Discussion of the report and Management Plan (ENCLOSURES)
Dominic Aslangul, Assistant Parks Manager, briefly introduced the Draft Cheam Park Management Plan that was out for public consultation. The Draft Plan had been circulated with the agenda and comments were invited. The Plan would be reviewed annually to ensure current need and good practice. The Council was aiming to achieve Green Flag status for Cheam Park in 2008.
Various issues were raised during the discussion in which Alan Hyslop, Chair of Friends of Cheam Park and Brendan Williams, head of Cheam Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) participated. One issue was the locking of the Park gates at night. It was established that the gates were being locked, and this was included in the Plan, but people would always be able to get into the Park from the Cheam Village side.
Another issue was the condition and use of buildings in the Park/Recreation Ground. The Lodge had been the subject of updates to the former Cheam and Worcester Park Area Committee. The Police were still interested in using The Lodge as a base for the Cheam SNT; the main stumbling block had been funding the refurbishment although the Council had made some provision in its budget. Mark Dalzell, Parks Manager, said that the old stable block was currently not a listed building and it was rarely used by the Parks Division. The Council was trying to raise some money to carry out improvements. Its use as a wildlife centre for children was suggested by one member.
There was discussion of use of the depot, Mr Hyslop suggesting that the large area of hard standing at the rear of the depot could be used as public space, perhaps as a cycle track. An issue relating to the storage of materials was clarified. The Chair invited Mrs Coker, local resident and parent, to address the Committee. Mrs Coker outlined her idea that an area within a local park could be given over to a BMX bike track. In some areas there was a shortage of facilities for young people and a secure area for them to gather and ride their bikes would be welcome; Cheam Park might be ideal. In asking for help and support with the opening of a BMX track, Mrs Coker said she would be willing to run it. The Committee welcomed this idea and the Chair suggested that Mrs Coker might like to join Friends of Cheam Park. Mark Dalzell said that the Council would be willing to help, starting with acknowledgement of the idea in the Park’s Management Plan.
Mr Connolly, local resident, asked about the toilet block on the Ewell Road/Park Lane corner that had been closed, and the toilets in the pavilion in the centre of the Park that were open but in a very poor condition. Mr Hyslop had also mentioned the pavilion and had felt that its use by local football teams as a changing facility had gone down due to its poor state. Officers said that this was a difficult issue to resolve; toilets without an attendant attracted anti-social behaviour and refurbishment was extremely costly. However the provision of toilet facilities was part of the Management Plan and the Council would see what it could do to improve the situation.
Resolved: (i) That the Draft Management Plan be accepted subject to the inclusion of consistent information relating to opening/closing of park gates and public toilets, the other points noted, and listing Thames Water as a partner;
(ii) To thank the residents, officers and members for their contributions.