Wandle Park gets £58,000; Waddon park bulldozed with £87m

There’s something bittersweet about the announcement this week that Croydon Council has been awarded £58,800 from City Hall towards the cost of improving pedestrian and cycling access to Wandle Park.

Improving access to Wandle Park is getting £58,000. Building a motorway through Duppas Hill Park is getting £87 million

Improving access to Wandle Park is getting £58,000. Building a motorway through Duppas Hill Park is getting £87 million

Sweet, because it is a cause that Inside Croydon’s loyal reader readily supported.

But bitter because fewer than 900 other Croydon residents bothered to complete the online voting form.

More bitter still, because while the spending on making it easier for people – whether on foot, on bikes or pushing baby buggies – to traverse the railway lines beside Waddon New Road is very welcome, the amount being doled out by the Mayor of London is just crumbs from the table compared to the millions being frittered away on new paving slabs and extra parking bays elsewhere in the borough, the misspending of “riot recovery funds” under the DisConnected Croydon scheme.

And bitterest of all, because while Boris Johnson and Croydon’s Labour-lite council is making a modest effort with a few thousands of public money to improve things for non-motorised transport to use a park in one part of the borough, a short walk away, the same public bodies want to spend many millions more to bulldoze through another public park so that more cars can drive into central Croydon.

According to the announcement from the Mayor’s office on Thursday, “The improvements will include: upgrading the Waddon New Road entrance to Wandle Park to make it more welcoming and accessible by relocating the bus stop, providing a wheeling channel on the bridge for bicycles and pushchairs, and new planting; tree planting, better lighting and the installation of zebra crossings between West Croydon Station and Wandle Park around the Factory Lane car park on Pitlake; and, a new staircase with a wheeling channel on to the Jubilee Bridge at Cairo New Road to create a more direct route to the northern entrances of the park.”

So quite modest really. Worth a “Hip!”, but maybe not an additional “Hip! Hooray!” One cheer rather than three.

It looks very much like that, of the seven schemes across London being considered for funding, Croydon’s attracted the least amount of public support. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the council’s publicity department, is it?

Cabinet member Kathy Bee: enthusiastically supported the flyover through Waddon, before hearing what local residents might think

Cabinet member Kathy Bee: enthusiastically supported the flyover through Waddon, before hearing what local residents might think

A comment attributed in the press release to Councillor Kathy Bee, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for transport and the environment, makes interesting reading, especially if placed in the context of her enthusiastic support for spending £87million on the Boris Flyover over Waddon Station and building a four-lane urban motorway through Duppas Hill Park.

“Open spaces will become more and more important to Croydon residents as our borough’s regeneration continues,” Councillor Bee is supposed to have said, “so this Big Green grant will make a real difference alongside our own match funding from local developer contributions.”

Could it be that those “developer contributions” include money from Hammersfield? So that for a mess of pottage, less than 60 grand, Westfield, Hammerson and other developers are making it easier for Croydon residents to access one local park, while Transport for London and Croydon Council are to spend nearly £90million of tax-payers’ money on building a motorway through another park, to make it easier for people from outside Croydon to access the developers’ supermall and luxury apartments.

And this is what they called “Connected Croydon”. They really mean #CroydonTakeover.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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9 Responses to Wandle Park gets £58,000; Waddon park bulldozed with £87m

  1. KristianCyc says:

    Croydon Cycling Campaign chose not to bother circulating the request to support the wandle park funding. Our members wouldn’t take us seriously if we asked for their time to support a wheeling trough on a staircase. The clue is this: if you have to walk to use it, it’s walking infrastructure not cycling infrastructure.

