Skate Park under threat from the Enemies of Reason

Hitler was a Roman Catholic. He was baptized. He never renounced his baptism... I don't believe there are 5 or 6 million British Catholics. There may be 5 or 6 million who have been baptized but if the church wants to claim them as Catholics, then they have to claim Hitler as a Catholic.
- Richard Dawkins

If you claim Telegraph Hill for greater Brockley, as Brockley Central does, then you have to take the bad with the good. So it is great regret that we have to report that opponents of the skate park plans for Telegraph Hill have refused to accept the compromise solution that won the support of local people and are considering trying to take legal action against the plans.

The News Shopper reports:

Now a new group has formed to save the lower park and are threatening legal action to stop the build.

Valerie Hedges, of Kitto Road, New Cross, is against the skate park and says noise will be a problem. The 75-year-old added: “This is a very busy road and people coming out of the park are at their peril. We are going to get a lot of teenagers and I can see a bad accident happening.”


Read on...
Ms Hedges line of argument implies that children should be prevented from using the park completely, since attempting to cross the road to reach the park could cause accidents. But if the road is so busy (it isn't) then surely the traffic would drown out all the noise she's worried about.

None of the arguments put forward against the plans so far make the slightest bit of sense.

38 comments:

lb said...

See my comments on the other thread.

Perhaps we can just detach Telegraph Hill from the rest of London, as that clearly seems to be what they want. Just move the whole thing to Berkshire, or wherever.

ade said...

How can anyone describe Kitto Road as a busy road? Just let the kids skate!! Aargh NIMBYism at its worst!

DJ said...

Well quite. Noise? In a public park in New Cross. Unthinkable!

Anonymous said...

Typical. The mung brigade at it again.

DJ said...

Excuse me Anonymous, I'm confused. Can you define 'mung brigade' for me?
I thought it was a rather tedious term for liberal / hippyish middle class types. You seem to be applying it to the sort of NIMBYish / curtain twitcher Daily Mail types who demonise kids and hate noise. Which is it?

yeswegetit. said...

I bet you were itching like scurvied rat to post that quote.

Brockley Nick said...

Well it is apposite, is it not?

Not saying opponents of the skate park are as bad as Hitler...

Anonymous said...

Is she one of the Silver Surfers.

Mb said...

People seem to think that consultation means that everyone has to be for it. Who's looking more childish and petulant? The kids or the curmudgeons?

Transpontine said...

The Newsshopper story is inaccurate though. I don't the think the scheme has been delayed, it was always going to have to go to council for final decision. There may be a risk of a delay if a legal challenge is brought, but that is by no means certain. Hopefully it won't come to that, it would be a terrible waste of time and money for a trivial reason. I appreciate that people have the right not to like the idea of the skate ramp, but hey get over it, its a low impact scheme that everyone will get used to. If nobodys using it in ten years time we can rip it up and start again.

Anonymous said...

"If nobodys using it in ten years time we can rip it up and start again."

Worked for the Brockley Station ramp!

Ed said...

Poor journalism; of what relevance or purpose is it to publish such ignorant comments?

May I suggest that regular BCers do not respond to BDS and mung only comments (I have used the odd mung in my time as part of a rich and textured commentary)?

Howson Road said...

Bitter old woman...just becauseshe can't skate in her bubblewrap world where no one crosses roads and is prevented from moving because it may be dangerous.

Headhunter said...

Rats can't get scurvy can they? And scurvy doesn't cause itching? Does it?

BDS can be quite funny sometimes but the mung comments never were and just seem to have lost all meaning.

Headhunter said...

"Scurvy does not occur in most animals because they can synthesize their own vitamin C. However, humans and other higher primates (the simians and tarsiers), guinea pigs, most or all bats, and some species of birds and fish lack an enzyme necessary for such synthesis and must obtain vitamin C through their diet."

Headhunter said...

You know, that could be a pub quiz question - "What do bats, guinea pigs and higher primates have in common?"

Brockley Nick said...

They're all mammals

Headhunter said...

Oh b*gger... Scratch that then.

Tamsin said...

