Thursday 30 December 2010

Fordham Park

There's been a lot of landscaping going on in north Deptford over the last year or so, and work on Fordham Park is now almost finished. I had a nosey around just before christmas to try and get an idea of what it's going to be like when complete.

The old park had some nice trees and a big grassed area in the middle, with a few paths skirting around the outside, but the railings that surrounded it meant access was restricted to just a few gates and there was little to entice anyone to linger unless they were playing ball games on the central area.

With the railings gone and more paths criss-crossing the park, permeability is considerably improved for pedestrians and cyclists. The hard paving is particularly good news for people passing through the park, especially in the winter months; the rest of the paths are gravelled. Access for cyclists is hugely improved, with the link through the underpass now going directly across the road and into the park, instead of having to do a dog-leg down the road to a different entrance. There is also a choice of routes using the improved paths through the park.

Although there is still a grassed area in the middle of the park for football and so on, there are also a number of other play areas which should attract other users. Next to the Moonshot Centre is a paved area for ball games and a couple of rather sturdy looking concrete table tennis tables with steel nets. Large stone block seating, the same as that used in Margaret McMillan Park, is in evidence in places, along with additional park bench seating.

At the far end of the park a children's play area is under construction (although I am not sure how long some of the pieces of equipment will last, they look rather alarmingly flimsy) and there are also a few of those carved wooden 'totems' that are also in Margaret McMillan Park. New humps and bumps have been added in the landscape to create a bit more visual interest, and it seems that most of the existing trees have been retained.

My only criticism (apart from the length of time it seems to have taken to do the actual work) is the ugliness of the lighting columns (you can see them along the left side of the first picture). On paper I'm sure they looked quite classic - a streamlined design with the lighting element set flush into the column itself. Unfortunately in practice they just look rather lumpy and grey and I suspect they may have been the victim of a bit of 'value engineering'; I'm sure that's not quite what the architects had in mind.

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