The news that Friends of Wanstead Parklands have gained charitable status is a welcome development, however, what impact this will have on the City of London Corporation (CLC), regarding application for Heritage Lottery funding remains open to question. Significantly, your article (Ilford Recorder 23/6/2016) quotes a City of London spokesman saying: "there is potential for a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to be put in early 2017" - hardly a ringing endorsement for action. When this is added to the CLC's seeming ability to put inordinate amounts of effort into achieving very little on the ground, there have to be major causes for concern.
On 14 January 2016, Geoff Sinclair, Epping Forest head of operations, City of London Corporation wrote in the Recorder as to how they were working on the water levels of the lakes..."please bear with us while we carry out this important work." Well six months ..and a lot of rain... later what has happened - the lakes continue to empty of water. Parts of the Ornamental lake are now dry, with in places birds able to stand on the bottom. Nothing seems to have been done to address the ongoing problem of the draining lakes.
Beyond the lakes there is other work that needs doing. What for instance is happening to restore the Coronation bridge access for Ilford residents into the park? This was supposed to be restored as part of the cycle route implementation but again nothing. The failure of the CLC to act is testimony to an ongoing neglect regarding the stewardship of the wonderful ecological resource that is Wanstead Park.
The question is why to do the CLC not act to resolve these issues in Wanstead Park? It is not difficult or likely to cost a huge amount of money. The CLC it seems is happy to spend money on other parks under its custodianship such as Hampstead Heath but not here. The time for talking and blustering about funding applications maybe, maybe not, sometime, never are long over. The park needs urgent action now, the CCL has billions of pounds at its disposal, so why not dip into its own funds and resolve these issues. Simply kicking the problem down the road in the hope that increasingly frustrated people will go away simply will not do.
* published Ilford Recorder - 30/6/2016