Apologies for Absence
Erica Oulton, Alan Hodgson, Dennis Sheppard
Minutes of Meeting on 16th May 2019
Review of Event on 6th July 2019
Considered to be very successful. Around 120 people estimated attendance with new faces and families from the west side of St Dunstan’s Hill. The atmosphere was very relaxed and welcoming. Donations amounted to £129.80. The weather was dry but not too hot, ideal really. Thanks to all who helped and especially Claudia Rayner who ran the craft stall for children.
Planning Event for 2020.
TW said that the public liability insurance expiry date should be no longer an issue. Our current insurance with Zurich was a recently updated package for charities and community groups at a lower cost than before at £99.31 incl. tax. On the telephone Zurich said the insurance should be continuous to cover our gardening work, which should have a risk assessment. The cost of the insurance is covered by a grant from the Council along with other event costs.
The event date was agreed as 4th July 2020, before most people go on holiday.
RO suggested that a note describing the use of the donations (towards more plants and park improvements) would provide more clarity and may increase the total contributions. There is no entry fee and this is a condition for receiving grants.
MS said that it was all about community. The transport police had shown an interest and she would invite them.
People Camping in Quarry Park
People had been camping in Quarry Park, making it unpleasant for others on two particular occasions. In early August people had been camping in Quarry Park and leaving bottles, rubbish and excrement and toilet paper in the central grassed area. Following emails from our Chair, Margaret Sheppard, our Council Parks Officer contacted the Police and arranged clearance, carried out by the park’s contractor, IDVerde. There is a procedure whereby charities for homeless people are contacted before the Police move people on so there can be a time delay. We were grateful to our Parks Officer for her actions in dealing with the situation and to the IDVerde man who carried out some unpleasant clearing up. In early September more campers arrived, lighting charcoal burners under the trees at the Quarry Park Road end. Again this was reported and on the afternoon of 5th September 4 policemen attended and gave the latest campers 2 hours to move on, the Police said they would check later. In the morning they had gone but the waste bins were full, with other items to clear. At the request of our Chair to our Council parks officer contact there was prompt clearance of the rubbish and also some bags of green waste from recent gardening work by Allan Druce. We were grateful to the Safer Neighbourhood Team, our Council contact and IDVerde for their actions and our Chair conveyed that. It was seen that very few people visited Quarry Park during this period. We understand that this problem has been occurring in other parks.
MB noted that MS had taken the brunt of much work on these problems and where possible to share with him and TW.
Work in the Park
AD was thanked for his continued his regular work to keep the park in good condition. Further work sessions were agreed for Saturdays, from 10am on 19th October and 9th November. As usual if you can make a different time over the weekend/Monday please email TW.
The wildflower area had produced flowers from June onwards. Kew Gardens, who had supplied the seeds, had given options for maintenance. ‘Cut and drop’ would be adopted in the autumn as it was intended to be a wild area.
Quarry Park was included in the London in Bloom visit to the borough’s parks; MS and TW met the judges. They looked at the new wildflower area, and the displays of roses and other plants. They advised that the lily seeds were poisonous. They were complimentary about the Friends’ efforts. In addition to awards for its major parks Sutton received a Silver Gilt in the City category. Community involvement is one of the factors which the judges consider to be important.
TW had produced a draft risk assessment for the Friends’ work in the park, which did not include using mechanical equipment. Comments were made – add eye protection where needed, cover manual handling and keeping a First Aid Kit. TW to update and issue.
MS noted that there was growth through the railings in several areas that needed trimming back. She would request Valeria Carli, our Council parks contact, to have this done.
Our application for a Public Realm grant for planting had been agreed and the money had been paid into the QPF bank account. It was planned to plant in the autumn, a suitable time for most plants, and when the soil was no longer dry.
It was agreed to continue with purchasing David Austin bare root roses, which had been a good quality. 3 orange (Lady Emma Hamilton), 3 yellow (Golden Celebration) bush roses were chosen plus 3 dark red (Munstead Wood).
The other proposed plants were reviewed and agreed. AD suggested some climbing roses at the back of the space on the north side on the fence to 2 Quarry Rise garden. TW to order the plants.
The Council had asked if we would like some bulbs for planting this autumn and we had requested 100 daffodils and 100 crocus.
Sutton Local Committee
MS reported from the meeting on 12th September. There was a presentation by the Head of Waste and Street Cleansing. The Council’s contractor includes sweeping TfL roads, traffic islands and pavements. Recycling was 50%. Veolia performance data yet to be published.
The Sutton Heritage Action Zone week was 16-22 Sept with a number of events and exhibitions.
MS had submitted a written question concerning camping in parks. The question and reply are as follows: –
What is the Council’s strategy for dealing with people sleeping in tents in the parks, drinking alcohol, lighting BBQs and toileting on grass and footpath areas?
Reply by Chris Lyons, Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Mark Dalzell, Neighbourhood Services
Sutton Council has a Public Space Protection Order in place (Previously known as ‘Designated Public Place’ or ‘Controlled Drinking Zone’).
In total 65 areas of Sutton are covered by the order which are mainly parks, open spaces and district centres. There is a link on the Sutton Council website to the PSPO order in effect; the document also contains a borough map which highlights all areas covered by the order.
Within these areas the consumption of alcohol is not prohibited however it gives the police officers discretionary powers to require a person to stop drinking and confiscate alcohol or containers of alcohol in public places. Failure to comply with the restrictions in place result in arrest and/or a fine of up to £500.
We have suffered instances where PSPO signs have been subject to vandalism or removal and a further 20 new signs have been ordered to be located around the borough. If councillors are aware of an area which may benefit from additional signage please let firstname.lastname@example.org know the exact location and we can look to get some more up on display.
In addition the Parks Team passes reports about rough sleepers to the Safer Parks Team for investigation and site visits. When contact is made with those on site the Council passes details onto Spear, an outreach organisation that is commissioned by the Council to assess, support and guide rough sleepers into alternative accommodation and other support groups.
The service appreciates that other parks visitors may find it distressing or annoying when the parks are used in this way. However there are often complex reasons for people to be rough sleeping and as vulnerable residents a sympathetic and supportive response is thought to provide the best long term solution.
MS advised that there had been no meetings. She had attended a meeting at Yourspace but the Police did not turn up.
Any Other Business
TW ran through proposed comments on the Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Strategy draft issued for consultation. Post meeting : – QPF response is attached.
TW to send the updated cash sheet to RO who is shadowing the Treasurer role.
7:00pm, Thursday 16th January 2020