Skate park stalls in light of new objections

A Telegraph Hill group called Friends of the Park has succeeded in halting construction work in Telegraph Hill's Lower Park, where a skate park is due to be built. On December 1st, the group called for the Council to halt proceedings and work stopped shortly after.

There will be a Friends of the Park meeting tonight at 7.30pm at the Hill Station to discuss the plans and objections.

The group's chief objection is that the scale of the skate park planned is bigger than originally agreed. They  say:

The scheme now being presented and which was granted a Lawful Development Certificate (“CLD”) is a much deeper incursion, with a yet to be ascertained visual impact of a larger-than-anticipated retaining wall and the potential to damage mature trees.  The various council bodies are fundamentally mistaken if they acted in the belief that proposals of this extent were either approved by the Local Assembly or endorsed by the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park. 


The Council said in response that it views the changes as "minor" and believes that it will fall within the permitted development allowance. It plans to allow construction work to continue.

Skate park project supporter Imogen says:


It has taken over two years of campaigning, fundraising and local consultation and consensus-building to reach this point. The Council has addressed all the points the objectors have raised.


This project prompted a long-running and acrimonious debate, which eventually led to a large majority of local people voting in favour of the skate park at the Telegraph Hill Assembly. The project should enhance the park as a recreation centre and encourage local children to lead more active lives. With the site already fenced off and the builders poised to start work, this seems like a wasteful exercise in bloody mindedness by the objectors.

92 comments:

Anonymous said...

my word these 'Friends of the Park' are a miserable bunch. I haven't been on a skateboard for 10 years at least , but will be dusting it off for sure when this asset to the community has finally jumped all of the hurdles placed in front of it by a minority of the community. How on earth can people grumble about a skatepark. For kids. In a park ???

Hugh said...

Easily.

Anonymous said...

Yeah sod the park's nearby residents, concrete the f@*cker over!

Brockley Nick said...

"Yeah sod the park's nearby residents,"

In what way are they harmed? Do no kids live nearby?

"concrete the f@*cker over!"

What percentage of Telegraph Hill park is being concreted by this project (which is right next to concrete basketball courts that no-one objects to now)?

kolp said...

Young people aren't facing the easiest of prospects at the moment 'jilted generation' and so forth so i'm inclined to side with their needs all things being equal in a dispute over facilities like this.

Hugh said...

The jilted generation. You mean the one that has everything previous generations had, but has nevertheless dropped out into welfare dependency?

terrencetrentderby said...

i read somewhere the friends of brockley park are trying to bring back hanging

will expect a burning cross in front of my house tonight...

kolp said...

"You mean the one that has everything previous generations had"

do you seriously believe that?

At least in the past when university was free only small minority of youngsters attended there was decent paying alternatives with prospects for them to go into. That isn't the case for the vast majority now.

Lou Baker said...

The bias you've shown on this Nick is both ignorant and beneath you.

I am not one of the 'bloody minded' group you whine about - and I have no strong feelings about the skatepark
either way.

However I do care about the complete and contined abuse of process of which the skatepark group are guilty. Their arrogance - contempt for the rules (and of residents) is breathtaking. And they have behaved like this throughout.

They will get their skatepark. But what they have taught others is that you don't have to bother with the rules and social niceties to get your own way.

You might not feel this is important Nick, but it is. Not because this is a massively important issue but because the message it sends to others with far more objectionable plans is clear. F*** everyone else, bully your way to your goal. That is what this nasty little group has done throughout - and a bit more reflection of that in your articles would give you a bit more credibility on this issue

Anonymous said...

Let's just have them skateboarding on the streets, that's quieter and safer.

channelzeroprose.blogspot.com said...

According to Gravity:

We're onsite building now, this is incorrect so ignore it... The project was delayed by a few days whilst a few detials were conformed by the Council, all is now sorted and the build is underway...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hugh said...

Kolp, I agree university is more expensive now. Skate parks aren't for university-age kids, however. What's your point?

Anonymous said...

The skate park proposal that was proposed, discussed and voted on last year:

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/getinvolved/localassemblies/telegraph-hill/Documents/TelegraphHillAssemblySkateboardSeptember2010.pdf

The plans for the skate park, as submitted to Lewisham's Planning department:

http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATEDOCS/80430_1.pdf

Please compare and contrast.

Tamsin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous (14:18, 13th Dec 2011) wrote:

"The Blackshirts at the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park are planning to march down Pepys Road, burning homes and shops of skaters en-route."

I think that comment falls foul of this blog's acceptable comment policy.

I quote:

"We define unacceptable comments as anything included (but not limited to) or linked to that is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others is libelous or knowingly false
infringes upon any copyright, trademark or trade secret of any third party, violates an obligation of confidentiality or violates the privacy of others."

Tamsin said...

