Amphibians flourishing in ponds in the park

These are frogs in the rockery pond. Reports on March 17th testify to there also being hundreds of frogs, toads and newts in the Rotunda pond, plus frog and toad spawn.

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Photo Competition 2021

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The play area and gym equipment

There’s good news that City Parks are planning improvements to the play area through rebuilding and refurbishment where necessary, as well as some new equipment. The work, which is still at the planning stage, is expected to be completed by the October half term. We will let you know more details when we receive them.

Meanwhile, is there any new equipment that you and your children would like to see? It’s probably too late for this round of spending, but it would be good to have community views for the future. For instance, is there the right equipment for all ages, is it the sort of equipment that children enjoy, or something new you would like to see?

One thing we would like to see in the Park generally is some outdoor gym equipment for older people. What do you think of that? It does not have to be complicated equipment and can be as simple as beams to walk on to improve balance. We think Preston Park should have something for all ages to improve fitness and, as now there are no bowling greens left in the Park, an outdoor gym would be helpful for flexibility, strength and balance.

Please send us your views on the play area and an outdoor gym by replying to this email, through our Facebook page, or using the contact form.

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The Walled Garden

Many park users have asked why the pond in the walled garden is still fenced up and the gardens themselves are so neglected. The garden, which is part of the grounds of Preston Manor, now comes under the management of the Museums Trust rather than City Parks. So, while we all regard and use the walled garden as part of Preston Park, its management has changed, and with Preston Manor closed for the last year, no staff have been available.

We hope to hear from the Preston Manor management soon to advise us about progress on both the pond and gardens, which used to be looked after so beautifully by the volunteer gardeners.

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Preston Park volunteers

We are hoping to hear news soon about the resumption of the several volunteer gardening groups in Preston Park. As soon as we get the go-ahead, we will let you know, including those of you who have shown an interest in volunteering in the last few months. The Park certainly needs a  good tidy up and the flower beds need weeding and turning over. We are very pleased that the City Park gardeners were able to finish off pruning in the Rose Garden so there should still get a glorious display once the weather warms up for Spring!

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The Rotunda Pond

You may be wondering what has happened to the Rotunda Pond. Back in January, the pond was fenced up so the Council could drain it, remove all the silt and debris, repair some leaks, make some new planters and access ramps for the frogs and newts, and replant.

To our astonishment, when it was drained we found 14 live eels in the pond, which someone must have placed there. As eels are very voracious feeders, they should never have been put there and so have had a huge impact on the wildlife. This just demonstrates what mindless acts of vandalism can do.

After completing the work by replacing the pond plants with varieties that naturally aerate the water, the pond was refilled and the fences were taken away. Unfortunately, it was found that the weather had been too cold to allow the mortar to set properly so that leaks reappeared, the planters collapsed, and many of the plants were uprooted. It did not help that as soon as the fences were taken down, many people allowed their dogs to jump into the pond and cause further damage.

The pond expert who was overseeing the work, like all of us, was absolutely dismayed and will return to repair the pond properly.

City Parks will be putting up notices asking people to keep their dogs out of the pond to prevent disturbance of the wildlife, but if people continue to do allow their dogs in, legislation may have to be changed to keep dogs out of the Rose Garden and pond area altogether.

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Creating a Community Space – the Pavilion at Preston Park Velodrome

Please come along to this presentation to find out more about plans to improve the pavilion in Preston Park velodrome in a way that we hope will benefit our whole community.

The Pavilion is the home of St Peter’s Cricket Club who lease the building from Brighton & Hove City Council.

It is in need of refurbishment and extension simply to meet the needs of the cricket club. However, it is also an opportunity to increase the space within the building to become big enough to serve the community, all year round.

Support has already been secured from various local bodies (local councillors, Sussex Cricket including Disability Cricket, Possibility People, the various local cycling clubs).

Before we submit our plans to Brighton & Hove City Council for planning permission, we want to share them with you first for your feedback and, hopefully, your support.
We hope as many of you as possible will be able to join the session!

Greg, St Peter’s Cricket Club

Date / time: Monday 23rd Nov, 7pm-815pm

Zoom link

Meeting ID: 556 599 4758
Passcode: 447280

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Preston Park 2021 Calendar available now

Our 2021 calendar contains 12 stunning photos from our 2020 photo competition. You can buy calendars for £5.00 each from either the Chalet Cafe or the Rotunda Cafe.

 

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Winners of our Halloween fancy dress competition

Di and Ryland

Mia and Ruby

Flynn

Lola

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A chance to discuss the park with your local councillors

Our Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 14th November at 11.00 am. This year the AGM was held on Zoom, and all three Preston Park Ward councillors – Siriol Hugh-Jones, Leo Littman and Amy Healey – were in attendance to answer your questions.

You can view a recording of the meeting here and view the minutes here

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