Lewisham Council Confirm That They Will Meet with Mountsfield Park Users to Discuss Proposed Improvements – 23rd July 2013

Friends of Mountsfield Park

Lewisham Council  have confirmed that they will meet with Mountsfield Park users to discuss proposed  improvements to the park. The meeting is at Hither Green Baptist Church hall, Theodore Road, SE13 6HT 7pm, 23rd July 2013. All welcome!The Q & A below issued by Martin Hyde, (Lewisham Council parks regeneration manager) during the last park meeting at the Café of Good Hope gives an idea of what we might be discussing – Agenda to follow… July’s meeting follows the Council Officer’s meeting on the 24th of June 2013.

Apologies for Friends of Mountsfield Park that live a long distance from Hither Green Lane. If you can suggest a venue closer to home we could probably meet up there for the next meeting.

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Mountsfield Park , project Q & A – Issued byMartin Hyde London Borough of Lewisham green spaces regeneration manager

Q. Who is the project manager and who does he/she report to?

Sandra Plummer project manager(Lewisham Council – Resources and Regeneration)

Gavin Plaskitt programme manager (Lewisham Council – Resources and Regeneration)

Q. Why is the project not managed by the parks department (LB Lewisham Green Scene)?

The main bulk of the funding has come from the Rushey Green Renewal Area fund which was delivered by the Regeneration Directorate. Improvements to the upper area of Mountsfield Park were identified, following consultation with Green Scene, and it was agreed that the dedicated project managers deliver the project.

Q. What is the geographical scope of the project?

The project area (hub) is centred on the re landscaping of the former\ bowls green including the site of the existing and former toilets, the cafe area and the formal gardens and compound.

Q. What is the budget and how was this broken down?

The total budget is £468k

Draft breakdown:

Fees £50,000

Works £354,000

Contingency £50,000

Project on costs £14,000

Q. Where did the funding come from?

Rushey Green Renewal Fund £380,000

Section 106 £88,000

Q. Are there any restrictions applied to the S106 funding?

A. Yes – investment in sustainable transport (cycling and walking) must account for £35,000 of improvements

Children’s play £25,000

Parks and environmental improvements £28,000

Q. How much has already been spent and on what?

A. Groundwork RIBA stages A-C feasibility, consultation and outline

plans £9,000 including surveys (Groundwork also secured £9k from the

M&S living legacy towards community engagement)

Groundwork Additional works preparation for application Mayor of

London’s Big Green Fund (aborted on advice of GLA) £2k

Cafe feasibility study £4,600

Q. What were the main areas for improvement requested during the

Groundwork Consultation July – December 2012?

• cafe (and toilets) should be improved

• planting and shrubbery should be improved

• facilities for young people should be improved

• children’s play improvements

• more seating

• increasing biodiversity

Q. Why has there been so much delay?

A. There have been a number of reorganisations within the Council over the last 12 months which have resulted in a reduction in the amount of resources (financial and human) available. In addition there has been a change in the way the Council procures landscape and architectural consultants.

Q. Why are Groundwork London not still involved?

A.  Groundwork wer!’l procured under the old Council consultancy framework which allowed the initial work (RIBA stages A -C). The new framework which came into effect last year restricts Groundwork to landscape design and not a multi disciplinary approach which might be required for Mountsfield RIBA Stages D – L (Scheme design to completion). Either way the Council will have to invite competitive bids from practices on the framework.

Q. Will the Groundwork work be wasted?

A. Certainly not! When commissioning the second phase (RIBA stages

D-L) the Groundwork report will be given as a basis for Scheme Design.

Q. Within the scope of the project how much is allocated for a new cafe and toilets?

A. No figure has been set aside however within the existing budget the cost of various initiatives needs to be balanced.

Q. Why can’t the whole budget be spent on a new larger building as recommended in the 2006 Hither Green report?

A.The Hither Green report was written at a very different time for local authorities and its findings must be tempered by the current financial situation. It would also not be appropriate to spend the whole budget on a large building without making significant improvements to the hub area. A successful cafe will require an increased footfall, with users being willing a ‘spend a while’ in the park. Improved children’s play can do this as can adult fitness facilities, a community garden and good quality toilets.

Q. Why is more money being spent on reviewing the cafe operation?

A. Officers are very mindful to ensure that public money is spent wisely and sustainably. Cafe’s have proved to be very popular in some parks but each park and its surrounding neighbourhood is unique and pitching the offer to meet the demands and needs of Mountsfield is vital to its future success.

Q. Can the Council bid for additional external funding?

A. Yes of course however some bidding processes can be lengthy and apply conditions that the Council would find difficult to meet in these challenging times.

Q. Will bidding for additional funding hold up delivery or could the project be

delivered in stages?

A. Possibly and therefore officers will look carefully at funding timetables to ensure that a project could be delivered in stages. For example a bid to the London Marathon Charitable Trust can be made this August for children’s play or fitness equipment, announcements are made in December so the bids success or failure could be factored into. the proiect timetable.

Q. Is a community food growing area viable and is there a commitment locally?

A. Katy Delaney is seeking expressions of interest in a food growing area within the compound site. This area would have to be publically accessible for all users however it could be secured at night for additional protection. Officers will want to be sure that there is enough local interest and willingness to take this project forward. The Council will not be in a position to ‘rescue’ it should interest wane!

Q. Is there a demand for more pitch sports?

A. Currently youth teams play at Mountsfield during the winter months. Demand for the pitches varies as the pitches require drainage and there are no changing facilities. However, youth teams rarely use changing facilities as most turn up ready to play and go home dirty! Good quality toilets however are very much in demand for all users.

Q. Is there a demand for changing rooms?

A. Yes and No. Given the cost anything from £175k upwards it is currently unaffordable. Even if external funding could be found officers have concerns about the future management and maintenance of changing rooms as the parks budget will not cover additional costs. The fees generated are unlikely to cover the maintenance costs.

Q. Is Green Scene able to manage and operate new facilities in the future?

A.  No not at this juncture

Q. How would be cafe/toilets be managed in the future?

A.  It is envisaged that expressions of interest would be sought from café operators to manage the cafe and public toilets in return for a lease or licence. The term of the lease/ licence would reflect the level of additional investment required to fit out a cafe . Rent relief may be offered for a number of years to take account of the investment.

Q. When can we have a timetable for project delivery?

A. Officers are meeting on 24th June to assess the information

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