Enjoy the latest Wandle Valley Forum Bulletin
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No. 11   March 2016
Spring is arriving in the Wandle Valley and we're preparing for our Annual Meeting next month. The campaign to save the two footbridges over the railway north of Hackbridge from demolition by Network Rail is generating strong support and needs your help. We have news of Hackbridge's neighbourhood plan - the first to be consulted on in the Wandle Valley - and Sutton Council's new Local Plan, including development plans for Richmond Green. There is an opportunity for you to feedback on the impact of the Lottery funded Living Wandle Landscape Partnership. You can also learn about London's very own Waterkeeper and find out why midges are the scourge of Ravensbury Park. 

This month we welcome Transition Town Tooting and Mitcham Community Orchard to our supporter groups.
Wandle Valley Forum Annual Meeting & Charter Launch
7pm  Monday 25th April  Colour House Theatre

Come along to Merton Abbey Mills for our Annual Meeting this spring and enjoy:
- launch of the new Wandle Valley Forum Charter
- an illustrated talk on the Wandle year
- supper in the Wheelhouse
- our usual AGM business

We are always looking for new people to join the Wandle Valley Forum Executive so get in touch if you are interested.


Save the Hackbridge railway bridges from demolition

The campaign to save the 100 Acre and Irrigation (above) bridges over the railway north of Hackbridge is growing apace. These have been earmarked for demolition on the late May Bank Holiday by Network Rail despite the key role they both can play in providing public access to the newly restored Beddington Farmlands when it opens.  

Nearly 700 people have signed our petition calling on Network Rail to call off the bridges demolition and allow Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust and Sutton Council to find a long term solution which secures their role in providing public access to Beddington Farmlands. Add you name here or by clicking the box below and share the petition with others. Our petition can also be signed in shops in Hackbridge as a result of local initiative.

We have secured helpful coverage in the Sutton Guardian. Sutton councillors have been alerted and local MP Tom Brake has written to Network Rail. Both Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group and Beddington North Neighbourhood Forum are part of the campaign. Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust is in discussions with Sutton Council and we are urging a stay of execution while a long term solution is found. All this needs your help so please do what you can to spread the word and grow the petition.

Click here to save the Hackbridge railway bridges from demolition
Hackbridge Neighbourhood Plan - Recent powers for communities to draw up planning policies for their neighbourhood have been taken up in Hackbridge with the publication of the first draft neighbourhood plan in the Wandle Valley. It includes support for a visitor centre for the Wandle Valley Regional Park. Public consultation closes on 22 April. Find out more here.
Sutton Local Plan - The new development plan for Sutton to 2031 is out for consultation till 8 April. The various documents can be downloaded here. A key objective of the plan is to "enhance the quality of the River Wandle and its benefits for people and wildlife." Let us know what you think.
Ravensbury Park midges - Clouds of midges have returned to blight Ravensbury Park. The insects thrive in the slow flowing and nutrient rich waters of this stretch of the Wandle. The midges are forcing local residents to keep windows closed and walkers on the Wandle Trail to hold their breath! Friends of Ravensbury Park has been pressing for action and Wandle Trust has identified a series of longer term solutions which are summarised here
London Waterkeeper - The Wandle knows the impact of pollution as well as any river in the UK so we were pleased to meet a new charity devoted to reducing pollution in London's rivers. London Waterkeeper identifies three main causes:
  • Oil, heavy metals and dirt are washed off roads
  • Dirty industrial estates allow poisons to ooze into our rivers
  • Outdated sewage works overflow when it rains
The Wandle and its tributaries are prone to all three and the picture of the Graveney meeting the Wandle above includes signs of raw sewage on both banks. Find out more about London Waterkeeper and follow it on twitter
Richmond Green development plans - One of the development sites identified in Sutton's draft Local Plan is at Richmond Green. An existing development of 28 bungalows owned by Sutton Council is considered to be in poor condition and earmarked for redevelopment. Beddington North Neighbourhood Forum is concerned to protect this special stretch of the Wandle and seeking to designate the area along the river as Local Green Space in its emerging neighbourhood plan. It is resisting any encroachment by the new development. Read more about the local community's plans here.
Living Wandle  - We're over half way through the £2m Lottery investment in the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and it's time to take stock. Living Wandle lies behind many of the most exciting projects going on in the area and it comes to an end in December 2017. 19 key projects are in the programme covering conservation, access, community and training. It has tackled invasive species, searched for the river's source, invested in Morden Hall Park's wetlands, recorded wildlife, supported community art, encouraged clean-ups and helped deliver the Wandle Catchment Plan. Heritage Lottery Fund is keen to have your feedback on the progress so far and on what might happen in future. Please complete the short survey 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