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Over the past few months I have become increasingly concerned by the lack of progress on the redevelopment of the South Norwood Country Park. Last month, I wrote to residents in the vicinity of the park, informing them of the actions I have taken to make sure they have an accessible green space they can be proud of.

Dear Resident, 

I hope this finds you well.  

I am writing to let you know about the latest developments in your nearby South Norwood Country Park. Over the past few months, many residents have got in touch with me to highlight a number of their concerns relating to the park’s maintenance, so I thought I’d inform you of the steps I’ve taken to address these issues.  

I understand that the root causes of the visitor centre problems were in the arson attack on the Visitor Centre in April 2020, alongside Croydon Council’s financial situation, which means they have not been able to underwrite the insurance on the building. This has resulted in the Centre being closed ever since, and, despite persistent lobbying from residents and a petition with some 2,800 signatures, the Council has done nothing to even begin planning for its restoration. This is disappointing, as the Centre was a place for children to learn about nature and wildlife, while it also contained the park’s only public toilets, meaning the park is now inaccessible to many.  

In the wake of this, other parts of the park have also begun to deteriorate, and two viewing platforms have been vandalised. As a result there has been a rise of anti-social behaviour in and around the park. To fix these platforms and improve the Wetlands Area of the park, the Council drew up plans to use the £30,000 set aside from a fine paid by Thames Water. However, we have been left in limbo with the Council providing no update as to when construction will actually begin. 

In order to try and get some clarity on the situation, I have been in regular contact with the Council to try and make sure we see some action on this in the near future. They have informed me that, although they have the materials necessary to fix the platforms, the work is being held up because there are a number of staff vacancies that are yet to be filled. They have guaranteed that work will commence in the next few months. I will keep in touch with the council to make sure this happens. 

I hope that we can start seeing some positive results as soon as possible. We all want to see a thriving South Norwood Country Park that all ages can enjoy. 

With best wishes,