Mayor Bullock: Cafe could work in Hilly Fields

A while back, we wrote that the success of the new children's playground in Hilly Fields meant that creating a cafe in Hilly Fields has become an even better idea than it was before. A cafe would complete a wonderful park, turning it in to a real destination.

There are three things that need to happen to make that idea a reality:

1. There must be private interest in running a cafe
2. There must be public support for creating such a facility
3. There must be Council permission for the project to go ahead

We know from conversation with one South East London entrepreneur that there is private interest in setting something up in Hilly Fields.

The response on this thread seems to show public support, albeit subject to seeing a detailed proposal.

Now, Mayor Bullock has given his backing to the concept. Following his visit to Hilly Fields to officially open the playground during the Brockley MAX, we asked him what he thought of the new playground and whether he would support a cafe in principle. Here's his response:

"I was delighted that we were able to secure funding for the improved play facilities at Hilly Fields. I could see when I opened them that local youngsters were already making great use of them. Our parks and open spaces work best when they are well used and I hope that the play area can be a catlyst for further local inititives possibly even including a cafe in the park which has worked well in other places in the borough."

That's as supportive as one could hope for without a firm proposal on the table, but it surely opens the door for an ambitious entrepreneur to come up with something that would serve local demand.

119 comments:

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

With the renaissance of the Cricket Field a cafe with a nice line in cumcumber sandwiches and upside down cakes is bound to do well....

I nominate "Sister Dolly's" as an appropriate name.

Tamsin said...

With everything else going on and the luxury of space that Telegraph Hill Upper Park simply does not have would Hilly Fields like a skatepark?

TM said...

Unlike some of the Nimbies in the conservation area I have no objection.

It would give Hugh something to do at the weekend.

Whilst we are at it perhaps some of the more derelict properties at the Talbot end of Tyrwhitt Road could be converted into a Children's Nursery

Headhunter said...

Don't try to palm your bleedin' skate park off on us, Tamsin!

Headhunter said...

You trying your hand at a bit of trolling, TM? Bit bored are we?

OpenSpacesForAll said...

There's already one Nursery on Tyrwhitt Road,and there's the problem of parking yet again.

I cant see any problem in the Council granting permission for a cafe on Hilly Fields.

Tamsin said...

Not palming off. The Wheelscape designs do look much more attractive than what used to be built. It could be a great facility in the right place. Just the Upper Park is the wrong place and it is proving hard to find an alternative in the Telegraph Hill Ward.

Headhunter said...

I guess there's more space on Hilly Fields but it's pretty much Ladywell. If the little dears can't manage to make it as far as Ladywell, then what use is a skate park on Hilly Fields?

Brockley Nick said...

On the skatepark issue: Hilly Fields is very close to the one that already exists in Ladywell Fields.

But it does raise the question of whether there are other sites that could be considered. For example, Friendly Gardens is a rather poorly-used park, not far from Telegraph Hill. Maybe one could go there?

I'm sure there will be someone along in a minute to explain why that's a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

I support it fully as long as it serves beer.

lb said...

"Just the Upper Park is the wrong place and it is proving hard to find an alternative in the Telegraph Hill Ward"

Hence "palming off". The people behind the skatepark, after all, seem to think Telegraph Hill is the right place for it.

Brockley Kiwi said...

I fully support the idea providing they install a large screen and repeatedly show the Kiwi equaliser against Slovakia!!!!

All you Aussies out there can eat our collective Kiwi shorts ...

Hahaha!! Woohoo!

Headhunter said...

Sorry to burst your bubble but it was a goal against erm, Solvakia. Get over it. They're not exactly Brazil.

Now Then said...

speaking of which, anyone know some nice little North Korean haunt to watch in this evening (HIlly Fields, Cafe, yes, Skatepark, not on your nelly)

Brockley Kiwi said...

Its all about expectation. For a small country like NZ whose football team are, let's be fair, probably a match for Scunthorpe utd on a food day a world cup point is as good as it's going to get.

