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.”