Central Park development proposals – May 2017Comments by Friends of Central Park Plymouth
- Tgwu wrote:
- Dear Friend of Central Park
Hopefully, you will have been able to take part in one of the consultation events on this link: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] There are more opportunities to discuss the proposed improvements with PCC officers tomorrow, Friday and Saturday.
As a group, we plan to respond to the consultation questionnaire at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] with general comments and the draft response is attached for information. You can see that many of the questions can only be answered by individuals so please take the time to do that. You might find it helpful to refer to the points made in the group’s response, especially if you particularly agree or disagree with any of them.
The Friends of Central Park Plymouth (FoCPP) fully agree the need for capital improvements and support the proposals in general terms. However, several important aspects require further development and our comments are intended to assist with this. Our overall aims are to increase:
1. The physical attractiveness of the park.
2. The numbers of people using the park on a regular basis.
3. Its sustainability, through ease of maintenance and the re-application of funds raised through park usage.
Do you have any comments on general improvements you would like to see?
Water features and drainage
Existing drainage installations deprive the park of a key resource – surface water – whilst groundwater issues are largely uncontained. The introduction of new water features to include a lake at Barn Park and a stream through the Valley will be extremely important as they will:
· Strengthen its ecology with new wildlife arriving.
· Enhance its amenity value and make it even more attractive for visitors.
· Provide a recreational resource with the potential for new enterprises.
Groundwater issues and water run-offs should be led in surface courses into the existing sewer under Pennycomequick and Victoria Park, and discharge into Stonehouse Creek. However, we understand that there may be concerns about the risks of:
· Polluted water entering the sea.
· Overloading the sewer after rain and at high tides.
· Flooding on Central Park Avenue should collection arrangements become blocked.
The Hydrology and Drainage Study should address each of these risks and propose measures for making them acceptable. It should also establish the attenuation volumes required to minimise flood risk and the storage volumes required to maintain a minimum flow in the valley stream.
Signage can be introduced progressively if there is an overall plan. Finger posts are least likely to attract graffiti and they should be metal rather than recycled plastic which burns. The style in the City Centre would be quite attractive if adapted for a parkland setting and there are good examples of this in other parks. Unfortunately, experience indicates that, unless very well sited, maps and interpretation boards can quickly become damaged or defaced.
Improvements should go wider than just re-surfacing and issues like junction alignments, drainage and lighting should also be addressed. Granite-sett gutters will need particular attention.
Boundaries and the quality of vegetation and trees
Much could be done to improve boundaries and the quality of vegetation and trees by developing and implementing a management plan.
Do you have any comments on the location of the café?
We have carefully considered the proposed location of the café and, on balance, believe that it would be better sited near the position shown in the 2013 Masterplan.
Locating the café next to the Clock Tower roundabout will bring the following issues:
· Its main users will be those who already pass on their way to or from the Life Centre, playground and PAFC. It will not encourage people further into the park and may not attract new user groups.
· Passing trade is likely to influence the customer offer with snacks predominating as with the Life Centre and Golf Hut currently. There could be three outlets within 300 metres all with similar food offers.
· It will not be possible to run the Golf Course from this distance so the opportunity to consolidate facilities will be lost.
· There is already congestion around the clock tower when the fair and circus are on the Events Field – perhaps for six weeks every year – and a café will further reduce the available space.
· There will be issues about hot-dog stalls, etc, competing with the café when the Events Field is being used for events.
· The new toilets, whilst welcome, will be fairly close to the Life Centre toilets and hardly convenient for people on the sports plateau or in the Valley.
The Friends of Central Park Plymouth would prefer to see the new café situated close to the Golf Course hedge and between Mayflower Drive and the playground. In this position, it should provide:
· Synergy between the café, golf and sports facilities and the playground.
· A destination in its own right.
· Greater reason for a different food offer.
· Less conflict when the Event Field is in use.
· Unscreened views across the golf course.
· Better provision for service vehicles, waste bins, etc (see comments on Community Sports Hub).
Do you have any other comments on this section (about the café)?
Sloping ground presents an opportunity to include a kiosk and take-away counter underneath the main café and its terrace, which would be slightly raised. Such an under-storey would lend character to the building, especially if it were faced with limestone, and it could work to enhance security.
The café terrace should be part-covered to provide shelter and have sections for families with children and for dog walkers.
Toilets should be off the main entrance lobby so people using them do not need to go through the café.
There should be internal wall space to display Central Park information and pictures.
Do you have any comments on the concept (of a Community Sports Hub)?
The internal layout and use of space needs to be discussed with stakeholders. A second, larger clubroom overlooking the tennis courts will be an important addition to:
· Accommodate different sports teams at the same time.
· Provide a room that will be large enough to use for indoor fitness/ dance classes such as Pilates, mother and toddler, etc, as there are few suitable venues currently.
· Provide a good frontage on the building’s rear elevation.
It will be essential to have a designated Facility Operator who will be responsible for cleanliness and upkeep of the building. This could be the Café, Life Centre or Golf Operators, or a PCC officer or a staff member in one of the user groups. There needs to be a charging regime based on forecast usage and assessed costs, whilst taking account of users’ ability to pay.
It should be possible to have a system whereby registered users can make bookings on-line. With electronic access controls, the Facility Operator would not always need to meet users at the start and end of their sessions.
The area to the south of the building should be screened by hedges and used as hard-standing for service vehicles and other support functions. This should minimise unsightly clutter around the café.
Staff and volunteers working in the park require access to water for plants. There should be rain collection and a metered water supply provided for the purpose.
The new paths behind the Bowling Pavilion should run closer to existing desire lines. This may require slight changes to the plan positions of the tennis courts and junior football pitch. Levels across the infilled area also need to be adjusted in ways that will improve the landscape and its usability.
Do you have any other comments on this section (about the play area)?
It is unclear why all the existing equipment has to be replaced. It would seem possible to keep what is there already and to link it with the wider playable landscape.
Do you have any comments on the proposal of the skate area?
We don’t have the knowledge to comment on the skate park improvements but know the facility is well used and improvements are wanted.