Friends of Charlton Park were delighted to welcome over 30 people yesterday to the Old Coffee Shop Cafe for the public consultation on the Charlton Park Meadow Project.
Attendees included councillors Gary Dillon and Linda Perks; representatives from community groups including Central Charlton Residents Association, Charlton Community Gardens, Friends of Maryon Wilson Park, Charlton and Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society, East Greenwich Residents Associations, Kidbrooke North Residents Association/ Hervey Road Sports Field, Christchurch Community Gardens and East Greenwich Pleasance among others, and students from John Roan and Royal Greenwich Trust School.
Elizabeth Rutherford-Johnson, treasurer of FoCP, provided some background on how the meadow project came about, plus the highlights of the commissioned ecological report. Joe Beale of Greenwich Advisory Wildlife Group then spoke about his thoughts on the report and recommendations. This was followed by questions and comments from the floor.
Particular points raised include:
· accessibility for wheelchair users
· whether the meadow should be open to dogs
· how to keep people out of certain areas while enduring access to wildlife
· how the project might fit together as part of a green corridor throughout Greenwich.
Gary Dillon also gave some background about RBG's declaration of a climate emergency and how this makes the meadow more crucial than ever. He also spoke movingly about how important it is that nature be part of children's lives - not something separate from them.
This was echoed by young people in attendance including Theo in year 8, who asked questions about how wildlife repopulation practically worked and commented after,
‘I thought the meadow meeting was very progressive’.
The consultation was overwhelmingly positive - so what next? In effect, the meadow is already underway. The grass is not being cut and that is leading to positive changes - as noted in the report.
FoCP is holding a birdwatch - as part of the RSPB's national effort to monitor bird numbers - on Sunday January 26, meet 11am at the Old Coffee Shop Cafe - all are welcome. Going forward, surveying existing species and monitoring numbers will be an essential part of the Meadow Project.
Our AGM will be on Wednesday 26 February at the White Swan, 8pm. We hope to be able to share then the concrete next steps for the Meadow Project.