Friends of Crystal Palace Park
DRAFT AGM Minutes
30th January 2011, The Lodge, Crystal Palace Park
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chair (Craig) gave those present some background to the Friends of Crystal Palace Park
(FOCPP). Formed in 2004, largely in response to the masterplan proposals being developed by the
L.D.A., the FOCPP was set up as a broad church able to represent park goers no matter what their
personal views on the park and associated developments.
From 2004 to 2008, the FOCPP was represented at various dialogue process meetings and working
groups in an effort to keep our members informed on park issues.
The Chair summed up the last few years’ ‘consultation’ as; ‘lots of talking, lots of acrimony. And very
little action and progress’. The secretary of state’s decision to grant planning permission for the
masterplan was about to be challenged in the high court.
By 2007 the Friends group was struggling. It was not the group’s intention to compete with existing
campaign and community groups and our remit to be inclusive meant that we should not conduct our
own campaigns or get too involved in park politics. This impartiality was a double edged sword,
encouraging some to become members and deterring others.
By 2008 the group was suffering from lack of time and support. We found ourselves in a catch 22
situation – we needed members with energy to get group moving but no one had the time and energy
to commit to finding new members.
We have found through experience that a more ‘hands on’ attitude is not only the most immediate
way to improve the park but also the best way to impress and encourage people into becoming and
remaining members Our positive efforts have also shown to Bromley that we are a group they can
work with to develop the park, and this has led to initiatives such as the funding bid for the sensory
Apologies – Geraldine, Monica, Richard Francis, Irene Baker-Hunti, John Greatrex, Marie
A REVIEW OF THE LAST YEAR’S FRIEND’S ACITIVITIES AND FINANCIAL REVIEW
In April 2010 FOCPP embarked on its first real project in the park. We met with Stephen Tickner from
Bromley Council to look at how we could practically help to improve the park and its facilities. It was
decided to set up a group of volunteers committed to getting their hands dirty in restoring a part of the
There followed an inspiring illustrated talk by the Chair on the Friend’s first ambitious and so far
successful project. Each month (sunshine or rain) we have worked to transform the area called The
Vale. This was an area that used to form an entrance to the park but over the years it had become
very overgrown and strewn with rubbish.
The Friends Volunteers have expended 200 hours of voluntary work between them and the reward of
their labours is now there for all to see and enjoy in the bulbs that are starting to bloom. This
successful venture has brought this area back to life and usage.
The Rangers have been supportive of us and when they first gave us all gloves, protective clothing
and tools, we realised that this was not going to be the proverbial walk in the park. On arrival at the
Vale the volunteers were greeted by an area of unused and overgrown woodland and pathway. It had
been completely claimed by brambles and the years of rubbish left by the rather dubious visitors that
had hung out there. The pictures showed clearly the progress of the sessions- from bramble and
shamble to a beautiful ramble! The volunteers achievement was there to see; the entrenched
brambles cleared, the railings painted and over a thousand narcissi and bluebell bulbs planted. They
are just poking through now!
The Chair said that he and all those who volunteered feel such a sense of achievement when they
visit the Vale now and see what direct action can actually achieve.
It had been good to see the steady increase in volunteers and thereby, new members, and it was
good to see some of them at the AGM.
In 2011 we’re hoping to move outward from the Vale to improve the path that connects the Vale to the
rest of the park.
An expression of thanks was made to those at Bromley Council who have been encouraging and
supportive in this enterprise.
Throughout 2010 the Chair kept our supporters informed about the work of the Friends and the
various events happening in the park and this will continue. He was especially happy to see that the
motorsport weekend would be returning this year and he suggested that the Friends have a stall at
the event. .
Finally, the Chair outlined an exciting project that the Friends has embarked on. Working jointly with
the Rangers, the Friends has submitted a lottery funding bid for the re-instatement of the fountain and
basin plus a Sensory Garden.
Although we have approx. 90 names on the distribution list and 85 on the postal list, the membership
has not been formalised and this is something that the committee will need to do in the coming year.
The FOCPP account stands at £1081.83 (in the co-op bank). This is largely made up of funfair charity
arm band day donations from the 2004 – 2007 period.
Expenditure in the last year was £4 which we spent on envelopes to advertise the AGM. The Chair
was grateful to Bromley for providing the room for us, as well as covering our postage costs.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
John Payne asked if the FOCPP had contacted other Friends groups. The Chair confirmed that he
had already had communications with The Friends of Beaulieu Heights and when our group had a
more active committee, it was his intention that we contact other friends groups in order to benefit
from their experience and knowledge of running a successful Friends group. (Later in the meeting the
Chair of the Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground offered to share information and
constitution with us) For the time being, the chair felt the FOCPP should focus on the more practical
volunteer work in the park as he felt that this would encourage new membership and show the public
as well as those in control of the park that we are a creditable organisation.
Karen Moran asked how the FOCPP was founded. John Payne explained that the CPCA funded the
initial public meeting of the Friends of Crystal Palace Park in 2004.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The Chair outlined the need to formalise the membership, progress the bid for the Sensory Garden
project and reform or replace our present constitution which was more relevant to a large
organisation. This would require a larger and more active committee.
