Town council to convert closed town centre park into wellbeing asset
- Credit: Archant
A park in Weston town centre which has been closed due to anti-social behaviour will reopen as a wellbeing park.
Ellenborough Park West will be transferred to Weston Town Council to maintain and convert into ‘a quiet, semi-natural place for contemplation’.
The town council owns Ellenborough Park East and manages it as a park suitable for dog walking with a play area, while the larger West site is owned by the Clifton Diocese and was used by Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School as a playing field and sports area.
The church closed the park last August due to anti-social behaviour after needles were discovered at the site and it has remained locked ever since.
The diocese asked the town council if it would consider taking over and maintaining the park at a peppercorn rent, to enable it to be opened up to the school and public.
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The council agreed to enter a three-year lease with the diocese and it will cost around £4,300 per year to maintain.
Speaking at a town council meeting, clerk Malcolm Nicholson said: “During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been concern about the wellbeing and mental health of the public. The pandemic has caused stress, anxiety and worry for many individuals, arising both from the disease itself and from response measures such as social distancing.
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“There is little doubt that the West Park could be a valuable community asset – currently it is a wasted space and virtually unused by anybody.
“There is plenty of evidence over many years that parks are good for people’s mental health.
“The grounds manager would like to maintain the West Park as a wellbeing park, closed to dogs and a quiet, semi-natural place for contemplation, walks and gentle activities like tai chi or yoga.”
The town council will receive a yearly report and explore the right to renew its lease going forward.
Schools may also be able to use the site for sports days.
The park is a site of special scientific interest.
Cllr Mike Bell added: “Central ward is a community that is among the most deprived in Weston in particular some of the health and wellbeing outcomes are among the poorest, so something which is geared towards helping these practices is welcomed.”