People's Park

©John Boothroyd ARPS
©John Boothroyd ARPS

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber

Local Authority: Calderdale

Owner Type: Local Authority

Funding Body: English Heritage; Heritage Lottery Fund; Local Authority; SRB

Year of Intervention: 1998 - 2001

Summary: People's Park - long term management planning attracts investment and enables the repair of principal features in order to return this urban space back to community use.

Description: People’s Park was designed by Joseph Paxton and Edward Milner and completed in 1857.  It was presented to the town of Halifax by the manufacturer Sir Frances Crossley, and was designed to provide quiet enjoyment of the scenery. Meetings, ball games and other activities were forbidden! The principal buildings are the grade II* listed Crossley Pavilion of 1856, which overlooks the town, two iron bridges, a central fountain, a series of seven statues of Roman deities, and cast iron urns, all of which are grade II* listed.  There is also a bandstand, listed grade II.
Issue: The main problem that was facing the People’s Park in the 1990’s was lack of investment.  Crossley’s original endowment provided less and less revenue for maintenance, leading to the park being taken over by the Halifax Corporation and thereafter the Metropolitan District Council.  Repair costs for the landscape escalated, it was subject to vandalism and there was a skills shortage to carry out necessary work.
Strategy: A management plan was drawn up to support funding bids to English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and SRB budgets and to set out the long-term plans for maintaining and protecting People’s Park. Repair of principal structures and landscape features were undertaken. Permanent staff is now on site; a park keeper post was created and skilled staff to maintain the buildings and landscape is available.  A new visitor and community building was also created and CCTV is being used. One of the conditions of the HLF grant was that there should be a ten-year maintenance plan, with budget attached and this is now in place.
Outcome: People’s park is an excellent example of long term planning to attract investment and maintain a community asset. The restoration of the Park has created an inviting space for the public to use which is safe, clean and free from vandalism.  This has encouraged increased use of the park by local people and makes the area a more inviting and attractive place to live.

Keywords: Funding, Regeneration, Repair, Reconstruction & Restoration

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