It’s time for an update to our many friends and supporters.
Covid did not entirely wreck our summer -Trent Country Park proved a relief and joy for many
- The number of visitors strolling or exercising in the park following lockdown has been very encouraging, all made easier by the absence of overlarge commercial events this year. Many families have been exercising their kids along Limes Ave on their cycles, and dog owners were glad to return once the park was reopened.
- Limes Ave pond filled to the brim this spring and the ducks returned in legion, including the much admired Mandarins.
- And the Cockfosters gate pond presented wild and colourful all summer long
- The Thames 21 tree planting to the east of the exhibition table survived the summer well, but some replacements will be needed – as expected.
- The replacement trees off the centre of Limes Avenue are progressing, and we were glad to see the old limes making a striking green return presence once again. But the LBE arborist reckons they are of an age where we must accept decay will lead to felling; the council has not been so certain about replacement but we will keep the pressure on to ensure budget cuts do not frustrate upkeep of this essential feature.
- The Water Garden was lush over the spring and remained a haven of peace even when water supplies diminished as usual over the summer. Clearance by the council and bulb planting by the Friends have contributed much to maintaining this unique feature.
- The lower lake is now much more open to view since Berkeley removed the unwanted scrub along the west side of the lake.
- The final form of the Berkeley campus is now clear to see, although building will carry on for more than a year. Ground work is almost finished, and the north lawn best part restored after drainage works and ponds were completed. The replacement avenue of limes (a pre-war feature) from the north lawn down to the lake edge is now in – these semi mature trees are very impressive. The Wisteria walk is well restored and looking healthy. The mansion is still carrying scaffolding – it is clear the building needed a lot of TLC to restore it. The tennis courts are now restored and the public will eventually have use of at least one court when arrangements for hire are finalised. Thousands of bulbs are due to be replaced when ground work is ended. More families have arrived and the small community is getting established. The Friends work closely with Berkeley and site management and we are pleased, as ever, to report our input is given sympathetic hearing. And to top it all, the public will be permitted to walk most of the grounds when completed – a treat in store for us all. Good news indeed.
- Trent Park House Museum has received some significant funding during the year and is now proceeding with its plans – although a scaled-down version. Keep update on their progress at https://www.trentparkhouse.org.uk/
Mega Commercial Events – a continuing story pressuring LBE
- The hundreds of thousands of visitors to TCP each year were spared the pain of over-sized commercial events this year, the park revived after the 2019 savaging, and visitors had unlimited access, out of lockdown. That’s the way we’d like to keep it – a park for the people and local community activities. On current form there’s a good chance mega events with their uncontrolled mingling will not be permitted again in 2021.
- The delayed council review into the Park Events Strategy 2017-22 began in February. The Friends made a substantial deposition to the consultants carrying out the review. We wanted moderation in the size and number of major events to avoid the public being squeezed out of a valuable public amenity over the summer season. But the council then refused to release the research report until 7 months had elapsed. It is now available on the council website – in summary, it makes suggestions not recommendations in support of carrying on much as before, which we know the council will side-line.
- LBE had undertaken to consult with the Friends and Cockfosters neighbourhood about revisions to the Strategy, as they should, but instead went ahead and published in September a revised strategy that had apparently been approved internally in July. So, no consultation either. This too is now on line.
- In summary, most of our arguments were run into the sidings without outright dismissal or rationale. LBE claims major events add to communal life, serve the public including local residents (untrue of course) and rejects our representations that the pain and cost to park users and community is disproportionate. It just wants to go on abusing the park for the income it claims it needs, but offers no evidence to refute our deductions that the costs of managing events consume all revenues. LBE has been claiming financial gain for so long now, in error, it finds it cannot retract in the fact of the facts.
- We met with the councillor responsible for the environment in west Enfield, but she was not able to give us any satisfaction to any of our concerns and questions.
- In conjunction with CLARA, the local residents’ association we continue to press our case for moderation. Noise is one issue we pursue – organisers want to deliver a deafening experience to their customers, it’s in their advertising literature, we want to enjoy peace and tranquillity to which we have a right. LBE is not cooperating yet, claiming it has no statutory powers; we say, threaten to discontinue the event unless cooperation is forthcoming – you don’t need powers for that. Write a comprehensive contract with such organisers and penalise them when / if they transgress.
- The reinvestment issues remains unsolved – LBE refuses to put back into the park any of the revenues – possibly because there are none.
