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Tree work marks start of park revival project

Work starts this week on the first stage of a multi-million pound project to restore Hirst Park in Ashington to its former glory.

Last year, Northumberland County Council was successful in securing a £2.29m ‘Parks for People’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The funding will ensure that the Flower Park is rejuvenated and landscaped, a new play area developed and greenhouses and buildings restored to provide much improved public spaces.

The National Lottery grant will be supported by contributions from the county council, the town council and Ashington Leisure Partnership, bringing the total project value to £2.7m over the next five years.

Now the first stage of tree works is getting underway – involving the removal of a number of trees which are dead, dying, dangerous or  in poor health. The work is due to be complete by the end of March.

Replacement tree planting will take place next winter and the work has been carefully timed to avoid bird nesting and bat roosting seasons.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “The restoration of this famous park is excellent news for local residents and the Ashington area. While we never want to remove trees it’s important that those that are dead, diseased or dangerous are removed, with healthy specimens planted to replace them.

“This will ensure the remaining trees stay healthy, and create better growing conditions for replacement trees.”

The Hirst Park Revival project will also deliver:

  • a new formal garden modelled on the original Hirst Park sunken garden that was lost in the mid twentieth century.
  • a growing zone and community allotment with horticultural training courses to help train the next generation of gardeners and park keepers.
  • research activities, public events and volunteer opportunities to engage local people to help us discover more about the heritage of the park, people and the area.
  • an exciting new play zone, including a water play feature and wildlife areas.
  • a community performance and interpretation space, telling the industrial heritage story of the area, on the former site of the Woodhorn monument

Image: After the Lottery funding was awarded in July 2017.

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