Protect All Parks and Open Spaces
Friends' Groups met with new Head of Parks
Friends’ groups from all over London Borough of Hounslow met with new Head of Parks and Open Spaces, Stefania Horne last week. In a well-attended meeting, chaired by Linda Massey, Friends of Boston Manor Park, Stefania introduced herself and her new team. She explained that the department has to make cuts of £2.3 million in the near future and was looking to work closely with Friends’ groups to find efficiencies and to help to work out where savings could be made with least detrimental effect.
The Friends groups included representatives from Feltham Marshalling Yards in the west of the borough, to Dukes Meadows and Turnham Green in the east. It included newly created groups such as the Friends of Brent Lea Rec, which was recently set up after a threat to build a new school on a large part of the park.
Various suggestions about efficiencies were made, including greater council collaboration with the Friends’ groups, helping to facilitate their work which could in many ways supplement that of paid parks’ staff. Other suggestions included planting more sustainably which would require less maintenance. Many groups expressed frustration about the complexity of contacting the council and the various contractors, such as Carillion, Fusion and Hounslow Highways whose roles were not always clear.
The strongest message to emerge unanimously from the meeting was that Friends’ groups felt that all parks and open space were considered valuable and must not be sold off or built over.
Groups were pleased that the council had renewed dialogue with the Friends, which had been lacking for several years, and hoped that this would lead to a more efficient and collaborative way of working.
Linda Massey who has been Chairing the Hounslow Friends Forum since 2010 has said that the danger for the people of Hounslow is that if they do not care about their green space then there is a possibility it will be lost as part of the cuts and once gone it is gone. "I urge the community to take note and consider forming their own group. Carillion the land mangers also wish to encourage this email@example.com but equally the land managers and the council need to take Friends groups very seriously because working on the ground they are the voice of the people investing many volunteering hours caring for their own green space. I would be happy to field any enquiries with regard to setting up new groups within the borough."
If you are interested in creating a new group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
December 4, 2015