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Council Consultation: Deadline now 16 May

At the Open Day the Council were asking people what they would like to happen with the wood and park next. It turns out there is more funding available and they want to have people’s suggestions. Pippa Krishnan (our Cleaner, Greener, Safer Project Manager) was there to hand out her Consultation Questionnaire.

It’s great that the council want to put more money into Dog Kennel Hill Open Space, however the questionnaire has some worrying proposals on it and the questions are ambiguous and sometimes contradictory.

For example, one of the questions asks people to rate out of 7 how much they would like to “Improve lighting and make it better for bats”. To most people the phrasing “improve lighting” implies increasing the amount of lighting in the park. But when combined with the option of making it better for bats, this becomes a non-sensical question: artifical lighting is incredibly disturbing to bats so in order to make it better for bats we should in fact be removing the lights or at least switching them off at night (see the bats conservation trust website). So is this question asking if we should be switching the lights off to make it better for bats, or asking if we want more lighting??

Another confusing question asks you to rate how much you want the council to plant a wildflower meadow: but the wildflower meadow has already been planted as part of the latest works (this is the cordoned off area in front of the wood).

In fact almost every question has some form of ambiguity (where do they want to have a classroom?, what value to wildlife would raised beds bring? why install play equipment next to an adventure playground? etc etc).

There is space on the questionnaire to ask all these questions and raise any concerns you may have. The .pdf version needs to be downloaded, printed out, filled in and sent FREEPOST to the address given on the form. This seemed like a bit of a faff so you also have the option to fill out the same questionnaire online. This goes straight to Pippa’s email and the Friends have no access to any of the information.

If you would like to be put on the council mailing list about this project, please contact Pippa directly:

It’s really important that we give some feedback to the council so please take 5 minutes to fill in the questionnaire and feel free to forward it to local friends and neighbours.

Links to the Questions

The online version is here »

The .pdf version is available here (41kb)

*UPDATE 3rd May*

Pippa has sent us the extra information sheet to accompany the questionnaire.
This info sheet is available here as a .pdf (452kb)

3 thoughts on “Council Consultation: Deadline now 16 May”

  1. Thanks for these thoughtful comments on the consultation document. I plan to submit a response.

    I agree with you that it needs to be better thought out, and there’s a risk that the responses won’t be very useful. I certainly think that ‘increasing’ lighting in the wood (which should be nurtured as a wildlife haven) is a terrible idea.

    There are two things that come to mind as being good ideas for the overall area: one is to completely remove for good (hazardous waste regulations and all) the Japanese knotweed just outside the border with the wood, which is threatening the integrity of the wood (particularly if cut-backs mean the Council’s not going to be able to treat the knotweed with weedkiller reguiarly).

    The second thing that would be great – though not for the wood itself of course – would be to use some of the section 106 money to create some proper allotments; not community gardens or raised beds; but real allotments. I don’t know where Sainsbury’s land ends; but Southwark desperately needs some more allotments, and some of the money could be used (if there is a suitable site that could be covered by the section 106 agreement) to lay out the plots.

    Open air classrooms and other facilities that would be duplicated less than a hundred metres away in the adventure playground seem like a waste of scarce resources; as does a second wildflower meadow at this stage (let’s see how the newly planted one settles down).

    At any rate, these are some initial reactions.

    Really glad to see that the re-seeded path where the fence used to be broken down is greening up nicely. And very much hope that the grass near the new (and lovely) apple walk will be ready to use before a second path gets worn through next to it.

  2. Thank you for your comments on the consultation questionnaire. In my experience of carrying out consultation, many people do not want to read large amounts of information – it puts them off filling in the questionnaire. Whereas in other cases, people do want to know more, and those people are welcome to contact me with their queries.
    The questions also need to be short and concise so I can fit them all on one side of A4. People are welcome to elaborate in the “comments” section or by email or telephone. It is very difficult to explain something fully when you are only using a few words, however I think this questionnaire will capture the main viewpoints of the local community.
    Regarding the lighting, people are welcome to comment whether they would prefer it to be lighter or darker in the comments section. Improved lighting for bats would be directional LED lighting, which is explained in the extra information sheet that is now available if you contact me. Unfortunately due to short deadlines, the extra information sheet was not available at the event on 2 April.
    Questionnaires and extra information sheets are being sent out to 640 residents, who live within 150m of the park boundary. The deadline for reply has been extended to Monday 16 May 2011.

    PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THESE QUESTIONS RELATE TO THE WHOLE PARK, NOT JUST THE WOODED AREA Many of the responses that I have received via this website show that the person filling it in has misunderstood, and thinks we want to add lighting and play equipment in the woods! This is not the case – the improvements will be accross the whole park.

    My contact details are:
    pippa.krishnan @
    020 7525 5133

  3. Great that there’s funding to spend on this area.

    But….I can’t understand why Southwark would even think of consulting on making it lighter in the wood (as opposed to the footpaths in the open space next to the wood). That would destroy its wildlife value and its wonderful quality as an urban wild wood. People shouldn’t be encouraged to hang out in the wood after dark by adding lighting.

    There’s only one question in the questionnaire about lighting – it only invites us to give one score – and it makes no distinction between the wood and the open space. Same for the other questions: they ask for a single score, but the answers are likely to be different for the wood and the open space.

    Could you please confirm that you are *not* consulting on adding wildlife-unfriendly lighting to the wood?

    It’s not very surprising that people misunderstand the consultation paper in its current form. Would it be possible to post the text of the information sheet here too?

    I don’t live within the consultation area, so sadly I won’t get to see the extra information sheet.

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