School children and young people from High Path and the surrounding area have been learning about what regeneration will mean for them and how they can influence its impact. Clarion Housing Group hosted ‘Regeneration Week’ from 19 March in collaboration with Merton Abbey Primary School, which is next door to High Path, and PRP architects.
A series of creative and educational workshops gave the pupils an insight into the changing face of High Path over the centuries and how they can expect it to evolve in the future. It follows Merton Council’s approval of plans for around 2,800 new homes at High Path in South Wimbledon and Eastfields and Ravensbury in Mitcham last month.
Paul Quinn, Director of Merton Regeneration at Clarion said: “These local children will grow up with regeneration on their doorstep so it’s essential that we explain the process from the outset and ask them about their expectations for a revamped High Path. They’ve embraced Regeneration Week with enthusiasm and shared inspired thinking with us. I would like to thank Mr Bradley, the head teacher, for his support and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the school as our plans for High Path take shape.”
Michael Bradley, head teacher of Merton Abbey Primary School, said: “Being involved in the High Path regeneration project has been a brilliant opportunity for our children. They have worked alongside architects and designers, learning about the process of urban development in a serious minded way. More broadly, it has connected the children with their local community, making them agents of the change they see around them. I’m sure a number of them will be inspired to take up a career in architecture or design as a result of being involved.”
Nick James, Urban Designer at PRP, said: ‘It was a delight to return to Merton Abbey for another week of engagement workshops with these imaginative and creative students. As ever, the young people showed great enthusiasm to learn about the regeneration which will soon be coming to their community. We hope to use their colourful work and creative ideas through the emerging regeneration process.’
Regeneration sessions were also held in partnership with Uptown Youth Services, a local charity for children and young people. Over 200 children and young people participated in Regeneration Week and feedback will be used to inform the designs of play areas and green spaces.
The outline planning application for High Path was approved by Merton Council’s planning committee on 8 March. Planning permission has already been granted for 134 homes on land not currently used for housing at High Path. These first new homes will be occupied by existing residents who will move straight in. A start on site is expected within the next few months.