Anything but tournament winners for England will result in national depression (for the 327th time) ... :-)

Now Then said...

Much like the AB's and RWC's in that regard? but congrats on the goal :.)

Brockley Kiwi said...

Fair comparison, but let's stick to the now. You can bring it up again at next years RWC.

Sorry for hijacking the thread. Cafe ... Yes! Skate park ... No!

Anonymous said...

Any intiative that makes the other cafes in the area more peaceful for a customer who likes to read a news paper or tap away on a laptop gets my vote.

Now Then said...

Perhaps we should form a notimyback yardie gang

quick brown fox said...

Cafe: yes yes yes.
Skate park: no no no. Don't blame you for not wanting it in Telegraph Hill. Noisy and ugly.

Anonymous said...

Don't need a skate ramp, just get the skaterbois to work in a cafe. It'll keep them occupied and the yummy mummies will get their espressos. Everyone's a winner.

Tamsin said...

Ladywell is twice the distance - when I haven't got the excuse to drive I try to walk to work just south of the hospital.

The Wheelscape skateparks are visually much more attractive than the built up ramps that you see in Ladywell Fields and Peckham rye. We are also assured that the noise level is much lower - something to do with the different type of concrete they use.

Friendly Gardens is the far side of Lewisham Way - and these A roads are, in reality, significant geographic boundaries.

TM said...

Mr Naïve here thought it was just Manor Avenue residents who are NIMBIES. Wrong again.

And no I wasn’t trolling I sincerely believe in the benefits of development of all types. Bring on skate parks, nurseries, head trauma clinics, (whatever they actually are) Big Yellow, Holes in Walls, ELL extensions; the lot.

Friendly Gardens also sounds a good idea. Get Big Yellow to sponsor it.

OpenSpacesForAll said...

Sorry to burst your bubble HH,but the Kiwi was right it is Slovakia,so get over it.

Anonymous said...

A Cafe is a good idea in principle BUT it could take business away from cafes in Brockley and Ladywell. That would be bad.

I would however like to see a bandstand and an amphitheatre in Hilly Fields. There used to be a band stand a long time ago. The latter is not an absurd idea as some other parks have them.

Both would encourage the arts in the area. Local schools and theatre companies could put on performances.

A cafe perhaps could be combined with a new loos and open on a temporary basis when there are performances.Although I would be a little concerned about it potentially taking business away from Brockley and Ladywell cafes.

James

Anonymous said...

Btw the new playing area looks fantastic, especially the mounds.
Perhaps there could be a few more of them outside the play area for adults to picnic on.

James

BDS said...

Not sure about skateboardois working in the Café. I have a picture of a skateboarding Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques.

What we need is a roller-skating Keeley Hazell.

Anonymous said...

I thought the skate park was going to be a Telegraph Hill upper park???

Anonymous said...

Here is a photo of the old Hilly Fields bandstand taken in 1900. Not sure when it was taken down.

http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/lewisham/brockley/bandstand.htm

Brockley Nick said...

@James - yes, I appreciate that concern and I would have the same reservations. However, I don't think it would be a threat to local cafes, because it will be a different proposition from a high-street cafe, that will attract new customers at new times.

When I am in the park, I don't think of going to any of the local cafes, I just sit there wishing I'd remembered to bring something to eat or drink and I maybe head to the ice cream van.

So it might be harmful to my wallet and my waistline, but I doubt it would hurt local cafes, it might even help them.

The more high-quality local facilities we have, the more people will choose to stay in the area, rather than go to Dulwich, Greenwich et al for the day.

it's a shame said...

On the evidence presented this weekend adults have taken to picnicing and having children's parties in the children's playground on Hilly Fields. Full blown table, cloth and ballons in a corner of the palyground. Bit harsh on the kids who aren't invited to the party..but I suppose it keeps a yummy mummy's front room clean

Now Then said...

Having been inside the park keepers office or prospective cafe if you will, recently, it appears that there is some structural work needed even before a full scale conversion

All in all quite an investment, which it would take some time to recoup even with 'full time' opening hours.

