Lewisham Council’s Planning Committee have approved the regeneration plan for the park

The above photo shows the River Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park, one of numerous local examples of rivers with more steeply graded banks than Manor Park without any fencing.

In our last article Manor Park planning application update II (31st March 2006) we broke the news of how a mistake in the planning process had put the entire regeneration plan in jeopardy. The application had not been through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultation process required prior to going before the council’s planning committee. Therefore when the application was due to be heard on the 30th March the committee decided to defer consideration.

The Environment Agency (EA) is committed to complete the flood alleviation works and vacate the park by the end of the year. So it seemed likely that the delay caused by the deferral would force the EA to scrap the regeneration project and revert to its previous plan for the park, returning it to the drab state it was in before it was occupied. Such a move would almost certainly have ruled out any hope of integrating the Quaggy into the park for the forseeable future.

As we explained in our article Park and hide (12th February 2006) QWAG felt very strongly that the initial regeneration plan wasted a huge opportunity to realise the full potential of the park. However, only a month later we were able to announce in our article Manor Park planning application update I (14th March 2006) that a revised Landscape Master Plan had been adopted. Although this plan still included the railings that QWAG believes are not required, it indicated that the densely vegetated band of thorny species had been replaced by a less dense, more sympathetic planting scheme that is in keeping with the woodland character of the riverside.

Thankfully the EIA consultation process was completed in time for the application to be considered by the planning committee on 27th April. The committee approved the application, which means that work on the regeneration can begin in time for the park to be vacated by the end of the year.

The River Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park That’s not quite the end of the story though. QWAG will continue to urge the council that the need for railings be reviewed and their use restricted to those places where they are thought to be absolutely necessary.

Make a splash without getting wet!