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Plea for park

As reported on May 22nd 2009 by Katherine Vine (View the Article)
A park friends group is putting pressure on the council to stump up the cash for vital repair work after a Lottery bid was turned down.

The Friends of Longford Park found out last month that its bid for cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund had been turned down for the second time – and say parts of the park are in vital need of work.


CALL FOR ACTION: Councillor Judith Lloyd and
Margaret Westbrook, a member of the Friends
of Longford Park, at the old Edwardian
bungalow in the middle of the beauty spot

Friends group member John Fitzgerald said: “No work has been carried out in the park for years because we were waiting for the Lottery money, and now it’s very dilapidated in places.”

The group’s members are particularly concerned about the Edwardian bungalow in the middle of the park, which they want to see turned into a community cafe.

John added: “It is quite an attractive building but it is in a very poor state of repair. There are serious problems with the roof – you can see the gaps in the tiles – and we are concerned it is becoming structurally unsound.

“It could have to be demolished if something isn’t done soon.

“We are just trying to get the council to do the initial repairs on it but we would really like to see it turned into something the whole community could enjoy.

There are so few amenities like cafes and restaurants in Stretford and it could be really nice.”

The group is being backed by Stretford’s Labour councillors, Judith Lloyd, Pauline Lane and David Jarman. Councillor Jarman said: “This building has been left to fall into disrepair by the council.

“However, there is an opportunity for the council to take the initiative and develop it into a functioning and exciting facility. The park is crying out for a cafe which would be used by the many people who enjoy Longford Park.

“Its location is at the heart of the park and I’m sure it would be welcomed by the local community and all the park users.”

Environment councillor Jonathan Coupe says a building condition survey on the bungalow has been carried out.

If this reveals any serious sturctural issues the necessary work will be undertaken.

He added: “The Edwardian bungalow is an important asset to Longford Park and we are looking at the feasibility of operating a cafe at this site in the future.

“This will depend on the level of investment required to meet the necessary standards for food preparation and on finding a suitable operator.

“We will continue to work closely with the friends group and the rest of the community to maintain and improve all aspects of Longford Park for local people.”

Group accuses council of Longford Park neglect

As reported in the Stretford and Urmston Messenger May 14th 2009 by Robert Downes

A STRETFORD park was neglected for six years in the false belief Lottery cash would pay for its restoration.

That’s the claim from the head of the Friends of Longford Park group, Jean Byrne, who also accused Trafford Council of lavishing cash on parks in the more affluent areas to the south of the borough at the expense of others in the north. “The Friends of Longford Park have been working hard for almost 10 years to persuade Trafford Council to prioritise a park it has called ‘the jewel in its crown’,” she said.

“For six years much essential maintenance work has been put on hold on the assumption that the park infrastructure would eventually get fixed with the Lottery money.This assumption has proved wrong and the gamble failed. We feel that the council has shown a degree of neglect of our park and indeed of the Stretford area in genera. We find beds full of flowers at the south end of the borough and yet the flower beds in our park lie derelict and basic lighting and repairs have been left for years.”

But executive member of parks, Cllr Jonathan Coupe, said: “Longford Park is a priority, flagship park in Trafford and significant resources are dedicated to its maintenance. “HLF funding focuses on improvement projects, not essential maintenance work, so maintainence work has not been put on hold at any time. Recent work carried out has included a newly-surfaced footpath from the Quadrant entrance to the rear of Longford Cottages and the improvement of the younger children’s play area. “The council does not spend more on parks in the south than the north of the borough” he added.
The council also confirmed around £400,000 of town hall cash earmarked for improvements at Longford Park had the bid been successful, may not now definitely be spent there. A spokesman said there were ‘no guarantees’ the cash was ring fenced for Longford Park projects only.

Stretford’s Longford Park loses out on £2 million cash boost

As reported in the Stretford and Urmston Messenger April 16th 2009 by Robert Downes (View the Article)

HOPES for a multi-million pound makeover of Stretford’s Longford Park have been dashed for a second time in as many years.

Trafford Council’s application for a two million pound face lift of the Edge Lane park, submitted in the autumn, was rejected by The Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this week.

The rebuttal has prompted strong criticisms from the Friends of Longford Park group, who said the council’s strategy to secure Lottery cash in order to modernise the park - the largest in Trafford’s largest - had failed.

Spokesman John Fitzgerald also said there were now serious questions the council needed to answer as to how and when urgent work needed at the park was going to be achieved.

“We were hoping for some really positive news,” he said. “We had a 1,500 strong petition of support for the project, two MPs on board, local councillors, but it’s still be rejected. We want to know why,” he said.

“There’s been very little spent on the park since 2003, the plan being the work would all be paid for when the bid was done. It was the council’s strategy to rely on Lottery cash and now we’re not getting it we want to know what they’re going to do.”

“We’re trying to be fair minded about this, but we need to know why this second funding bid failed.”

The council said on Wednesday the town hall would be seeking feedback as to why the second such bid had failed, but said they remained committed to realising the masterplan.

