Tuesday, 11 October 2011

In Crystal Palace Park we trust

(via Bromley Council website)

An alternative approach to managing Crystal Palace Park was explored on Tuesday night, to ensure that it is enjoyed for generations to come.  A proposal outlining a governance structure for the strategically located park to improve it and attract visitors and investment was reviewed at the Environment Pre-Decision Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday night. The report will now go through the Renewal & Recreation Pre-Decision Scrutiny Committee, and then the Executive.  

"Our intention is to secure major investment for this fantastic, scenic asset, and to build markedly upon the works we already do locally. It offers a vision, and a wonderful opportunity for the five neighbouring Boroughs to work together to transform the park into a regional gem capable of matching any other park across the Capital. It's simply not right or proper that South East Londoners have to contribute to the upkeep of Lee Valley Regional Park, but get nothing back in return for Crystal Palace's upkeep. We are still in the early stages of a long journey, but I am optimistic a joint approach will make a key difference which benefits us all in the end", said Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment.  
Crystal Palace Park is situated on the border of five London boroughs; Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark and as a result has evoked a diverse range of community interest and support. At present, all London boroughs pay a statutory levy to the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, for the maintenance of Lee Valley Regional Park. However, the Council hopes that the five neighbouring boroughs will join forces to challenge this levy thereby freeing funds to bring Crystal Palace Park back into the 21st century.  

Recommendations of the report include:  
  • examining the creation of a 'not-for-profit' organisation to govern the park
  • discussions to be pursued with established organisations that have the experience and capability of managing green spaces, such as the National Trust and English Heritage
  • the investigation of options to challenge the Lee Valley Park Act 1966 in collaboration with neighbouring boroughs to obtain agreement to reinvest Bromley's funds in Crystal Palace Park.
The proposal will later be opened up to wider consultation, with future governance options presented to the Executive late next year.  
Notes to editors:
  • For media enquiries, contact Hanna Smith, Communications Officer, on 020 8461 7542 or email hanna.smith@bromley.gov.uk
  • The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) is financed from a levy calculated from the council tax base of Hertfordshire, Essex and Greater London
  • The total amount to be raised by Bromley for the LVRPA for 2011/12 is £394,000.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Restoration of the Paxton fountain / Flamingo Lake

Pre-application sent in to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £50k to help us restore the fountain basin.

Fingers crossed, eh?

The committee also had a great meeting with Alexandra Rook, from the London Parks and Green Spaces forum, to join them in another bid to support volunteering activities in the park.

if you'd like to show your support or get involved, drop us a line at focpp@dsl.pipex.com

Sunday, 14 August 2011

more hard work at the Vale

We spent a good couple of hours at the Vale on Sunday afternoon, clearing the ground for a new path.

Well done to Andrew in particular, who was working like a machine, and to Monica, with her edging tool.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

And now for something a bit different...

Sunday 17th July sees the London London Reverse Running Championships come to Crystal Palace Park. As well as a 3km and a 1km race, there's a 1km Charity Backward Fun Run or Walk - which apparently is perfect for complete beginners to enter!

Details are here: http://reverserunning.com/LondonChampionships.aspx

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Trying to restore the old Flamingo Lake

The Friends have been working with the Rangers, to put together a funding bid to secure some money to help redevelop the old Paxton fountain site which is currently in a poor state of repair and fenced off with no access to the public. Our aims are to restore the heritage site as well as to provide an accessible and pleasant spot for all users of the park. We also hope that the area will be improved for local wildlife by providing the restored fountain basin with appropriate plants and shrubs to sustain wildlife habitats.

The basin itself is currently full of silt and self-sown willow trees and, as a result of being fenced off from the public, has become overgrown and unattractive. We have spoken to many park users, all of which are keen to see the site restored to public use and enjoyment.

Watch this space as we continue to look for funds and secure support for the work. We've already collected hundreds of signatures in support of the plan from park users as well as letters of support from local groups.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Follow us!

We've been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century! Follow the Friends on Twitter! We're tweeting as PalaceInThePark - http://twitter.com/#!/palaceinthepark

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Open letter to Bromley regarding Park funding cuts

The following letter was sent to Bromley as part of their discussions around park funding, and in particular the impact it would have on Crystal Palace Park.

