Sunday, 20 December 2015

Please help save Victorian Ladywell Baths (a.k.a.'The Playtower')

Some 600 signatories have put their name to the petition to save Ladywell Baths.  The target is in the thousands,

Please add your signature and spread the word if you have not yet done so.

Volunteer River Clean Up on Sunday 13th December

Clean up successful. Thanks to everyone who helped on the day.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Please help save Victorian Ladywell Baths (a.k.a.'The Playtower')

Frustration has been building in Ladywell for years over Lewisham Council's shoddy custodianship of the Ladywell Baths (a.k.a.'The Playtower'), a fine Victorian building much valued and appreciated in Ladywell and far beyond (not least by the Victorian Society) but, sadly, in sorry decline over the last few decades. Though the Council spent money a few years ago to weatherproof the building there is no real evidence that it is taking the urgent and concerted action required to safeguard the building in the long term.
The Ladywell Village Improvement Group has this week launched a petition in an attempt to demonstrate the level of public interest in this matter and to press the Council into more demonstrable and meaningful action -
Please sign this petition and give it maximum publicity by circulating this message/weblink to your friends (whether in Lewisham or beyond), posting it on Facebook, tweeting etc.
If we get 8,000 'signatures' by the time the petition closes in February we will be able to secure a debate in full Council.
See also 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Don't miss the Annual Seasonal Holiday LFUG Christmas Social, Tuesday 1st December from 7.30pm

It would be great to see many of you at the next LFUG meeting. This one won't be long and tedious (LFUG meetings never are), but everyone will be eager to proceed quickly to extra time for drinks and conversations.  The venue, as ever, is the Art Gallery behind the Ladywelll Tavern.  

Ladywell Christmas Market on Saturday 5th December.

Ladywell Village Improvement Group are once again organising the Christmas Market in the centre of Ladywell, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 5th December.
They still need some help with marshalling the event.  Could you don a hi-viz jacket and help keep the public safe, marshal stallholders, give out information and sell raffle tickets? Please contact them directly at if you can offer even just one hour of your time between 12pm and 4pm.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Volunteer River Clean Up on Sunday 13th December

Come along to the latest in our regular volunteer river clean-ups on Sunday 13th December between 10am and 1pm.  
We will begin with a safety talk at the Ten Thousand Hands Café in the north field beside Ladywell Station, and may finish in the same place with a tea or a coffee. All ages welcome although children must be accompanied by an adult. 
Thames 21 ( once again provide support and equipment for the day, including waders, gloves, socks and litter grabbers. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Be vigilant

Lewisham Hospital is making people aware of an incident that occurred on Monday 9th November at approximately 5.30pm.
A nurse reported that she was attacked by a group of approximately 5 males who attempted to steal her mobile phone.
This incident occurred by the bridge leading from Lewisham Hospital which to Ladywell Fields.
The incident has been reported to the police. Everyone is advised to be vigilant around this area especially in the evenings.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Malyons Road bridge water leak has been fixed (at last!)

Paul Bailey at Lewisham Council let it be known that the previously reported water leakage affecting the park at the end of Malyons Road has been repaired.  Young intrepid waterway explorers need to revert to playing along the stream in the north field.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Malyons Road bridge - mains water leak (update)

Please see earlier post on this.  Paul Bailey, Energy Engineer at Lewisham Council, has just provided this update.
"With the works agreed, I can advise the work is likely to take approximately a week to complete. Also, with the bridge a major thoroughfare to the park, the contractors have been advised that access via the bridge must be available at all times as well as being mindful of health and safety, e.g. the use of barriers etc.

"I anticipate the work to commence in a week or so as the necessary permits and access have to be arranged.

It's good to talk . . .

At its meeting on 29 September, the Ladywell Fields User Group considered a wide range of current issues affecting the park and was grateful to have Paul Winters (Glendale) in attendance to respond to key issues.  The following is a brief summary of issues discussed and actions agreed.

The River Ravensbourne weir, by the Hospital, remains breached and as a result the secondary channel has low water levels.  It was noted Nick Pond (LB Lewisham) is leading a group designing/implementing a solution which is likely to be funded and undertaken by Volker Fitzpatrick, the main contractor on the Lewisham Gateway Project.  The User Group will ask to be kept 'in the loop' on this.
Considerate cycling - The issue of cycling in the Park was discussed.  It was noted that LFUG Chair, Tony Rich, had tried to get a meeting with officers at LB Lewisham but that this had not been possible due to "staff reductions".  Suggestions for how to encourage more considerate cycling included erecting new signs, e.g. at the Bournville Road entrance, which was felt to be particularly dangerous.
The poor condition of the public toilets within the Cafe building was discussed.  It was noted that these were primarily the responsibility of the café operator (Jimmy Mizen Foundation/Ten Thousand Hands) and suggested that 'consumer power' should be enlisted to bring about improvements.  It was suggested that a sign be put up in the toilets informing users of the cafe operator's responsibilities (as otherwise people tend to assume it is Glendale or the Council who's to blame for the smells and unsanitary conditions of the toilets).

