Playground and Astroturf
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Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who came to the tree planting in Sayes Court Park on Saturday with the National Trust. Full update of things to come soon. But for now...

Our AGM is being held on TUESDAY 3rd MARCH at Festa sul Prato in Folkestone Gardens from 7.30pm.

We'll have snacks available and the bar will be open for tea, coffee and something stronger if you wish. 

1. Welcome & Elections
2. 2019 Review (inc. pond update, cycling update)
3. 2019-2020 Accounts
4. DPLN Update - Josh Learner,  LBL Walking & Cycling Manager
5. Climate Emergency - Emma Bushell, LBL Sustainability Manager
7. Folkestone Gardens Playground - London Marathon Trust Grant
8. Deptford Park AstroTurf Football Pitch - Next steps & response
9. AOB
Good News: Folkestone Gardens Playground
In 2019 we applied for a grant from the London Marathon Charitable Trust for Folkestone Gardens playground. We have been asked to progress to Stage Two of the process to access up to £150K towards a new playground. This is great news. We will be working with Lewisham Council Cabinet Members and Officers to make this happen!

A brief background...

In our 2016 Park User Survey you set Folkestone Gardens Playground as your #1 priority. The priorities - paths, benches, bins, the pond, access, events - are now largely delivered. The playground is the final item on the list.

In 2016 Lewisham Council opened a skate park in Folkestone Gardens as part of a 'Skate & Play' initiative. Only the skate element was delivered leaving the playground itself in a very poor state. Children were left without a quality play area.

This Evelyn Ward has the highest level of child poverty in Lewisham (49%). Responses to questions to council in 2016 indicated that Phase 2 would take place. Deptfordfolk held a playground design workshop with children from Sir Francis Drake in 2017. In a question to council in July 2018 the Mayor of Lewisham said he would "ask the appropriate officers to look into the availability of any unallocated Section 106 funds" (Q33). Still no playground.

Last year Lewisham Council launched the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) initiative across the borough allowing communities to define how funds should be spent. NCIL is a levy on developers to offset the impact of their builds. There are a lot of developments in Evelyn so there's £575K of NCIL available. This is just 25% of the available funds accumulated over a number of years.

We will be working with council officers to secure further funding and to conceive a radical reworking of the play area providing an amazing space for all ages to enjoy. Play is not just for children. Everyone should have the opportunity be healthier, fitter and happier.
The 'Skate & Play' consultation as presented to park users in 2015 (above). We aim to deliver the best play space in south east London with our grant from LMCT, which we will use to leverage funds from other sources.

There is overwhelming evidence that a new playground is what people want in Evelyn. Make sure you back our campaign for #Playgrounds4Deptford and comment on the CommonPlace platform HERE before the Evelyn Assembly on 14th March. 
Bad News: AstroTurf. It's back.
In November 2019 Lewisham Mayor and Cabinet approved the Playing Pitch Strategy 2019-2024.

The report suggests locations for all weather astro turf pay-to-play facilities after "an initial assessment of land that may be available to use for this type of development." (P24). The report states it consulted with elected members and stakeholders (P6). The report was available for ward councillors to view before approval by Mayor and Cabinet. Despite being the constituted park user group DeptfordFolk was not approached by the consultants. There hasn't been an Evelyn Ward Assembly in over a year to discuss any issues like this with our ward councillors.

The strategy recommends Deptford Park as the ideal site for a 3G AstroTurf Pitch (AGP) and Tennis Courts. As many of you know a similar plan was rejected in 2015 by residents through a costly consultation. It is one of the reasons DeptfordFolk was formed. Given the overwhelming rejection by local residents of the first plan to introduce a pay-to-play astroturf pitch in 2015, we can firmly state that the land in Deptford Park is NOT available.

Explicitly, on page 22, the report says:

"Although the site has previously been the subject of an unsuccessful attempt to invest in a full size 3G AGP, the location has been identified as being ideal to meet the current needs of residents, as well as servicing the significant number of new residents which are expected in line with housing projections ...There is also the possibility of adding additional tennis courts onto this development to increase tennis provision in the borough, depending on the relevant planning permission."

The report goes on...

"In the case of Deptford Park, there is a current deficit of provision in both LB Southwark and LB Greenwich and therefore it is expected that significant demand would be imported from these local authorities." (P 27)

and that:

"The modelling projects a maximum of 2,335 users and 2,669 visits per week at Deptford Park"  (P27)

However, the previous Lewisham Leisure & Open Space Study in 2010 points to a deficit of AstroTurf Football in the area and states "that this could be resolved with greater community use of the Millwall Lions Indoor Facility (3rd generation ATP) by local residents". Lewisham is now developing a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the Surrey Canal Triangle. Is Deptford Park now being used to offset the original recommendation for astroturf pitches at Surrey Canal?

The council won't develop an SPD (which "play an important role in the implementation of our priorities for regeneration") or masterplan for this area (See Q5). We are we stuck with the eight year old 2012 "North Lewisham LInks Study" while Surrey Canal and New Cross get updated SPD's to manage appropriate development. However, the 2012 'Lewisham Links Study' states Deptford Park is an important element "within the urban fabric that should be protected and enhanced" and that it plays "an important part in addressing an open space deficiency in this part of London". This means, according to the council's own policy, this is not a suitable site for a fenced in Astroturf pitch.
The 2011 Leisure and Open Space Study recommends almost doubling the amount of avaolable green space with 13 hectares of NEW GREEN SPACE to maintain current levels by 2025. The report also acknowledges that the rapid increasesin  population results in a deficit of green space per person in the North of the borough. Removing existing publicly accessible metropolitan open land which we can use for free will not meet this target set in 2010.

We will be discussing how we approach this issue at our AGM. Many people feel understandably passionately about keeping Deptford Park accessible to all.

Let's get together and discuss a response.
There is a ward assembly being held on 14th March at The Evelyn Community Centre where we can ask questions of our council and councillors. Perhaps this is the appropriate forum to discuss the recommendations of this report.

Please come to our AGM on 3rd March at Festa sul Prato to discuss how we, as a community, can ensure our valuable green space is preserved in a time of increasing local population and a global climate emergency.
Next Second Sunday Cycle Repair. Sunday March 8th 2020.
10am-2pm Ron Hoskins Scout Hall, Childers Street.
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Get in touch if you have ideas for events and activities in the parks
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DeptfordFolk is the constituted user group representing Folkestone Gardens & Deptford Park SE8. More information can be found on the website Email to be added to the mailing list. You can follow DeptfordFolk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #deptfordfolk