Abney Park Users Group Meeting Notes

Notes of APUG meeting Tuesday 18th October 2016, Abney classroom

1. Present: Dermot Wynne, Liz Parr, Anne-Marie Sharman (Listria & Martaban residents’ group), Tom Simpson (LBH Abney Park Manager), Peter Cummings (Trustee), Shelagh Taylor (Chair Trustees), Victoria Down (Acorn Tourism, working towards Conservation Management Plan), Paschal Ryan (Canon of Our Lady of Good Counsel), Lorraine Tillett.

Apologies: Russell Miller, Kathryn Johnson, Alison Burgh (consultant)

2. LBH Management: TS reported to the meeting:

 Paths: Programme largely completed though still a little to do. Large groups of corporate vols involved. Generally very favourable comments from park users. Very good for eg theatre productions. Occasional need to revise camber but overall great success.

 Chapel: Work due to be finished by end of year; slight concern which may hold up a little is soakaways. Currently being resolved.
Scaffolding due to be down by end December. 85% of stone in spire is new. Very thorough job. Various concerns were voiced re use of chapel by rough sleepers (TS is ‘alarm contacted’ in case of break ins to cemetery) but overall, people were not much concerned by occasional use for sleeping. Important to build on positive. Recognised that as with Abney as a whole there were issues of conflict/difficulty with chapel but mostly important to get it working as a functional space.
TS reported that the Devt Board were planning an HLF Parks for People bid for September 2017 to be preceded by a Conservation Management Plan currently being composed. The latter is aimed at ensuring the eventual HLF bid is appropriate to our needs.
CMP to be drafted by end December and will be available for comment by cyber link and/or at a meeting.
Victoria Down, working with the consultants was keen to speak to any groups re their use/underuse of the Park and suggestions for making it more accessible in the widest sense . Please get in touch if this applies to your group etc.

 Funding Bids: LBH Abney Unearthed funding bid (for grave-search related work leading to a much more complete, publicly accessible database of burials) has been successful.

 Devt Board: LT (as APUG rep)reported back on discussions about the future plans/HLF bid. Positive progress on landscape – no longer biodiversity v heritage; much more geared to resolving the inherent contradictions of site. No clearance of trees but eg. new tree may not be planted to replace a dead one where previous vista could be enhanced by this.
Church St has considerable scope for better access as railings appear not to be originals. Front entrance to be made more welcoming. Front cobbles not original so possible to replace at least some with paving easier on the feet.
Possible re-instatement of Loddiges rose plantings. Discussion of re future uses for chapel (as part of the necessity for an economically sustainable Park within a few years) centred on making it a multi-functional space. Some suggestions so far: tour hub, music/cinema/theatre space, film location, wedding venue, yoga club. Principle is the multi-functionality. Nothing set in stone but ideas will all contribute to bid later.
Next discussion is around other buildings – APUG ideas welcome – get in touch.

3. Wilmer Place: Recent planning application: (LBH planning portal: 2016/3179); TS reported on plans: whole space not taken; 2.8- 5.2m from fence. Up to three storeys – flats at top and offices at bottom. Much smaller footprint than the supermarket but it will impact on SE area of Abney. 2008 biodiversity survey still being used. RM will be able to update new species found. Trust will very shortly produce a response which will be circulated.
There are also several associated applications re the shops on the SN High St in front of Abney if anyone is interested. If there are more than 5 objectors to any application, it has to go to Committee – otherwise can be passed formally without examination.

4. Biodiversity updates:
 Invertebrate survey: Matthew Gandy’s survey has been completed.
Results will be forwarded when published.
(http://abneypark.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=9fb66cd08ce68b407b369194a&id=d881332580&e=8640656b16 for anyone interested in further details).

5. Future Activities:
 William Hone: Noted Chartist and publisher. There will be an event to commemorate him next year, his anniversary.

 Fear in the Dark: Starts next week. Proving very successful; all tickets sold from first batch. Lots of volunteer stewards.

 Abney Winter Open Day: Saturday 10th December. LP has arranged for singing by three (or 4) local choirs at the event. Stalls as previously but if you know of any community groups or individual craftspeople etc who want one, get in touch with John B on 0207 275 7557. £10 a stall (though may be reductions in special, non-commercial, cases). APUG will have a stall selling festive food/drink. AMS – suggestion of second-hand book stall; ask for donations for this online and sort prior to event. Trust/APUG to put out Save the Date message forthwith.

 Litter-picking: Agreed 9.30 Saturday 19th November; TS will ‘map the dirty bits’! for us to check.
LT will remind him re black and recycling bags prior to event.
Agreed from early next year we will institute a regular monthly date for litter pick to see if this works. Saturday morning probably best.
Trust has ordered hi-viz vests for play, TS will order some more litter-pickers and will forward suggestions for gloves (which Trust would fund) to LT.

6. AOB :
ST reported that the Trust had been discussing possibility of signage.

 None
 Name main paths
 Exit to Church St & SN High St
 Linked to vintage tree signs
 To individual graves.

Main differences in opinion were round the pleasure of getting lost and frustration of not knowing where to get out.
General feeling tended towards minimal signage, in keeping with Abney (ie wooden/carved) and mainly showing exits at four or five locations where most people unsure. Also emphasised – the beauty of having benches for folk to rest while walking round. TS reported it’s possible to buy memorial benches at cost via the Council.

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