Garden to go ahead
DAME Emily Park in Bedminster is in most need of investment, according to consultation on the green spaces sell-off plan.
But the most popular idea for the park – a community garden – is happening regardless of the green spaces sell-off plan.
Last month the community garden project was approved after funding from Marks and Spencer, Bristol City Council and the efforts of the Dame Emily Park Project.
Bedminster and Southville was one of four areas where no green spaces were put under threat of sale, but it could still benefit from investment.
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The council has always argued that selling off green spaces is necessary to help invest in scores of other parks across Bristol, after a lack of investment for decades.
During the consultation period residents were asked to fill in questionnaires saying which of their local parks were most important to invest in and which investments in each park they wanted most.
Of the 37 people who returned questionnaires, Dame Emily Park was the most important area to invest in. Creating a community garden with a formal area was the most popular idea, followed by planting and new seating.
Entrance improvements with new signs were thought to be the least important area to spend money on.
All of the public responses had names removed when the council published them last month.
One resident said: "Really support more investment in this park. A great space for young people but needs more varied use."
Another said: "The children's play area is old and needs renovating. This should be the priority."
Unlike the nearby Greville Smyth Park there is no formally adopted improvement plan for the park, which one comment said was needed to help raise money.
A spokesman for the Dame Emily Park Project said: "The lack of an adopted plan has been a deterrent to fundraising.
"Development of the hard surface area in the top, Morley Road corner of the park is mentioned as a possible community garden.
"To progress this we need a good quality design which is acceptable to both Bristol Parks and to local people. Design and fundraising is an urgent target for 2011."
Last year the council-run Bristol South swimming pool within the park saw £200,000 of improvements to the inside of the Grade II-listed building.
But the outside is still an eyesore, with the back of the building covered in graffiti and the railings in front heavily chipped and worn.
North Street green was also thought to be in need of improvement by residents returning questionnaires, although the council did not put forward a list of proposals for this site.
One comment said the entrance was not welcoming due to the high traffic and mini roundabout, while another described it as a "key pocket green in a very urban space".
Francis Road space came bottom of the list of areas that need improving.
Money raised from sales will be added to funding from developer's, grants and the parks department budget and then divided between areas in the city.
Residents will be able to have their say on where the money should go at Neighbourhood Partnerships meetings, and over the next six months a "shopping list" of improvements will be drawn up for each area.
Council spokesman James Easey said: "We are now focusing on the investment into our parks and green spaces.
"We shall work with a sub-group of the Neighbourhood Partnership and representatives from local parks groups, and it will be for them to draw up a priority list of improvements and new facilities they would like to see for parks and green spaces in their area.
"So that when money becomes available – either through section 106, disposals or grant funding – we shall have a clear idea of which projects to take forward."