Jackpot for park

CHRISTCHURCH Park was today set to hit the lotto jackpot.Council chiefs at Civic Centre in Ipswich were today expecting to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund had agreed to give them millions of pounds towards the restoration of the park to its Victorian splendour.

CHRISTCHURCH Park was today set to hit the lotto jackpot.

Council chiefs at Civic Centre in Ipswich were today expecting to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund had agreed to give them millions of pounds towards the restoration of the park to its Victorian splendour.

The council has put together a £4.2 million restoration programme for the park, which is seen as one of the best in the country.

Officers are now expecting to hear that the lottery fund will give them 75 percent of this sum to bring the park into the 21st century.


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Most of the money will be spent on restoring existing features, including its paths, entrances, and the two large ponds that attract both visitors and wildlife.

Park shelters and drinking fountains will also be restored - and a new café, kiosk and toilet blocks will also be built.

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A total of £58,000 will also be spent on new trees throughout the 80-acre park.

The official announcement of the grant is expected to be made within the next few days.

Officials at the council have been told the result and sworn to secrecy. They are maintaining a strict "no comment" when asked about the decision - but with a broad smile on their face!

Today a few hardy souls were braving Christchurch park in the wet weather - it was easy to see where money needs to be spent.

The paths have been patched up many times over the last century and now need to be completely relaid, not just resurfaced.

The cost of replacing them alone has been estimated at £1.5 million.

Shelters badly need major refurbishment and many of the benches are broken and need to be replaced.

Dogwalker Gloria Lee was delighted to hear about the restoration as she took her labrador Charlie for his daily exercise.

"It sounds like a lot of money, but it's very good news," she said.

"Christchurch Park is used by a tremendous number of people - young families, dogwalkers, people who want to get out of the town centre at lunchtimes.

"It needs some attention and if this goes ahead it will be wonderful. I am very pleased."

Among the features to be restored are the historic Cabmen's shelter which has been covered since it was badly damaged by several three years ago.

And the refreshment kiosk and toilets badly need a fresh new look.

Do you think it's right to spend £4.2 million restoring Christchurch Park? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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