Friends of the Level Meeting and Update

Guest post thanks to Matt Cook of Friends of the Level
Dear all,
The Friends of the Level would like to invite you to a General Meeting on Tuesday 25th Septemember at the Phoenix community centre from 7:00pm. All are welcome.
The Level is a vibrant community space used by a wide range of people of all ages and diverse backgrounds. Whether it is used for playing football, cricket or Frisbee, practising circus skills, dog walking, skating or just relaxing, meeting friends and having a picnic, The Level remains a vital and well-used community park, much loved by the residents of Brighton for centuries.
In light of the news of the £2.2 million of Heritage Lottery Fund money that is about to be spent on the redevelopment of The Level, and the iminent closure of the Level, the Friends of The Level are holding a general meeting to discus the implications of the new park and what people from local community can do to take part in its future.
The Friends of The Level are an open community group that serves as a platform for residents, community groups and park users to come together to discuss and promote activities and events that help create a positive and enriching park, and to help preserve the environmental, historical and cultural heritage of The Level for future generations.
On the Agenda
  • An update on the Parks Projects redevelopment plans.
  • Schedule for the Level redevelopment and information on the children’s playground.
  • Update on skate park funding
  • Treasury report
  • Upcoming events
  • A discussion on what types of activities/events that people would like to see on The Level
  • An open discussion from those people attending the meeting on what the FOTL might aspire to and its future role in the community.
Please feel free to circulate this invitation to any you feel would be interested in attending or finding out more about what the Friends of the Level are planning in 2012.
Best wishes
 
Mat Cook
Chair – Friends of the Level

The Level : Project Update March 2012

(A Guest Post by Linda Anglin who manages the Council Parks Projects Team)

The Level Project Update March 2012

Start of the Delivery Phase: I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely spring sunshine. Since our last update announcing the fantastic news that the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ bid was successful, we have been busy getting the project team in place and ready to start the delivery phase of the project. I’m happy therefore to welcome onto the project team Gill Thompson and Claire Morgan. Gill will be making sure the Capital Works programme is delivered as planned and Claire, who starts on 16 April, will be working with local residents and community groups to deliver the Activity Plan actions.

We have also completed the tender process for the Lead Landscape Architect and I’m pleased to report that Land Use Consultants will continue working with us to complete this final stage of the project. They have commenced the next stage of the design process, which is drawing up detailed specification drawings which are needed for the construction tender.

The timetable for the capital works is as follows:

  • Detailed specification February 2012 to April 2012
  • Preparation of tender documents May 2012 to June 2012
  • Issue construction tender End of June 2012
  • Evaluate and appoint successful contractor September 2012
  • Build Phase October 2012 to June 2013

We won’t have an agreed build programme until the contractors have been appointed. However, due to the extent of work and to ensure safety on-site during construction, it’s likely that the south end will be closed for the majority of the time which is why we are scheduling the work to be carried out over the winter season. I’ll be able to give a more detailed build plan in the Autumn once the build contractors have been appointed.

Playground

A design concept is being prepared for the new playground and we will be holding consultation exhibitions on The Level in March and April to get feedback from children and their parents/guardians. The consultation exhibition dates are at the end of this newsletter.

 Skatepark

Work has commenced on the design for the new skatepark, and we will be holding consultation exhibitions at the same time as the Playgrounds ones noted above. I’ve attached a separate update for the skatepark project which includes more details.

Dogs welcome areas

Concerns about dogs not under control and dog mess and having dog free areas were issues raised by residents during the consultation. However, it is recognised that responsible dog walkers provide a valuable service by providing year round natural surveillance in the park, especially during dark mornings and evenings. While it is intended that all grass areas in the south end and the fountain area are completely dog free, dog owners have expressed an interest in allowing dogs on leads on the paths which lead through the south end. We could run a short pilot to see if this would work but it would need the support and help from dog owners to help us promote and enforce this. If this is something you would like to help with, please let us know. We will also be getting people’s views on this at the consultation exhibitions being held for the playground and skatepark.

Digital Story Telling Project

In May, Fiona will be launching the digital story telling project to invite anyone with an interest in The Level’s history to get involved with this exciting project. We believe that this will bring further depth and context to the more recent history of the park; by engaging volunteers to assist with the research and collection of materials about The Levels unique history the information will be more accessible to the local community. Our primary interest is with the heritage of the Level, the 1930’s design and the historic community use of The Level both in centuries past and decade by decade in more recent times. We will be exploring the following themes through further research and digital story telling techniques, e.g. sound and video recording, photographs, documents and oral history.

  • The playground and the use of The Level for play and recreation
  • Community Celebrations and regular events
  • WW2
  • Peace and Protest
  • Prohibitionists rallies and the underworld of the park
  • The skatepark and skatepark competitions

If you are interested in volunteering you will be asked to attend a number of training sessions; these will provide training on how to use local research facilities, how to establish a system of recording the archives that have been examined and how to collate and catalogue materials. You will be given the opportunity to choose a theme that is of interest to research further your self. Volunteers will meet as a group regularly to talk about what they have found, how their findings fit within The Level history timeline and discuss the best way to interpret the findings. Let us know if you are interested; contact details are at end of this update letter.

Communities of The Level

We said last time that we would be getting in touch with local community groups to start discussing how they wanted to be involved in the project. This has been delayed while we get the Activity Project Officer in place and we hope to get back to you by the end of April.