Yes, absolutely, channelzero - factual correction time. The work wasn't delayed by anything the Friends of the Park (set up if possible for all LBL parks because the Parks Department/Glendale needs a group of people to liaise with on maintenance and other issues for every park they manage) did.

Unless it was the case that their perfectly legitimate letter to the Council outlining some outstanding concerns caused the Council to double-check things with Gravity before the work (sheduled for Monday 6th Dec.) started. In which case this was undoubtedly a very good thing, given the on-going problems with cracks wide enough to take a child's foot appearing in the Upper Park paths which cannot be adequately dealt with because of a game of buck-passing by the contractors, Glendales, the Council and the body that did the original site survey reports.

Imagine this redoubled in spades if the skatepark works (which now extend between 3 to 4m over and up the grassed area on the Pepys Road side) triggered slope stability problems with no-one adequately insured for the remedial action.

Anonymous said...

And who cares what you think?

david said...

For the first time ever I actually agree with Lou (althogh maybe not in as confrontational terms)!! And it scares me.

The skateboard ramp will get constructed I do think that the way that SPAG have gone about getting it has been arrogant and that they have ignored any social niceties and, indeed, not told teh whole truth either in relation to their plans or in relation to objectors positions.

I have no problem with there being a skatepark. I do have a problem with the process - and now that the process has "won" I don't think that the community can or will be the same.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Nick (13:34, 13 Dec 2011) wrote:

"What percentage of Telegraph Hill park is being concreted by this project (which is right next to concrete basketball courts that no-one objects to now)?"

Good question... We were told that SPAG wanted 210 square metres last year.

Have you checked how large the current development is on the current plans?

Anonymous said...

The Telegraph Hill Skateboard Local Assembly proposal link does not appear to be coming up in the 'Comments' section.

Try adding these bits together if you are curious as to what we voted on last year:

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/

getinvolved/localassemblies/

telegraph-hill/Documents/

TelegraphHillAssembly

SkateboardSeptember2010.pdf

Anonymous said...

Nick,

In the interests of balance, did you contact the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park to get their perspective before posting? Are you sure you have made an accurate representation of what is going on?

kolp said...

Yes you're right re skate parks not being for young adults.

My point hopefully now better made, is that I have an inclination to support the needs of the young over the older more socially comfortable.

I'm of the belief that kids need to feel catered for within society otherwise they act up.

Older people have the vote and other methods at their disposable to get their needs met.

Anonymous said...

Young people not having the vote - were you at the Ward Assembly in May 2010?

kolp said...

In assemblies they can have a vote and that's a great thing to address the democratic deficit that they faced.
I wasn't at the assembly but if the democratic will has been expressed on this issue, everyone who believes in democracy should just get on with things.

Anonymous said...

@ kolp

What did we vote on?

What are we getting?

That is the point. Please compare and contrast the Telegraph Hill Assembly September 2010 proposal with what we are getting.

If the vote matters, then the development should stick to the proposal. Otherwise, we have just spent the past two and a half years agonising over specifications which have now been ignored.

Lou Baker said...

There are two issues here.

1) Whether there should be a skatepark.

2) The process of getting that skatepark.

I suspect that - like me - most Telegraph Hill residents have no significant objections to there being one.

But that many object in the strongest possible terms to the abuse of process that's happened in order to get one.

I think Brockley Central has failed to adequately make this distinction.

channelzeroprose.blogspot.com said...

My last ever entry into this absolute waste of time comment thread, is that as balanced as some people have tried to be (on both sides) this has descended AGAIN into a slanging match between people who should a: know better, and b: have far greater concerns than the 'square footage of concrete being poured'. I mean for the love of god do you have any idea how ridiculous you all sound?

The park is being built - the end. I'm late 30's and I'd like to see someone ask me not to skate it. Go to any other London park and there are people from kids to parents skating there.

Chill out.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou

"I suspect that - like me - most Telegraph Hill residents have no significant objections to there being one.

"But that many object in the strongest possible terms to the abuse of process that's happened in order to get one.

"I think Brockley Central has failed to adequately make this distinction."

On the contrary Lou, I agree with the point that there is a significant difference between the original proposal and the final proposal. That is often the case for such developments and I am minded to agree with the Council's verdict that the changes are minor in the grand scheme of things.

You say yourself that you're relaxed at the proposal, you just want to object "in the strongest possible terms" to the process at the 11th hour. That's the definition of bloody mindedness.

Anon who asked if I spoke to the Friends, no, but I have read the full letter and indeed quoted them more extensively than I have SPAG.

I have also read the Council's response.

I am offering my view of the matter, not campaigning for anything in particular.

Glad to see others are offering their opinions too.

Tamsin said...

But you did create a fundamentally mistaken impression that the effect that the work had been put on hold indefinitly, when it was actually paused for a few days while issues, (presumably quite legitiate ones) were sorted out between the contractor and the Council who are project managers.

