Mayor of London hands out prize
Volunteers and staff working at a Wimbledon park are celebrating after being given a silver Safer Parks award from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
South Park Gardens, Wimbledon, was one of 11 parks to gain a silver status, and one of 31 parks who were recognised in the ceremony in central London.
Originally opened in 1901, South Park Gardens has been well used by families, residents groups and organisations with regular events including Easter egg hunts, teddy bears' picnics, South Park Gardens Music Festival and fireworks. In 2010, the park was awarded a prestigious Green Flag.
Before new perimeter railings, fences and entry gates were erected, the park was an area of concern due to high levels of antisocial behaviour taking place at night. Problems included underage drinking and drugs, which often led to noise and safety complaints from residents living in the vicinity and Trinity Safer Neighbourhoods Team regularly removed people from the park at night.
Following the Heritage Lottery Grant and new cast-iron railings, old and diseased trees have been removed to open up the park and reduce the numerous blind spots within. With the sight lines improved and restricted access at night, the antisocial behaviour has been greatly reduced to a minimal level.
Dog fouling was a minor problem and this has been reduced by displaying notices about keeping dogs on leads and dog fouling, as well as the installation of four new dog waste bins. Merton council and Trinity Safer Neighbourhoods Team have worked closely with the Friends of South Park Gardens to eliminate the troubled areas and make sure that people are free to enjoy the park safely and without fear of crime.
Cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge said: "It's great to see that South Park Gardens has been recognised as a Safe Park. Merton has a large number of parks and greenspaces for all residents to enjoy all year round. Thanks to the Police, friends and staff for all their hard work and I look forward to seeing the park continue to progress towards a gold standard in the future."
Pictured above are Helen Fuller (Friends of South Park Gardens), Superintendent David Paterson, Jil Hall (Merton Council), Councillor Andrew Judge, PCSO Nicola Cleeter.
For more information on the park visit www.merton.gov.uk/southparkgardens.
May 16, 2011