Hi and welcome to new members of this mailing list.
Firstly thanks to everyone who has responded to our request for suggestions for our new heritage project on the Scrubs. Also thanks to everyone who has already been involved in practical volunteering. We have laid a long section of hedge along Scrubs lane which will provide important cover for nesting birds, mammals and insects and is part of the on-going management of the scrubs.
Also thanks to volunteers who contributed to the parakeet research on the 15th January, The next date for the roost count is the 1st April for more information see: http://www.projectparakeet.co.uk/ hopefully it will be a bit warmer this time round!
Please contact me if you are interested in attending any of the following activities:
4 February 2012 LARG Scrub clearance and refugia making day. 10am – 3pm Meeting Point: Scrubs Lane car park. Bring: A packed lunch. Wear: Warm clothes, waterproofs if needed. What’s provided: Teas and coffees, tools, scrub clearance equipment. London Amphibian and Reptile Group (LARG) will be leading a volunteer work day to create suitable habitat for the lizards and slow worms that live on the scrubs. We shall be cutting bramble and digging up blackthorn to create a varied tussock and scrub mosaic that the reptiles need. We shall also create some roofing felt and brush piles (refugia), to provide shelter for these and other small wildlife.
6 February 2012 Snowberry Clearance and Guelder Rose Planting 10am-3pm Bring: A packed lunch. Wear: Warm clothes, waterproofs if needed. What’s provided: Teas and coffees, tools and equipment. Snowberry is an ornamental plant native to North and Central America. It is growing enthusiastically on the scrubs and its berries, though poisonous to humans are eaten by some birds. Whilst it is not perceived as a problem plant, its wildlife benefits are limited and it spreads easily so can out compete native species.
This project will involve digging out the snowberries and planting the native Guelder rose which is an attractive plant that will provide nectar for pollinating insects and berries for the birds without the risk of spreading to areas best prices on brand viagra where it can become a problem.
14February 2012 BTO Nestbox Survey Training 10am – 2pm Meeting Point: Scrubs Lane car park. Bring: A packed lunch. Wear: Warm clothes, waterproofs if needed. What’s provided: Teas and coffees, tools, Nest box cleaning/mending equipment. The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) conducts volunteer surveys to buy cialis online gage the numbers of breeding birds. http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/nrs This day we will be cleaning out and marking the nest boxes on the scrubs so that they are ready for the birds to breed in this spring. We will also be mapping their location ready to take part in the BTO breeding bird survey.
6 March 2012 Wildflower Meadow Maintenance 10am-3pm Bring: A packed lunch. Wear: Warm clothes, waterproofs if needed. What’s provided: Teas and coffees, tools and equipment. There are several areas of wildflower meadow which need ongoing management. Come along to removing vigorous re-colonisers such as creeping thistle, blackthorn and some grasses, that are threatening to drown out the nectar and seed providing wildflowers that are such an important food source for birds and insects on the scrubs. 6 April 2012 Log pile restoration and creation 10am-4pm Bring: A packed lunch. Wear: Warm clothes, sturdy footwear, sunscreen or waterproofs if needed. What’s provided: Teas and coffees, tools and equipment. Log piles provide important shelter for invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles as well as providing convenient resting points for weary humans. We shall be building and restoring the log piles to provide a vital habitat for some of the scrubs’ smaller inhabitants.
Thank you for your time and continued support. I hope you can make it to one of these sessions and look forward to meeting you all. Best wishes Netty
(If you wish to be taken off the mailing list please e-mail me and let me know.)
Here is the only even vaguely complete bid that I’ve received under FOI for the infamous 2007 tender for H&F grounds maintenance, the bid from English Landscape - basically a competitor to Quadran who agreed that the document was not so commercially confidential that they could let it out.
When you read the document, you can understand why it’s not commercially confidential – anyone in the business is going to be able to find out what is needed pretty easily, and anyone not in the business is not a commercial competitor. Given that English Landscape reacted in this sensible way to the H&F’s request to release their bids in response to my FOI request, one has to wonder why Quadran decided not to release their winning bid. Maybe to avoid buy cialis online embarrassment of the very profitable hand that feeds them, I wonder?
Anyway, I have used this bid information combined with the Scrubs workplan information (see earlier post) to try out a few imaginary budgets. Basically, I am looking at what kind of team of people and machines would need to be put into the Scrubs maintenance in order to get to the “cost” that the charity is being charged of almost £700k.
