Telegraph Hill skating - the two park solution


Orphan: Daddy Bender, we're hungry.
Bender: What's with you kids? Every other day it's food, food, food. [pause] Alright, I'll get you some stupid food.
- Futurama, The Cyber House Rules

It was touch and go for a while, but it looks like democracy works. After a plan to install a skate area in the upper park in Telegraph Hill met with fierce opposition, a site has been identified in the Lower Park, which should keep everyone just about happy. BC has argued for a while that this seemed like the most sensible way forward and it appears that we were right, for a change.

Skate park campaigner Imogen explains:

The Skate Park Working Group had a site meeting in the Lower Telegraph Hill Park and
looked at all of the possible spaces. The site we agreed was best was to use the strip of
path along the top side of the basketball court with a piece opening out at either end of
this (see map above). It would create a dog bone / telephone type shape. The site benefits from banking and planting which screens views and noise, as well as being a good distance from houses.

The fact that there are already activities (basketball / football) in the area was also seen as
a plus. There is a path on the other side of the ball court so it wouldn’t affect access. The
space chosen was far enough away from trees not to create problems, although drainage
will be a consideration for the groundworks.


There is a Local Assembly Meeting on Tuesday 21st September at which this proposal and designs will be put forward and voted on. As I think I mentioned before we have to use our funding (48k) before March 2011 so it is imperative that we get agreement on a site asap.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the temporary garden in Lewisham finished ? surely 2 mounds of turfed grass dont acquit to £200,000

Brockley Nick said...

I was planning on writing something about that shortly. Yup. looks like it is finished.

lb said...

Glad to see that those who attempted to paint skateboarders as spraycan-wielding harbingers of crime, vandalism and several other things have been quietened down.

As for the temporary garden, seems a bit disappointing if it is finished. At the moment it looks like a 1/10 scale version of Teletubby land.

Anonymous said...

This plan works for me. ~Always seemed to make sense to find a spot in the lower park and that location fits.

Headhunter said...

What about the question of the lower park closing at dusk? Will skaters still be ejected at dusk onto surrounding streets where to carry on skating, as before, up and down the road/pavements? Is this really the answer?

BCY said...

Here we go with the hypothetical responses...

Brockley Kiwi said...

I was horrified at the original upper park proposal but this seems a sensible and happy compromise.

Hats off to the working group for listening to people’s concerns and adjusting their proposals accordingly. A great example of a proper collaborative and consultative approach …

… maybe a good lesson for the polarised views on appropriate application of conservation area rules to the Brockley Rd shop frontages.

Priniciples said...

Some things don't require compromise...

lb said...

"What about the question of the lower park closing at dusk? Will skaters still be ejected at dusk onto surrounding streets where to carry on skating, as before, up and down the road/pavements? Is this really the answer"

I have to say I also thought this was a substantial flaw in the Lower Park option, but let's see what happens, shall we? :)

"Horrified" is a rather strong word to use regarding a few square metres of concrete.

Tamsin said...

210 square metres minimum on the dimensions given for the orginial Upper Park scheme - plus an effective "no go" zone round the edges - in a tiny park the main feature of which is its views and tranquillity.

The young skaters in SPAG seem OK with the Lower Parknot skating after dusk - they say it is too dark anyway - and their preference for the Upper Park was the extra space and longer runs available. So my qualms about children breaking into the park after dark to skate (at considerable risk to themselves) were probably unfounded.

Whether the problem of skating on the streets will remain a serious one is anybody's guess. My thought is that the youngsters in SPAG don't do that and wont do that and we may well find the others have grown up and moved on.

drakefell debaser said...

I don't see the issue with not being able to skate in the dark guys?

Well done to the SPAG for working out a solution.

lb said...

"210 square metres minimum on the dimensions given for the orginial Upper Park scheme - plus an effective "no go" zone round the edges - in a tiny park the main feature of which is its views and tranquillity"

I know exactly what the original scheme was, and stand by my comment that "horrified" was a distinct overreaction.

