PLANNING for a complete facelift for Fleetwood’s Memorial Park has got the green light.
Wyre Council has gained initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery and with it £102,600 to help put plans together.
There are two years to get a scheme prepared and hopes are high the National Lottery will stump up for a multi-million-pound scheme.
The project would see essential conservation work carried out including restoring the entrances, war memorial, water garden and pathways.
There would be a greater range of sports and play facilities and a programme of community activities aimed at exploring the park’s history, the stories of those commemorated on the war memorial and Fleetwood’s maritime past.
Coun Lynne Bowen, Wyre cabinet member with responsibility for parks said: “Memorial Park has been at the heart of Fleetwood for almost 100 years and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for another century.
“I’m delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund have pledged their support for this project and look forward to developing it with the help of the local community.”
Michelle Hargreaves is a member of the Friends of the Memorial Park and has researched its history.
She said: “It’s fabulous news.
“I got involved because of the mess the park had become and because money needed spending on it.
“It’s a good indicator we could get the park refurbished.
“It was worth it to put the effort in to make the park more high profile so people will care about it again.
“It‘s coming up to 100 years since the start of the First World War and there are only three such parks in the country so it would be the right time to do it.
“All the gates are original and they need restoring to their former glory.”
Since a new rose garden was opened last year, more people had begun using the park.
She added: “People come to me and say how nice the park is looking, but I think it could be a lot better. This is a start.”
Sara Hilton, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Today’s initial Lottery support will mean that major redevelopment plans can get underway that, once completed, will make this important green space a high-quality resource that local people and visitors alike can enjoy. We are looking forward to working with the Council on these exciting proposals.”
Designed and built in 1925 by Sir Patrick Abercrombie, a well renowned town planner and civic designer, the park is the oldest registered First World War memorial landscape.
Wyre will be seeking the views and ideas of local people before a second and final lottery application.
Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Mark Fenton at Wyre Council on (01253) 887612 or email Mark.Fenton@wyre.gov.uk.
There will be more information at a fun day in the park on July 21.