A CONSULTATION date has been set for discussions over how to regenerate Wanstead Park.

Planning consultants Chris Blandford Associates have been appointed by the City of London Corporation to help develop long term regeneration plans for the park.

It follows a 2009 decision by English Heritage to place Wanstead Park on its ‘at risk’ register as it believed the landscape was declining and in urgent need of new investment.

Chris Blandford Associates will be progressing plans with the Corporation's Epping Forest team, residents and other local organisations, over the next four months.

The main proposals to improve the landscape, its historic features, visitor facilities and community and educational programmes, will be summarised in a document called a ‘Conservation Statement’ which the City of London Corporation will then consider taking forward as part of a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Paul Thomson, Superintendent of Epping Forest, said: “Being on the ‘at risk’ register has presented us with the ideal opportunity to focus our attentions on Wanstead Park and to seek funding.

"We are really looking forward to working with local residents and organisations to develop the best way forward for this important and fascinating area of Epping Forest.”

One of the priorities, as identified by residents, is to kick start restoration work to the well-known ‘Grotto’ - a Grade II Listed Building.

The Grotto has been fenced off, awaiting new plans and funding, for a number of years.

This week the Epping Forest Conservation team started work to clear vegetation to allow experts to access the site and explore what can be done to improve the much-loved feature of the park.

Formal public consultations on draft proposals will take place between February 14 and 28.

Details of the consultation are still being finalised, however there will be guided walks, an exhibition and a survey.

To register an interest or be notified about the consultation e-mail wansteadparkproject@cityoflondon.gov.uk.