The Revivify Manor Park Project – Phase II The new playground
The planning is over, now the hardwork really begins….
Almost a year ago we started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to hire a team of landscape architects to create a 5 year masterplan for Manor Park. You, the local community, were amazing. Over 120 of you backed our campaign. We also had support from the Mayor of London, local councillors, the Shiraz Mirza Trust and local business. We raised £26,000 in a matter of weeks.
You told us you wanted something more ambitious from our park, some of you wanted a café, better paths, a better playground, better facilities, better security, better natural spaces and the list went on. Basically you want more from your park.
We hired a company called Outerspace back in May. They set about consulting the local community, interviewing stakeholders, visiting local schools, running workshops. They surveyed the park and highlighted the problem areas and the opportunities.
Manor Park is the 2nd largest park in Kingston at over 25 acres. It has a mixture of sports facilities and natural spaces, along with a collection of tired buildings. It offers the community huge potential.
- The park lacked a sense of arrival – it’s rather invisible from the road – this means less people use the park – it can feel closed off and remote.
- It’s chopped in half by the current playground – a lot of people never enter the rear of the park.
- The back meadow area is too enclosed – some residents feel intimidated to use this part of the park.
- The woodland areas need better management.
- There are insufficient paths to support a truly accessible park.
- Certain areas of the park become boggy in winter.
- The playground is a second choice to other local parks.
- The toilets are awful.
- The park lacks a heart – there is a hall, but for many of the local community it simply stands there as an austere looking building with grills on the windows, where there should be a vibrant community hub.
- The sports facilities need upgrading.
- The park needs to feel safe and less intimidating.
You can find Outerspace’s full findings and design recommendations in this linked Masterplan Document
An ambitious vision
Outerspace took all this onboard and have delivered an ambitious plan for the Park. This plan includes a new heart for the park. A remodelled exterior for the hall with a deck and a pop-up café space. The old playground will go, and be replaced with a new playground to wrapped around the hall, with an infant area, and an older children’s adventure play space. We’ll open the park up by creating new sight lines. A new pedestrian entrance facing South Lane will welcome residents. We’ll create sight lines into the rear meadow to make this space feel less intimidating. The plan includes a network of paths to support walking, cycling, exercise and exploring. Around the Bowls club will be a circular path running through a sensory planted place at the front and a wetland area at the back (this area is currently very boggy in winter, so we’re just working with what we have).
You can view the full set of plans here – follow this link.Manor Park – Landscape Masterplans
So we have a plan, what now?
The plan is there as an ‘ambition’ to be delivered over the next few years, in phases. So not to set your expectations too high, it isn’t going to happen overnight. And we need the support of the community to make it happen. This is YOUR park, it belongs to the local community. In the immediate term we are working on Phase 2 of the Revivify Manor Park Project – a plan to deliver the new playground.
Phase II – The playground and community hub area
The above image shows the community hub element to the park. An older kids adventure play space to the left, a playful green, cafe and deck outside the hall, and an infants play space to the right.
We’ve discovered playgrounds that don’t come cheap, but that’s not putting us off. From the submitted quotes, this type of playground, one that makes Manor Park a strong draw for our local children and families, will cost £250-300,000. This figure includes decommissioning the old playground, new equipment, installation, new surfaces, fencing and seating.
How will we raise these funds?
Firstly, Kingston Council have a budget of £140,000 already allocated, and secondly; we’re waiting on a contribution of £50,000 from Fulham Football Club triggered by planning permission and start of construction of their new 1st team facilities at the old BBC sports ground. So these two funding elements get us a long way to our £300,000 target.
Crowdfund London – here we go again – £50,000
We therefore need to raise a further £110,000. That’s where you come in. We will be kicking off a new crowdfund campaign with the GLA and Mayor of London in January as part of Crowdfund London. We’re going for the maximum we can raise, which is £50,000. All the local community (including local businesses) has to do is raise £12,500. Once this is achieved the Mayor of London will top this up to £50,000. Together with Kingston Council, we will then look at other grants and match-funding opportunities to make up the final shortfall.
We need your help again. Drop us a line if you’d like to join the fundraising team email@example.com. When the campaign goes live in January we really need everyone to make a contribution regardless of size. It’s essential that we show we have broad community support. Fiona Sowell, one of our Friends Committee team will be leading this activity, as indeed she did with our last fundraising campaign.
You may have noticed that the hall figures high on our plans, as it forms the heart of the park and this new community hub. We’re having conversations with the Shiraz Mirza Trust about the future of the hall. They like the plans you see here. The deck, café, playground, and playful grassy area. All adding to the hall experience, as much as they do the park experience.
