The Brent River & Canal Society (BRCS) which spearheaded the campaign for Brent River Park in the 1970s has issued a warning that some of the suggestions mentioned in Ealing Council’s regional park consultation could see an increase to the risk of flooding of homes in Perivale, Pitshanger, Greenford and Hanwell.
In a statement, BRCS said it “endorses much of the council’s report and notes that its proposal to create a regional park adopts some of the suggestions that the Society submitted in its response to the draft local plan earlier this year. BRCS is pleased the council understands that large areas of connected habitats encourage wildlife and provide ecological resilience and points out that meadows and grasslands are among the best ways to capture carbon. However, the BRCS has warned that some of the ideas appearing in the consultation will increase the likelihood and frequency of properties being flooded in Perivale, Pitshanger, Greenford and Hanwell by reducing the park’s flood storage capacity.”
The BRCS highlighted that Brent River Park is an integral part to precent floddingin Ealing. It said: “Parkland between Hanger Lane and the Wharncliffe Viaduct regularly floods after heavy rain. That is what it is supposed to do. It absorbs and retains the surge of water that would otherwise swell the river and cause problems for homes and businesses. For this reason, BRCS will resist any reduction in flood plain volume or new hard-standing in the park.”
BRCS Chair Phil Belman commented: “The council stated long ago that we already have a regional park in Ealing, the Brent River Park. The extension of the Brent River Park into a wider area, as we proposed earlier this year, is most welcome.
“With the greater volume and frequency of heavy rainfall we now see from global warming, it would be reckless to reduce the flood water storage capacity or to increase the rate of rainwater run-off within the catchment of the River Brent. We know that climate change is already producing more sudden storms. Ealing Council must now look to reduce the amount of hard-standing in the park, not increase it.
“Some of the suggestions in the report, such as new cafes, sports buildings and even an amphitheatre, must not impinge on the flood plain. This consultation raises expectations for new facilities that are likely to prove unsustainable.”
Mr Belman also commented on council plans to close Perivale Park Golf Course to create the regional park. He said: “Perivale Park Golf Course is an important part of the Brent River Park with its network of footpaths and access along the riverside. Whether or not it is viable as a golf course is irrelevant to this consultation on a regional park.
“If the golf course is closed, the existing Brent River Park management plan should still be followed with the fairways and open areas being returned to meadowland and the existing woodlands and hedges retained with full public access. Perivale Park Golf Course is right next to the Brent, so whatever the council proposes to do with it must not involve putting any more hard-standing there than already exists.”
“Ealing Council should be working towards the Government’s ’30 by 30’ target of protecting 30 percent of its land for nature by 2030. It needs to be looking for ways to add to its green space, not building on it.”
In its statement, the BRCS urges residents to take part in the consultation and mention a number of key points:
- The Brent River Park is essential to the Borough’s flood management – soaking up and holding back excess water that would otherwise flood residential areas.
- Any proposals must not increase hard-standing or reduce flood storage within the Park.
- We need to increase the amount of green space in the borough, to improve flood resilience, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity and provide more room for nature to re-establish itself.
- Maximum benefits will arise from joined up and well maintained parks and waterways. This principle applies to flood protection, plants and wildlife; routes for activities, supporting wellbeing and amenities.
- The Brent River Park name must stay – it has a long and distinguished history.
Residents have until 19 December 2023 to take part in the consultation which can be completed by clicking here.