Bankfield community park replaces school playing fields

Bankfield Park opens in Liverpool following earlier loss of playing fields where complex was built for West Derby School.

Liverpool's Bankside park cost £450,000 - image: Liverpool City Council
Liverpool's Bankside park cost £450,000 - image: Liverpool City Council

A £450,000 community park in Liverpool has opened to replace the loss of playing fields wrenched up for a school development.

Bankfield Park used to be part of West Derby School, which moved to a new complex built on nearby playing fields two years ago. The project was part of the Government's Building Schools for the Future programme, which was axed in 2010 (see box).

A condition of the earlier planning approval was that the green space lost at the playing fields site would be replaced. The 1.1ha park was funded from the Government schools programme.

Work, with landscaping by Blakedown, involved lowering boundary walls and selective felling of trees and shrubs to open up views in the new park. New fencing, benches and footpaths went down and there has been large-scale tree and wild-flower planting.

Also new is a multi-use platform area close to the park entrance that has been designed as a meeting place and wheeled activity zone for young people, said councillor Tim Moore, cabinet member for transport and climate change. "We have preserved a green space while the city gained a newly built school."

The local authority parks department has been one of the biggest losers in recent Government pay rounds, seeing its budget lopped by millions of pounds. A spokesman said upkeep of the park had been built into spending plans for green spaces.

"We were always committed to creating more green space here and took that into account when setting our budget," said the spokesman. "We have a further round of cuts to make and will know in around three months' time how this will affect parks and other departments."

School-building project Potted history

The coalition cancelled Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme in July 2010 as part of a tranche of spending cuts.

The £55bn initiative launched in 2004 was dubbed the biggest school-building programme since Victorian times. It aimed to rebuild or improve every secondary school over 20 years.

Some 706 projects with contracts signed went ahead, but 715 more were scrapped, leading to legal challenges in some cases.

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