FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
State of the Park ....
Every January since the formation of the Eastfield Park Management Committee, the Chair of the Friends of Eastfield Park (FoEP) has carried out an inspection of the Park along with the Park Ranger employed by Northampton Borough Council (NBC). The inspections focus on facilities and equipment such as benches, dog and litter bins, play equipment and all-season surfaced pathways but we have also commented on the state of the ground and trees within the Park. Equipment is scored on a six point scale where a score of '5' is given to items in pristine condition and '1' is given to equipment in a dangerous condition needing immediate repair or replacement. A score of '2' means 'unsatisfactory though not dangerous' and is given to equipment that needs repair or replacement soon, '3' represents 'satisfactory' even though there may be some degree of damage and '4' is given to equipment in good condition with only 'cosmetic' damage such as scratches or small dents. A score of zero means that the item is missing! Inevitably. there is an element of subjectivity in awarding the scores and, not infreqently, the assessors opt for an intermediate score such as '2/3'. Equipment often appears to be in a worse condition that it really is because of the presence of graffiti so this is indicated separately by adding a 'G' to the score (or in extreme cases, a double G - 'GG'). Urgent issues are reported immediately to the Borough Council by the Park Ranger but the rest of the collected data are incorporated into a 'State of the Park' report written by the FoEP Chair, agreed with the Park Ranger, and then submitted to the Council via the Management Committee. The reports have always been illustrated with photographs taken during, or immediately after, the inspections and those taken during the 2018 inspection have been posted on the FoEP Facebook page.
The boggy nature of the Park explains, at least partly, why the Park is not maintained to a higher standard. It is often fairly late in the season before grass cutting machines can safely mow grassed areas. In winter, contractors' vehicles have sometimes become stuck in mud while being used by those responsible for emptying waste bins.
Click on any picture for larger view with caption.
Considering that the inspections are carried out in winter, it is not surprising that all of the reports have mentioned the boggy nature of large parts of the Park with significant areas of standing water, particularly around the eastern end of the Lake. It is because of the sodden nature of much of the ground, particularly (but not exclusively) in winter, that residents have frequently called for better drainage of the Park. However, NBC considered that improved drainage would not bring sufficient benefits for the cost involved. Although at first the FoEP disagreed with this conclusion, it was later pointed out in a report produced for the Management Committee by the FoEP Chair that the Park is actually providing a significant environmental benefit by holding back water that could otherwise increase the risk of flooding further down the Walbeck Brook catchment. Rather than attempting to increase the rate of drainage from the Park, the Council should seek to improve water retention by appropriate management of the Lake and ponds. Access to the waterlogged Park should be improved by the provision of additional all-weather surfaced footpaths. This has been accepted in principle by NBC and three such pathways have been costed. However, at present, funding is not available for the paths to be constructed.
FoEP AGM: (Click to enlarge)
Coming up ....
This waste bin is only one year old. Despite overflowing with rubbish it has only slight 'cosmetic' damage and scored '4'.
This bench is in very good condition. It scored '4/5' but a note was made about the large puddle in front of the seat.
This dog bin is usable but the foot pedal is missing and the lid needs to be lifted by hand. There is also some graffiti so it scored '3G'.
The football pitches are in reasonable condition but the area between the pitches and the Booth Lane entrance is very muddy with boggy puddles.
Parts of the informal footpath around the lake are also very muddy with some deep puddles right across the path.
After a one year break we are hoping to hold Easter@Eastfield on Easter Saturday, 31st March, 2.00 - 4.00 pm. Let us know if you are willing to help organise games or other activities for children.
SPRING CLEAN: (Click to enlarge)