Cash wind­fall for parks

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - By Molly Mile­hamChap­pell

Two pop­u­lar parks in Ash­ford are to re­ceive cash for a makeover from the Na­tional Lot­tery.

Vic­to­ria Park and Water­cress Fields have been ear­marked for a po­ten­tial £3.2 mil­lion fund­ing, with ini­tial sup­port to de­velop the project.

The money comes from a £40 mil­lion pot shared be­tween 13 parks and ceme­ter­ies across Eng­land and Wales.

Vic­to­ria Park has been awarded a £167,000 de­vel­op­ment grant from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund (HLF) and Big Lot­tery Fund.

The park in Jem­mett Road, and the Water­cress Fields – a large open area of grass­land along­side the River Great Stour, at the west of Vic­to­ria Park – will use the money that it re­ceives in sup­port of a project that aims to im­prove peo­ple’s knowl­edge of the site and make it more at­trac­tive to res­i­dents.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil ap­plied to the Parks for Peo­ple pro­gramme to help sup­port de­liv­ery of the mas­ter­plan which in­cludes four themed zones for en­hance­ments; ad­ven­ture, her­itage, sport and recre­ation and river­side.

The de­vel­op­ment grant from HLF and Big Lot­tery Fund will help the coun­cil ap­ply for the next round of fund­ing where the project to re­vamp Vic­to­ria Park could re­ceive cap­i­tal fund­ing of £3.2 mil­lion.

The fund­ing will sup­port re­pairs to the Grade II* listed Hu­bert Foun­tain and im­prove­ments to the sur­round­ing pi­azza area.

Other works will in­clude re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing play space with sen­sory gar­dens, ex­tend­ing the com­mu­nity or­chard, restor­ing the se­cret gar­den area and cre­at­ing a paved path into the park.

There are also plans to ex­pand ac­tiv­ity and recre­ation within the park with bike ramps and ad­di­tional play fa­cil­i­ties, ben­e­fit­ting events such as Cre­ate Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.

ABC says it is work­ing on the scheme in part­ner­ship with stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing HLF, Kent County Coun­cil and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency.

The HLF uses money raised by Na­tional Lot­tery play­ers to help fund projects from restor­ing nat­u­ral land­scapes to res­cu­ing ne­glected build­ings.

Vic­to­ria Park and Water­cress Fields

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM4246261

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