Parkland Walk Access and Path Proposals
Haringey Council has launched a consultation on works to resurface the path and improve accessibility of the Parkland Walk Local Nature Reserve. The process is open to the public to make their views known via an online questionnaire focusing on what your priorities might be when the council begins the development of specific proposals in the coming months – a process in which we, and other stakeholders, will be involved. Here are some thoughts that the Friends of the Parkland Walk hope you will consider in your response.
The Walk is both an open space for the public and a Local Nature Reserve. Balancing these sometimes conflicting priorities is not easy. Whilst improving access, the final design must minimise the effect on the vegetation and wildlife of the Walk and protect the sense of a rural space. Construction methods and the materials used must not contaminate the soil, cause any unnecessary damage, or have any negative implications for the ecology of the reserve, which has been in decline for some time.
Implications for users
The council is rightly concerned to make access to our green spaces available to as many as reasonably practicable. The consultation acknowledges that this can raise serious conflicts between different user groups. In 2007, when much of the current path surface was installed, the choice was based on similar considerations and hoggin was selected as the preferred option. A smooth path will facilitate high-speed cycling, which already impacts on pedestrians and vulnerable groups, and could become considerably worse as eBikes become more common.
Impact on the nature reserve
The installation of large ramps will require significant areas of the nature reserve to be built over. The potential benefit and need should be carefully balanced with the sensitive nature of the site. The choice of any access points for expanded accessible entrances should favour locations that will have minimal impact. Materials used and the aesthetics of structures should be in keeping with a nature reserve. We believe access points at Oxford Road, Blythwood Road and Holmesdale Road could be improved without the need for unsightly and expensive ramps such as the one Haringey have chosen for Stanhope Road bridge. The main path could be repaired with a material similar to the one presently in place and a ultra smooth path that would be for bikes or adopted by cyclists is not necessary or in keeping with a nature reserve.
The council has allocated a very significant budget for this infrastructure project (including bridge repairs the figure of £13m has been mentioned) but there are absolutely no plans to address decades of biodiversity decline across the nature reserve.