The Trust were just about to extend their lease for a further 20 years, it runs out in 4 years. Together with Cllr Simon Edwards, we asked Cllr Liz Green, the council leader, whether this process could be paused, so we could do two things. Firstly, find out what the aspirations of the local community are for the hall, and secondly, to ‘explore’ a more ambitious vision for the hall as a community centre, which might include more facilities – possibly a café, soft play, function space, better toilets, music practice rooms, a youth club, a room for our local ward police team – a true community hub. The halls offer huge potential.
The park as part of a liveable neighbourhood
You may have heard that the council, with the help of Sustrans, is applying to the GLA for a Liveable Neighbourhood grant. A destination playground and a re-imagining of the hall fits nicely into that bid. The park sits in the centre of the bid area, and a liveable neighbourhood is characterised as a place where you are within a 20 minute walk of all the facilities you use. Having a community hub here supports our ambition to be a liveable neighbourhood. Think how nice it will be to go the park, have access to a lovely café with clean toilets, watch your kids play, read the paper, attend a class.
We will be doing community consultations to find out your views – more on this soon.
We need your help and support
If you’d like to support the work of Friends of Manor Park please do get in touch. There’s only a very small handful of us and we really need more help to spread the load and get more firstname.lastname@example.org
ARCHIVED CONTENT – Below is the project update we published on the 22nd July
***** Project update 28th July following AGM on 22nd July *******
On Monday 22nd July at the Friends of Manor Park AGM, Outerspace, the landscape architects commissioned to consult the community and create a long-term master-plan for Manor Park, presented the new proposals that are currently under development. These plans are based on consulting the local community – using existing survey data, a new survey, workshops at schools, a public workshop in May, interviews with stakeholders, other data sources, along with the general expertise that these landscape architects bring to bear.
The plans that were shown at the meeting are available on the this link in PDF format Manor Park Landscape proposals Landscape Proposals July 2019.
Once you’ve looked at the plans, we’d love to know what you think – good and bad. There’s a short survey we’d love you to fill in – here.
Next steps? We’re digesting these plans, general reaction from the community and interaction with the council. The new playground is the first major element of the master-plan to be implemented. The council have funding in place for the play area, to be spent before April, so we will be looking closely at the proposals, at cost options, at the feedback to see what would be a sensible way to proceed. We’ll of course keep you up-to-date as we hope we have done throughout this whole process.
As most of you know Friends of Manor Park is a community group set up to represent the local community’s interests at Manor Park, New Malden, KT3.
Our key objectives are to protect and improve our park. Over the last 18 months we’ve run various activities from litter-picks through to restoring the seasonal pond, improving paths, maintaining woodland and planting wildflowers.
Planned vs piecemeal
Last year we were about to kick off a project to help revamp the playground, as this is a space marked for an injection of council investment, but on the advice of the GLA, it was suggested that we should create a master-plan for the entire park. So rather than working in a piecemeal way, they suggested that it would be much better to create a vision, driven by the community, that could be fund-raised for and delivered in phases over the next 5 years. We called this process Revivify Manor Park.
2019 seemed a very appropriate year to start this process as it is the 90th anniversary of when the space we call Manor Park actually became a park – well more precisely the Columbia Graphophone Company, transformed Newhouse Farm into a recreation ground for its employees.
A park for all our local community
We wanted a plan that would cover all aspects of the park. How do we continue to improve and conserve the natural spaces and our wildlife, how will the park support the various groups who use it, from young children, teenagers, all the way up to our retired park users? How can Manor Park reach its full potential for our local community?
Last Autumn we ran a crowdfund campaign to raise the funds to pay for this masterplan. The community were amazing, and it became one the best supported campaigns within the GLA’s Crowdfund London scheme, which is why the Mayor of London gave us over half of the money needed. We were also well supported by local companies and our local council. In total £26,000 was raised. (It’s unlikely we’ll use all this money on this master-planning process, so anything left will be spent on the park, delivering the masterplan).
We’ve now commissioned, Outerspace, a firm of landscape architects to lead the process of creating our Masterplan. A large part of what they’ll be doing is engaging the local community and other park stakeholders.
Involving our children
Outerspace have worked with our local schools – Coombe Boys and Malden Manor Primary. Coombe Boys spent a morning the park.
1st public design workshop
The first public design workshop ran on the evening of 14th May at Shiraz Mirza Hall. Members of the local community worked with our landscape architects in a workshop setting to come up with ideas and say what they liked/disliked.
It is worth noting that over the past 18 months we already collected a lot of information from the local community. People were asked to fill in a short set of very open-ended questions when we first launched the group, we’ve had a lot of contact with the community over these last few months, and last year over 200 people filled in a survey on how they’d like to see the playground develop. All of this information will go into the melting pot.
If you have any thoughts and ideas about how you’d like to see the park develop e.g. better security, improved paths, a café etc, or indeed if you have any concerns please drop us an email at email@example.com