Winners of the 2020 photo competition

We can now announce the winners of this year’s photo competition. We had a great many fabulous entries this year on the theme of ‘colours’. Hundreds of you participated in the online voting, so thanks for making the competition such a success.

1st prize: Leah Parkes (picture above)
2nd prize: Tadas Kaminskas
3rd prize: Tadas Kaminskas
4th prize: Shane Smith
5th prize: Alison Field

The Preston Park 2011 calendar, featuring 12 of the best photos, is off for printing.

You can see all the shortlisted pictures here.

Anti-social behaviour

The committee of the Friends of Preston Park is very disappointed by the high level of anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the Park and the surrounding area in the past few months. There has been an unusually high rate of incidents, ranging from repeated offensive and ugly graffiti on the Chalet Cafe, digging up of part of the cricket pitch and nearby bowling greens, damage to the newly-restored flint walls by the velodrome just days after it was completed, and damage to trees and flower beds, often by vehicles illegally entering the Park.

Litter has been at unacceptably high levels, which as well as being unsightly, also attracts vermin, and much of the rubbish does harm to local wildlife. More and more people are parking illegally and the van dwellers, which have now been served with notices of eviction, are just ignoring them and carrying on inhabiting the Park with many reports of very anti-social behaviour. There have also been complaints too about high levels of noise and music, particularly in the evenings, which neighbours find very annoying and disruptive.

We feel that one of the reasons for all this is that, with continuing cutbacks to budgets, the Council just does not have enough staff to supervise the Park, Sussex Police are no longer able to fund dedicated community police officers, and little enforcement of parking regulations is being carried out. As a result, the minority are openly flouting laws and regulations designed to look after the Park.

We plan to meet with our local councillors and council officers over the coming weeks to discuss how we tackle these issues and what we can do to keep Preston Park safer and more well kept. Meanwhile, we would urge that anyone witnessing anti-social behaviour of any kind to report it by calling Sussex Police on 101, or reporting on the Sussex Police website. The more calls they receive, the more likely they will patrol the Park. Please do your part in stopping this costly and distressing behaviour.

Accolade for the Rockery

Some of you may have seen the six-page spread about our beautiful Rockery Garden and an interview with our wonderful garden manager Andy in the August edition of the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society magazine. This is a real accolade for Preston Park, and testimony to all the hard work put in by Andy and his team of volunteer gardeners who created and maintain the Rockery Garden. The article has created a lot of interest far and wide, and many people have contacted us for details about visiting Preston Park.

Volunteering resumes in the park

Hopefully, you will have noticed that, at last, the volunteer gardening groups were given the go-ahead by City Parks to return to work (within COVID 19 guidelines) at the beginning of August. It’s been a mammoth task trying to catch up on nearly six months of weeding, deadheading, pruning and hoeing. We have a long way to go before the Park is anywhere near back to its best, so while we have had several very welcome new recruits, we always need more!

The groups meet at the Rose Garden on Tuesdays, the Rockery on Wednesdays, and the front flower beds on Thursdays between 10 am and 1 pm. You need no previous experience of gardening, you will be shown what to do, and if you can’t make the full 3 hours, any time you can spare will be most useful. Please contact us if you would like to come along to join us. It’s very satisfying to see what a difference the volunteer gardening makes, and all the groups are friendly and welcoming.

Some of you have asked what is happening to the Walled Garden as it really is suffering from the absence of its committed volunteer group. Unfortunately, the heritage Walled Garden is managed by Preston Manor, not Preston Park, so is overseen by the Museums sector of the Council, not City Parks. We understand that they are not allowing any volunteer working just yet. In the meantime, we know that the volunteers are desperate to return as the garden is now in a terrible state.

Some TLC for the Tile House

It is good to see the new tenants of the Tile House have given the building a lick of paint.

In case you don’t know, the Tile House was constructed to coincide with the opening of the park in 1884. It was bought from the Bath and West of England Show, where it was used by the Aylesbury Tile Company to show off their wares. It was spotted by a member of Brighton Corporation who organised for it to be deconstructed and then re-built in the park. It is now Grade II listed.