In common with other industrialised urban areas of Britain, the history of Cheney Row Park means that some uses of the land carry hidden risks. In particular there was a brick factory on the site during the late 1800’s, and from the 1950’s to the 1970’s the site was used as waste landfill. That has left us with a legacy of buried contaminants such as lead, copper, arsenic, asbestos and PAH (carbon-based chemicals).
In 2017 the London Borough of Waltham Forest commissioned a professional assessment of this contamination during the planning for the park’s regeneration – if you wish to know more you can download a pdf of the Site Investigation Report.
The assessment fed directly into the new site layout so as to mitigate against the contaminant risks, including excavation & replacement of soil in some areas, building up extra layers of capping soil & concrete, and designing parts of the site to reduce footfall (e.g. the wildflower meadows and tree plantation at the north end). These are shown in detail on two pdf maps of the site – A: Medium Use Areas and B: High Use Areas.
Cheney Row Park is now considered to be quite safe for normal everyday use, and LBWF are happy for the Friends group to be running events on the site. However neither FoCRP nor LBWF can make any guarantees about absolute safety.
For that reason we strongly recommend that when breaking soil at our events participants should wear gloves along with appropriate clothing and footwear, and that they wash their hands after the task and ensure they do not ingest the soil. After working in some areas, such as the wildflower meadows, participants should also clean the soil from their shoes.