Ealing and Northfield

Walpole Park will be magnificent – it should be

No wonder that the Ealing Today forum is so quiet when it is dominated by the frequent complaints of Ealing’s leading miserablists Arthur Breens and Eric Leach.  Their latest group moan is directed at the restoration of Walpole Park, Ealing’s most used public park which is used by 15% of all respondents to the residents’ survey.

Somehow Leach can reconcile complaining about the state of the fountains and the council finding the money to fix them from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£2.4 million) and Section 106 contributions from the Dickens Yard development (£2 million).  He calls the later “obscene”.  Leach wants new toilets. He will get those too.  

If you look at the overall master plan for the park it delivers rather more than renewed waterworks.  It delivers a gracious park that will serve as an elegant setting for the Soane house which is unarguably the most architecturally important building in the borough.  The current park is a mish mash which has built up over time ignoring the relationship between the house and the park and destroying views with a random collection of structures.  Under the Tory administration we did some small works such as removing the redundant stage and replacing paths. The master plan will go much further.  

Is it extravagant? Maybe.  The master plan is a reasonable list of things to do with the money if Leach and co. care to read it.  Walpole Park has been listed grade II by English Heritage since 1987 see here.  The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is picking up the largest part of the bill.  Their funds can only be spent on heritage so  I congratulate the council in bringing this sum to Ealing to improve our most important park.  Would the glum boys have Heritage Lottery cash spent on something else? Somewhere else? Again the Section 106 funds for improved parks?  What is wrong with that?

Leach’s misery mate Breens asks “where did this grand idea come from?”. I can tell him that it was the last Conservative administration in Ealing.  One of our last acts as an administration was to sign off this Heritage Strategy which clearly identified Pitshanger Manor and Walpole Park as our highest priority.  It was this clear-sightedness and willingness to invest in the Borough’s heritage assets that encouraged HLF to assist with this project.  Both the former leader, Jason Stacey, and I worked hard to push these projects forward and the current Labour administration is more than happy to carry them on.  I have no problem with that.  If glum and glummer want someone to blame they can blame Jason and me.  No problem.  

3 replies on “Walpole Park will be magnificent – it should be”

The Ealing Today forum is full of old fuddy duddys who cant seem to be bothered to simply walk up and down the high street, yep the same high street they rave on about in the forum, and even remain clueless yet irate about the 24 hour gym opening (consultations were given!)
ALthough we’ve not seen eye-to-eye (SOuthall 5.5 million car park, good investment, perhaps bad timing)
The Walpole park seems like a great idea, along as we actually see the full allocation of money worth of improvements, Ealing needs a great park as does RIch,ond, Im ashamed to see Ealing lagging behind other boroughs, We couldve have been Richmond 15-20 years ago, looks at Ealing now.
I hope also to improvements outside such as the carriageway/footway etc


“Again the Section 106 funds for improved parks? What is wrong with that?”

What’s wrong with it is on the other side of the New Broadway. Thanks.


I like Ealing’s parks. They are especially valuable to me as I don’t have a back garden I can sit out in. Would rather see the money spent on green parks than car parks.

The biggest problem with the parks is litter. The more public parts of the parks may regularly have litter removed but the more wild areas don’t. This summer I helped out a river clean-up volunteer group in removing litter along the canal section of Brent River Park near the Fox pub. We removed huge mounds of beer bottles and other rubbish that was embedded into the land around the canal and had obviously been there some months. It’s a shame charities and volunteers have to do this work and the council doesn’t pay someone to do this properly.


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