Croydon Council is launching the Parks and Green Spaces Renewal Strategy 2022-25, outlining plans to support the borough’s cherished 127 parks and green spaces, and align the parks service with long-term sustainability goals.
The document sets out the vision and priorities for Croydon’s parks and green spaces – as well as the borough’s 30 “blue spaces” (rivers, lakes and ponds) – during the next three years. The strategy will be underpinned by a delivery plan to be published later this year.
The council is pledging that all our green and blue spaces are clean and safe for everyone to enjoy, and will achieve this by working with our partners and the community. These plans include important feedback from residents and volunteers, having held engagement sessions with local groups.
In July 2020, the council received over 2300 responses to a survey on parks usage during Covid-19, and found that 86% valued local parks and green spaces more than before, and noted they were using them more frequently during the pandemic. 60% reported visiting a new park or green space, and 85% were interested in getting involved to support their local park.
A crucial part of the council’s plans for its parks includes tapping into that interest, by further growing and supporting its dedicated volunteer network – which includes over 650 litter-picking Street Champions. Croydon also currently has 45 active ‘Friends of Parks’ groups, which help to care for, promote, and maintain local parks, green and blue spaces.
Friends of Selsdson Wood (FSW) – which has been active since 2007 and has nearly 200 members – has done important conservation work to improve paths, undertaken butterfly and fungi counts, helped maintain memorial benches, and developed guided walks, which are accessible with a QR code from a smartphone.
Selsdon Wood is a 200 acre greenspace in the south of the borough, with a long history of community-led engagement. In the 1920’s, a group of local residents wanted to ensure preservation of some of the area’s natural beauty, so they decided to come together to purchase the land. These residents held fundraisers until they had enough to buy the wood, and it was given to the National Trust who retains ownership today.
Croydon Council manages operations of the wood – and gets plenty of support from dedicated FSW volunteers.
Heather Govier, chair of FSW said: “It’s great to hear that our work is valued and appreciated by the council, and we can continue to expect their support, as they pledge to work closer with local residents that improve and protect our beloved green spaces. Selsdon Wood has a rich history of community stewardship, and we are happy to carry on that tradition.”
Visit the council website to find out more information on Croydon’s Friends of Parks groups and other ways to volunteer in local green spaces.
“Croydon is one of London’s greenest boroughs, and it is crucial that we ensure our parks, green and blue spaces are clean, safe and biodiverse places for all residents to benefit from and enjoy. This strategy brings to light the important issues we must face in accomplishing this goal, and highlights the fantastic work done by our brilliant local partners, staff and volunteers – like the Friends of Selsdon Wood – without whom we could not get this done. With 85% of residents signalling their interest in getting involved, I am confident we can build even stronger partnerships with local Friends and Street Champions to help protect and enrich these valuable assets for the benefit of generations to come.”
Councillor Muhammad Ali, cabinet member for sustainable Croydon
The strategy will be presented at a cabinet meeting dealing with a number of environment and sustainability items on Monday 7 February.
To read the strategy, visit the council website.