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Topic: Are FOBP destroying Broomfield Park?

Are FOBP destroying Broomfield Park?
16 Oct 2020 09:22 #5650

Karl Brown Karl Brown's Avatar Topic Author

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I am not a Friend of Broomfield Park (FoBP) but am aware of the considerable voluntary efforts undertaken across PG (and wider) by many, and not least FoBP and how that personal choice can be reversed by adverse community reaction. Guy Harrowell concludes Broomfield Park is “being destroyed” by the FoBP ( See this post on the Fox Lane LTN thread .) Words have impact, so let’s look at the background to this.
Parks are non-statutory spend for local authorities so are at risk. Only yesterday Enfield’s published draft Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Methodology has Metropolitan Open Land, ie most of our parks, as a potentially suitable space for housing. Unlikely perhaps, but who knows.
And then what of the efforts of the FoBP to bolster the input of the one or two part time gardeners who would otherwise be the sum total of input to the huge space? Well certainly not complete but from what I know I can include in a list:
Development and management of
- an award winning conservatory
- an award winning orchard
- an apiary
- a community café (now separately managed)
- wild space and growing spaces
ongoing pressure to enhance the playground
facilitating the fixing of a pump and pipework to hopefully restore water to the boating pond
organising the annual Remembrance Day service
planting hundreds of trees around the boundary fence area
weeding and resetting the long border
developing and delivering a wide range of events such as last year’s Park Life and working alongside others in initiatives such as Talkies outdoor screenings, Broomfield Blues, and the Palmers Green Festival.
Working actively with the Broomfield House Trust, English Heritage and Partnership Boards over the years to find a solution to Broomfield House.
On and on it goes and has done for many years and where FoBP time input totally swamps the highest volunteer category set by Enfield Council.
Any destruction is perhaps best placed at the hands of those who decided local authorities should be starved of funds and so lose the likes of park maintenance, libraries and many other budgets lines.
Does Guy Harrowell know something we don’t? I think we should be told for I would hate to think FoBP do not feel appreciated by this community and take their bat and balls home.

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Are FOBP destroying Broomfield Park?
20 Oct 2020 08:51 #5657

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Thanks to Karl for his supportive and comprehensive response on 16th October. As Co-Chair of FoBP I feel there are other areas of our work in recent and earlier years that can be brought to attention in reply to Guy's dismissive and perhaps thoughtless aside.
I can include the immense amount of time and work trying to raise the profile and promote the park within Enfield Council supported by many of our excellent local councillors. The co-curation of the Broomfield House and Park exhibition (Hidden Treasures) and actively supporting the restoration of a remaining panel of the seventeenth century Lanscroon mural from Broomfield House.
We have worked to make the park more inclusive and of value to young people including those from different backgrounds. Before Covid we hosted and managed school year visits from our local primary schools as well as other groups such as Woodcraft Folk and Cubs introducing them to the local history, biodiversity and their natural environment in the many habitats available in the park. For the last two years we have worked with the REACH project to help support school excluded 14yr old's back into mainstream education, Mencap groups of young adults with severe learning difficulty, a mental health community group, the Youth Offender scheme and a very active group of DoE award scheme. Covid has for the moment put a halt to the exciting 'Build-Up' project arranged and funded by the Palmers Greenery Community Café, to engage local young people from diverse backgrounds in choosing, planning and creating a project space. We have supported and contributed to the case for the essential Netball/Tennis Court refurbishments funded by the Sport England, The London Marathon and Enfield Council.
We have effectively worked to engage the council anti-social behaviour team and the local SNT in helping to reduce ASB and crime within the park and Streetlink to help support the homeless people in areas of the park to seek alternatives.
We have a focus on helping, along with the council, to maintain the natural benefits provided to the community by the park, and as Karl has highlighted, the local budgets for this have been stripped bare. We aim to replace fallen trees, develop habitat and support biodiversity and wildlife. The role of Urban Parks in ameliorating the effects of climate change and providing areas with cleaner air, (trees and perimeter hedgerow), cleaner water (Wetland and reedbeds), urban cooling and flood protection is surely worthy of our fundraising efforts, physical labours and support.
Our mainstream is in supprting volunteers to safely enjoy contributing to the various park projects, activies, amenities and events and this has never been more important and supported than now in the time of COVID post lockdown.
We can accept that there are developments such as the Wetland that change the park structure are not universally supported and events such as the recent, splendid, circus that have left residual damage. The FoBP are participants rather than the principal protagonists in these and see it as our role to try and work with the council and outside agencies to try and ameliorate, reduce or put right the adverse outcomes that come along with clear benefits and appreciation of many of our local community. I would also add that much of what we do or support in the park has been informed or contributed to by our own extensive online and face-to face survey, public consultation in our Open Meetings and media, combined with that of Enfield Council and other interested groups such as Thames 21.
Most of all I would say rather than brusk complaint, consider constructive comment or criticism, perhaps better, take part and join in a way that might allow you to influence what is happening for the better.
www.friendsofbroomfieldpark.org .

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