Ward Assemblies v The Enemies of Reason

While Brockley Central was collecting chairs from Crystal Palace, Transpontine was doing some proper local journalism and has this report from last night's Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly, which focused primarily on the great skate debate.

By the sounds of things, the Assembly format once-again proved its value, diffusing an issue that had escalated in to hyperbole and acrimony and which attracted around 200 people to the debate.

It sounds as though a way forward has been found which will suit everyone - assumptions that the lower park was not an option were found to be false and that now looks the most likely location, as well as the most sensible.

Well done everyone. Society's not broken after all.


Richard Elliot said...

Well done everyone. Society's not broken after all.
Has the new Government fixed it already?

(Sorry Nick, couldn't resist......)

Tamsin said...

It was indeed a great meeting - and I happily concur these assemblies are the forum for discussion. (Although I still have my doubts about whether they are appropriate for hanging chad marginal votes. Someone towards the end called for a quick show of hands but this notion was rejected because some people had already had to leave.)

Lovely optimism abounds - but the task is now to engage the concurrence of present users of the Lower Park - convince them that this will be an improvement - and also those who live opposite where there is a possibility that the games area might be re-sited. That starts at the Friends of the Telegraph Hill Parks meeting on Monday. 8pm in the Telegraph Hill Centre.

Brockley Nick said...

Out of interest Tamsin, what current users might be narked by the idea?

Tamsin said...

Those who use the current games court for footie and basketball. The area it would be moved to is smaller and under trees. I haven't seen them but the Chair of the Telegraph Hill Centre who lives opposite mentioned that there was some fairly regular usage by groups of people doing five-a-side in a fairly organised fashion, even to the extent of half time organge segments.

On the other hand Jacqui who runs the kiosk says that it not used very much so maybe all will be well.

What we do not want is a repeat of the last debacle with lots of people at the last minute coming forward with objections who had not been aware of any consultation earlier.

Brockley Nick said...

I understood there were two possible sites, one of which wouldn't require the football and basketball to be displaced?

Anonymous said...

Hearts and minds of the residents just over the road, but in the numbers game these are probably the fewest people.

And having the skatepark here this is probably better than moving the games area to the edge of the park - balls bouncing over the park railings into Erlanger Road is not a good idea. Although the safety of a skatepark near these railings also needs to be considered.

Just the whole thing, when you get down to nitty-gritty, is never going to be simple and the search for alternative sites does need to continue. SPAG lost months by concentrating most of their energies on the Upper Park proposals which the community has fairly roundly rejected. They must take care not to fall into the same trap of thinking now only of the Lower Park.

Hence my interest in the results of Anonymous' walk arond the Ward with a SPAG member looking for other potential sites.

Tamsin said...

Sorry, Nick. That was me not another Anonymous.

Clearly in such a state that I've forgotten my own name!

Anonymous said...

Can we suppose that the residents of Telegraph Hill are as concerned about Brockley as some of us appear to be about them?

Brockley Nick said...

Telegraph Hill is Brockley, near enough.

SE4 stops one street away from the Upper Park in question. For many of us, it's our nearest park.

Many of those who use this site are Telegraph Hill residents.

"Us and them" is daft in area so small.

PeterB said...

I was trully shocked by the lady who said that children should be banned from the upper park and by the loud cheer that her offensive remarks received. You only have to replace the word "children" by "non whites" or "disabled" or "gay" to appreciate the obsenity.

I fail to see how victorian attitudes of children being neither seen nor heard and not in my park have any place in a modern, open and caring society.

Sadly some people seem to think that children and particularly teenagers should go away and hide, not bother them and only return when they are adult and fit to be received in civilized society.

Anonymous said...

PeterB - a shame that such a sentiment got a reaction. By my reckoning a large proportion of users of the upper park are teenagers - albeit 18/19 year old students.
IRO the current games court, I've spent a lot of the last 18 months pushing a pram round the Lower (and Upper) Park and the court is certainly well used at weekends. Moving it to an astroturf pitch at the bottom would work for football but not basketball...

Tamsin said...

