TEP is preparing a Green Infrastructure, Biodiversity and Open Space Strategy for the London Borough of Merton.
Open space provides opportunities for people to meet and interact, play, relax or get involved in community activities. High quality open space also has a positive impact on communities’ mental and physical health by providing safe and accessible opportunities to be physically active and access nature.
Merton includes Mitcham, Wimbledon and Morden. The Borough has a diverse range of open spaces, parks, allotments, which collectively form a green infrastructure network.
TEP has undertaken a thorough review of national, regional and local planning policy, Planning Practice Guidance and best practice documents, including the new National Planning Policy Framework adopted in July 2018 and the new London Plan.
Our study will provide an up to date and robust evidence base for Merton’s new Local Plan (2020). One critical aspect of our work will be to review the boundaries of Metropolitan Open Land and advise the Borough as to whether they continue to be appropriate.
TEP’s team of experienced Landscape Managers have undertaken site surveys on over 120 open spaces. The surveys assess quality and accessibility of existing open spaces using best practice guidance from the Fields in Trust, Natural England and The Green Flag Award Scheme.
TEP’s ecologists have carried out Biodiversity Assessments on some Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) using the criteria from the Greater London Authority’s SINC Selection document (August 2017) as a basis for the assessment.
GIS is used to understand the spatial and strategic context of open space in Merton. TEP aims to identify geographic patterns of need and opportunity in respect of the benefits most important to Merton, accompanied by functional assessment of existing green infrastructure, biodiversity and open space assets.
Now the surveys are coming to an end, our next task is to analyse the data and draft a Strategy for Merton, which takes into consideration the Borough’s spatial vision and corporate objectives. The Borough is set for a period of sustained housing growth, particularly in Morden town centre, Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon.
The Strategy will identify areas of current and predicted deficiency in open space and set out measures to address these.