Geraldine Anwar of the Friends of Broomfield Park has provided a summary of the reports given at the FoBP open meeting on 21st May.
The Open Meeting went ahead at Ruth Winston Centre on Monday evening. The AGM was postponed until the autumn, as there were doubts raised that members had been correctly notified about the meeting. It was agreed that the present committee should continue until the AGM.
David March gave an update on the Orchard and related projects. There had been a problem with vandalism, mainly arson attacks but some of the trees had been broken. These have since been replaced. Five volunteers from Enfield Mencap work with David one afternoon a week and he has students on the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. However, he always needs more volunteers especially as the orchard team have expanded their interest in the park.
The new growing space is progressing well. It is hoped to build more raised beds.
The wildlife pond is flourishing with the marginal plants coming into flower. Dragonflies, newts and tadpoles have been seen in and around the pond. A fence has been erected to protect the pond from dogs and make it safer for small children. The pond can be accessed by gates. In the long term there will be information boards. Whips were donated by the Woodland Trust and planted along the border of Alderman’s Hill. Some of those planted in previous years are starting to become established now.
The Bowls Clubhouse adjacent to the Orchard has subsidence. The Council have appointed contractors. There will be no access to the main part of the building while work is being carried out. David hopes to meet with the contractors. Some of the equipment has been moved into another part of the building.
The Summer Picnic in the Orchard will be held on 1st July.
Ivor Evans reported on problems with the wild-flower meadows. Thistles are proving to be a particular problem despite efforts of volunteers to remove them. Part of the problem is that the soil is too rich. The long term solution would be to remove a top layer and replace with low fertility soil on top of a membrane. Then plant up with wild flower seeds. On the plus side the wild flowers in the Orchard are looking lovely as they have optimum conditions.
Elizabeth Dobbie reported on the Conservatory. Work is ongoing to carry out major repairs and repainting. Rotten woodwork has been replaced and a new door supplied. Painting has been completed on the exterior and is now going ahead on the interior. This means the Conservatory has to be closed to the public until about mid-June. Volunteers who have undergone the Health and Safety induction still have access to tend to the plants on a daily basis. Once work is completed there will be some replanting to be done. Councillor Barry was very helpful in our dealings with the council. Once the works have been completed there will be an event to thank her and the Council for their support.
Collin Younger reported on Broomfield House. The Broomfield House AGM is on 5th June at 7.30pm in the Ruth Winston Centre. One of their priorities is to appoint a new treasurer. The Council is asking for expressions of interest for the House and the Stable Yard. The Trust would like to ensure community access but this is no way guaranteed. It would be lovely if some visionary developer came forward and saved the day. What is looking increasingly likely is that there will be no interest and the Council can then apply for consent to demolish a listed building.
There will be an exhibition about Broomfield House and Park at the Dugdale Centre from 28th July. The central feature will be a restored panel from the Lanscroon mural which was in the House.
Sue Younger reported on the Remembrance Garden. The water fountain has been replaced and this means that the project is now complete. Work needs to be done to replace plants. It is hoped that the garden will be kept open to the public during park opening times.
Work will start on the Wetlands in the summer. There is, however, money to improve water quality in the existing lakes. Reed beds will be planted in the two of the lakes. Volunteers will be needed to help with this project. Date and Time will be advertised.
A Home Schooling Group has been in touch with the Friends. They are keen to become involved in the park. They will work in conjunction with an organisation called Clean-up.
The park has been categorised as a Large Park. This means that there will be more events held in the park. So far, the events suggested have not been held. The first event will be the Gin Festival on 30th June/1st July. The Council do not need to consult the Friends unless there will be more than 5,000 visitors in the park for anyone session. The Friends would like to be more involved. It was suggested that the Friends supply the Council with constructive feedback following an event.
The Royal College of Arts Students have finished their initial project in the park. Some of the Friends had been to a presentation. The students will be feeding back to the Council. If there is any interest the project would continue. One idea was to involve children in a digital park trail.
The ‘Fish and Chip’ van has been discussed with Council Officers. There are two main objections to the van. The first being that it is run on diesel and fumes are being discharged right next to the children’s playground. This could be remedied if it was powered by electricity. The other objection is that it does not fit with the Council’s healthy eating policy. Enfield has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity and this van does not offer healthy options. Response from the Council has not been helpful. Anyone concerned should contact the Council to complain.
The next open meeting will be held in September - more information in due course.