The English Landscapes bid envisages a “Wormwood Scrubs Static team” – ie the people permanently on Scrubs related work of just 1 person. They also have an area manager, a 2-person litter team for the whole “Northern’ area of the borough, a 1 person loo-cleaning team for the Norther area and a single sweeper driver for the whole borough (page 11).
If you look at the workplan for the Scrubs – this is the plan that Quadran actually delivered – you can see that this sort of team could clearly deliver on the work described. Mostly, the work is grass cutting, litter bin emptying and maintenance of pitches. We all know the Scrubs and the sort of care and attention it received from Quadran, and it would really be quite surprising to discover that they had anything like 5 full buy viagra now time people on the Scrubs.
So my first experiment was to see how I could get up to the original cost of around £250k – the cost before Quadran took over. Here is one team that gets us up to these costs:
Let me explain. In this budget, the Scrubs would employ 8 people full time on quite attractive salaries. It would have a very substantial leasing and rental budget for equipment – the tractors, for example, that are needed at specific times of year. I have experience of building budgets – this one is generous. Nevertheless, I think we can all see that if we had 8 full time staff on the Scrubs, we’d get a lot more care than we have today. And that gets us to the budget before the costs were trebled!
So what exactly would it take as a team to get to current costs? Well, here is just one team structure that would do it.
We would have 17 people employed. They would have the rolls royces of maintenance equipment to play with. Their consumables budget would be vast. That is the kind of gold-plated service that would get us to a budget of £638k, approximately the annual income of the Trust, and still less than what the Council is charging the Trust.
Something, I feel, has gone wrong with the notion that the Council is acting in accordance with the interests of the Trust, whose charitable purpose, remember, in the words of the Council’s legal team itself, is meant to be: “the exercise and recreation of the inhabitants of the metropolis”.
I wonder what the inhabitants of the metropolis would think about that.
Anyway. here, if you want to go into it, is more detail of the English Landscapes bid.
Here are the Cabinet papers from the meeting that approved the as yet unexplained increase in grounds maintenance costs. Most of the important stuff from the point of view of the Scrubs happens on page 13/14.
Para 2.3, page 14, talks of “the maintenance of Wormwood Scrubs, separately managed through a
Charitable Trust.” I am not sure there is much evidence of “separate management” in this tender. In 5.2, legal services reminded the officers of their duty in relation to the Trust -
“In terms of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust, the Council is under a duty to
act in the best interests of the Trust and in pursuance of its charitable purpose which
is the exercise and recreation of the inhabitants of the metropolis. Cabinet exercises
the Council’s powers as trustee. As explained in the body of the report, officers are of
the view that the award of the grounds maintenance contract to Quadron is in the
best interests of both the Council and the Trust.”
However, I see there is little evidence of any consideration being given to the different constituency of the Trust’s beneficiary’s and the Council’s voters. Indeed, the officers seem to have explicitly said that the reasons the contract was good for the Council were identical to the reasons they were good for the Trust. This seems odd, given the difference in whose interests are supposedly being represented.
Finally, the Council rather hastily comes to this conclusion:
The financial assessment of the contract award is dealt with in the corresponding exempt report on this agenda.
6.2 The award of the contract is affordable within the current grounds maintenance budgets for the Council’s General Fund and Wormwood Scrubs. It will contribute £141,522 towards the achievement of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy target cialis online ordering of £200,000 for savings in grounds maintenance costs. Other contributions are expected to this savings target, eg by refining the client side arrangements for the new contract and through the use of alternative funding sources such as capital and Section 106 payments. Further proposals to deliver these savings will be reported to Members as part of the Council Tax Setting report in February 2008.
Well, given that they had just pocketed a surplus of about £400k, I am not sure it is such buy cialis online an achievement to crow about to have apparently saved £200k – where did the rest go?
Here is the successful re-leaf application from the Council to the GLA (the buy viagra online Mayor of London) for that tree planting which I got through Freedom of Information.
Note that when they need to say that they have engaged local groups, they claim the we, the FOWW, are on board. But we know they didn’t consult us on this. This is “democracy-wash” – you claim you’re engaging communities to get the money, but you don’t do anything so messy as to actually consult and leave yourself open to the possibility of having your nicely fixed plans changed by popular will.
