Over the past year a dedicated group of local residents who make up the Moorings Neighbourhood Forum have been hard at work developing plans for the refurbishment of the changing rooms in Birchmere Park.
Though originally designed to be used as changing rooms, the building has been closed for several years. It has been identified by the community as a much-needed asset and so forum members have now outlined the transformation plan. They worked with local residents so that they could get a diverse set of feedback on the proposed changes. By way of in-person workshops and an online survey, they have gathered feedback from hundreds of people across the community which will be used to help see the forum’s vision brought to life.
Once complete, the facility will act as a base for different sports and fitness groups, along with individuals who want to get active outdoors, no matter the weather. Users will also be able to access storage and toilets as well as a food and drink offer.
Speaking about the refurbishment, local resident, Andrew Livingstone, said: “Birchmere [Park] is very special to the community. It offers a green space, a place to let some of the harshness of life go. When I heard about the plans to renovate the changing rooms I was very excited.”
Another local resident, Pat Robinson, said: “I wanted to get involved in the changing rooms committee because it needs to be brought back into use for the benefit of the local community. I think it would be a really good asset to the park.”
Birchmere Park has long been the chosen location for community groups like Football for All @Thamesmead, The Birchmere Car Boot Sale and Thamesmead Town Angling Club (TTAC). It also boasts a cricket pitch which we launched in 2021 after a resident consultation found that people were interested in the idea of having one that they could access locally. The pitch is used by local schools, including nearby St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary, and is available for the wider community to enjoy year-round.
Kate Batchelor, Peabody’s Head of Landscape & Placemaking for Thamesmead, said: “This project is all about refurbishing a really important community asset. There’s so much potential, and this building would unlock so much more for the park and for the local area.”
Empowering residents to identify, lead and champion projects that improve their neighbourhoods is hugely important to the success of our placemaking work in Thamesmead. The Birchmere changing rooms refurbishment is a great example of this, as is our Common Plan for Claridge Way – which saw the addition of new benches, fencing and planters – and our work on the South Thamesmead Garden Estate – which will include improvements like new pedestrian routes, better lighting and a refurbished playground.
We’re now looking at the design proposals submitted by the forum and funded by Royal Borough of Greenwich ward councillors. After this the members will begin to look at possible funding opportunities. Look out for details on our website as plans progress.
To find out more about the Birchmere changing rooms refurbishment, contact ThamesmeadNow@peabody.org.uk