"The young skaters in SPAG seem OK with the Lower Parknot skating after dusk - they say it is too dark anyway"

Well, quite! So presumably the "anti-social" behaviour 'concerns' were, despite protestations to the contrary, a canard put about by people who simply didn't want the thing in "their" park. Personally I think the drive and organisation shown by the skate park kids were admirable, and it was pretty disgusting to see them portrayed by implication as irresponsible (and potentially criminal).

lb said...

DD: "I don't see the issue with not being able to skate in the dark guys?"

I think one of the original reasons the skatepark was suggested was that residents had been complaining that kids had been skating on the roads at unreasonable hours (i.e. at night). Ergo a skatepark closed at night might not address this.

Tamsin said...

Absolutely. I hope, for them, that it works out. I have disagreed with some of their proposals but it is gut-wrenching to put so much effort into something and have it fall apart in your hands.

drakefell debaser said...

Not necessarily at night LB, it is light enough to skate at 10pm in the summer, yet doing so along a road or pavement is likely to be considered unreasonable, and lead to complaints.

Besides, you need lighting to be able to skate with a reasonable amount of safety, something the park proposal never included.

Anonymous said...

""Horrified" is a rather strong word to use regarding a few square metres of concrete"

Are you quantifying words now, LB or just arrogantly upbraiding people on their use of English? Horrified is perfectly acceptable here. And just in case uou demand sources: Cambridge dictionary 'horrified'
"adjective /ˈhɒr.ɪ.faɪd//ˈhɔːr-/ adj
very shocked
He looked horrified when I told him.
We were horrified at/by the size of the bill.
I was horrified to hear of his death.
I was horrified that they hadn't included you."

How about thinking a bit before jumping over someone's comments?

Headhunter said...

If I was a betting man I would put money on this not being a solution. Before you know it the kids'll be out after dusk in the street again, as they were before. Up and down the streets. Only this time there will probably be more of them as a purpose-deigned skate park will attract skaters from outside the area who will want to carry on skating after dusk and hang out with their mates without having to walk anywhere or get on a bus. It's not as if the park itself or the surrounding streets plunge into pitch blackness as soon as dusk falls.

I suppose only time will tell what happens but my money is on the situation being the same as it was next summer or whenever it gets warm again...

lb said...

Anon@whenever: Yes, I think "I was horrified to hear of his death" is exactly the context I'd expect. I'd get "concerned" over a small area of concrete, perhaps, but the rhetoric of horror is not something I'd apply to minor development control issues.

"How about thinking a bit before jumping over someone's comments"

I thought about it at the time. I still think the original proposal was hardly the end of the world. I hope the altered proposal works to everyone's satisfaction. Clear enough?

Tony hawk said...

HH, get a grip.

Headhunter said...

I have a grip thanks.... On reality. How is siting a skate park in a park which closes at dusk going to stop kids skating on the street - after dusk. Derrrr...

Brockley Nick said...

I have a few thoughts on this.

a) You're undoubtedly right that some skating on streets in the area will continue after dusk. I suggest that that would always be the case, wherever the skate area was sited.

b) This is the result of compromise. Unless you want floodlighting or skating in the more sedate and exposed park, then it's just something we'll have to live with

c) Having said that, you would hope that kids and their parents would respect the fact that they have been provided with this facility and be considerate to local people. These kids seem like nice, decent kids who will most likely recognise this

d) Would it be so terrible if they jumped the fence and carried on skating after the park has shut (assuming there is still some light)? That's what used to happen in my day...

Headhunter said...

May be it won't kill them to jump the fence, however it just seems that a compromise solution has been reached which doesn't even address the original issue!

Tamsin said...

I don't think it will be something that will permanently attract young people from outside the area - visitors may come to check it out, but it will end up being what it is designed to be, a local facility for local kids.

