We held a meeting in St George Community Centre on Wed 15th August 2018 to discuss the development of a Community Plan for St George and a permanent solution for toilets in St George Park. This is an opportunity for residents to work together to transform key local assets including St George Park, St George Community Centre, The Lake, Toilets, Library, community housing and more (photo, SG&R Voice).
The meeting, which was jointly organised with Cllr Asher Craig, was very well attended and there were some very constructive discussions. The meeting was attended by all of our four local Councillors, as well as our MP, Kerry McCarthy.
Below is a summary of the main issues discussed and the outcome of the meeting:
The need for a Community Plan – there are a number of community facilities in and around St George Park that need investment, there are options to raise funding through grants but there needs to be an overall plan to ensure that the different projects aren’t competing with each other – for example the library could be redeveloped as a community hub which could include a café, but is it better to create a new café building in the centre of the park with toilets and a community space similar to that at Page Park? This would be a Community Plan, it will need members of the community to lead it and to ensure it keeps moving forward.
Projects to be considered – St George Park Lake; St George Park Buildings (incl bowls / tennis pavilion); St George Park Play Area; St George Library; St George Community Centre. It would also be necessary to consider community facilities in the wider area such as Meadow Vale Community Centre and the pavilion at Dundridge Park.
Time-line – there would need to be extensive public consultation before plans could be drawn up and grants applied for. A business plan would need to be developed to ensure the long-term funding for the maintenance of any new buildings and planning permission might be required. Large grant applications are often a two stage process. It is likely to be at least three years before building could start, five years would be an ambitious target for completion.
Existing Temporary Park Toilets – Cllr Asher Craig to work with Friends of St George Park to apply for funding to extend hire until November.
Toilet provision after November – it was agreed that the best solution would be to use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding to provide toilet provision in one of the existing buildings in the centre of the park while a long-term solution was developed. The four St George Councillors (who were all at the meeting) would aim to secure this funding for this at the Area Committee meeting in September. Further work would be done led by Cllr Asher Craig to look at options for paying for the cleaning and other maintenance required for the toilets, options include low impact advertising, inclusion in the café kiosk franchise, 20p charge for use.
More information is at www.stgeorgecommunity.org.uk/network/projects/
St George Park Lake – the ideas developed by the Wildlife & Wetlands Trust for Friends of St George Park can be seen below. These are provisional plans and a more detailed report is now being produced. Any project would need to consider the long-term maintenance of both the structures and the wildlife areas.
We will be arranging a first meeting of the Community Planning Group in late September, please let us know if you would like to be added to the list of those interested in joining the group.