The Friends of Finsbury Park have their AGM this evening at 7pm in the Finsbury Park Trust Offices on Seven Sisters Road. "Everyone is welcome"
They've been given leave to appeal the outcome of their failed legal action to ban large scale events in London's parks. Sadly it seems they are still pressing ahead with their campaign to remove Finsbury Park's main source of income, send the park into decline and put a stop to events enjoyed by thousands of Londoners.
In their little post-truth echo chamber they continue to repeat concerns about damage to the park and security issues, neither of which were significant problems during last summer's events. They say the park will be just fine without the major events income, a belief which is backed by neither evidence nor common sense at a time when council services are being severely cut.
Here's Martin in a news clip on the subject. The FoFP was set up to promote the interests of the park and all of its users, but still appears to be prioritising the concerns of a handful of local residents:
I agree that it's a shame FoFP are putting all their time and money into this. An appeal won't cost as much as a first hearing (no evidence to go through etc) but it's still unlikely to get them what they want and in the meantime there are all sorts of issues with the park that would benefit from attention and cash. There has been a discussion about this on Stroudgreen.org - where the former Jamboree playhuts and greenhouse area in particular were highlighted as total wastes of what could at the very least be more usable park space and at best thriving community assets. Allowing them just to languish is damaging to the whole atmosphere of the park.
Helen, that's the thing, isn't it? They should be championing and promoting our park, celebrating achievements, encouraging interest, actively engaging with park users to seek ideas and opinions, and working with the council and other stakeholders to make positive changes.
There are a few areas of the park which need attention and investment. The area around the Stroud Green gate (next to the bike park) is continuously used as a toilet, the community garden next to it is scruffy and doesn't seem to be fulfilling its purpose, the path that cuts across the grass towards the tennis courts would benefit from being surfaced, the embankment is overgrown and littered. That whole corner needs some landscaping work to tidy things up and design out some of the issues. I don't know why the playground hasn't been reopened or incorporated back into the park. It would be good to see some progress being made on the issue of rough sleeping in the park.
The Manor House gatehouse (presumably this was originally the park keeper's cottage) is the FoFP's clubhouse but they don't host their meetings there and the only people using it seem to be the street drinkers who congregate in the garden behind it. Perhaps there is another community group who could make better use of it, or the potential to lease it out to create a useful facility.
At the FoFP meetings I've attended there's been insufficient attention on the things which would actually make a difference for everyday park users. They have a vague plan to propose a renewal of the Richard Hope Space (the hollow near the playground and cafe) but it's difficult to see how they can engage meaningfully with the council on this, particularly as they are reluctant to touch anything funded by the events. Apparently the council is planning to refurbish one of the playgrounds but no further info was forthcoming.
Annee, I don't wish to criticise the work of the community garden volunteers and I'm not familiar with the arrangements there, but if it isn't maintained to a suitable standard it's only adding to the problems in that area. Last summer it was completely overgrown with weeds until somebody came along to cut them down, and that's the only activity I've seen there while walking past.
I guess if the Rowan's redevelopment is going ahead there is little appetite to invest in improvements, but if funding can be found the garden could be refurbished to make it easier to maintain, with a new fence to keep it secure and cut off access to the corner that's used as a urinal.
It was actually yesterday - sorry for the late notice, I didn't spot it on their website until the last minute. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go but hopefully they will publish the minutes on their website.
Incidentally, I see the "everyone is welcome" link to the AGM invitation on their website is now broken...
Also a piece in the Grauniad today - https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/feb/11/publ...
Wireless festival is an abomination and definitely should not be allowed to have the park for so long!