FoVE AGM 2018

“I couldn’t believe FoVE hadn’t met since 2013”.
Yep, Friends of Victoria Embankment last held a formal meeting in 2013.
7 attended the AGM.
Despite all, Nicola and I have asked for their delegate to be represented at the Area 8 committee.

We are ambitious for Victoria Embankment and Meadows Recreation Ground.
Renewed roads, new street lighting, commuter car parking on The Embankment stopped, the NHS keep fit equipment, a mini road network for kids to cycle on, a tree trail in the Memorial Gardens, various repairs and improvements to the Bandstand as it is re-instated following the fire, new events.
Most spectacularly a cricket pavilion (ECB standards), that would have cost £650k to build, achieved with £50k of council money.  Opposed by FoVE.
Repeated efforts to bring in investment, despite cuts to the council’s finances.
Cuts in finances that hit at our service provision.

We remain ambitions for the Victoria Embankment & Meadows Recreation Gardens; to increase the level of activity on, and the use of, the park & facilities.

Opportunities –
o1. a centenary war memorial based on showing the names of the WW1 fallen;
o2. the current 16 week project to repair, renew and enhance the bandstand (completion due mid August);
o3. a new relationship with a local football club to allow the pavilion to be used for football during the winter;

Challenges –
c1. a need to refurbish and enhance the Memorial, the undercroft, the fountains and the gardens;
c2. renewing a football pavilion whose design does not comply with modern FA expectations and whose showers are not enjoyed.  Replacement with something much more ambitious, abutting the bund and allowing a cafe to be installed, with public toilets, needs a lot more external investment but make the south west of Victoria Embankment a much more significant attraction;
c3. the paddling pool will at some time need replacement; we want to keep paddling, but we might add water play equipment;
c4. to find more partners for using the site;
c5. there are complaints about the grounds not being good enough; this whilst we only have 2 f.t.e. to look after the site.


So many ways to remember, including the new memorial

Sam Edwards jXMnJhScI’ve been invited to listen to a Radio 4 programme, recently re-broadcast, “How to Remember“.
Contentions include that the significance of the nation-state and the impact of globalisation should change what or how we commemorate.
One of the central tenets – that we remember the sacrifices of those that went before us, by the way we live, politically I kinda live by.
From after WWI – Homes for heroes (and everyone else), votes for all.
From after WWII – free health care, full employment, proper jobs, success for all in education, social security, including those the elderly and the less mobile.
From struggles at home – A representative democracy.
From struggles everywhere – A free society.  An extension of which for me would be freedom from barbarity on social media. The common wealth. Public amenity.
Presumably what we haven’t yet fought a war for is the environment and the climate, but we should campaign for green measures too.
And some change came without so much struggle – clean water supplies and proper sewers came cos the wealthy and powerful could die from cholera as well as the poor and powerless.
I’ve published blog entries and made speeches on a number of these aims and achievements, as well as precis of the history of Nottingham.
(The first working class library in NottinghamThe Chartists campaigning on Mapperley Hills CommonThe Cheese Riots.  One surprise this last year was the photo of the Lord Mayor meeting the International Brigade in 1939 which may see a postcard being produced.)  (I’ll try to add more links to these later.)
The stories are mainly written somewhere, and the local studies library can be very helpful in finding the stuff, and this is now the era when the stories are being published in easily accessible form – video, audio and text.

My contentions on how to commemorate would be –
– get stories published on the internet, so that they are quickly accessible;
– tie stories on the internet to location, so that you don’t need plaques;
– remember all who served (put themselves at risk), and not just those who lost their lives; kinda tricky to do well cos no such lists exist;
– develop the stories behind the names – like Eddie has done from those in the freight railway plaque at Nottingham station, or the pamphlet on the Sherwood Foresters sent to the Easter Rising;
– participate in events such as Remembrance Sunday, but also history walks and recreations (such as the Pentrich Revolution march);
– respect the reality, and pay proper respect to the event and to the visual amenity.

Now given some millions in today’s money was spent on Nottingham’s memorial, I was sceptical of what a £300k addition for the sake of listing all the names of those who lost their lives could achieve. But I think the options developed are worthy and warrant installing in the nearby gardens. I wanted option 1, but it is too expensive given the limits announced.  It’s understood that the large poppy will be better in reality than as portrayed.  And the additional memorial doesn’t stop us from doing the social media publishing.
So I support the additional memorial.

