Friends of Mountsfield Park AGM 2016

The next Friends of Mountsfield Park AGM will take place from 10am to 12pm on Saturday 16 January 2016 at the Station Pub on Staplehurst Road.

Please read the attached Annual Report which provides a summary of activity since the last AGM.  Please also find here an agenda for the AGM and nomination forms for those seeking election to the Friends executive. Forms must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday 14 January 2016 to

If you can’t make the AGM but want to be involved in FOMP, please do get in touch – there are lots of ways in which you can help out and we would be grateful for any support you can offer.


FOMP AGM Papers 2016 FINAL




Mountsfield Park for Christmas Carols and festive fun!

Christmas Carols 2015 FINAL

We hope that you are all beginning to fill with festive spirit and are looking forward to the Christmas break. The only thing you need to make it complete is to come to Carols in Mountsfield Park, Saturday 19 December, from 14:00 in the Community Garden.

There will be music, mince pies, beer, mulled wine, cider, and the chance to spend a magical afternoon with your community.

And, given the massive generosity that so many of you showed at our summer BBQ, we have decided to make the most of the season of goodwill to all by collecting supplies for Lewisham Food Bank. You can find out more (including the sorts of food they are most in need of) here:

Bring your donations and we’ll get them to the the right place!

We hope to see as many of you there as possible, so we can wish you a Merry Christmas and have a wonderful sing-song together.

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

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


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 .  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.


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

FOMP Executive


Saturday 5 September – FOMP Summer Picnic!


Free fun in Mountsfield Park, including a Bird of Prey display!

We hope you are all enjoying your summer – full of holidays, sunshine (well, some sunshine), and of course lots of days spent in the park. But no matter how much fun you have had, the best is still to come!

The FREE annual FOMP summer picnic will take place from midday on Saturday 5 September:
– A Bird of Prey display, provided by Eagle Heights will start at 13:30pm. Come and see eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls perform in the park, and then spend time with the birds after the display has finished. You can even hold the birds (for a small donation to Eagle Heights).
– BBQ provided by our friends at Sammy T’s will include kid friendly options and the first chance to try some new recipes soon to be offered on the Southbank.
Carrie’s Bar will run throughout the picnic, offering a range of alcoholic and soft drinks.
Tea and cakes will also be available, and you can even take home your very own Mountsfield Park mug.

This is a free event although we will be asking for donations to FOMP to help with the running costs of the Community Garden and to raise money for a new trim trail in the park.

So join us on Saturday 5 September to celebrate the end of the summer and help us to raise funds for an even better park. See you then!

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

AGM & Tea with the Vicar – Friends of Mountsfield Park

Invitation to all Friends:

Friends of Mountsfield Park’s Annual General Meeting


A Lovely Get-together with Buffet Tea*

3.30pm, Saturday 18th October

St. Swithun’s Church Hall, St. Swithun’s Road, Hither Green

Children will be encouraged to get crafting in the basement while we meet.

St. Swithun’s Vicar Jane has very generously waived the fee for the hall and basement (approx. £130),

instead we’ll be asking for contributions towards church hall hire and children’s entertainment on the day.

Tea, scones and sarnies after the meeting (Let’s hope it’s champagne next year)

 Remember – this is your chance to get involved and to have your say

about what FoMP should be focusing on in 2015! 

* “AGM” is so off-putting! And we want you all there by way of a thank you for your support.

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!




6 AUGUST 2014

  1. Following concerns raised by FOMP, Councillor Rachel Onikosi, the Cabinet Member for the Public Realm at Lewisham LA, convened a meeting on 31 July. This meeting gave the opportunity for FOMP to raise our concerns in person and for the LA to present revised proposals for the redevelopment of Mountsfield Park.
  1. The LA made clear its view that the available budget will not stretch to cover the three main elements of the redevelopment plans – the community garden, the cafe, and the playground – and reaffirmed its belief that the cafe should be removed from the current phase of work.
  1. The LA has asked for comments on the revised proposals, and for these to be given by 8 August in order to influence the final decision to be made by Councillor Onikosi, which has placed FOMP in a very difficult position. We have discussed the proposals and other options within FOMP and across the wider community.
  1. Although there are naturally a range of views about how best to proceed, one fact remains unequivocally clear – there is deep disappointment that the latest LA proposals still fail to include a café in this phase of work, despite it being the most important issue during the last public consultation in 2012, and despite repeated requests by FOMP that a café be prioritised. The temporary solution proposed – a canopy between the existing container units, showed a dismissive lack of imagination.
  1. At the same time, FOMP are pleased to see that the LA has listened to concerns about the proposed improvements to the Children’s play area. Through making more sensible design and budgeting decisions, the LA has achieved a proposal that replaces the dangerous and obsolete pieces of play equipment, and introduces brand new pieces of good quality play equipment.  FOMP are pleased to have the opportunity to influence the final choices over pieces of equipment.
  1. The LA also reaffirmed its desire to push ahead with the community garden. Whilst FOMP have always agreed with this in principle, we have been concerned that the LA is determined, as part of this work, to knock-down the old wall and toilet block, both of which we feel could potentially be of use in the future.
  1. According to the LA’s plans, when the above work is done, there will be around £56,000 remaining. There is also a £40,000 contingency in the LA budget which might be available at the end of the project.  The figures, as we understand them, are set out in more detail in Annex A.

