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Updates given on Battlemead Common and lighting in Grenfell Park

Updates on Battlemead Common and a review of the lighting in Grenfell Park were on the agenda for the communities overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday.

On the topic of Battlemead Common, head of communities, David Scott, explained that consultation with the Friends of Battlemead Common has taken place regarding a final masterplan for the site, but the information received has not yet been analysed.

Members of the group, formed by the council to have a say over the site’s management, were asked to submit their response for the 110-acre piece of land off Lower Cookham Road by last week.

Mr Scott said that although he was not in a position to report on the detail of the feedback given, he could comment on the areas it focused on.

This included whether dogs should be on or off leads in the west field, if the causeway path ‘should be seasonal or something else’ and proposals to support the best use and protection of the Willow Woodland.

The update report stated that overall about 60 per cent of the site will have no public access, and 40 per cent of the site will be accessible via mown footpaths, either on a year-round or seasonal basis.

This was considered to be a reasonable balance between protecting and enhancing biodiversity and wildlife and providing for access to and enjoyment of the site.

It is proposed that the masterplan will be monitored on an on-going basis and reviewed annually in discussion with the Friends of Battlemead Common.

Mr Scott also spoke on the topic of lighting in Grenfell Park, originally discussed by the Grenfell Park User Group prior to lockdown.

He said some minor works have been ordered by the tree officer to address some of the interfering overgrowth which has affected light distribution, particularly on the central path.

Mr Scott said providing lighting in the car park at the south east corner of the park was also considered but it is still a work in progress as the motion sensitive lighting suggested ‘probably isn’t realistic’.

This is because it ‘may cause more problems and disruption by lights going on and of at all hours'.

He said a design for lighting in the car park is being worked on.

Cllr Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary’s) said: “Last time when we met we were told that there was going to be a design made, and we could have a look at the deisgn work and review it, whether it was going to be heritage lighting, and what sort of lighting it was.”

He added: “It’s very, very dark in that area of the car park and it is intimidating at night.”

Cabinet member for parks and countryside, Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) said: “We do need to remember that we have to be really careful with our money and moving forward with designs, it just makes me slightly nervous.”

She suggested working with the Grenfell Park User Group to ‘come up with the most appropriate and careful solution'.

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