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


12 March Volunteer Session in Iona Orchard

Iona Orchard is a nature reserve located between Bournville Road and Iona Close, not far from Catford Station.  It is part-owned by L&Q Housing Association and part by Lewisham Council.  Since it was 'rediscovered' in 2012 both the Council and local volunteers have been working to maintain it sensitively as a nature reserve whilst simultaneously saving the few veteran fruit trees on the site and restoring the orchard by planting new fruit trees of traditional varieties, with the help of the Urban Orchard Project.

Yesterday Nature's Gym ran one of their regular volunteer sessions in Iona Orchard and, on a beautiful Spring day, attracted a diverse group of some 20 people.   In a 3hr session (with tea break, thank goodness!) we managed to clear ivy and undergrowth in the centre of the site, to give the new fruit trees the best chance to thrive, cut ivy away from some of the more established trees and cut back brambles at the lower end of the site.

Many thanks to all those who came along!

Robert Sheppard