Oh dear, Mr Duncan’s impressions of the Clissold restoration plans do sound very bah-humbug. Perhaps I can offer the odd heart warming fact to bring him a bit of good cheer.
Many suggestions and objections from both users and the Park User Group have been accepted by the Council and its design consultants over the months of public consultation on the plans.
Options for the new play area were modelled and refined over a number of open sessions. Most recently, the new upper café outdoor seating area was enlarged; the wheel park relocated further away from Queen Elizabeth’s Walk and the paddling pool kept open during the works; all direct results of active consultation between users and council.
Total funding for the scheme is £8.9, not £20 million –half from Lottery funds and half from the council. But all of it will be spent on facilities accessible to park users of every social and economic group.
The plans were designed by professionals who live locally and use the park regularly and who have worked within the contemporary as well as the historical context of Clissold Park. Unlike two previous attempts, they have received the enthusiastic and continued approval of the Lottery Fund board.
The bleak and under-used redgra area will provide for a very popular and innovative extension of the play area, which will still have a five-a-side pitch.
The house will be transformed and opened up for all of the community to use, for the first time in its history. Concessionary hire rates are under consideration.
Most of the park will remain open during the 18 months of the planned works, with plenty of space for Stoke Newington School and other users to enjoy.
Contractors will provide their own accommodation to their own specification. The only temporary buildings provided from the scheme’s budget will be for the café, tennis club, ranger’s office and temporary public toilets.
The User Group tries to reflect all those views that it receives from park users and when necessary pursue them with park management. Its volunteer representatives have often taken issue vigorously with the council when necessary, but do not oppose just for opposition’s sake. Recent and past representations can be found on our website.
I do hope that I have been able to banish Mr Duncan’s ghosts of Clissold Past and Clissold Present, and that together we can all look forward happily to a Clissold Yet to Come.
on behalf of the Clissold Park Users Group
Read Alastair Duncan’s letter here.