Friends of Trent Country Park

Minutes and notes from the May 1 Public Meeting

Minutes and notes from the May 1 Public Meeting

Report on Proceedings General meeting, held at 7.30pm on May 1st 2019, in Southgate Compton Cricket Club, Cockfosters. With added explanatory notes.

The Chairman opened the meeting, welcomed 34 members, Ward Councillor Alessandro Georgiou, and two representatives from Berkeley Developments, Helen Ballam and Victoria Manston

The minutes of the previous November meeting, having been distributed, were agreed.

Agenda

  1. Campus – Berkeley development

Berkeley has made progress with its development of the campus site and is now preparing the ground for dwellings to the north of the daffodil lawn. It has secured some 30 sales / reservations to date.

A new water feed to the campus is about to be laid in along Limes Ave from Cockfosters. Work on the mansion is scheduled shortly.

Thousands of additional daffodils have already been planted and tree selection is progressing in Germany, with the prospect of semi-mature specimens arriving later this year. [Semi-mature trees are not available in the UK] In all, the plan envisages over 400 new trees on the site. Berkeley was encouraged to continue acting conservatively towards all trees on the campus, especially those close to the daffodil lawn.

Berkeley was not responsible for the recent lowering of the western lake – this occurred as a result of a sluice being left open inadvertently by operators. It will take most of this season and significant rain to replenish it. A former feed pipe was been discovered that will in future provide water flow for the Japanese garden, so removing the need for the sluice to be operated.

The meeting appreciated Helen and Victoria’s contribution and offer to provide further explanatory and planning documentation, some of which is attached. The Berkeley website offers wide coverage of the development.

  1. Events Programme

Events in TCP, especially community celebrations and healthy activities, have always been welcomed by the Friends. Many regret the passing of the former summer crafts fair and steam heritage exhibition. The current community programme in the park is extensive and bolsters the health and wellbeing of many thousands.

But residents and visitors alike deplore the ballooning of mega commercial events in the park, encouraged and engineered by LBE in its search for income at any cost to the community.

The Friends have used all avenues to persuade LBE of the need to moderate the load on the park and Cockfosters, but it will not listen or accept any reasonable parameters, particularly over the huge numbers (up to 25,000) now being permitted to attend commercial events and the virtual elimination of unfettered public access to the park during most of the summer 6 week school holiday period.

Following the Ghana and Mauritius community festivals in mid-July, which we support, we face weeks of continuously reduced access to the park whilst extensive equipment for the 51st State (August 3rd) and Elrow (August 17th) events are assembled in the park, and later dismantled. LBE asserts visitors will suffer no loss of amenity and insists 97% of the park will still be accessible for the public – a statement carrying misrepresentation to new heights of near-mockery.

An urgent pubic meeting on April 25th attended by some 150 people heard presentations from CLARA [Cockfosters Local Area Residents Association] and the Friends deploring the impact of this policy as disproportionate, insufferable and unsafe. In the event the underground service fails, there is no Plan B and a huge number of disoriented attendees will be released into the neighbourhood seeking means of getting back to London.

The Friends made a strenuous effort to persuade the LBE licensing committee to wind back on the numbers permitted, but we are forced to conclude that (relatively small) amounts of revenue trump caution and proportionality. The Friends have no choice but to notify members and the public of these impending events, and strongly advise staying away from the area this summer.

LBE is reviewing its 2 year old events strategy which impacts so heavily on our park. We are not encouraged to believe our concerns will be met but press on in the hope that LBE realises the weight of major events is indeed too great for the park and area to sustain.

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, who all support our resistance.

  1. Ecology and Biodiversity (Carol Fisk)

The Friends are now working to enhance public understanding of the rich biodiversity in the park, an endeavour greatly advanced by the Habitat Survey undertaken by noted ecologist, Denis Vickers. It is being used to curate the assets, and enable educational and general public interest to be better informed. TCP is arguably the best ecological resource in the whole borough. 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.

