A £110,000 programme of improvements to spruce up Bedlington’s Dr Pit Park is about to get underway.
The award-winning park is in line for a makeover, with a range of improvements set to begin in the coming weeks and be completed in time for summer 2017.
The cash will be spent on improving the park's infrastructure and footpaths, with tree-planting, landscaping, a new MUGA (multi-use games area), a SONA interactive dance and play arch, and new play equipment.
Local people will join school pupils and members of the youth service to help plant 23 species of trees as part of a series of community events.
These will replace a number of sick and overgrown conifers which are being taken out to improve safety and visibility in the park.
The work is championed by County Councillor Alyson Wallace, who put some of her ward funding towards the scheme.
She said: “This project will help to improve the visitor experience as well as the overall attractiveness of the park. And by thinning out some of the older and less healthy trees, we hope to be able to create a more open environment where people feel safer and more confident using the park. I would like to thank all our funding partners for helping to bring the project to fruition, and I am excited to see the results.
Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services, added: “This is a genuinely exciting programme of work that will have a significant impact on the attractiveness and user friendliness of the park.
“Local people have already played an active role in helping to design the improvements, and hopefully they will continue to do so with our upcoming series of community events.
“The tree-planting will introduce healthier, more manageable trees to replace the conifers that have come to dominate the park and are in a poor condition, and this will also help to ensure the park is more open and accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
The project has received funding support from the Banks Mining Community Fund and the SITA Trust (now known as Suez Communities), as well as Northumberland County Council and West Bedlington Town Council.
The project was identified as an investment priority as part of Northumberland County Council’s capital improvement programme, and follows a major review of the park and a series of public consultations.
Marianne Ivin of SUEZ Communities Trust, added: "This is a great project that has had a lot of local community involvement. The improvements to the park are clearly welcomed and the added horticultural elements to the park will bring everything together to create a park suitable for everyone to enjoy."
Further improvements being considered include improvements to the skatepark, in response to a survey of more than 50 young people, and a heritage-based project in partnership with Leading Link.
For more information or to get involved in the park’s makeover, contact Emma Evans, Parks and Playing Fields Monitoring and Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org