Art Installation in the centre of the north lawns

A brief has now been prepared to recruit an artist to work with us. This will be used to invite expressions of interest. Representatives from a few of the local community groups will be invited to sit on the decision panel. As part of the brief, we would be asking the successful artist to work with the local community to design the art installation. More details will be available in May.

 Dates for Your Diary

Bluebell Planting with the Rangers: Wednesday 28 March 3.30 to 5 pm

Gloves and tools supplied and accompanied children welcome. Meet at the crossroads in the north half of The Level. For more information, please contact the Park Rangers on 01273 292929 or email Cityparks@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Consultation Exhibitions on The Level for the skatepark and playground:

Saturday 31 March, Tuesday 3 April and Monday 16 April:

  • 11 am to 2 pm
  • 11 am to 1 pm
  • 3 pm to 6 pm

Contact Us:

Find out more information by logging on to www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/thelevel Email us at parksprojects@brighton-hove.gov.uk with any ideas and suggestions. If you do not have access to the internet, we are happy to send you information by post. Please write to us at Brighton & Hove City Council, Parks Projects Team,Hollingdean Depot, Upper Hollingdean Road, Brighton BN1 7GA or call us on 01273 292929.

The Level Skatepark Project Update March 2012

The Project & Project Team: The City Parks Project Team working with Sports Development and the Brighton & Hove Skateparks Association (BHSA) are leading on the skatepark project, which is an important aspect of the larger Restoration Project for The Level. The fact that the two schemes have now over-lapped in timescale is completely coincidental, however it is hoped that potential investors will gain renewed confidence from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund investment and the knowledge that the rest of the parks regeneration is shortly to commence.

Freestyle Skateparks will be designing and building the new skatepark. They were appointed in December 2011 following a competitive tender process. A BHSA representative was included in the evaluation panel for this process.

Lewes & Co Planning South East Limited have been appointed to help prepare the planning application for the new skatepark. They will ensure that the appropriate consultation is undertaken and that any issues raised are addressed at the earliest possible opportunity during the design process.

To ensure its integration into the rest of the park, the Landscape Architects for the Restoration Project, Land Use Consultants, will also work closely with Freestyle to ensure appropriate boundary treatment and landscaping.

Commitment by the council

Approval for the Master Plan for the whole park was granted in the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Cabinet Members Meeting on the 5th July 2011. This confirmed the location of the new skatepark and committed £150,000 towards the new skatepark, made up of £97,000 S106 developer’s contributions and £53,000 from council budget. The new skatepark will be around 1400m² and it is estimated to cost around £350,000. We will be aiming to raise the additional funding required through grants and sponsorship.

Design Process

Freestyle has had a number of meetings with the BHSA to discuss initial design ideas in order to develop a design which best meets the requirements of skaters and BMXers and provides for all levels of experience. They have also been working with LUC on the boundaries, landscaping, etc to ensure a thorough and cohesive design is presented for consultation by the BHSA. All the feedback received from local residents and other park users during the consultation and engagement undertaken last year for the whole park has being taken into account when designing the new skatepark. The proposed design will be consulted on between 31 March and 25 April and you can view the designs and give your feedback in the following ways:

Consultation Exhibitions on The Level: Come along to meet the design team, view the design and complete a questionnaire:

  • Saturday 31 March 11 am to 2 pm
  • Tuesday 3 April 11 am to 1 pm (near the Playbus)
  • Monday 16 April 3 pm to 6 pm

Consultation Portal: Log on to http://consult.brighton-hove.gov.uk/portal to view the design and complete a questionnaire on line.

Web Site: The design will also be available to view on the council website www.brightonhove.gov.uk/thelevel and BHSA website www.bhsa.org.

By post: If you are not able to attend any of the exhibitions or you do not have access to the internet, we are happy to send you information by post. Please write to us at Brighton & Hove City Council, Parks Projects Team, Hollingdean Depot, Upper Hollingdean Road, Brighton BN1 7GA or call us on 01273 292929

Planning & Funding

After the consultation period has been completed and the design has been finalised, a Planning Application will be prepared and submitted to the Planning Authority. This will be around May this year and will take between 8 to 12 weeks before a decision is made. Planning permission will be sought for the full 1400m² skatepark. Following that, grant funding bids will be prepared and submitted. This is likely to include bids for sponsorship from business as well as bids to funding bodies such as Veolia and Sport England. We cannot confirm exactly which grants we will be going for as it will depend on whether or not we have any success with business sponsorship and also what grants are available at the time. We are applying for planning permission before we make any applications as some funding bodies require this to be done before they would consider grant applications.It is expected that the outcome of any bids will be known by the end of the year.

Building the new skatepark

Work on the new skatepark will commence in the New Year 2013. Whether we are able to build the whole skatepark in one phase or whether it needs to be built in two or more phases will depend on what additional funding we manage to secure. The exact timescale for the build is dependent on this and so cannot be confirmed at this point.

Indicative Timetable

2012

  • Jan to Apr Design and Consultation Phase
  • May Submit Planning Application
  • July Decision on Planning Application
  • July onwards Submit bids for funding
  • December Decision on funding bids

2013

  • Jan to May Build Phase

Please note these dates are provisional and may change.