Thames Water, Acton Park and Springfield Gardens

Another chapter sees parks in limbo after works finished in May

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Since Thames Water left Acton Park in early May, regular visitors have been eyeing the three large fenced-off areas and their growing army of weeds with surprise.

A notice from Ealing Council was attached to the Park railings, after questions had been asked on the W3 Forum, around August 12th which read as follows:

"Following the completion of the work by Thames Water in Acton Park and Springfield Gardens reinstatement works are expected to be started in late August.

The main elements of work are:

Springfield Gardens
- Rebuild path that was removed
- Replace seats and bins taken out
- Plant trees to replace those lost
- Reinstate areas of soil/weeds back to grass

Acton Park
- Repair/resurface damaged paths
- Replant damaged shrub beds
- Replace seats and bins taken out
- Plant trees to replace those lost
- Reinstate areas of soil/weeds back to grass
- Rebuild damaged wall
- Replace damaged gate at Northwest entrance with replica of original gate and repair railings

"The Council will be carrying out some extra improvement works to the Northwest corner of Acton Park adjacent to Acton Main Line [sic]. Proposals will be put up on posters within the park within the next month."

Since August 12th, nothing further has been heard about the situation. 'Late August' came and went and now we are very nearly in late September without any change to the enclosed areas.

The major works which were carried out to improve drainage facilities in Acton lasted 9 months. These new drainage terminals were much needed and those who experienced the terrible damage caused by the floods of previous years will be relieved at the steps which have been taken.

Acton Park and part of Springfield Gardens, however, are still looking very neglected. The gate and fencing at the Acton Central Station entrance is badly broken and will need replacing or serious repair. One person we spoke to said the damage had been caused by careless storage of what must be a very old gate which will be surely be expensive to replace.

Some residents told us they had been informed that the delay is because the lease with Thames Water has not yet been cancelled by Ealing Council's legal department. The new drainage terminals need to be allowed to run for a while in case of any problems - which might mean more digging. Others have been told mistakes were made in drawing up the contract with Thames which mean nothing can be done until this is sorted out.

Comments have also been made by locals and park users about the state of the grass after two long visits from the Fun Fair. Huey Reid, the coach for Bollo United, is not able to train his local team in Acton Park any more as the uneven ground makes it hazardous and unsuitable for football. Players now have to make their way to Ealing to train.

We visited the Park yesterday with Cllr John Ross of East Acton Ward. He looked at the problem areas and commented: "I am really disappointed that parts of Acton Park are still in a bit of a state. Promises have not been kept and the Park has not been restored yet.

"I can also see that the upper field is unsuitable for use as a football training ground." Cllr Ross also pointed out to us that the railings on East Churchfield Road have been only partially painted black, are rusty and in need of attention.

A spokesman for Ealing Council said: "It was hoped that work to reinstate the park would start in August, but it took longer than originally expected to agree the schedule with Thames Water. They have now approved the programme so work can now begin to cut back long grass and weeds. Other elements of work will take place in stages over the next few months."

No comment was made about the damaged play pitches, not about the mentioned proposals to improve the Northwest corner of the Park.

After such a long period of time with large parts of the Parks looking neglected and being inaccessible, residents are very much looking forward to seeing the start of reparation works.



September 26, 2008