People visiting Christchurch Park will have seen the many
changes/improvements over the past months, but some problems remain.
Regarding the new Reg Driver Education Centre, a receptionist is shortly
being employed to enable this building to be open on seven days a week,
closing at 7 pm from April to the end of August, 6 pm throughout
September and 4 pm during the winter months. This will add to the
security and the provision of information about the park. Various
organisations are being considered for a three year contract to open the
kiosk in the Pavilion in the Lower Arboretum and a decision on this will
be made by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the unisex toilet is open
daily, as is the disabled persons' toilet which needs a radar key to be
used; alarms are fitted in both rooms in case of emergency.
The area around the former tennis court adjacent to the Pavilion, now
converted to an all-purpose games facility for young people, is to be
turfed in the autumn, and a design for the overgrown land to the north
of the Wilderness Pond is being drawn up by students at Otley College.
The plans will include the Rockery and will provide more benches around
The subject of litter bins always raises its head! At present, there is
an experimental recycling blue and black bin by the Mansion tea room,
the success of which will be evaluated in the autumn. New recycling bins
are planned for use throughout the park, hopefully being timber-clad
with metal tops giving information on what goes where, and these will be
positioned over a period of time. Two extra members of park staff are
being employed this summer to clear rubbish, and the effect is
noticeable - a much cleaner and tidier landscape! The Brett and Burton
drinking fountains are both working and are regularly maintained.
Everyone seems pleased with the restoration of the raised bed of floral
motifs by the Henley Road entrance. In all, the improvements, care and
maintenance provided by the Lottery money has made this park a peaceful,
clean and beautiful place - and strolling along paths amongst the uncut
grasses that shimmer in the sunshine is one of life's pleasures!
On the subject of fountains, there is much enthusiasm for restoring the
granite drinking fountain in Alexandra Park for which the group of
Friends of the latter are hoping to raise money from various
organisations. The Ipswich Society has offered possible financial help
in this enterprise, as the fountain is of considerable historical
interest. Alexandra Park was created in 1903 when Ipswich Corporation
bought some land from the Hill House estate, home of the Byles family,
and the drinking fountain was erected in 1905 by Charles Henry Cowell (a
prominent member and one time Mayor of the town) in memory of his
mother, Marianne Byles, who was born at the Hill House in 1801. This
sturdy fountain is now in a state of disrepair with no running water
available and three of its four turrets missing.
Alexandra Park has long been a popular place for nearby residents and
students of the College - indeed, when the land was purchased in 1903 a
newspaper article describes the park as 'a breathing space .... wildly
rushed by the children, rolling and running down the slope in the simple
delight of motion ..' With the redevelopment of the College and the
Waterfront and the building of the new University, Alexandra Park is a
most valuable green lung in the town. It has the further attraction of
some woodland containing mature elms (for the restoration of which a
separate group of Friends is already raising money) and an excellent and
well-attended playground for young and older children. A source of clean
drinking water would seem to be essential in this most attractive park.
News in brief about other parks:
Holywells Park is awaiting approval of its Stage 1 application bid for
an HLF grant of 2 million which is due to be assessed this September. On
Saturday, 19 October the Friends of Holywells are holding their
successful and well-established Apple Day from 11 am to 2 pm.
Play Areas: There are a number of play area improvement schemes being
planned for the next few months, the main ones being those in
Bourne Park and
off Bramford Road.
During October there are local Fungi Forays and on Saturday, 22 November
there is a Winter Wetland Cruise on the 'Orwell Lady' to see waders
along the estuary. For full details of events, please contact the Park
Rangers on 01473 433994.