The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

The place for serious discussion, announcements and breaking news about Sydenham

Moderator: frenzarin

John H
Posts: 278
Joined: 17 Aug 2017 18:15
Location: Sydenham

The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 13 Jul 2019 07:30

On this topic I would hate to be proved right but I know I shall be.

Lewisham's cut down cheap and nasty destruction of Beckenham Place Park has resulted in a large pond (they call it a lake) which is fifteen feet deep with invisible and sudden increases in depth. Despite the notices suggesting there will be lifeguards there is no sign of them as yet and it is clear that the cost of providing lifeguards will be the first economy Lewisham makes.

The original lake was supposed to have been restored. Instead a new pond has been created with steep sides which create, therefore, a serious safety issue. As I write, despite the flimsy fencing around the pond, dozens of people are allowing their children to play in the pond. The parents of those children have no way of knowing where the bottom of the lake suddenly plunges down to its full depth.

The park does not have secure borders and therefore the lake cannot be secured at night. If it were then this would breach the covenant on the land (I understand). Notwithstanding that there is a common law right of access to the park.

I shall be surprised if there is no drowning before the "opening" day. It is inevitable this silly cheapskate (though expensive) development will result in tragedy. To call the pond a lake is ridiculous. Expensive aerating equipment has already had to have been installed. Such equipment requires maintenance. Lewisham has never spent money on this park. It has deteriorated, from being one of Greater London's finest parks, to little more than a patch of untended land. There was no justification for the award of lottery money for this project which has damaged this fine park.

I am sure this was not what the Cator family intended when they gifted it to the then borough of Catford.

Tadpole
Posts: 105
Joined: 23 Apr 2010 22:44
Location: In a pond near you

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Tadpole » 13 Jul 2019 17:57

Thank you for posting the info.
Not that I let my preschool grandson anywhere near water I can't see the bottom of, it's worrying to know that water that deep is there.
It's a good park to let kids run off steam due to the large expanse of grass but think I'll stick to others for now.

Holaquease
Posts: 53
Joined: 2 Sep 2016 22:13

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Holaquease » 13 Jul 2019 20:21

I'm hugely in favour of the lake and the changes to the park.

John H
Posts: 278
Joined: 17 Aug 2017 18:15
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 14 Jul 2019 10:05

Holaquease wrote:
13 Jul 2019 20:21
I'm hugely in favour of the lake and the changes to the park.
You can deal with the families of the drowned then

stuart
Posts: 3197
Joined: 21 Sep 2004 10:13
Location: Lawrie Park
Contact:

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stuart » 14 Jul 2019 10:29

I won't comment on the specifics of the park except to say there must be a gain with, presumably, with greater access to areas where high speed golf balls were a major hazard.

We are an island. Unguarded deep water surrounds us like it or not, rivers rush by. We have seen many tragedies (Camber Sands, Morecombe Bay etc) where the victims were unable to swim. I do believe it is every parent's and school's responsibility to see their children can cope with deep and tidal water and have the skill to swim and rescue too.

We are lucky to have training pools at either end of Sydenham used by schools and offering extra training in the evenings and holidays. I hope parents who haven't taken advantage look into it. I know cost can be an issue for some but what is a child's life worth? We should find a way.

It's personal for me - having been once saved from drowning by the RNLI.

Stuart

John H
Posts: 278
Joined: 17 Aug 2017 18:15
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 14 Jul 2019 11:29

Yes Stuart. The issue here is the design of the pond. I have watched, with considerable alarm, its construction from beginning to the end. Those who have read the Lewisham notices will recall Lewisham proudly boast about the depth of the pond.

The pond became stagnant before it was fully filled. There is no through flow of water and yet... a resource is available that would have created that and thus reduced the need for such depth.

For the most part the pond has steep sides that plummet straight down to the maximum depth. On one side of the lake there is a sort of platform area which is shallow. Sand has been laid to create a "beach"... Halfway across the lake the base plummets to the full depth.