“Community Group engaged –
Friends of Wormwood Scrubs- 20 persons (Volunteers)
Ground work trust- 20 persons (Voluneers) LBHF staff- 5 persons (Volunteers)
Local Residence and School Children- 40 persons buy levitra online (Volunteers)
Quadron Services Limited- 4 staff supervising and aiding planting.
Hammersmith Community Gardens Association- 15 persons (Volunteers)
Let me play Ltd- 10 persons (Volunteers)”
I wonder how many of the other claims to having involved local groups are invented?
Note also that there was £1,400 of “ground preparation” costs billed to the project. I wonder who that went to and what exactly the ground preparation was all about. My guess is that it went either to Groundwork or to Quadran, but, judging from what I saw on the day of the planting, that there was no cost incurred. What seems pretty likely to me is that this is more about preparing the ground of balancing NGO and corporate budgets than preparing anything on the Scrubs for planting.
45. Any lack of public funds affecting the Council’s ability to implement the
strategic masterplan is not in itself an exceptional circumstance that would
justify this alteration to the open space designation for South Park, given that
there has been no significant change since its original inclusion. Accordingly,
it is recommended that the whole of South Park retains the Open Space of
borough importance designation (IC 2) on Map 7 : Open Space in compliance
with policy 7.17 of the DRLP and policy OS 1 of the CS.
46. Similar considerations apply in respect of Wormwood Scrubs, where the
Council proposes to exclude the Linford Christie Stadium from the Metropolitan
Open Land designation. Again, whilst policy CF1 refers directly to enhancing
sports provision at the stadium, including for increased use by local schools,
the need to fund such improvements, even at a time of severe pressure on
public resources, is not in itself a justification for a change of designation. Nor
is it essential for their implementation.
47. In the absence of any other evidence the necessary full explanation of
“exceptional circumstances”, in accord with national guidance in PPG 2, has
not been cialis provided. The essential character of the stadium has not changed
significantly since the 2001 UDP Inquiry Inspector’s Report recommended that
there be no change to its status. The Council accepts that it still meets at
least one of the four criteria that led to its original designation and it remains
clearly distinguishable from the adjoining built up area. Noting that the Mayor
has no objection to the change, it would still appear contrary to the intent of
policy 7.17 of the DRLP and policy OS 1 of the CS. Thus it is recommended
that there is no change to the Metropolitan Open Land designation of the
Linford Christie Stadium at Wormwood Scrubs (IC 3).
Special thanks to David Jeffreys for preparing the brief so thoroughly on this and Josh for alerting us all to the danger in the first place.
A group of FoWWS met with Stefan Czeladzinski, the HFBC employee with
responsibility for bio-diversity on the Scrubs on Thursday September
The meeting has been long in coming. As many of you will remember,
Stefan and his colleague Pauline met us in March in the Linford
Christie changing rooms to talk to us about the rather sudden
tree-planting program that had taken root on the Scrubs. At that
meeting, we were assured on several points: that HFBC would create a
management plan for the Scrubs; that the Friends would be consulted in
the preparation of that plan, etc. Almost ever since then, Stewart
Dalby and other members of the committee have been coaxing the council
to come good on the assurances.
So it was with a great sense of achievement and anticipation that we
met with Stefan on Thursday. It was a beautiful morning and we had a
very agreeable stroll. Stefan – who may well be moving on from his
current responsibilities – offered much interesting information on
species and bio-diversity. He also had interesting and important
information on waste-water management issues – the council will now be
made responsible for water run-off from the Scrubs where Thames Water
used to be responsible. There may therefore be a need to create some
wetland areas on the scrubs – possibly some permament ponds. One of
the concerns around this is that the Scrubs may have contaminated
run-off: its past use as a firing range and, previously, as a
Victorian dump for ash, may well mean that there are lots of nasty
chemicals in the soil. Stefan had much to say about the complex
balancing act of managing diversity in the area, between dying trees
and invasive non-native species.
Unfortunately, Stefan stuck steadfastly to his bio-diversity remit and
had almost nothing to say about the wider issues of concern to the
where is the management plan – including amenities and recreation, as well as bio-diversity – for the Scrubs?
what is the council’s view of the proposed Jubilee Marathon Trail as described in the White City OAPF?
what is the chain of responsibility in general between Quadran, Groundwork and HFBC?
what are Quadran doing for their fees?
what decision-making process is there for the initiatives that Groundwork takes?
