The Royal Parks and other funding partners will also contribute to this project, equating to total investment of £10.5 million.
World Heritage site, 590-year old Greenwich Park receives around five million (2) visitors a year. But the local population is set to increase by around 17 per cent (3) by 2026, and footfall to the park is predicted to soar. There are currently 69 tall buildings in the planning pipeline for Greenwich (4), suggesting that much of the new housing will only have limited access to green space, making the park even more of a crucial asset in the heart of the city.
The park covers 183 acres and was enclosed in 1433, making it the oldest enclosed Royal park. It boasts a rich history, including being the site of a Roman temple dating back to the 1st Century (AD43-410) and an ancient Anglo-Saxon cemetery dating from the 6th-7th century. The Grade1-listed landscape is a unique mix of stunning gardens, historic buildings and monuments, and is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation with an abundant array of wildlife.
However, there are several challenges currently facing the park, including the increase in visitor footfall which is dramatically eroding the landscape. This is particularly true of the area around the famous General Wolfe statue next to the Royal Observatory, a popular spot for selfie-takers due to the magnificent views sweeping across The Thames and the Prime Meridian line. The park also faces new tree pests and diseases which are damaging the historic tree avenues, and inadequate public facilities need urgent attention.
‘Greenwich Park Revealed’ will cater for a growing and diverse local population and will future-proof the ancient park for generations to come. It will:
- Return the park’s eroded historic landscape to its 17th century glory. This includes reinstating The Grand Ascent and parterre banks which frame the dramatic view from the Queens House, and replanting diseased and dying sections of the magnificent historic tree avenues (5), recreating the original Baroque designs created for Charles II.
- Build a state-of the art, eco-friendly Learning Centre in an underused service yard, generating completely new green space for public use, overlooking the historic deer park. The Learning Centre will provide a new community hub, offering learning and wellbeing experiences through training, learning, volunteering, events and activities, with paid horticulture pre-apprenticeships and work experience for local students. It will incorporate a new café, inclusive public toilets, a meeting place and an information point for park users.
- Provide better access across the park for people with disabilities, including investment in a mobility scheme to help people visit different areas of the park.
- Enhance the park for wildlife by improving the Old Wilderness with better views of the deer and a new wildlife pond, and by planting scrub for nesting birds and conserving wild grasslands.
- Enhance the Flower Garden with wildlife-friendly planting in keeping with its formal, Edwardian design, improving the lake and adding natural play features for children.
- Improve sustainability through increased recycling, reconnecting historic fountains with drinking water to discourage bottled water use, and using ground water to irrigate trees and improve water quality in the lakes.
- Create new interpretation to unveil the dramatic story of London's most historic park.
Andrew Scattergood, Chief Executive, The Royal Parks, said: “From a cluster of ancient 6th century tombs to the most spectacular Baroque landscape, Greenwich Park is a living museum rooted on the shores of maritime legend. But centuries of footfall have taken a toll and without urgently-needed restoration, the park would become irreparably eroded and we would lose a gem in our nation's heritage.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, we will now embark on the biggest project in The Royal Parks’ history. ‘Greenwich Park Revealed’ will protect, enhance and uncover the hidden jewels of this iconic World Heritage Site, future-proofing this ancient park for the millions of local, national and international visitors to enjoy for generations to come.”
Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Parks are an incredibly important part of people’s lives in so many ways – from wellbeing and space to connect with others to opportunities to connect to nature. A magnificent World Heritage Site, Greenwich Park is steeped in rich heritage and now, thanks to National Lottery players, it is set for a bright future with nature and communities at its heart.”
Graham Dear, Park Manager, Greenwich Park, said: “Greenwich Park’s incredible history and stunning natural environment is right on the doorstep for millions of visitors. The much-loved park provides a tranquil green oasis where people can relax, get away from the hustle and bustle of densely-populated South East London and delve into the park’s rich history.
“We’re putting the community at the heart to deliver more arts and cultural events, build a new learning centre, and a new café, and uncover the park’s incredible stories, ensuring this park is truly for the people.”
For media enquiries contact The Royal Parks press office on 0300 061 2128 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
(1) Exact amount: £4,517,300
(2) Ipsos MORI research Royal Parks Stakeholder Research Programme 2014
(3) The population of Greenwich is projected to increase by 17% from 2016 to 2026.
The park also borders Lewisham which in 2017 predicted a population increase of around 25% from 2017 to 2039. Source: Greenwich Joint Strategic Needs assessment report: http://www.greenwichjsna.org/
(5) Plans have been developed in consultation with The Royal Parks’ tree experts and representatives from National Trust, Woodland Trust, Veteran Tree Forum, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage fund, and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
About The Royal Parks
The Royal Parks charity exists to make sure London’s eight historic royal parks will always be there to enrich the lives of local residents and visitors to London.
The charity manages Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Green Park, St James’s Park, The Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park. It also manages other important open spaces in the capital including Brompton Cemetery and Victoria Tower Gardens.
National Lottery and public parks
Since 1996, more than £950million raised by National Lottery players has been used to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries across the UK. Find out more about how to apply at www.heritagefund.org.uk
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
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About The National Lottery Community Fund
We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.
We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
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