FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
Last month we reported on the 'State of the Park' inspection carried out on 14th and 23rd May by Vic Smith (FoEP Chair) and Chris Stacey (Park Ranger). (See May News for a map of the facilities inspected). Early in June, Vic wrote up the results of the inspection as a 'State of the Park' Report. After the report was checked through by Chris, it was sent to the Direct Services Manager (Parks & Open Spaces) at Northampton Borough Council and then on to members of the Park Management Committee (PMC). The report's Conclusions & Recommendations were considered by the PMC at their meeting on 11th June when they received broad acceptance. Vic also briefly presented the Conclusions and Recommendations to the FoEP Committee on 18th June. They are now reproduced in full on this news page and the full report can be downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. It should be noted that some of the issues raised by the inspection had already been addressed by the time the report was written; others have been, or are being, dealt with since.
Click posters for larger view.
Last month we announced some of our plans for 'Love Parks week': A litter pick and clean-up on Saturday 13th July between 10.00 am and 12 noon, and our usual Kite Flying activity on Thursday 18th July in the afternoon between 3.30 and 5.30. To this we have now added a Heritage Walk during the afternoon of Saturday 20th July. The walk will start from the Spinney Hill Pub car park at 2.00 pm and we expect to back there by about 3.30. We have permission to park in the pub car park but if you live locally why not walk to the pub and stay for a while after the walk so we can all enjoy a drink together? Although the route for the walk has not yet been finalised we intend to walk up the Kettering Road, stopping to look down the drive at what was originally Weston Favell House, home of James Manfield. We will then continue along Kettering Road and through part of the Lake View Estate where we will pause to note the site of the recently demolished Eastfield House, one-time home of Major Arthur Ray. We will then enter the Park and visit sites such as the lily ponds, the ha-ha, the bullring and the Lake. Vic will say something about the history of these features and their significance today. We will return to the Spinney Hill Pub via Apple Tree Walk and Kettering Road.
Conclusions & Recommendations
1.The surface of Park needs to be further inspected for dangerous holes. Known holes should be filled in. Shallow holes may be filled in by volunteers but deeper holes should be filled professionally, particularly if it is suspected that there could be hidden chambers or obstacles beneath the surface.
2.Potholes on Mallard Walk should be filled professionally and other remedial work carried out to the pathway as it passes by the Lake.
3.The FoEP will continue to open up and improve informal pathways through the wooded parts of the Park, particularly by adding wood chippings to path surfaces.
4.The Park now has a reasonable number of waste bins but would benefit from another two: one by the bench near the football pitches and one near the middle of Greenside to replace a missing dog bin. The possibility of installing two renovated bins at these locations has not yet materialised but, hopefully, this project can be revitalised.
5.Two dog bins need repair or replacing and all bins require signs saying that they can be used for the disposal of bagged dogs’ mess. Any new benches in the Park should be provided with waste bins nearby.
6.The FoEP should continue to seek funding for additional park benches. (An application for funding for a bench along Cedar Walk is still being considered by Tesco ‘Bags of Help’.) The possible provision of a new bench by the Lake should be reviewed periodically.
7.The depressions in front of existing benches have been partly filled and paving stones placed over areas most subject to wear. However, the work was not carried out to the highest standards and some slabs are already rocking or damaged. Remedial work needs to be carried out.
8.The repair or replacement of damaged bollards and dragon’s teeth near entrances should be a priority. (The inspection did not include examination of dragon’s teeth at other locations around the Park but they should be checked again in the very near future.)
9.All items of equipment in the Senior Play Area (but particularly the Zip Wire and the Climbing Pyramid) urgently need professional attention. Work should be carried out to make them safe and secure as soon as possible.
10.Work needs to be carried out to remove trip hazards in and around the Junior Play Area. Work on the entrances has been carried out but the rim of the Swirl Roundabout is still hazardous. The finger trap hazard on the Mordred Castle needs filling.
11.Rotten or loose posts on the ‘Monster’ play mound need repair, replacement, or removal and the holes filled. The whole area needs regular strimming.
12.The MUGA fence would benefit from a coat of paint and one pothole, outside the games area, should be filled.
In addition to these events organised by the FoEP, Northampton Leisure Trust will arranging 'taster sessions' for street sports in the MUGA (Multi-Use Games Area) on the Park. The sessions are on Wednesday, 17th July: 5.30-6.30 pm for 8 to 12 years old and 6.30-7.30 pm for 13 to 18 years old. The sessions will include football, tennis and basketball.
Also, as part of 'Love Parks Week', the Trust's regular Eastfield Health Walk from Morrisons on the Kettering Road will, on Tuesday 16th July, include a walk through Eastfield Park. The walk is from 10.30am to 11.30am and anybody can join in.