Friends of Friendly Gardens and St John’s Society attended the drop-in session held by Thames Water in the compound of Friendly Gardens on 26 April 23.
We did express our concern that this open day had not been made fully public with a leaflet drop or contacting FOFG, St Johns Society and local councillors directly – particularly as we thought that we were on their mailing list for such announcements. Some residents in Lucas Street were informed with a card dropped through their door. It was only after a resident got in touch with us that we were able to share it on local WhatsApp and our own social media at very short notice. The small effort made by Thames Water seemed woefully disproportionate to the local community who have had to endure their lengthy intrusion into both parks. Thames Water have promised to rectify this communication problem with another, better publicised, evening drop-in session, to catch those who went to work or were unable to free themselves at such short notice.
We spoke to Luke Breakspear, Customer and Stakeholder of Thames Water and he confirmed that 2 water fountains, picnic tables and benches, new signage, reinstatement of the 4 trees and grass, and self-closing fittings on the gates, had been agreed with Lewisham Council for Friendly Gardens Park and Dog Park, as compensation for the work. We very much look forward to this.
FOFG and SJS feel that when this compensation for the users of the park was agreed, it was with an end date of the work, in 2023. We are disappointed that this has now been extended to 2025 with parts of both parks being cut off for months on end. As such, we are looking to see what other improvements Thames Water can give to the parks and hopefully leave the residents with a more positive view of this ongoing work.