An historic park is set to be handed a multi-million pound funding boost to revamp its major attractions and war memorial.
Fleetwood’s Memorial Park is in line for a £2.4m cash windfall from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund to carry out extensive work on entrances, gardens and sports pitches - provided planning permission for the work is approved.
The Grade II listed park is an integral part of Fleetwood’s heritage and was built in 1925 to commemorate the First World War.
Coun Lynne Bowen, cabinet member with responsibility for parks at Wyre Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have backed our vision for Memorial Park.
“The decision reflects the historical significance of the park, both locally and nationally.”
And it is fitting that we will be undertaking this work during the First World War centenary.”
Les Fletcher, chairman of the Friends of Memorial Park, said: “I’m thrilled with this decision and the benefits it will bring for the people of Fleetwood.
“I remember how lovely and well used the park was when I was a child 60 years ago, but I’ve seen it change over the years to become a thoroughfare rather than a destination. I’ll be delighted to see it restored to its former glory and reaching its full potential. I hope more people from all parts of the community will be encouraged to use and enjoy it in the future.”
The park’s affinity to remembering the sacrifices made by past and present members of the Armed Forces in Fleetwood can be seen in its towering war memorial, which will be restored and improved.
And further changes to the park will see a new area built to give vulnerable veterans and youngsters from Fleetwood the chance to work with each other.
Coun Terry Rogers, Wyre Council’s Armed Forces champion, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful news.
“The veterans are an integral part of the park and I have a lot planned for the memorial in the future. This has really given us a boost to deliver projects across Wyre and Fleetwood.
“The hard work of the staff, the friends of the park group and Heritage Lottery Fund means we can now make this one of the best parks in the area.”
Tom Naughton, a coach from Tommy’s Youth Club, in Fleetwood, will work with youngsters and veterans on various projects.
He said: “We will be getting involved and I think it’s a great idea.
“The community has done a great job to get where we are and it’s going to be a big improvement.”
Many parks are suffering
Carole Souter, chief executive of Heritage Lottery Fund, said on behalf of HLF and BIG:
“We’re delighted to be able to provide this much needed support for Memorial Park when it could not be more needed.
Many public parks are really suffering in the current economic climate so this is particularly good news for the North West.
Parks are important to all of us and add so much to our quality of life.
“Memorial Park in Fleetwood, which has hugely important First World War links, will help to bring the already passionate local community together and now, we can help them secure its future.”