A New Queen’s Park By 2017?
The first steps towards a major upgrade in the infrastructure of Queen’s Park have been taken with the announcement this week of a formal public consultation to start in summer 2014.
Jim Alison, from BHCC’s City Parks department, told the Friends Of Queen’s Park Committee that a six week consultation process will begin in June with a view to completing an agreed master plan for the park by December 2014.
This master plan for Queen’s Park would then form the basis of a significant application for funding, with the possibility of major works starting in 2017 or 2018.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” said Alison, “But I’d be quite confident that Queen’s Park would have a very good chance of getting funding.”
Johnny Webb, chair of Friends Of Queen’s Park, said: “This is an incredibly exciting year for Queen’s Park. By the end of 2014, we will have a blueprint for the future of the park, including a plan for the long-neglected bowling green and its historic features, such as the cascades and pond.
“The immediate challenge now will be to reach out to the widest possible section of the Queen’s Park community. We want to talk to both users and non-users of the park, to young and old, to as many groups as we can. I really hope that residents will engage with us and share their ideas for our much loved park”.
City Parks will be discussing the consultation with several local groups, including Queen’s Park School and St Luke’s Primary School. Alison added: “We would like to work with the Friends of Queen’s Park, and for them to help us with the consultation. That includes a presence at your summer events where we can listen to the views of local people. We want this to be a partnership.”
Also present at the meeting was landscape architect Tom Hardiment, who has been appointed to work on the consultancy. Water management contractors will be bought in to study the condition of the pond and the defunct waterfall, and a full topographical survey of the park will be undertaken.
Lindsay Cattenach, our local Park Ranger, believes that news of the consultancy promises a brighter future for Queen’s Park: “We’ve been waiting for that commitment for five years, and now it’s finally going to happen.”
Questions were raised at the meeting whether City Parks would pay sufficient attention to the opinions of local residents, with disagreements over the recent development at The Level cited as an example.
There were also concerns that even if a consultancy goes ahead, likely changes within Brighton & Hove City Council could yet put a halt to long awaited improvements to Queen’s Park.
The Friends of Queen’s Park believe this consultancy is a positive initiative which has significant implications for the future. Queen’s Park, a precious, Grade II listed park area, is an outstanding feature of East Brighton, but proper investment in its infrastructure is overdue. All local residents and park users are invited to take an active part in this consultancy process. Everyone must have their say.
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