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Park being transformed

PUBLISHED: 20:18 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:29 05 July 2010

RESTORING a popular park in Kirkley to its former glory is set to gather pace over the coming months.

Backed by £150,719 of funding from community action group Lowestoft Together, the efforts of Fen Park Friends in transforming the area are taking a major step forward, with the main bulk of work due to commence in September.

RESTORING a popular park in Kirkley to its former glory is set to gather pace over the coming months.

Backed by £150,719 of funding from community action group Lowestoft Together, the efforts of Fen Park Friends in transforming the area are taking a major step forward, with the main bulk of work due to commence in September.

“This is laying the foundations for the future,” Bob Russell, the Lowestoft Together neighbourhood manager, said.

“The Fen Park Friends are a single community group that have worked hard to get Lottery funding for the park and now this will allow them to build the park back up and look after it for generations to come.”

With Lowestoft Together and Fen Park Friends working with Suffolk County Council, Waveney District Council, Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, the latest injection of cash will result in the de-silting of the ponds and the bank stabilisation of islands and edges of ponds.

Concerns have been raised about the work at the park, with rhododendron trees being cut down. But Mr Russell said this had been done to allow the machinery and equipment to get into the park.

“We are not messing the park up, or ripping it up, this is ecologically sensitive work that is long-lasting and will preserve the fish stocks and wildlife. If we left it for long enough the island would disappear completely,” he said.

Two key areas of the project involve shoring up the sides of the islands and removing the sludge from the ponds with the installation of a bridge and the possibility of creating a nature walk/trail.

At the cheque presentation for the new money local historian Ian Robb, who is also a board member of Lowestoft Together, was delighted with the work being carried out.

“This is a great community asset and it's an honour to be involved in assisting to bring back something of the heritage of Kirkley from the brink.”

And vice-chairman of the Friends , Claire Strachan, is looking forward to getting more young people to use the park.

Her father, Gordon, who is the group's environment officer, added: “We're hoping that a depth of around 6-8ft will be restocked, with stabilising of the banks due to start in September.”

And on completion of the work the aim is to attract new fishing clubs along with establishing a nature and wildlife walk, as well as building a café and toilet block.

A Fen Park Friends community fun day is to be held at the park between 11am and 4pm on August 24. Dance groups, clubs and stall holders are encouraged to approach the Friends to book a space. Volunteers are also being sought, and anyone who can help or would like more details should telephone 07845 616551.

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