Merton Council to action new debate on Morden Park

Merton Council is to go to residents to ask them for their views on the future of Morden Park.

The council will encourage members of the public to get involved in a special kind of independent public consultation called a participative planning process on the future of Morden Park and Morden Park Playing Fields. The council is looking to appoint an independent consultation specialist by the end of March for the consultation to run from April to September. The consultation report and recommendations will be ready for November 2009.

In the interests of transparency the council will instruct an independent organisation to conduct the consultation using participative planning techniques. The broadest range of groups possible including residents, local interest organisations, schools, colleges, youth groups, faith groups, contractors and partner organisations such as the police will be invited to a series of workshops and asked for their views on the park and how they would like to see it evolve in the future. The workshops will help determine the most appropriate mix of sports and recreational uses for the playing fields and the park.

Merton Council cabinet member for the environment, Councillor David Simpson said: “We want to provide every opportunity for as many people as possible to get involved with deciding the future of their playing fields and park. We have been listening to our residents and realise that there are lots of views out there about how we should use this area in the future. Many organisations across the borough, including GOALS who won a tendering process to develop part of the playing fields, will participate in this process. We are committed to the interests of our residents and to achieving the best possible way forward to make the most of Morden Park Playing Fields and Park that not only fits with the obligations we have to fulfil as a council, but that also meets the hopes and aspirations of the people who live in the borough.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors
1. The participative planning process will create a master plan for the whole of Morden Park including the playing fields. Once adopted by the council, the master plan will form the planning policies for Morden Park and will provide the basis for a planning brief as part of the Local Development Framework.
2. Participative planning exercises start off with a blank canvass approach and look at receiving all suggestions from as broad a range of people as possible. Through the participative planning exercise, those taking part are asked to consider a number of proposals and are encouraged to prioritise them for inclusion in the resulting master plan. There are inevitable constraints on what can be delivered, such as available finance.