We have taken part in the public engagement on the future of Fairlop Waters which has been going on since 2019 and are grateful for the chance to do this.
Fairlop Waters is on Green Belt land and is a SINC (a Site of Importance to Nature Conservation) and as such should have the protection and improvement of its biodiversity always coming first.
An urban park is one designed to provide people with green space for healthy exercise and play, here is the space for tennis courts, open air concerts, skateboard parks and so on – not Fairlop Waters!
Why have the planners suggested putting a concert venue here with all the noise, litter and anti-social behaviour that that entails? This idea was put forward by council employees present in the meetings and kept being put on the list of suggestions despite misgivings from members of the public, a nice revenue earner at the cost of green space? We think those who live nearby will remember the last attempt to do this across the road in the playing fields where the police had to be called in to stop it!
Why are they suggesting barbecue and picnic areas in the middle of the old golf course, an area of grassland at huge risk of fire in the summer? Redbridge currently does not allow barbeques in any of its green spaces so why would this be different?
Why did they not make it clear to people that much of the new region being added to the park, including Aldborough Hatch Farm, is still due to have gravel extraction take place on it and as this still hasn’t started yet, will be unavailable to the public for at least ten years?
The planning documents suggested some of this area would be finished this year! Or that the region where gravel extraction has been completed at the Aldborough Hall Nature Reserve next to the Dick Turpin, has already a well-thought-out restoration plan? In fact, why hasn’t the gravel company been consulted more about their restoration plan in this process? If they had, the master planners would not now be suggesting putting paths, hedges and woodland in an area important to the survival of the ground nesting birds, like skylarks, that live here?
We do think Fairlop Waters has been neglected for a number of years and welcome suggestions such as updating the visitors’ centre, sailing centre, improving paths, public access and water quality. Proposals to reduce speeding in surrounding roads are also necessary. However, any plans cannot put short-term money-making schemes at the expense of maintaining our green space.
We cannot let Fairlop Waters, including the lake, be overused for short-term financial gain.
Jas Athwal, Council members and local MP Wes Streeting please remember your pledge to protect Redbridge’s Green Belt, which includes Fairlop Waters, when considering the master planners’ proposals. You are temporary custodians of this important piece of green belt land, not exploiters determined to ruin it for the sake of ill-thought-out revenue schemes.
BSc Hons Ecological Sc, MSc, PGCE, Advanced Dip in Ed Cambridge Uni, NPQH
Vice Chair AHDA (Aldborough Hatch Defence Association)