Lottery gives £7m to 15 parks

The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund have given £6m for four parks across England through their joint Parks for People programme.

The parks in Wallsend, Dudley, Leeds and Burnham-on-Sea can now go ahead with redevelopment work.

More than £1million of development funding has been announced for a further 11 parks across the country.

HLF chief executive Carole Souter said: "Summer is finally here, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy our public parks. It’s important everyone in our towns and cities has somewhere free, green and open to enjoy in their leisure time. This joint investment from HLF and BIG is helping to do exactly that by ensuring parks continue to be looked after and have a major role to play at the very heart of their local communities."

TV wildlife expert Chris Packham said: "Public parks are places that really give back in spades to local communities and they're in pretty good shape at the moment thanks to the massive investment - £600million in total - from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund. 

"We're so lucky in this country to have so many green spaces to enjoy nature, especially in our towns and cities, but we must not take them for granted.  I’m passionate about them and see them as one of this country's great heritage traditions so I believe it’s essential that investing in them remains a priority," Chris Packham added.

The four parks receiving confirmed funding today are:

Wallsend Parks, Wallsend, North East - £2,446,500

Located in North Tyneside on the edge of Wallsend town centre, Wallsend Parks are made up of three connected sites: Prince Road Arboretum; Richardson Dees Park; and The Hall Grounds. All three, were originally part of the Wallsend Hall Estate and home to mining pits dating back to the 1700s. The mine shaft within Richardson Dees Park was used to try and rescue miners trapped in the Wallsend Colliery disaster of 1835. 

Plans for the parks include restoring the Vinery Wall and Fernery in the Hall Grounds, training volunteers to be leaders and guides, and an education and training plan for people to learn essential horticulture and maintenance skills.

Priory Park, Dudley, West Midlands - £1,786,000

Priory Park is on the north side of Dudley just outside the town centre and was once part of Dudley Castle’s vast estate. It was also the site of the Cluniac Priory of St James founded in the 12th century, the remains of which can still be seen in the grounds today.

The park will undergo major redevelopment including, repairing the priory structures, improving the site of the lily pond and rose garden, refurbishing the 19th-century parklands and improving the Park Pavillion as a community facility and Green classroom. The project, involving a wide range of volunteers from the local community, will offer training in parks management, landscaping, horticulture and sports coaching skills

Middleton Park, Leeds, Yorkshire - £1,465,000

Middleton Park, covering a huge 254ha, includes ancient woodland dating back to the 1600s. The park is rich in wildlife and is also known for its mining heritage.

The HLF/BIG grant will widen the parks audience through education visits and new visitor and Cafe facilities. Interpretation will be introduced covering the parks history and wildlife and the project will also involve the local community, providing opportunities for training staff and volunteers in park management, ecological surveying and conservation skills.

Burnham-on-Sea, Marine Cove Gardens, South West - £344,200 – HLF funding only

Marine Cove Gardens were originally part of an old vicarage site until they were gifted to the council in 1926. The Gardens came with a condition that they must only be used for ‘the purpose of public walks or pleasure rounds or such other pleasure purposes’.

Plans include: reinstating the original lions head fountain and pool and the restoration of the sunken gardens and flower beds. Local people will be able to get involved through a range of training opportunities such as developing planting schemes and water feature refurbishment.


Eleven parks secure initial HLF/BIGsupport

Initial HLF/BIG support (a first-round pass³) was also announced for 11 parks across the UK. Development funding totalling just over £1million was awarded and will help to progress plans for wider restoration work for the following parks:


  • Wandle Park, Croydon – first-round pass of £1,521,700, including £94,600 development funding

Wandle Park was opened in 1890 and was previously watermeadows belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • Harlow Town Park, Essex – first-round pass of £1,676,300, including £104,000 development funding

Established in 1957 with the creation of the ‘New Town’, Harlow Town Park is a fantastic example of 20th Century park design, right at the heart of the community

  • Worth Park, Crawley – first-round pass of £2,189,000, including £237,000 development funding

Originally thought to be a medieval deer park, Worth Park hides the remnants of a high status late Victorian pleasure garden and landscape, constructed by James Pulham and Son

  • The Phillips Memorial Park, Godalming, Surrey – first-round pass of £314,000, including £25,600 development funding
    Dating back to 1913 and stretching over 4.5ha, this park was originally developed as public grounds for the Phillips Memorial Cloister, built to commemorate the brave act of the Chief Telegraphic Officer on the RMS Titanic, when it sank in 1912.
  • The Level, Brighton – first-round pass of £1,841,300, including £106,400 development funding

Located in the Valley Gardens Conservation area, The Level was originally laid out as a park in the 1800’s with a unique playground designed to obtain ‘as much of the picturesque as possible’ by Captain Bertie MacLaren, Chief Superintendent of Parks in the 1920’s.

  • Alexandra Park, Manchester – first-round pass of £2,038,500, including £138,500 development funding

Designed in 1869 Alexandra Park is considered one of the finest examples of a Victorian park in the North West, characterised by sweeping lawns and a lime tree avenue. Its innovative design made it one of the first public parks to combine facilities for sport with the Victorian fashion for promenading

  • Northumberland Park, Northumberland – first-round pass of £2,223,700, including £109,000 development funding

Opened in 1885 by the Duke of Northumberland the site contains ruins of a medieval leper hospital dating from the 13thcentury.

  • Walker Park, Newcastle – first-round pass of £1,412,350, including £65,250 development funding

Officially opened in 1891, Walker Park provided a much-needed open space for the local people in a time of mass industrialisation.

  • Markeaton Park, Derby – first-round pass of £2,264,000, including £142,500 development funding

Markeaton Park was originally part of the grounds of Markeaton Hall, built by the Mundy family in 1755 and demolished in 1964. The park is of huge importance to the local residents and home to the Mundy Play Centre given to the children of Derby in 1903.

  • Eureka Park, South Derbyshire – first-round pass of £370,300, including £7,000 development funding

Dating from 1926, part of the park was originally a deep mine shaft collecting coal from the Eureka Coal Seam run by the Eureka Colliery, known locally as "Owd Shoddy".

  • Dock Park, Scotland – HLF funding only², first-round pass of £987,800, including £34,250 development funding

The oldest park in Dumfries Dock Park was originally a cattle park managed by the town.

 For more see Horticulture Week 9 July.

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