Friends of Trent Country Park

Report on the Friends AGM and Public Meeting held on November 1, 2018

Report on the Friends AGM and Public Meeting held on November 1, 2018

The 2018 AGM & General meeting was held at 7.45pm on Nov 1st 2018 at Christ the King Catholic Church, Bramley Road.  The Chairman, Peter Gibbs opened the AGM meeting by welcoming 28 members and the three Cockfosters Ward Councillors Edward Smith, Elaine Hayward and Alessandro Georgiou.

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

Election of Officers:

The following candidates were presented for approval to hold office for the following year:

Chairman – Peter W Gibbs

Vice Chair and Treasurer – Carol Fisk

Membership secretary – Brenda Nathan

The Friends Committee was proposed for approval:

The above officers of the Friends plus:

Carol Langran

Alan Perkin (PT)

Shanna Marinnan

Ronald Cohen

Stefanie Thann

Tony Hillman

The meeting proposed and seconded the committee to serve for the year ahead.

Treasurer’s Report

BANK ACCOUNT:             Balance at 31-10-17:         £ 2,019.94

 This includes encumbered funds as follows:

£200 from a Grassroots grant encumbered for unspecified park projects

£590 Friends Fund grant encumbered for upgrade to the waymarked trails

And unencumbered funds = £1,229.94

 Activity since last AGM report:

Income:        Membership dues:             £567.12

Aviva community grant    £100.00

Total                      £667.12

Expenses:     Hall rental                            £120.00

Wildlife Club                       £ 800.00

Web hosting                        £ 100.00

Total                     £1,020.00

GRANTS COMPLETED:     £ 800 Friends Fund grant for 2018 Trent Park Family Wildlife Club

Chairman’s Report

Discussions with Enfield Council continue on the Friends’ agenda for maintenance and park improvements.

The Council has advised that parks are being moved towards a self-funded basis which we see as further pressure on us to not only fund our own costs but contribute to other parks less well supported or endowed. The Friends will seek more voluntary assistance to maintain the quality features of the park, and reach out to local businesses for sponsorship.

Friends’ work has been somewhat curtailed by lack of manpower – resources are stretched and volunteers 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. Join us – it’s fun.

Security is a growing issue in the park, albeit from a low base. Raves and antisocial behaviour especially in the warmer months are a pressing issue without obvious solution, given the police will only intervene when major law breaking takes place.

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 visible after one year. Trent Park receives virtually nothing from hosting these events, revenues being spent elsewhere in the borough.

Maintenance including litter is a further 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 processes 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, and direct pressure from residents does work.

Public Communications: Members are requested earnestly to address concerns to us and any of the following LBE councillors / officers:

The AGM was then closed.

General Meeting

Campus – Berkeley development

Berkeley has been selling off plan for some weeks now, and an active phase of building can be expected shortly.

A new water feed to the campus will be installed along Limes Ave during this autumn.  [Note:  Now scheduled to start on January 7 2019]

During construction, which could span over 5 or more years, continuing public access to the site is a commitment.

Conservation   

The valuable grade 2 pillars and wooden gates at the Cockfosters entrance have been reconstructed to a good standard, and the new bollards installed outside the gates seem to be effective in warding vehicles off damaging the pillars again.

Events Programme

The Friends confirm their support for a full slate of communal activities in the park. It is the overbearing and destructive major events that cause most grief and loss of civic amenity, and the Friends continue to campaign for these to be de-escalated, removed from peak visitor periods, and made subject to all required safety protocols.

Members are very aware that set-up and knock-down impact several days in a row, and affect other commercial activities in the park. Distress and nuisance is caused 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.

LBE is reviewing its 2 year old events strategy which impacts so heavily on our park. We are not encouraged to believe all 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.

Biodiversity (Carol Fisk)

The Friends’ work to enhance public understanding of the rich biodiversity in the park was 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. The document is on this website and makes excellent and accessible reading – highly recommended.  Please note the rare acid grasslands and ancient woodland, which are Trent Park treasures.

