Mountsfield Park Cafe and Toilets – we have until 3 August 2016 to make a difference!

MOUNTSFIELD_PARK_CAFE_INTERIOR_2_0

We want a cafe in Mountsfield Park. We have been campaigning for a cafe for years, and have been promised one by Lewisham Council – including as part of the Council redevelopment of the park that created the Community Garden and revamped the play area. But the Council were unable to follow through on their plan to build a cafe at that time. Since then, we have worked with them to identify some funding – £50k – to launch a tender process to encourage an outside investor to build a cafe in the park.

A viable and attractive cafe plan is in front of Lewisham Council for approval right now – made by a local businessman who has worked closely with the Friends of Mountsfield Park. You can see the plans and some pictures of the new cafe here.

But the planning department at the Council is making unreasonable demands:

  • they are demanding that the new design have a ‘biodiverse living roof’ to replace what they claim is a living roof on the existing, abandoned container units. In fact, the current ‘living roof’ is around a dozen unmaintained planters. We have offered to move these and add them to the Community Garden, so there is no loss of natural habitat, but the Council says this isn’t good enough.
  • they are demanding that the new design meet the ‘BREEAM’ environmental rating of ‘exellent’, even though the Council was prepared to waive this requirement for the cafe they planned to build in Mountsfield Park! In other words, had the Council actually managed to deliver the cafe they promised in 2014, we would now have a cafe that didn’t meet these very high standards. The current proposal meets the ‘BREEAM’ environmental rating of ‘good’ with an aim to achieve ‘very good’. This means the current plans exceed mandatory standards by some margin.

If Lewisham Council turns down the current proposal – for what we think are spurious reasons – it could be years before another option is available and the money we fought to get the Council to commit to support the project – £50k – will be at risk.

We want the Council to take an intelligent approach, to look at the benefits a cafe would bring to Mountsfield Park: it will bring in revenue, encourage people to stay in the park longer and enjoy the Community Garden and play area, improve security by making the park more attractive to families, provide a place for dog walkers to get a cup of coffee, and it will mean that maintained toilet facilities are available in the park. These are far more important that a handful of planters!

We have written to the Planning Department to outline our concerns, but here’s what you can do to help:

  • add your signature to this petition by 3 August 2016 to let Lewisham Council know you agree that we’ve waited long enough for a cafe and toilets in Mountsfield Park.
  • Email mountsfieldpark@gmail.com by 3 August 2016 with any further comments, thoughts, and experiences. All evidence is good evidence and will help us to make the case.
  • Tell your friends and neighbours! Share the petition, share this blog post

We want a cafe. The park deserves a cafe. It needs functioning toilet facilities. A local businessman is willing to invest to create an amazing cafe. Short-sighted planning decisions shouldn’t stop it happening.

Update on Mountsfield Park Cafe

The prospect of a cafe in Mountsfield Park has moved a step closer with the submission of a planning application to Lewisham Council.

We have been campaigning for a new cafe in the park for years, and we are delighted that the clear wishes of so many in the local community are that much closer to being realised.  The journey to this point has been lengthy and sometimes frustrating, with disappointments along the way.  But it now feels like we are in touching distance of getting a cafe that will serve the needs of all park users – families using the redeveloped playground, weekend gardeners in the community garden, daily dog walkers, picnic goers, joggers, and many more.

Your Executive has written to the Council to put on record our firm support for this proposal – you can view our letter here: Mountsfield cafe reference DC-16-095961

We encourage you to write to the Council to express your support as well.

You can view the planning documents here:
http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=_LEWIS_DCAPR_83187

We’ll keep you posted as the proposal progresses.

Rory, Maria, Carrie, Ros, Rivke, Max, and Gareth
FOMP Executive

 

Council seek expressions of interest in a new cafe in Mountsfield Park


Beautiful_day.JPG

As many of you know, Lewisham Council have £50k set aside to support the development a new and improved cafe in Mountsfield Park, and they are now seeking expressions of interest from potential operators.

We don’t think there is any single way to create a wonderful cafe in Mountsfield Park, and are keen that this process encourages creative and innovative approaches, bringing in private investment to supplement money from the Council.

If you know somebody who might be interested – perhaps an existing local business – please encourage them to contact the Corporate Asset Team at Lewisham Council on 0208 314 6865 or email Jennifer.Rivers@lewisham.gov.uk .  The Team will also be hosting an open afternoon on Wednesday 28 October from 14:00-16:00 – why not come along and share your views?

The Friends of Mountsfield Park have produced a short information pack to help this process – MP_Brief_FINAL_July_2015.pdf

We hope that this can be the start of the next phase of improvement at our wonderful park.  With your help, continued engagement, and enthusiasm, the cafe we all dream of can become a reality.

The deadline for cafe operators to submit their expressions of interest to the Council’s Corporate Asset Team is 28 October 2015. The Council will then will then formally invite bids giving 6 weeks to return.

Thanks.

Rory, Maria, Carrie, Ros, Rivke, Max, and Gareth

FOMP Executive