A public meeting has highlighted how a £2 million boost will help restore Middleton Park to its former glory.
Alan Shaw, secretary of The Friends of Middleton Park group, gave a presentation on the detailed proposals surrounding the Heritage Lottery-backed regeneration scheme for the park.
Mr Shaw told the meeting – at Middleton Methodist Church Hall – that work on the ambitious scheme was due to start in March but had been put back and was now due to start in September. The scheme will restore and improve the park and increase access to the facilities for the whole community. Improvements include:
* Described as “contemporary in appearance”, the new Lakeside Centre will be built of glass, brick and wood and include a cafe, terrace, educational facilities, information and offices for parks staff.
* A new bandstand/performance space will house bands, plays and entertainment
* New and improved entrances to the park, including replacing gates and barriers
* Footpath improvements including a new pedestrian path parallel to the existing driveway, resurfacing the footpath from the car park to the lake and sections around the lake, and improved paths through the park and Middleton Woods
* Improvements to the Rose Garden
* Improved Middleton Railway park halt – including an entry point to the park with seating, interpretation and signage
* Artwork and information, a seating area and ecology and mining trails at former Middleton Broom Colliery
* More volunteering and community involvement in the park
Friends members also discussed the need to draw visitors from across south Leeds, including nearby Beeston, to the park – and the importance of the Friends group being closely involved as the work progresses.
One local resident said:
“We’ve got an historic landscape on our doorstep which needs to be cherished by everybody.”
Last July The Friends of Middleton Park group, supported by Leeds City Council, celebrated news that that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had accepted their bid for a £1.46 million grant under the Parks for People programme. In December the council had agreed to invest a further £125,000, supported by a further grant of £287,000 from the Wades Charity.
Of Middleton Park’s 630 acres, 200 are ancient woodland and a designated nature reserve. There is also grass land, a golf course and recreational areas.
Middleton Woods Local Nature Reserve is the largest ancient woodland in Leeds and has been continuously wooded since at least 1600. Oak dominates the mixed woodland which together with streams and ponds, provide a refuge for numerous mammals, birds and amphibians.
Many species of insects and fungi can be found in the woods together with a profusion of wildflowers including bluebells and the less common yellow archangel.
The bowl-shaped pits found in the woods are the remains of an early form of coal mining dating back to before 1300. Friends of Middleton Park host a number of events throughout the year including band concerts, working parties and tours.