Merton goes to residents for fresh views on Morden Park

Merton Council kicked off its brand new consultation on the future of Morden Park and Morden Park Playing Fields this week, following the council’s appointment of London-based company Local Dialogue.

Over the next six months the broadest range of groups possible including residents, local interest organisations, schools, colleges, youth groups, faith groups, contractors and partner organisations will be invited to express their views on how they would like to see the park and its recreational facilities evolve in the future.

The consultation process will be split into different phases, starting with capturing residents’ views about the park, what they use it for, what they like about it and what they would like to see in the future. Local Dialogue will work to gather opinions from as many people as possible by going to existing events. Residents living near the park will be kept up to date about the consultation through newsletters and a community website will be set up to provide an on-line one-stop shop for information on the consultation. The company will also be working with local schools to establish the needs of children. To ensure the best is made of the consultation the council will be setting firm parameters.

Phase two will include a series of workshops throughout June and July where residents will be able to hear about the options available and express their views and aspirations for the park. This will be done using a tried-and-tested interactive planning tool. Starting with a large-scale map and using cardboard cut out features such as trees, games pitches, a swimming pool, health and fitness facilities and buildings, residents will have the opportunity to work in groups and create their vision for the park.

Merton Council’s interim Director of Environment and Regeneration Sarah Tanburn said: “We want to provide every opportunity for as many people as possible to get involved with deciding the future of their recreational facilities, playing fields and park. We realise that there are lots of views out there about how we should use this area in the future. In the interests of transparency we have commissioned an independent organisation to conduct the consultation. This will provide residents with a very exciting opportunity to put forward their ideas using a number of innovative and thought provoking methods. Our aim is to achieve as great an understanding as we can about how residents see the future of Morden Park and Morden Park Playing Fields so we can work together to meet their needs and aspirations.”

Local Dialogue partner Mark Brown said: “I am thrilled that we have been accepted for this project and am looking forward to working with residents and the wider community to achieve the best result for them. We have a great deal of experience working on consultations for local government projects throughout the UK. Our aim is to make the consultation experience meaningful, motivating and informative to all those taking part.”