friendsofnorwoodpark.co.uk/

The Friends of Norwood Park are always looking for new members to help support park projects, make decisions about the park, and join their fun volunteering sessions. It’s a £4 annual membership fee to join, which helps support the Friends and allows them to continue our work.

Report from the police regarding an incident last night on Croxted Road

A number of residents got in touch last night, concerned about reports of an acid attack on Croxted Road.

We sought an urgent update from police, and were relieved that the substance used was not acid:

At approximately 1815 on Monday, 3 June police received a phone call to Croxted Road in relation to a possible acid attack. Police, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service were quickly on scene and administered first aid to the male victim.

Following testing of the substance by the London Fire Brigade at the scene it was confirmed that the substance used was not acid. It is likely that an irritant such as CS or Pepper spray was used in the assault.

The investigation is still ongoing, extensive CCTV and witness enquiries were carried out at the scene and attempts to identify the suspect vehicle involved are ongoing

Our thoughts are with the victim, with our best wishes for a speedy recovery. If you saw anything, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or give info via http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org .

Reporting abandoned vehicles

Many of you have been in touch about abandoned vehicles in your neighbourhoods. It can be frustrating when parking is at a premium to see spaces used indefinitely by vans, cars or caravans that are never moved and left to slowly disintegrate. They can also attract anti-social behaviour, with a van on Chatsworth Way for example recently having its windows smashed.

We encourage residents to report abandoned vehicles – the more reports made, the easier the case is to get them removed. You can do this with a simple online form here: www.lambeth.gov.uk/forms/report-an-abandoned-vehicle-form

If you’re making a report, please let us know! We can keep track of how many abandoned vehicles there are and chase up your reports, to get some action taken. We find it as frustrating as many of you do that it can take so long to get anything done about abandoned vehicles, so please do keep us in the loop so that we can add our voices to your reporting, as well as encouraging neighbours to do the same.

With the van on Chatsworth Way – we have been reporting this for a while now both to the council and to the DVLA, and know that other residents on this street have been very diligent in doing so too. The response to our initial enquiries was that it did not meet the criteria for an abandoned vehicle as it was taxed and had an MOT, and was not damaged. We have met with officers since and argued that these should not be the only criteria used. Since the window was smashed, we have also requested an additional street clean from Veolia to clear up broken glass, and Councillor Peter Ely has taped up the window to try and prevent further glass falling on the pavements.

Barclays Bank closure – campaign update

A big thank you to everyon who signed our petition! We have been able to demonstrate the strength of feeling of the local community to Barclays and secure a meeting with some of their directors.

With Helen Hayes MP, Florence Eshalomi AM and councillors in Thurlow Park and Knights Hill, we met with bank directors in Parliament to lobby for the branch to stay open. We shared many of the comments and concerns from residents, businesses and charities about the impact that the branch closure could have. We requested data on branch usage.

Disappointingly, it has taken Barclays some time to share information with us. Their email says:

“In light of our meeting, we have taken the opportunity to review our decision to close West Norwood branch, however, our decision to close the branch remains.  I understand this isn’t the outcome you, your constituents or the Councillors who attended the meeting were hoping for.  Closing a branch is never an easy decision, but I hope our Post Office arrangement, access to free cash machines locally, alongside the potential for us to install a cash machine in a suitable location, telephony and digital channels, will support customers who are not easily able to travel to our other branches in the area. “

Paul Turpin, Barclays Market Director

We continue to discuss ‘leave behind’ provision for businesses and vulnerable residents who can’t access online banking or travel to branches further afield, and Barclays also say that they will meet any businesses one-to-one to discuss banking needs. If you have a small business and would like to have a meeting with Barclays, please contact councillors@thurlowparklabour.org to organise.

You can see their documents on reasons for closure and responding to our feedback:

Brockwell Park Events Q&A

 

This summer there are two events taking place in Brockwell Park, which will cause some disruption to Thurlow Park residents and park users. This is a short Question and Answer as to what is happening regarding the private event Mighty Hoopla and Cross the Tracks which will be taking place on the 8th and 9th of June this year. We will be releasing a further information post about the Lambeth Country show – the only other major event in the park to be held this summer – nearer the time.

