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South Leeds: Revamp centrepiece is ready for park business

PROUD MOMENT: From left, estate officer Graeme Ashton, Coun Kim Groves, Coun Paul Truswell, trustee Eileen Hallas, with Frances Jones, Peter Barber, Robin and Marlene Silverwood, Friends of Middleton Park.

PROUD MOMENT: From left, estate officer Graeme Ashton, Coun Kim Groves, Coun Paul Truswell, trustee Eileen Hallas, with Frances Jones, Peter Barber, Robin and Marlene Silverwood, Friends of Middleton Park.

  • by Jonathan Brown
 

The centrepiece of a £2million park revamp has finally been completed after bad weather caused building delays.

Middleton Park’s new visitor centre, which sits beside the Leeds park’s lake, will host events held by the Friends of Middleton Park (FOMP).

The venue, which was supposed to be finished in August, will act as a cafe run by people with learning disabilities supported by staff from Leeds City Council’s fulfilling lives service from December 10.

Building delays and the fitting of shutters caused FOMP to cancel half term activities for children a month ago.

Frances Jones, a FOMP member since 2003, told the YEP: “It’s wonderful, I think it’s going to be a great asset to the park.

“With the cedar roof and oak cladding it’s just perfect.”

She said that there is still a lot of landscaping and improvements to footpaths and park entrances that are expected to be completed next year.

The visitor centre, which can seat up to 80 people, will run as a cafe on Monday to Friday, from 10.15am to 2.15pm, initially serving drinks, crisps and cakes.

Ms Jones said: “It makes you feel that the powers that be care about their local park and are prepared to invest in it.”

The park’s £2million regeneration project, mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with help from the council, Wade’s Charity and the Sir George Martin Trust, also features the installation of a new bandstand, redeveloped rose garden and park entrances.

On behalf of the ward’s three Labour councillors, Coun Kim Groves (Lab, Middleton Park) said: “It’s definitely a turning point for the park, it has been a long time coming but we are absolutely delighted with the result.

“It will recapture what the park used to offer but will be fit for the 21st Century.”

A council spokeswoman said the refurbishment of the park “is in its final stages”.

She said an opening ceremony for the new-look park will take place next year.

Visitors can take a look at the centre this week when FOMP’s guided bird walk on Sunday, from 10am to 2pm, stops by for refreshments. Sunday’s scheduled litter pick will no longer take place however.

Visit: www.fomp.co.uk for further information.

 

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