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£636,000 for Archbishops Park: Good News?

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Thursday 24 May 2007 9.37am
Lambeth have released the Founders Place S106 agreement. If the development is approved by Roth Kelly (or sucessor?!) there is 636,000 to be spent on Archbishops Park, the largest park in SE1.

The (bad?) new is that the developers have insisted that weight is given to the views of the Friends of Archbishops Park.

Decisions will be made before September. Many people want to see a proper cafe with safe toilets. Many people want the park boundaries untouched, and do not support the idea that some of the money should be spent extending the development into the park to creatre a buffer zone to improve the safety of the private flats. Residents of York House are very concerned about the possibility of floodlighting for the pitch in the centre of the Park, and thus extended house for the Park.

So how do we ensure that the Friends take our views on board.

One way might be to visit Loafer in Kent....

But more seriously, this is our one big chance at capital investment. And the next Friends election will not be till November when all the major decisions will be made. (Loafer has alerady said he will stand down then. Interesting to see whether the interest of his colleagues wanes as the tower blocks rise.)

Am I the only one who thinks that the needs of local people, especially those with least, should be heard, indeed should be the priority?
Thursday 24 May 2007 10.44am
I drove down Carlisle Lane past the park a few days ago and the was a sign up by the advertising possible A3 usage/cafe. It positioned by the old park keepers.
Thursday 24 May 2007 11.00am
I hope I am wrong.

My understanding is that this is just for a "kiosk", created from the small booking office. No safe toilets, no shelter from the rain and no seating. Work done around three years ago by Groundwork Southwark suggested that a cafe would not be commercially feasible. Later feasibility work on a "supported employment" cafe to be run by a known and experienced charity came out positive. But the charity appears to have been told by the Lambeth that the Friends reject this option.

The "kiosk" has been empty for over a year. it surely would have been much cheaper and effective to have allowed a permit for an ice cream van who could have visited the park at intervals on a sunny day.

There is proposal to have a cafe in the Founders Place development but this will be by the railway and very overshadowed. (Lots of evidence about whether that outdoor space constituted and amenity because of the very limited sunlight the site would get.) I suspect this too will not be viable and, like so many developments, the promised street level community facility ends up as more (rather dark) residential.

But Ros. What do you think. How can we make sure that Loafer and the FofAP members who do not live in the area, make the right decisions on our behalf.
Thursday 24 May 2007 11.22am
Lady Penelope/Sarah2/The Sarah

My god. How long did it take you to try and put the boot in? 14 hours?

Get a life.

Thursday 24 May 2007 12.32pm
Perhaps the current Friends of Archbishop's Park could be renamed Friends of Founder's Place, and a new Friend's of Archbishop's Park could be set up that is more representative of local residents?
Thursday 24 May 2007 12.53pm
Sarah and TLMJJ

A few questions for you, seeing as I'm fed up of being on the receiving end.

1 Why does everyone think the FoAP exists to represent local residents when the clue is in the name, in that it exists to represent ALL park users?

2 Notwithstanding that, what makes you think it isn't representative of local residents? What proof do you have that this is the case (other than your own prejudice)?

3 If you want a local residents pressure group, why don't you both set one up, and stop sniping?

4 Why does everyone consistently ignore the other successful initiatives and work of the FoAP?

The Founders Place issue is in the hands of the Inspector and the Secretary of State.

Representations have been made by the FoAP and others to get the most benefits for the Park if it gets permission and if it doesn't the whole lot starts all over again.

Given all of that, WTF is the point of your posts?
Thursday 24 May 2007 2.46pm
The amount of personal sniping surrounding FoAP is very damaging. Like many other people I live in the area and simply will not get involved because of it.

Loafer was elected and has acted in good faith. Personal attacks and constant sniping at people like him not only destroy the credibility of those making them but (much more importantly) discourage more people from coming forward and getting involved.
Friday 25 May 2007 2.30pm
I agree with loafer's comment that Friends groups are for all park users. Being local does not give a user any privileges. If you are worried that the Friends are not going to give due weight to your views - lobby them, get up a petition, get councillors involved. Friends groups need the legitimacy that representing the broadest section of their membership conveys. They don't last long without it.

If you can't mobilise such opinion behind your views - then maybe you should seek common ground between your aims and the aims of the larger group.
Friday 25 May 2007 11.47pm
Some people hold strong views about Founders Place and Archbishops Park. Everyone is free to express them on this forum. But on what basis can someone claim that her views are shared by the wider community?

1. At the FoAP AGM in November Sarah2 stood to be chair and by 76 votes to 22 she lost.

2. Sarah2 also stood to be an ordinary committee member and by 42 votes she failed.

3. Sarah2 supported a motion to oppose Founder's Place and by 26 votes to 21 it fell.

4. A postal ballot of FoAP's membership on the Founder's Place appeal resulted in Sarah2's position of opposing the appeal losing by 34 votes to 21 (98 abstentions).

These votes hardly suggest that Sarah2's opinions are representative of the views of a majority of Park users, all of whom have always been welcome to become FoAP members and to stand for its committee.

It is important that minority views are expressed and engaged with, but it would be an affront to democracy to expect minority views to prevail over those of the majority. It also shows a lack of respect for democracy to denigrate the FoAP committee for acting according to the wishes of the majority of its members.

Sarah2 is welcome to set up a rival Friends Group, but I very much doubt that it could (a) get anything like the 150 odd members that FoAP has or (b) exercise much influence over how s106 monies are spent.
Thursday 31 May 2007 11.47am
Hi Fred,

Just on the topic of 'rival' groups and the doubt (b) expressed above:

The latest reading of the S106 agreement placed an obligation on the Council to consult with The Charity, the FoAP and other stakeholders as to the spend of the contribution towards park improvements.

This gives an at least equal weighting to other stakeholders' views as to each of the previously two named organisations.

Therefore any stakeholder group should have an equal influence from the outset, unless the suggestion is that the 2 originally named organisations (the trust/Charity and the FoAP) somehow exert disproportionate influence within Council decision making processes vis-a-vis other stakeholders. That shouldn't be the case, one would hope.



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