Choki of Brockley said...

Sounds brilliant, given half the chance we'd open a cafe there, Choki Cafe or something. Not sure we could afford a new build though.

Anonymous said...

Nobody interested in an amphitheatre???
Surely more interesting than a cafe...and would help make one financially viable anyway.

Shoreditch park in Hackney has one.

see here for some examples of grass amphitheatres (copy and paste onto browser):

http://schools.norfolk.gov.uk/myportal/index.cfm?s=1&m=1660&p=1354,page&id=901

http://www.vmnh.net/largeview.cfm?ID=1235

http://www.lonelyplanetimages.com/images/436367

J

Hugh said...

A HillFeelCaff would be ossom.

Plenty of enterprising young people round here would, I'm sure, want to get involved.

Monkeyboy said...

Hilly fields needs a cafe, fairly obvious isn't it?

John Moonbow said...

I am with James concerns regarding a café on Hilly Fields, I think it will have a detrimental effect on business in all the surrounding cafes in still tough times. Also park cafés are notoriously difficult to make reasonable returns from.

And from a personal viewpoint, which may sound a little odd coming from me, but I actually like the fact there is no commercial operations on Hilly Fields except the Ice Cream van and the farmers market.

Brockley Nick said...

@John - you could be right, although of course preventing one type of local cafe to protect another isn't a particularly good idea in any case.

You are the expert, so I take what you say on board, but every good new business that has opened locally in the last three years has flourished, without negatively affecting other good local businesses. Local trade has grown, that's surely undeniable.

At some point, the area's saturation point will be reached and there'l be no more room for new cafes, pubs, hairdressers, restaurants, shops, etc without damaging other local traders - but I think we are some way off that yet.

Good local businesses encourage people to think locally. It used to be that only a handful of local diehards in Brockley would think about eating or drinking locally. You'd have to agree that there is a whole new wave of people thinking locally, thanks to the likes of the Orchard, Browns, The Broca, The Talbot and others giving people more local choice.

Brockley Nick said...

@John - on the point about liking it being uncommercial, point taken - I'm sure you won't be the only one that feels like that and I would hope that if there is one, that it is understated and embedded in community life.

Ross said...

"Also park cafés are notoriously difficult to make reasonable returns from"

i don't think this is true. i know at least one business personally that do very, very, very well in a park. the one in peckham rye from the outside seems to do a pretty great trade as well. but

mat said...

I'd be interested to hear the Friends take on the Mayor securing the funding. Securing the photo opportunity more like.

John Moonbow said...

@Ross, true many do well but they are notoriously difficult to get right and make more than an average living for long days, parks are a little like coastal sites, weather can be cruel.

@Nick, all for more cafes, bars and everything, just not necessarily on HF. Brockley (and especially Ladywell) needs more places to create a cluster that will sustain the existing places by attracting more visitors and lure more people out of their homes. New businesses often market themselves harder raising the area profile, which benefits everyone. But spend per head is still way down on pre 2007, margins are much lower due to general tax and raw goods price increases, and I know no one in the industry who is saying that they see this changing in the next 12 months. Trade is reported as holding. This is why the existing parades should remain the priority in my view.

The single plan that I have heard about is not understated at all, in fact could be fairly iconic. I was of the impression the council had already received this serious proposal so I am probably talking rubbish! – sorry.

quick brown fox said...

Unless it was super-duper I wouldn't make a special trip to Hilly Fields to go to a cafe - anything I bought there would be because I was up there anyway, and would be in addition to what I might spend at the Brockley Mess/TM2. I guess some would go specially but I would expect a Hilly Fields cafe primarily to increase market size rather than steal market share.

Anonymous said...

Regarding "full-blown children's parties" keeping "yummy mummies' front rooms clean" - I was at one of those parties, held by a couple who live with their two children in a small, two-bed flat. Do you really think people choose to have their children's parties outdoors in our beautiful UK climate?! The so-called "yummy-mummies" can afford to host their children's parties at home AND pay for someone to clean up afterwards. Leave us alone!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, all parks should have a cafe - a good one that can actually make coffee!

