Volunteer Day from Tree planting

Public Letter About our Meadow

A public letter sent to the local council members, MP and our Parks Team

Dear Parks Team, Councillors and MP,

We are saddened to be writing to you regarding such an upsetting subject at such a difficult time. As you may know, a very much loved area of our park and one that added massively to the park’s uniqueness and appeal was destroyed recently by one of the mowing teams.

The meadow in our park provided not only a fantastic habitat for park wildlife, increased biodiversity and offered a unique area of natural interest for the public and their families visiting the park.This meadow initiative was originally proposed by the council to increase biodiversity and reduce costs which we’re sure it did alongside becoming a key feature and popular space within the park.

Over the year we receive numerous comments from the public about how wonderful it is to be able to come to a city park and feel lost in nature for a while. The only parts of this meadow that should have been mown are the paths. This last round of mowing has seen the entire area mown. The devastation to the wildlife and wildflowers that were becoming more established each season is huge. We have received many upset communications from members of the public and our group regarding the loss of this natural space – we have yet to receive any positive feedback about it. I’m sure that you are in the majority aware that this has happened and I’m certain at least some of the public we have suggested get directly in touch with you will have done so.

In addition to the loss of habitat there is some more extremely upsetting news about this incident.

Last Autumn as part of the Sainsburys 150 year celebrations they offered their dedicated staff the opportunity to bid for Woodland Trust tree packages. An amazing member of our park community, working with the Friends Group applied for, and was successful in her bid. She was awarded 420 whips of native forage species which she donated to the park. The Friends of Fog Lane Park, alongside council staff organised a community planting day in November where in excess of 40 members of the public showed up to help us plant these trees which would add so much to the park. MANY of the volunteers bought their children and hoped to be able to share the progress of the trees they had planted over the coming years and foster a feeling of ownership of the park in the next generation.

Most of these whips were planted to soften the edges of the meadow. Our conservative estimate is that over 300 of these whips have been mown.

There is genuine upset and anger and a feeling that time, effort and passion has been wasted and worse disrespected or considered of little consequence.

WE WOULD LIKE TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE SURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

We want to be able to ensure the correct management of our wild meadow going forward (one mowing each year after the flowers have seeded) and put systems in place to ensure this but alongside this and probably of greater importance to our park community would be looking to replace the trees.

We feel it is reasonable to ask that the council supply and plant 250 whips of similar species to those that were decimated by the mowers, in the same places that we originally planted them and in addition to this that they provide a number of more established trees to allow a clear visual boundary around these areas helping to avoid another mishap and also to go further by replacing some of the specimens we have lost recently – notably the Cherry Trees along the serpentine walk. WE would like to work alongside the parks and tree teams to site these and to try and ensure that we can get some level of good news out to our amazing park community about this situation that so many feel so strongly about. We feel that if we can do the above it will make amends and acknowledge the mistake in as positive a way as can be expected after such a loss.

Please let us know how we can ensure positive progress on this upsetting issue,

Regards,

The Committee of Friends of Fog Lane Park

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