Saturday, 9 June 2012

Minutes of the 11th April 2012 meeting

Present: Phil J, Maggie C, Diane D, Ken R, Christophe L, Claire M, Pat O’L, Jenny W (Hackney Parks), Sarah B, Andy C.

Apologies : Susanne B, Annie W, Bron J, Rachel M, Marine

Minutes of March meeting

Butterfield Green Update (Maggie)
Maggie reported that the infill plants on the corner plot on Albion Road were put in by Bron, Jenny and two Parks department people.  However, they were put in on a hot day and the Parks staff left without watering them which they should not have done.  Maggie had contacted Daryll (Parks) who had eventually arranged for them to be watered, but it was four days after they had gone in and so it may have been too late, but is too early to tell.  Jenny said that she had spoken to the relevant people after the event to check that they had the correct access to water facilities, and they did, so this shouldn’t have happened.  It has been reported so hopefully should not be repeated in future.

Maggie went to the Hackney Parks user group and there had been a general feeling that things were not being done well.  Attendees had reported that trees and hedges had been cut back or down without any warning and communication from the Parks department was generally poor.  Maggie said that Daryll tried to fix things and is a useful contact.  He had been in touch recently regarding the water feature in Butterfield Green.  This can’t be turned on due to the hosepipe ban, though the stream can be filled and we’re awaiting communication regarding dates for this.

MUGA Refurbishment (Jenny)
Jenny reported that since the last SRA meeting, she had met with Maggie as there had been a few issues raised and she wanted to provide an update on those.  She said that the rubbish in the compost area had been removed but the graffiti (some green paint) was still there and she would chase for that to be removed.  She said that she had been asked to find out how many Hackney employees deal with the park daily.  She said that each day the park was unlocked and locked by someone and the play equipment was checked to ensure it is health and safety compliant.  She said that she was aware that litter was a constant issue, especially during the school holidays, but that it was cleared regularly.  She explained that the location of the litter bins opposite the orchard had also been raised, and that she could confirm that they can be moved, but would need a slab to be put down first which would need to be arranged.  There were therefore, as yet, no timeframes, but it was something they could do.

Regarding the MUGA, repairs and lighting can happen fairly quickly as would not be a complicated job.  She had discovered that the lights had originally been turned off deliberately by Hackney about 10 years ago as they had received complaints about people using the facility.  Jenny said that she felt this would be less of an issue now and that safety was also now much less of a concern on that corner.  It would cost about £2,600 exc. VAT to have the lighting working again, so not prohibitive.  Resurfacing, fencing and disability accessibility is harder to estimate and having looked a past projects, a figure of £47,000 was estimated.  Jenny felt however that it would probably be actually a lot lower than this as this figure has been based on projects starting from scratch, so including drainage and preparation of the area.  It is still useful to consider as a maximum cost.

Resurfacing the play area is estimated as costing £3,700 - £5.900 depending on the specification.  Jenny has looked into potential funding sources.  One possibility is Inspired Facilities (from Sport England) which is specifically for tired play areas.  It offers matched funding, so the council would pay half and Inspired Funding the other half.  The application period for funding is 23 July to 17 December 2012 so Jenny will look to prepare this during the rest of her time with the Parks department so it is ready for when applications are open.  To make a strong application, a consultation with the community and local conservations groups etc. will need to be built in, so it won’t be a quick fix.  Pat asked why a consultation was needed when a change of use was not being considered and the issue was just general maintenance.  There was a general feeling that the council should be responsible for maintenance of such sites and should cover the costs as consultation was complicating the issue.  Jenny explained that the money was not available to repair this site and therefore funding needed to be applied for.  In order to make a strong bid, a consultation process would need to be included in the plans.  Youngsters must be consulted as a funding provider would want to know that the site will be used before they will approve funding.  This is requirement of funders, not the planning department.  A consultation may raise different opinions about what can be done with the area.  There is an understanding of the need to communicate with local youngsters, but disappointment that the process can’t be quicker.  Maggie mentioned that the option of astro-turf could come up in a consultation, but that it wouldn’t be viable.  Jenny said that it is high cost so rarely approved.

Pat asked whether there were lower cost options that could be considered and the council find the money rather than apply for funding.  She was concerned that if funding had to be applied for, it wouldn’t happen or would take too long and the facility would continue to sit unused for years.
Jenny said that Milton Homes have some funding for the surrounding community but they will make the decision about what it is spent on.  Now she has the details, Jenny can send the costing details to them.  She can put the case to them, but will have no control over their decision – she’ll look into it and report back.