The Chair expressed a wish that for the time being, the committee work together to build up the group
and progress the projects in hand rather than taking specific posts and carrying out specific duties. He
therefore proposed that apart from having a Chair, a Treasurer and a Secretary, the other committee
members simply be acting committee members. The committee would decide on these roles at its first
meeting. There was general agreement to this proposal. No objections.
The following names were put forward as Committee members and as there were no objections
raised they were duly elected.
o Sue Wardman
o Sue Nagle
o Karen Moran
o Anita Dyson
o Andrew Jenkins
o Marie Griffith
o Vicki Papworth
o Craig Richardson
[Note: The chair believed that John Greatrex had stood down and expressed his thanks to John for
his support. After the meeting, John clarified that he did not intend to stand down, only that he did not
wish to stand for a specific role on the committee. This was the Chair’s mistake and John has been
invited to remain part of the committee]
An honourable mention was made to Alastair Cameron who’s also been instrumental in keeping the
group going over the last couple of years.
COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
John Payne suggested that, as the constitution is not suitable for the group, he proposed that it be
declared null and void. After a brief discussion, the following wording was put together, voted on and
adopted by those present.
Proposal ‘In the light of the existing unworkable, adopted constitution, members present at
this AGM agree that the constitution should be annulled and a new constitution be ratified at
the next AGM’
(The Chair of the Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation round offered to let us have a copy
of their constitution which he felt would be suitable for our group.
Vicki and Jackie suggested that Friends committee meetings could be held before or after the
volunteering sessions to enable more people to attend. The Chair was open to this idea.
Steven Tickner asked if the newly elected committee could co-opt people onto it. It was felt that this
would be subject to the new constitution, but in principle yes if skills and experience were needed.
Ray Hall proposed a vote of thanks to Craig (Chair) for his hard work and effort.
THE SENSORY GARDEN BID – illustrated talk
A fascinating illustrated talk about the Sensory Garden Project was given by the Rangers. This
impressive bid, which the Friends are working jointly with Bromley on, will, if successful, see a re-
instated fountain with basin and stonework, surrounded by an area providing planting and activities.
The park goers will be involved as much as possible in deciding what could be provided in this area
but ideas mooted so far are for gym equipment for mature people, tranquil seating area, and cement
tables for games.
The Friends have already submitted stage 1 of the bid.
There is now a need to find someone with the accredited skills that the bid demands to provide the
concept illustrations necessary to submit stage 2 (the final stage) .
Time constraints would probably rule out a design competition.
We will need to find a certain amount of funding if this bid is to be successful so people with fund
raising experience and those willing to offer practical help are urgently needed.
Ideally we should involve local schools, disability groups and the public but we don’t know how much
of this can be done given the time constraints.
The Chair then opened the discussion for comments from the floor.
Concerns were expressed about long term funding, English Heritage involvement and the amount of
control Capel Manor might be given. Concerns were allayed by the Chair and the Rangers. The
Rangers are meeting with Malcolm Woods from EH this week as part of ongoing liaison. Capel Manor
had shown an interest in being involved in the design of the Sensory Garden and the possible
ongoing maintenance of it. It was the Ranger’s opinion that this would not mean any relinquishing of
control of the project and their involvement would be a very good outcome for everyone. They could
not have complete control of the project as a condition of the bid was that the garden be open to the
public for long periods.
The Chair re-iterated that we needed more people to help and get involved with the bid.
John Payne offered help and support for the bid from the CPCA.
Nick Goy said that there would be planning issues to address. The rangers assured him that talks with
the planners had been instigated and were ongoing. Recent communications had led them to believe
that although the process may take some time, there would not be any significant planning problems.
Nick Goy suggested an advert in the Bromley Newsshopper might find someone with the skills we
Sue Nagle suggested that someone ask if the Cinema Campaign would be able to use their mailing
list and Jacky suggested a design competition.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
John Payne said that the CPCA were disappointed with the FOCPP for not objecting officially to the
Masterplan (with special reference to the housing element) The Chair re-iterated that the Friends
can’t take political stances because of the varied opinions of its members.
Jason expressed concerns over the cutting of ivy from the trees due to the impact on bats. After some
discussion with the Rangers present, he agreed that he would get involved with the volunteering so
that his input could be received at a time when it could be considered. Jason also suggested that
volunteering should be at different times and days. The Chair was open to this idea, although it would
depend on support from Bromley being available.
John Payne asked if the meeting would give a steer on its view of the Crystal Palace Football Club’s
stated interest to move into the park which would mean a loss of 38 acres of parkland. There was
discussing regarding whether this was the case and what the underlying motives of CPFC might be.
It was agreed by those present that the Friends was not in possession of sufficient facts to form a
considered view and for that reason alone would not yet have consulted its supporters. We were
therefore not in a position to give any official opinion on the matter.
Jason wanted to know what the working relationship between the FOCPP and the Park Working
Although Individual members of the Friends may choose to attend the PWG, the Friends group accept
that the PWG has been officially disbanded and therefore do not attend. As we keep sufficiently
updated through other channels, we do not have to consider whether to attend or not.