The Friends continue their campaign on behalf of the many people who value Trent Park and seek a means to release it from commercial events. We will convey onwards all objections and comments, but even more effective is to write to the Leader of the Council, with a copy to us. Her address is: Cllr.Nesil.Caliskan@enfield.gov.uk Every time you write to her, you improve our chances of getting a better balance on uses of the park, otherwise she will just carry on ignoring us. The local press – Enfield Independent and the Dispatch will take letters too. It all helps.
Please stay in touch with our campaign through Facebook and the website and respond to the call when the moment arrives to enter formal objections to Enfield council. Every message counts. We will need everyone’s help to push back the tide of damaging and unnecessary commercialism.
Projects – Friends initiatives to enhance the visitor experience
The Friends continue to work with LBE on various improvements and ecological projects in the park. Here’s a quick update:
- Limes Ave – the surface is breaking up under the weight of trucks for events and we are pressing for these multiple trip hazards to be rectified.
- Cockfosters gate – it has finally been repaired after a year’s delay.
- Litter in the park – this has been a real problem for us all. LBE is doing more to remove it as soon as possible
- Nature Board replacement– all the boards are now back in place, with a new one at the Limes Avenue pond. Please enjoy the information provided.
- The Animal Sanctuary – the wildlife centre had a difficult time over the lockdown but is now recovering thanks to the many followers who have made a point of visiting and to the generosity of donors during the tough months this spring. Congratulations to the Smithermans for bringing the centre through it all. Please continue to visit and support their efforts.
- Woodland School – you may have noted this unique schooling effort north of Limes Ave where young children are educated in a woodland setting. Tree House Friends is a very special operation, led by Stef Thann and her crew. Say hi as you pass by.
- Kids play areas are fully open and much appreciated by the many youngsters and families who work up their hand to eye and balancing skills. The Friends keep a close watch on these amenities to ensure they perform as required.
- Thames21 – continues to work and improve the park with more trees, leaky dams and habitat ponds. A lot of tree-planting is coming up as part of the Enfield Chase Restoration project. Please check our Facebook page for specifics or contact Stephen Haywood of Thames21 to be put on his email list for volunteers. email@example.com
- Local Developments – TfL is planning to build 4 towers of flats, rising to 14 stories, on the Cockfosters station car park next year if LBE approves their plans. These towers will impact the skyline from the park hugely and the Friends are working with residents to defeat this unwanted scheme. We should also be aware that all the commuter cars displaced from the station car park will end up in local streets and in our park car park. Do keep an eye open for developments and be prepared to add your voice to objections.
- Water Garden maintenance – The Water Garden has received more attention from the parks team this year but could always do with more specialist attention. We will continue to work with the parks department on this and hope that our own gardening group will get back together at some point. If you are interested in rolling your sleeves up and helping, please let us know! Another volunteersession to install the Enfield in Bloom plants and bulbs will take place at some point. Watch for the date.
Public Safety and Crime. The Friends continue their campaign to press for greater security in the park, especially from casual raves in the summer weeks. We believe that, if the police do not respond to these invasions and set an expectation of denial to illegal rowdy drunk and drug taking groups, we can only expect further deterioration in future seasons.
Membership. Thanks to those of you who have already renewed for 2020 and to our Lifetime members. If you have not yet renewed or joined, please take this as a gentle reminder to visit our website, where you can renew or join via PayPal and find instructions for doing it by post.
Membership is open to all – a person or family, a local club, school, business, association or other group with an interest in Trent Country Park. Your membership dues of £4 per year are used for the basic running costs of the organisation, such as hall rental, printing and postage.
Website and Social Media. Please visit our website for information about the park, its history, ecology and much more! https://friendsoftrentcountrypark.org.uk/ You can also join the Friends there via PayPal. And please Like us on Facebook and join our Twitter feed too. We’ll keep you informed!
Contacts. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns about the park or would like to join or help the Friends committee. You may also want to share your concerns with the three Cockfosters Ward Councillors, as follows:
Park issues can also be reported via the Council website at: https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-open-spaces/parks/
Next Meeting: Our next public meeting is delayed until we can meet safely but we are fully open for business and welcome contact and input from all our members. We will continue to advise Friends of developments and how you can support us further, so please look out for our newsletters and check on our Facebook page and website.
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Wishing you a happy, healthy and successful 2021!
The Friends of Trent Country Park committee