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No. 10   February 2016
This Bulletin reminds everyone to feed in thoughts on the emerging Wandle Valley Forum Charter - this will be published in the spring and sets out our priorities for what needs to happen in the Wandle Valley and the role the Wandle Valley Forum will play. There is also worrying news of the pending demolition of two key footbridges over the railway in Hackbridge. Wandsworth's Local Plan has passed a key stage and there are new heritage walks to enjoy from Wandle Park. 
Wandle Valley Forum Charter - This will be a key document guiding priorities for the Wandle Valley.  A draft has been prepared following the Wandle Futures workshop in October and we are already receiving good feedback. We want to publish in the spring so please may we have your ideas and comments by February 14th.
The emerging priorities for the Charter are:
  1. Connect the Wandle Valley into the family of London’s Regional Parks based on fairer funding arrangements and as part of London’s ambitions as a National Park City. 
  2. Promote Wandle Valley Regional Park and support new governance arrangements that provide a majority independent voice and endow its future financial sustainability. 
  3. Realise the potential of London’s biggest environmental opportunity – the 450 hectares of open space stretching from Beddington Park to Mitcham Common – an area three times that of Hyde Park. 
  4. Unify the approach to planning across the local authorities with common policies and a shared ambition, including for use of the community infrastructure levy for the Wandle Valley’s benefit. 
  5. Secure business benefits from locating in the Wandle Valley, including through a Park Improvement District providing investment which delivers more visitors and customers and provides more attractive employment for local people. 
  6. Connect millions more people to the Wandle through events and activities that open up the possibilities the Wandle can offer. 
  7. Complete the Wandle Trail and close the gaps at Earlsfield and the river mouth. 
  8. Encourage access for all along the river without urbanising clutter, metalled tracks and intrusive lighting. 
  9. Support the ambitions of local community groups and voluntary organisations for a “naturally functioning, self sustaining” river and for the Wandle’s heritage to be better cared for and promoted. 
  10. Establish a more resilient Wandle Valley with future-proofed development, more tree cover and as a pioneering green energy hub. 
  11. Expand the role of local communities to manage and run buildings and open spaces along the Wandle and support a local food economy. 
  12. Rekindle the Wandle Valley Festival and support arts and cultural activities.
The Charter will also set out the unique contribution played by the Wandle Valley Forum alongside all the other organisations with an interest in the Wandle.  We provide the glue for people and organisations that care for the Wandle Valley, its river, its story, and its diverse network of open spaces and communities.  We support the different communities and organisations that make up the Wandle Valley.  We provide a communications network and we use our independent voice to amplify that of local groups and speak out for the Wandle Valley’s future. 

The strength and influence of the Wandle Valley Forum Charter depends on the input of our supporting groups.

Please email us your ideas and comments by February 14th.  You can also read a draft Working Paper providing more background on the priorities which is available to download here.
Key bridges at risk - The 100 Acre (pictured) and Irrigation bridges over the railway north of Hackbridge have been earmarked for demolition in the spring by Network Rail. This is despite their key role in linking the open space between Beddington Farmlands and the proposed Hackbridge Ecology Park. We understand Network Rail's assessment shows it would be less expensive to maintain the bridges than demolish them but nobody is willing to take on responsibility for the liability. Sutton Council has not yet responded to approaches asking it to take on this role.  
Hard on the heels of permission being given to a new school on Metropolitan Open Land in the area it is another sign of short term thinking which frustrates progress. We are at risk of squandering the vast environmental opportunity that this area of green space three times the size of Hyde Park presents right at the heart of the Wandle Valley Regional Park. The emerging Neighbourhood Plan (right) identifies the bridges as a "vital link with the past and also a necessary link to the future". It is "concerned to ensure than none of the bridges are demolished and all are opened up for public use".
Wandsworth Local Plan found "sound" - The new planning policy document for Wandsworth has been found "sound" by an Inspector following a public inquiry into Wandsworth's Core Strategy. This follows earlier controversy that Wandsworth Council had made changes without proper public consultation. The Plan references the Wandle Valley Forum and includes important policies for the Wandle Valley (Policy PL10) and the Wandle delta (Policy PL12). It backs the vision for the Wandle Valley Regional Park and can be viewed here.
Heritage walks from Wandle Park - Five walks discovering the rich heritage of Croydon have been produced as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project.  The walk are all connected to Wandle Park and vary in length.  They include everything from a trail of Croydon's modernist architecture to discovering the haunts of famous Croydon people, including Samuel Coleridge and Malcolm McLaren. Download and enjoy the walks here.
Community Clean Up - The next river cleanup organised by Wandle Trust is on February 14th in Poulter Park - meet at 10.50am. 300 tyres were removed from this site last time. More details can be found here.

Wandle Valley Forum provides support and an independent voice for the community groups, voluntary organisations and people who share a passion for the Wandle.  Support us by offering your time or 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 Wandle Valley Forum - we welcome feedback & please let us know of any errors