Nobody needs reminding of the effects on local services and infrastructure of the current economic climate.Advertisement
Nor are we blind to the outcomes that large budget reductions and a lack of funding have on the condition of our parks.
The Sharoe Green and Sherwood Community Association has for a number of years had complaints about the condition of the three parks in our locality (Garstang Road Park, Sherwood Park & Levensgarth Avenue Park). Drainage has become a major problem and playground equipment has gradually been withdrawn from service; circa 1970’s it has “life expired” in comparison with modern play areas.
Path erosion, with surfaces damaged by tree roots, has sadly affected access for the disabled and Levensgarth Park has no paths whatsoever. What equipment remains on Levensgarth Park cannot therefore be accessed by push chairs.
A comment received on one of our returned surveys summed it up: “It is a dismal, muddy, uninspiring place to take young children.”
What may not always be realised is the effect that a lack of such facilities can have on developing children. Residents have brought to our attention the fact that children’s exercise levels in our area are very low indeed.
This is partly attributable to the distance from a good standard playground – more than two miles to the nearest. Parents are understandably concerned about safety and reluctant to allow children the unsupervised roaming afforded to previous generations.
As a result, we are aiming to completely renovate Levensgarth Park in order to provide suitable play facilities for children. Opportunities will also be provided for them to get involved in learning about wild life and helping to plant up and maintain the park.
We teamed up with Preston City Council Parks Department and Lancashire County Council. LCC funded the planning and the Parks Department has been very pro-active throughout, working with us at all stages. The Association leafleted 800 houses with surveys of what people wanted. We analysed their views and carried out public consultations with families and residents. Very importantly, we liaised directly with the houses immediately bordering the park to ensure that everyone was on board with the design. In addition, the children of local schools were asked as to what they wanted.
After just over 12 months of very hard work by a handful of dedicated volunteers, and the skills of the two Council bodies, the Final Master Plan for the park was produced in January of this year.
The Community Association has now embarked on trying to raise the £110,000 to bring the project to fruition. We are a very small organisation indeed and this is no easy undertaking by any means.
With our limited capabilities we will be reliant on applications to various bodies for grants to cover the large majority of the cost but our own fundraising events and initiatives are extremely important.
If you live in the Sharoe Green and Sherwood area and want to help secure a park fit for our children please contact Nigel Parker the Community Association Chairman via email at [email protected]
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