Failure to win lottery funds blessing in disguise for Aylesbury Vale Park

A failure to win Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money for a five-year parks redevelopment at Aylesbury Vale Park has been made into a positive by Aylesbury Vale District Council's green space team.

After finding the original 1930s plans by Thomas Mawson, the green space team entered a bid for HLF funding. But, according to senior green spaces officer Gareth Bird, the failure of the bid may have been a blessing after the park's managers achieved the Green Flag-winning transformation with the help of mixed sources of funding and phased improvements.

He said: "What we have got now is probably better suited to the area than the heritage design would have been and it's given us more freedom. The masterplan was drawn up by our in-house landscape architect, which was a real blessing."

The latest phase of development featured the introduction of a formal garden including more than 1,850 shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

A new entrance and a liquid amber tree avenue were also installed as part of the £180,000 section 106 agreement-funded phase, which builds on previous phases including a children's play area and footpath built in 2005.

This was followed by work including a new grass bowling green, two hard-surface tennis courts and a multi-sports area suitable for football and basketball in 2006.

Growth area funding from the ODPM and Communities & Local Government helped to meet the £650,000 costs of earlier work,

Bird said future redevelopment would take place when funding was secured. He added: "Much of what has been achieved is thanks to our green spaces team manager Lesley Davies, who has worked tirelessly to deliver the improvements."

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