As a report to next Monday’s council cabinet meeting demonstrates, there could be much change in Croydon’s parks in the coming couple of years.
Croydon’s Labour-run council is consulting on one of its parks, the much disputed Ashburton Park, and its old library, which has been something of a cause celebre for some on the council, after they blocked the previous administration from flogging off the listed building for just to a church group for conversion mainly into a private home, and for a fraction of its true value.
And yes, it is yet another consultation.
These things are generally done by council officials merely to tick a few boxes, fulfill statutory requirements, and will then be used to justify whatever it was that the council had decided it wanted to do in the first place. Certainly, senior figures within the Croydon Labour group, and their three councillors in Ashburton, have long harboured strong views on how the building and the rest of the park could be better utilised.
It is surely of significance that this survey is being done in collaboration with the Friends of Ashburton Park, a group which the Labour councillors Stephen Mann, Andrew Rendle and Maddie Henson helped to establish.
The council says that it “wants to revitalise Ashburton Park and breathe new life into this Historic Park and Garden”.
They say: “We aim to re-establish Ashburton Park as an inclusive, accessible and vibrant Village Green, one which celebrates the heritage and character of the local area, the parks environment and its historic buildings. This will be delivered through improvements to the grounds and renovation of important park assets like the locally listed former convent/library, the Lodge and kiosk pavilion, in order to bring these buildings back into use, to add more diversity and vitality to the park.
“Rejuvenating this 18½ acres Park will help it to become a key destination, offering a broad choice of leisure and recreational activities and events, supported by good quality open space, better facilities and refurbished accommodation, helping to create a community hub in the park. The regeneration of Ashburton Park will also support priorities for health and wellbeing, growth, learning, and social value, which together will help to stimulate the local economy and provide greater opportunities for the wider community.”
The council is due to publish its report following the consultation at the end of June.
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