Work will be starting soon on the second part of the transformation of Queens Park, which includes the restoration of three of the park’s lakes and surrounding banks.
The banks of the two large upper lakes will return to being more open as they were historically through the selective removal of around 100 trees. This will re-establish wider views of the lakes and create more light, better sightlines and improve perceptions of safety in this part of the park.
Some dead, diseased and dangerous trees will also be removed as part of the work and selective tree replanting will take place at a later stage of the restoration.
The tree removals are due to take place during February and will be followed by replacement upgrades to the pipe work of the large culvert drains either side of the upper lakes.
The work to the upper lakes will include lowering water levels, dredging, repairing and reinstating much of the lake edges . Hoop top fencing will be put in place in keeping with the former railings around these larger lakes.
The council will also be working with the Environment Agency to relocate fish in the lower fishing lake, which will temporarily be moved to a new home, while this lake is dredged. All work has also been planned in liaison with the RSPB to ensure that disturbance to birds is minimised.
These improvements to the lakes are aimed at improving the quality of the water and restoring the appearance of the lakes, resulting in a more open aspect in keeping with the original Victorian vision for Queens Park. The full dredging and restoration of the lakes should be completed by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the £500,000 restoration of Dobson Bridge is progressing on site and due to be completed in spring this year.
Other work on Queens Park as part of the restoration will include a new community pavilion with café and meeting area for local voluntary groups and a new play facility. A Grade II listed lodge will be refurbished for use by park staff and community organisations, such as the NHS and police. The sunken garden will be restored and a new formal ‘World Garden’ created to provide a venue for public art exhibitions, events and small performances. The entire scheme has been approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer commented: “The lakes are an essential part of Queens Park, but over time have become surrounded by trees and silted up. This restoration will reinstate the original Victorian vistas and views, and restore the lakes to their original splendour, as well as improving safety around the lakes. This will be the first of many improvements to the park which will restore it to its former glory and also introduce new facilities for the 21st century.”