Poplar thinning by Conservation Volunteers Jan 11 2024

A big welcome to 2024! 

Thankfully, it was beautifully sunny this week at Riverside Park, where we cleared the substantial poplar encroachment to maintain the grassland habitat in record time – photos below.

Friends of Riverside Park attend Townhill Park Celebration

At the recent celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the Townhill Park Residents Association, members of Friends of Riverside Park (FORP) had a stall to promote their work. The presence of the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Valerie Laurent, added an extra touch of excitement and she showed genuine interest in the group and their objectives. The mayor took part in a few games before moving on to explore the other stalls.

Last Traveller leaves Riverside Park 4.35pm 14 June.

As many people will know we had a traveller encampment on Riverside Park recently which gave concern to a lot of local people

Local Councillors quickly contacted the police and Council officers to express concerned.

If entry to the park had been forced the a court order can remove them within 24hrs, however that is almost impossible to prove.  So the leaseholder of the land, in this case Active Nation, not the Council, had to serve a notice to the travellers giving them a date to leave.  If that is not complied with the next stage is a hearing at court which will usually give 24hrs notice to leave.  After which Court bailiffs and the police can remove them.  On this occasion they all left before the deadline.  The whole process takes just over a week to complete.

Most of the travellers caused no problems and took their rubbish with them when they left. However it is clear that the behaviour of some was appalling, dumping rubbish, shouting abuse, lightning fires, driving quad bikes across the park etc.  we hope in the future the police take more action than they appeared to on this occasion.

As there are virtually no travellers sites in Hampshire (apart from a small number of, already occupied, permanent sites) and travellers are not allowed to stop on the highway this problem is likely to reoccur.  Councils & the Police need to come up with a longer term solution.

The Great Chessel Bay Clean – Jan -April 2033

Starting from January, five days were spent in February, March & April tackling the plastic pollution at Chessel Bay.

A team of volunteers who could just come and help even for a day or so, or a few hours used our micro-vacs equipment to remove microplastics and helping out with a general litter pick.

Dates were as follows: 15th- 19th Feb. 15th-19th March. 12th- 16th April

Watch our website for future events.



AGM: Thursday 13th April 2023, 7.30pm

at Bitterne Park Social Club, Manor Farm Road

Present : David Hutchings (DH), (Minutes), Diane Read (DAR), David Read (DVR), Ann Bennett(AB), Marie Weaver (MW), Cllr. Ivan White (IW), Cllr.Tony Bunday, Amanda Barnes-Andrews, Phil Webb, David Orchard, Paul Jenks,

APOLOGIES: Doug Perry (Dpy), Elliot Woods (EW), Vicky Fenerty (VF) Several others were also invited to the AGM but understandably were not able to come.

CHAIR : David Hutchings would chair the meeting. Welcome from DH; meeting commenced at 19.30hrs.

MINUTES : Minutes from 2022 AGM Approved. Matters Arising : None not otherwise to be covered.

SCC Community Campaign Officer Sara Tschersich (ST) : gave a talk as a prelude to the formal business of the AGM. Thanks were given to Sara for her talk.

Ex PITCH & PUTT HEDGE : with great regret it was reported that this part native hedge had been grubbed out recently by SCC without consultation. TB pointed out that it was not a hedge full of native species but some non-native (eg.Cotoneaster spp.) were present. Subsequently it has been found that at least one-third of the hedge was not removed but is still in situe.

SECRETARY’S REPORT : Nothing unusual to report. DPy remains as he has been for several years.

TREASURER’S REPORT : AB reported the major expense of £2663.30 was incurred to have purchased and installed by SCC the two new but smaller Display Notice Cases.Other Expenses : PLI £119
Website Hosting : £28 – OK to carry on with this expense. There was a balance of £695 remaining.

COMMUNITY CHEST GRANTS : The date for the commencement of SCC Community Chest grant applications is approaching. AB is also looking for other grants. PJ will send a link to AB for all SCC grant types.

