Anger as Worden Park cobbles are pulled up

Dog walker Karl Harrison where the cobbles used to be in Worden Park's courtyards, Leyland
Dog walker Karl Harrison where the cobbles used to be in Worden Park's courtyards, Leyland

Visitors to Leyland’s flagship Worden Park were shocked and dismayed to find the cobbles have been ripped up from around the Arts and Crafts Centre.

South Ribble Council has taken the controversial decision to replace the traditional-looking cobbles with a more ‘useable surface’ –leading residents to criticise the new look as ‘cold and sterile’ and ‘terrible’.

Karl Harrison, who visits the park every day to walk his dogs, said: “People are going mad about this on the ‘Leyland Memories’ Facebook group.

“Some people say it will be better for wheelchairs and prams, but most are saying it was a bad move.

“Surely the council could have spent the money re-laying the cobbles if they were becoming a problem, and put some pathways on there as well.”

The council announced it would be resurfacing the courtyards around the Arts and Crafts Centre last year, to create a more open space for community events.

The flowers and planting areas from the centre of the courtyards have also been relocated to the edges.

But visitors say they have only just discovered that meant the cobbles being removed, and although the council has reassured that the black surface will later be covered with gravel, Mr Harrison doesn’t think this will do much to quash people’s anger.

“The cobbles just looked more authentic,” he said.

“You don’t take stained-glass windows out of churches, even though double-glazing would be more efficient.

“So where do you stop?

“The cobbles were much more in-keeping with the courtyard area, and I don’t think this change will encourage people to visit that part of the park now.

“And the worrying thing is that Worden Park belongs to all of us, and we weren’t asked what we thought about the idea.

“It feels like the council has made the decision, and done the work overnight so that people wouldn’t complain about it beforehand.

“It just doesn’t look right now; it’s cold and sterile.

“What they should really do is resurface the main car park – that’s the type of work which does need doing.”

Coun Peter Mullineaux, deputy leader of South Ribble Council and cabinet member for neighbourhoods and street scene, responded: “I’d like to stress that our resurfacing works to the craft centre courtyard in Worden Park have not been finished.

“The setts that have been removed were not an original feature of the hall.

“They were laid by South Ribble Council in the early 1980s as part of the restoration of the stable buildings and their change of use into a craft centre.

“Unfortunately the surfacing had started to fail and as part of our commitment to invest an extra £100,000 over four years in our parks and green spaces, we decided to replace the setts with a more durable and useable surface that will be finished with a gravel-effect material.

“We’ve also adjusted the planting to create a large more useable space which can be adapted for outdoor craft events, markets and activities aimed at attracting more people to the park.

“Once the weather has warmed up and the works can be completed, the area will look much more appealing and will no doubt prove an asset to the craft centre.”

- For more on this story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.

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