Friends of Mountsfield Park (FoMP) Open Meeting, 9th December 2019, 6pm – 7pm, The Lodge, Stainton Road SE6 1AN,

Draft Meeting Minutes Friends of Mountsfield Park (FoMP) Open Meeting, Monday 9th December, 6 – 7pm, Venue, The Lodge (Glendale office) Stainton Road SE6 1AN.

Apologies:
Carrie Blackman
Caford ParkRun

Present:

Chris Thompson (CT) (Glendale Services maintaining Lewisham’s parks and open spaces until 2021)

Nick Pond (NP) (Lewisham parks and open spaces contract manager)

Cllr Louise Krupski (LK) Rushey Green Ward

Ani Passarelli (AS)

Maris Passarelli (MP)

Rory McNally

Tim Fogarty (TF)

Danielle Shaw

Rivke John (RJ)

Minutes of last FoMP open meeting agreed as a true record.

Treasurer’s Report – The FoMP bank balance is  £713.00 with no outstanding invoices.

Matters for discussion:

In response to Lewisham Council’s declaration of climate emergency and to combat global ecological collapse, we need to improve Mountsfield Park’s green infrastructure and wildlife habitat ASAP. Refer to following individual proposals list below and the FoMP maintenance and masterplan proposal plans tabled at the meeting.

Item Comments Action
Planting more trees, and doubling areas of wildflower meadow in the park. NP Trees and wildflower meadow gets in the way of events, many park users are not keen and some neighbouring property owners do not like park boundary tree planting.

MP We should promote the benefits of trees and meadows – eg install interpretation signs so that park users are aware of the importance of species rich meadows for bees and other invertebrates.

LK emphasised that Mountsfield Park should remain fit for purpose for events or it may be closed due to ongoing funding cuts. LK also suggested that FoMP do not represent the whole of the local community and more consultation was required before introducing changes to the park.

RM suggested that events at Mountsfield Park do not generate much income because it is not a large park. CT responded that events in Lewisham parks and open spaces do generate income for Glendale and Lewisham Council, but was unable to confirm how much.

NP to provide details of how these proposals can be accommodated to some extent.

FoMP to consult on these proposals and publicise the benefits of trees and meadow at Mountsfield Park.

FoMP to discuss installation of interpretation boards with Glendale and Lewisham Council.

NP and CT to confirm how much income large events generate.

Install recycling bins for recycling bottles and cans. NP confirmed that the parks team is unwilling to introduce recycling for Lewisham’s parks and open spaces due to the risk of contamination. There is no agreement in place to recycle any recyclables from Lewisham’s parks. N/a
Keep leaf litter in the park to lock carbon in trees and in the soil, and to benefit wildlife. Why ignore unsightly litter and then waste effort collecting leaves that would be better left to provide best quality mulch? NP confirmed that Lewisham Council is willing to reduce the area of leaf collection at Mountsfield Park. eg on grassland and shrub beds. 

CT confirmed that reports of litter via FixMyStreet phone app are received by Glendale staff at Stainton Lodge.
FixMyStreet
https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/fixmystreet/id297456545

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mysociety.FixMyStreet

NP insisted that people should take litter home with them. RJ responded that not everyone will take the litter home and the park is particularly messy at the end of the day. NP and CT responded by suggesting that evidence of litter shows that the park is well used!

RM suggested that the main paths should be kept free of slippery leaves but collecting leaves elsewhere in the park was unnecessary, expensive and not environmentally sustainable.

Glendale and Lewisham Council to reduce area and quantity of leaf litter removal at Mountsfield Park.
Stop or substantially reduce the use of weed killer which is harmful to bees, CT suggested that Glendale do not use much weed killer, but have to use it on paths. Glyphosate and pre-emergence spray is used on the shrub beds next to or near to George Lane and Stainton Road. Glendale and Lewisham Council to continue to research alternatives to using herbicides at Mountsfield Park and stop using glyphosate where possible.
Stop routine damage to trees from vehicles, mowers, and strimmers e.g. Leave long grass around each tree and stop vehicles driving close to them. NP said that they will look at increasing long grass around some trees but were concerned that this would affect suitability of the park as an events venue and would inhibit ball games. Glendale and Lewisham Council to look at reducing grass cutting regimes around trees and to protect them better during events.
Reduce numbers of vehicles accessing the park, especially before, during and after large events to improve air quality and avoid soil compaction, which in summer causes severe water logging of sports and playing fields in winter. Reducing soil compaction in parks is also important to sustain healthy trees and to stop them from dying prematurely. NP events are vital for the continued existence of parks and events generate vehicles; although there was a willingness to control access to some extent, in particular within proximity of Mountsfield Park’s veteran trees. 

CT stated that community groups required parking on Mountsfield Park football pitches during ContinentalDrifts’ People’s Day music event.

LK suggested a vehicle dropoff as an alternative, rather than parking on site.

RM suggested that there were no park managers or supervisors working at weekends to manage vehicles at Mountsfield Park events. Event organisers are not effectively protecting trees in the park.

Lewisham Council and Glendale to control the number of vehicles accessing Mountsfield Park, in particular close to veteran trees and find alternatives to parking on site.
Completely stop use of peat based products eg compost that is used for potting bedding plants and peat in mushroom compost used on rose beds. CT stated that peat was not used for growing annual bedding plants planted at Mountsfield Park. Glendale to use manure as a dressing for rose shrub beds rather than mushroom compost.

