Plans unveiled to spend Formula E cash in Battersea Park
Published: 28 June 2016
The council has unveiled formal plans to invest £820,000 in Battersea Park mainly as a direct benefit of staging Formula E there for two years.
Councillors will next week be asked to endorse a comprehensive package of proposals to invest this sum in improving the park.
They will meet to discuss the plans just two days after the final series of races are held in Battersea Park. Around 60,000 people are expected to attend the park next weekend to witness the climax of this year’s electric racing car world championship.
Councillors had always pledged that for every year the park hosted the event, £200,000 would be set aside to spend on improving it. Next week’s committee meeting will be told that an extra £100,000 will be added to this sum, raising the total spend derived directly from Formula E to half a million pounds.
In addition to this amount a further £250,000 has been received from the developers of the neighbouring Battersea Wharf and Chelsea Bridge Wharf housing schemes and this will also be invested in the park.
Further funding has been pledged by local amenity group the Friends of Battersea Park, bringing the total amount available to spend to £820,000. This will fund these improvement schemes:
Creation of a new playground near La Gondola Café – This would be located just off East Carriage Drive near the café and boating lake near to what is known locally as “The American ground”. Around £150,000 would be spent on providing new play equipment suitable for children up the age of 12.
Providing a new entrance – Opening up a new pedestrian entrance between Chelsea and Rosary Gates, with associated landscaping, allowing this new access route to connect with existing paths near the Millennium Arena. This improvement will cost £100,000.
A new garden - The Promontory is currently a closed and unused area of the park some 50m east of Albert Bridge which projects about 12m into the river. Using some of the funds from Formula E, plus a generous contribution from The Friends of Battersea Park, would allow a new landscaped garden to be created based on designs put forward by David Keary, a landscape design practice based in Leicester. Bringing this garden to life will cost £70,000.
Cascade fountain feasibility and restoration project – The cascades are an important and prominent historic landscape feature, but over time they have deteriorated and can no longer be used without causing significant additional damage. Councillors will be asked to agree to earmark £160,000 towards carrying out a feasibility study into their complete restoration and to help fund their refurbishment.
Restoration of seating shelters – It is proposed to spend £80,000 on restoring these three historic shelters with new seating and substantial structural and decorative renovation.
Improvements and repairs to the river wall –The wall is suffering from tidal erosion and age which is compromising its integrity both as a flood defence and as the supporting structure to the park’s northern boundary. This work will cost around £260,000.
Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We are unveiling an exciting package of improvements to the park which will be largely funded by income we have received from the organisers of Formula E.
“We had always said we would set aside £200,000 to reinvest in the park every year it hosted the event. I am delighted that we have been able to increase this amount up to £500,000.
“This sum, coupled with the substantial funds we have also received from housing developers near the park, means we are in a position to now move forward with projects we have long wanted to do but simply didn’t have the money for.
“Thanks to this funding, and to a generous donation too from the Friends of Battersea Park, we will be able to deliver a range of improvements that will be enjoyed by visitors for many, many years to come.”
This year’s races will be the last time Formula E comes to Battersea Park after the organisers recently announced they are looking to secure a central London street circuit for future events.
Although most of the park will be closed for next weekend’s two races - and for two days afterwards while the track infrastructure is removed - a section of the park will be kept open throughout for non-ticket holders – so that local people who have no interest in the races but want to visit the park over that four day period can still do so.
For more information about Formula E in Battersea Park, including details of the arrangements for this year’s races, visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/formulae
For information about how to buy tickets for the event plus updates on this year’s championship and details of sustainable energy technology that the race organisers are promoting visit http://www.fiaformulae.com/.