Balanced argument on Telegraph Hill

Daniel: When do I learn how to punch?
Miyagi: Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?
- Karate Kid

The campaigners for a skate area in Telegraph Hill lower park (SPAG) have used the no-campaigners' weight and momentum against them, turning on the charm with this delicious new poster that flips all these arguments on their heads.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, @dpsawney pointed out this story from Dorchester, where the installation of a skatepark last year has been followed by a 33% drop in reports in antisocial behaviour. The report says:

The £200,000 skatepark, located at the junction of Maumbury Road and Weymouth Avenue, has earned the approval of Inspector Les Fry, Dorchester police section commander, who said: “This reduction is a tremendous result for the town and shows the real value of having such a good facility. The young people are extremely good at policing it themselves.

SPAG are playing Tri-Dimensional Chess while the Cobra Kais are bashing away on Hungry Hippos.

41 comments:

Brockley Ben said...

Brilliant

Headhunter said...

I hate it simply because of the pointless use of the word "proactive"... This word is vastly overused (how do you skate "proactively"?), along with words like "exciting" (eg. "exciting" opportunity...)

Ed said...

It's mildly smug but that is understandable in the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Perhpas you should consider the name Strawclutcher, HH?

Scratching'is'ead said...

When was braying sarcasm ever charming or delicious?

SPAG should show more in the way of dignified maturity ... or be in danger of undermining themselves and furthering bitter division.

Epic Fail.

Brockley Nick said...

Where is the sarcasm or the braying? They are just pointing out the positive aspects of this proposal in a witty way - offering, at worst, a gentle ribbing in response to the vitriolic nonsense spouted by the no-campaigners.

Brockley Nick said...

Also, using the term "Epic Fail" in late 2010 is itself an epic fail, I'm afraid.

Danja said...

I think you might be needing this, Nick. *hands petard*

Ed said...

I've always felt 'Epic Fail' is utterly unimaginative and crass.

Scratching'is'ead said...

... was used in an ironically 'dad-ular' fashion ... of course. I'm not *that* uncool ... or am I? You're all so touchy.

Anonymous said...

Sarcasm and braying are present in nearly every origination and contribution to/from this forum

Brockley Nick said...

I'm sooo glad you're enjoying it. That's why Brockley Central ROCKS!

Monkeyboy said...

Sarcasm, with or without the braying, is underrated in my view.to be honest I'm struggling to see which side is populated by adolescents.

Ed said...

It does rock!

I am enjoying the (inadvertent?) self-referential irony of Anon's comment of 17:16...

Tyrwhitt Rhett said...

Frankly my dear, I don't giva damm.

Brockley Nick said...

“Owww look at me Marge, I'm making people Happy! I'm the magical man, from Happy Land, who lives in a gumdrop house on Lolly Pop Lane!!!!...... By the way I was being sarcastic...”

Monkeyboy said...

Nick, sometimes I think you do not take your responsibilities as SE4s Gruppenfurher seriously.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure SPAG didn't produce the flyer. They haven't branded it anywhere that I can see. Could just be a supporter of the park who thought they would take the time to publically oppose the small- mindedness displayed for all to see on the original.

But then I suppose making anonymous sarcy comments on here is easier than being 'proactive', isn't it.

(see - I just did it)

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority it was an individual who supports the cause, just trying to balance the scales a little.

Anonymous said...

This is all good stuff, but until protagonists come and post in person, it has nothing on the Gordonbrock bunfight.

Skaty KT said...

The argument hasn't been balanced at all.

At least not since the skatepark group recruited Nick to do its PR. PR which, sadly, has been done without an understanding of all the issues here.

This is not just about the principle of having a skatepark. The Telegraph Hill community backed that many months ago.

It's also about the way SPAG has conducted its campaign.

From the ivory towers of Brockley Central it may seem a harmless fluffy little group. But firstly residents near the upper park, and now those of us near the lower one, will tell you this is not the case.

SPAG, basically, isn't very nice. They've been highly manipulative, extremely dismissive of nearby residents - even those who have no objection in principle - and haven't properly answered legitimate concerns. They've just not gone about the whole process in a community focussed kind of way. As you'll know if you went to last September's assembly meeting.

Which I guess you didn't Nick?

DJ said...

'They said this...' 'Yeah but they said this...'. Jesus. Grow up the lot of you. It's a bit of concrete in a park in New Cross. Get over it.

Transpontine said...

I was at said meeting. SPAG put forward their proposals in a lions den of hostility. Not everyone liked what they had to say, which is their right, as a result they agreed to go away and work with people to come up with a different proposal, which is what has happened. Personally I felt SPAG were very restrained that night in the face of severe provocation. I went to the meeting fairly neutral and went away determined that I wasn't going to line up with people who cheered when somebody said that the top park should be kept for adults, as if that had anything to do with a debate about skateboarding.

I think one of the things that has upset some people is that this appears to have been divisive. But maybe it's not such a bad thing if the slightly smug 'we're a big happy Telegraph Hill family' myth has been punctured. In the grown up world, people have different views, needs and interests; people disagree, and not always politely. That's politics, that's life.

Transpontine said...

Anyway as for Brockley Central's role in this affair, everyone knows that Nick is playing the long game. As Telegraph Hill descends into civil war, the blue-bereted Brockley volunteers will advance up Drakefell Road and in the name of keeping the peace annexe Telegraph Hill for the Greater Brockley.

Skaty KT said...

@transportine:

Actually the said meeting had plenty of hostility on BOTH sides. SPAG supporters certainly gave as good as they got.

