Bristol Council has consulted on a long term plan for Stoke Park. The consultation will inform bids for funding – the aim is for Stoke Park to be financially self-funding through grants from Heritage Lottery Fund and others, and from income generation.
Stoke Park is a Grade II registered historic park, and a Conservation Management Plan has been written that aims to find a balance between protecting its important historic and ecological features, such as the World War 2 anti- aircraft gun battery, as well providing a range of opportunities for people to enjoy the parkland. Some of the historic features are in need of repair and the site is currently on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.
The Society has responded to the consultation. We strongly support the plans to improve Stoke Park. Stoke Park is a valuable and attractive landscape within the city, despite the M32’s noise and barrier to access. The park is insufficiently appreciated because of its lack of accessibility, and lacks its own identity due to the invisibility of its connections with its past. It is in need of proper management.
We suggest that encouraging the active use of the park should be given more weight than is shown in the consultation documents. The plan is understandably and reasonably very much driven by the objective of managing the heritage and natural assets of the park, and these aspects are analysed exhaustively in the conservation management plan and form most of the plan’s proposals. However, if the park is to meet the green space needs of the residential communities on two sides of the park, and other visitors, these considerations need to be complemented by plans for encouraging the active use of the park.
The huge task of restoring and improving the park is being tackled at a time when the Council has proposed massive budget cuts for parks in Bristol. Plainly the capacity of community-based resources to fill the gap will be tested. Hopefully the risk to council resource will not jeopardise the funding bids.
Bristol Civic Society’s full response [PDF, 276KB] Right-click to download, click to view.
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