Sunday, June 06, 2010

Disappointed

I have an apology to make. It seems that my earlier post on the Fairlop Waters Boulders made it look like they were open for business and it was all systems go. Well, I did just walk in and there they were, they are rather difficult to miss, but if you look closely at my photographs you will see that the pathways had not yet been completed.

So, last Thursday when Ron Jeffries took his grandson over there to find it all fenced off Ron, apparently, had a floor tantrum but recovered sufficiently to take a picture of his grandson, Marlon (9) looking suitably dejected in front of said fencing. My guess is that they had fenced it off for the heavy equipment to lay the top surfacing on the pathways. However, he was later assured by Ruth Pinner that the area should be open by Saturday, yesterday. “I’ll be back!” said Ron.

He also reports:
Lots of good work is going on. The men working on the trees near the entrance were inserting pipes for watering which was good to see (unlike at Newbury Park Station where a couple of the new trees on the grassed area are looking somewhat the worse for lack of water. Perhaps we should rename this patio as Boris's Folly - for I have yet to see anyone sitting out there!)

The pathway inside the hedge leading to Fairlop Station is complete - and looks good - just waiting for the Zebra Crossing to be in place on Forest Road by Transport for London.

The whole complex looks clean and green - and is a credit to those working there. How right we all were to fight the racecourse! How fortunate we are to have this open space. Congratulations to all those involved in anyway at Fairlop Waters.

Incidently, we called at the small garden centre on the way back to the station - very reasonable prices and very helpful staff. Well worth a visit. Yvonne now has a pineapple mint to add to her herb collection - among a few other things (for I cannot resist a garden centre!). Marlon was very patient in the heat!
Wasn’t a wasted day out after all. More photos.

5 comments:

  1. I went there yesterday and today, as I do most weeks, and note that all areas have open access now.

    However...

    I definitely think the new work is an improvement and will create an enjoyable experience for the majority of visitors to Fairlop Waters. But for quite a while now, since work started, I have been paying attention to the new pathways they have laid down. Last year, before the latest round of work started, a new pathway was laid down leading from the complex towards the golf course and then stopping half way round the first bend. It also led the other way, past the newly planted trees and stopped just past where the old parking area had been dug up and covered over. When these early paths were laid, the path surface was compressed properly and was fairly flat, creating a good firm hole free (on the whole) surface, which everyone, including wheelchair users could use with relative ease.

    I have a daughter who relies on her wheelchairs to get around so I pay particular attention to accessability in public places. She has both an electric and manual (standard NHS type).

    When the authority started work on the new boulder areas I noticed they also continued to work on replacing the paths all the way around the park, which I assumed, rightly or wrongly, would be to the same standard and finish as the previous ones mentioned above.

    I waited and waited for the new paths to be laid, which they were, and then compacted to a level finish to allow easy access for wheelchair users, and for that matter buggies. Unfortunately it appears as though the accessibility of the new paths has been completely overlooked, either by the planners at the town hall, or by the contractors. I wonder if the paths and everything else was hastily finished to coincide with the June 1st - charging date!

    If you take a walk around the new paths encircling the lake, and those around the newly created path areas by the boulders you cannot fail to notice how the surface of the pathways are very uneven, very soft and shaped like a small hill, rising in the centre and falling away at the edges. This dome like, unfinished and uncompressed path surface makes life extremely difficult for those people using wheelchairs and is in stark contrast to the earlier paths mentioned above near the complex. Sadly, I don't think the unfinished dome shape was deliberate, it's just been thrown down hastily and left like it!

    Yesterday my wife and I walked around the park along the paths, to assess it's suitability for our daughter to use in her wheelchair. Sadly we both reached the conclusion that it would be very difficuilt for her and us to manage on the current path surface, thus excluding her from enjoying the park along with other visitors.

    We also met other wheelchair users, who were also Redbridge Residents, who commented along exactly the same lines as I have here. They had to resort to pulling the wheelchair backwards along the path because the front wheels of the wheelchair kept getting stuck.

    Althouh it's quite difficult to see it in photos I attach links to three here, showing first, the good path, and then two different shots of the latest path, soft, pitted and not compressed or flat.

    Photo 1: Flat path laid last year, nice and compact!

    Photo 2: soft, uneven, pitted new path, not compacted

    Photo 3: another pitted area on the new path, of which there are many

    As I said at the start of this comment, I think on the whole it's a great facility, but yet again, it is clear that people with disabilities have been overlooked.

    When is Redbridge going to insist that all new projects are completed to a high standard and that wheelchair users are treated with equality and not as an after thought?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mark,
    We will have to check, but it looks to me that the photos you supply show paths that have not yet been "surfaced". When I was there the other week there were "open" paths that were clearly made of just the sub-strata.

    The colour of the finished article, a sort of sandy as opposed to grey is a key pointer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. lovely! Looking forward to the completed job in that case.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I jog regularly over at Fairlop Waters and am thrilled with the improvements. I think it looks fantastic and can't wait for it to be finished.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Update:

    I wrote to Ruth Pinner making my points as I have above. She replied stating that the paths had been laid to the same standard as those done 18 months ago and that the paths would bed down within a few months. I again responded, questioning this fact, making other points of comparison and again raising the point out equal access to wheelchair users.

    Ruth has just replied once more stating the following:

    "I take on board your points and will raise them with the architects and contractors, I have also requested that the paths are rolled again. I will also continue to monitor the paths as they become fully completed and begin to be used."

    I have thanked her for her determination and commitment to equal access to the park for disabled visitors, and will monitor progress. Once the paths have been rolled again I look forward to taking my daughter around the park.

    ReplyDelete