Soon after I was elected in 2018 a group of residents contacted me about the state of the park. The previous Larkswood Team had already arranged for a ZipWire to be installed, the pond to be cleaned and for flowers to be replanted at the entrance with the help of The South Chingford Gardening Group. But the Park itself wasn’t always in the greatest condition, rubbish was left uncollected, the CCTV was not working and the Tennis Courts were in a state of disrepair.
I attended a meeting with the Parks Team and my colleague Cllr Berg; we were told there was no money in the budget to improve our parks. So I started a petition for Memorial Park and signatures were quickly collected with the support of a few local residents, the South Chingford Library and local shops like Oh My Coffee Shop. And we also ran a digital petition which meant we were able to collect over 300 signatures in total.
In doing this petition, I soon learnt that our park in Larkswood was a ‘Premier Park” and therefore I wrote to the Council questioning this, as our park certainly did not look like a premier park. I was told the same thing, there was no money to invest in Memorial Park. I was, however, able to get our security camera fixed.
After undertaking a ward walk with my colleagues and Council Officers (including the Chief Executive) a series of improvements were made:
The fences between the tennis courts were fixed. See petitions do work!
New shutters have been installed on the outbuildings, reducing the risk of anti-social behaviour. Derelict garages were also knocked down and removed.
The Council made a decision to expand the burial grounds at the South Chingford Cemetry, this resulted in a large number of trees being cut down, whilst some were diseased, others were not. I for one was not happy about the number of trees felled but understood why it needed to have been done. We decided to rescue some trunks and do feature carvings for Memorial Park.
I also had a meeting with the Parks Team and a member of the Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Group to discuss the wild meadow area, which was not blooming as expected. At the meeting, we came up with the idea of a storytelling area having already discussed a few ideas for wood carvings for the main section of the park. The logic was to make good use out of the space without spoiling the meadow effect.
I am pleased to say work has started on the wood carvings, here is the first carving #Bookworm
And the Wild Meadow area has been re-seeded.
Things are looking up! Watch this space for more news on the wood carvings (funded by #LarkswoodWard Funding)