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Ten New Parks for London – update

Anna Taylor
By Anna Taylor
14th April 2024

Ten New Parks is CPRE London’s long-term project to support local campaigning groups to bring a number of green spaces back into use for public amenity, helping them create visions and advocate for new parks and nature reserves.  Know of a neglected space near you that would benefit from having a clearer identity?  Read on and be inspired! 

London has just half the green space it needs for a population its size. And yet there are many green spaces in London which are just sitting idle – at best ignored, at worst deliberately run down by owners and coming under threat from development. These are amazing green and protected sites which have been undervalued, simply left doing nothing – but which local communities want to bring back into use and turn into major new parks – and we want to help them do that. 

  • Thank you for supporting us to help us in these long-term endeavours to create and protect publicly accessible green spaces that also promote bio-diversity and are an essential component of London’s ambitions to be a carbon neutral city.

Since 2020, CPRE London has been supporting local resident groups to write to, and have meetings with, decision makers in their local council, the GLA and other key organisations; with advice on strategy, legal issues and potential sources of funding; with peer networking and helpful contacts; and with getting articles in local, London and even national newspapers and TV – and using our social media channels to amplify their voices. We’ve also given evidence on the issue of protected but derelict / out-of-use land to the London Assembly Environment Committee and the GLA as well as many London boroughs, politicians and key influencers.

  • This year we created a google map showing all ten sites, helping demonstrate the scale of the issue and successfully influence Mayoral Election 2024 candidates’ manifestos.
  • Find more detail on the local campaigns AND read the updates below…

Warren Farm 

Warren Farm is a rewilded 61-acre urban meadow in London UK, part of Brent River Park in the borough of Ealing. This beautiful green space is home to an abundance of common, rare and endangered species – such as skylarks, barn owls, rare clovers, beewolves, yarrow pugs, bats, slow worms and so many more. They want the council to give it a clear identity as a nature reserve including official status as such.  

PROGRESS: In January 2024, despite astonishing achievements including a 25,000 signature petition and support from Chris Packham, the council remained apparently reluctant to give the site Local Nature Reserve status however NEWS FLASH! – In Feb 2024, after a long and difficult battle, the campaigners were thrilled to hear that at last Warren Farm would be given Local Nature Reserve Status. 

Banbury Reservoir Park 

This site has badly fly-tipped areas as well as two derelict playing fields.  

PROGRESS: Local campaigners have done a huge amount of work this year consulting local residents on what they want to see in the new park, including events and a survey, and they are now working on updating their vision document. In the meantime, they have gained commitment from Waltham Forest Council to bring the playing fields back into use.  

Gorne Wood 

Gorne Wood in Brockley South-East London is a designated site of Ancient Woodland – the closest to central London. Tucked between houses and a commuter railway line is an extremely rare living remnant of the Great North Wood where 400-year-old trees, endangered and protected species and ancient hedgerows can still be found.  

PROGRESS: In 2023, local campaigners The Fourth Reserve Foundation achieved two significant milestones working with Lewisham council, first to apply for Metropolitan Open Land status and second to enter discussions on compulsory purchase of the land, for which they have raised £130,000.  

Edgelands Park (River Roding) 

The Edgelands proposal, created by the River Roding Trust, is to turn a disused stretch of riverside, brownfield and greenfield sites into a new linear park and walking and cycling routes, connecting the Roding Valley Way to the Thames Estuary. The area includes the Leigh Road Sports Ground – now owned by developers, fenced off and out of use; Barrington Playing Fields (fenced off); a large piece of neglected open land owned by a charity to the south of the Leigh Road ground; Royston Gardens – a fenced off playing field further north, which – like Warren Farm – has rewilded (and now has a hugely diverse butterfly population, locals report); and many narrower stretches of land next to the river.  

PROGRESS: CPRE London and local campaigners have been working with Thames 21 on a major funding proposal, which we have just learned has been successful, so work to create a detailed implementation plan is now beginning!  