Mullally's proposal to install a temporary depot in the Park at the end of Doggett Road for which, in return, the Park would gain ten new litter bins, was discussed.  Although some new bin locations had already been identified, Paul asked for views on where the remaining bins should go.  The area around the skateboard park was identified as a possible site, but it was suggested that otherwise locations should be dictated by Glendale's own knowledge of the worst areas for littering.

Water mains leak at Malyons Road bridge - it was noted that LB Lewisham's Energy & Sustainability Department had met Thames Water on-site to discus the necessary works and disruption involved.

Barratt's latest planning application to add another storey to the new buildings on the boundary with the middle field was discussed.  It was suggested that the User Group might be able to ask for increased investment in the Park as a 'quid pro quo', e.g. improved cycle provision, lighting etc.

Safeguarding new trees - the mix-up between Glendale and the park contractors over the watering of new trees was discussed.  Paul reported that clearer guidance on handover between the two parties had been drawn up to avoid this problem in the future.  It was noted that Park Users should continue to monitor the health of new plantings and draw issues to Glendale's attention as soon as possible.

The proposal for a new stand within the Ladywell Arena site was discussed.  The User Group was supportive of the proposal, provided it did not negatively affect either of the paths in the Park which skirt the arena boundary.

The problem of illegal moped use in the park was discussed.  The need for Park users to report incidents to the Safer Neighbourhood Team, with registration plate details if possible, was noted.  LFUG would look to promote this issue on the blog and obtain SNT contact details.

The complaint about railings maintenance was noted though there was uncertaitty expressed about which railings were in the worst condition.. The model of Ravensbourne Park Gardens was mentioned as good practice (albeit that the railings there were a different type).  LFUG would investigate further Glendale's responsibilities and the general state of the railings, then report back.

The poor state of the micro-site nature reserve (near the basketball court) was discussed. It was suggested that Nature's Gym volunteers might be asked to look at the site.

The resignation of long-standing Secretary (and former Chairman) Robert Sheppard was reluctantly accepted.  In his absence, Robert was warmly thanked by the Group for his dedication and hard work in servicing meetings and dealing with issues in the Park over many years.

Andreas Goldner was appointed as the new Communications Officer and welcomed to the Group.

Tony Rich
LFUG Chair

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Malyons bridge leak to be fixed (at last!)

On 1 June I first drew the Council's attention to this problem, a leak in the water supply to the adventure playground which has created a green and slimy patch just inside the Park.  Because this poses a slip hazard Glendale have kindly cleaned the area a few times, but the root cause of the problem remains.
But good news now (we hope).  Paul Bailey at the Council ( wrote yesterday "I have arranged to meet the contractors on site tomorrow to determine the works required, with the work to commence soon after".
It is unclear as yet whether the works will require the temporary closure of the bridge.
Robert Sheppard 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

LFUG meeting next Tuesday 29 Sept - draft agenda

The draft agenda is as follows: 
  1. Communications and possible apppointment of a Comms Officer
  2. Skanska lighting works, including some lights replaced but still not working
  3. Public WCs by the cafe - yet again the cafe operator needs to live up to their contractual obligations
  4. The weir - still breached and secondary river channel not working properly as a result.  When will repairs be undertaken?
  5. Mullalley temporary depot site by Doggett Road - new litter bins to be installed as 'quid pro quo' for disruption
  6. Water mains leak at Malyons road bridge - reported several months ago but no action as yet, but it remains a slip hazard
  7. Barratt's latest 'Catford Green' planning application
  8. Safeguarding new tree plantings
  9. Stand for the Ladywell Arena
  10. Mopeds using the Park
  11. Park railings in poor condition - what are Glendale's contractual obligations in this regard?
  12. Clean-up issues - the micro-site nature reserve (near the basketball court) needs attention, as do the riverbank areas around the bridges between the hospital and the Park
  13. Miscellaneous maintenance issues - please email if you have suggestions for additional agenda items (n.b. Glendale have confirmed they will be represented, by Paul Turner, at the meeting)
See you there!
Robert Sheppard

Friday, 11 September 2015

New blood needed - could this be for you?

After nearly 20 years, first as Chairman and latterly as Secretary, I have decided to step back from active involvement in the Ladywell Fields User Group. I have just been appointed a School Governor and already have a number of other pressures and challenges in my personal and work life, so for the time being Ladywell Fields has simply been 'squeezed out'.   I am sure I will be back!

So LFUG needs one or two volunteers to step forward (1) to act as Secretary, calling and publicising our 3-4 meetings p.a.; and (2) to manage this website/blog, posting occasional updates and news items of local relevance.
No previous experience is required, just commonsense and a relentless commitment to making Ladywell Fields the best it can be! Tony Rich (LFUG Chair) and I are more than happy fully to induct anyone appointed to this/these position(s) and though I'm dropping out of active involvement, I will remain around to help on an ad hoc basis.