Brockley Nick said...

You say that was the original issue. It was not the only issue, it was one of many.

The two key issues were:

a) giving local kids a safe place to skate nearby

b) reducing noise and inconvenience for local residents, at whatever time of day

This does a and some b, but not after dusk (unless some other clever solution can be found).

Don't forget, this facility is not actually aimed primarily at older teenagers, but slightly younger kids, who may not stay out after dusk much anyway.

Headhunter said...

OK.... I thought the main original issue was the kids skating up and down the hill by the park there at unsociable times...

Tamsin said...

It would be a worry if they jumped the fence and skated after the park was closed - partly on the much reviled heath and safety grounds (getting assistance in the event of an accident would be just that much more difficult) and partly because any trespassing,even with innocent intent, encourages more, with heightened risk of vandalism.

However the park is unlit and these areas are quite dark which is why I felt my concerns on this score were somewhat allayed by my being told by the lads that you can't skate in the dark.

The streets are a different matter because they are quite well lit. But, as you say in point (c), Nick, they will have this new facility (albeit not accessible all the time) and so should show some consideration in return.

Brockley Nick said...

the point is that you if you are unhappy about the noise, all times are unsociable.

Tamsin said...

I think the problem area - where there was effectively a practice ground on a cross roads - was not by the park but along the western end of Arbuthnot. The long roads, Pepys and Jerningham, had skateboarders after dusk, but generally trundling quite a distance, a very different issue a constant rattle and thwack just outside your house.

Anonymous said...

Lb - trust you to pick the definition that suported your arrogance and not the three others that don't.

"He looked horrified when I told him.
We were horrified at/by the size of the bill.
I was horrified that they hadn't included you."

The point is why attack someone on their use of adjective, it's a poor way to debate...

Catherine Shovlin said...

Now we just need to get a similar level of energy and engagement around other local issues... what's next?

lb said...

Anonymous:

"The point is why attack someone on their use of adjective, it's a poor way to debate..."

Seeing as you want to take this back to semantics, my point was that "horrified" is a strong word to use - as is proved by the fact you can apply it as mentioned. I wouldn't feel "horror" at such a proposal, and more to the point I don't think it's a proportionate reaction at all. Better to look at a fair and rational solution that doesn't involve anyone feeling they have "ownership" of what is, after all, a public space, or are somehow in a position to set an agenda as to what other people think that space should be used for. After all, the park belongs to both everyone and no-one.

Getting overly worked up about the proposals - or (as seemed to be happening) groundlessly impugning the character of people whose chosen method of transport is two castors on a plank - cannot help any efforts to look at things in a balanced way. It's to the Action Group's credit that, in spite of the vitriol, they did take steps to do this.

lb said...

"Now we just need to get a similar level of energy and engagement around other local issues... what's next?"

Believe me, put something outside someone's front door, or even within 500 yards of it, and you'll get "energy and engagement" in shovelfuls. Sad, but very true in the world of local-level activism.

End game said...

Yes - but Kiwi wasn't doing that was he? And you were addressing him. Try and spin it whichever way you like LB - how about a plain 'I was wrong'.

lb said...

"Try and spin it whichever way you like LB - how about a plain 'I was wrong'"

Sorry, don't think I was. The horror, the horror!

Brockley Kiwi said...

I am ever so slightly disappointed that my choice of adjectives has sparked a mildly acrimonious debate.

... anyway, I went for a run lunch and now I feel like I've been run over by a bus. Don't worry lb, I'm really fine, it's just a figure of speech.

Anonymous said...

When they start arguing about the the meaning of words you know the debate has taken a turn for the worse.

Should it escalate to the divisive subject of punctuation, then it could turn really nasty.

With these sort overbearing pedants twitching the curtains of Telegraph Hill and rudely calling to question each others use of English because they disagree about something else.

Well...the kids don't seem half so bad.

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