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Alexandra Park is Perked Up

Restoration work underway at Alexandra Park

Written by . Published on June 3rd 2013.

Alexandra Park is Perked Up

WORK began on the extensive regeneration of Alexandra Park, Whalley Range at the beginning of May. More than 145 years after the architect, Alexandra Hennell, won a competition to design Alexandra Park, his great granddaughters, Valley Hennell and Dianne King, returned to see the beginning of major renovation of the park.   

The regeneration of the park is not simply about returning it to its Victorian state.

The work will not only restore many of the original Victorian features but create a community green space that is fit for the 21st Century. The plans for the improvements to the park, in particular, the felling of a number of mature trees, provoked controversy amongst local residents which Confidential reported in January. (Here's the article: Alexandra Park: A Protest That's Tree Savvy or Tree-son.) 

The £5.5 million project has been jointly funded by Manchester City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, with support funding coming from the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Lawn Tennis Association and Sport England. 

Alexandra Park was designed in 1868 by Alexander Hennell and was opened to the public in 1870. Hennell's design was experimental in its use of oval shaped grounds and curved pathways accommodating sport and activities, which contrasted with the more rigid geometry seen previously in Victorian landscapes. 

The park will see physical improvements to the landscape relating to its original design. The Pavilion will be restored and extended, with the rear of the building opened up to overlook the lake. Chorlton Lodge will also be renovated, creating community and staff office space. 

The regeneration of the park is not simply about returning it to its Victorian state. The introduction of three distinct zones, a natural zone, a community zone and a formal zone will allow the park to meet the diverse needs of local residents. 

Four tennis courts and a new cricket square will be built providing opportunities for residents to become more involved in community sport. The project will also give them the chance to learn more about its heritage and help look after the park in the future. 

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council executive member for culture and leisure, said: "Visitors to Alexandra Park will see dramatic and exciting changes over the next 12 months as the project progresses.

"The regeneration is the culmination of years of planning and hard work and this historic park will be transformed into a focal point for the communities of Whalley Range, Moss Side, Hulme and Fallowfield.

"We know there was controversy about the tree felling earlier in the year and, where possible, changes were made to the plans without compromising the overall vision. The important thing now is that we continue to work together with the local community and make this a park we can all rightfully be proud of and enjoy." 

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJune 3rd 2013.

If only they could regenerate Moss Side as well.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 3rd 2013.

moss side is much improved these days.

AnonymousJune 7th 2013.

If only people would stick to commenting on things they know about.

Ghostly TomJune 12th 2013.

Moss Side has been regenerated. Sadly it's a minority of the people who live there who need regenerating. But regenerating rundown areas is infinitely easier than regenerating people who have gone to the bad.

AlexJuly 5th 2013.

simplistic ignorant (vaguely racist?) comments no thanks!

James BardnerJune 5th 2013.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the 'new' park and hope it really does get used properly by local residents and not just continued as a mugging site for aspiring gangstas to prey on innocent St Bede's pupils admiring the flowers at break time...

1 Response: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerJune 11th 2013.

As soon as St Bede's pupils stop throwing their lunchtime rubbish into my front garden, I might start commiserating with you ;-)

AlexJuly 5th 2013.

This just reads like a council press release! The park was lovely as it was, and the improvements could have been made allowing space for wildlife still, and allowing for all those lovely leafy shady places to walk and run...rather than just trying to recreate something that wasn't meant to be a static environment - trees grow you know! (though they do need maintaining, which is where the council fell down in the first place)

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