At present a set of floating markers are in position which I presume mark an indication of where the shallows end... Those will not last. They are far too flimsy. Moreover they only mark out one part of the danger. There is no information to indicate what their purpose is. I have surmised they are there to mark the end of the shallows.

I have watched as toddlers have been left to play, unattended, in this water. I have witnessed three very large Staffordshire Bull Terriers/ Pit bulls, playing energetically in the water (despite the notices asking people not to permit dogs into the water). My small dog is not allowed in or near the water. I have pointed out to people, with young children, how the lake becomes suddenly very deep.

People ignore notices and hence the design must be such that safety does not depend on them. This pond is a dangerous one. A safe facility could have been built on the site of the original lake and for a fraction of the cost.

stone-penge
Posts: 273
Joined: 5 Nov 2004 14:40
Location: Newlands park

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stone-penge » 15 Jul 2019 19:39

John.
How about you never go there again?
Would that work for you?
Might help lessen your anxiousness and at the same time reduce the risk of a drowning event at the venue .

John H
Posts: 278
Joined: 17 Aug 2017 18:15
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 17 Jul 2019 08:28

stone-penge wrote:
15 Jul 2019 19:39
John.
How about you never go there again?
Would that work for you?
Might help lessen your anxiousness and at the same time reduce the risk of a drowning event at the venue .
What a trite and nasty comment.

I can swim. I can swim even in dangerous water.

There is a safety issue that responsible people should be concerned about.

Clearly you are not a responsible person.

monkeyarms
Posts: 271
Joined: 28 Jul 2015 14:54
Location: Tredown

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by monkeyarms » 17 Jul 2019 09:50

Shouldn't you be raising this with the appropriate authorities, given that you would hate to be proved right but know you shall be?

stone-penge
Posts: 273
Joined: 5 Nov 2004 14:40
Location: Newlands park

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stone-penge » 17 Jul 2019 14:03

Sorry if you think my response trite. I was trying to be helpful.

Have you indeed spoken to the Project Managers or the Executives of the London Borough Of lewisham Council who are responsible for delivering this project, to express your concerns. If you go to the park on saturday you may be able to speak to the mayor of London directly as he is opening the park at 12.45
Indeed you can report the matter directly to the HSE here:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm

Or are you just spreading personal anxieties & fears on a forum?

I feel its my responsibility to ask.

John H
Posts: 278
Joined: 17 Aug 2017 18:15
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 17 Jul 2019 14:03

monkeyarms wrote:
17 Jul 2019 09:50
Shouldn't you be raising this with the appropriate authorities, given that you would hate to be proved right but know you shall be?
The main point was to make parents aware of the dangers. The Local Authority is fully aware of the issues. They are hiding behind the fact that the project has not been signed of and therefore (they will believe) any tragedies will be the responsibility of the contractor.

Oh how I have sinned... to raise an issue of concern to any responsible parent... or anyone else.

Maja
Posts: 2
Joined: 17 Jul 2019 12:03

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Maja » 17 Jul 2019 16:21

I am parent whose nightmare scenario is that your child drowns in front of your eyes. It may stem from witnessing when my toddler brother was taken out of murky river when he fell off a raft. He was lucky that my dad had seen him fall and get him out.

My point is there is no lifeguard that will take parent's ultimate responsibility for their child. Nor there should be. Children can drown in ponds and shallow baths. You don't expect someone else to be responsible there, and you should make sure your child is safe in an unknown large amount of water.

I am looking forward to swimming in the lake with my children, lifeguard or no lifeguard.

gerispringer
Posts: 145
Joined: 20 Jul 2009 10:58
Location: sydenham

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by gerispringer » 17 Jul 2019 19:43

Let’s just not have any open water anywhere as it is dangerous. Parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s safety when swimming. Why is that a surprise?

