Big aspirations for town park

Story about Jack Kershaw who is chairman of the new Friends of Pontefract Park group - their plan is to help improve parking facilities at the park, build a cafe down by the lake and plant daffodils up Park Road to improve the approach into town.    ' 'LOCATION: Pontefract Park, Park Road, Pontefract
Story about Jack Kershaw who is chairman of the new Friends of Pontefract Park group - their plan is to help improve parking facilities at the park, build a cafe down by the lake and plant daffodils up Park Road to improve the approach into town. ' 'LOCATION: Pontefract Park, Park Road, Pontefract
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A CAFE, improved security and parking are some of the revamp projects lined-up to boost Pontefract’s vandal-hit park.

The Friends of Pontefract Park group – launched three months ago – hopes to transform the 110-hectare park with a lakeside cafe, better fishing facilities, increased security and improved parking.

The Friends will work with a Wakefield Council steering group on the plans which they say could give the green space a spruce up.

Jack Kershaw, chairman of the Friends group, said: “A long term objective for the group is to build a cafe down at the lake, it’s one of our main aspirations and the council steering group will look at the possibilites for that at the next meeting. The funding will be the next issue.

“Imagine it – a cafe overlooking the lake where people can call in and get drinks and a sandwich and sit outside.

“It would go down really well. We’ve identified a site which is near the old putting green, that’s what we would prefer but the steering group will discuss these issues.”

Mr Kershaw said other plans for the park include improving fishing facilities at the lake, parking, and planting flowers along Park Road.

He said: “We’re looking at parking spaces and at planting daffodils all the way into town to make the park look better and also improve the approach into Pontefract.

“We’re fully supporting the council in their objectives to make the park a safe place to go, which is something we’re quite adamament we want to achieve.”

Wakefield Council closed the park’s toilets several years ago after funding could not be found to repair damage inflicted by vandals.

CCTV has since been installed in the park and the steering group – comprising three council officers, two councillors, two representatives from the Friends group and two representatives from the racecourse – will meet for the first time in September to discuss future plans.

Glynn Humphries, service director for the council’s cleaner and greener department, said: “A small amount of funding has been raised to fund repair work to the existing toilets with a view to reopening them in the next couple of months and CCTV has been installed in the park.

“A steering group is being formed for the park and with the help of the newly formed Friends group there is a shared vision to enhance the facilities within the park.”

The Friends group meets at Pontefract NEW College on the last Wednesday of each month at 6.30pm.

Mr Kershaw said: “We welcome anyone to come along to our volunteer group. I honestly believe the improvements will be a good thing for Pontefract and for residents who live around here.”