Friends of Mountsfield Park Talk Progress & BBQ

Dear Friends

In the wake of some hairy funding moments and heated Council engagements the FoMP Executive would like to thank all who have come to meetings, offered ideas, and given support to-date. In these last months, FoMP proved itself a force to be reckoned with, respected for its commitment to getting the best deal it can for Mountsfield Park. The Council listened. We should all feel proud that we made a difference.

Work on our Community Garden will begin imminently. With Mayor Bullock, the Council has committed to create a space in which all of us – pensioners, school children, community groups, apprentices, young people, families, and individuals seeking space and calm – will glean many years of enjoyment. Whether getting stuck in with your gardening gloves or just wandering through it whilst the children play hide-and-seek, it will be a wonderful space for us all.

Likewise with the improvements to the Playground, work starts soon. Through the costing/funding negotiations, FoMP and the Council came to a solid agreement over what changes should happen.

  • The two metal climbing frames will come out and be replaced by far-lovelier, timber towers with bridges, ropes and slide and a timber toddler climber too.
  • A new basket swing should make the park more fun for disabled children.
  • The better pieces of existing equipment are to be kept – including the large net climbing frame, the swings, the zip-wire, and the wooden toddler equipment.
  • The blue low-level, walk-along pieces are to come out, as too are the see-saw, helicopter, snail and butterfly.
  • Planting, boulders and mounds will go in.
  • The toddler swings will move closer to the toddler area.
  • The repositioning of railings will mean all equipment is brought together, (no more dodgy gates to battle Katy).
  • A large grassed area will allow for children to roll on mounds, picnic and enjoy some distance from parents when socializing. All while being kept safe within the playground.

We estimate work will commence in the next month. Dates when the playground will be out of action will be published as soon as we have them.

Now to achieve our Café, which we aim to do within the next 12 months.  Although we are disappointed that the Café will not be built during this phase of work, we are pleased to announce that, after pressure from FoMP, the Council has promised that at least £50,000 will be set aside to contribute towards a new café in the future. A £40,000 contingency fund currently held back for the playground and gardens, may too become available. FoMP will work with the Council to raise additional money. The FoMP Executive and sub-committees will continue to meet regularly with the aim of fundraising and exploring options – new build or upgrade, franchise operation or operator built, private investors or long term bank loans. We will share all options with you in order to get your ideas and feedback. Above all FoMP remains committed to keeping you informed, listening to your views and ultimately getting the best it can for all of us.

With regret we have to let the old walls go. The Council are certain that saving them would be financially unviable whether in making them safe or altering their use. We know this will be sorely felt by many and we are speaking to the Council about keeping some of the old bricks, perhaps to build them into bedding features in the park. We welcome any suggestions for what else to do with them. We’ll need to use them quickly as storage will be difficult – anyone with ideas please step forward!

There is, as yet, no clear way forward with the toilets. We have been reluctant to ask the Council to spend any of the remaining budget on the container loos as we hope they will only be there for the short term, one way or another. But they do need to be better kept and accessible whenever the park is open. If we can achieve this, can we users cope with them until we have a new café? Please let us know what you think.

Finally, thank you again for your hard work, commitment, and help.  We want to celebrate FoMP’s successes and prepare for the next set of challenges, so please accept this invitation to a special BBQ and picnic, to be held outside Sammy T’s on Saturday 6 September.  It’ll be a chance to look at the plans for forthcoming work in more detail, meet other members of FoMP and to play in the wonderful park we all care so much about!  SAVE THE DATE – SEE YOU THERE!



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