A Memorial for the Fallen of WWI

DY5HmXhWkAEfk3xCouncils across Nottinghamshire are coming together to build a memorial carrying all the names of Notts people who died because of WWI in the Memorial Gardens, behind the Memorial on Victoria Embankment.
The memorial will carry 14,000 names.
I was initially sceptical because we have The Memorial built at some significant cost in the twenties so how could anything appropriate be built for £100,000 or so?
But I have been quite impressed with the shortlisted options, especially option 1.
option 1a
Drawing from the shape a drop of water forms when it bounces back out of a pool of water, with the ripples indicating the consequences, and combined with 100 rings of a tree, conveying the sense of time past, which will carry the names of the fallen.
This has the potential to be majestic and a significant attraction.
And for its scope to grow – what might we be able to develop with the shadow it will cast – a kind of sundial to mark the dates of the most significant battles?
A shame that only part of it might be visible from the river, but floods of the River Trent in the past means we know such features can be damaged if it’s not behind the defences.

The others are nice, but mere landscaping compared to the rings.
Whilst the other schemes don’t present the names in a way that they might easily be walked upon, we have recently installed plaques nearby for holders of the Victoria Cross that can be walked upon.
There is a consultation whereby people can write in to say what they think of each option so please write-in.
Finally, I don’t support the re-erection of the stone door frame that had been saved from one of the Trent Bridge school buildings, which served as a hospital in WWI, as a memorial.  Free standing it would not be particularly pretty (especially from the back).  I did ask whether it could have been incorporated in the new Meadows Cricket Pavilion but the suggestion was turned down.

Parks and open spaces issues – February 2018

Most urgent issue is the use and abuse of the Embankment by car drivers; so will look at 2 extra bollards to the south of the former pub,  and fencing off the car park on the north-east corner (the former tennis courts).

ASB has brought problems to The Embankment – drug litter under the Old Toll Bridge, damage to the undercroft of The Memorial, and the presumed accidental fire in the bandstand.
The suggestion to cage off under the arches is not supported – expensive, not a solution, and prone to trap litter from the river when it runs high.
Planning application to upgrade the bandstand as it is repaired is approved; it will be more secure, not have a hidden entrance and will have better power supply and equipment to hold better events in the future;  the power supply will see a trench down through the park in the Spring.
Works to strengthen the undercroft with an artistic design is in hand.
Repairs to the Memorial are also planned following the theft of lead from the roof.
The gates need some repair and re-painting and there’s some intrigue as to what colours the gates have been painted over time.

Front page news in December, a proposal to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 with a memorial in the Memorial Gardens on the circular lawn nearest to the bandstand, carrying the names of all the fallen.

There are still plans to repair the Queen Victoria statue and historical aspects of the gardens, Memorial and the Embankment.

Lighting along the north end of the Embankment is being renewed with LED lighting at no expense to the council.

Leaks in the paddling pool continue to need to be checked and major works may be needed sometime in the future; a surprise is that some people are asking for a lido (wow).

Although the football pavilion had a £15k upgrade not long ago, some more major may be needed.  a 3G football pitch nearby is still one of the option for a such a pitch in Nottingham, but the ideas of a new glass pavilion and a pitch much near the paddling pool has gone –  the Lottery couldn’t be persuaded.

A surprise of the arrival of horses, and a horse riding club.  Don’t imagine it’s forbidden but there is anxiety should the club start riding across playing fields.

A lot of the development ideas for open spaces & parks are considered at Area 8 committee (see section 106 report) this month.

This includes a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) for the Queens Walk Recreation Ground.

Pleased to see smaller spaces being improved too (Barker Gate, Bellar GateCliff Road) ; although works to re-invigorate the Meadows Cottage Garden are waiting for the better weather.  Snagging works on tram route are still taking place and an extra bollard to protect the grass next to the wooden Queen Victoria is needed.

Mini road network for kids

** New mini road network for kids to cycle on **
Further to the paddling pool, and the wide range of outdoor play equipment, Victoria Embankment and Nottingham City now offers a road network exclusively for kids to learn to ride a bike on, and to learn road safety.
Photos show site under development, opening ceremony, and a couple of dads pushing kids along on their first rides.
Facility is great for The Meadows, but designed to serve the conurbation.

OMTRA lobby for better park fencing


Old Meadows residents representatives ask for more fencing to protect the fields from abuse by people driving their cars over the grass fields.
Portfolio Holder Davud Trimble heard the points alongside parks officers, and plans are now being made for new gates on key entrances, extra bollards around other entrances and some new fencing.
Meanwhile, a Neighbourhood Action Team has asked for more lighting for the multi-use games area just off Felton Road.