How busy or not Kitto Road is depends on the time of day because of the one-way nature of the bit between the parks. Evening rush hour, a fairly steady stream of traffic moving out of London. Not nose to tail jam, but the actually more dangerous five or six a minute. Made much worse when there are any problems on drakefell.

Agree it seems strange that someone in Kitto Road should be quoted as being particularly concerned about noise in the already noisy Lower Park, particularly on the side that abuts Pepys. Is it certain that the paper did not make a mistake and pick up the old issue about the Upper Park - where Kitto Road would be badly affected by any extra noise?

There was a certain amount of nimbyism at the meeting and to seek a legal challenge to what is a totally non-binding vote anyway is nonsense. But there are some genuine issues of the dreaded Health and Safety around even this site. Skateboarding and cycling is banned in the lower park for very good reason and it will be hard indeed for the Wardens to ensure that skateboarding is confined to the skateboard area. This matter was raised and no really satsifactory reply could be given - perhaps because there isn't one.

Ed said...

It's political correctness gone mad Stew!

Anonymous said...

Scabied rat?

Transpontine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Transpontine said...

Tamsin, I am not sure I agree that 'Skateboarding and cycling is banned in the lower park for very good reason', at least I don't suppport a blanket ban.

My own children learned to cycle in that park, and many parents will have fond memories of children waking up on Xmas morning with a new bike and then taking them over the park for their first go on them. Cycling in the park is the safest place for kids, certainly compared with surrounding streets.

I appreciate that adults zooming down the hill on big bikes scattering toddlers is another matter, but I can't see what's wrong with kids cycling, or for that matter skateboarding, on the flat or for that matter going uphill where they won't be able to pick up any speed.

Monkeyboy said...

If god had intended us to zoom around on wheels he would have given us little wheels on our feet....bit like those trainers that were all rage a couple of years ago.

Danja said...

The good reason was a (downhill) death, to be fair.

Danja said...

Upper park would be a better place for training on bikes (even better absent the dogshit).

Tamsin said...

@Transpontine. I quite agree - the flat bits of the park from the Erlanger lower gate to the playclub are ideal for getting to grips with cycling, much better than the pavements where there may be uneven paving stones to cause problems. And in practice the warden would not intervene with a child under five on a trike or tiny bike with those training wheels. What is more problematic - and dangerous for these very children - is adults or, even more so, nine year olds whizzing along at speed heedless of anyone in their path.

In the Park Users Group, when the parks first re-opened, there was some discussion about whether it would be possible to specify age or bike size in the bye-law. But the conclusion reached was that this was not feasible - one would just have to rely on sensitive interpreation of the rules. By and large it has so far worked quite well, but this will be made more difficult with a skateboard area within the park itself and those difficulties have not been adequately, to my mind, addressed by SPAG. One can easily imagine a scenario with a couple of lads on their boards coming down the path from the Pepys roundabout gate towards the skatepark area when there's a toddler (of the sort of age depicted in the Lewisham Calendar for May) pushing a toy push-chair up the same path. A instant wrong decision, or attempt to move aside from the first skate-boarder into the path of the other and there could be quite a nasty accident.

Ed said...

I learnt alot from accidents as an enfant; do we want to outlaw accidents and learning as well as common sense?

TAmsin said...

Agreed. Why I was actually quite glad about the serendipitous problem that meant the railing along Kitto Road in the upper park had to be set back behind the wall, so there is still a wall to walk along now the one in Arbuthnot Road that my children used to use has had its railings put back. Why the park restoration team insisted on the long slide being re-instated. Why we have the play equipment at all and totally rejected the ideas of those who thought a pond would mean dozens of drownings.

However one can strike a balance and should be aware of and try to take steps to minimise obvious risks. There is probably nothing that can be done in this case. SPAG certainly did not have an answer except for relying on the skateboarders being sensible, so we will just have to hope things work out OK.

Anonymous said...

