In the southern part of the borough of Wandsworth, located between Streatham and Tooting, is the neighbourhood of Furzedown. A new £300,000 scheme for improvements to the neighbourhood is expected to begin this October.
The areas historical society says the area became established in in the 17th century and in 1794 the Furzedown House was built. Eventually in the 19th century it became the home of the Seely family and later a Teacher Training College that is now part of Grayeney School. The building was nearly demolished due to development but was saved by the London County Council in 1915. In the 1900’s Furzedown began to have new streets planned for Moyser Road, Pendle Road and Pretoria Road. Developments such as St. Pauls Church in 1925 opened and approval was made by the Wandsworth Council in the 1920’s for construction of several hundred residences. In 1975 local doctor Norman Levinson created the Furzedown Project to provide a location for older citizens to gather. Furzedown secondary school arrived in 1977 eventually merging with Ensham School in 1986 and became known as Graveness school.
Today, the neighbourhoods are known for its older residents and a diverse minority backgrounds accounting for two-thirds of the students in Furzedown school with native languages of Urdu, Gujarati, Tamil and Punjabi.
The New Scheme
The proposal for the area was approved by the local Labour Council three years ago and will help shops, businesses in the shopping district at Mitcham Street and Thrale Road. Initial plans are to remove street furniture deemed unnecessary and place new pavements along with a new granite wall engraved ‘Furzedown’ with new architectural lighting. Additional parking for short stay visitors and for cyclists with extra parking bays for the loading and unloading of goods.
In the plan are footpaths with new CCTV cameras to help stop criminal activity and ant-social behaviour. Drainage along carriageways will be repaired to help prevent flooding incidents. Traffic speed bumps are being removed and trees being added for a more ‘green’ environment.
Furzedown councillor Candida Jones speaking to the Wandsworth Guardian has said:
"Furzedown's Labour councillors have been pushing the council to tackle the problems of flytipping, traffic, dilapidated shop fronts, crime and anti-social behaviour and broken pavements on this stretch of Mitcham Lane for several years.”
"We are delighted that our work has finally paid off and long overdue improvements will soon begin. Local businesses and residents have been behind our proposals from the start. “
There is one aspect that has made the project appealing to the neighbourhood-a Christmas tree.
Furzedown councillor Candida Jones says:
By modifying the area this will accommodate a Christmas tree each holiday season thus
‘...making it a more focal part of the community’.
"Last year we held a special Christmas party to mark a new beginning for Mitcham Lane, involving local businesses and schools.
"This year, I am pleased to say, the party will be bigger and better as Furzedown celebrates the installation of its first Christmas tree and a new beginning for Mitcham Lane."
Councillor Jonathan Cook, community services spokesman, said:
“Residents and businesses in this part of Furzedown asked us to look at ways of improving the area, and I’m delighted that we are now just days away from delivering that goal.”
“We listened very carefully to what residents and businesses told us and they helped us come up with a comprehensive package of measures to benefit and improve the area.
“These changes will make this part of Furzedown much more attractive and safer for local people. I am delighted this project is now getting underway.”