Looking to the future of St George Park
A personal view from Nick Burroughs, chair of the Friends of St George Park.
THINGS are changing fast and unpredictably as we battle Covid-19.
Spring has at long last arrived and I hope that we can continue to use our wonderful parks for exercise, if we maintain social distancing, so we can enjoy the benefits they bring to our physical and mental well-being.
For now, I’m going to look towards future for our park.
Bristol Future Parks Project
The Future Parks Project is looking at how parks can operate for the benefit of the community. The council does not have a statutory obligation to fund or operate parks. The budget has been cut from £6m to £2m over the past few years and while the park management teams work hard for us, some things – including the areas I talk about below – have suffered.
We need to find ways to sustain our parks longer term and the project is looking at how this can be done.
One opportunity it offers is for community to have more of a say in what does (and doesn’t) happen in the park. But this also means accepting that the time when the council could be expected to do it all has passed.
People often have strong opinions about what they don’t want to see happen. The project is trying to find ways to recognise the good things about our parks, the value that they provide to us and how we can keep and enhance these benefits going forward.
There is more on the council website about how you can get involved.
You will be aware that the edge of the lake is crumbling in places and part of the path has been fenced off for several years. The council have been working with the Friends to talk about how this work can be carried out in conjunction with the wider lake project. This will require partial draining of the lake and can only be done late in the year, after the wildfowl breeding season, so my guess is it will be 2021.
Following heritage and other reports, it is likely that the plans for the lake will need to be scaled back, including removing the walkway. The Friends are working on to focus on the environmental and wildlife benefits, maybe including improving the quality of the water – so if there are any local hydrologists who would like to help, please contact the Friends.
The recent community meeting gave a positive response to a vision of what our popular wheelpark could become. It is now 37 years old, and parts are crumbling. A group of people who have been using it for years want to remove the conflicts between different users and make it friendly to families and people with disabilities.
There will be updates and public consultation as this moves forward.
John Deasy Play Area
If you use the play area, you will know that much of the equipment and the wooden dragon will soon need replacing. We need some friends for the play area, to make this happen for a new generation of park lovers.
Finally, I look forward to us all being able to fully and safely enjoy in St George Park in the future.
The Friends group can be contacted by email at info@FriendsOfStGeorgePark.org.uk.