by adelemorris on 24 June, 2015
Southwark’s Parks Department has recently completed what turns out to be “phase one” of the works to improve Mint St Park. Trouble is, the local residents don’t see it as an improvement! Plans to increase the size of the park by incorporating and greening two dead end roads have backfired – instead creating a continuous path through the park that encourages cyclists and motorcyclists to ride through the park when they did not do so before. In addition, the removal of a wall alongside the busy Southwark Bridge Rd has created a potential hazard for children and dogs, who can now run straight out onto the road.
The most frustrating part of this is that the park has had consultation upon consultation over many years, and a local steering group agreed the final plans. Yet when changes were made they were neither consulted nor notified. A meeting with angry residents two weeks ago led to me writing this letter to the parks department:
Re: Mint Street Park Improvement Works
Last night I attended a meeting with a large group of residents who live in the area immediately surrounding Mint St Park, who are not happy with the recent works that have been carried out by the Council. There is an overriding concern that what has been delivered is not what was approved by the planning department in May 2014 and, more importantly, that the changes have been made without further consultation with local residents. Mint Street Park has had a steering group of local residents and stakeholders for at least the last 10 years, and the wider community have been actively involved in numerous public consultations during that time.
I am disappointed with the responses that we have received from both Deborah McKenzie and yourself to our complaints so far. I thought it was extraordinary that Deborah’s idea of “positive feedback” was to direct us to this comment on the SE1 website, which only mentions the park improvement in passing amongst the negative comments about the street drinkers:
“Has anyone else seen a large upswing in the amount of drinkers & rough sleepers in Mint Street Park? I don’t want to undermine the great work that St. Mungo’s does but I have noticed since it re-opened there are a lot more guys drinking in Mint Street (and even yesterday they had erected a tent!) The council has done a great job smartening up the park however I am not feeling safe on my own heading in there again. I have mentioned it to the community support officer but is there anything else that can be done?”
I will set out the main concerns below, starting with those which we consider to be in the most urgent need of attention:
Please could you answer the following questions on the design changes:
Other issues that have been raised:
I would like to arrange a walkabout with you in the next couple of weeks so that we can show you exactly where these issues are and how they impact on the park.
I look forward to your speedy response – particularly to the safety issues, and to set a date for the walkabout.
Councillor Adele Morris
I will publish their response in my next blog.
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