Anonymous said...

Anon - couldn't they have used the park like other parents do when having a party - instead of camping in the playground?

Anyway it's really neither here nor there, just a tad selfish.

Anonymous said...

I really don’t think a café would be a good idea! It would be more crowded and you would have more litter. It’s a little haven at the moment and doesn’t need more people. If you want a coffee take thermos flask!

Tamsin said...

Quite a big haven - lots of sweeping wide spaces with room for a cricket pitch and all the nooks and crannies round the edges we visted on the bird song walk. Lovely.

Blue sky said...

Mat, good point re Bullock - he was not involved in any way in securing the funding (except perhaps for stating that he supported the application) and now he's trying to claim credit for it - 'WE were able to secure funding'. I also wrote to Joan Ruddock at the time to get her support and she didn't reply.
vuvu, I can't even begin to imagine why having a party in a park is selfish. How ridiculous.

Brockley Nick said...

Re: parties in the playground, I've read some daftly misanthropic complaints on here, but I think this takes the biscuit.

Unless they are actually camping on the equipment, why on earth would that be a problem?

Last time I went up there, there was a party going on in one corner. It meant kids could play party games and then go and enjoy the playground, all without leaving the relatively safe confines of the playground area, which is good when you're responsible for lots of energetic kids.

As someone who wasn't involved, it made the place feel even more fun and festive.

Later, it turned out that my son went to school with one of the kids at the party and he invited himself to play pass the parcel, much to my embarassment. But instead of shooing him away, the parents organising the party happily let him sit down and play and he walked away with a party bag.

Selfish? Don't be silly.

PS - I saw a similar party at the playground in Hyde Park last summer and thought it was a great idea then, too.

Nux said...

Re the parties, I didn't see them but I know one of them was a first birthday party as I was invited but couldn't attend. One main reason why people with babies, especially a big group of babies, would pick the playground is because it is fully fenced. This means that marauding dogs can't come up and steal the food/menace the children (something that has happened every time I have ever picnicked outside in the main park). I like dogs but some parents are truly frightened when they come galloping towards babies, and fair enough, you never know with a strange dog.

I honestly don't see why using the playground like this is selfish - surely it is just another way that the playground is being successfully used and enjoyed?

Yes to a cafe :-)

Parky said...

Lots of owners use the park for a toilet for there dogs,not just exercise.

Oaksys said...

With the Limited Company owning Prendergast School trying to annex park land from Hilly Fields for the (temporary) school extension, should we be looking to to release more land for a cafe? Inevitably once the land has been built on it rarely reverts to free green space for the locals of Brockley.

Tamsin said...

Not just the parents that are frightened - even a medium size dog is as large as a toddler. I like dogs but would be scared if something the size of a pony came galumphing up and wanted to play or share my sandwich.

Lovely, lovely way of using what is a lovely space. No wonder the Mayor (as is the way of politicians) wanted to garner some of the kudos to himself.

lb said...

A grass amphitheatre thing would have been a fantastic idea - they should have built one instead of that pointless "stone circle".

I assume the Brockley Society will object furiously to any cafe proposal unless it's housed in a pastiche Lutyens tea-hut, or something. I doubt they'd go for a skatepark either.

Susan said...

Re- parties in the playground.

We had my sons birthday party there in May, although we set up outside the gates under the big trees. I thought this ideal since lots of the parents spread out on blankets and relaxed while their kids played. It also meant we were able to have races and games on the grass AND enjoy the play equipment.
Personally I just think it's more comfortable for everyone if you have more room, and let's face it, there isn't much spreading out room inside the gates anymore.

But selfish? Get over it.

And *yawn* the yummy mummy comments are really getting boring.

Susan said...

meant to add, I think the toilets need to be sorted out before any cafe goes in.
One barely working, horrible metal seat toilet just doesn't cut it anymore.

