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Exciting plans for The Harris

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Strategy Objectives

Avenham Pavilion

Strategy Objectives

To achieve the vision and ambitions for Preston's parks and green spaces, this Strategy will:

  • Continue to improve and maintain all sites across the City through approved masterplans, with the aspiration of maximising use at each respective site
  • List a range of achievable measures which will contribute to the biodiversity and environmental sustainability of Preston, resulting in a balance between protecting habitats and supporting economic growth
  • Identify schemes and programmes to empower and upskill the local community, resulting in increased social capital across the City
  • Identify potential funding opportunities to enable project delivery

A further aim of the Strategy is to review the management and maintenance of Preston's allotments, trees and Play Areas within the City.

Site Priorities

Strategy Objective 1

Continue to improve and maintain all sites across the City through approved masterplans, with the aspiration of maximising use at each respective site.

To help achieve the objectives of the Strategy, a series of ambitions is listed for each site.

Detailed masterplans are required to deliver these. Two sites already have masterplans with planned maintenance required to ensure that they remain of the highest quality.

Ashton Park

Ashton Park is close to Preston Dock and has the Guild Wheel cycle route nearby. A suburban greenspace with a rich history, the Park is also a focus for affiliated sports.

It is reported that Dick Kerr Ladies F.C. one of the earliest known women's association football teams, was originally based at this site.

Through its Community Gardens, the Park also supports charity ventures and community events, such as Let's Grow Preston, which deliver physical and mental wellbeing programmes.

There is no approved masterplan for the park, but an aspirational masterplan could include work to:

  • Restore features of historic significance, including the entrance from Pedders Lane, the maze, the listed drinking fountain and the walled garden
  • Develop facilities which generate; a focus for sport, support the presence of charitable groups and increase community participation. These include;
    • Construction of a building which will accommodate; changing rooms for sports, a community café and function room plus office space to support charity groups.
    • Creation of a sports hub, with a new 3G pitch, improved grass pitches and refurbished tennis courts.
    • Improve vehicular access and car parking capacity.
  • Upgrade the southern play area improving the quality of the play equipment
  • Refurbish the bowls pavilion and its surroundings
  • Increase tree cover and planting to improve the visual appearance of the Park and enhance biodiversity
  • Improve the Park's way finding and signage.

Avenham and Miller Park

Avenham and Miller Parks are located in the heart of Preston City Centre. These adjoining Grade II* listed Victorian spaces offer a peaceful retreat next to the River Ribble.

It is the starting point for the Guild Wheel, and both accommodate traditional events such as the Annual Easter Egg rolling event. They are dedicated Centenary fields as listed by Fields in Trust - this ensures that they are in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions who lost their lives in World War I.

The masterplans for the Parks have been implemented in full and the City intends to continue to maintain infrastructure improvements in the future.

Grange Park and Grange Valley

Grange Park is located in the east of Preston. With the site of a former Victorian Manor House to visit, it is steeped in History. There is no current approved park masterplan but an aspirational masterplan could include work to:

  • Refurbish features within the footprint of Ribbleton Hall, including the steps, main entrance, gates and furniture
  • Develop links with local community groups to secure use of the Interpretative Centre
  • Create a recreational sport opportunity within the Park or in the Grange Valley which does not impact on its historic design
  • Introduce lighting to the main route to the Interpretative Centre in the formal Park.
  • Increase tree cover and planting which improves its visual appearance and enhances biodiversity
  • Improve its way finding and signage
  • Include additional community artwork elements within the Park.

Haslam Park and Local Nature Reserve

Haslam Park sits alongside the Lancaster Canal. This fine Edwardian Park is attached to the Haslam Park Nature Reserve with its diverse habitats and ecological interests.

The Council has recently invested in the play area in the Park, installing new equipment, improved surfaces and drainage.

There is no approved masterplan for the park, but an aspirational masterplan could include work to:

  • Restore features of historic significance which fit better with the original Thomas H Mawson design, including views over and along Savick Brook, ornamental bridge's, cascade, footpaths, drinking fountain, and planting design
  • Reinforce the physical and visual link with the Lancaster Canal
  • Increase biodiversity throughout the Park including additional planting in the local nature reserve and wildflower planting
  • Improve its way finding and signage
  • Explore opportunities for a café and toilet.

London Road Recreation Ground and Fishwick Local Nature Reserve

London Road Recreation Ground and Fishwick Local Nature Reserve are adjoining sites which provide a mixture of sports and natural beauty.

The Recreation Ground boasts a dedicated BMX track, whilst stretching away to the east, the Nature Reserve offers a mix of diverse habitats and ecological interest.

There is no approved masterplan for the Park, but an aspirational masterplan could include work to:

  • Provide a building which caters as a centre for BMX Club, footballers, park rangers and community group stakeholders associated with the nature reserve
  • Refurbish the Recreation Ground entrance, local nature reserve boundary and other infrastructure
  • Increase tree cover and planting at the Recreation Ground. This will improve its visual appearance and enhance the area's biodiversity value
  • Improve access and car parking provision especially serving the BMX club events and football users.

Moor Park

Moor Park is located on the outskirts of the City Centre.

This Grade II* listed Victorian Park is Preston oldest and largest at 40 hectares (100 acres). Recognised as Preston's major events park it can cater for large scale events and activities.

As well as offering a number of affiliated sports, Moor Park is also the prime focus for skateboarding in Preston due to its dedicated skate park.

It was designated as a Queen Elizabeth II Playing Field site in 2012 as part of Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

There is an approved masterplan for the Park consisting of a two-phase improvement programme.