Please let me know (by emailing if you'd like to take up the reins! I plan to resign at the next ordinary meeting on 29 September and ideally the new appointment(s) will be made that same night.
Robert Sheppard

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Park events consultation - have your say!

The Council has launched a survey on the planned 'updating' of its events policy for parks.
The questions are mainly around the potential for more large scale events that could raise an income which could benefit individual parks or the parks service in general.  The Council is seeking input from local people via this linkIf you have trouble accessing the link you can go direct to the Lewisham Council website and follow 'Get Involved' - 'Influence Decisions' - 'Consultations'.
Robert Sheppard

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Come along to Ladywell Fields meeting on 29 September

The Friends of Ladywell Fields (a.k.a. Ladywell Fields User Group) will meet at 7.30pm on Tuesday 29 September, in the Gallery r/o Ladywell Tavern.  Just walk into the pub, buy your tipple, and come on through the back of the pub, into the yard then turn right into the Gallery building.
More information, including advance notice of any agenda items, will be posted here - on or around 21 September.
Robert Sheppard
Secretary, Ladywell Fields User Group

Miscellaneous park maintenance issues

Main play area in Northern Fields - Glendale have today indicated that the 'flying fox' was removed due to wear in the hanging chain which attaches to the 'traveller'.  A new one has been ordered with complete new seat and will be fitted as soon as it arrives.  It's due to be delivered on 11 September.  Glendale apparently keep spare seats in stock, but the worn chains are ordered when needed, spares seats are kept in stock to ensure minimal down time in replacing worn seats.
'Turning tree' in south field - Glendale will clear the installation of debris tomorrow.
Malyons Road entrance to Park - there is an underground water leak just inside the Park which results in water seeping up through the pavement making the path surface wet and slippery.  Resolution of this issue with Thames Water is being handled by the Council's Energy & Sustainability Manager.
Robert Sheppard

Communication mix-up sees new tree plantings fail

We've previously reported on this problem, the resolution of which seems to us, as park users, pretty straightforward - just get someone down there with a bowser and keep the trees watered when it gets a bit dry!
Martin Hyde, LB Lewisham's Parks Regeneration Manager, yesterday issued an explanation and apology:
"As you will have been aware the new tree planting was part of a wider regeneration project which had its own dedicated project manager. Following the first failure of trees, which was the responsibility of the main contractor, the project manager arranged for the replacement trees to be planted and maintained by Civic Trees a subsidiary of Glendale rather than the main contractor who had no further ongoing liabilities on the project. All costs covered by the main contractor.
"For whatever reason and clearly a breakdown in communications it transpires that Glendale Lewisham only began watering the trees after the dry spell in the spring when the matter was brought to their attention.
"With regards to liability Civic Trees have accepted that they must replace those trees which have failed this year and that Glendale Lewisham have agreed to be responsible for ongoing maintenance and watering over the coming years.
"This is also a lesson learned for ourselves where parks projects are managed by central project managers who often don’t have time available to oversee aftercare liabilities that sit outside the Glendale parks contract.
"Please accept my apologies for this matter."
Robert Sheppard
Secretary, The Ladywell Fields User Group

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Stand, please, for the Ladywell Arena!

The Council has notified the Ladywell Fields User Group 'as a courtesy' that it is developing plans to for a stand (i.e. a seating area, presumably banked) at the Ladywell Arena - in the southeast corner of the Park behind Albacore Crescent - and that a planning application will be submitted in due course.

David Walton, the Council's Community Assets Manager ( (T) 020 8314 8256 (M) 07753 859058 writes:
"The athletics track at Ladywell Arena primarily hosts athletics training and football matches along with a large number of school sports days.
"The league of the two football clubs requires that a small seating stand (50 seating and 50 standing) be erected to conform with their rules.  "
"This is a tight site with limited options for locating such a stand - which would of course be of benefit to all users.
"In the coming months colleagues will be developing the outline ideas into a design which will need to be submitted for planning permission. Funding will also need to be secured. 

"If you have any queries please do get in touch."

The User Group is unlikely to object, provided the design and siting of the stand is not too obtrusive and that good access for cyclists and pedestrians is maintained.  However we have asked to be given the opportunity to examine the plans prior to any planning application being submitted.

Robert Sheppard
Secretary, The Ladywell Fields User Group

Thursday, 27 August 2015

84 Ravensbourne Park appeal dismissed by Planning Inspector

Belatedly I have spotted that this planning application, which was objected to by the User Group, refused by Council officers, and appealed by the applicant, was refused by the Inspector on 22 June 2015.
Here is a copy of the Inspector's decision.

This is the second application to have been refused for this site (the former Park Keeper's house) in recent years.  As the site has been an eyesore for nearly a decade the User Group welcomes a fresh application that delivers much needed housing but which respects the sensitive location in the corner of Ladywell Fields.  Any development here needs to be more modest in scale and, ideally, set well back from the Park boundary, ensuring the new building remains well-screened so as not to detract from the visual amenity of the Park. 