Those opposed to the upper park plan made it clear at the very start they were not opposed to a skatepark in principle. That was the first thing that was said - and it set a very reasonable tone of compromise.

I'm not anti skatepark. But I don't want one at any price. I want to make sure it addresses the problem it's being built for. Otherwise, what's the point?

The lower park appears a more sensible option. But I worry that, in their desire to act quickly, SPAG really have rushed this through without proper thought.

If kids are still skating on the roads around Telegraph Hill at 8pm after the skatepark 's open it will have failed in its primary task - to get kids off the roads, particularly at night. But with the plan to close it at dusk I can't see how it can possibly succeed in that.

Brockley Nick said...

@Skaty KT - Telegraph Hill is my nearest park and the nearest for many of BC's readers.

I haven't been doing SPAG's PR, but reacting to it, and that of the other side. I haven't heard a single persuasive argument from those opposed.

In your case, all you've said is that it is a sub-optimal solution, which everyone knows and which is a result of the sensible compromise of moving it from the upper park, something you say you agree with.

The fact that no solution is perfect is not an argument against this solution. Kids will be able to skate there most of the time - giving children access to sport in a safe environment is the primary reason for providing the facility - this meets that objective just fine.

Transpontine said...

Actually to be fair to KT, my description is actually of the first public meeting, not the September one. It may be true that the second meeting was more polarised, but hey at least those kids are growing up with some knowledge of how politics works, how to mobilise people etc. Essential skills for these times.

I am not sure that the primary objective of the skate facility is to get kids off the streets, I am sure that if it's any good kids would rather be in the park than on the roads, but the broader issue is that the streets should be made safer for kids to play out on them in all sorts of ways.

It has all been a bit rushed but that's the reality of funding rounds and their deadlines, not the fault of SPAG or anybody else.

Monkeyboy said...

Kids getting fired up, organised and campaigning for change is no bad thing. People are not interested enough in politics as it is, they're quiet happy to leave it to others, the spagsters were not. They were more effective than the antis, they won. It's how life works, the adults need to grow up.

NIMBY Watch said...

Anti skate park, anti speedicars sign, anti cars on coulgate... The same group?

Tamsin said...

But what could have been an optimal solution - particularly in the light of the figures quoted in the original post about the effect of such a facility on anti-social behaviour - has never been properly looked at...

But I've said all there is to be said on the failure to consider any sites north of Arbuthnot or South of Drakefell so I wont rabbit on about it.

However, manning the stand in the Farmers Market peddling information earlier today was interesting. People stopped to ask about the skatepark - the full range - one mother of young children eagerly anticipating it, a lady in her 50s sounding very bitter but resigned as she was moving away from the area, and indeed out of London, one saying there is not enough for young people, another thinking that it is a very small park (which is is compared to Peckham Rye, Ladywell and Hilly Fields) and already crammed full, and others, like me, regretting the wasted opportunity.

Tamsin said...

Before this whole issue hit Brockley Central it was very clear that the primary objective was to find somewhere off the streets for the kids to skate. Two reasons - their own safety and the nuisance that having skateboarders endlessly practising outside your front room represented to a few unfortunate residents.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - keep the kids off the streets, sure - but not necessarily when it's pitch black, when most people don't want to skate anyway.

These perfect solutions that you say were overlooked...

1. How big are the sites in question?

2. What are they currently used for?

3. How close to houses are they and would the problem of noise potentially be better or worse than Telegraph Hill park?

@NIMBY Watch - no, I don't think they are related at all. If anything, there might be an inverse correlation.

I support the skate park and support making Coulate Street as car-free as possible. Neither is my back yard.

Brockley Nick said...

PS - Tamsin, that woman sounds dreadful - moving away from the area and still bitter that kids who live here are getting a skate park.

Anonymous said...

great, lets find someone else to slag off who's not here to defend herself

Brockley Nick said...

OK, since I neither know who this person is nor is it relevant to the point, let me rephrase that.

That is a terrible position for someone to take.

max said...

You can't slag someone that has no substance, there's no name or face, only the position, and it stinks, Nick was correct.

In my experience it's quite normal when having a stall to meet alongside the wonderful people the odd awful one, and we don't need to apologize for them.

Tamsin said...

Maybe "very bitter" was the wrong description - "rather bitter" might have been better. It was more sad than anything else, really.

Anonymous said...

so it's a subjective opinion and not based on any real fact then Tamsin?

Tamsin said...

If you're getting at me - not sure why, all I was doing was reporting on the range of comment that I was on the receiving end of on Saturday and I did make this clear.

If you're getting at the lady who I said was against the schme but moving away in any event - possibly unfair as I might have misrepresented her attitude, and even if I didn't the anti people, especially those living right by where it will go in the park, are still entitled to their opinions.

If you not getting at anyone I do apologise - but your post does seem to read that way.

Anonymous said...

To address some of the above points: yes it is a really small and oddly shaped park that may not actually prove as popular as it could've been. Ladywell and Peckham rye were both afforded a larger footprint to work with and the latter then added a mini ramp that makes the area even better (the black plastic-y surfaces there are not good, nor the metal Ladywell surfaces -Churchill Gdns in Bromley used Skatelite which is the best surface for these things.)

However Stockwell is still the best park in SE London.



I think this thread - as with a lot of the others - has gone of at a tangent a little. Reign in in people! I think we're all now just talking for talking's sake. Let's just leave it up the Council etc - see what happens.

Westsider said...

I see this debate got so heated on the telegraph hill noticeboard that they deleted all the debate! Good gravy.

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