And - perhaps over-sensitive - but there is something rather sneering in the phrasing "A Telegraph Hill group called Friends of the Park" when it has in fact been in existence for more than 15 years and is established by Council policy.

Tamsin said...

Should re-read more carefully or use the google account where I can delete and re-submit:

"to the effect that..."

"legitimate"

Anonymous said...

That's because he was 'minded to' create such an impression. Who can blame him, considering how dullsville this blog has become, it he didn't rattle Lou's cage once in a while the place would be truly Snoozeville Central.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin -

"But you did create a fundamentally mistaken impression that the effect that the work had been put on hold indefinitly, when it was actually paused for a few days while issues, (presumably quite legitiate ones) were sorted out between the contractor and the Council who are project managers."

I didn't mean to suggest that work had been called off indefinitely - I thought the point that the Council is happy for work to continue made that clear, but I'm glad you cleared that up. If the reasons behind the delay are purely coincidental, I apologise, that was not the impression I had been given. What were the other issues then?

"And - perhaps over-sensitive - but there is something rather sneering in the phrasing "A Telegraph Hill group called Friends of the Park" when it has in fact been in existence for more than 15 years and is established by Council policy."

Yes, you are being oversensitive, I thought that was a simple explanation of who you are for those who are not familiar with you.

kolp said...

I am going to be ageist here but unless you're name is Tony Hawk do we really want to see old men on skateboards, trying keep up with the kids?
Let the kids have their space!

Hugh said...

Do you lot have jobs? I exclude the public sector. For them we need another term, perhaps 'paid holidays'.

Anonymous said...

@ Nick

The only figure quoted by SPAG to say what they wanted in terms of size was detailed in the June 2010 Local Assembly SPAG presentation:

"It will not take up a huge area – about 35m x 6m"

That is 210 square metres.

The council's response to the Friends letter states that the development will be about 378 square metres in size.

Apparently, the scale plans submitted to Planning show a skate park that is over 410 square metres in size.

The square area figure given on the image that BC linked to on channelzeroprose's blog states a size of approximately 355 square metres.

(By the way, where is the consistency with any of that?)

Channelzeroprose is right in that the odd square foot would not be of any real concern to most of us. However, a skate park that is almost twice the size of the one we expected is worth noting.

I have to ask you Nick, is that a minor change? Surely it is worth asking people why they are concerned, before posting on your blog that their worries are “a wasteful exercise in bloody mindedness”.

What did we agree on?

What are we getting?

What is the difference?

Lou Baker said...

@nick

On the contrary - I have objected to the PROCESS through out. The more you learn about what they've done the more staggering it gets.

There was the initial plan - launched without so
much as a word to the people who lived nearby. There was the 'consultation' which was, at best, a farce.

There was the sour grapes. The local meeting which
was packed full of people from outside the area. The mis-information exposed by the official reports and now there is an attempt to build something different from what was approved.

This may only be a little skatepark. But when a developer uses the same tactics to build something far
less agreeable - may be on your doorstep this time - you'll
be the first to complain about process.

This isn't about sweet little kids wanting to skateboard. It's about their parents using bullying tactics to get their own way. And you are 100% wrong to not ask them difficult questions rather than accepting their words as gospel.

Tamsin said...

@Nick - not "me" - "it". I was busy on other matters for the first ten years when the Park Users Group, as it then was, worked in partnership with the Council to successfully put through the £1.25m Heritage lottery bid for the parks refurbishment. (Winning the 2006 Metropolitan Public Gardens Association Spade in the process - awarded jointly to the Council and the Group.)

Things can be positive...

Anonymous said...

@ Nick,

Have a look at the Local Assembly September 2010 proposal linked to above.

The first page states:

"A small section of the slope leading up towards Pepys Road (approximately 1 meter) would be cut in to accommodate the skateboard area."

The second page shows an outline on a Google aerial photo of the site, showing a small cut into the bank.

That is not what we are getting. There is a much bigger cut into an unstable slope, with a history of recent collapse just south of the development site. (Look at where the wall was rebuilt ten years ago.)

TM said...

Glad I live near Hilly Fields....

Sk8terboi (not really) said...

The debate about the skate park has certainly been acrimonious at times but I don't think SPAG can be accused of doing anything that their opponents haven't also done.

The process has highlighted how difficult it can be to go up against established groups who are used to getting their own way. Groups like Telegraph Hill Society and Brockley Society do a good job sometimes but they don't speak on behalf of the whole community and they have their own particular perspective. Its good to see other groups challenging their monopoly on local affairs.

Anonymous said...

Just build another Burj Dubai there and have done with it.

Tamsin said...

Again over-sensitive but sk8terboi's comments give rise to some potentially false impressions. I have been involved with the Telegraph Hill Society and the Friends of the TH Park for a while and this is my understanding of how they work.

