Government fund targets urban parks

The Department for Communities & Local Government has allocated £1.5m to 87 community groups across the country to create pocket parks, neglected urban plots which are turned into green spaces, including 12 in the North West.

The parcels of land being targeted for the pocket parks are often very small, such as the size of a tennis court. The spaces are particularly beneficial for those living in towns and cities who may not have gardens of their own.

The parks that will be supported in the North West are:

  • Apple Market Park and Danefields Community Area in Northwich
  • Central pocket park, Birkenhead,
  • The Florrie Pocket Park, Liverpool
  • North Park Fruit Meadow, Bootle
  • St Barnabus Pocket Park, Manchester
  • St Andrews, Droylsden
  • Ashton West Doorstep Garden
  • Victoria Street Pocket Park, Oldham
  • Petrus Community Park, Rochdale
  • Thirlmere Pocket Park, Chorley Moor
  • Hodge House Pocket Park, Kendal

The DCLG has created an interactive map showing the location of 87 parks proposed across the country, from Newcastle to Penryn in Cornwall.

To view the map click here

Greg Clark, Communities Secretary, said: “Parks and green spaces breathe life into our bustling towns and cities providing communities with precious spaces to get together, exercise and play.

“Our funding will benefit urban areas with few green spaces, delivering on the government’s manifesto commitment to deliver pocket parks across our country.

“These winning bids all have a strong community focus at the core of their plans and their designers have thought up highly creative ideas to turn unloved urban spaces into the green lungs of their communities that will be enjoyed for years to come.”

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A pathetically small and token programme. Also, how on earth is a civil servant in a London office in any position to properly evaluate and monitor bids on such small scale local projects, dispersed across the country with an average budget of just £17k?

It is not the place of central government to be micro managing local affairs to this degree. Typical tick box exercise to give the impression that they are concerned about green spaces without having to commit the funding to make any meaningful difference. Place North West should not be publishing press releases like these.

By Micro manager

The fact that it shows how short-changed we are in the regions, especially when it comes to park projects, is exactly the reason it should be published, surely?

By Not easy being green

Presumably these will be in areas nobody wants to go?

By Elephant

These ‘pocket’ parks will be likely attractants of the cider ‘n’ cannabis crowd. The local paramedic teams will get to know these areas soon enough. They’ll be there all the time picking up the pieces as usual.

By Lilt

I hate Manchester parks.Even Heaton attracts the lowest common denominator. Piccadilly gardens is beyond redemption.An absolute joke of a park for a major city.As for that one on Rochdale road.What an absolute hellhole that is unless you are into dropping litter and causing mayhem.

By Elephant

The High Line in New York is a fantastic example of providing a high quality public space in an urban environment. Admittedly funded by contributions from high value individuals, but we can dare to dream

By Up North

There’ll be the usual opening days with the local hipster contingent giving high-fives and huddles and someone’s bird will make a few cakes ‘n’ treats. Then, once the tables and chairs have been packed away and all the well-meaning people have left the cider crowd will move in and these places will become no-go areas unless you want to sit on a syringe or buy a wrap of gear.

Then it’ll be up to the agents of the Crown to go in and restore a semblance of order by deploying their conducted electrical weapons (tasers).

PNW should arrange a sweep as to which Pocket Park will see the first homicide. £1 a go. I’ll have St. Andrews, Droylsden.

By Lilt

Pocket parks are very successful in places such as Barcelona, where they are often pieces of former derelict land but woven in to the wider landscape fabric of that area. They also do suffer to some degree of being places where anti social behaviour can congregate. However in principal I believe pocket parks are extremely useful; the problem comes in many of the ways described by others below. We also have an Atlantic climate – giving us ‘weather’ rather than a stable predictable ( and more pleasant) outdoor confidence. Very often public space is poor due to the manner in which tenders and designers are selected. First principal of any Architectural discipline is “identify the user”. many of our urban spaces given over for public realm do not do this, or try to be broad brush and politically ‘ inclusive’ – something you WON’T find in say Paris. As an Architect, who has practiced as a Chartered Landscape Architect and Urban Designer for the last 20 years I could go on and on and on about this, ( don’t worry I won’t) suffice to say many of your comments are relevant and understandable. I just wish those who control the process would comprehend this, but they won’t and I could put money on the firms who will be awarded these works and yes, after initial fanfare they will most likely become what you describe. Money isn’t an obstacle though, a GOOD landscape architect ( or should that be one who has the guts to say it as it is and how you good folk recognise) should be able to produce something that works well, and contributes to the urban enjoyment for even these small sums, but the whole process will be circumscribed by other factors and the end result will not be appreciated in the medium to long term, because it will be “designed” for those who don’t appreciate it in the first instance. Interestingly, the High Line in new York ( in fairness copied from an earlier Parisian scheme – the Promenade Plantee ) was designed by James Corner:- a landscape architecture student at MMU – who soon realised this 9 amongst many other good landscape architecture urban schemes) thing was nigh on impossible in this country, so he hot footed it to where the profession and the talent is appreciated.

