Saturday morning at the Hanover Centre saw many of the usual suspects once again gathered, along with a handful of new faces, at yet another Level “workshop”. These affairs now follow a familiar pattern: the Park Projects Team and accomplices start off with the spiel they hope will convince those present that they are about to be responsible for the redesign of the Level, and then the regulars attempt to nail down what new elements have actually been decided upon, thereby exposing the latest slew of inaccuracies and misleading statements. This is why it is worth putting up with the Jonkers/Anglin flannel in order to give them a good grilling.
We now have the following “facts”, some of which are credible and some of which are blatantly not, and much is confusing [deliberately so, Ed.] it’s for you to decide:
a) The Lottery is the only source of funding for renovating the Level, without it the Level would stay in its present rundown state.
b) There are 2 options, the latest transmogrifications of the North and South Options, and these are changing all the time (and because of this the recent “newsletter” and the new large, permanent “information” signs on the Level now have totally misleading representations of the proposed options!).
c) These plans are being “fine-tuned” and detailed plans are being”worked up”.
d) The PPT have absolutely no preference for either option and both options are equally suitable for a successful HLF bid. [Take that with a coronary pinch of salt! Ed.]
e) The “sensory garden” is to be smaller.
f) The skatepark will be the same size as at present, though no one could tell us what this area is – the present skate surface it is in fact 1200 sq.m. The North Option now shows the skatepark occupying the whole of the southern quadrant – 1875 sq.m. [So big carrot being dangled in front of the skaters to go for the North Option! Ed.]
g)The skatepark at present only has £150k alotted to it – the New North Option would cost £500k to build, so the skaters need to find £350k from somewhere. [Confusing stick to go with that carrot. Ed.]
h) There are now 3 reasons why the skatepark can’t be positioned in the southernmost end of the playground: 1. because it won’t be able to dry out properly, 2. it will be more subject to frost than elsewhere and 3. it would have to be divided in two in order to maintain Bertie’s bloomin’ footprint…or not, depending on who you talk to!
i) There has to be the a large café with indoor seating because it has to pay for the maintenance of the public toilets. [Perish the thought that it’s just a nice little earner for Knox Bhavan Architects, masters of HLF café design. Ed.]
j) Bertie’s pond will have some complicated fountain arrangement. [This will be expensive to install and maintain (no doubt by The Fountain Workshop, another LUC sidekick) – how many of Brighton’s fountain ever work…and in winter? Ed.]
A couple of other conclusions that could be drawn from the morning were:
It was generally agreed that the playground would feel safer if it was “opened out” and it was also generally agreed that the playground would feel safer if it were “enclosed”. [Such an oxymoronic design should be a walk in the park for those masters of HLF heritage design, LUC. Ed.]
LUC, Knox Bhavan and The Fountain Workshop (or whoever are doing the fountains) are just knocking out a copy of the job they did at Russell Square – nice ‘n’ easy.