The remit of the Telegraph Hill Society is that set up by the framework of conservation area status - to have a watching brief planning applications to make sure that what is proposed is within the guidelines as being something that will "preserve or enhance" the built environment, to ensure that those who live within the consevation area don't blithely ignore planning requirements and the Article 4 directives, and (controversially) to report where work is done that is in breach of these rules - irrespective of who is doing it. On matters where there may be equally valid for or against - the CPZ proposals or when Skehans first applied for a restaurant licence years ago - the Society simply facilitates discussion and garners opinion, only taking sides when it has a reasonable mandate to do so. On really controverisal issues, like changes to a bus route or the skatepark proposals it very specifically does not advocate a view either way.

On the issue of the skatepark the Friends of the Park likewise "held the ring" between vehemently opposing camps - facilitating a compromise that appeased different groups of park users and keeping always an eye on safety, maintenance, and the obligations inherent in the Heritage lottery funding.

The letter quoted was legitimately reporting concerns raised to the Council for resolution. It is misleading to say (as the papers submitted for the Certificate for Lawful Development did) that the Friends endorsed the skatepark proposals, but neither do they oppose them - provided the very real safety issues that gave rise to a general ban on cycling and skateboarding in the lower park are addressed. And SPAG, at the ward assembly meetings, gave assurances that they would be.

Anonymous said...

Just picking up on the comments about the application sent in to Planning, it is here:

http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/ACOLLATEDOCS/80429_1.pdf

There are errors throughout.

Section 7 says the area for the development site is just a “TARMAC PATH”. What about the cut into the slope?

It goes on to say that this was lobbied for by “ACTIVE PARK FRIENDS GROUP, LOCAL COUNCILLORS AND LOCAL COMMUNITY”. No they did not.

Section 8 also says that this is just the conversion of a tarmac path. No it is not.

If the numbers do not match up and the details on the planning application are wrong, doesn't it make sense to be concerned?

Anonymous said...

Sk8terboi wrote:

“Groups like Telegraph Hill Society and Brockley Society do a good job sometimes but they don't speak on behalf of the whole community and they have their own particular perspective.”

Which is why people commenting have pointed out what we voted on at the September 2010 Local Assembly. I am guessing that you think that would be a better representation of the 'whole community'.

The trouble is, we are not getting what we discussed, agonised over and voted upon (at the Skate Park Working Group, or at the assembly). This is different. The changes are not minor. Take a look for yourself via the links given above.

Brockley Nick said...

"Surely it is worth asking people why they are concerned,"

Fair enough, please explain what you are concerned about and what the objectors hope to achieve?

I understand Lou's point about the process being unsatisfactory and I agree that neither pro- nor anti- was perfect, but beyond that, what are the practical concerns?

Anonymous said...

Is that an apology?

I notice that you have left the post below up despite a complaint about its breach of the acceptable comment policy.

"The Blackshirts at the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park are planning to march down Pepys Road, burning homes and shops of skaters en-route." - Anon, 13th December 2011, 14:18

If you are looking for things to fix...

Anonymous said...

Maybe the nimbys are just frightened the great unwashed and blacks might be tempted to venture up the hill.

Shame on them, the park belongs to the whole of Lewisham not only the Telegraph Hill middle class enclave!

Lou Baker said...

I have 4 concerns - none of which I believe have ever been adequately addressed. And they've not been addressed because the process was flawed. My concerns:

1) The steepness of the lower park. Just a few weeks back I saw a skateboarder nearly wipe out a toddler - and this is before skateboarding is allowed. I can't help thinking it's a question of when - not if - there's a serious accident involving an innocent park user.

2) The proximity of houses. The acoustic report raised concerns - particularly for residents of Erlanger. It isn't just the noise the skatepark will create but the type of noise which is a potential issue.

3) Visual impact on the park. Telegraph Hill is a very attractive park - small but pretty. I can't help thinking this will look monstrously out of place.

4) It doesn't fulfill its remit. This skatepark was so desperately needed - we were told - because teenagers were risking their lives skateboarding on the roads at night. This was the problem the skatepark was supposed to address. Instead we're getting a skatepark
aimed at much younger kids which closes at dusk. How
does this solve the problem?

As I have repeatedly said I am not anti-skatepark. But in the rush to build this thing - there's a good chance we'll end up with something unsuitable. And I can't help thinking that's because processes weren't correctly followed.

I hope I'm wrong. But I'm not usually so there's no reason to assume I will be this time.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 19:26 - That is completely unfair and unhelpful. If anything, this is more accurately characterised a difference of opinion between two groups of middle class people (as these things so often are), which has unfortunately become bigger than the actual skate park itself.

@Anon 1907 - it was an over the top comment that I put it in the category of absurdist joke rather than genuinely offensive comment, but if anyone is truly upset about it, I'm happy to delete it.

