As part of ongoing research into the Deptford Mazi zone, we have begun conversations with Friends of Brookmill Park and hope to hold meet-ups there in coming months. Their slice of green starts as Brookmill Park by Elverson Road and ends as Broadway Fields by Deptford Bridge with the DLR running alongside.
The friends group was activated in 2015 to liaise with Glendale services management and co-ordinate communicate park activities, eg. nature watch and clean-ups of the Ravensbourne river that runs through the park and into the creek. During a recent low tide walk with Creekside Education Trust we heard how old trolleys and carpets provide ideal micro environments to shelter young fish down stream! So, how much cleaning should be done?
The park is a mixture of natural and gardened areas, pathways and trees all need maintenance. There is a genuine sense of ‘getting things done’ as the group work with the park visitors and keepers, new bins on the way apparently and funding is available to refurbish the play area. Regular bat walks and dawn chorus sessions are proving very popular and bird boxes have been installed recently. Redstart Arts soon begin workshops at the park keepers lodge and there is also picnic planned for the Saturday 25th June, please bring chairs, marquees and facepaint.
The Steven Lawrence Trust building is situated between Brookmill Park and Broadway Fields. It was built in 2008 on the site of a Thames Water pumping works which restricted the footprint of the new building of two sections with a 1st floor linking bridge between. During our visit, Larwood showed us around the internal spaces and talked about it’s regular users and tenants. There are several well serviced areas for meetings, workshops and social events overlooking the creek.
The trust faces considerable challenges to cover operational overheads and development of a public program. As a consequence, several small companies currently rent the work spaces available throughout the building. We heard about ‘IT-house‘ who offer technical support for the trust and a game design and software development company Playback Interactive. Radio project Mi-Soul occupy the annex building connected by elevated walkway.
The river passes alongside in a narrow channel here, which is bridged with two unused concrete walkways. The tangle of manufactured and organic rubbish found downstream is not washed in by tide, or the result of local dumping but gets dragged along by river surges carrying fish, fauna and shopping trolleys from Lewisham and beyond. A small footbridge leads over to the basketball courts and open space of Broadway fields, where kids can skate and play together. More images here
The area is subject to more than one Section 106 or Community Infrastructure Levy*. These legal agreements between local authorities and developers, link planning permissions to planning obligations for environmental development and social improvements. For example, a new residential development can place extra pressure on the social, physical and economic infrastructure which already exists in a certain area. A planning obligation will aim to balance the pressure created by the new development with improvements to the surrounding area ensuring that where possible the development would make a positive contribution to the local area and community. There are many such agreements in place in Greenwich and Lewisham as a result of planning permissions and building projects along the creek, but perhaps more could be done locally to track and evaluate.
See you at the picnic!