(Chair, Friends of Belair Park)
There are currently three initiatives
concerned with the River Effra, one of the
famous “lost rivers of London,” After
attending several meetings in 2013, my
feeling is that there is a rare opportunity
here to achieve a great deal, provided that
all three projects can be co-ordinated into
a meaningful integrated effort.
The first project, to enhance wildlife
corridors and the lake (upper left) and
lakeside habitats in Belair Park, has been
pursued for many years by the Belair
Wildlife Group and the Friends of the Park.
A recent management plan from consultant
Alan Scott of Complete Ecology has been
essential for Southwark’s formal recognition
of the project and securing it for the
future. The lake, by the way, is an artificial
feature, but fed by the Effra waters.
More recently, the London Borough of
Southwark has been working with Thames
Water and consultants Mouchel to
investigate possible flood relief works,
which might include creating new drainage
channels in local parks. On March 7, 2013,
the London Borough of Southwark
completed its first round of community
consultations (centre left), with a meeting
at the Southwark sports ground between
Belair Park and Turney Road (all areas
prone to flooding in wet weather).
At the same time, Defra has funded a
worker (Lucy Townsend) attached to the
London Wildlife Trust for one year, whose
remit is wide – looking at water use,
sustainability, and various potential Effra
Ian McInnes, the Chairman of the Dulwich
Society, stressed the need for further
meetings to represent the broad diversity
of the community.
He felt that, “unless we get community engagement, nothing is going to happen.” He and I have discussed
how the Friends of Belair Park and the Dulwich Society might co-operate to expand the circle of interested
parties involved in the discussions and to advance the goals being pursued by Lucy and her fellow workers.