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Burgess Park Redevelopment - what do SE1ers want?

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Monday 17 August 2009 8.16am
People might be aware that Burgess Park has just recieved 6m from the Mayor and Aylesbury New Deal for the first stage of its redevelopment.

At 50 hectares Burgess Park is the largest park in the area. For those who dont know it lies on the border of SE1 on the opposite side of the Old Kent Road to the large Tesco's at Dunton Road.

Burgess is well used by locals but is not known across London or even probably to many in SE1. It can come across as rather scruffy mainly because it was formed by reclaiming old industrial sites as they became vacant and still shows a legacy of old access roads. On the other side this gives it a unique historical character and elements such as the old Surrey Canal path (and remaining bridge!). It also has great sporting facilties with new cricket, rugby, football (artificial and grass) and tennis pitches plus a large fishing lake and a good cafe and gardens.

The Council have already shortlisted five bids for the work - which includes the masterplan for developing the Park in the longer term - and will soon whittle this down to two. Public consultation will take place in September with a final design being chosen in October. All the bid documents can be found at

To put my cards on the table, I am a member of Friends of Burgess Park and with many others campaigned for this money. However, I have grave misgivings about the approach the Council is taken which seems more focused on landscaping the Park than with improving how people can use it.

It would be great to get others views on the park. SE1ers probably represent the largest untapped local user group for Burgess Park. This process will set the direction of Burgess Park for the next decade and so it is important that everyone who is interested makes their views felt on what they would like to see in the redevelopment, attend the consultations and/or contact the project manager Ruth Miller

Monday 17 August 2009 9.18am
It would be nice if they could have a paddling pool for small children and a crazy golf thingy. There is not much outdoor activity for small children in Southwark.
Aand to ensure the paddling pool is covered up when not in use.
Monday 17 August 2009 2.18pm
Yes, a really good adventure playground such as the one in Battersea Park (which has gone off a bit by the way) would be good - with some things which are challenging enough for the over six's. And indeed a water fun area, although I dont know how Health and Safety would view that. Otherwise, good shady picnic spots, plenty of rubbish's a great park.
Monday 17 August 2009 6.23pm
Bring back the canal to Peckham and The Thames with a free boat service up and down. Lovely.
Monday 17 August 2009 6.51pm
That would be nice, Merlin but a bit pricey.
How much would a lido cost?

Personally, I'd like a rose garden. They remind me of my parents. It could be social too. I regularly share a bottle of wine with a friend in Leathermarket Gardens, amongst the roses, though if it's designed to be for people to fit it would be better. It could be built on tiers with the rose-beds kind of forming booths of lawn. One, two or three sides could be higher and have benches and climbing roses. It doesn't have to look like a Victorian one. It could be modern.

NickM, have you posted on Camberwell Community Forum? What about seeing if Peckham Vision could put something up asking for suggestions?
Monday 17 August 2009 11.36pm
OK by posting again I think I have officially just become the SE1 over-poster but...

If Whites Grounds skate park was asked for by local kids and there are people happy to volunteer to maintain it then isn't it a obvious candidate? Looks good too.
Tuesday 18 August 2009 10.21pm
I always enjoy taking the longer scenic route through Burgess Park when Im cycling nearly on the way and amongst other things the park needs massively improved cycle tracks. I do like Burgess Park and it has sooo much potential. Hope the 6 million gets well spent. Are there going to be any public consultations?
Tuesday 18 August 2009 10.44pm

Very much needed in this area and very much in demand and so very now.

Burgess Park is huge and there are loads of areas that have been left to go wild which dont necessarily have to be relandscaped why not allocate some areas to allotments?

I for one would be very very happy to be able to grow more than I can on my plant crammed balcony and flat.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 9.40am
Allotments would be great but i suspect the funding route would mean they would have to be "community gardens" and therefore restricted to school groups or similar. IF that were the case I'd prefer to see a city farm type

On the whole though, I think the park would be hugely improved by simply improving the legibility of the entrance points to the park and crossings linking them to the surrounding neighbourhoods before any "councillor-friendly legacy-landmarks" get put in.

I despair of publically funded projects being used to political ends. Sadly, although many small interventions would be a better use o the money these projects tend to get sucked into single big 'events' that don't adequately distribute the benefit to the whole. Its a different scale but for the price of the Millenium Dome we could have buried all overhead power cables across the country. I know which legacy I would have preferred but thats not the way politics works.

I am of course a jaded cynic and will be first to concede my humble pie when its all marvelous and we end up with the Hyde Park of South London...
Wednesday 19 August 2009 12.05pm
There will be new consultations in September once they have chosen the final 2 candidates - I will post the dates up as soon as they come through. I was also going to post up on the Camberwell forum as I haven't seen any discussion there yet. If others can spread the word onto other sites that would be great.

Comments can also be made via the Burgess Park Fan page on Facebook...I think the Council staff actually do read this.

Current Council plans seem to focus mainly on better paths, entrances and boundaries - all important but with little additional cash likely to come in the next decade given the financial crunch it would be good to have money to support what people actually do in the park as well as making in prettier.

Ideas kicking around include a local BMX group moving in to a specialised track - they are nationally ranked and have outgrown their current base. Also a lot of demand for an adventure playground for older kids - a new toddlers playground is currently being built at Chumleigh gardens. Not sure if BMX track planned is the kind that could also serve as a skate park.

Wierdly enough despite hosting the London Latin Amercian league none of the football pitches in Burgess Park - except for the artifical pitch - is actually managed by the Council. So some proper pitches annd changing rooms would be good additions.

My fantasy investment would be to have a Lido as this would be a great draw to the Park, but probably not within the budget this time....
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