By Cassandra

So basically investing in parks in the North West is stupid because it is full of chavs.End of.

By Shak

The disused grey bridge overlooking Castlefield would make a perfect High line style park.

By Elephant

Good article on this very subject from the Guardian

Puts this pathetic government programme into perspective.

By Micro manager

Reading the comments on here depresses me. It’s like the comments page on the Daily Mail website.

By Welshie

Welshie: I know, it’s not good. People are wiser nowadays about the reality of what goes on and they have an outlet for it. It’s just truth-emergent, and it isn’t always nice.

By Lilt

@ ‘shak’. No, that’s not what I articulated. However, when you look at the great Victorian era parks that compromise the vast majority of our public open spaces, they were designed and built in very different times, for very different reasons, and very different expectations of the people who were to use them. They were also managed by paid staff. Unlikely now as I’m sure you would agree. (In Europe many such areas are still managed by paid staff) It is difficult in the changed modern society we inhabit today and with the economic demands we have accepted to create a space that will not be abused as a result.It’s not impossible of course, it’s just not as easy as turning some derelict area over to greenery. As I mentioned. ‘ identify the user’ is the first tenant of any architectural student’s education.

By Cassandra

@ Cassandra, apologies, my comment wasn’t aimed at you. Yours was a good contribution, unlike those from the two trolls above.

By Shak

Note: no-one’s allowed to say anything unless Shak approves of it.

Since when did he / she become the forum enforcer?

By Lilt

Every area is gonna be different and it’s hard to generalise although many relevant points made. I grew up near the North Park area (‘Fruit Meadow?’) in the Linacre area of Bootle. If these areas are gonna come back at all they need to build on what assets they have. Co-incidentally I drove through there the other day for the first time in ages and noticed Sefton Council had done some tree planting and there was a (new?) community hub on the old Johnson’s dye-works field. There was a really solid old community there once and it was a good community to grow up in – the ‘ no-one locks their doors so the neighbours can pop in’ sort of place that used to be common years ago.
I would like to think that places like this can provide nice secure, happy places for people to live in once again. The foundations are there. There was never wholesale demolition and parks projects like this, even if small, could help towards creating the glue that stitches these communities back together again.
Maybe this programme could be the beginning of something bigger and more ambitious?

By Gwydion

It’s very sad to read some of the comments on here. Folks complaining about the state of their parks, communities and the state of the nation could do something proactive about it. Pick some litter up, clean up after your dog, talk to folks who you see as a problem rather than just alienating them further by chastising them from the comfort of you keyboard. I could really go on a rant but I won’t as I don’t have time. Too busy tryng to help the area I live in get better rather than slag it off.

By John

John has a point but sadly Manchester parks are just not nice.When I lived in London the parks there were stunning.Beautifully maintained and patronised by nice people in general.Of course the demograph in London is different but parks in this city are threatening places.Heaton park is a gorgeous open space but it is not safe.I do not want to have a picnic in a place full of the trackie rebok brigade shouting at their children.

By Elephant

Depends where you go – you’re right to point to demographics.

Most of Manchester is rough and threatening, especially the northern part of the city, so no surprise how you describe Heaton Park. Fletcher Moss and Didsbury Park are both attractive and safe.

By syntax

Yes Fletcher Moss and Didsbury park are nice but they are the exception that proves the rule.

By Elephant

London’s vast royal parks are centrally funded. Luckily for them.

By Liz W

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