“I am extremely disappointed we’ve missed out on the HLF funding again, and we will be asking for feedback about our bid to help us move forward stronger,” executive councillor for parks Jonathan Coupe told SUM.

“But I want to assure local people we still have every intention of developing the exciting masterplan put together for Longford Park.

“A lot of time and effort was put into this latest bid by many people and their hard work has provided a strong vision for the future of the park that we intend to make a reality.

“We will continue to invest what limited funds we have available as a council to make sure standards at the park are maintained and, together with the local Friends group and the community, will work hard to secure external funding so that the masterplan can be put into practice.”

Park Friends lose Lottery cash bid

As reported on April 17th 2009 by Katherine Vine (View the Article)

FANS of a Stretford beauty spot have suffered a fresh blow after failing to secure Lottery funding for the second time.

The Friends of Longford Park and Trafford Council vowed to fight on when, in May last year, they learned their £2 million Heritage Lottery Fund bid had failed.

In September they submitted a new bid, backed by the Friends’ online petition and appeals for the public to get behind the cause.

The council promised to match any Lottery funding with £400,000 of its own cash.

But this week they were told that, once again, the bid had been unsuccessful.

Group member John, who was one of the main driving forces behind the bid, said: “We are all just really disappointed.

“We had been feeling for a while that no news was not good news, but we were so hopeful that we would get this money that the park desperately needs. It seems that Stretford loses out once again.”

The park is steeped in history and once housed Longford Hall, home of the Mancunian cotton magnate John Rylands.

The Lottery money would have funded the restoration of the hall’s remains and rose gardens and the building of a visitors’ centre, performance space and sports ground.

John says the Friends now fear for the park’s future as the fight to get Lottery funding has taken almost six years.

In that time, many of the park’s maintenance issues have not been addressed.

He added: “For quite a period of time now the council has been cutting the park’s funds right back to the bare bones. We have reached the point where Longford Park is in a really poor state, and it is a real shame because the park matters to a lot of people.”

The issues of most concern to the Friends’ group are inadequate drainage leading to frequent flooding of the park, broken lighting, graffiti, inadequate toilet facilities, empty flower beds and neglect of the ornamental gardens.

Councillor Jonathan Coupe, who is in charge of environmental issues, says the council remains committed to improving the park and will continue to fight for funding to make this happen.

He said: “A lot of time and effort was put into this latest bid by many people, and their hard work has provided a strong vision for the future of the park that we intend to make a reality.

“We will continue to invest what limited funds we have available as a council to make sure standards at the park are maintained and, together with the Friends group and the community, will work hard to secure external funding so that the masterplan can be put into practice.”s

2008 Longford Park Heritage Lottery Fund(HLF) Petition

The petition supporting the 2008 Longford Park HLF bid is now closed

A very big thank you to the 1507 people that have signed our petition.
We have now received 848 paper based petition signatures to add to the 659 online petition signatures. An amazing community effort.

To show how important the 2008 Longford Park Lottery bid is to the local community we hoped to get over 500 signatures. We are absolutely delighted that by the 21st September we managed to get over 1500 signatures. Thanks very much.

Reasons to Support the Longford Park Heritage Lottery Bid

10 Good Reasons to Support the Longford Park Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Restoration bid:-

  1. Renovation of the Edwardian Bungalow to provide a Cafe with outdoor picnic area next to the popular kids play areas and pets corner.
  2. Restoration of stable buildings to provide a visitor centre, scout headquarters, art exhibition space, meeting rooms, classroom for Trafford College and other partners and centrally located toilets.
  3. Restoration of the Art Deco shelters Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens, including reintroduction of water features
  4. Expansion and development of the Pets corner area into a small urban farm style facility, offering greater interaction and learning for the local community.
  5. Transformation of the Longford Hall Garden area into an outdoor performance area and vibrant civic space, providing a prominent symbol of regeneration for the community.
  6. Creation of new paths, improved drainage and signage to increase usage and take advantage of the park’s proximity to Stretford Athletics Stadium, the Trans Pennine trail,the Mersey Valley and the soon to be redeveloped Bridgewater Canal.
  7. Creation of multi-use sports area including Mini Golf, improved pitch and putt course and youth activities zone including basketball training area and small skate park
  8. New safety measures such as CCTV, lighting and additional staffing
  9. Appointment of a dedicated Longford Park Manager and two Park Rangers to communicate the park’s rich cultural history and maintain and enhance Longford Park’s facilities, audiences and cultural vibrancy into the future.
  10. Restoration of Ha Ha and other heritage features associated with the John Rylands estate.

The 2008 HLF bid will be submitted by Trafford Council in September 2008.
If you have any suggestions how the bid could be further improved then please contact us.


People power backs park bid

As reported in the Stretford and Urmston Messenger September 11th 2008 by Robert Downes (View the Article)
FRIENDS of Longford Park have said a big ‘thank-you’ to everyone who signed their on-line petition supporting the multi-million Lottery regeneration bid.

Organisers from the group needed more than 500 signatures for their petition to be included in the official bid being submitted by Trafford Borough Council at the end of this month, and that figure was reached earlier this week.