Robert Sheppard

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Barratt submits revised plans affecting the Park

Though the Ladywell Fields User Group has not been notified directly by the Council (unusual as we are an established community group with a clear sphere of interest), one park user has spotted and let us know that official signs, indicating that Barratt has submitted a new application for the residential blocks in the Catford Green development that will directly overlook the middle part of Ladywell Fields, have been put up in the Park.
The proposed extra storey makes the blocks loom very large over Ladywell Fields and one's immediate concern as a park user is that, with these buildings on the south side of the park, there will be significant additional shading for much of the day (which has not, of course, been shown in this artist's impression!).  The argument for the extra storey, it seems, is that the development needs to be higher in order to fund the higher Mayoral standards for the revised overall scheme.  The cynical amongst us will note that the flats abutting Ladywell Fields (with the Park effectively their back garden), which are for private sale, are likely to make Barratt a very tidy profit in a booming property market (which, I guess, is what they're in the business for)!
The plans (application ref: DC/15/93128) can be viewed here on the Council website
Robert Sheppard
Secretary, The Ladywell Fields User Group

Friday, 21 August 2015

Playground closure

Before . . .
. . . and after

Many of you will have spotted that the playground in the north (Ladywell) field has been closed for the last week.  This has been necessary to enable some urgent tree works that were required when it was found that a couple of trees were potentially dangerous.

The playground should be open again today.

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 24 July 2015

Save our trees!

In the Spring, Glendale planted approx. 25 mid-size trees in the south and middle parts of Ladywell Fields.  By June, however, park users reported, and brought it to Glendale’s attention, that many of these trees appeared in distress with some looking as if they may already be dead.
Glendale confirmed last week that the original trees (i.e. before this replacement planting) had died during the ‘Parklands’ contractor’s retention period and were therefore replaced by the contractor as they had failed adequately to maintain them. As such there was no additional cost to Lewisham or the Parklands project.
However, the replacement trees were planted by a division of Glendale, called Civic Trees.  Some confusion remains about the specific level of maintenance cover contractually required of Civic Trees by the contractor who was responsible for re-landscaping of the park.
Pending resolution of this issue, Glendale started to water the trees weekly, from the end of June.
A review of the trees will take place in the Autumn period to establish which (if any) trees need to be replaced.
The User Group has stressed to Glendale that notwithstanding the contractual wrangle, this situation (whereby trees are planted at considerable expense every year only be to allowed to die) cannot be repeated and every effort must be made to save those new plantings that still survive.  You can add your voice to this demand by emailing

Robert Sheppard

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Further orchard work/open day on Sunday 2 August, 11.00am start

Thanks to those of you who came to last Sunday's volunteer/open day in the community orchard in Ladywell Fields (south field).  We were able to tend to the trees, check on their general health, have a go at some of the weeds encroaching near the trees and spot those trees in need of watering, as we've had so little rain now for several months.
It's clear the orchard will need more t.l.c. during the Summer so we've identified Sunday 2 August for another session.
In the meantime thank you to Glendale who responded very positively to our request at the LFUG meeting on Tuesday by today sending a bowser down to the south field to water some of the orchard trees and the new plantings along the bottom of the diagonal path leading from Bourneville Road to Ewhurst Road.
Robert Sheppard

Join in the Three Rivers Clean-Up

The annual Three Rivers Clean-Up runs to 11 July and you'll find full details, including an events calendar, here.
This Sunday, 5 July, there'll be two river-dipping sessions for all the family - 11.00am-1.00pm and 2.00-4.00pm - in Ladywell Fields.  Join Nick Bertrand and team for a river dipping and freshwater invertebrate identification event.
You might also be interested in the clean-up in Cornmill Gardens this Saturday 4 July starting at 11.00am, ending at 2.00pm.  The programme of events will continue through next week culminating in  a special event on Sunday 12 July for all those who have taken part during the fortnight.
Robert Sheppard  

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Park issues raised at last night's meeting

At its meeting at the Ladywell Tavern yesterday evening, the Ladywell Fields Park User Group considered a wide range of issues in and/or affecting the park.  We were grateful to have Paul Winters of Glendale in attendance.  Here is a summary of the issues discussed.

