Work has completed 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 work to the upper lakes involved fully draining out all the water, dredging out decades worth of silt build up, repairing the banks of the islands and totally renewing the cobbled lake edges. Traditional hoop top railings have been installed to define the boundaries of the two larger lakes.
Around 3,500 tonnes of silt have been removed from the lakes. The removal of this silt will make the water in the lakes deeper and cleaner, improving the appearance of the lakes and making the water much better quality. Some of the silt has been taken off site; the remainder has been used to level out the former Rose Garden area which will be re-landscaped in spring 2011.
The council worked with the Environment Agency to relocate fish in the lower fishing lake, which were moved to the adjacent lake, while this lake was dredged. The lake will be restocked in 2011. Contractors also worked around the resident moorhens on each of the lakes, where 4 broods were successfully raised. Ducks and geese have recently returned to the revamped lakes.
Overall, these improvements have restored the appearance of the lakes, resulting in a more open aspect in keeping with the original Victorian vision for Queens Park.
The work on the lakes follows the restoration of Dobson Bridge, which was recently completed and the bridge reopened to the public for the first time in seven years.
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 area. The Grade II listed lodge will be refurbished for use by park staff and community organizations. 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 silted up. This restoration has reinstated the original Victorian vistas and views, and restored the lakes to their original splendour, as well as improving safety. This is one of many improvements to the park which will restore it to its former glory and also introduce new facilities for the 21st century.”