Mountsfield Park is at the beginning of BIG community led changes! This summer local residents persuaded the Council to invest £400k for a new park cafe (design soon to be determined!) The Mizen Foundation have that new cafe contract.
The area of the park once occupied by the bowling green has been locked away Sleeping Beauty style for over 10 years; it suffered vandalism and arson.
Last year the area was been identified as a possible community garden. Local groups and local residents championed this idea and funding was sought.
Today Martin Hyde, Head of Lewisham Parks and Regeneration announced that the Council’s application to the Mayor of London’s Pocket Parks fund had been successful! This means £35,000 to fund the new community garden which will be match funded by the Council. So *fantastic news!*
A long road from consultation to action! It has been a year since Groundwork’s huge consultation in Mountsfield; there was a long hiatus while the council considered their options and the level of local public interest. Well we demonstrated that in spades! The community led campaign for a new, functioning park cafe was the catalyst for this action by the Council- together we have breathed new life into the park!
So, Blackheath’s loss is Hither Green’s gain! Lewisham Council had initially made the Pocket Parks application to fund a new children’s play park on the Elliot Dips on Blackheath. However the weight of local objections to building on the heath saw the Council withdraw the application.
Greater public access is the chief driver for the new community garden project, this will be a community growing space, there may be an outdoor kitchen, a pond, polytunnels, greenhouses- and spaces for local groups to perform and run workshops. BDP, the international architects and landscape designers have been awarded the wider cafe and landscaping contact. They will be consulting with the local community, about design ideas- so do get involved! All and any designs will be subject to planning.
Lots of thought will now go into how the new space links into the main park and the central activity hub which Council project managers are creating in the park; the hub will include- the new cafe, a re-vamped play area and an outdoor gym.
The Friends of Mountsfield Park has been reinvigorated with new members and a new constitution. As a constituted group the Friends of Mountsfield Park can now apply for a License to Occupy via Glendale. A local precedent was set by the Friends of Northbrook Park which can act like a supplier and invoice the Council for services.
September 2013- The leylandii along Stainton Road felled. This job was completed in October, affording from Stainton Road through to Brockley and beyond.
October 2013- The Bowling Green wins Pocket Parks funding £35, 000 from the GLA to be match funded by Lewisham Council ( money to come from the ring-fenced Park / cafe improvements budget.
November 2013– The Friends Group will meet 7pm, on Wed 13 November 7pm at Hither Green Baptist Church on Harvard Road to discuss the new cafe, possible designs for the community garden and the way forward. Council and BDP architects and landscape designers to attend.
December 2013 – Breaking Ground should happen before Christmas!
Pocket Park money needs to be allocated /spent by March 2015,
Work on the new park cafe building and wider landscaping will start in 2015.