Crane Park would triple in size, running from Twickenham station to Hounslow Heath, under new plans.

Proposals to extend the park, on the border of Hounslow and Richmond boroughs, from 33 hectares to 97 were unveiled last week. The green space surrounding the river Crane could eventually swell to a huge 400 hectares - nearly three times the size of Hyde Park - and stretch as far as Hillingdon and Harrow.

Residents are being asked to have their say on the plans, which are part of the Crane Valley Park feasibility study. The report was put together by the Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE), with the support of Richmond and Hounslow councils and the London Wildlife Trust.

It envisages three stages. The first would be to swallow up neighbouring green spaces owned by the two councils, increasing the size to 63 hectares. This could happen within months.

The second would add privately owned land, extending the site to 99 hectares, but the complex negotiations needed mean this is likely to take up to five years.

A third stage, taking in more parks and heathland, is expected to take considerably longer to achieve.

The new Crane Valley Park would incorporate Feltham Marshalling Yards, De Brome Fields and Pevensey Nature Reserve in the west and Mereway Nature Park, Kneller Gardens and Twickenham Junction Rough in the east.

Although most of the land is already publicly owned, Feltham Marshalling Yards and Twickenham Junction Rough are the biggest private spaces included in the plans.

Probably the biggest obstacle will be the Marshalling Yards, which BAA hopes to use as part of its high-speed rail link Airtrack.

The scheme would be funded using £400,000 from the London Mayor, awarded after a public vote earlier this year, another £150,000 grant from Biffaward and money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, for which a bid has been submitted, among other sources.

FORCE believes the plans will help protect smaller green spaces across the region from the threat of development and from fly-tippers. The group also hopes to improve public access and safety, encourage wildlife and even introduce measures to protect the surrounding area from flooding.

The report concludes: "If there were no progress on this then the fragmented areas of the lower Crane Valley would risk becoming overdeveloped and depleted of community, wildlife and a sense of place.

Consultation is under way on the plans, which are available to view at

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