Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Wednesday 26th January 2011 7.30pm

Wandle Valley Regional Park Development Board

This is a joint board comprising the local authorities through which the Wandle river flows. Representatives attend from Wandsworth, Croydon, Merton and Sutton, and also from the Greater London Authority (GLA). Wandsworth currently held the chair so the meeting was held at Wandsworth Town Hall. The purpose is to progress towards developing a regional park along the Wandle Valley. Great progress had been made to date thanks to the commitment of all the partners.

At the previous meeting it had been agreed to commission a study to determine the best governance structure for the regional park. This comprehensive study and its conclusions was presented at the meeting by the authors Professor Nicholas Bailey and Dr Ian Sesnan. The study had considered the different governance structures of a variety of other parks and determined the benefits and challenges of each. The recommendation was to work towards establishing an Independent Trust, as this would be an effective model to attract funding from a variety of sources at a relatively small core management cost. However if longer term stability and security were required an Authority model would be the means to achieve this, by providing surety of income through a Government sanctioned precept. The challenge of this is that the Lee Valley park already requires a precept from all the London boroughs and this would need to be reviewed to enable a Wandle Valley Authority to be established.

After some discussion the board agreed that work to establish the Independent Trust should be initiated and at the same time investigations made into the issue of the Lee Valley precept and how it might be adapted to allow the establishment of the Wandle Valley Authority. This would be taken forward by our GLA members.

Each local authority contributes £7000 per annum towards the Wandle Valley Regional Park development work, and under the Independent Trust model that amount would initially need to increase to £8000 in the first two years, reducing down to £4000 by the sixth year. I had already confirmed that this could be accommodated within our budgets and Wandsworth and Merton felt that the extra £1000  would not be a problem for them. Unfortunately Croydon had not budgeted for the existing £7000 commitment and could offer no guarantees about their contribution until after their annual budget had been agreed in March.

The Board also received updates on the Heritage Lottery Fund Submission and London Green Grid progress.

From the next meeting the chair will pass to Sutton and meetings will be held in Sutton Civic Offices.

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February 8, 2011 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

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