Plans to revive Lowestoft park

An ambitious project has got under way to breathe a new lease of life into one of Lowestoft's largest parks.Heavy machinery has now moved on to Fen Park, in Kirkley, as the latest stage in a scheme to redevelop the park gets under way.

An ambitious project has got under way to breathe a new lease of life into one of Lowestoft's largest parks.

Heavy machinery has now moved on to Fen Park, in Kirkley, as the latest stage in a scheme to redevelop the park gets under way.

Fen Park, which sits between Southwell Road and Tom Crisp Way, was created in the early 1900s. By the 1930s it had a boating lake and a menagerie with monkeys living in a tower and even a pool with a small crocodile in it.

However in recent years the small islands in the fens have become overgrown, maintaining little of their former glory.

The regeneration of the park started in 2005 and by February 2006, a new children's play area has been opened. The next step was the creation of a sensory garden.

Now the fens which cover a large part of the park are going to be dredged and tidied and two of the existing islands will be joined together so that they can eventually be cleared and turned into a nature walk.

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Fen Park Friends, a small group of local volunteers, have secured �150,000 from neighbourhood management project Lowestoft Together to pay for contractors to undertake the work on the fens, which will take several months.

Richard Jolley, chairman of Fen Park Friends, said that plans to dredge the pond and stabilise the islands have been on the cards for more than two years.

The first stage of the work will be to clear the trees. Some of the water will then be pumped out, with the fish being moved to a different pond, and piling will be put in place around the edges of the fens and islands to stabilise them.

He said: 'It is really a bit of a jungle down there at the moment with fly-tipped rubbish, overgrown plants and storm-damaged trees. You have to be careful where you put your feet.

'Children have been playing there because it is hidden but it was unsafe, so this work will sort out that as well. Although the heavy machinery will cause some disruption and there is limited access at the moment, the animals which live there - like water voles, owls, a heron and muntjac deer - will have a better habitat.

'Part of the pond is going to be in-filled to join two of the islands and there won't be any access to the front island - that is going to be completely open for wildlife. There will also be areas for fishing all along the new walkways.'

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