FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
Eastfield Park: Achievements, Prospects and Concerns
At the Public Talk preceding the FoEP's AGM on February 20th, Vic Smith, the FoEP's Chairman, spoke on the topic, 'Eastfield Park: Prospects and Concerns', although as Vic said, it should probably have been, 'Achievements, Prospects and Concerns'. Vic outlined some of the main successes achieved during 2016 and went on to discuss how the Friends hoped to build on these attainments during 2017. He also described some of the factors hindering progress.
The main achievements during the year were as follows:
Opening of new Junior Play Area on 16th July.
Installation of five new litter bins (actually installed in January, 2017).
Substantial maintenance work on trees over the summer by Acorn Environmental Management Group.
‘Creation’ of Wildlife Meadow by setting aside an area of the parkland and not mowing it until late summer.
Development and maintenance of the Eleonore House Insect-friendly Border (plants provided by Lloyds Bank volunteers).
Development and extension of the Crescent Rock Garden (especially with volunteers from Lloyds Bank and Nationwide Building Society).
Clearing weed trees and bushes from the slope leading up to the Lake mainly to increase security for those walking along Mallard Walk by the Lake. Vic particularly thanked Chris Freeman for his huge input into this task.
Production of a report on the Park’s drainage.
Consultation on possible new pathways during the first three months of 2016 and publishing a report on the consultation in June.
The Friends hope to build on these achievements by:
Obtaining funds for three more pieces of equipment for the play area (Phase 2).
Having litter bins close to all benches within the Park and increasing the number of benches.
Ensuring that work is carried out to make all trees safe and that lost trees are replaced.
Repeating the ‘Wildlife Meadow’ project, including a second smaller area near the centre of the parkland and creating an artificial meadow near Eleonore House.
Maintaining the Eleonore House Insect-friendly Border
Maintaining and extending the Crescent Rock Garden
Continuing to clear the ‘Lake Slope’, removing undergrowth including brambles and weeds and planting with attractive wildflowers for next year.
Investigating means of dredging and deepening the ponds.
Implementing the recommendations in the pathways report, primarily by seeking funding for all four proposed routes.
Vic explained that projects carried out by external agencies all require considerable funding and that obtaining the necessary finance is a major factor limiting progress. Projects carried out by the Friends themselves require lower levels of funding and the group has been successful in obtaining sufficient income in the past. However, these projects require a large input from volunteers and obtaining sufficient volunteers can be a problem. In some cases there is a need for volunteers with a particular skill, such as the ability to use a brushcutter safely.
The most important factor limiting progress in Eastfield Park is, however, vandalism and other forms of anti-social activity. The area where Mallard Walk passes close to the Lake has been a hotspot for vandalism. This is the main reason for clearing the undergrowth from the slope leading up to the Lake and already, people have said they feel much more secure walking along the path.
Another factor limiting progress has been the lack of formal contact between the contractors responsible for maintaining the grounds (Amey/Enterprise) and the Friends group. The Friends now have excellent relations with the Borough Council (both Councillors and Council Officers) especially through the Eastfield Park Management Committee but the Amey managers do not attend these meetings and seem reluctant to engage with user groups.
Two new members and all existing members were elected onto the new FoEP Committee at the AGM in February. The committee now has the following 11 members (maximum is 12):
Mr John Baxter (Treasurer & Minutes Secretary)
Mr Christopher Freeman (newly elected)
Mr Bernard Kelly (Vice-Chair)
Borough Cllr Anna King (Phippsville Ward)
Mr Tony Mallard
Ms Vikkie Maloney
Ms Linda Martin
Ms Carole Morrison
Mr Martin Sawyer (newly elected)
Dr Vic Smith (Chair)
Mr Alan Wright (Former County Councillor)
Storm Doris brought down a number of trees and branches in and around Eastfield Park on 23rd February. The most serious incident was a tree that fell across Apple Tree Walk, partially blocking it.
Trees down on Doris Day
Tree across Apple Tree Walk - click to enlarge
Tree across Apple Tree Walk - click to enlarge
No Easter@Eastfield Fun Day this year
Regrettably, because of the demands of other activities, the FoEP will not be organising an Easter@Eastfield family fun day this year.
Other News ....