She is a mother herself and said it with a smile on her face. I took her to mean that what she looked for was to keep the current position, designed into the refurbishment plans and the endless consultations they entailed, with the family oriented stuff and specific play facilities in the Lower Park and the Upper Park more for peaceful contemplation, family picnics etc. Except for events such as Hillaballoo when it is teeming with kids all having a great time. Look at the "Telegraph Hill Visions" group on flickr. and photos such as "building manhattan". No-one wants to stop that. What was wanted is to keep the flexiblity of use in a very small park.

lula said...

Peter B - Really unhelpful and utterly inaccurate comment. Total misrepresentation of a resident's comment at the meeting, no suggestion of banning children from either park was made.

PeterB said...

I am sorry but I am not the only one who saw her comments as deeply offensive on his blog referred to above Transpontine repored:

"This included a truly shocking statement from one person to the effect that she would like to see one park for kids and one for adults. The loud cheer this got from some of the crowd showed that behind some of the arguments about the park lurk some nasty ideas about young people being seen and not heard, or preferably not seen at all."

If her remarks had been made about any other group in society would you be so quick to defend her ?

Anonymous said...

Tamsin, you are being very charitable. Did the person actually say 'I would like to keep the current position, designed into the refurbishment plans and the endless consultations they entailed, with the family oriented stuff and specific play facilities in the Lower Park and the Upper Park more for peaceful contemplation, family picnics'. Or did she in fact say 'I would like to see one park for children, and one for adults' (I may have got the exact words wrong, perhaps you can help me - I believe PeterB and Transpontine's recollection to be correct).

She had a smile on her face because she thought she was being funny. She wasn't.

lula said...

I wouldn't defend her if that IS what she said, but she didn't.

I guess people hear things the way they want, depending on their agenda.

The Transpotine reporting is in my opinion equally inaccurate and inflammatory.

Tamsin said...

Even though she might have said "one for children and one for adults" those words can mean the interpretation I put on them. And it was that interpretation that I - and presumably most of the others - applauded.

As Lula has said, people hear what they want to hear. Some heard something that they can get happily worked up about and some heard a reasonable statement of the status quo.

Transpontine said...

Lula, several people seem to have heard the same thing, though they may not all have interpreted it in the same way.

If people think I misquoted the person I am happy to put a correction if they can tell me the exact words they think were said instead, though I note that Tamsin has not disputed that these words (or similar ones to that effect) were said.

To report them is not inaccurate, it is the comment itself that I personally found inflammatory, and when people say things in public meetings in front of hundreds of people they are legitimately in the domain of comment.

Anyway let's not focus on her, as my report makes clear most people quickly got over the fairly bad tempered start and moved forward positively.

lula said...

Transpotine, I agree it ended up being an evening of positives with much consensus.

However, suggesting that "behind some of the arguments about the park lurk some nasty ideas about young people being seen and not heard, or preferably not seen at all" isn't accurate or helpful.

Just because you don't want a concrete skatepark in upper park doesn't mean you're some sinister character who loathes children.

My understanding is that people applauded the defence of their equally important right to a quiet, green space.

Transpontine said...

Lula, fair enough. I agree that most people who opposed the upper park as a location did so in good faith, and for valid reasons. Personally I have always been ambivalent about the skatepark being there, but would support it going there with some misgivings if it was the only option (even though my dog barks at anything on wheels).

I do think though there has been an undercurrent in some contributions to this debate - both at the meeting and on blog threads - which I interpret as unduly negative about the presence of young people in public places. The debate should be about whether and where to put a ramp, not about the desirability or otherwise of groups of young people being there.

I know nobody was seriously suggesting banning children from the park.

eberg said...

I won't let my kids play in parts of the upper park. I regularly watch people allow their dogs to crap on the grass without clearing up the mess. Most dog owners do clear up after their mutts, it's just a few that don't. We also get to watch Staffies mating as the area outside our bathroom window seems to have become the bull terrier 'dogging' venue for SE London.

Anonymous said...

Or is it the bull terrier "humaning" area?

Tamsin said...

Just a reminder - Friends of Telegraph Hill Park meeting tonight in the Telegraph Hill Centre at 8pm. General park issues - like the state of the ponds - and whether it would be posible for a skatepark to be located in the Lower Park.

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