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.”

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

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