In these difficult times, the park is a welcoming haven for many who perhaps do not have access to outdoor space. While we welcome park users, we would like to remind the public of the current government directives that people should respect the two-metre space between those living in different households. Further information
Great news! Both the Rotunda and Chalet Cafés have opened again. The public toilets are also open.
Wild flower garden
You may be wondering what has happened to the Wild Flower Garden, which has been a glorious and colourful addition to Preston Park in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, it has been hit by repercussions from Covid-19 and the hot dry spring.
Last year, City Parks planned an early heavy mulch for the fields, which, being former bowling greens, are very sandy and not ideal for meadow flowers. They then intended to reseed for a great summer show. However, with only a skeleton staff of three as lockdown happened, there was no time to carry out the mulching or seeding. Normally, as most of the flowers are self-seeding, we would still have had a good display, but the very dry and warm conditions in Spring means that only a few hardy survivors have poked through.
City Parks hope to be able to mulch in the autumn and seed again next spring so we should be back to full glory then.
We recently had a report of a very unpleasant verbal attack by some youngsters on a local resident and her family while they were enjoying the Park. The family were very shaken and disturbed and reported it to the police. If you encounter any form of anti-social behaviour while using the Park, again please report it on 101. If the police are made aware of trouble spots they will direct resources to protect a safe and secure environment in Preston Park.
The police also told us that a lot of their stretched and limited resources are needed to break up late-night parties, involving drinking and loud music, mainly by young people in Preston Park. As well as being in clear breach of lockdown rules and therefore a direct risk to their families, it explains the high levels of rubbish left in the Park each morning. Please make sure that members of your family or friends are aware that this is unacceptable behaviour, especially so during the lockdown.
After all the hard work of City Parks and the volunteer gardeners last year, the Rose Garden is looking magnificent this year. We hope that, with the return of most of the furloughed gardeners, the volunteers will also be able to resume work to clear the weeds and tidy the beds within a safe environment. Meanwhile, please do not walk through the beds as it crushes and destroys the roses.
Most of you will have seen a number of vans and lorries with people living in them, parked semi-permanently in the middle of the car park, next to Preston Park Avenue. Some of you have contacted us to ask why they are not being made to move on, so we have been talking to the Council and the police.
We understand that, following government guidance relating to travellers and vulnerable people during the lockdown, the Council is not taking enforcement action to move people on, and so lessening the risk of spreading Coronavirus. It was decided by the Travellers Liaison Team to direct Brighton’s van and lorry dwellers to Preston Park, so currently there are about 15 vehicles parked in the main car park, with others turning up for shorter periods. The Team say they are in regular contact with the van dwellers in Brighton as a whole and liaise closely with the Police to monitor and manage the situation.
Both the team and Sussex Police have told us that if anyone sees or experiences anti-social behaviour resulting from this policy to report it directly to the police by calling 101 or reporting it on the Sussex Police website.
While we understand the logic of not moving people living in the vehicles around Brighton and surrounding areas during the lockdown, we do not think that Preston Park is a suitable site to place them. The car park is busy with visitors wishing to use the park, and with a large part now occupied, the drive leading to the car park is very crowded and busy and a danger to pedestrians.
Some members have reported to us that anti-social behaviour such as parties in the evening are taking place. And more and more camper vans and similar vehicles seem to be joining the original group, making the situation worse. So do call 101 to report any anti-social behaviour and meanwhile, we will talk to our councillors and the Council to find a more appropriate place with better facilities to house the van dwellers.
The wildlife in the Rotunda Pond has had a difficult time this summer, sadly leading to the death of many of the protected newts. Please note that the pond is checked on a daily basis and that it is illegal to remove or add anything to the water. The removal of plants does mean the newts and snails have fewer places in which to hide.
This year’s competition closes on August 31st. Be sure to get your entries in before the deadline.
Currently, The Rockery has survived the absence of its main gardener and volunteers and is looking quite good and healthy. It is envisaged that work will resume this month to get it back to its usual top form.
The Flint Wall Company has completed its work on repairing the flint wall around the cycle track. They have done a really great job and the walls look amazing.
Work has resumed on the Clock Tower, and the guys from Lea Bealing Stonemasons are continuing the re-pointing. Hopefully, the clock mechanism will be repaired soon. It will be good to see the tower restored to its former glory.
There are several volunteer gardening groups in Preston Park. Currently, we are awaiting a decision from the council as to when they can restart. If you wish to volunteer, please contact us.