Danja said...

I agree with Lou. Putting it to a vote and then nearly doubling the size of it is bound to result in ill-feeling.

Danja said...

... and the speed/steepness/toddlers thing is precisely why it should have been in the Upper Park as SPAG originally suggested.

Anonymous said...

Why either park is wrong (there are dogs running around in the upper park with the potential for accidents there) - but the money had to be spent by last March or it would be lost and - persuing the options sequentially - time ran out for looking at other sites in the Ward.

Brockley Nick said...

@Danja - yes, fair enough (re: size changes). The Council response claims the smaller dimensions originally related to the Upper Park proposal, but if the vote was based on specific dimensions and this was an important detail of the debate, then yes, it is reasonable to be annoyed.

Danja said...

Spot the difference:
http://brockleycentral.blogspot.com/2010/09/paranoid-park.html

Danja said...

(Actually, I can't tell from that)

Danja said...

Hmmm, it doesn't look anywhere near nearly twice the size to me. The cut into the slope behind the basketball court looks a good bit wider, but that's not going to make that much difference.

Anonymous said...

Lou, I thought you were anti nimby complaints? Are you now supporting a self appointmted pressure group who object to the concil allocating land that they own to provide recreation for everyone? Who will you appeal to? The beurocracy you continually whine about?

Transpontine said...

@Brockley Nick: 'if the vote was based on specific dimensions and this was an important detail of the debate, then yes, it is reasonable to be annoyed'

That's quite a big 'if' though, the plans shown at the September meeting were for something very similar to what is now being built.

The contractors are now back on site and work is continuing. People will soon get used to it, if it all goes horribly wrong in future or skateboarding disappears as an activity it can be replaced. Parks change over time, and need to.

Can I get back to my campaign to reinstate cycling for young children in the lower park? ;-)

Tamsin said...

No need - there'll be the skate board area! One of the things SPAG has said is that it is open to skateboards and bikes. So toddle along with your toddler during school hours when the skateboarders are not there and there's this lovely super-smooth concrete to learn to ride on, with a twenty degree slope up the stablised bank.

Also come along to the next FroTHP meeting - they're quarterly but that would be during the Festival so it's fixed for 5th March - and argue for the level path from the Play Club to the Lower Erlanger Gate to be desingated as a cycle area for trikes and bikes with the learner wheels still attatched.

What you will not get (after several serious accidents and one fatality) is anything more. Once your learner wheels are off you can't cycle in the Lower Park.

And SPAG need to look to how to stop skateboarders setting off on their boards from the Pepys roundabout gate to ride down the slope and straight into the skatepark which seems to have an invitingly open access on the south side.

channelzeroprose.blogspot.com said...

'SPAG need to look to how to stop skateboarders setting off on their boards from the Pepys roundabout gate to ride down the slope and straight into the skatepark '

Tamsin (& Lou/'anonymous') you guys know nothing at all about skateboarding do you. haha, bless.

Tamsin said...

Or else SPAG don't. When this precise query was raised at one of the Assembly meetings they said it would be dealt with and/or managed.

An option I'm surprised they did not pursue when designing the details would have been simply not to have that open southern access point.

Anonymous said...

@Danja

You are right, the picture you linked to is not the easiest way to check the difference.

Ask SPAG for the scale plans. From what I have been told and what I have seen, the ones submitted to Planning show a cut into the bank that is about 4.5 metres in size. Add in external works and a retaining wall and that is half the slope next to Pepys Rd.

That is a lot bigger than what we were led to expect and what we voted on.

As I noted before, the first page of the Local Assembly September 2010 proposal states:

"A small section of the slope leading up towards Pepys Road (approximately 1 meter) would be cut in to accommodate the skateboard area."

The second page shows an outline on a Google aerial photo of the site, showing a small cut into the bank.

That is not what we are getting.

geoff said...

And, aside from fewer shrubs, how does that extra 3 metres into the bank affect things?

Tamsin said...

FroTHP had concerns about two or three mature trees, not just shrubs, likely to be affected by this much wider build, but the Council Tree Officer has given reassurance.

There were also concerns, exacerbated by the experience with the break up of the paths in the Upper Park, about the stability of that bank (which has collapsed before), but again the Council has given reassurance.

Anonymous said...

@Nick

So, judging from your 13th Dec 22:05 post you now accept that there is legitimate cause for concern.

Perhaps a rewrite of your original post is in order then, given you dismissed that letter by the Telegraph Hill parks committee about a significant issue for Telegraph Hill Park as a "wasteful exercise in bloody mindedness by the objectors".

Maybe the simple lesson here is that there are usually two sides to every story. If you are seeking and getting reaction quotes from SPAG, characterising the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park in bleak terms and posting before checking the details or the other perspective, is that fair and balanced?