FORP BANKING : AB & PJ are continuing to work with Barclays Bank in order to have an internet based facility as an option on our account to enable prospective members and supporters from Trifest to join FoRP. This was not proving to be an easy or quick process. Thanks from the AGM to them for their persistence. AB is also working with Barclays Bank to have a second FoRP cheque signatory(DdR). Trifest Sub Committee : is held up until the banking arrangements are modernised. The meeting APPROVED the Treasurer’s Report.

LITTER PICK DATES : Prepared and listed by AB and copies were available.                         Next Litter Pick Saturday 6th. May 2023 at Perry Sports Pavilion, Manor Farm Road.                       Then: 3rd.June, 1st.July, 5th.August, 2nd. September,7th.October,4th.November 2023. All beginning at 10.00 hrs at the Perry Pavilion, Manor Farm Road.

DISPLAY NOTICE CASES : The two new smaller Display Notice Cases, one in River Walk and one at Dimond Car Park have been installed. AB has the keys now.  TB to chase SCC re. Mansbridge Notice Case repair which is very necessary. AB will provide Matthew Lovell with the measurements of the backboard of this case so that we could replace it and put up a temporary display.

COMMITTEE ELECTIONS : In the absence of any further nominations or volunteers for inclusion on the committee the existing one was elected en bloc for another year.

AOB : Townhill Park Residents Association : Is 60 years old this year –1963 to 2023 (1963 the same year as our sports pitches were built). Sue Lickey is Chair of TPRA.

A celebration is planned for SUNDAY 4th. June 2023 – 12 noon to 16.00 hrs. DH proposed that FoRP should have a stall at this event to be held at the green on the corner of Broadwater Road and Forest Hills Drive. There was no objection. It was agreed to have printed some FoRP stickers to give out to the public Action VF to organise.   Volunteers to arrange and staff the stall will be required. (SEE ‘HOME’ FOR REPORT)

COBDEN MEADOWS TOILETS : DAR & DVR had written to SCC councillors in regard to having a second set of public toilets constructed in RPk. IV supported this 100%. This was not rejected out of hand. It was thought that a position at the rear of BPSC would be suitable since the water and sewerage connections would already be quite close. Maintenance is a huge issue for public toilets.  It was realised that this was a complex problem and may require an imaginative solution eg. a partnership with a local business or club.

TRIFEST : The next Trifest is planned for SATURDAY 22nd. July 2023 (TBC) and should take place at the area near to Cobden Bank.

UNADOPTED ROAD alongside the Bitterne Park Social Club from Manor Farm Road to access the SCC owned Car Park which services Riverside Park. DH outlined some of the complex history of difficulties after the Bitterne Park Tap was demolished for housing.  This “Private Street” is not merely an academic issue since it could be one emergency access to RPk. The emergency services have the right to access via this private street but are very unwilling to engage on the issue to improve matters.

Parking is unregulated and not regulatable the street being private. It is the responsibility of its private “frontagers” however SCC must accept that it is a private frontager itself where the only access to the RPk. Car Park is the private street. It is believed that SCC did spend some money on resurfacing the street some years ago but pot holes have subsequently re-appeared. TB would ask at the next Emergency Services Meeting about emergency access to RPk. in general – he has painful personal experience of poor access routes to the park by the emergency services.

GUIDED WALKS : TB wished that more history and experience of the park could be recorded and written down for all to see if ever additional guided walks were planned which would involve a written guide.

RIVER ITCHEN REVETEMENT : This was constructed of concrete and stone alongside the river to form an embankment during the period after HM King George Sixth’s passing the accession and coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth during the early 1950s. This was a period of great importance to Southampton. The recently planted adjacent HM Queen’s Platinum Tree line marked her 70 years of reign. DH wishes BOTH to be marked by a permanent marker at the site not just the tree planting and to correct an oversight from the past. This will also add to the history of RPk. which is relevant in support of the item above.

Thanks to all who have volunteered for FoRP and attended this evening.

Meeting Closed at 21:15 hrs.

Next Committee Meeting : THURSDAY 18th.May 2023 at 19.30 hrs djh/may/2023