  • Barratts will soon be submitting a further application for the Catford Green (Catford Stadium) development which will include an additional storey on the buildings facing the park at the north of the site.  It was agreed that LFUG should object if the revised proposals had a significantly worse impact on the Park than those already approved.  It was agreed that Barratt’s proposals for the boundary between the development and the park needed to incorporate measures to prevent vehicular access into the Park.
  • Discussions were underway between the Council, Environment Agency and Volker Fitzpatrick about the possibility of using large ‘arisings’ from the Lewisham Gateway project to repair the weir.
  • Inconsiderate cycling in the vicinity of the cafe and down the diagonal path from Ewhurst Road in the south field remained a problem.  The ‘blind’ corner at the park entrance with Bourneville Road was also a hazard.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggested that the reduction in Park Keeper presence (from 5 to 2.5 days pwk from 1 April 2015) had resulted in increased litter problems - though clearly this was not the fault of the part-time Keeper.  The Group hoped that in time more park users would get to know and recognise the new keeper and establish a more personal relationship. 
  • Paul Winters undertook to attend to a number of issues in the south/middle fields as follows – (i) he would initiate more regular collections of rubbish from the regularly overflowing bins; (ii) he’d get the bowser to water drought affected trees - alongside the diagonal path and in the orchard - during July and August; (iii) he’d check for wobbly benches; and (v) he’d look to take action against the scooter that had been riding over the curly bridge most mornings c.7.00am.  He indicated that he was happy for people to call him on 07710 620661 to report issues needing urgent attention.
  • After Paul left the meeting two further issues were raised relating to the south field – (i) the robinia cut down halfway up the diagonal path was again sprouting and its spiky branches were encroaching across the path – so the stump needed to be poisoned; and (ii) the surface of the children’s play area needed inspection and repair - it was especially bad under the large ‘scales’ item of equipment.
  • Nick Pond, the Council’s Ecology Manager, to be asked for two more buckets to facilitate watering of the most vulnerable orchard trees during the Summer.
  • The Bubble Theatre had an event in the Park on 8 July – see
  • The Group agreed it would be useful if Tony and Robert took up Glendale/LBL’s offer of going with them on one of their periodic contract inspection visits of the Park.
  • It was agreed that LFUG should do more to engage/involve young and newer park users to best ensure it remained representative and relevant.  The dates of future meetings (Tues 29 Sept and Tues 1 Dec 2015) should be widely publicised and well in advance.
  • People had been spotted fishing in the vicinity of the curly bridge.  Is this permitted?
  • Volunteering - (i) a further orchard workday/open day had been arranged for Sunday 2 August; and (ii) a Thames 21 River Clean-Up should be arranged for the Autumn.
These matters will be followed-up over the coming weeks.
Robert Sheppard

Monday, 29 June 2015

Next Ladywell Fields meetings on 23rd March and 22nd June

The Ladywell Fields User Group (aka the Friends of Ladywell Fields) will meet on Wednesdays 23rd March and 22nd June, as per usual at 7.30pm in the Gallery r/o the Ladywell Tavern.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Ladywell Fields Orchard Volunteer Session and Open Day THIS SUNDAY

Just a quick reminder of this event on Sunday morning - see below.
Hope to see you there.  If you do plan to come it would be great if you could email to let me know.
Robert Sheppard

Monday, 8 June 2015

Orchard Workday and Open Day - Sunday 28 June at 11.00am

At the weekend our orchard leader had a good look at both the Ladywell Fields ‘community orchard’ and Iona Orchard nature reserve.  Although both are coming on well, a lot of weeds have established around the trees.
So we’re organising a workday for 11.00am-2.00pm on Sunday 28 June.  We can do some pruning of plums and cherries, plus some weeding, watering and inspection for pests/disease.
If you are going to come along, please dress appropriately.  We have a limited supply of gloves so please bring your own and come wearing sturdy footwear and with your legs covered against the nettles, thistles and brambles that we’ll be tackling.  Please also bring your own refreshments, especially if it’s a hot day.
Please assemble 10.45-11.00am in the community orchard, close to the children’s play equipment in the south part (Bournville Road, Catford) end of Ladywell Fields.
Robert Sheppard

Monday, 1 June 2015

Catford Stadium site - Further Barratt Consultation Events THIS WEEKEND

Mind your step at Malyons Road bridge

There looks to be a water leak under the tarmac just inside the park at the Malyons Road entrance and pro tem the area is both wet and muddy.  Glendale and the Council have today been alerted and tomorrow Glendale will inspect and jet-wash the area as an interim measure.
Robert Sheppard 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Weir breach leaves secondary river channel dry

Thanks to Chris Wheal for reporting this. The Environment Agency and the Council have now both been notified and I have replies indicating they will be taking the appropriate action.

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 15 May 2015

Encouraging considerate cycling

Ladywell Fields is a pleasant route between Ladywell-Catford, well-used by pedestrians, skaters and cyclists alike.  This is to be encouraged.  However the park is also used by dog walkers and young children who, at times - especially in the vicinity of the cafe - find that some cyclists using the pathways pay scant regard to safety and seem reluctant to moderate their speed at all.
The 'official' cycle route through the park runs down the eastern (Hospital) side, adjacent to the River.  However that path is less direct and in quite poor condition in places.  So it's not at all surprising that cyclists opt to use the western path, adjacent to the railway, which is straighter and has a better surface.
This problem has been the subject of discussion amongst park users, and with the Council's Parks Team,  for years - but there's no obvious solution.  Additional signage will just clutter the park and is unlikely to make much impact - and we don't really want humps or chicane-type obstacles even if they were to solve the problem.  In the meantime the few inconsiderate cyclists seem to be giving the responsible majority a bad name - and invariably the offenders will be affronted at any suggestion that they're exibiting poor behaviour.
However on 15 June, between 7.30-11.00am, the Council will be running a 'Doctor Bike' session outside the 10,000 Hands Cafe and plans at the same time to hand-out leaflets which, inter alia, encourage considerate cycling.  Lewisham Cyclists have been invited to meet to discuss the issues and to feed into the proposed leaflet.
Robert Sheppard  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Glendale flyer spells out basic service commitment

