Friends of Dagnam Park Meeting

Minutes of 30th November 2004

Approx 20 members attended the meeting held at Kings Wood School.

News on the Nature Reserve

Richard Cottam shared information about the declaration of Dagnam Park and Duck Wood as The Manor Nature Reserve. This is official , but notices still need to be displayed. Members were enthusiastic to have the surrounding farm land included in the reserve and asked Richard to convey our views to the powers that be. The boundary of the reserve at present is up as far as the Cow Pond. Apparently a resident bordering the park has expressed reservations about the nature reserve extending to the garden boundaries. This does seem somewhat short sighted, what are the possible alternatives, the area could simply remain as public open space, the land could be sold with all the potential hazards of illegal developments and use. The area could be retained by the council and attempts made to let it. This is a possibility but the sitting tenant has given up on it, it seems unlikely that the Council will be able to find a suitable tenant with a viable business plan. The friends are of the view that to include the farmland in the nature reserve is the best option for all concerned, the reserve users and the local residents.

It was suggested that the friends should leaflet the houses bordering the park setting out our views.

A question was asked about the ability to walk from Duck Wood to Dagnam Park. Apparently it is just possible to walk between the two. It may be possible to get a more usable path put in.

Ted Coffill said that there is a path that is well used that is outside of the school fence. But it may be still part of the school land.

There is money available for resurfacing the path in Duck Wood which will make access much easier. It will also be necessary to create new fences and access points. Possibly constructed in metal.

Signs for the park. To try and keep to the same style used in Bedfords Park. Also needed, information and maps etc.

When will this happen ? Possibly the early half of 2005.

Type of fencing ? It is planned to use the type of fencing formerly used in parks. It consists of three metal rails, one metre high. Richard needs to get quotes for this.

Will there be any public consultation? Yes this can happen.

Question for Geoff Pepper

A newspaper article recently seemed to indicate that the parks staff have increased drastically.

Geoff, “No, in fact they have gone from 2 to 5.

The Story Trail Project

Rosalyn York then introduced her idea for a Story Trail Project in Dagnam Park. Ros gave information about the aims of the project, primarily to teach children about the environment. It will include drama, workshops, actors, story telling and loads of fun. A suggested date was 18 th June 2004. Can the friends help with this? Lots of tasks still to be sorted, including the funding. It was agreed to have a sub group of the friends to meet to discuss. Group to consist of: John Jones, Rosalyn's parents, Gaynor Smith and of course, Rosalyn.

Richard will check on dates for council events so we do not clash. 18 th June may be also Planet Havering. 9 th July is the date for the Central Park Harold Hill Show.

Re funding for the project. Currently the FODP do not have a constitution. We need to have one to apply for any funding. Geoff will send us the constitution of the Friends of Bedfords Park. Del will then try to cobble one together.

Name for our Group

Discussion ensued about our name. The Nature Reserve will be called the Manor Nature Reserve. Should we change our name to suit ? The web site is registered under the name of Friends of Dagnam Park, but it may not be a problem. Agreed that we now call ourselves the Friends of the Manor.

Further Funding Options

Del will be meeting with Richard, Mary Lyons from the council, Nigel Ogsley, Historic landscape and buildings officer to explore external funding. Richard now needs to locate further and future funding. Possibilities include: Heritage lottery fund, Community fund, Awards For All. The meeting above is scheduled for 8 th December at 3.30, at Mercury Hse.

Also on 8 th Dec there is a planned meeting of different Friends Groups. Venue is the Mawney Arms. At 8pm. Any one interested let Del know.

Seats in the park

Del has designed some “vandal proof” benches. There are 4 (we think) they have cost approx £100 each. Where should they go? Suggestions included, the top right hand corner by the Lily Pond. Near the tarmac track, and on the main drive looking towards the view. It was agreed that John Jones, Dennis Cook and Geoff Pepper will meet to walk in the park and decide where seats should be placed.

Our summer Programme for 2005

There will be another litter clear up on the weekend of 5th/6th February.

The council are organising a Bluebell walk in Duck Wood in April.

Newt Night. Will Atkins, an expert on amphibians wishes to survey the local newt population. It needs to be at the end of May, in the dark with torches! Del will follow this up with Will and fix a date

Another bat night was suggested. The last was very successful and John Dobson has agreed to come over again if required.

We will need to have an official opening of the Nature Reserve. With Tents, displays, links with local schools. Preferably in July before the schools break up for summer. Should it be a Friday to include the school children or a Saturday for families etc or both.

Another History Walk which was also very popular. Possibly in September.

A Fungi Walk, late Autumn.

The next meeting of the Friends to be in January 2005.

We need to have a committee, to include a Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Special Events Coordinator. At our next meeting we will need to adopt a constitution and a set of officers, sadly this is essential for us to apply for external funding grants in our own right.


Guns in the park. Recently there have been men with guns in the park. Jane has also seen dead squirrels. Geoff said that we should call the council Security on 01708 433999 if we see anyone with a gun. They will then inform the police. It will be useful to follow up on the reporting of incidents. Can we get an incident number from the council. It seems as if they do not always give this out on demand.

News from the fishing club

Paul told us that the Fishing club intends to create a path around the Lily Pond that will give access to wheel chair users. They have got the money to do this, but what surface should they be looking at? Richard said that they are also re-doing the path in Duck Wood. Ted informed us that Type 1 is the correct surface for this kind of path.

Dennis informed us that there is £175 in the bank. Bank account will also need to have a name change to reflect our new name.

Meeting closed at 9.30pm.