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Merton Council needs residents views to develop Open Spaces Strategy

Local groups’ views on Merton’s parks and open spaces are needed by Merton Council, as the second stage in developing a strategy for planning and managing open spaces in Merton.

Merton Council commissioned WS Atkins planning consultants to carry out a major study of Merton’s Open Spaces last year as the first stage in developing a strategy for planning and managing open space in the borough and to assess whether Merton’s open spaces are meeting the needs of local people.

The Council required up to date information to assess whether the needs of local residents are being met now and in the future. The consultants were appointed to survey open spaces to assess facilities, landscape and visual quality, and the ecological, cultural and educational value. They have also developed some ideas for the strategy.

The next stage of developing the strategy is consultation with local groups including residents associations, ethnic minority groups, sports clubs and disabilities groups. A summary of the study and a questionnaire is being sent out to the groups this week. The consultation aims to inform residents about the key findings and to get their views on the aims and objectives that the Council are proposing to include in the Open Space Strategy.

Residents will also have the opportunity to discuss the findings at the Lower Morden and Raynes Park area forum on 31 October 2002. The feedback that the Council gets from the consultations will be used to decide which recommendations to take through from the WS Atkins study and used to develop an open space strategy for the borough. The deadline for consultation is 30 November 2002.

Councillor Russell Makin, Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning, said: “Merton is one of the first Boroughs in London to carry out a detailed study of its open spaces, which reflects the high priority that the Council is giving to protecting and enhancing its many parks and open spaces.

“The findings of the study and consultation will help to set out a Landscape and Open Space Strategy for the Borough. This will be very useful when setting out plans for future use of open space and may help the Council bid for funds to improve its open space in the future.”

Further information about the Merton Open Space Study is available on the Council website http://www.merton.gov.uk/openspaces/. Full copies of the Merton Open Space Study are available in all the borough’s libraries (for reference an