Friends of Hillside Garden Park- An Exciting Future

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Help the Bees come back (to the park); get involved!

Kyle Moreland (07341 382 819) has volunteered to act as the local beekeeper and will be organising a new hive; hopefully in the spring when the swarms start to show. Contact Kyle if you wish to learn more, want to get involved, or if you have something to report.

Kyle writes “We plan to install a hive or two in the allotment area of our wonderful park. The London Beekeepers Association (lbka.org.uk) is a very helpful and active organisation and has members all over London. They are a very useful source of information and support regarding urban beekeeping. For example, did you know that bees will venture as far as 3 miles from the hive in search of pollen or nectar? Last year was a particularly bad year for a disease called European (or American) Brood Disease, and the LBKA maintain a ‘hotspot map’ of London for where this has occurred. Fortunately, Streatham is not considered a ‘hotspot’ so any bees from our area a considered valuable for increasing the overall London bee population.

The LBKA also operate a Swarm WhatsApp group, and will collect ‘wild’ swarms which can then be properly quarantined (if necessary) and reintroduced to a hive. So if you do see a swarm, call the LBKA or Kyle Moreland (07341 382 819) and we can safely remove it.

It would also help if the use of pesticides was kept to a minimum in the allotment; and the park in general. If any large scale spraying is planned, please contact Kyle and he can close up the hive beforehand.

Many of you will be aware of the press reports of the declining bee population. Bees are a great benefit to the whole urban ecosystem and we hope to get a thriving colony on the allotment this spring.

Hope this helps, thanks Kyle”

Ceremony: Memorial Bench for Vivienne Barloga

25th of November, 1pm, Hillside Gardens Park, picnic area

Vivienne Barloga spent her childhood in Streatham, growing up at 156 Downton Avenue, close to our beloved park.  In the 1950’s, she immigrated to Canada, and afterwards spent the rest of her happy life in the States near Chicago.  Now her children, Mitch and Karen, have donated a bench in memory of their mother to Hillside Gardens Park, a bench that soon will arrive.  They imagine her sitting in the park as a young girl, playing with her friends and enjoying being out in nature.  And to honor this vision and to remember their mother, they have donated a bench to Hillside, the first bench ever to be donated to the park.  The bench will be located in the picnic area along the path. And Mitch is coming now from the US to see the bench with his son, Sam.  We will have a little ceremony on the 25th of November, 1pm at Hillside, and we would love to invite you to come along.  Below are some pictures of Vivienne and her family.

Vivienne Barloga

Vivienne Barloga 1990 (above)

Viv Barloga @ Granpa's Bench

Vivienne on the memorial bench for her father, Maurice, in Eastbourne (above)

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What to read next? A Most Unladylike Occupation – Lisa Wright

Few parks in the world can keep up with the literary output of its people. After Tony Emerson’s “Looking Down, Looking In” (link here), another member of our community has put out a book: Lisa Wright has written “A Most Unladylike Occupation – Lucy Deane, one of the first women factory inspectors”. Lisa happened to discovered the amazing story of Lucy Deane when her diaries where passed on to her, and she felt immediately compelled to write her biography which celebrates her as one of the true female pioneers, breaking gender barriers and caring for the health and safety of factor workers. Several members of the friends of Hillside read the book, which Lucy also presented at our last friend’s meeting, and all friends strongly recommended the book. Maybe also a great gift for the holidays? Below the official text from the publisher, but first buy the book here.

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Winter is almost here, so let us celebrate autumn

Emily Brontë once wrote these wonderful lines about autumn, which is now starting to leave as well. So, why not read this wonderful poem and then linger a bit on the pictures of our Nature Garden, taken by Stuart Patel, and remember this glorious autumn.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

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Continue reading “Winter is almost here, so let us celebrate autumn”

Friends of Hillside Gardens Meeting (10th September 2018)

Hello Friends,

we had a meeting on the 10th of September 2018. Most of the discussions centred again around the Section 106 money allocation. The meeting agree to setup a steering committee, look into the costing of the most desired projects, and consult with people like you and me, who regularly visit the park what they would like to see the money spend on. Let u know in the comments if you have an idea. You can find the minutes here: Meeting Minutes 10. 9. 2018. As usual, we thank Nigel for taking the minutes. Please let us know if you have anything to add, or anything you would like us to know. And below a picture of the Nature Garden, taken recently by the wonderful Stuart Patel.

Hope to see you all soon, Andreas

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