PCA Newsletter 89 - July 2015
In This Issue
It was a damp start to Party In The Park this year, as a band of rain moved over West London at midday and outstayed its welcome by an hour or so. Early arrivals at the event understandably sheltered under trees or umbrellas, but the PCA volunteers are made of sterner stuff. Working in the open, the barbecue crew made themselves some chic little black raincoats out of bin-bags, and the first act on main stage was rapidly switched to the beer tent. Then the sun came out, people started pouring through the park gate and the event team breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Thereafter dancers danced, singers sang, children tried mini tennis and dogs embarrassed their owners in the arena. Or was it vice versa? The PCA beer tent provided musical entertainment and liquid refreshment, and the gastrodome served up a wide and eclectic choice of food, including the unusual but delicious “poutine”, a Canadian speciality consisting of chips, gravy and curd cheese.
Party In The Park is a massive undertaking, costing nearly £30k to put on (yes really). The planned income is also around 30k, meaning that the eventual surplus/loss is very sensitive to changes in either expenses or income. This year our income was down a little, probably due to the weather, and our expenses were up a little, so instead of the record surplus last year we limped over the line this time with about £2k in hand. Your committee and the event team will be exploring ways of making the event more financially secure (and we’re open to ideas on that front).
Another concern is the struggle we had to recruit enough volunteers this year. We are immensely grateful to all those who did volunteer, including some late additions and newcomers who were very welcome. But everyone reading this newsletter needs to understand that the event cannot continue in its current form unless more people step forward to help.
First we had one MP. Then we had two. Then we were due to go back down to one, but proposed changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries didn’t happen. So we’ve still got two MPs. For now. Following the elections in May, we welcome back Steve Pound representing Ealing North and welcome newcomer Rupa Huq representing Ealing Central and Acton. We were pleased to see them both at Party In The Park and look forward to working with them over the next five years.
Local dad Alex Schmidt, who ran the London Marathon with an injured foot in aid of the Down Syndrome Association, is back in the news. This time he has been recognised as a Superdad for supporting the Log Cabin, a charity operating in Northfields that offers integrated play for mainstream children and for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. Well done Alex! Now, what’s next?
We’ve been trying to keep pace with what’s happening with high school provision in Ealing, but it’s proving to be a moving target. Regular readers may remember that Twyford CofE Academies Trust had hoped to create four additional forms of entry (FE) temporarily at William Perkin School, starting in September 2016, while their new high school was being built on the Barclay’s site in Park View Road. That now won’t happen until 2017 as the required funding for 2016 could not be secured either locally or nationally. Taking a wider look across the borough, the latest we’ve heard is that there will be two additional FE at each of Brentside, Elthorne and Ellen Wilkinson in September 2016. We’ll keep you posted when we hear further news.
This item was going to be about trees, and we’ll come back to that later. Instead, we’re sorry to have to carry this picture of a pile of rubbish in the park, the aftermath of a picnic held by a group of families celebrating the end of the school year at a local primary school. We know that some early leavers from the picnic, who had taken their rubbish with them, were outraged by the behaviour of the others and went back to clear up on Saturday. We’d like to thank those parents, but have this message for the perpetrators: “Your behaviour was disgusting, unacceptable and utterly selfish. If you are going to do it again do it somewhere other than Pitshanger.”
We were particularly galled by this as we entertained several thousand visitors at Party In The Park yet left the park in a pristine state.
Now back to the trees. We reported previously that two newly planted avenues of trees in Cleveland Park were struggling during the dry weather. More recently we’ve noticed a slight recovery, possibly helped by occasional spells of rain and the Council’s bowser, which we know has visited at least once. We have our fingers crossed for more rain (within reason) over the summer. Some recently planted street trees have also been suffering in the heat. If you have one near you, please treat it to a bucket of water now and them. Alternatively you can put your watering duties on an official footing by joining the Council’s tree warden scheme, details from Susan Wyatt, WYATTS [at] ealing [dot] gov [dot] uk.
We reported in our June newsletter that the Council cabinet had approved the proposed new waste collection arrangements, due to start in May 2016. We also asked again for PCA members’ views on the proposed arrangements and received 15 further replies (all anti), making 24 in total. The replies included some very strong objections, but 24 is a very small proportion of the PCA membership, making it difficult for your committee to justify adding its voice to others asking the Council to reconsider.