The FOMP response

  1. FOMP remain committed to an ambitious vision for Mountsfield Park. The LA proposals, whilst an improvement on the current amenities, fall short of doing justice to the potential of a much valued and well used green space.  We have had to weigh our disappointment in the failure to deliver a café against the pressing need to see improvements in the playground area.
  1. Regardless of the outcome of this phase of work, FOMP continues to be determined to mobilise the enthusiasm of the local community and seek ways to raise funds to deliver tangible and long-lasting improvements to Mountsfield Park. FOMP are determined that this phase of work does nothing to undermine any future ambitions.
  1. After careful consideration of the LA’s proposals, and discussions with other local groups, FOMP believe that the best course of action is to offer qualified support, but only if a number of conditions are met:
  • First, work on the community garden should press ahead, and we can see that the LA is determined to knock-down the old toilet blocks. But we ask that the LA does not knock-down the wall that runs along one end of the area before further conversations with FOMP.   All or part of the wall could be a valuable asset in the future, for example as part of the community garden itself, or as a backdrop to other work (e.g. greenhouses, etc.), and FOMP would like the opportunity to discuss these options further.
  • Second, we have lost all confidence in the ability of BDP to deliver a café. Their processes of design and tendering have failed, and their attempts to offer a basic canopy between the existing containers were derisory.  We want the LA to ringfence £50,000 so that FOMP can consider ways to use this money more effectively to deliver the café that the park deserves, and for Councillor Onikosi to give a public commitment that this money will remain available until a café is delivered.  Based on some promising initial conversations, we believe that, taken away from the LA’s unwieldy procurement processes, this money could help us to quickly generate additional funds, to build a cafe that will become an iconic local space within the next 12 months.  In the first instance, FOMP want a discussion with the current operators to consider options.
  • Third, we are pleased that the LA has listened to FOMP concerns about the playground, and have made improvements. FOMP will engage with BDP to influence the final selection of pieces of play equipment.
  • Fourth, it is critical that the LA improves the park’s toilet facilities in the short term, until the new cafe is ready.
  • Fifth, we ask that the LA undertakes a commitment that the contingency of £40,000 only be spent where necessary to deliver the plans as specified, and that money is not transferred to other projects within the park. As much of the £40,000 contingency as possible should be added to the £50,000 ringfenced for the cafe, on the same terms.  To give FOMP confidence, the LA should agree to be transparent about when and why it intends to use the contingency.
  • Finally, we believe that, in order to continue to improve the park for all users, it is important that information about activities and plans are properly advertised. So we ask that the LA uses some of the money remaining to place lockable poster boards at each entrance to the park.  This is something that FOMP have asked of the LA previously.


  1. FOMP now asks the LA to respond quickly to confirm that the conditions set out above can be met, before FOMP is willing to offer public support for the latest set of LA proposals. Without this assurance, FOMP remains concerned that the redevelopment of Mountsfield Park will continue to represent a missed opportunity.


  1. Once the LA has agreed to ringfence £50,000 (to be increased dependent on the use of the contingency), FOMP undertakes to lead conversations with potential partners – starting with the current operators – to deliver the café that users of Mountsfield Park have lacked for too long.


Annex A

LA building costs, as set out on 31 July 2014

Park Area Anticipated costs
Community Garden – includes demolition of WC block and general clearance £94,140
Playground Area £186,860
Paths £8,856
Preliminary and set-up costs £37,806
Contingency £40,000
Amount remaining for café £56,053
Total £423,715

The total budget for the project is circa £525,000, with around £100,000 set aside for non-building related costs.


On several occasions, the LA has referred to the ‘abortive costs’ of not proceeding with its recommendation and returning to the drawing board.  The LA have now confirmed that these ‘abortive costs’ – in other words costs that would be incurred from the overall budget if it fails to move forward with activity as proposed – will total £78,497.