East London Waterworks Park 

East London Waterworks Park is an idea conceived by local people. At its heart is a community group that wants to acquire and transform the 5.68-hectare ex-Thames Water Depot on Lea Bridge Road in Waltham Forest into a brownfield rainforest offering people the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature. The site is protected Metropolitan Open Land and permission was given for it to become a depot, with a view to it being returned to the Lea Valley Regional Park at a later date. However, the depot status has effectively undermined its protected status and it has been subject to planning applications in recent years. The Lea Valley Regional Park was offered the site for sale but declined and local campaigners are now facing another attempt to build on the site, despite their incredible efforts to put forward a community-based proposal for re-wilding the site and creating wild swimming ponds. 

PROGRESS: By the end of 2023 the local group had crowdfunded a staggering half a million pounds. They raised a loan of £1m in addition and calculated the social value of the future park to be £18.5m (by the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of East London). Taken together, this was going to form the basis of their purchase offer for the site but they have been unable to get the owners to engage. CPRE London is now trying to support the local group in the face of the most recent proposal to build on the site and we are extremely concerned this is backed by government and local authorities in London, undermining their own policy on protected land.  

Crayford Marshes 

The Friends of Crayford Marshes are campaigning to save this much-loved site located in Green Belt on the Thames at the outer edge of South East London. The site is protected Green Belt and a nature reserve with rare birds and seals, and has considerable historic interest, but is now under threat as it has been bought by developers.  

PROGRESS: In 2023 the friends consulted and surveyed local residents and created the Crayford Marshes Vision which has gained the support of national wildlife charities. The launched gained widespread media coverage and has raised the profile of this regionally important site. We helped write an action plan to turn the vision into reality. We’re now supporting them with liaison with the council to get this site formally recognised as a local park and asset and to encourage more people to visit.  

Quaggy River Sports Park 

The Quaggy Playing Fields are a classic example of ‘land banking’ where individuals and developers buy land and sit on it in the hope that they could wear down the council into overturning the land designation and allowing development. Much of the site has been fenced off with once thriving sports fields effectively left derelict.  

PROGRESS: Local campaigners have formed the Friends of Quaggy Fields and have now negotiated to get one of the fenced off areas leased to community football club Lewisham FC to bring it back into public use: it was out of use for eight years while the owner aimed to profit from it being developed. This was despite it being protected Metropolitan Open Land.  

Railway Children Park 

Grove Park Neighbourhood Forum is campaigning to make their vision for the Railway Children Urban National Park a reality. Proceeds from the Community Infrastructure Levy and other S106 development agreements can secure the funding to realise this District level Parkland. The land is already protected by its designations such as Metropolitan Open Land and Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. Unfortunately, this has not stopped developers from destroying the habitats to try to remove its nature and protection designations.  

PROGRESS: Local campaigners have fought off development proposals in recent years and this year ensured local outrage was heard and felt by the local council when the owners destroyed all the vegetation on this nature reserve, forcing the council to take action. They remain determined to gain park status for the site and we’ve supported them to gain media coverage for their efforts this year. 

Beddington Farmlands 

Campaigners have been calling on Sutton Council to act to enforce the planning conditions for an incinerator, requiring the waste management company which now owns the site to restore and open up the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve. This has been going on more than a decade while wildlife, including the threatened northern lapwing, has significantly declined.  

PROGRESS: After much work from local campaigners and legal support from CPRE London, in 2023 the council finally moved to enforce the planning conditions so the owners make good their commitment to reinstate wetland and create public access. However the owners have now applied to vary the planning conditions which could threaten the original plans to restore the site as key habitat, and may mean public access is now even further from being achieved. We are helping them with legal support and amplifying their voice via conventional and social media.   

Hatton Fields 

Hounslow Council’s draft Local Plan includes the allocation of Hatton Fields as a site for an Airport Business Park. So the Friends of Hatton Fields formed to campaign to stop this precious local green space being turned into warehouses. They created a vision and have been working together since.  

PROGRESS: In 2023 the group won funding for, and conducted a habitat survey, which they can use to defend the site in future. They also received training on ongoing nature recording. They arrange bat and nature walks to raise awareness and get more people enjoying the site. They audited empty warehouses / light industrial lets nearby as they were concerned the council is not justified in claims about need for the new business park. CPRE London has been working with a group of local organisations to challenge the Local Plan proposals: we have ensured a large number of threats have been removed from the Local Plan but there are still many threats to protected and other green spaces we need to continue to advocate against, including Hatton Fields. 


Please help support this important work by giving to our Ten New Parks programme here today!