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|The Friends of Dagnam Park AGM took place on February 14th 2017|
|More than forty people attended the meeting including several local Councillors. Ten new members joined on the night|
FODP, Minutes of AGM. 14-2-17
The Meeting closed (9.15 pm)
The past year has seen guided walks and work parties taking place within the parkland. The guided walks included members of the public being taken around on history walks as well as those wanting to visit the site of the proposed solar farm.
The litter picks have once again been successful with over 75 black sacks full of other people’s rubbish cleared from the park along with various other items which have included vacuum cleaners, vehicle tyres, furniture and the obligatory Christmas tree. Along with this has also been the disposal of carpets and house hold and personal items that had been dumped in Duck Wood which, once collected from that area was taken away for disposal by Havering Street Care.
However the one thing that has tested our mettle was the announcement in July 2015 by the local authority of their proposal for placing a solar farm on 30ha of land which forms part of the 76ha (190 acres) that they had already agreed to add onto the nature reserve in 2012. After having been told by the local authority that Dagnam Park was now the largest park within Havering by having this land placed onto the reserve one can only image the effect that it had on members and others that use the parkland once the news was broken. However due to the work put forward by the committee members of the FODP, various group members, park users and the public at large a campaign to save the fields for the park was launched and by November 2016 two petitions (a paper one and an e-petition) had been accepted by the council with over 6,000 signatures all of which were objecting to the solar farm being placed on this land. Along with the petition were 238 letters sent to the Town Hall in relation to the proposal with the majority objecting to the solar farm at Dagnam Park.
Because of the over whelming support given to the FODP and the park as a whole, which saw two peaceful protests with over 200 people standing out in the cold outside the Town Hall and over 5,500 leaflets being distributed to households on Harold Hill, the authority have revaluated their proposal and we now await their final decision on this matter. However there is still more work to be undertaken in securing the 190 acres to be properly declared as being part of the parkland as there is in looking after the park for its users.
It would be wrong of me, as the chairman of the Friends of Dagnam Park, to lay claim in getting the result that we have reached with the council so far, as it would be for any individual, group of people, single councillor or their political party to do so. The result that stands has been achieved through a collective coming together of the local community as a whole and their representatives who have helped in distributing leaflets, obtaining signatures, attending meetings and protesting, sourcing information and researching material, making others aware of the situation and above all making their voices heard. The words “Thank You” do not really convey the appreciation that not only the FODP have for those people but also others that use the park in general.
Don Tait February 2017
In June 2016 the FODP were contacted by the Freshwater Habitats Trust to be part of the nationwide ponds survey looking in particular at the rare and protected Great Crested Newt population. Funded by Thames Water, volunteers from Friends groups were asked to take at least 20 test samples from designated ponds which were then sent to a facility in France, where they checked for traces of the newts DNA .
Regarding the continuing archaeological dig at the manor house site, sadly our plans came to not much, as Don and I spent so much time and energy with the solar park problem. However a few weeks ago, thanks to parks dept. Tom Fradd and his team, the autumn leaves that covered the exposed stable block site were removed, Don and I also meet Tom ( during a very cold wintery snow flurry) and looked at how to uncover the Manor house foundations, and the summer house which by the way was probably the orangery. Tom also earlier in the year arranged for a volunteer group to clear the scrub that had grown around and covered the path which led from the stable block to the walled garden’s concrete pond. The outer edge of the pond was also cleared.
Friends of Dagnam Park Annual Accounts
Balance on the 15th of February 2016 £817.52
Balance on the 14th of February 2017 £2011.73
These accounts have been examined by Frank Tapley.