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No. 16   October 2016
Spending cuts set to damage Wandle Valley in Sutton
Demolition of Hackbridge bridges
The 100 Acre and Irrigation bridges are a vital link in any future plans for the vast area of open land between Beddington and Mitcham. Councillor Ruth Dombey, Sutton Council Leader, has confirmed that Network Rail will proceed with their demolition unless Sutton Council takes on responsibility and that "the Council does not have the funds to be able to repair and maintain this bridge". Remarkably no meeting has taken place between Sutton Council and Network Rail despite nearly 1000 people signing our petition to save the bridges. We ask you to keep the pressure up and sign the petition and write to Ruth Dombey asking for a long term solution to be found.
Honeywood Museum under the cosh
Sutton Council is abolishing the post of curator at Honeywood Museum as part of wider cuts to the library and heritage service. No specialist staff will be employed at Honeywood which faces an uncertain future dependent on volunteers. Friends of Honeywood Museum expect a large reduction in opening hours will follow. Sutton's archivist post is also to be abolished. This is a huge set back for all who care for the Wandle's heritage in Sutton. It follows a hugely successful refurbishment funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2011 which has seen a major boost in visitor numbers. If you have views on these proposals then let Sutton Council's Leader Ruth Dombey know.
Wandle Fortnight
Wandle Fortnight is a celebration of all things Wandle.  This year over 50 activities were put on by the community in September.

Wandle Valley Forum was pleased to  support nine organisations with micro grants for their Wandle Fortnight activities.  These were Friends in St Helier, Mole Valley Orienteering Club, Sutton and Wandle Valley Ramblers, Ethnic Minority Centre, Wild in the City, Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage, Object Book, Wendelsworth Community Garden and Workshop 305.  

We distributed £1000 to support events which attracted over 440 people and inspired over 220 volunteer hours for the benefit of the Wandle Valley.

Read what the groups did with their microgrants in their own words here.

We are grateful to the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and the Heritage Lottery Fund for the support that made the micro grants scheme possible and are expecting to be running a similar grants programme for the 2017 event. Let us know if you might be interested.
Earlsfield developments - Five simultaneous development proposals are affecting a key stretch of the Wandle through Earlsfield. They span the Wandsworth & Merton boundary. It is the perfect opportunity to close the gap in the Wandle Trail, open up river walkways, connect to the Capital Ring & Dundonald Road Recreation Ground and create a new bridge & links to Earlsfield station. We have asked both boroughs to pool development contributions across the boundary to fund these changes. 
Crossrail 2 - We met with Crossrail 2 to discuss the plans for a maintenance depot and shaft replacing Weir Road industrial estate alongside the Wandle. Crossrail 2 was sympathetic to the need for a sensitive boundary and to avoid pollution. The Wandle Valley might also be a focus for environmental investment to offset damage caused elsewhere. We have also pressed Crossrail 2 to be part of the answer to closing the Earlsfield Gap in the Wandle Trail under the main railway line to the north of the site. Further information on environmental impacts and details of the route are to be announced imminently.
Constituency Boundary changes - The Boundary Commission is proposing major changes to Parliamentary constituency boundaries throughout the Wandle Valley. These are open for comment until December 5th. Some of the proposed changes are proving highly controversial. Mitcham is set to be split in half and a major campaign has been mounted to retain its identity. View the Mitcham petition here.

Wandle Park wildlife - Renowned Wandle naturalist David Element has published another wonderful evocation of the Wandle's wildlife importance. The focus is on Wandle Park which supports over 230 different species. You can see David's stunning photos in The Wildlife of Wandle Park. David has also produced a book on the birds of Wandle Park. The book is not cheap but you can see David's work and over 400 short films on his own You Tube channel here for free.
Parks for London launches - The former London Parks and Green Spaces Forum has rebranded as a new campaigning force for London's green spaces - Parks for London. It is timely with a new focus on the risk of funding cuts to green spaces as a result of the current Parliamentary inquiry.
idverde UK set to run Merton & Sutton green spaces - Local authority contracting out of green space maintenance continues with idverde UK set to win the contract for Merton and Sutton which begins in February 2017. Wandsworth's services are already provided by Enable and many of Croydon's by Quadron (now taken over by idverde UK. Further changes are in the offing following a far reaching Croydon Cabinet report.
National Park City - The campaign to recognise London as a National Park City is gaining momentum. Mayor Khan supports the idea and over 200 wards have now declared their support. A successful event in the Royal Festival Hall drew hundreds of supporters and you can join in with the latest crowdfunding campaign to make a map of London that celebrates what makes its green spaces and rivers so special.
Wandsworth Trees - Wandsworth town centre is sorely lacking in trees despite the Wandle running right through it. We are backing Forum supporters Wandsworth Society and Wandsworth Tree Wardens Network in seeking Tree Preservation Orders on the avenue of trees along Swandon Way - ahead of potential development proposals. Read our views here.
Where next for the Wandle Valley? - This question has been exercising the mind as legacy plans are being put in place for Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust has been reviewing its future. The injection of Lottery funding has been critical in recent times and the challenge now is to make sure Living Wandle leaves behind more than a suite of projects when it closes in just over a year. The success of Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust is critical as it looks for new sources of funding and a renewed momentum for the Regional Park. Wandle Valley Forum is contributing to these discussions and we have set out our priorities for the future in the Wandle Valley Forum Charter. Let us know what you think.

Wandle jobs - The recent departure of Louise Crothall and Tina Corr from the Living Wandle team means there are two vacancies. Maybe you're interested or know someone who might be? Spread the word on these vital roles. Deadline 8 November. 

Wandle Valley Forum provides support and an independent voice for over 100 community groups, voluntary organisations, businesses and people who share a passion for the Wandle. Support us by offering your time or making a donation. You can find out more on our website, contact us by email or get involved on twitter or Facebook using the links above.

This Bulletin is produced by Tony Burton,Wandle Valley Forum. We welcome feedback & please tell us of any errors

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