QWAG has achieved a partial success in opening up the river – but the railings remain.
“The Environment Agency’s planning application for the regeneration of Manor Park has been submitted – and what dismal reading it makes.”  The opening line of our article Park and hide (12th February 2006) summed up how strongly QWAG felt that a huge opportunity to realise the full potential of Manor Park was being wasted.  QWAG’s main objections were that for fully half its length through the park the river would be hidden from view behind a densely vegetated band of thorny species and that views to the river along the rest of its length would be from behind permanent railings 1.5 metres high.
As a number of letters of objection and concern regarding the planning application had been received a drop-in session was arranged for local residents and other interested parties on the 9th March.  Representatives of QWAG attended and discussed our objections with the Environment Agency and their contractors – with mixed results.
The revised Landscape Master Plan indicated that the densely vegetated band of thorny species has been replaced by a less dense, more sympathetic planting scheme that is in keeping with the woodland character of the riverside.  This scheme is similar to that proposed by QWAG and strikes an acceptable balance between the security and privacy needs of the residents whose properties back onto the park and the opportunities for park users to view and access this stretch of the river.
The revised plan still includes the railings that QWAG believes are not required.  QWAG understands from the discussions that the railings are deemed necessary due to the increased risk of opening up the river relative to keeping it fenced off.  QWAG contends that there are numerous riverside locations across the borough where the absolute risk is greater than in Manor Park and that at none of these locations has it been thought necessary or desirable to put boundaries in place.
QWAG still believes that the actual risk is within acceptable limits and has urged that the need for railings be reviewed and their use restricted to those places where they are thought to be absolutely necessary, such as immediately opposite the children’s play area.  Even here QWAG believes a low beech or hornbeam hedge would be an equally efffective but more environmentally effective alternative.
QWAG will post further updates on the progress of the planning application as more information becomes available.
QWAG’s supplemental response to the planning application can be downloaded as a Word document (72kb).

Make a splash without getting wet!