Remember the evergreen box hedges that surround the Edwardian Stainton Rose Garden at Mountsfield Park?

Well this is what they look like now!

Mountsfield Park – Stainton Rose Garden box hedges.

To keep residents safe from infection and spread of Coronavirus, Lewisham Council has closed all play equipment, outdoor gyms, bmx and skate parks

To keep residents safe from infection and spread of Coronavirus, Lewisham Council has closed all play equipment, outdoor gyms, bmx and skate parks until further notice. Observe social distancing and stay at least 2 metres apart. More information: https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks

Trees to look out for in March at Mountsfield Park!

 

Mountsfield Park Water Logging, Sports Pitches, Events and Natural Drainage

Mountsfield Park sports pitch waterlogged and with accumulated surface water February 2020

Mountsfield Park sports pitch waterlogged and with accumulated surface water from rainfall (February 2020)

Much of Mountsfield Park has been waterlogged again this winter 2019/2020 which seems to be a frequent annual occurrence. The Stainton Road football pitches have been out of use for months due to the wet ground conditions, which is not great for Dynamo Youth Football Club and other football clubs that come and use the ground. This has been highlighted in the Lewisham Council Playing Pitch Strategy Document and Action Plan which describes the football pitches as “Used by Dynamo Youth heavily and the site currently has poor drainage and significant water logging leading to game cancellations… Poor ancillary facilities on site with subpar toilets and changing rooms.” Unfortunately the document does not highlight the reasons for the poor condition of the pitches and that the football pitches have not been properly maintained during the last 20 years and are used as a car park for the Lewisham People’s Day, which causes soil compaction and in turn makes the existing underground herringbone drainage system ineffective. The soil is clay which needs regular maintenance so that it is to remain permeable for the herringbone drainage to work in winter. The current use of the Mountsfield football pitches is uncontrolled, there are no parks managers or supervisors routinely working at the weekend controlling the use of the football pitches, which makes the situation worse. Routine year round maintenance (eg slit tine aeration), stopping vehicles from accessing the football pitches and controlled use at the weekend would improve the situation for Dynamo Youth and other football teams that use the facility. One of the key actions in the report is to “Support the club in their aspirations to knock down and rebuild a new ancillary facility on site that will include changing rooms and amenities such as a Café.” Not sure if this is an error in the report as there is no existing onsite facility unless the suggestion is to rebuild Stainton Lodge as a sports facility with changing rooms?

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New draft Lewisham Council parks and open spaces strategy for consultation

Compare the new and old Lewisham Council parks and open spaces strategies…
Draft Lewisham parks and open space strategy 2020-2025
Lewisham Open Space Strategy 2012-2017
Check key differences between the new and superseded Lewisham parks and open space strategies in this comparison table

Let us know what you think has been missed from the new Draft Lewisham parks and open space strategy 2020 – 2025?

Pros – (Proposals in the new 2020-2027 strategy that were not in the old 2012 – 2017 strategy):

  • Friends of Mountsfield Park welcome the proposal to recycle green waste in parks and reduce use of weedkiller and the 2 for 1 replacement of dead and felled trees (but we need better protection of existing trees if we are to increase urban tree canopy in accordance with Lewisham’s draft open space policies. Will the huge number of street and parkland trees that have been lost in the Borough during the last 20 years be replaced 2 for 1 as part of the new strategy?

Cons – (Actions and outcomes that were in the old strategy that have not been included in the new strategy):

  • There is less in the new strategy about making the parks and open spaces more accessible eg for infirm and disabled people. The new strategy suggests that only new children’s play areas would include extra play provision for disabled children, existing play areas would not, which is a missed opportunity to improve play provision in the Borough. Toilet provision in parks and open spaces has also been omitted from the updated strategy and the commitment to retain park keepers which will have an adverse effect on accessibility. We need to ‘increase access to nature’ in the Borough in accordance with Lewisham’s draft open space policies.
  • The Lewisham Council parks team GreenScene will be taking the parks maintenance service in-house. The parks staff are likely to benefit from this eg improved working conditions, but the service is likely to suffer. The parks service was very poor before 2000 when the service was in-house.
  • The new strategy also implies that the design of improvements to parks and open space is also being taken in-house, there is very little about working with external parks and open space designers or consultants. We have experienced a little of this already with the Greening Fund, which is being used for ad hoc improvements by GreenScene without professional design input. It is very important that we continue to improve Lewisham’s parks and open spaces with the support of external design consultants. The improved Beckenham Place Park, Ladywell Fields and Manor House gardens are some of the best landscape architect redesigned green spaces in south London, which could not have been achieved without external design consultants. Good quality well designed parks and open spaces cannot be achieved by a parks team with very little design experience doing deals with play equipment and street furniture companies.
  • The aspiration for good quality design in our parks and open spaces has also been omitted from the revised strategy.
  • The reuse of park buildings and supporting cafe provision with toilets is also absent from the new strategy.
  • The new strategy suggests that there will be less support from the Lewisham parks management team for members of the local community who want to improve their neglected neighbourhood green space.
  • An effective approach to reducing antisocial behaviour in parks and open spaces is absent from the new strategy.
  • Supporting the arts is no longer included.
  • Increasing extent of wildlife habitat was in the old strategy but not included in the new strategy, despite the plight of invertebrates, whose population numbers are crashing. With reference to Glendale’s (Lewisham Parks Contractor) contract rates, it would be 5 times cheaper to maintain grass as species rich meadow in our parks and open spaces rather short mown grass. Increasing areas of wildlife habitat in Lewisham’s parks and open spaces would conform with ‘increasing access to nature’ which is is included in the Borough’s draft open space policies.