Community park in Tameside gets £85,000 for revamp

Cedar Park will get the cash to spruce it up.
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A park in one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Tameside is to be revamped with a new cash grant which will deliver a ‘visible difference’.

Council chiefs have agreed to spend £85,000 of government funding on improvements to Cedar Park in Ashton-under-Lyne. The Queens Road park sits between two of the ‘most deprived areas’ in the borough, officers say, straddling Ashton Hurst ward, and Ashton St. Michael’s ward. The cash has been allocated from the national Levelling Up Parks Fund which distributes money to be spent on the ‘creation or significant enhancement of an existing green space’.

It must be split across three categories, with more than half going on improvements to the park, up to £18,500 on project preparation, and up to £19,000 on ‘tree uplift’ for tree planting and related costs. Council officers had reviewed five different areas of in the borough, but decided £85,000 was not a large enough investment to create a new green space of meaningful size.

Therefore it was recommended that funding be used to enhance an existing park. Cedar Park was consequently chosen as the ‘most appropriate’ site. A decision report states that there are ‘strong links’ between the community and the park. This includes the youth service, which has a base within the community pavilion and runs youth groups in the building.

The Smallshaw Hurst Community Action Group Food Pantry is also based in the community pavilion and there are ‘very active’ men’s and women’s bowling teams who use the park on ‘an almost daily basis’.

Officers have drawn up a list of improvements that should be considered for the park, including the creation of a ‘measured trail’ around it to encourage more walking and enhancing the park’s two main entrances. Line markings for a range of games could be introduced, as well as new raised beds near the pavilion to be managed as a community growing space.

The drainage on the playing field could also be improved, with new mini goals erected, and ornamental trees planted around the park’s perimeter. However, officers say all the proposals need to be costed and consultation must take place within the local community before a final project proposal is produced.

They are hoping to encourage ‘greater ownership’ of the park and reinvigorate the Friends of Cedar Park group which had been actively led by local councillors in the past. This group could assist with maintaining the park over the longer term, such as regular litter picks, managing plants, and gardening community planting beds, officers add.

“The Levelling Up Parks Fund is a great opportunity to significantly enhance a park within the vicinity of our most deprived areas,” the decision notice concludes.

“The revitalised park can enhance community cohesion by being a place that everyone wants to visit, it can assist with getting more people active who want to go to the park for a walk or take their children to the playground and it could be a good example of where communities have worked co-operatively with the council to ensure that their local green spaces are maintained to a high standard.”

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