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.


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



What to read this summer? Looking Down, Looking In by Tony Emerson

Are you wondering what to read next? Which book to take to the beach this summer? What to give to a friend as a special gift? Look no further. Beloved Tony Emerson, long-time Friends of Hillside committee member and our chair for five years, has published a fictionalised family saga. Many of our members have found this book super interesting. And things get even better: Tony will donate all but the first £3 of the purchase price you pay to the Friends.  The retail price is £6.99 but he will sell it to you for as little as £5.  He will also personally deliver a signed copy to you. Now that is customer service! Email Tony ( to get the book that deputy chair Thomas described as “an ideal holiday read, as easy to dip in and out of’ over the summer break. Click to read more.

Continue reading “What to read this summer? Looking Down, Looking In by Tony Emerson”


Friends of Hillside Gardens Meeting (15th July 2018)

Hello Friends,

we had a meeting on the 15th July 2018, hosted by Rosena and Dino. Most of the discussions centred around the responsibilities of the committee members, and the Section 106 (alias Megabowl) money allocation. We founded a sub-committee to ensure that we get the most of this amazing opportunity. You can find the minutes here: Meetting Minutes15.07.18. 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.



Meeting Minutes

The Friends group help a meeting on December 6th 2017.

Draft minutes are here – Minutes FOHG061217NRD1df1

The report from the allotment group can be found here – Appendix 1 HG Allotment Group Report

At the meeting we agreed that we were supportive of the priorities of Lambeth management plant – you can view the finalized plan here –  2017.10.16 LL Annual Management Plan – Hillside Gardens Park 2017-18 – final


Megabowl money update

Dear Friends,

Over the last few months we have been discussing with the council what we feel the priorities are for the park.

Lambeth have identified a large sum of money from local developer contributions (106 money) which (subject to final approvals) has been allocated to the park.

To guide how this money is spent a management plan has been developed and you can download a copy here…

2017.12.03 LL Annual Management Plan – Hillside Gardens Park 2017-18

How we got to here…

  • late in 2016 we discussed priorities for the park at our meeting – many of which have been included in the plan – e.g. signage, improving sports pitches
  • in spring 2017 several members of the committee did a walk around with Iain Boulton from Lambeth to look at specific areas
  • the management plan was drafted and a version was distributed at the last meeting
  • friends members have been invited by email to input into the process
  • a meeting was held with the local councilors and the head of the parks department, the friends chair, a representative from the one o’clock club, a representative of the tennis club.

What happens next…

  • please download the management plan and have a look at whats in there!
  • please come to our meeting on Wednesday 6th Dec – 7:30pm@ st simon st jude church hall
  • we will let Lambeth know that we are happy with the management plan
  • the 106 money will be formally allocated
  • some work will be carried out as soon as possible
  • bigger work such as refurbishing the tennis courts and upgrading toilets and other buildings will be looked out once Lambeth have appointed a project manger. The project manager will work with the Friends and other stakeholders like the tennis club and the one o’clock club one the details of the bigger work programs.

What would you do with a few £100,000s?

The Megabowl development on Streatham High Street is progressing and the developer is committed to contributing £100,000’s of pounds to local facilities including parks. We have been in discussion with Lambeth about this and believe that Hillside Gardens Park and Palace Road Nature Garden should receive the majority of the money available (other parks and open spaces in the Streatham area may also stake a claim). Taking information from our Masterplan, our meeting late last year, feedback from the tennis club and from a walkabout with a Lambeth parks officer, we have fed into a draft management plan that identifies the areas we would like to see the money spent.

Summarised below are the areas identified. All major projects such as new buildings, new play equipment and major work to the sports facilities will subject to consultation with the Friends group and the wider community of park users and local residents. Please to get in touch with any comments or suggestions.