What is happening and when? 

The Mighty Hoopla and Cross the Tracks is taking place on 8th and 9th of June. Mighty Hoopla is an 18+ LGBTQ-friendly pop music festival. The festival has taken place previously in Victoria Park in 2017 and in Brockwell Park in 2018 – it will be held on Saturday the 8th of June from midday to 10:30 pm. Cross The Tracks is described by the organisers as a “family-friendly music festival” which will involve “a day of music, food, workshops, talks and more; celebrating the world of soul, funk, Motown, R&B and jazz.” It is new and has not been held before it will be held on Sunday 9th of June from midday till 10 pm.

How much of the park will be taken up

In 2017 after a public consultation we lobbied for festivals to be significantly reduced in size. The festivals that were held in 2018 – Field Day and Mighty Hoopla – were, we felt, far too big for the park. On the back of community consultation we called for events of around 20,000-25,000 people unlike the 37,500 that Field Day applied for in 2018.

We are happy to say that this year the events are considerably smaller in size and far less of the park will be disrupted. There will be 19,999 on Saturday and 15,000 on Sunday. The amount of the park in use has also shrunk in size – here is a diagram illustrating the difference (the orange line represents 2018 and the blue line 2019).

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There will be five stages (three of which are small low capacity stages) which is an improvement on 2018 in terms of reducing the overall impact to the park. We broadly welcome the reduction in size of these events as we have been calling for this since 2017.

How much disruption will there be in set up

In total there will be 18 days of work in the park to set up and take down the festival. Again this is down from last year and although still disruptive we have managed to secure access across the site at all times bar the 7-10th of June which include the festival days and the maximum period of set up and take down. We lobbied for the construction to not take place during half term at all because of the importance of the park to the local residents during that time but were told that some construction would need to happen during this period.

All vehicle inflow will be through the Herne Hill gate. Brockwell Park Gardens gate will not be used for either festival set up traffic or as a point of access or egress during the entire weekend. All of the vehicles will be operating on a time controlled basis so as to avoid park users, be accompanied by a banksman and be controlled at all times. At all times the Herne Hill slip road will be open significantly minimising the amount of disruption to traffic along Norwood Road.

Any damage caused by the vehicles to the park will be compensated by the festival organisers. There should be less work than last year although it is still likely to be disruptive at times.

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Who will be managing things during the festival?

Whilst the event is going on in the park there will be a community help desk and, a dedicated Residents Hotline will be set up for local residents and businesses. The Organiser’s Community Liaison Manager can be contacted at community@mightyhoopla.com and can deal with enquiries relating to both event days (Mighty Hoopla and Cross The Tracks).

The residents Hotline number will be communicated via a residents letter that will be distributed mid-May, and displayed on the Lambeth Events, Mighty Hoopla and Cross The Tracks websites. This number is 0800 043 0305 but please note it is not operational until Thursday 30thMay. If you need to contact the Lambeth Events team during the event days or during the build and break aspects of the festival you can access them on 0207 926 9793 which is the out of hours office number (17:00 – 20:00 build and break & 08:00 – 23:30 event days). Otherwise their normal phone number is 0207 926 6207 – which is available 8:00 – 17:00.

How loud is it going to get?

The noise limits are in line with the noise policy adopted by Lambeth Events and approved by the Council. We have argued along with residents for two years now to have these reduced due to the proximity of park events to residential properties – unlike other large parks in London. However, we were unsuccessful in this although that said last year only a handful of noise complaints came from residents in Thurlow Park Ward, considerably less than for festivals that had taken place in 2016 and 2017.

This year the soundstages have been redesigned to be even more self contained. This should mean even less noise escapes from the festival site. Last year we were made aware of a particular noise cluster around the junction of Turney Road and Croxted Road. We have raised this with the organisers and sound engineers and this has been incorporated into the design of the festival in order to minimise the risk of this happening again.

