Greenwich Park Revealed

The Society has responded formally to the Royal Parks about the Heritage Lottery bid and the plans contained within it. Alan Bailey has represented the Society in the meetings of the Heritage working group and helped us draft the following: -

The Greenwich Society has about 1,000 members, supporting its aim of improving the amenities in the Greenwich area. Greenwich Park is a central element in the World Heritage Site, and the Society has been concerned to preserve its unique value, in close cooperation with the Friends of Greenwich Park. The Royal Parks have maintained the Park admirably within their restricted budget, but limited resources have meant that they have not been able to make improvements to cope with increasing numbers of visitors and other problems.

We therefore very much welcome the Greenwich Park Revealed project, and strongly support its objectives. We have been closely involved in public consultations on the project, with a representative on the Advisory Group. We are grateful for this opportunity to express our wholehearted endorsement of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, which will allow new developments to improve the experience of local residents and visitors, instead of facing gradual decline as the problems mount up.

As the Society represents mainly local residents, we are particularly concerned that any changes should maintain and enhance the Park’s character as a peaceful space to enjoy nature and landscape. From this point of view, the replacement of diseased trees clearly has a high priority. But people visit the Park for various reasons, and we welcome all the proposals for new and improved facilities, to attract new as well as regular visitors. The Park staff are well aware that the project has produced a long list of worthwhile projects, which will need to be prioritised, and we look forward to further consultation on this at the next stage. In particular, in the wider context of the World Heritage Site we hope that the importance of the area round Castle Hill and the Giant Steps will be recognised, as the focal point of the 17th century design concept, the Grand Axis and the view from the Queen’s House; the Avenues are being gradually restored, which we welcome, but the formal perspective created by the huge earthworks around the Architrave and hill up to Wolfe is almost invisible. There are problems of historical ‘authenticity’, hence the further ‘consideration’ proposed; but this has been under discussion for decades, and we hope that a scheme for tidying up and re-planting can now be agreed. We also welcome the proposal to re-design the Rose Garden “to provide an outstanding horticultural visitor attraction in relation to the Ranger’s House”.

In summary, the Greenwich Society strongly supports the Royal Parks bid for Heritage Lottery funding to proceed with the proposals outlined in the Greenwich Park Revealed project. 

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