Popular city park takes share of Lottery handout

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ONE of Yorkshire’s Victorian parks could host a new bandstand in time for City of Culture celebrations after receiving a share of £34.5m Lottery funding.

More than £2.3m has been earmarked for Pearson Park, in Hull, as part of plans which could also see a bridge reinstated over the pond and pathways improved.

The announcement of funding for 13 parks around the country comes after warnings the UK’s public green spaces were “close to crisis point”.

Coun John Fareham, chairman of the Pearson Park Trust, said they now had to work up a business plan and it was a “big ask” to have everything done by 2017, but said: “We want to see as much done as possible. We are very conscious many events will want to be on Pearson Peak, because of its proximity to the city, and its beating cultural heart.”

Coun Fareham said per foot he believed the park was “by far the most popular in the city.”

He added: “I think we have done a pretty good job, but there’s a limit to the local funds we have under our control.

“Since World War Two it has been going downhill.”

A report from the Heritage Lottery Fund revealed 86 per cent of park managers had seen cuts to their budget since 2010, while almost half of local authorities were considering selling parks and green spaces or handing management over to others.

Plans to have won Lottery backing include setting up cafes which can provide revenue in the face of squeezed budgets and skills training so volunteers can help look after parks. HLF chief executive Carole Souter said: “The report makes clear that our parks face an uncertain future and so it’s exciting to see how this new investment is going some way towards helping find new ways of funding and maintaining them.”

Pearson Park was established on land donated by Victorian benefactor Zachariah Pearson, who planted the first tree, at its opening on August 27, 1860.