Park transformed for future generations

A Hanwell park that is approaching its 100th birthday was officially reopened at the weekend.

Residents enjoy activities at the reopening of Conolly Dell.

Visitors enjoyed music, face-painting and mask-making at the event on Saturday to celebrate the reopening of Conolly Dell, which was transformed thanks to Ealing Council and the Mayor of London’s Help a London Park scheme.

The improvements are part of a project to rejuvenate the whole of Brent River Park. More than 4,600 local residents voted for the regeneration project when Ealing Council nominated the park for the Mayor ‘s Help a London Park scheme, securing £400,000 of funding.

The council invested around £85,000 in the Conolly Dell project, with £42,000 contributed by the Mayor of London.

The main features of the park, which lies alongside the Wharncliffe Viaduct, are four large ponds, which have been dry for many years because of waterproofing problems.  The improvements have restored the ponds and surrounding area.

Cabinet member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, said: “It’s great that we’ve been able to transform the park and its barren ponds into a relaxing haven.  It was wonderful to see so many people come out to enjoy the activities laid on for the day and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Conolly Dell.  Well done to everyone who helped make it a wonderful afternoon and I’m sure it will attract both residents and wildlife over the coming years.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Londoners really took our Help a London Park project to heart, and now communities across the boroughs are beginning to reap the benefits of safer, greener and cleaner public spaces.

“When the world comes to visit during the 2012 Games, our parks will show off the very best the capital has to offer. The rejuvenated Conolly Dell is a shining example of how neglected spaces are being transformed before our eyes across London and brought back to use for everyone to enjoy.”

Chair of the Conolly Dell Working Party and of Hanwell Community Forum, Carolyn Brown, said: “The brief from the Community team to the council was to restore the central water feature, and if at all possible to reinstate the waterfall which originally fed the ponds from one of Hanwell’s many natural Springs.  And to select the surrounding planting with the objective of encouraging as much wildlife as possible.

“The council and their contractors have met this brief with style.  The restored park, with its sound of trickling water, looks beautiful, and we have already received positive feedback from passers by who had been peering over the fence before the re-opening.  Hopefully as many people as possible will come to the park to enjoy its peace and tranquility, as was the original intention when it was first dedicated in memory of Hanwell’s mental health pioneer, Dr John Conolly, nearly a hundred years ago.”

Brent River Park was one of 10 public parks in the capital which has received £400,000 each from Mayor Boris Johnson’s Help a London Park programme.