All reports of anti-social behaviour and noise complaints are independently recorded and will be investigated by the events team. Last year Cllrs independently took noise surveys throughout the day and there are official noise monitoring points at various locations in the park. If there is anything that you would like us to look into regarding the managing of noise please let us know.

What about people coming to and leaving the event?

On the Saturday the park will be clear by 11 and on the Sunday by 10:30. Exit is through the Herne Hill and Brixton Water Lane entrances to the park with people being funnelled towards both stations. Tulse Hill station will not be designated a major transport hub for the festival but we have requested that rubbish points be made available, as they were last year to minimise the impact of egress on the community at large.

The conditions that were in place on the organisers last year are in place this year regarding security and egress. Similar levels of professional security staff to 2018 will be present throughout the weekend and to guide people out of the park. We have also asked for the presence of security to be targeted to deal with the few incidents that happened last year on egress. The organisers of the festival will be coordinating with the police extensively throughout both event days and to get approved in the first place had to go through a rigorous scrutiny process from the fire brigade and police service.

What will happen if there’s damage to the park?

All events big and small, taking place in the park run the risk of damage and this event is no exception. Separate to any money paid to the council and the park for hosting the event the organizer’s have to pay a bond to cover damage and are contractually obliged to cover any and all damage. In 2018 for example a lorry damaged the Herne Hill entrance gate leading into the park and this was repaired in full. No expense is borne by the Council for any of this work and an independent company carries out the work.

How does it benefit the park ?

The revenue from commercial events comes in two forms. Firstly Park Infrastructure Levy (PIL) which is money, that goes directly into the park. Last year Field Day and Mighty Hoopla generated over £36,000 for this budget, which is used to develop the park and provide vital upgrades to the physical space in the park. Secondly there is income from hosting the event which now, following a judgment in the High Court about all London Boroughs which manage their open spaces, goes straight to funding the parks service. Last year this money was in the excess of £250, 000 – we asked for the full figures to be released but were told by the legal team that this is subject to commercial confidentiality in cotracts with the organizers – so absent that we can give the ball park revenue figure. As the event is smaller this year those figures will be lower but we will make it clear how much income is being generated for the event.

Last year Field Day ran a community fund that raised several thousand pounds for local causes. Most of this was paid out but a few thousand pounds was outstanding as of a few weeks ago. We were very disappointed about this and have been in touch with the organisers and the parent company for the event. As we understand this, the funds will be paid out and this was due to administrative errors beyond certain individual’s control. We have made it clear that this cannot be a feature of the festivals in 2019. 

Why do events happen in the park?

It costs £400, 000 a year just to keep Brockwell Park open the grass cut, the trees pruned and the bins emptied. Due to ongoing austerity the parks budget has shrunk by over £2 million in the last decade. Festivals therefore are a necessary way of providing income and investment to the park. We have made it clear since 2018 that Festivals are not a sustainable funding solution for the park. We also as your Cllrs have sought to change the way that events are managed in the park. To this end we have done the following three things

  1. Worked to help the redevelopment of Brockwell Hall as a space for weddings and events. This is now underway and we will be posting more about that later on in the summer about how to get involved.
  2. Fought for and got revisions to the Events Strategy, which include reducing the number of event days in the park each year and put environmental assessments into the process of event approval. These will be published shortly. This should mean that music events in the park are subject to further limitations.
  3. Pursued the development of alternatives, such as looking at the redevelopment of sites that would bring more money into the park making it financially secure and safe from austerity.

 

 

 

Great news on Brockwell Hall!

Brockwell Hall has been a fixture of Brockwell Park since 1813 although in recent decades has remained underused. We are very pleased to announce that a proposal launched in partnership between Lambeth Council and the Brockwell Park Community Partners to renovate the hall has been initially approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

This means that the a programme of work can commence to design both how the hall could be improved and made fully open to the public, as well as looking at how the hall can be used as a venue to host weddings and other events to raise money for the park. The Brockwell Park Partnership Board has reviewed the management structure for this project and it will replicate the management structure for the successful HLF funded projected currently renovating Norwood Cemetery and the programme that repaired the landscape in the park a decade ago. 

