By Jiang Yu and Andrea Stromskag
A Georgian-era lake is to be turned into a wild swimming pond at Beckenham Place Park, following a grant of £440,000 from the Mayor of London.
The fund will be used to plant thousands of new trees and creating a new wildlife habitat in what is Lewisham’s biggest green space.
Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham said: “This is really fantastic news. Since the start of the regeneration work in Beckenham Place Park, we’ve already seen a considerable increase in the number of visitors. This additional funding will be a significant boost to our plans to conserve and enhance this park, attracting even more people to come and enjoy the natural beauty of the park.”
Lewisham's 1st wild swimming pond is coming to Beckenham Place Park!🏊♀️
Thanks to @SadiqKhan who has granted us £440k, which will also be used to plant 1000s of new trees.🌳
Look forward to working with @SophieMcGeevor to improve one of our best parks!https://t.co/egOXIDFORF pic.twitter.com/pnYlsNYnwY
— Damien Egan (@damienegan) 21 May 2018
The Mayor of London’s Greener City Fund has awarded a total of £2 million to six different green spaces across London, including Beckenham Place Park.
Lynn Kinnear, a member of the awards judging panel, said Beckenham Place Park’s project stood out. She highlighted that the swimming lake will be an asset for all of London as an investment in “new green social infrastructure.”
The award is part of the Mayor of London’s campaign to make the British capital the worldwide first National Park City in 2019. “London is the greatest city in the world and I want to make it one of the greenest too,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Khan added: “For too many Londoners, nature simply doesn’t feature in their daily lives. That’s why we’re aiming to become a National Park City, with more than half of our capital green.”
In 2017, Lewisham Council won £4.9m in National Lottery Fund money to renovate and improve the parks and it’s facilities. The regeneration will include walking and running trails, kayaking and canoeing, a BMX track, improved cycling routes and a skate park. As a part of the renovation local volunteers have initiated smaller projects such as a greenhouse to house seeds in the parks straw bale garden.
Beckenham Place Park dates back to 1773 and has been open to the public since 1929. In 1972. the ownership was passed from Greater London Council to the Borough of Lewisham.