I have an interest in heritage and am the proud owner of both of David Rymill’s books on the history of Worcester Park so it came as a pleasant surprise when I was recently asked if I would join the Board of Sutton Council’s Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) backed project to repair and improve Cheam’s Grade II* listed Whitehall.
Earlier this week I attended my first Board meeting and I was very impressed by the approach the various Council departments and external organisations were taking. It is a complex project which has to achieve the repairs and improvements while at the same time catering for the often conflicting demands of maintaining the historic fabric, improving facilities, making the building accessible and increasing its use.
Whitehall is a couple of miles up the road in Cheam but it is planned that the project will also be used to raise awareness of the heritage of the Worcester Park, North Cheam and Stonecot areas, using Whitehall as a hub.
My long background in Worcester Park, ties with Whitehall and the Friends of Whitehall group in connection with my role as Organiser of Cheam Charter Fair and my new position as Worcester Park ward councillor all seem to come together well for the role.
The final funding from HLF has not been agreed yet but I feel comfortable that the professionalism of the team and their working relationship with HLF staff will lead to a successful outcome.
So now it’s over to you! This is a good time for residents of Worcester Park to start considering which aspects of our heritage should be included in our area’s part of the project.