Many of us both enjoy and rely upon your blog for local news and analysis. It is well written, often funny and you have put hell of a lot of time and work into it. That deserves praise, but you risk undermining all of that by taking positions on contentious issues without genuinely taking a look at both sides.

By not doing that, the risk is that you erode trust and credibility in what you write.

I am sorry, but this needed journalism, not PR.

Given that you have complaints in the comments thread objecting to that committee being called nazis, then yes, you have already received objections about that post. Please delete it.

trixie said...

As Nick originally said "this seems like a wasteful exercise in bloody mindedness". SEEMS LIKE... from the original information I think it seemed like that too. Now people have added more details and maybe it doesn't seem like it anymore, I don't think however that the original post needs to be re-worded.
I agree the thing about the blackshirts was a stupid comment, but, seriously, if you're offended by it you should probably chillax a bit :)

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon

Thanks for your comments. I do try to take both sides' views in to account and I try to give a balanced view. But I also offer my opinion based on that analysis. Others are free to challenge those views and offer their own. Lou, for example, has made some persuasive points about the process.

My view is that while some people may feel cheesed off by some of the changes to the scope of work, this is not enough of a reason to seek to delay the project, potentially escalating costs and using up Council Officer time (given that we know that Council planning officials are very stretched).

The plans are different. I've never disputed that. I reported the changes at the time. It is debatable how substantial these differences are and - in my view - the original debate placed relatively little emphasis on the total area of the facility or how far up the bank it crept, but on whether the park was suitable at all for such a facility.

If the new objection is not attempt to delay or derail then it is unnecessary - better to express disappointment to Cllrs or to ensure that such issues do not arise in future consultations.

If the objection is intended to delay or derail, then it is an overreaction.

Either way, it drags up issues that should have been put to rest months ago and gives the impression of being an exercise in points scoring, above all else.

For example, more energy has been spent on the choice of words I originally used, than explaining why the size of the thing makes a big difference in practice.

I will happily delete the comment you're unhappy about, as it wasn't particularly funny in any case.

I agree with Transpontine's analysis.

brockleybastard said...

Will the skatepark effect the value of my substantial victorian property that overlooks the park?

Friends of the Park seem to think so and good on them!

Anonymous said...

No, it won't effect the value, but it might affect it which could have either a positive, or negative effect. Depending on your view.

THNick said...

Tamsin - is the issue with skatboarders riding down from the roundabout gate that much of a problem? Isnt that about 10 yards? More of a problems is the skateboards who live down the hill, skating down from the new area to exit on Arbuthnot, at high speed.

Tamsin said...

@bb - don't misrepresent the Friends of the Park. It's not in their remit to have any thoughts about the value of the "substantial victorian" properties (or indeed the housing association/LBL conversion flats) on Pepys Road.

Their legitimate concerns are/were:

- potential loss of mature trees

- concreting over three times as much grass as had originally been stated

- inaccurate written statements in the submission to the committee granting the Certificate of Lawful development, and

- the worse case scenario of an inadequately insured collapse of the bank.

Anonymous said...

typical brockley snobbery

its a skatepark in a park with plenty of room that will be well used, this petty planning discussion borders on the absurd

get a life, its a great addition to the park

Tamsin said...

@THNick - no, off the top of my head I thought 50 yards, but looking at google earth it's more like 75. And the northern edge of the skateboard area is a raised bank, not an invitingly wide open access.

Anonymous said...

Odd, is isn't it when people with concerns about safety and whether or not the design of a facility conforms to that approved by the Local Assembly are branded "nazis"?

Presumably those who don't care about safety issues and are happy to trust what Lewisham Council decides are "liberals".

Lou Baker said...

Those who dismiss safety concerns are deeply misguided.

I spend a lot of time in the lower park with my kids and, even now, there are lots of near misses.

Cyclists and skateboarders hurtling down the hill when - at the moment - they shouldn't be in the park at all.

If these people were only putting themselves at risk, well that's up to them.

But they're not. There are so many toddlers running around that they're at risk too.

I have no love for health and safety freaks. But steep hills, young (and sometimes reckless) boarders and cyclists and toddlers seems like a crazily dangerous combination to me.

SPAG obviously won't be able to enforce a policy of no boarding outside the skatepark - so I do fear an accident is inevitable. But the naysayers won't care - unless it's their kid who's hurt.

farfromtheland said...

The 2 plans look very similar to me, except that a few design flaws have been addressed to improve the 'flow'. This will make it much more fun to skate, attract more experienced skaters and help keep the atmosphere co-operative and friendly. People who think only 'kids' will/should skate are wrong. I am only 46, and know a few skaters older than me. The presence of people of all generations is one of the many positive aspects of skateparks. I hope you won't be bothered by seeing a few oldies skateboarding, even if our clothes are a bit funny. When we're not too busy voting and finding other outlets we quite like to enjoy ourselves a bit.

kolp said...

hmm this project was heavily sold on the fact that it was for kids and the nature of the design was very much part of that. If nearly 50 year olds are already staking their claim to the space it does if you pardon the pun put a different spin on things.

