Coventry park set for £4 million transformation after Lottery funding boost

By Culture24 Staff | 18 September 2009
A picture of a large park with a bowling green in the foreground

War Memorial Park (above) has been handed almost £3 million in Lottery funding

An artist-in-residence will be appointed and a florist will take over a vandalised shelter when work begins on an ambitious £4 million scheme at a Coventry park which has won more than £2.8 million in Lottery funding.

The Midlands city's War Memorial Park will be transformed with gardens, paths, pitches, education and exhibition spaces by March 2011. New features will include gardening skills workshops for local residents and oral history collections on World War I.

Dr Syd Feegrade, Chair of the Friends of War Memorial Park, said it was "excellent news".

"All the hard work and involvement of the community is now starting to pay dividends, and work will soon be starting in the park," he added.

"We will continue to work alongside the City Council and partners to develop a park facility that will be the envy of many other cities across the country."

A picture of a stone memorial in a green park

The War Memorial at the park was built in 1927 in honour of local World War I casualties

Councillor Tim Sawdon, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Libraries, pledged that the council would work thoughtfully to provide an inclusive park.

"The improvements will focus on a number of key areas identified through the Friends Group, park users and visitors," he explained.

"The planned work will retain the character of the park and include improvements to the entrance and buildings, a visitor centre, footpaths, horticultural features and developing the visitor experience."

Anne Jenkins, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, also applauded the "exciting" plans.

“The UK’s parks are wonderful places that in many cases need a helping hand to help return them to their former glory,” she added.

"War Memorial Park is no exception and confirmation of work commencing will do just that, enabling local and wider communities to see, enjoy and experience its hidden gems well into the future."

The largest park in Coventry, War Memorial Park opened in 1921 as a tribute to local soldiers killed in the First World War, and the major War Memorial at the site was built in 1927.

The City Council has provided the bulk of the rest of the funding for the improvements, and work is expected to being by February 2010.

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