Southampton City Council has approved an extra £300,000 to invest in improvements to five key parks and open spaces around the city, including Riverside Park. Cash has now also been made available to upgrade playground facilities.
Weston Shore, Portswood Park (Recreation ground), Riverside Park and The Southampton Common have been allocated a combined total of £110,000 for improvements to be made to the main gateway features and park furniture including seats, bins, signs and fences.
The additional money is targeted for improvements to St James’ Park in Shirley. This money will be used as Southampton’s contribution to try and attract a larger “Parks for People” Heritage Lottery Fund grant to refurbish the park including improvements to the current building, tennis courts, youth facilities and the play area.
Cllr Phil Williams, Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods said: “Our parks are a main feature for many residents and visitors to the city, so we need to uphold their beauty.
“The funding will be a great opportunity to make an early start in addressing essential improvements across several key Southampton parks and these will hopefully form a springboard for further investment in the parks over the next few years.”
The Cty’s vision for Green Spaces, 'The Green Spaces Strategy', is currently being prepared; the council says it will provide options for safeguarding and improving the green spaces in Southampton. The vision includes plans for a number of short-term “invest to achieve” council-funded schemes that, if successful, should attract further external funding for Southampton's parks.
The council says a series of improvements are also planned over the next three years to expand the number of parks and green spaces across the city that will meet the awards standard.
Residents are also campaigning for improved playgrounds in Riverside Park, and Bitterne Park councillor Peter Baillie has said that he and Councillor Phil Williams are “vigorously trying to find funding to get the play areas Riverside Park deserves.” See our earlier piece here.
Update: Councillors have said Ł50,000 has now been made available to update one of the Riverside Park play areas, and they are trying to find a further Ł50,000 for the second play area. Councillor Peter Baillie said that the council is trying to give local people as much freedom as they can to choose the play equipment that they want within the available budget. The Residents Association say a sub-group was formed, to work on proposals, liaising with relevant council officers.