Anonymous said...

It is a skate park, skaters will use it, some five, some fifteen, some in their twenties and others like me in their forties. That is the thing about skating, inter generational mentoring has been happening for years before it became fashionable. Older skaters mentor younger riders. They also police parks, telling younger riders to pick up litter, not swear and have respect. People who do not understand skate culture have absolutely no idea how supportive and positive it can be .

In terms of riders tearing through the park at high speed, the easy solution is to install rumble strips across the paths, a strip of cobbles two cobble wide every ten yards for instance, low cost but very effective.

Reading these threads it would seem to me that people are using all manner of objections to hide their true agenda, which is they just don't want a skate park in what they think is their own private gated square.

Can't wait for the kids from New Cross to have a local skate park, next we will have a skate shop, then lots of black kids heading up the hill to skate the park. Imagine that the nimby's having to mix with the ethnics and the great unwashed.

Tamsin said...

You were sounding quite rational until the last sentence...

But rumble strips across that path from the roundabout gate might be ugly (since don't they have to be picked out in bright yellow paint?)but would be an effective tool to deal with the identified risk. Let's hope SPAG and Gravity have costed and factored something like it into the plans as a way of delivering on the assurances given. Left to the Council to deal with it would be long process if remedial works to the paths generally is anything to go by.

My reaction to Farfromtheland's post was also positive - I have seen how the informal mentoring can work and if we can rely on him and people like him to advise the younger ones to only ride their boards in the designated area that would be a huge bonus.

dude said...

Kolp, what's the different spin then? Mind laying down why you feel adults and children can't share and enjoy an activity together?

kolp said...

Ok as far as i can see, the issue here; why there is resentment from nearby residents is that the skate park group presented their plans as being one thing-a certain size and steepness catering for a particular demographic, younger kids. However what's going to be the final result is something else according to comments here almost double the size.

We now hear that the change of plans (nearly double size) is merely a "design flaw" solution, the benefit of which will be to attract more experienced or older skaters.

As an unaffected outsider to this, i can now understand why residents feel that they have been steamrolled over by Spag and that's what i refer to the new spin.

Was/Is this park really about the benefits to/for kids?

Of course intergenerational activities are fine. But it's good for kids to be to kick back and relax and have fun in their own company without the prescence of much older people too.

Anonymous said...

"Can't wait for the kids from New Cross to have a local skate park, next we will have a skate shop, then lots of black kids heading up the hill to skate the park. Imagine that the nimby's having to mix with the ethnics and the great unwashed."

There were lots of ideas for skateparks elsewhere, possibly where they would be more used by a mix of kids, but they didnt want that. The kids mums had to have one close to their places (their kids arent so enthusiastic about skateboarding that they can walk for 10 minutes to get to one).

Somerville Playground would have been better. And it could have been bigger!!

Anonymous said...

That is a little unfair as the Telegraph Hill Kids are always spotted out and about skating, saw some across in East London last night skating Mile End, regularly see them over in Ladbroke Grove as well. Would be good to see a Skate Park in Fordham Park, New Cross or Deptford Park. Cheap when you see how many young people use these parks, great value for money and relatively low maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Friends of The Park; unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable, and unwanted.

They are a self serving group whose sole purpose is to fend off those with a different perspective of how the park should look and what activities should go on there.

The irony is that they crow about the Heritage lottery money they secured, but none would play the lottery, far to vulgar for them to dirty their hands with. They want accommodate the views of the working class people who probably do play the lottery when it comes to the park's management.

I do recall the Chair when presented with the proposal of a Skate Park in his consecrated Telegraph Hill Park, his reply, 'not over my dead body', still time to bury him under the concrete...Half pipe or ledge? You decide!

Anonymous said...

I also heard the guy who chaired the last Friends of the Park meeting say 'over my dead body' at the first consultation event held by the skatepark people. At the last meeting he chaired the meeting in a spectacularly one sided way. I thought that the purpose of a chair person is to facilitate thorough debate not interrupt people whose opinions he disagreed with, he was also very rude to one man. Telegraph Hill is peppered with a small number of self elected individuals who hamper the development of the community. Its time for them to go and make way for people who don't want to live in a Dickensian backwater. As for contributors who slag off groups like SPAG for making an effort to do something positive, what have you done other than complain?

Tamsin said...

I wasn't there at the beginning of the meeting but I had got the impression that it was quite even-handed chairing - in that all sides were equally cross with him!

