Brent River & Canal Society says it is ready to work with Ealing Council
A skylark at Warren Farm
The Brent and River Canal Society (BRCS), a voluntary group whose aim is to protect and enhance the Brent River Park, has published its vision for the future of Warren Farm.
After the collapse of the deal between Ealing Council and QPR for training pitches and sports facilities to be built on the open space the prospects for the park have remained unclear.
The BRCS point out that Warren Farm was one of the top four parks in London in the ‘Fields In Trust, UK’s Best Park 2019’ voting and was awarded ‘Much Loved’ status. Combined with Ealing’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and the drafting of a Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy in May 2020, the society believes that a new approach is needed for the maintenance of this art of the Brent River Park.
It says that the council should obtain Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) status for the remaining areas of Warren Farm and that it stands ready to assist in this process. Much of the park already has this status. The BRCS says, “Our expert surveys have provided overwhelming evidence to
justify SINC designation based on the quality of the acid and neutral grassland flora and fauna.”
The society also want the council to pursue the declaration of Warren Farm and Blackberry Corner, Jubilee Meadow, Trumpers Field & Fox Meadow as a Statutory Local Nature Reserve (LNR). This would mean adding in the council owned part of Warren Farm to the process already begun to get LNR status for the other sites. The BRCS says that progress on new LNR’s has stalled for more than a decade, despite the mandate from Councillors.
It also wants the council to manage Warren Farm following the principles of the adopted Brent River Park Countryside Management Plan (Part 1) and Ealing's Biodiversity Action Plan, with priority being given to the Acid Grassland, Neutral and Marshy Grassland and Hedgerow Habitat Action Plans. This would include maintaining the area to the same standard as they have committed to do in other parts of Brent River Park bycarrying out routine litter removal, patrolling and dealing with incidents, cutting of existing footpaths, mowing of the WF Radio Flyers area, removal of redundant and degraded fencing, careful
removal of the piles of grass dumped on the neutral grassland, one nature conservation haycut of the meadows per annum between mid-August and mid-September and the phased removal of the disused sports and maintenance buildings and infrastructure. The society say the latter needs to be done urgently on health and safety grounds alone.
The BRCS also suggests that Warren Farm (the existing SINC and the former sports ground) is added to the list of sites covered by the Council’s Byelaws for Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces.
It also wants the council to state an intention to acquire the northern section of the former Warren Farm playing fields and the Earl of Jersey's Field to the south (both privately owned and part of the EaBI12 SINC) for LNR purposes in mitigation ('planning gain') for other permitted and sustainable development within the Borough.
The BRCS is offering its expertise in these matters to Ealing Council and has pledge to work with the authority to achieve its vision.
Ealing Council was asked for comment and we await a response.
October 22, 2020