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.

New 20mph banners as part of the Our Streets project

Many of you told us that speeding was your top priority for Thurlow Park ward – so as part of the Our Streets project we secured funding for speed reduction measures on some of the streets with the biggest speeding problems.

We’re really excited that new 20mph banners have been installed as part of this project! They’re up on Lancaster Avenue, Robson Road and Norwood Road. You’ll also see new 20mph signs and road markings installed over the next few months

Petition against Barclays branch closure hits 400 in less than 24 hours

Since being launched yesterday afternoon, our petition against the closure of the last bank in West Norwood has hit 400. Can you help get it over 500 before the end of the day?

Sign here and share with your friends and neighbours:

Petition to save the last bank in West Norwood

Local councillors Anna, Fred and Peter, with Cllr Jane Pickard from Knights Hill and West Norwood activists were outside Barclays with the petition today, talking to people about what the closure could mean locally for traders and customers.

If you want to get involved in our campaign, get in touch!

Park events strategy scrutiny – public meeting

Each summer sees applications from event organisations to hold festivals, sports events or other activities in Brockwell Park. In the last few years, some of these have been of particular concern to the local community because of anxiety about noise, antisocial behaviour or the impact on the park. Many of you have also been in touch about the long term financial sustainability of the park, as it’s an invaluable local asset.

Last year, we worked very hard to mitigate these concerns with regards to Love Box and Field Day applying to come. We held a public meeting and knocked on many of your doors to listen to your concerns. We developed some red lines and put these across strongly to colleagues, officers and licensing committee. Some concessions were won, and we will continue to do this with the application from Mighty Hoopla this summer too.

However, there were some issues raised which couldn’t be dealt with via individual event applications because they were reflections on the wider framework policy for events in parks. We committed to campaigning for a review of the events strategy and to giving you an opportunity to input into this.

With that in mind, we are holding a public meeting on reviewing the events policy and the future of Brockwell Park on 11 March at 6.30-8.30pm at Rosendale Primary School.