Refurbished sports facilities, disabled-friendly access routes and the introduction of recreational activities and events are among recommendations put forward to enhance the experience of visitors to Croydon parks.
With 127 parks and green spaces, Croydon is one of London’s greenest boroughs, but, like other local authorities, the council does not receive dedicated funding from government to maintain its parks service.
As part of ambitions to ensure these valued and much-loved local spaces are sustainable and attractive to future generations, the council has been exploring different ways to fund and run its parks.
Last year, six parks which represent the diversity of open spaces in the borough, were selected for a pilot that explored how our parks are managed and used. The work was carried out by a team from planning and landscape consultants Tyréns who explored opportunities for Ashburton Park, Park Hill Recreation Ground, Lloyd Park, South Norwood Lake, Norbury Park and Happy Valley.
Master plans have been developed for each of the six parks, which incorporate the public’s feedback and include proposals to make the parks more attractive and accessible, particularly for younger people. The plans also detail where there are opportunities to secure funding that either the council can bid for, or can support community groups to do so.
The proposals listed in the master plans include ecology and landscaping improvements at Ashburton Park, activation of the water tower and the provision of a community arts and education hub in Park Hill Recreation Ground, and improved entrances and signage in Lloyd Park.
A new sports hub and club house is among recommendations at South Norwood Lake and new pedestrian cycling routes are suggested for Norbury Park; while a disabled-accessible route and viewing platform are included in proposals for Happy Valley.
Over the coming year, the council will be working with partners to secure funding and explore opportunities for collaborative working with key stakeholders. This will enable it to deliver some of the recommendations in the parks master plans, which will remain as draft proposals until funding is secured.
“Our parks and green spaces are incredibly valuable and we want residents and visitors alike to be able to enjoy them for years to come.
“With the government cutting Croydon’s grant by 65% since 2010, the focus must now be on securing funding opportunities that will enable us to action the recommendations in the master plans which help shape the future of our parks.”
For more information on Our Croydon Parks vision and to read the master plans in full, click here.