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Proposals for the redesign of the natural park

Latest renovation plans for Fairlop Waters Country Park in Ilford show it will include an adventure course and a wild swimming lake.

A small group of residents “co-designed” the features of the modernized park, which is expected to double in size over the next decade.

Recently released designs show a 6.7km trial, which will lead from a new visitor center at the boating lake to an improved entrance near Barkingside station.

Along the way, visitors will pass a ‘naturalised river’ and conservation area, a wild swimming lake and a new nature reserve at Aldborough Hall, which will be home to grazing longhorn cattle.

New land to expand the park will come from the old golf course, which closed permanently during the pandemic, and the return of land previously used as a gravel pit.

Deputy Chief Kam Rai told the Oversight and Review Committee on March 7, “We all wanted to keep the green space…that’s why we made the decision to close the golf course and now have an additional 136 acres. to enter the national park.

“Even at Christmas we had the rink and the fair was really, really popular, at the end of the day we really want to make sure it retains its country feel when we add 200 acres to the park.

“No one else does anything like this, we are effectively doubling the size of the national park and protecting Fairlop Waters.”

Following cabinet approval on March 8, formal public consultation will begin on the master plan before a more detailed report on the future of the park in fall 2022.

Although the council’s regeneration chief reassured councilors that a hotel on the site was “highly unlikely” last year, space was reserved for a wedding marquee and overflow parking.

Sharon said the council’s fleet management arm, Vision, was watching the numbers closely.

She added: “It’s about having an experienced trader who understands the flow and can assess the risks.

“I understand that has to be balanced with the ecology…we want to try to make it work at Fairlop Waters.”

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