Mountsfield Park – Change to Park Keeper Service

It’s Jon Hooker’s last day tomorrow, Mon 30th March, as our park keeper. We haven’t been offered a full time replacement but have been offered the Manor House Gardens park keeper 2 days per week on Monday and Friday.

Glendale/ Lewisham Proposed Mountsfield Park park keeper rota 2015

Glendale/ Lewisham Proposed Mountsfield Park and Manor House Garden  park keeper rota from the beginning of April 2015

We think that we definitely need a full time park keeper at Mountsfield Park for all sorts of reasons, but would like to hear from park users what they think?

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4 comments on “Mountsfield Park – Change to Park Keeper Service

  1. Carrie Blackman says:

    Firstly I am sad at John’s departure from Mountsfield Park, I will miss him being around and his beard. I wish him well.

    Of concern is how the diminished keeper’s presence will impact on people’s sense of security and subsequent confidence in using the park.

    All the new playground installments (once fully open) become more vulnerable as does the FOMP Community Garden. Not to mention the hidden corners of the park.

    Also the current and future cafe operators and staff and customers likewise will likely be drawn into assuming a role of responsibility in place of the keeper.

    Our new sand pit and playground will need checking first thing every day for animal poo. And other safety stuff. Without a keeper on a busy, sunny Saturday morning is this to fall to a bleary-eyed parent visiting the park? And then there’s Saturday’s debris to welcome Sunday morning park users. There will be mobile units apparently keeping check on littering but they won’t feel motivated in the same way, nor provide the same securtiy function.

    Lewisham Council have accepted Friends of Manor House Garden’s plea that, as the park with greatest foot-fall in Lewisham, it should be supported by a majority of park keeper time. I fully believe that MHG too should have a full time keeper ideally but given that it is we are to share a keeper, this imbalance of days does not scan as common sense. Sheer population of MHG surely reduces many of the potential threats of anti-social behaviour.

    Should we ask for a renegotiation of hours/ days? Request a keeper for one weekend day and one and a half on weekdays? Should we argue that Mountfield Park very definitely deserves equal consideration in every way? Or that none of this is acceptable and only a full-time keeper will do.

    I am confident that in the coming years Mountsfield Park will too find itself beoming a true destination park where people throng. Then safety in numbers will help it too defend itself against undesirable activity etc but until then this park that has worked so hard, in particular the Chair of FOMP, many park users and members of FOMP, needs better support.

    We don’t want Mounstfield Park to suffer now. Please put forward all thoughts and let us present them to Lewisham Council urgently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mountsfield definitely needs proper supervision by a full time park keeper. Somehow the littering repeats itself daily, whether by foxes and other wildlife or by inconsiderate humans. The bins need emptying daily or else get raided by foxes. Right now there is someone camping (again) at the back of the park. This is worrying for visitors and it certainly makes the park feel unsafe. In the summer young adults gather at the bottom end for dubious transactions, and add to the general feeling of insecurity. I understand the WCs are only open when a park keeper is present, so that reduces the basic facilities even further if he or she is only going to be present two days a week. Providing suitable access to toilets is so important if all ages are to be able to fully enjoy the park, not to mention people with disabilities. Mountsfield is such a great place but it feels like a ‘Cinderella’ park. Exploited to the utmost during the People’s Day weekend, then left to fester during the rest of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pete says:

    I do think a full time park keeper has made a real difference in recent years – park is tidier and has reduced any potential trouble. I think regular users need to keep an eye on how things develop over the coming months – the new play area, community garden and reopened cafe will attract more people to the park. To publicize further might be good to get a piece in Lewisham life perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

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