Maggie has done bids with TRA before and thinks applying for lighting costs could be easy as it is the lowest cost of the three issues being considered.  This would then mean the facility would be used more in the evenings which could help with future bids.  Jenny will draft a bid whilst in post so ready when the application period opens.  She has not yet spoken with local youth groups about the issue but has contacted them so hopes to be able to do this.  Milton Gardens would accept a bid and bids can also be made to the council and other organisations.  Christophe advised that Jenny could investigate who also uses it as weekends as he knows that there are often older teenagers and young people in their early twenties at weekends, so they could be spoken to as well.  Jenny will update next month.

Park Signage (Jenny)
Jenny has fed back the comments from her meeting with Maggie to Bruce (Development Officer) at the Parks department.  Smaller ‘Welcome to Butterfield Green’ signs have been proposed at each entrance.  These are about A4 sized and will be attached to the fences.  The old signs will be taken away including the old orchard sign by the stream but the green painted sign in the orchard will be left where it is.

SWOT Analysis for Butterfield Green (Jenny)
Jenny provided copies of the SWOT analysis and explained that she was trying to bring this forward so that they were dealing with issues more proactively.  Copies were distributed to give the SRA the opportunity to see the analysis and comment.

Maggie explained that a protocol was set up a few years ago that three proposals would be planned each year and consulted on.  So far, one had been agreed, about two years ago for some planting, and then nothing else happened.  The MUGA was one of the proposals.  Jenny will look into what has happened and report back.

Film Night (All)
Phil will drop the key for the gardener’s hut round to Bron’s on Friday.

Annie has organized the stewards who will arrive at 6.30 and the band will arrive for a sound check at about 5.30.  Annie has had cake pledges.  Christophe is available to help from mid-afternoon so will call Pat to see if he is needed.  Everything else has been organized, and we’re hoping for dry weather!

Skateboarding (Jenny)
Jenny met with MaryCate to speak about meeting up with the local youngsters who skateboard in the area, but a date had not yet been set.  The skateboarders have been moved on from Palatine Road, and there had been some complaints from Hackney Homes about some youngsters.  Alternatives are being looked into for the skateboarders and Jenny is keen to communicate with them.  Maggie Gardner from Hackney Homes and Wayne Jipp (Area Officer) have spoken with some of the youngsters and are gathering their opinions.  Bron had tried to organise a film night but they hadn’t come back with dates and so it hasn’t happened.

Christophe informed Jenny that there was a large area (about 300m long) for skating in Markfield Park in south Haringey, by the canal.  Jenny reported that she had seen smaller places where youngsters seem happy to share and queue to use the space.  There is also an area at Hackney Marshes (next to Hackney Marshes school), though no one was sure if it was council owned and park of the park.

Name Change
Bron had received a few emails so it was decided that this topic would be discussed again when Bron was in attendance.

Sainsbury’s (Claire)
Nothing to report, no news on anticipated second proposal from the developers.

Items for the Summer Newsletter
Pat suggested that the newsletter is discontinued.  She felt that it was a lot of work for various people and the cost of printing was high (£70 per quarter) considering they were not sure of the readership and the fact that the content was often very similar to previous editions as it was difficult to think of new content.  It was suggested that an e-newsletter could be produced instead and/or more time dedicated to updating the website and facebook page.

Sarah suggested that email addresses could be taken on film night though the general consensus was that there was quite a lot to do already and probably not time.  Claire suggested that facebook and the website could be looked after on a rota basis so the work was shared between members.  Diane suggested that notices could be issued instead about any large events if there was a concern that some people used the newsletter for this.  It was also suggested that minutes/agendas and/or notices could be put on one of the notice boards in the park.

It was agreed that the quarterly newsletter would be dropped but that one would be produced annually instead, around Christmas time as an annual review (what’s been done and future plans).  The rest of the year, announcements will be made online.  There would always be the option to do one mid-year if we wanted to promote a big event.  We will discuss organising a rota for the website and facebook page at the next meeting.

Phil said that when he delivers the newsletters people comment that they like it and say thanks for all the hard work, but he was not sure whether there was an interest in the content, more that people liked to know that we exist.  A notice informing of events and future meetings somewhere (Butterfield Green and/or local shop windows?) would probably do this.  It was felt that notices around the park are generally best responded to for events.

At the next meeting, we will discuss how to give more people capability to manage the website and/or work this on a rota basis.  Currently Rachel and Flora do any updates.

No ideas for speakers for the upcoming AGM.  Consider not having a speaker this time as possibly getting too late to organise.

Dates for diaries
       Saturday April 14th – Film Night 4
       Sunday May 13th – next community gardening day
       Wednesday May 9th – SRA meeting

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