By Charlotte Lillywhite, Local Democracy Reporter
Parkrun is set to come to a huge park for the first time next year, after the plans were green-lit by a local council.
The free weekly 5km event would be held at Battersea Park every Saturday morning, with a smaller children’s event on Sundays.
Wandsworth council will begin recruiting volunteers to manage the events if the executive formally approves the plans on December 4.
Parkruns are free events where participants run 5km on Saturday mornings at green spaces across the country. There is already a weekly Parkrun in Wandsworth at Tooting Common.
A total of 3,363 people responded to the council’s consultation on plans to bring Parkrun to Battersea Park earlier this year.
Out of the respondents, 56 per cent said they would go to the park more often on a Saturday if Parkrun was introduced, while 30 per cent said they would attend less often.
Resident Jan Springer raised concerns about the potential impact of the planned events on access to the park, businesses and congestion levels. She said she felt details of what residents thought about the plans were “absent” from the report on the consultation.
Matthew Eady, assistant director of environment and community services at the council, said pedestrians would continue to be able to access the park during the events, while Rosery Gate would be manned during its closure to vehicles so deliveries could still be carried out safely.
The Parkrun would kick off at Battersea Park at 9am on Saturdays in Central Avenue, passing the bandstand, and return via East Carriage Drive, South Carriage Drive and West Carriage Drive. Participants would have to run the route twice to complete the 5kms. The event would be finished by 10am.
Rosery Gate would shut to vehicles on Saturday mornings and open by 11am under the plans, while access to some of the catering and concession activities in the park would be restricted temporarily.
The committee voted 6:2 in favour of the plans at the meeting. Following the decision, Labour councillor Judi Gasser, cabinet member for environment, said: “We absolutely support initiatives that promote sports and fitness and inspire our residents to lead healthier, more active lifestyles and we are particularly keen to ensure that people living nearby and across Wandsworth are actively encouraged to get involved.
“We are confident we can stage successful Parkruns in Battersea Park without causing undue disruption to other visitors, but we will be closely monitoring these events to makes sure this is the case.”
Pictured top: Entrance To Battersea Park (Picture: James Mayer)
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