John H
Posts: 278
Joined: 17 Aug 2017 18:15
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by John H » 17 Jul 2019 22:12

Maja wrote:
17 Jul 2019 16:21
I am parent whose nightmare scenario is that your child drowns in front of your eyes. It may stem from witnessing when my toddler brother was taken out of murky river when he fell off a raft. He was lucky that my dad had seen him fall and get him out.

My point is there is no lifeguard that will take parent's ultimate responsibility for their child. Nor there should be. Children can drown in ponds and shallow baths. You don't expect someone else to be responsible there, and you should make sure your child is safe in an unknown large amount of water.

I am looking forward to swimming in the lake with my children, lifeguard or no lifeguard.
and the children who turn up unsupervised? What of them? What about if your child disappears in the deep water? Are you a qualified life saver?

I am astounded at the reprehensible level of irresponsibility shown by the parents of young children.

Yes the parent is responsible. So too is any adult identifying that a child is at risk.

carty
Posts: 20
Joined: 21 Mar 2019 18:00

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by carty » 18 Jul 2019 13:07

John H will never ever be happy with anything!

stuart
Posts: 3197
Joined: 21 Sep 2004 10:13
Location: Lawrie Park
Contact:

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stuart » 18 Jul 2019 22:25

Beckenham Place Park relaunch Saturday 20 July 2019, 12 noon–7pm
https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/opensp ... k-relaunch

Stuart

LisaCummins
Posts: 49
Joined: 30 Jul 2006 10:03
Location: Hall Drive

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by LisaCummins » 19 Jul 2019 15:35

Just had a look on the link and I am surprised there are no life preserver rings. Though I imagine, after a few months you will begin to notice litter, cigarette ends, plastic bottles and other rubbish dumped in there. I bet if you give it a year, you will find a supermarket trolley or an old fridge freezer!
Fingers crossed and hope for the best that nobody drowns in it. ...or gets injured. I hope kids don't try walking over it when it freezes. Wouldn't want to imagine anyone falling through the ice into such deep cold water.
Could the council not 'think' of anything else to waste money on? How about fitting (& maintaining) new decent sized swings, slides, witches hat, etc, etc. The council would have needed to think about that one.

stone-penge
Posts: 273
Joined: 5 Nov 2004 14:40
Location: Newlands park

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by stone-penge » 19 Jul 2019 18:07

Less then 24 hours to the opening day and still no drowning.
Some people here are going to be disappointed.

Sideofham
Posts: 30
Joined: 10 May 2017 05:50
Location: Kirkdale village

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Sideofham » 19 Jul 2019 18:09

Sounds great and I would definitely go for a swim in the lake but only if Lewisham council has given it a healthy dose of urine-indicator dye.

Holaquease
Posts: 53
Joined: 2 Sep 2016 22:13

Re: The Drowning Place - Beckenham Place Park

Post by Holaquease » 19 Jul 2019 20:46

LisaCummins wrote:
19 Jul 2019 15:35
Just had a look on the link and I am surprised there are no life preserver rings. Though I imagine, after a few months you will begin to notice litter, cigarette ends, plastic bottles and other rubbish dumped in there. I bet if you give it a year, you will find a supermarket trolley or an old fridge freezer!
Fingers crossed and hope for the best that nobody drowns in it. ...or gets injured. I hope kids don't try walking over it when it freezes. Wouldn't want to imagine anyone falling through the ice into such deep cold water.
Could the council not 'think' of anything else to waste money on? How about fitting (& maintaining) new decent sized swings, slides, witches hat, etc, etc. The council would have needed to think about that one.
A very long way for anyone to carry a fridge freezer. Unless they put it in the trolley I suppose.

It was mainly lottery money and I'm sure a lot of thought went into it. There's also a new play area and many other facilities.

Despite all the negativity, the number of people using the park has already shot up. While you're sitting at home moaning about it, hundreds of people are out there enjoying it.

Post Reply