Lottery hopes for Kingswood Park
ATTEMPTS to secure Lottery funding to revamp Kingswood Park are back on track after Covid delays.
The Friends of Kingswood Park and South Gloucestershire council had submitted a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) over a year ago following two years of public consultation. Despite making it through the initial stage, once lockdown hit all NLHF funding was diverted to emergency Covid projects.
Now the NLHF has reopened for submissions and the bid will be resubmitted, although it needs rewriting due to changes in funding criteria.
If successful, up to £170,000 could be awarded for planning work to take place by the end of 2022. If the resulting plans are approved by the NLHF around £2.5 million could be awarded to improve the park.
It is hoped the rejuvenation work would then begin in 2023.
Money could be used for new play equipment, improvements to paths, walls and toilets, as well as work on the ampitheatre used for events and the creation of a community growing area. The park would be made more accessible to people with disabilities, because the current design includes steps and paths that are hard to navigate.
Currently more than 260,000 people visit the park each year, and it is hoped that this could increase further after the improvements to the park and neighbouring high street. An activities programme and a community health and wellbeing programme could further enhance use of the park.
Along with Page Park in Staple Hill, Kingswood Park is one of only two formally-laid-out heritage parks in South Gloucestershire. The aim is to make the rejuvenated park carbon neutral.
The land the park occupies was originally purchased by the borough council in February 1921. They allowed the fire brigade to graze their horses, used to pull the fire engines, on the land until it finally opened
as a park in 1934. It is hoped
that the plans will make the park fit for purpose for another century.
Cllr Rachael Hunt, the council’s cabinet member for communities and local place, said: “Our ambition is to comprehensively restore and refresh Kingswood park and make it a central focus for the local community.
“The work will highlight the rich heritage and history of the park.”