With the scaling-down of the static park keeper service (to only 2.5 days per week in the case of Ladywell Fields) it is all the more important that we, as park users, report issues that need the attention of Glendale's mobile team.  Glendale have produced this flyer, which includes all the relevant contact details.

You can also download and use the 'Love Lewisham' smartphone app for reporting problems in parks (in the same way as you can use it for reporting on-street issues such as flytips).
In relation to litter and bins, Glendale works to the following timescales -  and, where possible, aims to exceed these.
Litter - Glendale aim to resolve reported litter issues within 6 hrs (during operational hours).
Full bins - Glendale aim to have full bins emptied within 3 hours of being reported (which means if this is reported by 1.00pm the issue should be resolved the by 4.00pm the same day and if reported after 1.00pm, the issue will be resolved by 10.30am the following day).
Robert Sheppard

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Iona Orchard volunteers plant wildflower seeds

On Sunday eight or so volunteers came to the Iona Orchard nature reserve (see separate tab above for more information) for a short work session.  In only a couple of hours we cleared more ivy and  undergrowth from the centre  of the site where four new fruit trees (traditional apple varieties) were planted last year, and sprinkled around wildflower seeds provided free by Kew Gardens.
While we were working three separate people spotted from Ladywell Fields that the gate was open and walked up into the site for a chat.  All were interested in the project and two had memories of the site stretching back 50 years or so, when it was a garden belonging to an old couple who lived in one of the villas on Ravensbourne Park Road.
Some of our (less camera-shy) volunteers
Thanks to all those who took part.  There will be more volunteer sessions and open days during the next six months, so keep an eye on this website for updates.
Robert Sheppard

Fallen/unsafe trees in Ladywell Fields

Earlier this week I wrote to the Council’s Parks Team asking about a couple of trees which park users have reported as needing attention.  Council officer Vince Buchanan has today replied as follows:

“Our Tree Officer has completed an inspection of Ladywell Fields - please see responses below.

(i) across the River close in the vicinity of the Adventure playground - the tree has fallen parallel to the bank and does not entirely block the river and so does not really present a flood risk and certainly has not done so in the time it has been down; and
(ii) across the path leading between the bottom of the Prendergast School site and the River - There is a multi-stem willow which seems to be on the School site.  One stem has been applying pressure to the steel fence and has been like it for a number of years.  More recently a smaller stem has split away from the bole but is resting firmly on the fence and has done so for at least a year and a half but is not impeding the footpaths in the Park.  This stem is still attached to the bole.  Perhaps as it has again been brought to our attention it would be worth getting this stem removed and the tree owner to inspect and deal with the remaining tree.  I am unsure who would be responsible for any of this work as it is a School site."
Vince has undertaken to contact Prendergast Ladywell Fields College to make them aware of this issue.
Please email if you spot any trees that seem to need arboricultural attention.
Robert Sheppard

59 Ladywell Road 'arches' currently being marketed

CGI from the marketing pack of possible future use
For more see the Ladywell Village Improvement Group blog at

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 24 April 2015

Glendale help on Iona Orchard project

This afternoon Glendale colleagues Darren Budden, Angus Fraser and Chris Thompson helped remove most of one large pile of green waste that has accumulated on-site following volunteer sessions throughout the last three years.
They also helped by clearing some more vegetation at the bottom of the site.  The only reason we had to stop after 90 minutes was because the Glendale van that had been brought along to cart away the arisings was full!
Thanks to Darren, Angus and Chris.
There will be another volunteer session this Sunday 26 April, starting at 10.30am, during which we plan to sow wildflower seeds.


Monday, 13 April 2015

Why not do some Volunteering in Ladywell Fields?

There will be a number of volunteering sessions in Ladywell Fields between now and the Summer holidays, as follows:
Friday 24 April, 2.30-4.30pm - Glendale-assisted workday workday in Iona Orchard (behind Bournville Road - access from Ladywell Fields).  To register your attendance contact   More information about Iona Orchard can be found under the tab above.
Sunday 26 April, 10.30am-12.30pm - Workday in Iona Orchard (see above for location).   To register your attendance contact   More information about Iona Orchard can be found under the tab above.