  2. Some years ago Birmingham City Council was asked to allow a local company to expand into public open space. The council agreed, because desperately needed new jobs were on offer, but it promised the people of Birmingham that it would replace the land it had given up with open space elsewhere in the area.
    In fact, the replacement is bigger than the original, meaning everybody gains. Surely, Croydon Council could apply a similar principle to Duppas Hill Park, adding space to one of the existing parks in the north of the borough, where there is a shortage of recreation facilities.
    As for Wandle Park, some distinctly short-sighted planning decisions in the past have left it particularly isolated from its surrounding residents and other potential users. However, the park is easily accessible from the tram: perhaps the council and/or TfL could spend some money making that point to the many passengers that use the service.

    • Lewis White says:

      Further to David Callam’s points above, it looks as if it would be possible to include some of the playing fields of the Heath Clark School to enlarge Duppas Hill Park. The ex playing fields have been derelict for many years. I would love to see a large ,natural pond built in this valley section of the park. A pond would give the combine open space a fantastic focal point. At present, the Duppas Hill park is a bit of a ‘green desert’. My guess is that it would cost about £250,000 to build a properly designed pond with a water supply. I am a Chartered Landscape architect, and am also a local resident who has been driving up and down Duppas Hill periodically over some 40 years, and feel that the key design need–if a new widened road is built on this side of the park-is to have a generous avenue of trees as an essential part of a new road. To provide minimal landscaping would be a disaster.

      As to the proposed flyover itself, I will not grieve the loss of a drive-in-Mc Donalds nor part of the Pets building on the pld Waddon Goods yard, nor the car and van hire at the end near Duppas Hill. If there is early decision to maximise the areas for tree planting, particularly to provide a block of trees between the new flyover and the adjacent residential areas to the North and the newish blocks by the station, it could actually improve the look of this rather chaotic and ugly bit of Croydon.

      • The Heath Clark fields are governed by an endowment condition which restricts the land’s use to educational purposes. So a good site for a new school, perhaps? Our understanding is that all development considerations on this plot of land have been set aside since the site will be significantly affected by the Boris Flyover scheme, with all it’s attendant pollution impact.

        • davidcallam says:

          Are you seriously suggesting that a pond, with all its attendant wildlife, could not be classed as educational?

          • Not at all. We are led to believe that the site was being looked at for a school, but that the Boris Flyover proposal has seen everything for the site set aside for the time being.

          • croydondan says:

            I tried to buy this bit of land a couple of years ago to plant it up and open it up to the public, to join in to the park, which croydon council had no problem with but the owners croydon college wanted £0.5 million, which it simply wasn’t worth

    • Unfortunately Croydon Council are insidiously covering the green spaces in the North of the borough as well. A prime example of this is the loss of a HUGE amount of Green Metropolitan Open Land as part of the new build in congested Woodside, of a new 6 forms of entry Oasis Arena Academy, on the site of tiny Ryelands Primary adjacent to South Norwood Country Park. This Green Metropolitan Open Land will become a Car Park and a fenced in Multi Use Games Area and will be LOST FOREVER….The Darkness of Tarmac continues to envelop Croydon……..

  3. Lewis White says:

    Thanks, Inside Croydon, for clarifying the Planning designation of the land for educational use. However, am I right in thinking that a biggish chunk of it has already been redeveloped for housing? Does the area redeveloped in this way match or exceed the built footprint of the old Heath Clark School?

    If so, surely any further development would erode the green space area. Is it not designated “Metropolitan Open Land”? Perhaps an eagle-eyed Inside Croydon reader with planning knowledge could clarify this important question.

    Thanks also David Callam for your comment — yes, a pond, if designed properly, even with an artificial “medium density polyethylene” lining (which would need to be covered with a protective layer of geotextile and a thick layer of subsoil) would be a good educational and ecological resource, as well as focal point for the Duppas Hill Rec.

    If a school were developed on part of the site, a pond in the adjacent park would certainly be a teaching resource for ecology studies, and would be a charming place for teenage students to meet at lunch time, and hold hands, enjoying a view of ducks.

    I was not previously aware of the Oasis proposals and their implication for the Metropolitan Open Land. Thanks for highlighting this.

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