FRIENDS OF TRENT COUNTRY PARK
Report by Peter W Gibbs, Chairman
Report on Proceedings of General meeting, held at 8pm on Feb 21st 2018, in Christ the King, Oakwood. With added explanatory notes.
The Chairman opened the AGM meeting and welcomed 26 members.
The minutes of the previous November meeting, having been distributed, were agreed.
Discussions with Enfield Council continue on the Friends’ agenda for park improvements. The Council has advised that funds are in short supply but discussions are ongoing to find resources through sponsorship and S106 monies.
Friends’ work has been somewhat curtailed by lack of manpower – resources are stretched and members are urgently asked to help our work, for whatever time can be spared, to support our efforts for the park. We particularly need help in the Water Garden, but also with initiatives to improve our social media outreach, with canvassing for new members, event planning and management and fund-raising.
Security is a growing issue in the park, albeit from a low base. Raves and antisocial behaviour are the exception to this and the Friends are engaging with the authorities to both prevent and clear out ravers and other illegal intrusions.
The Friends continue to press the Council, along with residents, to dissuade it from increasing the programme of massive events in the park – intrusions which are pressed on us in the name of revenue generation. Events are not cost free at all. Damage to the exhibition ground last autumn is still to be repaired and Trent Park receives virtually nothing from hosting these events, revenues being spent elsewhere in the borough.
Maintenance including litter is under pressure. The Friends will maintain a close eye on litter collection and press for a responsive service to keep the park attractive and safe. Likewise the toilets.
Given the nature of local government, if the public and parks users in particular do not press for their views to be heard, administrators will continue to drain resources from parks and open spaces since there is no legal requirement on the council to invest in them at all. The public view is that parks are major assets, not liabilities, and vital for the health and social well-being of the community in Enfield, but the message needs constant reiteration.
Members are requested earnestly to write to the Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr Doug Taylor with their comments on damage and loss of amenity, and urge more resources from major events are reserved for the park. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Campus – Berkeley development
Berkeley have begun demolition of student accommodation and first new buildings are expected in the spring.
During construction, which could span over 5 or more years, continuing public access to the site is a commitment.
The valuable grade 2 pillars and wooden gates at the Cockfosters entrance will be reconstructed in April when weather permits.
3. Events Programme
Members are very aware of LBE’s events policy in the park and the negative experiences of this summer when the largest music event drove out regular users for several days during set-up and knock-down, impacted other commercial activities in the park and caused distress and nuisance to many hundreds of residents in our suburban neighbourhood, due to noise, litter, antisocial behaviour and the sheer weight of up to fifteen thousand of revellers on the area.
Major damage was done to the ground when rain impacted the knock-down of two events, from which the ground has not recovered, despite LBE’s loose and ineffectual assurances.
LBE issued a new events strategy earlier this year, permissioning itself to license the park for in effect as many heavy events as can be enticed in. No restrictions on timing, access, disturbance, numbers attending has been secured – LBE shows no restraint in raising revenue from our park, whatever the consequences.
Friends continue to press the case with LBE for moderation in the events policy to permit park users full access and safe enjoyment over the summer, especially the school holidays, when many families rely on the park to entertain their children.
All Friends are urged where possible to take pictures and keep records of nuisance and damage caused by events so that even more pressure can be brought to bear in future to halt this trend. Send material to the Friends so we can forward it to the right officers at LBE and also to local councillors.
4. Biodiversity (Carol Fisk)
Continuing with the Friends’ work to enhance public understanding of the rich biodiversity in the park, the Friends commissioned a Habitat Survey from noted ecologist, Denis Vickers, which will be used to curate the assets, and enable educational and general public interest to be better informed. The document is on the Friends’ website and makes excellent and accessible reading – highly recommended. Please note the rare acid grasslands and ancient woodland, which are Trent Park treasures.
You may have noticed work being carried out on the field and pond at the Cockfosters Gate. This is delayed eco-maintenance. The field, which is an HLS [Higher Level Stewardship] wildflower site, for which Enfield receives special funds, is having catch-up work done on it, while the trees around the pond are being thinned out to allow more light in. This will make it a more suitable amphibian habitat and it will become part of a FrogLife toad project if they are successful in raising the funds.
The Friends would like to encourage people to report what they see, where and when, either directly onto the Greenspace in Greater London [GiGL] site at www.gigl.org.uk and/or by email to the Friends so we can compile current records for the park. A nature section has been added to the website with some useful resources to use when visiting the park.
The popular Trent Park Family Wildlife club will resume in April. Members can keep up to date on events via the four noticeboards at the park entrances, the café and animal sanctuary and via our Facebook page and website.
The 2017 season walks were very well supported, bringing adult audiences closer to the riches of the park. Unfortunately Black Rainbow Events will take a hiatus from the walks in 2018, but hope to resume them in 2019.
5. Water Garden (Carol Langran)
Maintenance of the Water garden has taken a leap forward with debris clearances by the Council. Water supply to the garden is now under better control. Building on these improvements, we hope to agree a maintenance plan with the Council that will make the Water Garden a joy to visit throughout the year. We also hope that Berkeley’s plans in their grounds opposite will cascade to the benefit of the water garden – in due course.
6. Dog Control Order
After much delay LBE is instituting its policy on dog controls in the park and the number of animals each handler can supervise – 4 per member of the public and 6 for commercial walkers with a license. A consultation was undertaken and we made recommendations to limit the number of dogs per handler to 4, but as usual LBE discounted opinion on the ground and has proceeded on its way without further explanation.
7. Additional items
Replacement of the Trim Trail remains a bone of contention with Parks Dept. The trail is a valued part of the park’s amenities and the Friends will continue to campaign for its restoration.
A pathway alongside the roadway to the Cockfosters cafe is a pressing need since cars often stray onto the low level pavement, the roadway being too narrow for vehicles to pass otherwise.
All members are encouraged to report anything in the park that requires attention by LBE. On the Enfield Council website is a “REPORT IT“ feature which leads to a parks section. LBE promises to scrutinise all reports and take appropriate action. Site details:
8. Volunteering with The Friends
Friends of Trent Park need more volunteers to assist in all sorts of work in the park to enhance and improve the facilities and their presentation to the public. Much of it is letter writing and attending meetings to press our case, but there is spade work for those able to undertake it. Those with horticultural knowledge, legal experience, sports backgrounds, architectural and planning experience, social media outreach skills, event planning and management, and fund-raising experience, are especially needed, but we also welcome anyone who can spare a few hours canvassing in the park for new members and helping with other one-off tasks.
9. Social Media
Please Like our Facebook page and share it with friends and family. This is the first place to look for news of events, alerts or just pretty pictures of the park.
We are hoping to increase our Twitter and Instagram activity. If anyone can help, please get in touch.
Our website will be moving to a new platform in the near future so will look a bit different. However, there should be no down time so please continue to check it for current and archive information.
Next Friends meetings
The next meeting is booked for May 16, at 8pm in the small hall at Christ the King Catholic Church on Bramley Road. Agenda details to follow closer to the dates. Do come and support our work for the community.
Meeting closed 2120 hrs.