As many of you will know, we have been due to update our well known map of the Wandle Trail.
This has been put on hold, since Groundwork Trust have been upgrading much of the Trail, and the situation keeps changing. There are also some errors - recently we have also had pointed out to us by an email correspondent, for the first time since the map was published over 10 years ago, that Morden Lodge was never a pub!
We have been increasingly concerned that the work Groundwork are doing has taken on a life of its own, which now threatens the Wandle Trail as we know it. The main point of issue is their proposed promotion of it as a cycling route, and as a means of getting from A to B, rather than as a stroll to enjoy it for what it is.
It is also disappointing that there has been little or no acknowledgement of our rights as original creators of the project. A visit to the new website www.wandletrail.org.uk shows a direction that is far removed from the heritage of the valley.
It speaks of the artworks to be constructed as if new concepts, despite our input on this 10 years ago (see reproduction of Rays letter to Gillian Hein of Merton below).
We are also very concerned about the legal issues. A well used cycle way along such narrow paths will be offputting, if not dangerous to pedestrians. Cycle access will encourage the motorised variety. 24 hour access has its own dangers, and the parks groups are already moving to locked gates at nights to restrict vandalisation.
Worse, we fear that areas of the trail now used may be shut off by landowners faced with new insurance and upkeep obligations.
Groundwork are currently considering our fears, and we will report in due course.
Ed August 2003