Tea for Two said...

LB - not sure that Broc Soc would object to a skate park, as they run a Fayre there every year (in case you haven't noticed) and also fairground rides turn up once a year too - but Hilly Fields User group might have something to say.

And a Luytens style tea house - that just sounds lovely to everyone..

Anonymous said...

The Fair that turns up once a year has ruined the ground at the bottom of the hill,just an easy way for the Council to make money.

drakefell debaser said...

The whinge about kids having parties in the playground tops a seriously good short list of all time BC whinges.

Perhaps a lemon sucking contest at the Fayre would be a success. How much are stalls?

Bea said...

"The Fair that turns up once a year has ruined the ground at the bottom of the hill,just an easy way for the Council to make money"

The fair is organised by the Brockley Society to raise funds for itself - not the Council! As for ruined ground - ruined for what? The football that is played there is hardy World Cup - more like five-a-side! There is then later in the year sometimes a travelling fair which is less well attended but hardly damaging either.

As for kids having parties in parks - whatever next! Objections to kite flying, football playing, jogging, dog walking, skateboarding … ???

Bea said...

"The Fair that turns up once a year has ruined the ground at the bottom of the hill,just an easy way for the Council to make money"

The fair is organised by the Brockley Society to raise funds for itself - not the Council! As for ruined ground - ruined for what? The football that is played there is hardy World Cup - more like five-a-side! There is then later in the year sometimes a travelling fair which is less well attended but hardly damaging either.

As for kids having parties in parks - whatever next! Objections to kite flying, football playing, jogging, dog walking, skateboarding … ???

The brockley Taliban said...

The Brockley Taliban formally request that kites, alcohol, women (unless accompanyed by their husband) homosexuals, cake, fun and those annoying small yappy dogs are banned forthwith. They are ungodley etc...

helping to clarify said...

I think the issue was about 'yummy mummy' brigade co-opting part of the park for their needs, some people feel pushed out unwelcome. It's a bit like if you go the B Mess, without a kid, you're like a weirdo.

helping to clarify said...

I think the issue was about 'yummy mummy' brigade co-opting part of the park for their needs, some people feel pushed out unwelcome. It's a bit like if you go the B Mess, without a kid, you're like a weirdo.

Brockley Nick said...

What, they are co-opting the children's playground for people with kids?

Do you go in to a lot of children's playgrounds without kids?

Anonymous said...

No direct experience of this but I read the post to mean that one party of people had taken over part of the park where the equipment is and made it harder for other people to use it. I could be wrong, but that's the only basis on which I think it would be a reasonable complaint.

Brockley Nick said...

No, that wasn't what happened. So I think we can all agree it was a silly complaint and we can move on! ;)

Helping you clarify said...

I think the issue, is about other children not feeling able to use the playground, because a parent is using it for their kids party.
The point made earlier is about highlighting that. Not banning anything, but getting people to be mindful of that.

The accusations of misanthropy, killjoyism, Talibanic are I would suggest, slightly off the mark.

Confused .com said...

Is there a difference between the Fayre and the Fair?

Anyone for cheap insurance? If so speak to that Meercat.

Brockley Nick said...

Well until such time as anyone produces a child that was troubled by the sight of a nearby party, I'd suggest that it's a problem that only exists in the heads of few adults using this website.

Even if there were such a sensitive child, I think that they would quickly get over the realisation that they can't be invited to every party in the world and manage to have fun in the playground regardless.

Brockley Nit said...

That's how I read it too. I understand that there is a fear of dogs if held outside the gated playground; but the playground is very popular on a sunny day taking up a corner of it for a private function is questionable.

Anyway - I hope the kids had a good time.

BTW I'm holding a 35th bash there with me and some childless mates. BYOB but leave dogs tied up outside.

Brockley Nick said...

"but the playground is very popular on a sunny day taking up a corner of it for a private function is questionable"

No it isn't. That's what a playground is intended for. Children to play.

