Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Hope for Wanstead Park with new anti-flooding and Parklands plans

It was difficult not to afford a wry smile at the recent presentation by Epping Forest superintendent Paul Thomson on the major measures now about to be taken to avoid flooding from the lakes in Wanstead Park. Afterall, the concern of most visiting the park over recent years has been the lack of water in the lakes, not a surplus.
That said, the park's custodian, the Corporation of London, does now have to act to ensure safeguards are taken regarding the flood risk, particularly relating to the Heronry, Perch and Ornamental lakes. These are classified as high risk raised reservoirs. The various actions required come under statutory obligation and have to be completed in three years. The cost could come in over £10 million. Failure to act, though, will see fines imposed by the Environment Agency.
It must be hoped that application for Heritage lottery funding will run alongside this work. These funds will be used for the non-statutory work.
These revelations at the recent Friends of Wanstead Park (FOWP) AGM of the water works and the Parkland Plan were certainly a cause for hope. 
At last, it looks as though some of the outstanding issues of the park could now be addressed. The Parkland Plan looks, impressive, almost amounting to a wish list of things that would help to improve the park. 
FOWP chair John Meehan was right though to push the Paul Thomson on real plans for action -particularly relating to the non-statutory work. The Corporation has something of a reputation for slowness when it comes to taking action in the park, so they will no doubt need constant nudges and reminders over the coming years if the wishes are to become  reality. But the future certainly looks brighter than for some time.

*published - Wanstead and Woodford Guardian - 8/3/2018

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