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Victoria Park's £4million restoration begins
1:50pm Tuesday 12th February 2013 in News
A RANGE of heritage and leisure visitor attractions will be created in one of the town’s most loved parks after work started on its £4million restoration.
Victoria Park, which opened in 1886, will have new life breathed into its historic character thanks to one of the largest ever lottery donations to St Helens.
The huge project - which will include the conservation of the original entrance gates and the restoration of the Grade II listed Gate Lodge – is regarded as a ray of good news for the town against a backdrop of gloomy headlines about council service cutbacks.
The significant enhancements will see the lodge become a base for visitor facilities and an activity venue.
Other moves, include restoring developing the Age UK owned walled garden and Orangery, which, once completed, will be open to the public.
Meanwhile, the folly will undergo stabilisation work to prevent further deterioration and the pond will be fully restored, with the introduction of wetland habitats.
Sports and leisure facilities will also be improved, with two new courts reintroduced in the park. At its peak the park was home to ten tennis courts, however at present none of them remain.
Additionally, a traditional bandstand will be given a prominent position – opening up the possibility of brass concerts being staged there - and a fitness trail will be created along with footpath and lighting improvements.
Work got underway when the Mayor of St Helens, Councillor Geoff Almond dug the first spade in the ground mark to mark the opening of the project.
St Helens Council, which pointed to decline in the park in the 1980s, has been working with Age UK Mid Mersey and the Friends of Victoria Park, on the restoration.
The park, located on City Road, will be open during the development works. The main project will start in March 2013 and should be completed in spring 2014.
Contractors William Birch & Sons Ltd will begin with rebuilding the Orangery in the Mansion House grounds before developing the Gate Lodge restoration.
Other partners include BLISS, Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust and the Mersey Forest