Housing estate park gains £1m grant for revamp

Successful bid for park revamp funding led by residents of 1970s housing estate in north London.

Estate park: funding awarded - image: Andrew McDermott
Estate park: funding awarded - image: Andrew McDermott

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund have awarded £1m to revamp a housing estate park in a first for the charities.

The award for Alexandra Road Park in Kilburn, London will pay for restoration work. But the bid was complex because £500,000 match funding pledged by estate owner Camden Council had to be raised by leaseholders and tenants and any leaseholder fee above £250 automatically triggers a statutory consultation.

It is also unusual for a park created in the 1970s to be awarded HLF funding. But the Alexandra & Ainsworth estate, designed by architect Neave Brown and landscape architect Janet Jack and completed in 1979, is considered a postmodernist design classic and is grade II* listed.

HLF head of landscape Drew Bennelick said: "It's pretty unusual, which is not saying there won't be more of them. Our view of heritage isn't just of Victorian parks. It's what people think is part of their heritage. This is good - it breaks the mould."

Improving site maintenance was key to the bid's success. After negotiations overseen by project manager Sue Morgan of Around the Block, Camden Council put all of its green-space grounds maintenance management under the expertise of the head of parks and green spaces Jessica Gibbons. Contractor Fountains OCS gives a parks level of attention to housing land and the estate has a head gardener.

Camden Council estates manager Justin Hunt said: "The most impressive thing about this bid was that it was conceived and led by the residents themselves. The bid will make a massive difference to quality of life and it's a brilliant example of community involvement."

Landscape architects J&L Gibbons and Erect Architecture will lead on the refurbishment of the park.

Resident's view

"Being awarded this grant marks a hugely exciting milestone for Alexandra Road Park and a very proud moment for the committed residents whose appreciation of this special historic landscape has driven this ambitious project."

Eleanor Fawcett, resident and bid coordinator.

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