Grange Park in Old Coulsdon, which includes one of the borough’s war memorials, is to become the first Centenary Field in south London. The occasion will be marked on Saturday when Toni Letts, the deputy mayor, unveils a plaque in the park.
Centenary Fields is an organisation that works in partnership with the Royal British Legion to secure recreational spaces in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives in the First World War.
As a Centenary Field, Grange Park will receive additional protection to ensure it remains as a public open space for future generations. The application to get this recognition was made jointly by the Friends of Grange Park and Croydon Council, and was supported through the use of the local councillors’ ward budget.
Grange Park has a history of community fundraising and involvement, as the land was first acquired partly by public subscription in 1929, in a purchase from the owners of the Coulsdon Court Golf Club. It was formerly part of Squire Byron’s Coulsdon Court estate. The park lies within the Bradmore Green Conservation Area which was designated in 1968.
More recently a new playground project run by the friends group was completed following the receipt of funding from a Biffa Award and the London Marathon Charitable Trust. This was made possible after the group also raised funds with the help of the local community, including local primary schools, residents’ associations, businesses, community organisations and individuals.
“It’s hugely important we protect and enhance all of our parks, especially when the government is cutting local authority funding,” said Timothy Godfrey, the council’s cabinet member responsible for parks.
“Parks are at the heart of local communities and provide space for people to relax, exercise, meet friends and enjoy themselves. Grange Park is a great example of how local people can come together to make a real difference, and I’m delighted this has resulted in south London getting its first Centenary Park.”
The Coulsdon Village War Memorial stands on the edge of the park and takes the form of a wayside cross with the inscription: “These men of Coulsdon, gave their lives in the War, 1914-1918”, and lists the names of the fallen.
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