The funding means the council can deliver its exciting plans to redevelop and restore one of Ashford’s oldest and most-loved green spaces, working with the local community, volunteer groups and the Friends of Victoria Park, who are providing additional funds.
Work is underway to complete detailed designs for the various projects, as contractors are looking to be approved and projects commenced in the coming months. Proposals include a new children’s play area, improvements to the river, improved lighting across the park, and a new community hub building with café, and new toilets. The iconic Grade II Listed Hubert Fountain and the surrounding piazza area will also be restored and repaired. A sensory garden will be incorporated into the project as well as a maze as a feature within a wild flower meadow that the design will be able to change yearly.
The council will be employing four new members of staff to manage the project, including a parks officer who will be based on site. There will also be opportunities for the community to get involved with volunteering roles as part of the project.
More than 1,000 people gave their feedback on park improvements as part of the council’s consultation process in the preparation of the bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The results showed the public wanted improved leisure facilities, more events and activities, and improved safety and security. Thanks to this funding the council will be able to make improvements, encouraging more people to enjoy Victoria Park for longer.
Almost £1.9m will be spent on repairs and conservation of the historical aspects of the park, and another £1m has been earmarked for new building work including access paths, signage, bridges, and dipping platforms.
Cllr Peter Feacey, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; this is a regeneration project that we can’t wait to start. The funding means we can make these exciting improvements, reconnecting people with this historic park and its heritage. Events and activities focussed on children and young people and resources for schools will encourage our younger residents to visit.”
Header image is a concept view of the community space and café from the external public space.