Wednesday 6 May, 5.30-7.30pm - Take your mind off the General Election the following day at a volunteer river clean-up and talk, organised by Thames 21.  Meet in the Park at the far end of Malyons Road, Ladywell. 
Thursday 14 May, 11.00am-2.00pm - Nature's Gym workday in Iona Orchard (see above for location).  For more details and to register your attendance contact or phone (W) 020 8314 2199 or (M) 07710 359851.  More information about Iona Orchard can be found under the tab above.
Thursday 25 June, 11am-2.00pm - Nature's Gym 'Three Rivers Clean-Up' event.  Meet by the cafe in the northern field, close to Ladywell Road.  At this session we will be tackling invasive Himalayan Balsam and clearing litter from the riverbanks.
Please come suitably equipped, wearing old clothes and sturdy footwear, for all these events.  Adults only please for health and safety reasons. 
Please find here full information on this year's 'Three Rivers Clean-Up' programme, which runs from 20 June to 11 July.
Please find here more on Nature's Gym volunteering events in Lewisham's parks and green spaces.

Robert Sheppard

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Turning Tree sculpture now in place

Some of you may already have spotted that the Turning Tree, a permanent sculpture by Henry Krokatsis, is now in situ in the River Ravensbourne in Ladywell Fields. 
It was fashioned from a section of fallen Black Poplar taken from the park, and appears to levitate within the River, changing direction in response to the wind or current.
This installation was commissioned as part of the Secret Garden Project and has been funded and developed in partnership with Lewisham Council
Robert Sheppard

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Keen to take a lead role in an exciting local environmental project?

Iona Orchard nature reserve is a haven of green tranquility behind a locked gate at the south end of Ladywell Fields (i.e. in the Crofton Park area) just a stone's throw from South Circular.

Iona Orchard is a SINC - a site of interest for nature conservation - because the ancient fruit trees, alive and dead, provide home to some uncommon species of beetles. The site, which is part owned by the Council, part by L&Q Housing Association, used to be the double gardens of the pair of fine Victorian villas that face onto Ravensbourne Park Road - but now it is fenced off and secure without free public access.

The Council's Ecology Manager, in liaison with the Ladywell Fields User Group and L&Q, has drawn up a management plan for the site and for the last few years Nature's Gym and the Ladywell Fields User Group have run volunteer sessions to build a woodchip path, keep brambles and ivy at bay.

Ten fruit trees (of traditional varieties) have been planted with the help and generosity of the Urban Orchard Project and, in time, they will grow into full-sized trees - but they have to be looked after carefully to ensure they survive and thrive.

Now is the time to take this project to a new level so that the site can be declared safe for educational visits during the Summer and Autumn, so might you be able to help - either by coming along to the occasional volunteer session or by joining a 'management committee' for the site. An Interest in ecology, gardening and/or environmental volunteering would be helpful but is not essential.

Families are welcome although parents may wish to keep a close eye on younger kids, especially if and when work is being done one-site, until such time as we're fully confident the site is completely safe (i.e. free of any residual broken glass, cans etc.)

If you're interested, please email and let us know how you'd like to be involved and what sort of time commitment you might be able to make.

Robert Sheppard

Friday, 3 April 2015

AGM update

At its well-attended AGM on Tuesday 31 March, the Ladywell Fields User Group re-elected Tony Rich and Robert Sheppard to serve for another year as Chair and Secretary respectively, and was pleased to elect Caroline Cupitt as Treasurer.
Issues discussed included the adventure playground, the breach in the weir, inconsiderate (and dangerous) cycling, and the impact of the Catford Green development on the Park.  The introduction of the (this!) new Ladywell Fields website was widely welcomed.
The notes of the AGM will be posted here shortly.
The User Group will  meet next on Tuesday 30 June, when we'll start with a short walk through the Park.
Robert Sheppard

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Come along to join in important discussions about Ladywell Fields' future

The Ladywell Fields User Group (aka Friends of Ladywell Fields) will meet in the Gallery r/o the Ladywell Tavern at 7.30pm this coming Tuesday 31 March.
You will find the agenda here.
Please come along.  After dealing with election of officers (we don't have any new nominations but Tony Rich and Robert Sheppard have agreed to continue, if re-elected, as Chair/Treasurer and Secretary respectively) there will be a discussion about the challenges ahead as the Council and Glendale scale down parks management services and support.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Revised Park Keeper arrangements after Easter

As a result of cuts in the Council's Parks Budget the services provided by Glendale will reduce in 2015/16.
Ladywell Fields will effectively share a Park Keeper with Hilly Fields and it is planned that this shared Park Keeper will be at Ladywell Fields every morning (only) between Thursday and Monday and in Hilly Fields on those afternoons.  There is scope for flexibility in these arrangements, e.g. when one park or the other has particular issues that need more attention at any given time.
It's likely that this Park Keeper will be the experienced person who's been Keeper at Hilly Fields for the last two years.
From May to September Glendale will employ a seasonal park keeper who will cover across the Borough for any absence (e.g. holiday, sickness).  Where there is no absence this person will be able to either support existing park keepers or add additional presence in a park.
There will be mobile cleansing teams that will visit the parks on a daily basis (similar to the existing arrangement for Tuesday and Wednesdays).
Park Visibility Patrols will continue to be carried out with an expected increased presence.

