Locals worried that HS2 funding could be used to make the park more tame
Wormwood Scrubs. Picture: Emma McAdie
Local residents are worried that a set of proposals intended to improve Wormwood Scrubs park could risk “prettifying” the area and taking away its “wildness”.
Members of the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs (FWS), a local organisation with hundreds of followers, say the £3.9 million set of improvements are “OK”. But they are less keen on elements that could make the park feel too manicured and “Disney-esque”.
HS2 gave the money to Hammersmith and Fulham Council to spend on ways to “mitigate” against environmental damage the London-to-Leeds rail project will cause when it is built through the area, and to improve the 200-acre park’s biodiversity.
They are detailed in a draft Wormwood Scrubs Masterplan, produced for the council by Land Use Consultants (LUC). The proposals include:
Nina Hall, a science journalist who sits on the FWS committee, said, “We were keen to improve signage in the Scrubs so people could learn about its environmental features. For example over 100 species of birds visit the Scrubs. But some of the signs they proposed were a bit twee and Disney-esque.
“They wanted to plant an avenue of trees through the Scrubs. We thought that could spoil the view and the feeling of distance you get when it’s very misty over the park in the mornings.”
Ms Hall, of Braybrook Street, said her colleagues were also concerned that a new pond could end up being filled with litter and “become a bit of a mess”.
“And the bridge that was proposed to go over the pond looked a bit twee, like something from Regent’s Park,” she added.
“We don’t want the Scrubs to be prettified, we want it to be kept more wild than tamed. We like that you have to go out with your wellies in winter.”
A map showing where some of the new features are proposed
The most recent draft of the Masterplan, now at its fourth stage, was presented to the council in late May, and was discussed at a Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust Committee on Tuesday, June 30.
The Masterplan has yet to be fully approved. The Charitable Trust Committee will consider the latest proposals, and any further changes will be subject to a further round of public consultation.
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter
July 2, 2020