No one is hogging the swings, they are sitting in the corner on some blankets. If anything it's a very efficient use of space, allowing a large number of children to occupy a relatively small space.

There seem to be a lot childless grownups worrying about hypothetical children's response to a situation they haven't actually witnessed.

I've seen a party there. It was in the corner, doing no harm to anyone. My kids were oblivious to it, until the point that one of them invited themselves along and was politely received.

We would like to invite you.. said...

Oh dear a birthday bash...our son's bris is scheduled for Sat for the playground, and I know the Oppenheimers have a barmitzvah coming up.

Does the playground not have a social secretary to stop these faux pas' from happening?

It's a shame said...

I wish I hadn't started this now. Nick, the party I saw was setting up tables and balloons etc - very different from the blankets on the floor that you witnessed.

I didn't mean to start a whole debate - more of a 'what the...' comment from a parent (me). It really doesn't bother me that much - I think 'Helping you clarify' understood the point. But really - long may birthday parties and other celbrations in the playground reign - and I will refrain from trollish comments.

De Beers said...

Darling it's such a dilemma! And at St. James' Park if it's not the dogs begging it’s the squirrels.

Mind you, they have a fabulous line in park cafes there.

We would like to invite you but this is a prviate do said...

I know, De Beers, daarling - the O'Dowds are trying to get the small hillock next to the sandpit for young Patrick's first communion, but it would seem that there's going to be a Kath Kidson 'Making old tat trendy' networking event.

Personally I'm thinking of moving to Catford.

CuppaTeaForMe said...

I cant see how a cafe on Hilly Fields would interfere with other cafes in the area.

Anonymous said...

We moved to Catford in the late 90's, expecting it to become the new Perivale. It hasn't of course, (just goes to show) however on a recent visit we couldn't help noticing that Perivale is giving every indication of becoming the next Bexley.

You're not invited said...

...and Bexley is...awful?

I was only joking darling - wild labradors couldn't drag me to Catford. We will always keep to the BroGreBla, it has such a delightful playgorunds.

BorGreBla? Why Brockley, Greenwich, Blackheath darling...

The Cat Man said...

I prefer my own garden where I can play all day with my pussies.

Finbarr Sauders said...

You and Mrs Slocombe

Fnarrr Fnarrr

Headhunter said...

I thought you preferred the squirrels with their nuts

Anonymous said...

Slow news day?

lb said...

Setting up tables in the play area seems, well, a bit much.

Sara said...

perhaps the folk who run the Monmouth-style stall in Lewisham Market could set up a wee van/shack next to the playground as a trial. I've been meaning to email them about it? anyone have their contacts.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm right in saying they'll be at the fayre on Saturday? You could ask them then!

Anonymous said...

I can't actually believe that people are seriously complaining about a children's party! In a playground! Weirdos. I'm afraid I found the group of parents who set up camp in there during the very hot weather much more of a problem, and nobody has complained about them on here. They took up a large corner with sun loungers and cool boxes full of booze and were paying absolutely no attention to their children (who, to be fair, were for the most part not that badly behaved). They were also smoking (the adults, not the kids) within the playground enclosure, which I would have thought would be a no-no for any vaguely educated responsible parent, albeit legal.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a variation of the same (justifiable) compliant to me

Anonymous said...

Not really. A playground is for children to play in, and playing is generally what children do at parties. A playground is not a babysitting service so that parents can get drunk and sunburnt, smoke around small children and leave their cans of red stripe in the sandpit. But hey, everyone was over excited by the heatwave - it's not a regular occurance thankfully.

Anonymous said...

That's what "vuvu" wrote before but it was deemed unacceptable and deleted.

Anonymous said...

It's a much better idea than the stupid one about the orchard

Oaksys said...

Back to the Cafe .....

I guess people would object and demand fencing around the café (ala Oxleas) if my dogs came around begging food tax (any nice ham/chicken sandwich) from the conveniently located people at exterior café tables.
They already have great fun in the summer when the (illegal) barbecues appear on the Park. All that meat undefended by wimpy guardian reading townies. ;-)

hilly said...