To date grounds maintenance arrangements have not been affected by budget reductions, though this cannot be ruled out in the near future.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

LFUG Annual Report 2014 now available

The Ladywell Fields User Group has published its Annual Report 2014 which summarises key events that occurred and issues that arose during the course of the year.  It also provides information on the LFUG bank balance as at the end of December 2014.

Robert Sheppard

Might the National Trust have a role in 'saving' local parks?

The National Trust has recently published a strategy 'Playing our part - what does the Nation need from the National Trust in the 21st Century' in which it says (on page 21):
"Half of all visits to the outdoors are to local parks.  And it follows that local green spaces and heritage have a huge impact on how we feel about the places we live.  The 2014 Heritage Open Days saw three million visits to local heritage sites over one weekend.
"This is where our founders, particularly Octavia Hill, started – protecting and improving the quality of the places people live.
"These places matter but we don’t often stop and think about how they are looked after.  Local authorities and small charities – often funded by public money – do a great job in caring for these places.  But deep and long-lasting budget cuts mean many are struggling to cope.  At the same time, the need for more houses and better infrastructure is putting people live pressure on the places people live."
Octavia Hill is attributed with saving Hilly Fields (in Ladywell) from developers - see the following from the Council website:
"Octavia Hill, one of the three founders of the National Trust, had a passionate interest in the housing conditions of the London working classes. In 1884 she had assumed responsibility, on behalf of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, for 133 homes in Deptford.

"In a poorly furnished room in one of the Deptford homes, she noticed on one occasion a vase of freshly picked wild flowers. On being told they had been picked on Hilly Fields, she set off the same day to see the place; she was concerned not only with the housing of London’s poor but also with the overall environment where they lived. For this reason she campaigned vigorously against the loss of the open spaces that were enjoyed by Londoners, especially the poorest members of society.
"Hilly Fields, at that time, was mostly farmland, with an area of game shooting to the south. The latter had already been leased to developers for building, and Deptford Common, just to the north, had also disappeared.
"When plans were announced to build over Hilly Fields, Octavia Hill was instrumental in helping local people set up a campaign, and also raise funds, to save the land as a public park. As a direct result of the campaign, Hilly Fields was purchased by the London County Council with substantial donations from a number of sympathetic charities and City companies. Part of the site had been used for brickmaking and this area was levelled and the swampy sections were drained. On 16th May 1896, Hilly Fields was dedicated to the public."

Might the NT be persuaded to give special attention, and some financial support too perhaps, to their founder's old south east London stomping ground?

Thanks to Paul de Zylva, Chair of QWAG for spotting this.

Monday, 23 March 2015

No Smoking Warnings for Children's Playgrounds

The Council will soon be installing new signage in and around children's play areas within the Borough, making it clear that smoking is not permitted.
This is a welcome development for those of us concerned with children's health and the apparent obliviousness of others to the well-documented and widely-accepted health risks.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Two river consultations now open for public comment

Two important consultations about how Lewisham manages its rivers are available for feedback and comments.

Draft River Corridor Improvement Plan SPD
Nick Pond
LBL Ecological Regeneration Manager

Monday, 16 March 2015

Love Parks Newsletter

The latest issue of this national e-newsletter has just been published.

Robert Sheppard

Saturday, 14 March 2015

New Saturday Fitness Classes in Ladywell Fields

Samantha Hadfield of 'Fit and Flourish' writes:
"I have started running outdoor fitness classes in Ladywell Fields on Saturday mornings . . . . My website is under construction, so for the moment, I am promoting my classes via my Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.  The classes take place every Saturday morning at 8.30-9.30 and 10.00-11.00."
Robert Sheppard

Ladywell Fields User Group AGM Tues 31 March - please come along!

The LFUG Annual General Meeting will be held at the Gallery r/o the Ladywell Tavern at. 7.30pm on Tuesday 31 March.  Please come along!  Buy your drink at the bar and enter the Gallery via the 'beer garden' (yard) at the rear of the pub.
If you are potentially interested in standing for election to the position of Chair, Secretary or Treasurer, please email your interest by Sunday 22 March to  The current Chair and Treasurer, Tony Rich and Robert Sheppard, are more than happy to stand aside if suitable, committed candidates come forward to take over.
Robert Sheppard 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Barratt consultation on 20-21 March 2015 - have your say!

Construction of the Catford Green development (on the site of the former Catford Dog Stadium) is well underway but the detail of the 'entrances' into the site have yet to be finalised.  The Council has yet to determine the application which covers the 'transitional zone' at the north of the site - essentially between the last buildings and the start of the Park, though the Ladywell Fields User Group has made representations on the subject.
Barratt is now inviting park users and local residents to a public exhibition to be held on 20 and 21 March - see below.

Robert Sheppard