Lewisham Council and Glendale to introduce herbaceous perennials at Mountsfield Park to replace annual bedding plants.

Tony Leach from Green Flag Award and Parks for London confirmed during the Lewisham Council Sustainable Development Committee meeting that environmental sustainability, meadow grassland and taking care of park trees etc. is in keeping with Green Flag and Parks for London judging /assessment criteria, NP and CT confirmed that an environmentally sustainable approach to maintaining Mountsfield Park is in keeping with Green Flag Award and Parks for London.

TF said that it was important for Mountsfield Park to continue as a Green Flag park.

Lewisham Council and Glendale to maintain Mountsfield Park as an environmentally sustainable resource.
Friends of Mountsfield Park draft tree and meadow maintenance and masterplan proposal plans Dec 2020 tabled at the meeting The plans illustrate maintenance of Mountsfield Park as an environmentally sustainable resource. (Download the three page pdf for more information and open up in Acrobat Reader). NP emphasised that Friends of Mountsfield Park proposals for more meadow grassland and tree planting would require wider consultation and park community acceptance before the Council will adopt them. NP suggested a master plan as a way of consulting people. FoMP have uploaded the management plans to the FoMP blog and have posted them on the park noticeboard. FoMP will also discuss the plans at the next AGM.
Other matters for discussion:
Make Mountsfield Park more welcoming with Lewisham Greening Fund by installing animal proof litter and recycling bins, signage and making the Carswell Road entrance to the park more attractive – progress update of new signage and bins. What progress has been made towards installing Lewisham Greening Fund fox-proof litter bins signage, bird and bat boxes? NP explained that the animal proof bins, entrance signs, bat and bird boxes have been ordered and are being installed in parks in sequence. Lewisham Council to install the Greening Fund improvements at Mountsfield Park.
Park café bid update. Lewisham Mayor and cabinet approval 11 December 2019. Lewisham mayor and cabinet approval 11 December 2019.
If there was more of an official presence, (park keeper or park managers) anti-social behaviour would be less of a problem. We need park managers and supervisors on the ground at weekends to supervise and motivate staff, quickly resolve issues that occur, run workshops and engage with the public.

Make the Carswell Road entrance to the park more welcoming.

NP explained that given the present financial situation we are lucky to have a park keeper at Mountsfield Park (2 days per week), and that a new improved cafe would supply create more of a presence.

Clearer sightlines were discussed as a means to reducing criminal and  antisocial behaviour on and near the steps at the Carswell Road entrance to the park. This is shown on the Friends of Mountsfield Park draft tree and meadow maintenance and masterplan proposal plans Dec 2020. Working with the highways team to turn  Carswell Road from grey to green was also discussed eg planting trees and reducing the number of vehicles that park there. LK shared photos of timber bollards that have been used in another part of London to stop drivers parking where they shouldn’t.

Lewisham Council to provide more of a presence at Mountsfield Park, open and maintain the toilets 7 days per week where resources allow.

LK to setup meeting with highways team and FoMP to discuss ways of greening Carswell Rd.

Future events Mountsfield Park 6th annual carol singing and social event Sunday 15th December 2019. FoMP 
Meeting closed 7.05pm

Meeting agenda:

  1.  Doubling areas of wildflower meadow in the park,
  2.  planting more trees,
  3.  Installing recycling bins to recycle bottles and cans,
  4.  keep leaf litter in the park to lock carbon in trees and in the soil, and to benefit wildlife.
  5.  why waste effort collecting leaves that would be better left to provide best quality mulch, and ignore unsightly litter?
  6.  stop or substantially reduce use of weed killer which is harmful to bees,
  7.  stop routine damage to trees from vehicles, mowers, and strimmers e.g. Leave long grass around each tree and stop vehicles driving close to them,
  8.  reduce numbers of vehicles accessing the park, especially before, during and after large events to improve air quality and avoid soil compaction, Soil   compaction in summer causes water logging of sports and playing fields in winter,
  9.  completely stop use of peat based products eg compost that is used for potting bedding plants and peat in mushroom compost used on rose beds,
  10.  replace annual bedding plants with peat and pesticide free herbaceous perennials for all year round interest,
  11. Tony Leach from Green Flag Award and Parks for London has confirmed that environmental sustainability, meadow grassland and taking care of park trees etc. is in keeping with Green Flag and Parks for London judging criteria,
  12. Refer to this link to the Friends of Mountsfield Park tree and meadow maintenance plans Dec 2020 that illustrates these improvements at Mountsfield Park. Download the three page pdf for more information and open up in Acrobat Reader.
  • Second Matter for Discussion: Make Mountsfield Park more welcoming with Lewisham Greening Fund by installing animal proof litter and recycling bins, signage and making the Carswell Road entrance to the park more attractive – progress update of new signage and bins. What progress has been made towards installing Lewisham Greening Fund fox-proof litter bins signage, bird and bat boxes?
  • Third Matter for Discussion: Park café bid update;
  • Fourth Matter for Discussion: If there was more of an official presence, (park keeper) anti-social behaviour would be less of a problem. We also need park managers on the ground at the weekend to supervise and motivate staff, quickly resolve issues that occur and engage with the public;
  • Future events: Announce Mountsfield Park annual carol singing event Sunday 15th December.
  • AOB

Contact mountsfieldpark@gmail.com for more information.

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