Hey everyone, I along with a group of other skateboarders had taken over the derelict land of the car park at the grove just by dulwich woods, we had cleared out the weeds and cleared all the rubbish ourselves to create an ever growing inclusive community skate park, as it has been a wasteland for 8 years with no care given we thought it would be an ideal spot to regenerate however we have come into issues with the property owners claiming we are vandalising and trespassing and everything we have built will be demolished in two weeks, understanding we don’t have a footing legally I was hoping to see what the communities opinions on our park are and if anyone knows who the owners are, they said they want to get rid of our work so they can clear a path for removing the weeds and we’d like to offer to band all the skateboarders together and do the work free of charge in hopes to co-exist until they have plans of actual redevelopment. Thanks in advance, Leo!
We have placed rules within the park of skating only within sociable hours, no cannabis and dispose of your litter, the tennis courts owner and local shops are in support of us and some residents we have spoken to within the local estates have not had an issue apart from one who came down screaming at us and picked up a shovel and continued to threat us, including minors, we told him we did not want any violence and to leave and he then went on to call the police claiming we had threatened him and he tried to say we are skating at 4 in the morning every night despite the fact there are no lights and that would be impossible. Police officers that responded to these calls have been impressed and in support of what we have done however it’s still of concern.
Hi Leo - i think it is great if that area is used by locals for something good.
I think the owners of the derelict pub and grounds are Dulwich Estates.
Okay thank you, I’ll try to reach out however knowing dulwich estates and their history with other community spaces such as the battle to destroy Herne hill velodrome, I can’t imagine we have much hope haha. Cheers Hannah!
May be speak to the Council? I think they would be supportive of a place that allows young people to exercise and socialise safely.
I was thinking talking to the council about the fact it is an eyesore - they do have some powers for repossesion - and after 8 years they probably could. Horrible place for houses - but a skate park would be decent to the community. Of course you couldn’t cause any more noise than the two major roads
I definitely think a skate park is better than a derelict pub.
Careful when talking to the council though - they take health and safety… and liability… very seriously.
If a child injures themselves on a ramp you built, who’s fault is it? The property owner and the council certainly won’t want any liability here and I think this may be your biggest barrier in this project, once you’ve got over the obvious issues with the current ownership.
This is one of those ideas that’s great until it goes wrong (like wild swimming at Beckenham Place Park, when two children nearly drowned, causing an immediate shutdown)
Good luck @LB96. I’ve been past it and thought how good it was the space was being used. Especially at the moment people need outside space, whatever the outcome well done on your initiative.
Yes you’re right about liability, it’s something we’ve been trying to work out ourselves, I know full well no skateboarders would be wanting to sue but maybe there’s a possibility of signing a contract with the owners, thanks for your advice!
I saw some of you guys there today as I cycled to work and immediately thought it was great that it was being put to use. That place is becoming an eyesore - good luck with the project.
I think a landowner’s biggest concern will be that you may acquire or claim some rights over the land, if you continue to use it.
Renters don’t get squatters rights - they are all about lack of permission
Good luck talking to Dulwich Estates, they aren’t the most accommodating to change…
I hope you get to keep the setup, one of mates has skated there and a decent street park is needed in this area.
Might be worth getting in touch with those at Stockwell bowl to see if they can give you any advice
Reading the wikipedia article it looks like they aren’t allowed to be charitable towards other parties. Maybe if you approached Dulwich College they might be able to ‘sponsor’ the site.
I’m assuming you are more ‘youthful’ people
Be careful thinking like that, you never know what life will throw and people and how they will react, no matter how well intentioned now, and it can always be there families or others etc.
I’d listen to the advice above and see what other parks do, and then decide if and what signs should be up.
I am far from an expert, but if you wanted to get some form of liability insurance I suspect you will need to get various Health and Safety inspections (or whatever is required) and insurance might not be cheap.
If you are a loose ad-hoc group just going there for fun, no membership, defined organisation etc not sure how liability would work there.
Best speaking to people who have done this before - I know it’s not the same but maybe the BMX people in Peckham who have an interesting story here: http://www.peckhambmx.co.uk/about/
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Well sadly dulwich have responded to our plea and refused, the park we have built will be demolished on the 8th of August
That’s sad to hear, and sadly not unexpected
Out of interest, if you were in contact with Dulwich Estates, did you ask how much rent would be, and what conditions would need to be met? I’m guessing it would be some silly amount (basically them saying ‘no’ again), but if not, maybe a crowdfunder could have helped?
I know it isn’t Lewisham (or even SE23) but they must be saving a fortune from not giving money to the Leisure Centres. Southwark Council might have some spare money…
That is so disappointing. That area is such an eyesore, it was great seeing it being used by you and giving local kids something to do.
Could you start a social media campaign?