June 2014 ....

NEW PROPOSALS FOR IMPROVING THE PARK

Other News ...

In 2008, the Friends of Eastfield Park published a document (Proposals for the Regeneration of Eastfield Park, Northampton) which included 23 suggestions for improving the Park. The proposals were based around a zonation of the Park only slightly different from zonation maps that had been produced by Northampton Borough Council in March 2007.

During June the FoEP received many complaints about the poor level of maintenance of Eastfield Park. Grass was not being cut (or cut very poorly when it was done), fallen trees and branches were not removed from the Park and litter bins were not being emptied regularly.

We referred these issues to Councillor Mike Hallam (NBC Cabinet Member for the Environment) who took them up with Council Officers and EMS (Enterprise Management Services). EMS is responsible for the maintenance of Northampton's parks. EMS said that their staff had been unable to carry out work on the Park because of the wet weather and the waterlogged nature of the ground adding that, for this reason, Eastfield Park is the most difficult Park in the Borough to deal with. (They gave the same reason last year following similar complaints.)

The proposals were not intended to form a rigid plan for the Park’s regeneration but rather a set of ideas that would provide a basis for discussion and future planning. At the time, the document was received with great interest by some Councillors and Council Officials but the Friends were eventually informed that the proposals would have to be considered (and possibly implemented) on a piecemeal basis.

Six years on and a lot has happened in the Park. It therefore seemed sensible to revise the proposals, and the zonation plan, in the light of progress already made, public response to consultations about possible improvements, a better under-standing of the structure and use of the Park and residents’ comments and criticisms about the Park in general. The revised suggestions will be submitted to the Eastfield Park Management Committee (see last month's news) for consideration. It is to be hoped that the best ideas will find their way into the Action Plan being developed by that Committee.

Eastfield Park - Waterlogged ground
Zonation - crop

The adjacent map shows the proposed new zonation plan (click on it to see a larger version). The Spinney and the Lake are now part of the wildlife area; the Bullring has been included in the heritage area, and part of the old 'Parkland Zone' (that around the MUGA and 'monster') has been designated for play and other activities. It must be stressed that these areas are not meant to be 'exclusive' but indicate priorities for making planning decisions. A full explanation of the changes and the reasons for them can be down-loaded from our 'Downloads' page.

The FoEP and local residents know all about the waterlogged nature of much of Eastfield Park following even moderately wet weather. What we find difficult to accept is the fact that when we recently asked for S106 money to be spent on improved drainage to the Park, our request was turned down on the grounds that there would not be sufficient public benefit. The public benefit would come from contractors being able to carry out basic maintenence to the Park after a period of wet weather!

Proposed new zonation plan for Eastfield Park
WA: Wildlife Appreciation Area
HA: Heritage Appreciation Area
S&G: Sports and Games Area
P&A: Play and Activities Area

Needless to say, better drainage still figures prominently in our revised proposals for improving Eastfield Park! If it is the case that better drainage is impossible or unrealistic for any reason, there should at least be a thorough investigation followed by a report explaining why. We believe that local residents deserve this courtesy!

The review and revision of the 23 proposals is still underway but a a document showing the suggested updates and changes can be downloaded from our 'Downloads' page. The changes are all in-line with the new zonation plan and include proposals not to have car parks or buildings anywhere on the Park and not to have equipment for adventure type activities within the Spinney (in line with feedback from local residents).

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