Work carried out on the field and pond at the Cockfosters Gate earlier this year was welcome eco-maintenance, even if somewhat delayed.  The field, which is an HLS [Higher Level Stewardship] wildflower site, for which Enfield receives special funds, had catch-up work done on it, while the trees around the pond were thinned out to allow more light in.  This has made it a more suitable amphibian habitat and it will become part of a FrogLife toad project if funds can be raised.

Restoration and improvement of the pond on Limes Avenue is under way and will include bank restoration, de-silting, the creation of a reed bed and the planting of suitable water plants – all to create a better habitat for the pond life.  The Friends also hope to raise funds for an interpretation board explaining pond life and to work with the two cafes on the sale of wildfowl food, to avoid bread being thrown into the pond.  Once the project is complete, we intend for the pond to be used for educational activities such as pond-dipping and hope that dog owners will stop their pets from using the pond to prevent bank erosion and harassment of the wildfowl.

A successful bat survey was conducted recently by Mostly Bats.  Despite it being so late in the season and quite cold, they caught, checked and released two Nathusius pipistrelles, a Natterer’s bat, a common pipistrelle and a soprano pipistrelle.

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 has had another good season.  At present there are no plans for the club to run in 2019.

Water Garden  (Carol Langran)

Maintenance of the Water garden took a leap forward with debris clearances by the Council early in the year but lack of manpower allowed many of the gains to be lost. Water supply to the garden was strained during the hot summer but is now under better control.  We hope to agree a better maintenance plan with the Council that will further enhance the Water Garden, making it a joy to visit throughout the year.  Friends have just planted a large number of bulbs, provided by Enfield in Bloom, in the entrance and these should make for a fine display of colour early in the new season; well done all volunteers.

Enfield in Bloom has also given the Friends a small grant to plant bulbs in a designated Enfield in Bloom bed over the next three years.   A spot in the water garden has been designated.   Please let us know if you can help with the next planting early next year.

Dog Control Order

After much delay LBE announced its Public Protection Orders which include controls over the number of dogs a single handler can walk in the park. However, members have noted that arrangements to issue licenses to walkers wishing to take up to 6 dogs into the park are hard to find or non-existent; this is being taken up with LBE.  [Note: Applications for licenses should go to martin.rattigan@enfield.gov.uk]

The Friends always welcome dogs under control, as most are, control being defined as every dog remaining within sight and responding to the owner’s voice command if off lead, or remaining on a lead otherwise.

Owners will be pressed to ensure that dogs stay out of water features in the park and, at all times are restrained from chasing wildlife; owners wishing to encourage hunting instincts in dogs are required to find other accommodation. All dog refuse must be collected and removed from soiling the park and visitors.

Other funded projects 

Waymarked trail upgrade – a Friends Fund grant has been secured to increase the number of posts on the two waymarked trails to make them more user-friendly.  The associated map has been edited for the same reason and will be made available at the cafes and elsewhere as well as digitally via the website.   Installation and painting of the posts will happen in early 2019 and we are looking for a few hardy volunteers to help.  Please let us know if you can lend a hand.

Additional 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 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.

Replacements for two items of gear in the children’s play area are now overdue and the Friends are pressing for early reinstatement; we hold that TCP is under-provided with kids equipment, given the 1 million annual visitors, and the fact that 17 other LBE parks have adult gym facilities but not TCP is a pressure point in discussions with officers.

The committee continues to work with the parks department on maintenance issues, such as replacement of interpretative signs, broken benches, tree work, etc.  It usually takes a long time to get anything done, but please let us know if you have a maintenance concern.

Volunteering with The Friends

Friends of Trent Country 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.

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.

Next Friends meeting

The next meeting is planned for April 2019 with an interim Winter newsletter.  Join our email list to keep updated.   Agenda details for the April meeting will  follow closer to the date.  Do come and support our work for the community and stay updated via our social media and this website.

Meeting closed 2120 hrs.              PWG 8-11-18

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