Consultation on recreational spaces in Lewisham

Lewisham is asking residents what they think of the provision of recreational space (including parks and other public spaces and sports facilities) in the borough. The form's short and easy to complete and it does ask open questions, as well as multiple-choice, so you can say exactly what you think.

We guess it will help to identify blackspots in terms of provision and also give a clearer understanding of what facilities would most improve people's lives. Of course, it's one thing having the data and another doing anything about it. The promise of a framework for future planning is unlikely to result in anyone building a squash court near you any time soon.

There was quite an interesting discussion on sport provision in the borough here (starting roughly half-way through the comments trail).

From Lewisham Council Press Office:

Lewisham residents are invited to give their views on what improvements they would like made to open spaces, outdoor sports and recreational provision across the borough.

The public consultation, which opened on Monday 22 December, is seeking feedback on parks, natural green-space areas, outdoor sport facilities, provision for children and young people, and allotments. Local people, groups and organisations are encouraged to give their opinion about the quality of the facilities they use at the moment and what their needs are both now and in the future.

The study has been commissioned by Lewisham Council and will be carried out by Strategic Leisure Limited, a management consultancy company specialising in the planning, development, management and evaluation of sport and leisure facilities, services and events.

The consultation will end on Saturday, 31 January with the findings expected to be published at the beginning of April 2009.

The study will provide the Council with a clear framework for planning and future management. It will also provide targets for future improvement and provision, and ensure local needs are met.

Residents can have their say by completing the online questionnaire.


nobbly brick said...

oh dear

another 'consultation' where the council employs a 'management consultancy company' to manipulate the information obtained and give them the answers they want - it's truly disgraceful and a waste of public money. The Loampit Vale consultation will give ample evidence of this tactic.

We can only wait for several months for the Council to be given a report which they will then cherry pick things from and make marketing capital out of and ignore the rest.

Pathetic and ridiculous.

They need to commission 'independent' reports and then be held accountable for what they do or don't do.

max said...

I'm with Nobbly Brick all the way.

"Pathetic and ridiculous". Well said.

There are local assemblies where all these issues are discussed and referred to all those in the Council that are involved exactly with those issues.

And since Nobbly Brick mentioned the Loampit Vale "consultation" (which was an insult to everyone's intelligence) let me remind you that it was supposed to cost £20k and ended up costing £45k without any reason given as to why it more than doubled since the procedure described with the initial quote was followed without departures.

I may be a suspicious kind of guy but my experience tells me that when a consultation like this is inflicted upon us there's some dodgy plan already in place.

I won't fill their questionnaire, I have a hundred and one better ways to waste time.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree with you both to a point - I would rather Councils consulted less and did more and I'm doubtful of the value of this particular consultation, given that the Council must already have a good map of provision of green spaces and sports facilities (pretty easy to do for a small area like Lewisham). And as you say, if the assemblies have any value at all, it must be to cover questions like this, without the need for an additional independent consultation.

However, it ezists, so isn't it better to have your say than not? It only takes 5 mins to fill out the form.

nobbly brick said...

I'll certainly take a look but I suspect they're looking for a justification for the amount of green space they're paving over.

The Cat Man said...

agree with that last comment, it's prob. Just to satisfy a clause somewhere saying they have to consult residents, the actual decision most likely has already been made!

I would, however, urge all brockley residents to use this as a way to reinforce the improvement to brockley common. I.e, urge the council to see it as a green area with a disability ramp rather than just waste land converted to just a disability ramp!

The more we highlight this, the better the chances if getting what we want no matter how we look at it!

max said...

We will all have to look at it, and with the proper critical head well screwed on.
They have a very developed skill in writing innocent sounding loaded questions.
I can't believe that there isn't some hidden agenda behind every apparently useless consultation.

Anonymous said...

This is the same questionnaire that was put out about 6 months ago. Maybe, the Council didn't get the response they wanted so are putting out again.

nobbly brick said...

Living within stick-throwing distance of Hilly Fields would mean that I would answer very positively to many of the questions. I hope, however that people living closer to the town centre answer in their droves, and don't count Blackheath (isn't Blackheath Greenwich anyway?)

But it's not about the gathering of the facts but the way the facts are manipulated and rammed down our throats at a later time.

Anonymous said...

Having worked through it to answer the questions, I found that it didn't reflect my views on recreational space in Lewisham at all! Things like my proximity to allotments and how often I use children's facilities aren't where my concerns lie, and there wasn't an opportunity to express those concerns properly.

I suspect my answers would put me into the 'satisfied consumer' box, whereas I'm actually quite the opposite!

max said...

Anonymous said...

"This is the same questionnaire that was put out about 6 months ago. Maybe, the Council didn't get the response they wanted so are putting out again."

Anon, can you please point as some reference to this identical questionnaire? I'm so very curious now.

Anonymous said...

Max - The Hilly Fields User Group mentioned in back in June. I think it was sent out by Rachel

Anonymous said...

Some years ago the council produced a large document 'Open Space Strategy 2005-2010' which was, "...developed following an audit of open spaces and extensive consultation with key stakeholdrs and users."

Is this consultation for 2010-2015?

From the 2005 documents...'make improvements to the quality of infrastructure at Hilly Fields with a view to future Green Flag applications.'

patrick1971 said...

"They have a very developed skill in writing innocent sounding loaded questions."

Indeed they do. I remember a survey on library closures some years ago which included the question: "Would you like libraries to be open longer hours, with more books and services, but fewer of them; or shorter opening hours, fewer services and no new books purchased, but no closures?" Wonderful stuff.

And Blackheath is definitely part of the LB of Lewisham. Cause of endless moaning when I lived in New Cross: "Lewisham spends loads of money on posh black railings for Blackheath, but uses cheap silver ones here!" etc.

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