More about Beecholme

Beecholme is also the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, with a mixture of houses and flats with the taller block having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. It is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History and was the site of Beecholme House, the family home of Maj. John André (d. 1780), who was executed as a British spy in the American War of Independence.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Millfields Pk Nth Play Area + UPDATE 17 Dec: Result of 2nd meeting + 1 residents "letter"

UPDATE 17th Jan 2010

See the new SAFE PARKS survey
Please tell our councillors we need full time park wardens and play area supervisors

or direct to the survey form

NOTE: The next

Millfields Park Users Group meeting
is at the Beecholme Hall
(bottom corner of Prout Road)

on 23rd Jan 2010 at 1pm

See the new Millfields Park Master Plan


Please, please do fill in the picture survey form
"Comment on the Millfields Park Play Area" below



The planners have listened to residents and have
REFUSED PLANNING PERMISSION at the top corner of Casimir Road. 

However at the 2nd meeting

with the designer, our councillors, police and local residents
it was suggested that moving the site 75 yards along the footpath to the bottom of Prout Road would solve some issues because it was less well lit.

Residents did not agree and with the strong support of cllr Linda Kelly recomended the only suitable site to be adjacent to the current play area further along Casimir Road.

Nathan from Theories Landscapes will be working all hours to try and get a modified design approved, the local residents consulted and a new planning application in with time for it to be build and invoiced this financial year.


The residents position as expressed at the 16 Dec meeting at Beecholme – one residents view.

I’ve been thinking about some of questions asked about play when we were children and I must say, I don’t think I ever used a community play area without at least my mother sitting on a bench within sight or my father sitting in the car within sight.
The sort of adventurous play wished to be enabled I did experience either alone , with my 2 brothers or with one or two close friends but in Somerset in what was a small village and in open country. The equivalent play learning in an inner city “on the streets” with absolutely no supervision is all about gangs, drugs, knives and learning how to either defend yourself or join in. At the very least learning how not to get bullied by the older or bigger kids.
In London the worst boroughs for this are Hackney and Lambeth.
The figures recently are that around 10% of kids as young as 10 & 11 were carrying knives, primarily for self defense.
See FEAR & FASHION WEAPONS REPORT – download as a pdf here:


This is a summary page from the report:

(click on it to see it full size)

Here's an article from a local teenager:

Believe me, there are some really hard, street wise kids around here, the very ones these kids are scared enough on the streets to feel they must defend themselves against. The sort of thing I did not ever come in contact with as a child because my parents were always either with me or close by in public & communal areas.
Of course it's not all kids and not all the time, but a 10% risk is too much for a parent and believe me, the risk of introduction to drugs or bullying is a lot more.
The very reason parents on Beecholme will not allow their kids onto the park alone.

The proof is high incidents of recorded crime, which is of course just the tip of the ice burgh. Most asb cases on Hackney Homes estates don't go to the police but to the Hackney Homes asb team or go unreported. Only the most serious then get police crime numbers.

Honestly, no matter how much you believe in the design of the play area, would you actually allow your 8 year old to go to it alone, knowing there was the chance there may be no adults about -  and even if there are, without knowing who they are?

We do know from experience that at different times of the day and week it will be used by different groups.

The picture painted of happy families playing and so discouraging asb will certainly be true from 3.45 pm to about 5 pm on weekdays and for several hours on sunny weekend afternoons.
What concerns us is the 2 hours from about 7.30pm to 9.30pm when the teenages will be smoking dope and selling crack as they used to right under the cameras during the afternoon, sitting on our back garden's low wall (until we spent over £10,000 of our 184 money on railings on top of the low wall) - if they got there first then the kids would avoid the area until they left.
For three or four (+) months of the year this was from two days to 5 days a week.
Then there's from about 11.30pm on when the drunks will use it, as they used to use the low wall.
Friday night on a warm evening it would be occasionally 18 to 25 yr old revellers drinking and smoking, joking and laughing and sometimes fighting - 6 feet from my son's bedroom window and 12 feet from my back door and lounge room - from around 9.30 to sometimes 1 or 2 am.

It never used to be the case because there were 35 park wardens with Millfields having not just a live-in warden but a play area nurse.
That level of safety and security should be ours by right today.

By David White, Seeretary of the Beecholme & Casimir TRA.


As I've noted elsewhere, Leabridge is the 42nd most deprived ward in London and 2 of the indicators are to do with the comparative lack of green space and high domestic population density relative to London as a whole.

In fact the need for better parks with full time wardens is greater than ever as the population density goes up and the number of family homes with gardens goes down and families are forced into 3 & 4 bed flats.


Here's a taste: "The problem we have been finding is lots of the houses that do come up for sale are very quickly snapped up by developers and carved up into flats. This is frustrating us beyond belief - we have a our son at Millfields and don't want to leave the area."

Please do leave your comments and opinion about play areas in parks and Park Wardens or the lack of them or anything else you'd like our local councillors to see in the picture form below.
Your views are very important!!

You can view your comments along with everyone else's at:


 Millfields Park Master Plan Map
Here is version 4 of the map with an additional note I've added to give an indication where the play area may go. Even though it may change, it does give you an idea of the scope of the proposed transformation. The final version should be ready by early Feb.

Check back here or the council website for updates. 

Just click on the map to see it full size.

POSTER for WED 16th DEC:


Below - about previous meeting & background info

is about the proposed play area (pictured above) for Millfields Park Nth
top corner of Casimir Rd & the Beecholme estate.

All interested parties will be there including:
The Millfields Park Users Group rep, Hackney Parks Dept rep, the Play Area designer/architect, our councillors and residents.

The meeting was called to see if together we might address concerns about anti-social behaviour and security at the play area, being without supervision or the ability to be secured at night.
Due to the steep banking, much of the area is out of sight and the fact that there are dens to get out of sight may well attract drug & drink users.

NOTE: There's a lot more about the play area about 5 or 6 articles below

My thoughts on the subject

It is an unfortunate fact that virtually all of the states children are not allowed onto the park alone. Their parents prefer to be able to see them from their windows.

Except for the sunniest days when the park is well used, the only unaccompanied youngsters you do see there are some of the worst elements of our youth.
The fact these kids are the product of irresponsible or incapable parents is beside the point.

The threat or fear of being bullied, threatened or abused at best and being offered drugs, mugged or stabbed at worst is enough to make the park off limits most of the time for most children.
For young people between 12 and 18 the threat is real as well. My son has been mugged twice just walking through the park in the evening in the last 3 years. There was a child stabbed by another at the lower park play area last year.

For youger kids, even accompanied by parents there's the problem of dog dirt as well. Parents want to make sure the ground is relatively clear of such mess and the long grass proposed could hide a multitude of sins.

All that said, I think the play area design is great and kids would love if they knew they could play there in an air of safety.

That means full time supervision.

At the very least the are needs to be able to be locked up at night.
Why was it fine for Parks to have a full time staff of 35 including a live in warden for Millfields up until a few years ago but now we have one overstretched warden for 2 whole parks? and a total park warden staff of 5 or 7?

With higher population density the need for good parks is even greater, so why haven't they been afforded the priority they deserve?

It beats me - it's crazy.
There's even a Park Wardens House on Millfields left empty.

 Why not come to the meeting and have your say.
Leave a comment here as well.


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