In response to Tamsins worries about the skaters coming down the paths towards little ones. We are looking into the possibility of putting something in the path itself a ridge tile perhaps. I dont know much this would cost or if the friends of the park would find it acceptable but may something similar to the red tiles on the steps of Oakhill Nursery? this would slow down and stop the skaters, they would jump off there boards prior to it and it would be a dead stop thing in the case of bikes which could be dangerous. I spoke to a mum at the nursery who supports the idea of the skate park but had like you concerns over this problem. She actually felt that as a community we could disuede skaters from coming down the hills.The skaters are quite resonable. Another thing to bear in mind that is that at large skate parks and on our consultation day when we had 150 skaters of all ages in the basketball court including my fearless two year old on his scooter. Skaters do not crash into each other. This is part of the skills of a skate boarder being very spacially aware of others around them.

Tamsin said...

That sounds a really good idea - would discourage adult cyclists too.

And I like what I read somewhere about the skatepark area being usable by those on small training bikes.

I also see that Councillor Bell is really trying to pin Glendale down on the state of the paths generally.

drakefell debaser said...

As an adult cyclist I have to do a detour round the lower park on my way to work but it is quite often that the only people I see in the park on my way past, at that time in the morning, are some of the kids from Haberdashers having a pre-class fag on the benches.

Strange world

Tamsin said...

Well, as an adult cyclist you should not be cycling in the park at all. A bad example to the youth who are there puffing on their fags!

And one of the serious accidents I referred to was a lady in her thirties, quite badly injured.

drakefell debaser said...

I don't cycle through it, I do a detour around it.

How many accidents involving adult cyclists have there been?

Tamsin said...

Very sorry - misread your first sentence turning it into an interrogative...

In response to how many accidents involving adult cyclists - the one very serious one that I know of and I think at least a couple of others, as my recollection is that the serious one that got the "no cycling" symbols painted on the paths was not the first.

cassandra complex said...

I am delighted that a group of young people have shown initiative and tenacity and put forward a proposal for the skate park in Telegraph Hill upper park in the face of such vicious opposition from a well-organised and articulate minority of white middle class Telegraph Hill dwellers who want the park all for themselves. Malcolm Baccus has described the refurbishment of the park as "his baby" but fails to understand that it is a public park for the public - of all ages - and he does not hold the keys to the gates. The beautifully refurbished parks had one problem - they made no provision for the activities of the older children. In days when children and teenagers want to do nothing more than play X Box, and childhood obesity and the health and well being of this generation of young people is a growing problem, surely we should be making provision for them to be active in ways that appeal to them, not just tennis and football.

Every week I am bombarded with notices through my door using abusive language towards the SPAG action group and, knowing these young people as members of our community, I feel I must speak up for them. They are a group of well-mannered, articulate and purposeful young people, willing to fight for something positive that they believe will be beneficial to a wide group of young people, from all races and genders. With regard to the "skating community" as a whole, I have been in Peckham Park using the outdoor gym and have been delighted to see older teenagers mentoring and supporting younger skaters and roller bladers for nothing other than seeing their delight in improving their skills. Black kids skate with white kids, boys with girls, skate boarders with roller bladers and kids on scooters. Why on earth would someone want to oppose this? Because they want to maintain the upper park for dog fouling and sitting on the hill on their posh picnic rugs quaffing wine and swooning over the view for two months of the year. They want to maintain their middle class patch on the upper slopes of the park. If we're not careful, they'll be trying to host Glynebourne there soon. They don't appreciate that the majority of people who live on Telegraph Hill live in flats with no access to gardens or outside spaces. It's classic nimbyism and, quite frankly, I've had enough.

Please show your support for SPAG and reinforce democracy in our borough. These young people will be voters in a few years time and they need to know that democracy works and sometimes in life you have to stand up to the bullies, even if they are sporting bow ties...

Brockley Nick said...

@Cassandra - would it be possible for you to send me an example of a notice you have had since the vote in favour of this project by the assembly please?

Anonymous said...

@Cassandra

Bit off topic this, so apologies, but you mention your use of the Outdoor Gym in Peckham Rye Park.

There is a campaign to build one of them in the ward of Telegraph Hill. If you, or anyone reading this, would like to know more, please get in touch.

Our email address is:

outdoorgym [at] thehill [dot] org [dot] uk

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