Manor Park’s ‘Third Way’ goes ahead – Artist’s impression of the completed bridge
Back in February 2006, when there was a consultation on the restoration of Manor Park, QWAG made a submission on the proposal. We added an appendix concerning the possibility of a third entrance into the park from Longhurst Road via a footbridge accross the River Quaggy.
A majority of people consulted by Lewisham Council at the time supported the idea. So did we. Our view was, ‘It would open up new routes through the park and reduce the isolated feel of the southern area … the increased footfall through this section engendered by a new entrance would make it safer and less likely to be frequented by potential trouble-makers’.
However, we noted, “This planning application does not seek to create a new entrance … the arguments of both proponents and opponents should be properly considered when and if a specific planning application is sought”.
Well, wheels have slowly turned and on the 6th of August 2010, that specific planning application was duly put forward. The local community was again consulted with 57 people favouring the application, 15 opposing. On the 9th of December 2010, the new entrance was formally approved, including ‘the construction of a timber bridge over the River Quaggy, together with the installation of timber screens to either side of the path, steel entrance gates and associated landscaping’. Work should start this spring and is expected to be completed by late April 2011.
Great news. Far more people will be in position to enjoy the park with its access to the river. As a thoroughfare, the park will offer an attractive, ‘green’ alternative link from Hither Green to Lee High Road or Lewisham. People constantly passing creates an even safer local environment and safer environments tend to lead to more people using parks for leisure activities and recreation.
The bridge itself should offer fine views of the Quaggy. And it will be ideal too, for local kids to hone their Poohsticks skills. (Annual World Poohsticks Championships have been held on the Thames since 1984.)
Perhaps one day Manor Park might have its own cafe and become as popular a meeting point for local people as its sister park, Manor House Gardens. It deserves to.
Photo and artist’s impression by permission of the London Borough of Lewisham