Here are some of the issues that we discuss with Coram’s Fields. We welcome your comments.
Unfortunately, over the past few years, the general maintenance of the park has declined. There have been significant cuts in funding from Camden, and changes in management have put capital plans on hold. CFUG is passionate about Coram’s Fields being a haven for play. Some things have improved over the past year. However, key issues such as the maintenance of the lawns, the levels and upkeep of the sandpit, and all of the toilets in the park are need of much attention.
Football Pitch Rental – Coram’s Fields opening hours
Frustratingly, adults are using the pitch when children are still keen to use them. Due to adults using the football pitches at the same time as children, CFUG has found that it has to constantly remind Coram’s Fields management to be vigilant of safeguarding issues and to remind adults about their behaviour around children. The bookings to adults are expected to be decreased and focused solely on after park hours 7-10pm. Ideally, we are keen for Coram’s to develop other appropriate funding streams and CFUG is happy to work with management and trustees to help develop this strategy.
In recent years, the west lawn of the park has been given over to a large tent for six weeks in the build up to Christmas which is rented out for corporate events. This is another major funding source for the park. Unfortunately, this tent seems to be getting bigger and taking up more of the park every year. This year over the Christmas period, children and parents use of the park was limited: there was no access to the farm animals, the pavilion and paddling pool area where not accessible and general access is limited. Ideally, CFUG would rather this rental NOT happen, BUT if it has to, a fit for purpose legal document must be used in that corporates that pay for the tent must pay for turf to be laid immediately after the events. Seeds are not appropriate. Also, the tent must never go over a certain size. We are keen to produce a wish list of alternatives to corporate hires – such as Christmas market, Christmas Dickens theatre. Ideas greatly appreciated.
It is simply not acceptable that the beautiful lawns are ruined every year.
Diesel Generators for the Marquee
The Marquee is powered by two large diesel generators that, this year, were close to the basketball court and the “Flying fox”. Many users raised concerns about the diesel fumes in the park. CFUG asked Coram’s Fields to monitor the pollution caused by the generators, which unfortunately didn’t happen this year. Coram’s Fields have looked at installing electric cabling to power the marquees, but this wasn’t an option for last year. We will be asking Coram’s Fields to look at this option again should the marquee rental go ahead this year (2018).
This is imperative to set right for the safety of everyone, especially the children, who use Coram’s.
Over recent years Coram’s Fields suffered greatly in terms of investment in the maintenance of the existing features, equipment and infrastructure. Signs of this are visible around the park. There has been significant cuts in funding, whilst staffing and management costs have increased. Capital plans have been put on hold and consequently investment in the park has been very low. There have been a few small improvements lately, but there is a long way to go – we have been and will be chasing the management on these issues.
Animal area has been significantly scaled down in the last four years. Currently the animals include a number of rabbits, a couple of goats, some canaries and some chickens. The duck pond has been filled, the sheep are gone, chicken coop is empty. The large canary house used to have hundreds of happy chipping birds. It is not clear the direction in which the animal zone will go. In 2015 Coram’s Fields promised a significant sponsorship investment in the animal area, which did not materialise.
In December 2016 Coram’s Fields received a Section 106 grant (S106_Allocation_Nov16) of £37.5 thousand, from the Camden Council to develop an “State-of-the-art multi-purpose sports arena”. CFUG followed this development with interest. In our meetings with Coram’s Fields, we provided contacts with Basketball England, who in turn provided a list of recommended contractors who regularly engage in similar projects. Coram’s Fields decided to go for a new tarmac surface area, instead of previously planned surface repainting job. The main part of the job was completed towards the end of 2017. Netball lines and certain other elements of the job are still outstanding. We expect that the remaining parts of the work will be completed as soon as possible in 2018 to make this a true “state-of-the-art” court.