January 2016 ....

State of the Park

Vic Smith (Chair of the FoEP and the Eastfield Park Management Committee) and Kevin Skerry (NBC Park Ranger for Eastfield Park) recently carried out a detailed inspection of the Park. Dangerous and urgent issues were reported immediately but the general information collected will form the core of a report to the Management Committee about the state of the Park.

Unsurprisingly, in view of the wet and windy weather experienced across the country this winter, much of the park is waterlogged with the usual puddles of standing water especially around the eastern end of the Lake. Trees have been damaged and some very large branches have been brought down.

In the past the FoEP has called for improved drainage in the Park but NBC has argued that this would not be cost-effective. It now seems likely that any improvements to the Park's drainage could increase the risk of flooding in residential areas lower down the Walbeck basin. A soggy Park may be something we have to put up with. This is one of the reasons why the FoEP is suggesting the construction of all-weather paths.

Storm damage to trees could, however, be reduced if trees received better maintenance throughout the year. It is now well over a year since dead trees were marked for felling. This was prevented last spring by the need to protect nesting birds and then later in the year by unfavourable weather conditions. The matter is now becoming urgent especially for people who have gardens bordering the Park. Of course, the FoEP does not want to see all dead trees cut down; some provide valuable nesting sites for birds and habitats for a variety of invertebrates. For one particular tree, we have asked that only the upper branches are removed to make it safe, while keeping the trunk and lower branches available for nesting woodpeckers.

Click on pictures for larger view with caption

Bin in Lake comp
Dog bin by Lake comp
Sign comp
Path by Lake comp

There is a certain amount of fair wear and tear to facilities within the Park but most of the damage to structures is caused by deliberate anti-social acts, ranging from minor incidents of scrawls and scribbles on seats to the deliberate destruction of facilities such as dog and litter bins. Last year the seat by the lake outfall was tipped into the water and this year the same has been done to the adjacent litter bin. One of the near-by dog bins has had the lid completely destroyed by vandals and a new sign prohibit-ing swimming and boating was put up by the Council was damaged within one week.

The damage done to Mallard Walk where it passes the Lake is a different matter. This section of the path was not constructed to the same standard as the rest of the path because the ground here was considered sufficiently firm for the path not to require a strong foundation. However, Enterprise vehicles drive along the path to empty the bins and this, coupled with this year's very wet weather has produced deep ruts and boggy pools along the path.

Eastfield Lake is surely the 'jewel in the crown' of Eastfield Park; the trouble with crown jewels, though, is that they can attract undesirable attention! An NBC officer has already suggested that when the litter bin is recovered it should not be returned to its original site, yet the FoEP wants every seat in the Park to have a litter bin alongside it. The Park Ranger has commented that almost all the trouble in Eastfield Park occurs close to the seat by the lake outfall. Perhaps the best solution is to move both seat and litter bin elsewhere!

Other News ....

Public Consultation : New Pathways

January to March 2016

Consultation about possible new all-weather pathways will continue throughout February and March. A questionnaire with information about suggested routes can be downloaded from this site by clicking the top button below. Details about how to submit completed questionnaies are on the form. Aternatively, a SurveyMonkey questionnaire can be completed on line by clicking the lower link button.

Number of Patrols: Fifteen
Dog Issues: Good number of walkers; fouling seemed to be at a static level.
Littering Issues: Medium level with bin capacity not exceeded.
Graffiti Incidents: One incident with sexual implications removed - 25th Jan 2016.
Vehicle on the Park Incidents: None reported to me this month.
Anti-Social Behaviour: Continued signs of alcohol consumption. Two incidents of Anti- Social Behaviour with a litter bin and concrete base thrown into the lake and a new 'No Swimming' sign interfered with.
Length of Grass: Acceptable, in view of the wet underfoot conditions.

State of all litter and dog bins checked in Park Inspection carried out by Vic Smith and myself. All bins functional apart from one with burnt out lid.
January has been a fairly quiet month on Eastfield Park with the heavy rain over the month undoubtedly playing a part in keeping many people away.
Patrols slightly down over the month.
Dog owners are very largely picking up their dogs mess, levels of walkers down possibly as a result of very wet underfoot conditions.
Owners who fail to pick up their animals mess will be dealt with by the Ranger when witnessed. I am continuing to carryout spot checks on dog walkers and asking individuals if they have dog bags on them. This challenging process hopefully will encourage people to carry bags at all times.

Eastfield Park Ranger's Report

January 2016

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