There were those present who wanted to push the Council representatives and Glendale into an impossible corner and in an open arena take SPAG exentensively to task for extending the works without further consultation but were not allowed to do so. Equally SPAG were not permitted to dominate the meeting - after spending nearly an hour on the skatepark issue people were asked to put their hands up if they had anything further to say - a couple did so, and were allowed to speak - then, quite reasonably, those who wanted to chip in further but had not indicated this wish when asked, were not allowed to continue.

There were other matters to be covered on maintenance and security.

Anonymous said...

I wasn;t keen on the idea of a skatepark right outside my front door. But having chatted to the chaps building and having had a good look at the plans, I can't see what all the fuss is about. Its much smaller than I anticipated and doesn't have ramps and elevated tubes, its all rather flat looking. I have to say that there have been some very unpleasant remarks made about the people involved. But I guess politics on all levels is a dirty business. Its true about the self elected do gooder faction, if you look at the membership lists of very various local committees, the same names crop up all the time. I've thought about getting involved in things locally but I'm put off by the Telegraph Hill 'Establishment'. Change would be good.

Tamsin said...

Some of the fuss was orignally about SPAG not seriously contemplating any site for the skateboard area other than in one or other of the (really quite small) parks. The recent fuss made by the FroTHP committee (appointed in an open, well advertised but not very well attended meeting in September) was about unanticipated potential loss of mature trees and concerns for the slope stability (on which specific assurances have now been given by the Council). And the loss of three times as much grassy bank than had originally been proposed - changed parameters they just have to accept since the Council don't have an issue with it or the process.

As, I'm assuming, one of the names cropping up again and again that you object to I do take your point and totally agree that change would be good. But it is very difficult to walk away from something and leave a vacuum. So people do need to come forward and get involved and not be put off. And it is happening. There's someone entirely new signed up at the Centre AGM as a community rep. (in response to a poster on a tree, which is gratifying) and the Secretary of FroTHP has not been involved in other things for years. The Festival also has new people on its core group (although you might object to one of them as she is also a key volunteer with the NXPL).

There are opportunities to give time and effort to the community.

The Centre still has vacancies that it wants to co-opt community reps to, there is the Bold Vision AGM on 20th January, come to the next FroTHP meeting on 5th March, get in touch through the Festival website with an event or to volunteer generally.

Ian said...

As a person with a biased perspective, I am married to one of the parents who 'bullied' the council and community into funding and constructing the skate area, I have a couple of comments. Having been up close to the events as they unfolded I can assure you all that there was a huge amount of anxiety around process and doing the right thing. However there were so many deeply unpleasant and misleading things said about the women and young people involved with this venture that they (SPAG) certainly toughened in their attitudes. My 14 year old son who was very active in the process, sagely remarked that politics is a dirty business whether its on a local, national or international level. What has become clear to me is the need for checks and balances on a local level. If people genuinely believe that the local assembly is a farce then something needs to be done about it, either scrapped or strengthened. Previous posts have indicated a disatisfaction with local decision making, people being elected into positions of influence by the raising of a few hands, people from outside our community voting at the local assembly etc. My own feeling is that local democracy needs to be strengthened and that the local assembly is a very good place to start. If the local assembly is given a real mandate as a forum for community decision making we might not need other little groups and societies that do not practice constitutional rules to make decisions that do not really reflect what people want. It is an interesting time in our community, a lot is happening that strengthens us and brings us more closely together. Now would be a good time for our councillors and community to work out a new way of engaging people and finding a way to create a forum for decision making that is legitimate.

Anonymous said...

Local assemblies are not democratic, the same faces crop up time and time again.

We have a local democratic system and structure, they are called wards and ward councillors. This constant duplication is divisive and unhelpful. The menagorie of small single issue groups consisting of unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable, unapproachable, underhanded and uncooperative people compound a fragmented system.

Leave it to the ward councillors, if you don't like what they do,then vote them out in well publicised legally binding elections.

SPAG had no alternative to drive through their vision, they convinced the 'council' which is our democratically elected body and got the go ahead. If the other little self appointed groups don't like it then tough, they also had the opportunity of lobbying the councillors.

Time to have a nimby cull.

What next in the park? How about Zorbing! Or paint balling, extra points for a barbour jacket and baggy cords hit!

Ian said...

Waiting for an local election to come around in order to vote for someone who loosely reflects your values seems to be a cumbersome way of doing business. If the local assembly was more robust and had a proper system of checks and balances many of these issues that seem to be dealt with in an unsatisfactory way could be dealt with more fairly. A more immediate way of making decisions that reflect the true wishes of the majority must be better. The beefs from both sides of the skatepark decision seem to be around process and accountability, a local assembly with a working group with councillors and people from within the community (don't forget, councillors don't always live in the wards that they serve) seems like a good way of dealing with many pressing local issues including the parks, community safety etc.

Latest Tweets

Brockley Central Label Cloud

Click one of the labels below to see all posts on that subject. The bigger the label, the more posts there are!