Major schemes for area’s parks get green light

Coun Peter Mullineaux with six new plaques for parks protected as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Coun Peter Mullineaux with six new plaques for parks protected as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

A whole host of exciting developments have been approved for parks around Leyland and South Ribble.

The borough council’s cabinet last week voted through a plan to create a new Central Park to celebrate its 40th anniversary year.

Members also passed a scheme to plough more money in the area’s parks and open spaces, including Worden Park, which is set to get a car park expansion.

And now, it has also been revealed that Farington Park is among six in the borough to be awarded with a special plaque after they were protected for future generations as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and streetscene, Coun Peter Mullineaux, said: “Recreational spaces are at the heart of our communities in South Ribble and I am delighted that we have secured protection for the future use of six different sites across the borough.

“What’s more is that community groups who use these areas can now bid for funding that wasn’t previously available to them.

“So now even more local people will benefit from these green spaces.”

The plaques, which are due to be mounted on sandstone, will soon be displayed at Farington Park, Much Hoole Playing Fields, Middleforth Green Park, Croston Manor, Gregson Lane Playing Field and Withy Grove Park.

The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge, operated by Fields in Trust, was launched to celebrate not only the Diamond Jubilee but the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

The campaign set out with the objective to protect outdoor recreational spaces in communities across the whole of the UK as a permanent living legacy of the sporting events, and to ensure access for all to grassroots sporting facilities.

From sports pitches to woodlands, children’s play areas to gardens and bike trails, a whole range of outdoor spaces were eligible for the award and for protection from redevelopment.

More than 1,500 sites were nominated for the QEII Fields Challenge and South Ribble Council gained recognition at six sites across the borough.

Each site now has permanent protection as a tribute to the ‘historic’ sporting events of 2012 and 2014, and community groups attached to the fields will have the ability to bid for funds only available to sites with the QEII Fields protection.

Coun Mullineaux added: “We are committed to looking after our borough’s parks and open spaces, and we know that we need to continue to invest in these local assets.

“It’s one of our top priorities to improve these sites and to maintain them for use by local residents, whilst attracting visitors from far and wide to come and see our wonderful green spaces.”

In Worden Park, plans involve implementing grass reinforcement surfacing that will allow up to 150 additional parking spaces to be used all year round, on top of the existing 100-space car park.

The driveway from Worden Hall to the Walled Garden is also set to be resurfaced, and drainage works in nearby Brickfield Wood are also in the pipeline.

The plans for Central Park were also rubber-stamped.

It is envisaged that a park as large as Worden Park can be developed over the next 15 years, taking in areas of Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge.