Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fairlop Waters

Last week I visited Fairlop Waters to see Redbridge council's plans to rejuvenate this fantastic area of green space. The first thing that struck me was the size of the park, over 145 hectares of wetland, scrub and grassland, including a golf course and a lake used for sailing. Much of this is presently underused because visitors get no further than the driving range and restaurant near the entrance.

Ambitious plans include improving the eighties style entrance and the rather poor quality access road, restoring habitats; including a gravel island, to provide better biodiversity; relocating the sailing club to more suitable buildings; a boulder park and adventure play area. The project also aims to open up access to land south of the park, including a silted lagoon which is currently hard to reach.

The good news is that this worthwhile proposal has been shortlisted in the mayor's competition for £2m regeneration funding. It is also in with a shout in the 'Help a London Park' public vote for £400k, although obviously it cannot win both these sums. The new park would be a great asset for the whole of north east London and the nearer parts of Essex so I hope the bid is successful.


Rog T said...

Roger, I'm sure the plans have taken this into account but to encourage biodiversity and wildlife, you'd really want to limit access to much of the site rather than encourage it. I'd hope that the plans ensure that the majority of the site allows the wildlife to live in peace and relative tranquility.

Roger Evans said...

Rog T makes a good point. Fortunately the site is huge - if we can link it to Hainault Forest Country Park next door the whole thing will be as big as Richmond Park. So there is plenty of space for visitors and wildlife to coexist.

Anonymous said...

This brings back memories. When I was on an summer internship as a student around 10 years ago, the company I worked for advised on plans to build a race course on this site. The other place that was being considered for a course was Beckton, on the brownfield site that has now become the shopping park.

David said...

Interesting stuff, and good point from Rog T. I would add that promoting public use (even if subject to limits) of a place promotes protection of biodiversity/wildlife - people are then aware of what treasures we have. The fact that the public
are seen to value a place then becomes a powerful factor in any development proposal/threat. (But obviously agree there's a balance to be struck between giving people the opportunity to see what is there and giving the wildlife the space it needs.)

Pam I said...

To anyone who goes back a few years - could this be the Fairlop Lake that used to be at the bottom of the garden of the prefab I grew up in? With a paddle steamer? Or is this false memory? Kelvedon Gardens has long since gone from maps, if you can get to old OS maps they may show up? Those prefabs were great, instant housing for those bombed out and becoming the babyboom starter generation. So were they built on parkland them demolished once enough "proper" houses replaced them, or on what is now called a brownfield site?