The first stage of the work is now up and running and it’s aim is to produce a fully working proposal for the hall along with plans for renovation and rebuilding by the end of 2020. After that stage two of the HLF process will being and if all goes well the hall will reopen refurbished and in it’s new role in 2022. 

As your Councillors in our 2018 manifesto we committed to moving the park away from reliance on large music festivals as a income generation tool. Due to nearly a decade of austerity – in which the parks budget in Lambeth has been forced by successive Tory led governments Westminster to shrink by millions of pounds  – our parks have been struggling for money. Last year a large music festival was held in the park and this year a far smaller version is provisionally set to go ahead. Whilst this will raise money that goes directly into the park this is not sustainable in the long term, even though we have sought to manage music festivals in the park far better than has been done in the past. 

To this end we secured a review of the events policy, which is set to to recommend dropping overly disruptive targets for “event days” in the park as well providing further safeguards on events. We also have been looking at other long term measures to regenerate the park such as the regeneration of the football pitches so they can be used by the community and commercially by five-a-side leagues. 

We have been working closely with Brockwell Park Community Partners on all of these proposals and they have played a major role in realising these projects. The organisations that make the partnership play a vital role in keeping the park open for the 1000s of people from our community that use it every day.  It costs over £8000 a week to keep Brockwell Park running and we are determined to make it immune from the impact of any further budgetary pressure. Community driven projects like these can integrate with the park to provide long term financial stability for Brockwell park.

Cherry Tree Nursery update

A number of residents have been in touch regarding the Great North Wood Educational Trust/ Rosendale School’s decision, announced recently, to close their childcare provision at Cherry Tree in August later this year.

We were not given advance notice of this decision, and on learning of it requested an urgent update from Lambeth officers:

Cherry Tree is a satellite site to Rosendale Children’s Centre and is in addition to the borough’s 23 children’s centres. It has not been designated as a children’s centre since 2015. There is very limited use of the building for children’s centre services, but families have access to family support from a Better Start worker and monthly appointments with Citizens Advice Bureau alongside the wider offer at Rosendale children’s centre. Cherry Tree is primarily used for the delivery of childcare by Rosendale as part of the Great North Wood Educational Trust.

Delivery of childcare and funding for that is separate to any children’s centre provision, and it is the responsibility of the childcare provider to ensure that provision is sustainable. The council does not have a role in funding childcare, although it does administer funding for the two, three and four year old entitlements under a national funding formula.

Rosendale School joined the Great North Wood Educational Trust in 2017, and became part of that multi agency trust. This led to a significant increase in pension costs for support staff, including those employed to work in either Rosendale Children’s Centre or Liz Atkinson Children’s Centres, or in childcare provision at Rosendale or Cherry Tree.

The school has struggled to meet these pension costs, and has worked with Lambeth Council to explore all possible solutions, but is unfortunately no longer able to sustain the additional costs of running a childcare business at Cherry Tree. At the time that consultation on children’s centres commenced both the school and the Council expected that a solution that enabled ongoing delivery of childcare by Rosendale Primary School at the Cherry Tree site would be possible.

Consultation with staff on a proposed closure of the childcare provision began on 5th April.

As part of this process, the school will end their lease agreement with the council for use of the Cherry Tree building, and the council will consider alternative uses for the building in the future, including the possibility of entering into a new lease agreement with a new organisation for the delivery of childcare services or other children’s services.

The report due for consideration by Cabinet on Monday 15th April recommends that children’s centre delivery continues at Rosendale in line with the proposals outlined in the consultation document.

Council officers will meet with parents currently using childcare at Cherry Tree following the Easter break, and will provide information and support to parents who need to make alternative childcare arrangements from September 2019. Rosendale children’s centre staff will also provide support in relation to finding childcare over coming months.

As your local councillors, we will be lobbying to ensure that the delivery of childcare/ children’s services continue from the Cherry Tree site by another provider.