For the record Mat, I did raise an eyebrow at the Mayor securing our funding.

Our former Cllr Sue Luxton stepped in to provide a reference for the Changing Places Grant. A friend of park had tried to get one from our MP, but when I chased it up, it was August and recess and I just needed to get the application in.

Central Government have been providing money for children's play, so I presume it was Ed Balls who secured it somewhere along the line. It is (or was) a national programme.

Anonymous said...

Now Ib, you know that the Brockley Society want to preserve existing historic buildings. That isn't the same as going for pastiche.

Prince of Wales said...

Neo classical cafe serving Duchy Origionals produce. I'll have my people talk to your people.

Village Elder said...

Your contributer above describe Bexley as 'awful'. This is admittedly in the course of a lighthearted exchange.

Does he mean Bexley or Bexleyheath?{As this confusion often arises, I would advise him to try this simple aide memoire "Ted Heath was M.P. for Bexley and not for Bexleyheath"}
Bexley is an old world village, it is in fact Bexleyheath which is pants.

mat said...

It is a bit tragic that there are people complaining about children having a party in the playground. It all seems to be one big party to me, let it be.

Not the same thing adults smoking in playground. Tut tut.

reading is good said...

Except that people weren't complaining about that.

Its important when you contribute to threads especially commenting on other peoples comments that you actually read them.

Brockley Nick said...

@reading is good - perhaps you could spell out for the rest of us what they were complaining about then.

Anonymous said...

You know very well Nick what people were 'complaining' about. Not children having parties, nor people on blankets having parties or hanging out, but parents setting up clothed and decorated tables for said parties within the playground. And if they had seen parents smoking and drinking beer that might have also raised an eyebrow.

C'mon Nick you must see the point: party, fine; full blown party on Hilly Fields, fine; co-opting corner of children's playground, a bit much. It seems to me too that 'complaining' is a bit harsh too. I think the comments were all a bit of a 'jeez, cheeky buggers'.

Tamsin said...

Tend to agree - the next thing is gazebos in case it rains, a generator set, amplified music and lights strung between trees. Talking (heaven knows why) a while back to someone responsible for such things in Hyde Park and they are quite firm about the line that should not be crossed. I think Glendale would be as well. Too much imported infrastructure, even of a temporary nature, and the parents in question will find that they should have got a licence from Glendales (£25) and might even have to pay a fine for not doing so.

Even gathering people in the Upper Park for the start of the History Walk is something that the Telegraph Hill Festival found last year that they had to apply to Glendales for permission to do - and should have been so applying for all the previous years. Next year we will begin in the Churchyard....

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - sorry, but this whole controversy was based on one person's passing remark, who has now said themselves that they wish they hadn't started it.

It was then followed by a series of grumbles by people who didn't see the party in question on behalf of hypoethetical children.

It's all a question of degree of course - setting up a bouncy castle in the middle of the playground too much, small picnic table in the corner, absolutely fine so long as it doesn't inconvenience anyone, as far as I am concerned.

Too many grouches complaining about things they haven't seen. Using any old excuse to moan about kids and parents today.

The one party I've seen in there was absolutely lovely and I'd be happy to see them there every week. I certainly wouldn't begrudge them and their kids a nice party - it seems like a very good use of the facilities.

Parties aside, the whole point about the new playground is that it is a great chillout area for lots of people - I've seen sunloungers, picnic blankets, tables, coolers, etc. That's the kind of place it is now and much the better for it.

@Tamsin - funny because the only other party I've seen like that was in Hyde Park, in a very well patrolled playground. No one minded then either.

Anonymous said...

Well this is the point, you have a touch point about people mentioning anything about kids and parents.

And that is why you jumped on the remarks. It was a passing remark as you say. But your position was a strawman- to overstate what was said making the passing remarking appear unreasonble and then to berate for saying something that they hadn't even said.