Another development since our June newsletter is that the cabinet decision has been examined by the overview and scrutiny committee. We’ve not seen the minutes of that meeting yet but it’s a fairly safe bet that the original decision was endorsed.
We’re not aware of any further decision points, and a U-turn by the Council looks unlikely. That being the case, your committee wonders whether working to ensure a fair deal for those with small front gardens or who are unable to handle wheelie bins might be the best use of effort. We'll stay in touch with the Brentham Society in any case. As ever, we're open to further views, via pca [at] pitshanger [dot] org [dot] uk.
The renowned St Barnabas Summer Proms return for 2015 with a series of six evening concerts taking place from Monday 27th July to Friday 7th August 2015, ending with a spectacular Last Night of the Proms Gala Concert. The emphasis is on popular classics played by well-known musicians, providing perfect entertainment for summer evenings in Pitshanger. The concerts will be held in the round, with all seats reasonably close to the performers, and will feature a superb Bosendorfer concert grand piano (ex-BBC, no less), and a state-of-the-art projection system.
The concerts, all of which start at 7.30pm, are lined up for Monday 27th July, Wednesday 29th July, Friday 31st July, Monday 3rd August, Wednesday 5th August and to Friday 7th August. Admission is £10.00/£5.00 except for the last night which is £20.00/£10.00. Full details here.
For anyone who (a) is interested in local planning applications, and (b) has a smart-phone, Ealing Council has released a new free app called Ealing Notiz that lists current planning applications near a specified postcode, or displays them on a map. Clicking on an individual item on the list/map reveals further details. The app is available for Apple and Android smart-phones, and using it promises to be easier than grinding through the small print at the back of the Gazette each week.
Ealing Golf Club (just a short wade across the River Brent) provided a taste of mini golf for children at Party In The Park, and they’re intending to build on the interest shown by offering junior golf coaching during the summer holidays. Starting on Monday 27th July the Ealing Golf Club Academy will be running beginner sessions (age 6-10) on Mondays and Thursdays, and intermediate sessions (age 8-12) on Wednesdays and Fridays. The one hour sessions will start at 11am each day – £6.00 per hour, no equipment or special clothing required. Further details and reservations via the pro shop on 8997 3959 or ealinggolfshop [at] aol [dot] com (subject: Summer%20Golf) ( ealinggolfshop [at] aol [dot] com).
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for supporters of Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club over the last few seasons: promotion in 2012-13, relegation in 2013-14 and promotion again in 2014-15. Having secured their place in the Greene King IPA Championship (the second tier of professional rugby in England) for 2015-16, the club is determined to learn the lessons from the season before last and avoid another relegation. We were pleased to see the boys at Party In The Park and can report that pre-season training is already well underway. The first home fixture is a local derby against London Scottish on Saturday 12th September, kick off 3pm. Further details here.
Wimbledon came and went as usual, but the tennis headline of the year is the opening of the new Tiger Turf tennis courts at the Brentham Club on Sunday 26th July at 12 midday. The courts will be declared open by Louis Cayer, Great Britain’s Davis Cup Coach. The festivities will include a BBQ, a mini tournament, coaching and exhibition tennis, and are free to all (just bring a racket and tennis shoes/trainers if you want to play).
The PCA AGM took place at the Brentham Club on Thursday 16th July. The 25th member to arrive looked bemused on being greeted by applause, but he was the one who earned us our quorum (phew). As previously reported, Karen Jacks (on the committee since 2006 and chairman since 2009) and Kelvin Walker (treasurer since 2010) have stepped down from the committee. We are very grateful to both of them for all they have done for the PCA and are pleased that they will still be around (Karen on the events team and Kelvin looking after the junior parkrun).
After thinking long and hard, John Bird (pictured, and on the committee since 2000) has stepped up as chairman, and we welcome Anna Murad as treasurer and John Ellis (known on the event team as “Canadian John”) as a committee member. Karen Jacks said "I am delighted that John Bird is taking the Chairman role and was elected on Thursday - his negotiating skills and ability to dissect and understand issues will stand him and the committee in good stead".