Work to clear and replant the Limes Ave pond is now well advanced, and planting is scheduled for May 29th when the public is invited to wade in and assist.  Plant the Pond has been scheduled during half-term so some little hands can help too.  Come along 10am-3pm and help to make the ducks very happy!  Equipment will be provided. Email us for more information.

The flower meadow to the left of the Cockfosters gate drive is subject to a HLS [Higher Level Stewardship] grant as a wildflower site; it comes with a condition as to when mowing takes place. Sometimes it looks bad but we are assured that HLS guidelines are being followed. Eventually we hope it will emerge as a wildflower highlight to be enjoyed on entering the park.

The meadow contains some amphibian pools that were installed by Froglife and maintained by ECV [Enfield Conservation Volunteers] Froglife have a new grant to install toad habitat in the park, but that work is not yet scheduled.  However, we hope that Froglife will conduct an amphibian walk on Sunday, July 21.  Watch for more information. With the new United Nations warning on species extinction, amphibians and all our species need to be given the highest level of protection and the Friends will push for ecological maintenance in all areas of the park.

Thames21 is working in the park on natural flood alleviation, funded by a Mayor’s Greener City grant.  They have already planted over 1,000 new trees in TCP and more activities are scheduled in the next year.

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.

  1. Water Garden (Carol Langran)

The Friends are still pushing for a better maintenance plan with the Council to maintain and enhance the Water Garden. Although the volunteer gardening group was forced to disband because of lack of volunteers, occasional activities do continue.  For instance, the Friends planted a large number of bulbs in the entrance last autumn, which got 2019 off to a strong start.  And a grant was secured from Enfield in Bloom for a designated bed around the shed, which was planted with new shrubs and plants earlier in the year.  Volunteers to work the garden are always welcomed. If enough people volunteer, regular work in the garden could resume. 

  1. Dog Control

The Friends always welcome dogs into the park with well-trained owners; caring owners have no problem with ensuring their dogs stay out of water features in the park, do not count the lakes as publicly provided bathing units, and at all times control their dogs from chasing wild-life.

We particularly ask dog owners to keep their animals out of the newly-refurbished pond on Limes Avenue. A lot of time, money and effort have gone into making the pond a first-class wildlife habitat and dog intrusion would cause much damage. Owners wishing to encourage hunting instincts in dogs are required to find other accommodation.

Responsible dog owners are requested to share this outlook with fellow pet lovers and promote the practice that all dog refuse must be collected and binned to avoid spoiling the park. The Friends are particularly keen to ensure that our younger generation can wander freely in the grounds without encountering waste carelessly dropped for others to collect.

  1. Additional Planned features

The Friends committee meets with LBE officials twice a year to discuss improvements to the park. This is a selection of the more important items:

  • 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.
  • Replacement of the Adult Trim Trail, demolished by LBE without notice or intent to replace, remains a bone of contention with Parks Dept. The trail was a valued part of the park’s amenities and the Friends will continue to campaign for its restoration. 17 other LBE parks have adult gym facilities and that speaks of an unfair distribution of resources and open discrimination against residents in the west.
  • Replacements for two items of gear in the children’s play area close to Go Ape are now heavily overdue; LBE claims it has no maintenance money despite taking £500,000 from activities in the park this year. The Friends are pressing for early reinstatement. We hold that TCP is the most under-provided with kid’s equipment in Enfield, especially given our 1million annual visitors and the fact that other parks in the borough have been re-provisioned with equipment.
  • Restoration of the Hadley Rd car park with its 140 places (nominal) is overdue, and when completed will take pressure off Cockfosters car park. When TfL closes the Cockfosters station car park (probably later this year) for housing development, pressure on parking around Cockfosters will escalate.
  1. 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.

  1. 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 has a wealth of information about the park so please visit:

Next Friends meeting

The next meeting [AGM] is planned for Nov 2019 and an agenda and details will be provided closer to the dates. Before that, an autumn newsletter will be distributed with interim updates.

Do come and support our work for the community.  And stay up to date via Facebook and this website.

Meeting closed 2120 hrs.

Peter W. Gibbs 8.05.19

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