Friends of Trent Country Park

Report on The Friends Meeting 16th May 2018

Report on The Friends Meeting 16th May 2018

Report on Proceedings of General meeting, held at 8pm on May 16th 2018, in Christ the King, Oakwood. With added explanatory notes.

The Chairman opened the AGM meeting and welcomed 23 members, and guest speakers, Cllrs Edward Smith and Elaine Hayward.

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

Chairman’s Report

1. Damaging Commercial Events: The Friends continue to welcome community events in our park but press the Council, along with CLARA the residents association, to dissuade it from its policy of encouraging massive commercial events in the park. Trent Park is not set up to handle such events safely. These intrusions are pressed on us in the name of revenue generation, but the Friends calculate that running and organisation costs at LBE are not far short of gross revenues generated, so why are we suffering such loss of amenity for shadow financial benefits to the council?

Damage to the exhibition ground last autumn is still, after 8 months, not restored to former condition. LBE claims to have received funds from the major events to put right the damage, yet also claims it has no funds to maintain the park in prior condition. And Trent Park receives virtually nothing from hosting these events, revenues being spent elsewhere in the borough.

2. Park Improvements. Discussions with Enfield Council continue on the Friends’ agenda for park improvements; a pathway alongside the Cockfosters entrance road being our top requirement to segregate foot and vehicle traffic. The Council has advised that funds are in short supply but discussions are ongoing to find resources through sponsorship and S106 development monies.

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.

3. 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, primarily at the Hadley Rd entrance. Community policing is a problem not confined to the park; local residents also report growing instances of threatening behaviour. The recently announced link-up between Enfield and Haringey police forces on economy grounds is regarded negatively for Enfield.

4. Maintenance in the park 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, especially over warm weather weekends when visitor pressure is greatest. Likewise the toilets which have been reported occasionally closed on Saturday for lack of maintenance, a situation with dire consequences for hygiene in the park.

5. Berkeley campus development and Museum project: clearance of the old academic buildings and phased construction of housing is proceeding to plan. A sales office has opened and sales off plan are proceeding. Planning and fund raising for the Museum in the mansion is continuing, but this project will require 2-3 years to bring to completion. Friends expect the exhibit to attract substantial visitor interest, given the pivotal contribution the site made to security during WW2.

6. Volunteering. 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, and fund-raising.

7. Public Engagement. 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. Residents must be vocal to retain what they value.

Members are requested earnestly to write to the new Leader of Enfield Council, Cllr. Nesil Caliskan (nee Cazimoglu) with their concerns over damage and loss of amenity, insisting on action as ratepayers, and declining bland assurances. The Friends urge more resources from major events are reinvested in our park, as the premier most visited site in the whole borough. Email:Cllr.Nesil.Caliskan@enfield.gov.uk

8. Conservation. Restoration of the valuable grade 2 pillars and wooden gates at the Cockfosters entrance is underway and the Council is being urged to restrict access by the larger vehicles which wrecked them last year.

9. Visitor Reporting. The Friends want to compile current records for the park and its many ecological assets. Visitors are encouraged strongly 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 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 resumed. 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. Although Black Rainbow Events is currently not running the walks [they may resume in 2019], there are other groups taking to the paths and visitors are encouraged to seek them out and not miss a season’s eco viewing!

10. Water Garden. Visitors are encouraged to make their way to the gardens which are in fine form this year owing to recent work

11. 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. Visitors are encouraged to contact us if walkers exceeding this limit are observed. LBE has made no plans yet to enforce these new orders, but since Trent Park is such a “go-to” site for all forms of dog walking, these new restrictions are important to help maintain the hygiene and peace of the park for all visitors. Once the signage is installed we will advise you how you can report any infractions to the Council.

12. How you can help: 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:

https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-open-spaces/parks/

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 moved to a new platform and has been slightly reorganised but contains the same information and more. There is a lot to see there about the history, biodiversity, amenities, etc. of Trent Country Park and some useful links and downloads. Please visit
http://www.friendsoftrentcountrypark.org.uk/

Data Protection – in the line with the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR], which went into effect on May 25, the Friends have updated their data protection policy, which can be read in full on our website. We will continue to inform you about issues and events but you may opt out at any time by simply emailing us and asking to be removed from our email list.

Next Friends meetings
Friends meetings will now revert to a twice a year format, the next being in November. Communication with members will be stepped up via newsletters to all who are registered with us.

Meeting closed 2120 hrs.
PWG 21.5.18

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