WITH great lakes offering fishing, sailing and scenic walking opportunities, South Norwood has a wealth of opportunities to take a step away from the bustle of Croydon life
And now self-appointed tourism chiefs are mounting a challenge to the Cumbrian authorities – claiming they have a greater claim to the name the Lake District.
Members of the South Norwood Tourist Board (SNTB) have written to the Cumbrian authorities asking them to stop claiming the name.
Setting out their bid, they state: "Why go all the way to Cumbria when you've got the Lake District on your doorstep – Country Park Lake, Norwood Lake, Brickfield Lake and Heavers Meadow.
"The so-called Lake District in Cumbria has in fact only one lake, Bassenthwaite Lake, all the rest being styled meres, tarns and waters.
"South Norwood has two at least, and a possible third. SNTB has therefore decided we have a greater claim to be styling ourselves the Lake District and we have now informed the Cumbrian authorities to desist from using the title pending further action on our part."
Speaking to the Advertiser, Ian Bone, an associate of the SNTB, said; "The lakes in the area are gorgeous and underused. We have written to the Cumbria authorities saying we have the right to also call ourselves the Lake District.
"It is just so beautiful around South Norwood, we really are London's answer to the Lake District."
But not everyone is convinced.
Eric Kings, a member of the Norwood Society, said although he believes the South Norwood lakes need more recognition, he thought the SNTB's idea was "ambitious".
He said: "I know the lakes very well, they are popular and very beautiful. There are lovely trees around there and much wildlife, the place is steeped in history and anything that can be done to encourage tourists to South Norwood is welcome.
"But I think it is a bit ambitious to say it rivals the Lake District. I'm not quite sure if that could work, however it is definitely unusual in that it is an urban lake district in the middle of London, and I will support anything that attracts people here."
South Norwood councillor Wayne Lawler told the Advertiser he likes the idea, adding: "Anything that helps to put South Norwood on the map is a good idea, and if someone thinks it's a bad idea I'd like to know why.
"When you're at South Norwood Lake it is very easy to forget that you're even in London, it's beautiful and I think the SNTB are very innovative to have come up with it."Ian Stephens, Cumbria Tourism's managing director, replied: 'South Norwood has three ponds. We have England's longest lake in the shape of Windermere, England's deepest lake, Wast Water, 14 other lakes and hundreds of meres, tarns, and other bodies of water. "I'm sure the ponds of South Norwood have their merits and it is flattering that they wish to emulate our natural environment, albeit in a modest way. However, I don't recall South Norwood being immortalised by great poets like Wordsworth and W.H. Auden and I can't believe that it will be a substitute for the magnificent natural environment to be found here in Cumbria. "So citizens of Norwood, please get yourself to Euston Station and in under 3 hours you can treat yourself to a slice of the real Lake District!"