What we expect to get fixed soon…

  • Repairs to wooden slat fencing around dog free area
  • Re-hang gate at the southern entrance to dog free area: current gate swings open with the slope and has inconvenient closing mechanism which means it is often left open
  • Repairs to boundary fence on tennis court number 3: replace with a more rigid mesh

The bigger projects that we’d like to see invested in are…

  1. Improved Boundary Security – new gates and fences to reduce anti social behaviour
  2. Resurface Tennis Court and MUGA Surfaces – consider installing astrosurf one of the MUGAs
  3. Install Floodlighting on some of the tennis courts and MUGAs (subject to consultation)
  4. Installing stronger “ridgid mesh” fencing around the tennis courts
  5. Redevelopment of Park Depot/Toilet Building and Current O’clock Club Building –  The Friends believes that the footprint of these buildings would be suitable for sensitive and appropriate development that would provide; modern facilitates for child care, community use e.g. rental for private parties, storage of garden equipment and modern toilet facilities. There is also the potential for workspace or residential development that could provide a revenue stream that would secure the future maintenance and improvement of the park. There is much to discuss about what could be provided and there would be extensive consultation. At this stage we are looking for the council to commit money to scoping and consultation on what is possible.
  6. Signage – better signage in the park and in surrounding area with the potential for a ‘signage trail’ for both Hillside Gardens Park and Palace Road Nature Garden, which would improve visitor’s ability to locate and access both sites from local transport hubs.
  7. Path and Hardstanding – Repairs programme of path repairs or replacement, with priority to any damaged or sloped areas to minimise accidents and improve accessibility for all.
  8. Upgrading and Repairs to Benches, Bins and Other Furniture – Joint programme of both repairing/repainting existing benches and, where benches are beyond repair, replacement with comparable models. Requirement for additional benches in tennis courts.
  9. Children’s Play Area – Allocation of capital and other funds for new piece(s) of play equipment, including budget for consultation with parents and children on what equipment is required and agreement on designs/location.
  10. Drinking Water Fountain – Strong community support for existing drinking water fountain to be re-commissioned or a newer version installed; potential for shared council-community responsibility for compliance testing.
  11. Mural – Proposals for artistic mural on the one or more of the retaining walls between tennis courts 1 and 2 and the MUGAs.
  12. Extension of Food Growing Area – Area in north-east sector of park is not currently in use due to boundary wall with old housing garages being considered unsafe. Garages are now in the process of being made safe, and this area of the park returned to public access. Subject to consultation with the gardening group, potential for installing new raised beds/planters in this location, with some low fencing, so that more people can grow food within the park.

We’re looking for a new Chair

Friends of Hillside Gardens Park is a registered charity which is the community’s voice in the maintenance and improvement of Hillside Gardens Park and Palace Road Nature Garden.  Our current Chair is moving out of the area and we are looking for someone to take their place.

The core responsibilities of the Chair are to;  

  • Work with company secretary and treasurer to file an annual report and accounts with the Charity Commission
  • Organise and chair one annual general meeting and two other public meeting each year.
  • Be the key contact with Lambeth Council, working with them to highlight issues and represent the views of the community on the future of the park.

Beyond these responsibilities the Chair will be in contact with the following working groups of the charity to ensure their coordination with the wider aims of the the Friends and to advise them of how their work should be coordinated with Lambeth. These are; the allotment/food growing group, the sport day organising group and the Palace Road Nature Garden group. We also work closely with Serious About Tennis who are a LTA registered tennis club who use the tennis courts. 

The Chair is supported by an active committee including the treasurer, company secretary, minutes secretary, communication coordinator, allotment group coordinator and others.

You can find more information about the Friends on our website including our achievements over the last 17 years. This is an exciting time for us with a significant amount of money being contributed by the developers of the old Megabowl site in Streatham that is likely to be invested in the park.

The role would suit someone who lives close to the Park or Nature Garden, is willing to commit around 1 hour a week  to the role. There are certain times where you might find yourself putting a bit more time in and times when you don’t need to spend much or any time at all e.g. Xmas and the Summer holidays. 

Please contact Jesse if you are interested in the position and would like to know more about what’s involved. Email –