Stevenage to revamp central park

The UK's first "new town" is being lined up for almost £2m of lottery funding to improve an urban park around a lake.

Redesign of the 6.3ha Town Centre Gardens in Stevenage will include meadow grasses and colourful bedding. The master-plan was produced by landscape architects at HTA Design.

"The gardens are more than 40 years old and need creative and financial investment," said project manager Dave Wells of Green Heart Partnership, which includes more than 10 councils and which is working with HTA Design.

"There are a number of recognised issues with the park including access, sense of place, drug use and the public's perception of crime," he added.

Initial work will include cutting back overgrown trees and bushes, rationalising the network of paths and installing new lights and furniture. Work is scheduled to start in the spring.

HTA Design said a planning application was due shortly.

A spokesman for the borough council said the town's original planners took an "innovative approach to design" and any reworking would be inkeeping with the "optimistic" design ethos.

In 2006 the town won £240,000 of regional development agency funds for a landscape project around a sunken roundabout by artist and landscape architect Trudi Entwistle.

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