'We want our park back' say neighbours of 'abandoned' Ravensbury Park
We want our park back – that is the stark message from neighbours of Ravensbury Park which they say has been abandoned into a state of disrepair, with overgrown weeds, rubbish strewn on the ground and intimidation from drug-taking teenagers.
Residents who live near the Morden beauty spot, who are not members of the Friends of Ravensbury Park group, collected more than 300 signatures on a petition submitted to Merton Council six weeks ago which they said was ignored.
The petition called for dog wardens to be introduced and for more dog poo bins to be made available as some of them have been vandalised, residents said.
Friends group chairperson Lesley Sorrell invited people concerned about the health of the park to attend the regular meetings and join in the work days held at the park, where they pick up litter.
A meeting due to be held at 9am on Thursday, July 10, with MP Siobhain McDonagh and council leader Stephen Alambritis will discuss concerns with cleanliness and need for new toilet facilities after the existing ones were closed down and covered in graffiti.
Residents Ann Ward, David and Patricia Plant and Allison Burgess have got together to say enough is enough.
Ms Burgess, who lives in Milner Road, Morden, said: “I walk my dog Holly here twice a day and the more I come here the more I see it getting worse.
“Why is there a Friends group when they don’t do anything?”
The neighbours argue the park is overgrown, teenagers hang around at night, there is evidence of drug-taking found in the grass and there are noisy motorbikes ridden on the pathways at all hours.
They said a large patch of rough grass used as a meadow for wildlife is unnecessary and is infringing on the space available for children to play on the grass.
Ms Sorrell said there is enough space for people to play football and they want to encourage wildlife into the park.
She said: “The Friends group is open for anyone but most people don’t want to come.
“It’s easier to complain.”
Mrs Plant, who lives in Wandle Road with husband David, said: “We want our park back.
“I used to come here in the 1960s and 1970s when I lived in Wimbledon.
“I’d travel to this park because it was beautiful.
“We had a boating lake, a cafe and a paddling pool in the children’s area.”
Ravensbury Park is on the site of the old Ravensbury Manor which dates back to the 13th century.
The neighbours argue Morden Hall Park, which is opposite the park, is better maintained.
It is owned and run by the National Trust.
Among the work the Friends of Ravensbury Park have done is put up notice-boards and revamped the entrance on Morden Hall Road.
What do you think of the park? Email your comments to Rebecca.email@example.com.