A PARK at risk of falling into decay is facing more uncertainty because managers failed to secure a £5 million grant to save it.
Wanstead Park has been on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register since 2009 over concerns its lakes and green spaces are deteriorating.
The City of London Corporation (CoCL) took over managing the park in 2010 and have been working with the Friends of Wanstead Parklands (FWOP) to secure a £5 million cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to improve it.
But this week (March 28) campaigners were “extremely disappointed and frustrated” to discover that after more than a year of promises, CoCL is set to miss another deadline for the multimillion pound grant application in August.
FWOP chairman John Meehan said: “We are sorry to hear that yet again CoCL has missed a deadline for submitting a bid to HLF.
“We have received a list of reasons from them, but in our view, they all point to a single underlying problem – CoCL’s continuing failure to prioritise Wanstead Park.
“We’re still determined to see the park get the funding and attention it urgently needs. And we’ll continue to work to secure its future.”
Paul Donovan is concerned about low water levels and litter
Lifelong park-goer and Wanstead resident Paul Donovan added: “Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me.
“The park continues to deteriorate to the point where I think we’re reaching a crisis point.
“The continued failure to deal with the park's problems calls into question whether CoCL should carry on managing it for the people of London.
“If they don’t want the responsibility anymore it should be handed to somebody else who does.
“But this neglectful approach just can’t go on.”
Park-goer Mary Wheatley is also worried about low water levels
Park-goers have repeatedly expressed concerns over the low water levels of the lakes and lack of maintenance of facilities like paths, seating and bins.
Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer attended FWOP's AGM last night (March 29), calling for a 'summit to save Wanstead Park' where stakeholders would agree on a definite deadline for funding.
He said: "The park is still on the at-risk register, which is more than worrying, and if it is lost or deteriorates to the point it cannot be preserved, it will count not just as a loss to the local community, but to London and the nation."
A City of London Spokesman responded: “We know from our experience with our last successful Epping Forest-wide HLF project, that we need time to prepare the bid properly and do everything possible to ensure it succeeds.
“We understand the desire to see lasting change at Wanstead Park. And we will continue to work together with the three other landowning partners, the local community and the HLF to develop this important bid to improve the park.”