Says weekly event would damage the park and disrupt other users
parkruns were hugely popular before being suspended due to pandemic
The Friends of Ravenscourt Park group is opposing the proposal to introduce a weekly park run event.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is currently consulting residents about the idea.
The free run would take place on Saturday mornings and runners of all abilities could register to take part.
At the moment similar parkruns across the country are suspended but, before the restrictions were in place, there were weekly runs at Wormwood Scrubs, Bishops Park and Gunnersbury Park. Before the pandemic some of the events were attended by several hundred people.
Four different routes are being considered for the run and in Ravenscourt Park and responses to the survey can been given online.
The Friends claim that hundreds of runners arriving to pound around Ravenscourt every Saturday morning would not only damage the Park itself but would disrupt and disturb the thousands of visitors of all ages enjoying a variety of weekend activities.
The group’s response to the council consultation points out that Ravenscourt is a relatively small and confined space compared to other existing parkrun sites across West London and states that all the suggested courses present potential hazards for the public.
In a statement the Friends group says, “In a crowded borough where three-quarters of the population live in flats with no outdoor space Ravenscourt remains the most popular park. But lockdowns have increased the footfall to a degree where grassy areas and protected wildlife are both showing signs of pressure.
“Summer is approaching, and the park’s attractions mean that visitor numbers will grow still further with more pandemic pets joining the throng. It’s vital that park events should not introduce unnecessary risks, obstruct existing community activities or interfere with residents’ and visitors’ rights to quiet enjoyment and weekend relaxation.
“Opposition to the Parkrun proposals has struck a chord across the community, with the director of one local charity describing the council’s plans as ‘not only ridiculous but borderline negligent’.”
Friends’ chair Annabelle May says, “There will always be conflicts of interest between user groups, but Ravenscourt Park somehow manages to maintain a delicate balance. And we fear that introducing a Parkrun could prove to be a tipping point.”
The council has written to residents in the vicinity of the park after its controversial decision not to allow the farmers market to resume at the same time as notifying them of the parkrun consultation. It says that a market may be started up again in the park ‘when the current health crisis allows’ after a competitive tender process.
In a statement, H&F said, “We also recognise that the pandemic has had a detrimental effect on local shops, cafes, and restaurants so we will take this opportunity to review the purpose of the markets and develop a new set of outcomes so we best support local businesses and residents.”
The parkrun consultation has been extended an extra week according to the Friends group and now runs until 14 May.
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May 7, 2021