Present: Vincent Brown (Walworth Community Gardening Network), Jon Dennison, Ghislaine Granger (Secretary), Luke Miller (Treasurer), John Reid (Community Warden Parks Liaison Officer), Nicole Beedell, Councillor Martin Seaton. Apologies Stephanie and Jim Lodge, David Curtis
1 – ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
John Reid, Community Warden Parks Liaison Officer kindly attended our meeting. He explained that there are 7 officers for 127 local parks, so they are stretched in terms of how present they can be in each park. They wear a red and white utility vest and travel on bikes.
Please report all anti-social behaviour by dialling 101 where you can leave a message for Jo Skelton and John Reid. The more calls are received on that number for a specific area, the more this area is likely to be considered a ‘hot spot’ and would then be likely to receive more patrol attention.
Community Wardens are able to do the following:
- can issue fixed penalty for littering
- have police power to stop people cycling anti-socially on pedestrian paths
- can issue tickets for graffiti and flyposting
- can get names and addresses of people urinating and defecating, and would pass this information to the police through community reports, but only the police can then issue a fine.
- Can only take away alcohol if a bottle / can is open, but if they do this for one group of people in the park they need to act fairly and thus would have to do this for all people in the park, so that everyone is seen to be treated in the same way, or the person targeted would have to be causing harassment or harm or distress to someone else
- can enforce PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) mainly about dog anti-social behaviour (give a fine for dog fouling, ask owners to put dogs on lead if they are out of control)
They patrol with Safer Neighbourhood Team (Lorena) and Enforcement team. They have shifts and between October and March and the latest shift generally ends at 6pm. These shifts can be extended to 9pm or 10pm if levels of anti-social behaviour reported justify this. They also work with St Mungo’s charity. Louise Wilcox is in charge of the Burgess Park parks area (which stretches from Burgess Park throughout Walworth) and manages any requests we would make to make changes / additions to the park.
Ghislaine reported the urinating and defecating problems reported by a lot of Winch House residents. John has confirmed that wayfinding to help show the direction to the two existing local public toilets (Dawes St and Portland St) could be installed if we make the case. John also noted that the lighting in the park is going to be made brighter in the next few weeks. However John cautioned about installing “do not..” signage – for several reasons. It gives an unwelcoming image to the park, but principally it is ineffective – people who leave litter near bins or who relieve themselves in public are not likely to read, or react positively, to signs. Enforcement is crucial – and John emphasised that ignorance of the rules is no excuse.
Ghislaine asked about the implications of potentially adding public toilets in the park: John said that the first issue would be financial as there are capital grants to build these, but the council has no money to maintain and clean them. Also, in parks where there are public toilets, these buildings have attracted graffiti, have needed sharps boxes as they attract hard drug users, as well as self-harmers, rough sleepers, etc… so it would probably worsen the situation.
There are already ‘alcohol control signs’ in the area signalling that this is an area that is being patrolled.
Other issues: rat boxes have been installed in the overgrown backyard of the shop units on East St that abuts the south-western corner of the park (where the brick wall has collapsed and temporary wooden fencing is in place).
The cracked low wall on Brandon Street side has been reported to Louise Wilcox.
2 – COMMUNITY GARDENING NETWORK (link)
Vincent wants to get local groups of gardeners to work together – he is working with the Walworth Society who have been awarded a grant by United St Saviour’s Charity (who have also previously kindly provided grants towards some Friends of Nursery Row Park events). He is going around all the community groups to try to create a network.
There will be a conference on 21st April 2018.
Vincent suggested that perhaps they could organise a ‘garden show’ next year, could organise a training day. Walworth Gardens are happy to train adults and Nursery Row Park could maybe host this event (enthusiastically received!).
3 – DISCUSSION WITH COUNCILLOR MARTIN SEATON
Cllr Seaton suggested that if parks got together when applying for grants and showed a more integrated approach, the funding applications they make would be more enthusiastically received by the council. For example, tools could be shared by all groups?
LendLease is responsible for strategic planning of the green areas in their development, but the council wants it to be used by all communities. LendLease will have milestones to achieve in order to comply with the terms of the operation, and the council will keep right of intervention if green areas are not used properly.
4 – OUR 10th BIRTHDAY
Luke closed the meeting by noting that this meeting represents our tenth anniversary as a community group – many, many thanks to all our volunteers and supporters – without you we would not function!
5: NEXT MEETING
Next meeting: 29th January 2018 67 Balfour Street SE17 1PL 19:00-20:00
Next workday: 27th January 2018, 09:00 – 11:30 in the park, equipment provided
Happy new year!