Friends of Crystal Palace Park

Website: http://focpp.blogspot.com/

13th February 2011

CC: Local councillors

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of the Friends of Crystal Palace Park in response to the issues raised in the Bromley Friends Forum meeting on 8th February. This letter has been copied to the local councillors responsible for the Crystal Palace ward, and will also be placed on our website.

Our committee has discussed the proposals and has three main inter-related concerns.

Firstly, we welcome the commitment to continue financially supporting Friends of parks groups. But the most valuable support the Friends of Crystal Palace Park have received over the past year has been non-financial – it has been the support of your staff, their skills, their expertise and the access to tools that have made the volunteering work possible – without this support it is not clear whether we could continue with our volunteering efforts. The volunteering work is one of the most visible things a Friends group can do in the park, and has been instrumental in bringing new members into the group. Without members, we would not have the capacity to work with the Park staff in funding bids, e.g. for lottery funds.

Our second related concern is the proposed reduction in the number of park rangers and the impact this will have on the park. The rangers in Crystal Palace Park play an essential role in maintaining, securing and making Crystal Palace Park a welcome place to visit. They provide educational support and children’s’ activities which bring families in to the park. The proposal to reduce the number of rangers in Bromley and place them on a cross borough rota would undermine the hard work that the Crystal Palace Park rangers have put into encouraging people to use the park and to learn about the unique history it contains.

Finally, the proposal not to maintain toilet facilities will be of extreme concern to all who use Crystal Palace Park. As you may be aware, there is only one toilet block for this vast park. The gents side was recently the subject of an arson attack, leaving the park with further reduced toilet facilities. While we understand that negotiations may take place with the park café to see if they will take over the maintenance of the toilets (without the toilet facilities it is hard to see how the café could remain open), given the current state of the toilet block we feel this is condemning the park to operate with effectively no toilets, and will possibly see the successful park café forced to close as well. This will have a huge negative impact on the number of families visiting the park.

While we accept the size of the funding challenge that Bromley has been set, we question whether cuts to the parks budget of this extent are required. At a time when Bromley has a considerable financial reserve (currently £52 million against a target level of £15 million for its reserves), and can find millions of pounds to renovate its civic centre head quarters, we feel these cuts will hit Crystal Palace Park and the surrounding area particularly hard. We are not talking vast amounts of money in the Parks budget, but we are talking about a considerable negative impact. Your website states that LB Bromley believes “in starting with what is important to local people, by listening to what they have to say, and learning what they value and need locally. Your own council survey shows the importance that Bromley residents place on parks and education – and these cuts will affect both. We encourage you to reconsider them.

Yours sincerely,

Craig Richardson

Friends of Crystal Palace Park

Draft new Constitution for the group

For a number of years now the group has been struggling with a constitution that was written with a much bigger group in mind. At the AGM we accepted a proposal to nullify the old constitution and replace it with a new one at the following AGM.

In the interests of openness, the draft constitution being considered by the committee is here (pdf, 43 Kb). We would welcome comments from members - either as comments on this post or by email to focpp@dsl.pipex.com . The new constitution simplies voting arrangements, committee structures and the membership structure. Essentially we feel its a lot more workable for a small group.

The draft is based heavily on the constitution of another Bromley park Friends group - the Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground. For comparison, their constitution is here.

The document will remain draft until ratified by the next AGM.

FoCPP 2011 AGM - DRAFT Minutes

The draft minutes from our AGM on 30th January 2011 can be found here (pdf, 56 Kb). We're very grateful to Sue Nagel for volunteering to take the notes of the meeting.

The minutes are draft and subject to agreement at the next AGM.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

With your help...

The Vale in Bloom...
Originally uploaded by Craig Richardson
The Vale is starting to bloom!

The bulbs we planted late last year are coming up nicely and as you can see from the photo we're starting to see some colour!

There's still work to be done, we want to clear more of the area and work on making it more connected with the rest of the park.

If you're free - the next volunteering session is this Sunday (13th March) and we'll be meeting at 2pm at the Park Information centre and then heading up to the Vale.

It would be great if you could join us - many hands make light work!