Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators October Update

News on the statutory inquiry, Putney Lower Common development and the Windmill restoration

Statutory Inquiry
The Conservators met on Monday 10th October 2016 to consider their response to the requirements of the Statutory Inquiry that was opened by the Charity Commission on the 18th August 2016.

This is in connection with the possible financial loss to the Charity arising from the Easement that WPCC entered into with Wandsworth Borough Council for access rights over Putney Lower Common, and the way in which the Conservators have sought to resolve the matter.

The Board is continuing to cooperate fully with the Charity Commission and provided the documentation and responded to the actions required of them by the Commission’s deadline of the 13th October 2016.

Following a procurement and tendering exercise conducted by their retained charity lawyers, Charles Russell Speechlys, the Board approved the appointment of a Senior Partner from Daniel Watney to undertake a retrospective valuation of the easement at the date it was agreed in 2102. It is expected that the retrospective valuation will be received by mid-November.

In accordance with the Charity Commission’s Formal Action Plan, if a loss is identified, the Board will then need to consider, with advice from their lawyers, if it is appropriate and feasible to recover any loss, and if so from whom.
Below is a link to the Media Release issued by WPCC in response to the Statutory Inquiry:

New Development at Putney Lower Common

The Board also considered a number of outstanding matters relating to the landscaping and estate management works associated with the new development at Putney Lower Common.
The hoarding surrounding the site was removed in August/September to permit further landscaping works to be undertaken. Significant amounts of top soil have been added in preparation for the planting and seeding work that will take place over the course of the winter.

New earth mounds have been constructed along the side of the new access-way andthese will be planted with native trees and shrubs. The surfacing of the access-way and footpaths with tar and gravel is nearing completion. Works have commenced to break up the former tarmacadam car park at the front of the site, adjoining the Lower Richmond Road.

To assist with the establishment of the new wildflower meadows to the north of the site, Heras fencing is to be retained over the winter/early spring period.

Windmill Restoration
The major works to restore the Grade II* Listed Windmill, funded with the benefit of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, are now nearing completion. The perished membrane beneath the wooden cladding of the tower has been replaced; the fantail has been restored and the tower and cap have been repainted. Further restoration works have been necessary to restore the wooden balustrading around the roof of the windmill.

With the scaffolding now removed, the next major task is the re-installation of the sails. It is expected that these works will commence during the week beginning 7th November 2016, subject to weather conditions. WPCC and the Windmill Museum Trustees are seeking to film this major event as part of the HLF project to be used for future education programmes.

The Wimbledon Windmill Museum Trustees have held a number of events over the summer period to promote the museum. At their last Trustee meeting, Andrew Simon, a former WPCC Conservator, stood down as Chairman and Asif Malik, immediate past-Chairman of the Wimbledon Society, was appointed Chairman of the Trust.

Simon Lee
Chief Executive of Wimbledon and Putney Commons

October 20, 2016