Sutcliffe Park and Chinbrook Meadows gain further acclaim.

At the QWAG AGM in mid January we stated our attention is now focused on Lewisham town centre where we are striving to protect and enhance the Quaggy for future generations. But meanwhile, accolades to the success of our earlier efforts continue to accumulate.

Only two weeks after the AGM we were able to announce (Walking in a wetland wonderland – 1st February 2007) that Sutcliffe Park had won the Living Wetlands Award for 2007.

Just three weeks on, we reported a recent study (Park partnership reaps regeneration benefits – 22nd February 2007) that praised the QWAG-inspired partnership that led to the regeneration of Chinbrook Meadows.

And now, one month later, we can announce a further resounding success – the combined Sutcliffe Park and Chinbrook Meadows projects have won the Natural Environment category in the prestigious 2007 Waterways Renaissance Awards. Or rather the Environment Agency has, for bringing about their transformations.

Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust, stated that “All projects making the final list are excellent examples of what can be achieved with vision, commitment and partnership working. Whoever the winners are on the night, these finalists can be justly proud of the contribution they have made to the renaissance of our waterways in improving the quality of life for people and local communities.”

Understandably, there was a tense atmosphere around the Agency’s table at the awards ceremony, held on the 21st March at the Imperial War Museum North, Salford. This rapidly changed to relief, then pride when it was announced that the Quaggy-based projects had triumphed.

The judges hailed the Quaggy-based schemes for demonstrating excellence in restoring and making best use of the natural environment of inland waterways. They created “a vibrant and sustainable environment in an urban setting while achieving vital flood alleviation for the surrounding area,” the judges said.

Thames South East Area Flood Risk Manager Ian Tomes said “This shows what can be done in reducing flood risk and creating enormous environmental and recreational benefit at the same time. We are very proud and now our challenge is to find other opportunities where we can realise similar benefits again.”

The award was accepted on behalf of the Agency by Julie Baxter, Lead Landscape Architect for both projects. Her vision, drive and enthusiasm helped bring about the magnificent results we see today. QWAG was represented by Matthew Blumler – we had been invited by the Agency in recognition of our pivotal role in proposing, then championing both projects.

We hope both awards will be on show at the official opening of the River Quaggy Flood Alleviation Scheme in Manor Park on June 5th. Following the formalities, the local community are invited to celebrate the scheme with a range of activities and a barbeque. For more details, see the website nearer the date. Why not come along and inspect the newly regenerated park? Perhaps it will collect its own silverware in years to come.

Background to the Waterways Renaissance Awards
This is the fifth year of the awards, set up to celebrate the achievements of those driving the remarkable renaissance of the UK’s inland waterways network. They are managed jointly by the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) and the Waterways Trust. All projects nominated for one or more of the ten categories needed to show they:

  • were innovative and inspirational.
  • had involved the active participation of an appropriate range of partners.
  • had enhanced the use and enjoyment of the waterway.
  • had a proven track record of success.

Entries in the Natural Environment category additionally had to demonstrate they contributed to the improvement, interpretation or restoration of the natural environment and so benefited the public’s enjoyment of the waterway. Habitat preservation or reintroduction, pollution reduction and traditional biodiversity encouragement initiatives could also be taken into account.


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