Can we be confident that the management of the Scrubs is not being overly influenced by the council’s avowed desire to build and put flats onto Linford Christie stadium?
Is the “Marathon route” indicataed in the White City OAPF a real project? If so, why does it cut across the Scrubs in ill-thought through ways?
how does the council manage its dual role as trustee of the Scrubs Trust and as local authority?
Several Friends made it very clear to Stefan that, however fascinated
we all were by his lessons in conservation, we actually needed to
discuss these matters more urgently.
Stefan has agreed to set up a meeting with his boss, Neil Manning, for
November. We propose that a small delegation from the Friends meet
with Neil Manning and other HFBC staff to establish an agenda and a
presentation for a public meeting at which all the membership – and
the wider public – is invited. Do let us know if you would like to have any specific issues added to the agenda of the FoWW, or indeed if you would like to put yourself forward to work on preparing these meetings.
It is our strong belief that the only way that the Trustees of the
Scrubs Trust can discharge their duties to the inhabitants of London -
to manage the space for our common enjoyment – is if they build proper
support from committed users buy viagra online of the space for the important decisions
relating to it. If the FoWWS can continue to HFBC as Trustees of their
duties, and to help them achieve the support of those that enjoy the
space, we will have made ourselves useful.
Note that negative numbers are an income. So H&F has a tidy £5.7m in the capital value for the Scrubs Trust. Let’s hope they remember to consult before committing that capital or making use of the income – mainly from car parks!
I have been asking the council for a while for a detailed plan of work from Qadron to see what they’re actually doing for their money on the Scrubs. I now have this encouraging document back. It is still a bit mysterious — what are the periods? what does the frequency relate to, etc. But encouraging still. I have asked for the detailed spreadsheets that lie behind these numbers. But we’re getting somewhere — this is the work that Qadron are reporting that they are doing.
Dinah Kerton has been asking the council to do something about increased traffic
Dear Mr Crow
I do not know if you remember me we spoke some months ago, I am a resident of Braybrook Street.
I am writing to you as I am concerned about the amount of cars that are on pathways running from Wood Lane to the Linford Christy Stadium. Last night around 5pm Monday when I was walking with my dog six cars came along the pathway from the stadium. I think it was mothers picking up kids from some class at the stadium. I told one of them that this path was not for motor cars and she said where would they park. Obviously, the barrier that was in place is now broken and allows cars to come onto the area. Do you think you could try to get this barrier reinstated and maybe get some communication with who ever is running the stadium to inform them about not bringing cars onto the pathways.
There is a car park at Wood Lane, or the hospital car park or Braybrook Street so there are ample places to park without using the pathways.
Last night there were a number of school children coming along the path when these cars came along and my dog was off lead so it is not an ideal situation.
I spoke to some of your officers the week before who were clearing up an oil spill from a car driven onto the scrubs and dumped and I think a lot of damage is being done as there is no way to stop people driving up these pathways at present.
I look forward to hearing from you. I am going to write to the Head of Parks at Hammersmith regarding this and a few other matters regarding the maintence on the scrubs.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the situation at the Linford Christy Stadium.
We also have been concerned by the number of cars using this path to drop their children off at the Stadium. On two occasions we have stationed an officer and car down by the stables stopping vehicles and turning them away, trying to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately we do not always know when there is an event on at the
I do know that the Automatic Barrier at Scrubs Lane is under repair, but when it will be fixed I’m trying to find out and will let you know. When the barrier works it stops this from happening.
I will let you know what the situation is with the Barrier asap………..
Parks Constabulary / Residents Services Dept
Tel: 020 8753 5999
Director of Residents Services: Lyn Carpenter
Following my email to you yesterday, I contacted the Dept concerned with the repair of the Barrier and can let you know the following……
The delay, as I understand it, are the parts required to fix it had to be imported from overseas. I have been informed today that these parts are now in stock and an engineer should be with us next week to complete its repair and get the barrier back in working order.
Once repaired the barrier should then stop the problem of cars using the path to drop their children off at the stadium.
Should you have any other questions or if I can be of any further help, then please do not hesitate in contacting me again.
Parks Constabulary / Residents Services Dept
Tel: 020 8753 5999
Director of Residents Services: Lyn Carpenter