The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund have announced that they are investing £34 million in what they describe as ‘some of the UK’s most precious, yet tired green spaces’.
The money will, the HLF says, transform these sites, some of which are in the country’s most deprived communities. Disused historic buildings will be restored and used as new cafes or public facilities, helping to attract more people and therefore more income. Innovations include public wi-fi installed in Peel Park, Salford and plans to harness renewable energy from the mill pond at Victoria Park, Stafford.
HLF’s chair, Sir Peter Luff, said on behalf of HLF and the Big Lottery Fund: ‘We all benefit from spending time outside in the fresh air, so it’s vital that we look after our green spaces, particularly in dense urban areas. National Lottery players’ money will give a boost to each of these 16 historic places, helping make sure they have a great future.’
The projects include Great Yarmouth’s Venetian-inspired water gardens constructed as part of an unemployment relief programme after the First World War; Belfast City Cemetery – the final resting place of some of Belfast’s industrial giants, including an underground wall originally built to divide Protestants and Catholics and a ‘poor ground’ where 63,000 people are buried in unmarked graves; Winckley Square Gardens, Preston – one of Northern England’s finest Georgian squares – with notable residents including suffragette Edith Rigby and seven-times Mayor Nicholas Grimshaw; and, Stoke-on-Trent’s Hanley Park – one of the biggest Victorian public parks in the UK, built for local potters and miners to relax and play sports.
The full list of green spaces receiving funding is:
HLF/Big Lottery Fund joint grants in England
• West Smethwick Park, Sandwell – £4,830,700
• Victoria Park, Stafford – £1,705,100
• Hunstanton Heritage Gardens, West Norfolk – £685,400
• Great Yarmouth Venetian Waterways – £1,020,800
• Springfield Park, Hackney – £3,194,100
• Thompson Park, Burnley – £860,100
• London Road Cemetery, Coventry – £1,998,000
• Chase Park, Gateshead – £922,900
• Peel Park, Salford – £1,572,800
• Winckley Square Gardens, Preston – £942,600
• Northwood Cemetery, Isle of Wigh – t £1,685,100
• Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent – £4,579,300
HLF only funded grants
• Belfast Cemetery (earmarked funding )- £1,852,800
• Stornoway Castle Grounds – £3,903,600
• Dean Castle Country Park, East Ayrshire – £3,338,900
• Wrexham Cemetery – £1,190,000.