Committee member John Fitzgerald told SUM: “We’ve had a great response so it’s thanks to everyone who signed.

“The petition has really demonstrated the strong support the bid has amongst the local community, and hopefully it’ll give it more weight.
“So once again thank you to everyone who signed,” he said.
The bid, which has been compiled by the council with the help from the friends group is a two stage process.
The council won’t find out until around May time whether it has made it through to the second stage. If it does the final outcome won’t be announced until 2010.

As part of the bid to improve the civic amenity is a new cafe in the Edwardian bungalow, expansion of pets corner, a park ranger, restoration of the park’s heritage features related to the original John Rylands Longford Hall Estate, new toilets and the restoration of the coach house buildings to offer visitor/meeting areas. Improved drainage and paths for walkers and cyclists and well as restoration of the ornamental gardens and the creation of an outdoor performance area and multi use sports area are also included.

Despite having reached the 500 signatures they needed you can still lend your support by signing the petition and also learn more about Longford Park’s 2008 Heritage Lottery Fund bid by visiting http://folp.org.uk

MP Backs Longford Park’s fresh lotto cash bid

As reported on the 29/08/2008
Stretford and Urmston MP Bev Hughes has urged people to back Longford Park’s latest multi-million pound bid for Heritage Lottery funding. She as now joined the 297 people who have signed the Friends of Longford Park’s online petition.

Bev said: “I’m really pleased to support Friends of Longford Park in their heritage Lottery Bid. I want to thank them for the work they’re doing to improve the Park. I’d encourage as many people as possible to sign the Friends petition online. Longford Park has a rich history and a successful Heritage Lottery Bid would be absolutely fantastic. So sign the petition and back the bid.”

The Friends of Longford Park hope to get more than 500 signatures by September 15. To sign the petition go to http://www.friendsoflongfordpark.org.uk

Trafford Metro News Supports the 2008 HLF Bid

As reported by Helen Clifton on the 08/08/2008 (View the Article).

CAMPAIGNERS have pleaded for support for their renewed bid to regenerate one of Trafford’s most important parks.

Although an application for a £2 million Heritage Lottery Grant was knocked back in May, the Friends of Longford Park have vowed to battle on, with a new bid to be submitted in September.

They have now launched an online petition to garner support.

John of the Friends of Longford Park said: “When we found out that the first bid had failed we were totally gutted. The next bid is going to be hard because of competition from the 2012 Olympics, so we have to get more support to give us a chance.”

The park once housed Longford Hall, home of Mancunian cotton magnate John Rylands. A successful bid would fund the restoration of the hall’s remains and rose gardens, and the building of a new visitor centre, performance space and multi-use sports arena.

Trafford Council, which has submitted the bid, has promised to match any Lottery money with £400,000 of its own funding.

Improvement work on the park has already started, and a £60,000 children’s play area with disabled access is due to be completed by the end of the week.

John added that the bid reflects a greater emphasis on the park’s heritage.

“I think the first bid failed because it didn’t emphasise aspects of the park’s history enough,” he said.

“The plans have now been altered to take on board the views of the Friends of Longford Park.”

Stretford and Urmston Messenger Supports the 2008 HLF Bid

As reported in the Stretford and Urmston Messenger Tuesday 22nd July 2008
(View the Article)

LONGFORD Park could be transformed beyond recognition if a £2 million Lottery bid due to be submitted in September gets the green light.

It’s the second time Trafford Council have applied for substantial Lottery funding to make wholesale changes at the historic park in Stretford.
And they need public support for the bid to transform the park.

The bid includes restoration plans for the park’s Edwardian bungalow to provide a new cafe and outdoor seating area, new toilets, restoration of stable buildings to provide a visitor centre, scout headquarters, art exhibition space, meeting rooms, classroom for Trafford College and other partners and centrally located toilets.

The park’s art deco shelters, rose gardens and the Japanese gardens would all benefit from a makeover, as would the reintroduction of water features.
The pets corner would be expanded and developed into a small urban farm style facility, offering greater interaction and learning for the local community.

The Longford Hall Garden area would be turned into an outdoor performance area and vibrant civic space, providing a prominent symbol of regeneration for the community.

Creation of new paths to open up underused areas of the park, improved drainage and signage to increase usage and take advantage of the park’s proximity to Stretford Athletics Stadium, the Trans Pennine trail, the Mersey Valley and the soon to be redeveloped Bridgewater Canal are all included in the bid, a decision either way won’t be made until 2010.

Executive councillor Jonathan Coupe told Messenger: “This is a very exciting bid which, if successful, would give us the opportunity to bring immense improvements to Longford Park to transform it into a first class community facility.

“We really want local people to feel that the park belongs to them and I would ask residents - particularly those living in the immediate area - to offer their support to this campaign.

“We want all our parks to be well-used, vibrant, safe and sustainable and this funding will secure this future for Longford Park.”

Local people can lend their support and comment by signing the Friends of Longford Park’s electronic petition. The link to the page is www.friendsoflongfordpark.org.uk