NO ONE *REPEAT* NO ONE was complaining about kids having a party in the party or playing in the park.
Except perhaps to troll

Brockley Nick said...

Sorry, but yes they were complaining about parties in the playground. I didn't "jump" on the remarks, there was a thread of several posts all tutting about parents these days, all of which were made by people who hadn't seen the party in question.

I responded to that strand of miserablism. As did others.

"No one" was complaining, except those who were, but that's OK because they were just "trolls".

Trolls some of them may have been, but many felt moved to challenge them on it.

You've already suggested that picnic tables are beyond the pale. I thoroughly disagree, so long as they are tucked away somewhere in the corner of the playground, which of course they are.

You are the one arguing with straw men, complaining about people staging parties the scale of which haven't actually happened.

Anonymous said...

Nick, read the posts, Nick.

Brockley Nick said...

Some of the original posts in question were deleted on grounds of offensiveness, by the way.

Tressilliana said...

It has (thank God) been many years since I had to spend time in the playground with my children, but it was commonplace then for people to spend hours there, with or without picnics, and birthday parties were not uncommon. Had this fallen into abeyance in recent years? I didn't think the playground was that decrepit before its (very welcome and splendid) re-design.

The Cat Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mljay said...

I was at said 1st bday party.

The ONLY table that was used was the EXISTING playground picnic table, which was covered with some white paper.

No chairs, gazebos, fairy lights or string quartets.

You may not think you are complaining, but picking on what is completely fair usage of a public space, particularly where facilities (ie table and space) have been provided, is just mean.

name said...

I am exasperated at this thread, both the 'complainers' and the complainers about the complainers.

M said...

Well said. In your face, haters!

Ooh look - Nick's posted about an orchard. You can all get your knickers in a twist over some trees now!

Bridget said...

I rather suspect that many of those moaning are doing so from a position of being unable to successfully find a mate. Poor old singletons :-(

Lady said...

these threads are so funny. I wonder why people don't just get on with their own lives instead of whinging and moaning about others' lives/whinges/moans. If you don't like what somewhere has to offer, either go somewhere else or talk to the people about what you don't like and try to change it. Don't sit moping behind a computer screen. Hilly Fields cafe: great idea. So far in Brockley it seems 'build it well and they will come' applies, eg the Orchard on Sunday, Jam Circus on Saturday: both rammed

mike said...

I am a parent responsible for one of the parties in the kids playground which I believe this discussion is about. I have been directed to this forum by a friend.

May I just say it is so pleasing to see the majority of Brockley folk here are open minded, fair and warm spirited and I thank them for their support.

I would also like to thank the park keeper and his supervisor who freely gave their permission for the party and approved the way we had set it up in terms of space usage and health and safety requirements.

We had a lovely 2 hours in the wonderful new kids area, and believe we brought a bit of colour, life and warmth with us and made sure we left the area immaculate.

We were responsible for a group of kids ranging in age from 3 months to 10 years and this was the perfect place for them to enjoy the afternoon safely and securely in a space that has been so beautifully created specially for them to do so.

We did a lot of work and spent some hard earned cash to make it look as exciting, fun and beautiful for our son's 7th birthday.

We used a picnic table for ....a picnic!

and put some balloons up....!

I'll happily listen to and respect other opinions but I don't see the need to label or judge other people, I'm just a dad.

Brockley Nick said...

Well said Mike - may you have many more parties like it!

hilly said...

Well, I didn't witness the party, but I feel rather flattered that people have chosen to have birthday parties in the playground.

I loved the one that turned up with their own mini maypole.

Rather fancy the idea of turning up to a string quartet too.

BrockleyEntrepeneur said...

I disagree with Moonbow John. I not only think that Hilly Fields need a cafe, but I have written to the council and offered to construct the building that would house it.
We shall see.

Anonymous said...

@Btockley entrepreneur, how exciting. I wish you good luck! I would love to see a cafe there. It would be my nearest cafe so i would use it whether or not I had my kids with me if there was nice food and decent coffee.

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