Residents, community groups and local businesses are being urged to have their say on plans for a new regional park in the Wandle Valley.
The park, that would run from the source of the River Wandle in Croydon, through Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth, would be the second of its kind in the capital and could provide thousands of acres of connected green space along the length of this historic and scenic river.
The idea has the enthusiastic backing of the four boroughs whose boundaries are all crossed by the Wandle. The four town halls have agreed a shared vision for the river valley and how it could be transformed into a regional park. The councils are now looking at what financing would be needed to make this dream a reality.
The idea is also likely to attract the backing of the Greater London Authority. The London Plan gives general support for the idea of the Wandle’s riverbanks and some neighbouring land forming a ‘regional park for London’.
The establishment of the park would be the key factor in the wider regeneration of the Wandle Valley.
As well as protecting the valley’s open spaces and diverse natural environment, the aims are to maximise the area’s potential for sustainable transport, health, tourism and leisure, while at the same time sparking the area’s economic potential through the encouragement of enterprise and learning.
The four boroughs are working in close partnership with a number of voluntary groups, charities, statutory agencies and local amenity societies to help deliver this new vision for the Wandle.
This includes environmental charity Groundwork which has recently launched a new website – http://www.wandlevalleypark.org.uk – where visitors can have their say about the plans.
An interactive map on the website allows people to zoom in on different areas of the valley so that they can add comments or suggestions about what they would like to see improved or changed.
Merton Council’s director of environment and regeneration Lyn Carpenter said: ‘The four boroughs are committed to working together in partnership, with a number of other groups and agencies, to breathe new life into the Wandle Valley.
‘We are only at the beginning of this ambitious project, but we have a shared vision and a broad consensus for the future of this historic river and its surroundings and are now committed to making that dream a reality. Now we want to hear from local people in all four boroughs about their hopes and visions for its future.
Angela Gorman, Groundwork development manager added: ‘It is vital that everyon