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.”