An ambitious plan to breathe new life into a Leeds park will take a step forward next week.
At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board (Wednesday 25 August) council chiefs will be asked to give the go-ahead to the next stage of a scheme to revamp Middleton Park in south Leeds.
The 630 acre park is just four miles from Leeds city centre and is hugely popular with local residents. It has an area of ancient woodland and a wealth of history, but now needs updating.
In July this year campaigners to improve the park, supported by Leeds City Council, celebrated news that that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had accepted their bid for a £1.46 million grant under the Parks for People programme. In December the council had agreed to invest a further £125,000, supported by a further grant of £287,000 from the Wades Charity.
At a meeting of the council’s executive board councillors will be asked to give final approval to the grant, agree the detailed improvement work and enter into a contract for the scheme with the HLF.
Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive board member responsible for Leisure said:
“The council agreed to invest in Middleton Park and we are delighted that thanks to the grants from the HLF and the Wades Charity, we are now in a position to move the project forward.
“Local groups have been very closely involved with this project and we will continue to work with them and keep them informed of progress. The aim is to bring the park up to the same standard and popularity as that of some of the city’s more well-known parks such as Roundhay and Golden Acre and restore it to the position it so richly deserves in our city.”
The scheme will restore many of the original Victorian features of the park and help attract more visitors through a new visitor centre, education centre and café facilities. New park entrances will be built with visitor information, signs, gates and art works. A new bandstand and performance area and seating will also be created.
Middleton Park has history of coal mining dating back to the 1660’s. The Middleton Railway which is the world's oldest working railway, founded in 1758, was originally used for transporting coal. It now carries visitors between Hunslet and a halt on the edge of the ancient woodlands.
Two areas of the park have been designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments due to the presence of historic coal mining remains, and a community archaeology project to record and understand the archaeology of the area is underway. The park also has golf courses, two bowling greens, a children's play area and other recreational areas.
Notes to editors:
1. The Design and Cost Report – The Development of Middleton Park through a Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People Grant will be presented to members of Leeds City Council’s executive board at a meeting to be held at 1pm at the Leeds Civic Hall.
2. The Parks for People programme uses Lottery funds to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks. The programme aims to improve the local environment and put parks firmly back at the heart of community life. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks of £150m.
For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602