On the evening of 25th March over 30 people gathered in the church hall of St Simon and St Jude on Hillside Road. The purpose of the meeting was for Lambeth with the working group from Friends of Hillside of Garden Park to present the plan for the park.
There is just under £600,000 to be spent on the park by way of the community infrastructure levy charge which Lambeth have raised from the developer of the London Square development on the High Road. Our local councillors successfully ensured that the money would go to the park.
At the start of the meeting the working group introduced themselves, Tom Stanbury (Chair), Nigel Duckers (Minutes Secretary), Dino Skeete (Serious About Tennis), and Cath Rait (representing the residents of Palace Road Estate).
Rob Kelly is the project manager from Lambeth and Joe Todd from Turkington Martin the landscape architect. Rob introduced himself and the work done to date in respect of establishing the priorities for the park. It was made clear that this a first proposal to be revised further.
There are 4 areas of focus for the park,
- Sports Services and Facilities
- The existing building and WC block
- Existing Park Infratructure
- Entrance and Signage
Joe then presented the sketchbook for the park, this can be found here. The sketchbook highlights design opportunities. The highlights include a well-defined circular walking route; re-locate tennis courts 3 & 4 to the Multi Use Games Area’s to have a bank of 4 tennis courts; a new football pitch on what is currently court 4; continuous planting of hedgerow around the park boundary to improve biodiversity; an area for young adults to include a climbing wall of skating area.
Nigel then directed the cluster groups to discuss the likes and priorities for the park. And then the dislikes if any, followed by new ideas people would like to see happen.
There was overwhelmingly positive sentiment in the room with a definite desire as a priority for the tennis court surfaces and facilities to be upgraded. Several people explained how the tarmac area by the gym is used by families and young children and wouldn’t want to lose this to a skate park. There was concern about giving up too much space to dogs and their walkers.
At the end of the meeting there was enthusiasm to see a café in the park, with former Chair Tony Emerson explaining this has been explored in the past. However, many did think with putting in the infrastructure for a coffee cart or mobile kiosk would be a sensible move as the park becomes more popular in the years ahead.
The meeting closed with Rob explaining that he and the working group would be back to present further at the end of May beginning of June. Thank you to all who attended it was a positive atmosphere in the room with all constructive contributions.