£3.5m could be spent on city park improvements

Ducks on the lake at Thornes Park.
Ducks on the lake at Thornes Park.

Millions of pounds could be spent on the city’s parks if a bid for grant funding is successful.

Wakefield Council is drawing up plans for improvements at Thornes, Clarence and Holmfield parks and is preparing to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) cash.

A report to the council’s cabinet said a first bid for around £3.5m would be made.

The council wants to restore historical features in the parks, improve pathways, upgrade performance areas and open a heritage centre with a cafe and toilets.

A cabinet report said: “The combined park comprises approximately 60ha (hectares) and is situated in a valuable location near the centre of the city of Wakefield where there is little other publicly accessible greenspace.

“One of the main benefits from the project would be improvements to health and well-being as a result of increased outdoor recreation, indeed this was one of the main reasons historically for the creation of public parks.

“Where funding from HLF is not allowable, funding would be sought from alternative providers.”

Among plans for the parks is the creation of mediaeval and Victorian history trails.

The council wants to refurbish the lake area and restore a statute which is believed to be of Pandora, the first human woman in Greek mythology.

An application for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Park for People programme could be made in September. The cabinet report said: “The main purpose of the Parks for People programme is to preserve and protect heritage landscapes in public parks and increase public engagement with heritage, particularly for those groups that are currently underrepresented as visitors to the park.”

Cabinet members will discuss the bid at a meeting on Tuesday.