Phase 1 works were completed in 2019. The masterplan for the Phase 2 schemes seeks to:

  • Reinstate the Serpentine Lake, making it a go-to destination feature of the Park. Investment will include:
    • De-silt and increase its size and scale to original 1867 design
    • Reinstate the historic features surrounding it, including the bridge across, surrounding railings, architectural features, and the viewing platform
    • Refurbish footpaths and drain networks
    • Restore horticultural features including shrub beds and specimen trees and the other environs surrounding it
    • Provide furniture, signage and interpretation
    • Create fountains to improve water quality and provide exciting interactive displays for visitors
  • Upgrade the play area near the Serpentine Lake to offer natural play opportunities in keeping with the landscape setting
  • Increase the tree stock in the Park
  • Restore the Southeast historic entrance and the stone flag paving at the South west historic entrance
  • Improve the main play area to make it an inclusive destination play area for children of all abilities
  • Upgrade the events area
  • Provide a reinforced grass parking area by North Lodge
  • Remove and grass over the informal footpaths known locally as the 'tank tracks'
  • Restore the historically significant 1867 Thomas Cooke refractor telescope within the observatory and reinstate the roof opening mechanism for its use.

Ribbleton (Waverley) Park

Ribbleton (Waverley) Park has a community feel and offers sport and recreation opportunities along with small community events.

There is no approved masterplan for the Park, but an aspirational masterplan could include work to:

  • Enhance the Park's security by implementing boundary and entrance improvements
  • Upgrade and relocate facilities which would better enhance sport, play and community participation. These include:
    • Demolish and rebuild football pavilion - probably on the current footprint
    • Upgrade and/or relocate the multi-use games area (if possible, to include floodlighting)
    • Create a community garden
  • Establish an area for small community events
  • Upgrade the play area
  • Improve car parking provision especially where it serves football participants
  • Create a central decorative garden using the site of the redundant bowling greens
  • Increase tree cover and planting to improve its visual appearance and enhance biodiversity.
  • Improve its way finding and signage
  • Include community artwork elements within it

Winckley Square Gardens

Winckley Square Gardens, located in a Georgian Square in the City Centre, offers a peaceful retreat where small community events take place.

The Park is a harmonious blend of modern and Georgian features - a beautiful green space surrounded by period architecture.

The Victorian additions to the park, include the Sir Robert Peel statue which welcomes visitors at one of the Park's seven entrances.

The masterplan for this Park has been implemented in full. The Council is committed to continue to maintain infrastructure improvements in the future.

Strategy Objective 2

List a range of achievable measures which will contribute to the biodiversity and environmental sustainability of Preston. Resulting in a good balance between protecting habitats and supporting economic growth.

Ensuring the environmental sustainability of the City is vital. This needs to be managed in a way which protects habitats and contributes to biodiversity whilst also supporting economic prosperity.

Any measures need to apply at strategic and local level as part of a 'whole system' approach. Below are some of the measures the Council will explore. It will:

  • Make greater allowance for natural processes to occur along with creating new habitats through specific measures (e.g., increasing wildflower meadow areas and limiting removal of dead wood as a valuable habitat to support a range of invertebrates, fungi and plants)
  • Remove invasive / non-native plants
  • Continue to reduce pesticide and herbicide use across all sites. This will encourage more insects and other invertebrates which will create a sustainable food chain
  • Initiate a reviewed and refreshed tree strategy to ensure effective arboriculture and woodland management
  • Work to achieve waste minimisation
  • Increase levels of engagement with park users; raising awareness of biodiversity issues among the public (e.g., via interpretation boards and educational programmes).

Addressing climate change is one of the key City Council aims moving forward.

In 2019, the United Kingdom Parliament and many local authorities (including Preston City Council) declared a climate emergency.

The Council recognises that 'business as usual is not an option' and has set out several actions to help.

Parks and open spaces have a role and ability to help tackle the climate emergency. Some of the areas in which they can help include:

  • Air quality
  • Managing flood risk
  • Carbon absorption
  • Energy generation
  • Food production
  • Energy efficiency

Strategy Objective 3

Identify schemes and programmes to empower and upskill the local community, resulting in increased social capital across the City.

As well as identifying physical changes to implement across sites, there is a recognised need to nurture opportunity for local people to contribute to the ongoing improvements and benefits of Preston's parks and green spaces.

Whether this is done by helping the many Friends groups to strengthen and grow or providing opportunities for key charities. To continue to deliver a range of inclusive mental and physical health programmes, the City Council will aim to ensure that parks continue to provide social capital benefits.

Parks, nature reserves and green spaces provide an opportunity to educate future generations around biodiversity, heritage and health. It is important to ensure that they are as well-resourced as possible. This will benefit individuals, local communities, social groups and educational organisations.

It is important that any project or activity is delivered in partnership with the local community. Initial conversations with park users and the surrounding local community will be required when developing and co-ordinating future events and activities.

Strategy Objective 4

Identify potential funding opportunities to enable project delivery

Whilst this Strategy heralds a new dawn for parks in Preston, it must be noted that there is a need for realism too.

Stretched resources and continuing budget pressures make ongoing investment a significant challenge.

It is important that, over its ten year term, this Strategy recognises the approach and options to potential funding in order to ensure its successful implementation. These include:

  • Continuing to investigate and pursue opportunities to secure external funding, including developer contribution receipts and grants
  • Working with external organisations to maximise investment opportunities
  • Encouraging an entrepreneurial approach that inspires new ideas and business models into parks.
  • Exploring the future role of partner organisations. Such as community asset transfer, the creation of community interest companies (CICs), social enterprises and trusts to help manage and/or take on the management of programmes and facilities, thus helping to reduce the Council's overall financial responsibility.

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