We can take action over our parks

Ian Dixons’s letter ‘Park is a ‘shadow of its former self’ (Express September 12), struck a chord with me because everything he said about the decline of Castleford’s Valley Gardens also applies to Friarwood Valley Gardens in Pontefract and other urban green spaces that were once an oasis of colour and beauty.

Over the years gardeners and park keepers have been replaced with roving maintenance teams and the profusion of flower beds have either been grassed over or colourful bedding replaced with “sustainable planting” for easier care. The facts are that Wakefield Council can no longer afford to nurture our parks to the standard we were used to decades ago as its limited resources are directed to the essentials we all expect, such as road maintenance and waste collection.

But we shouldn’t accept that this deterioration of our parks is inevitable and here to stay. Communities are taking action and forming friends groups: Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens and Friends of Queen’s Park are two examples in Pontefract and Castleford respectively. These friends groups are mobilising local communities to restore their parks to their former glory using volunteers and finding alternative sources of funding.

So if you’re unhappy with the state of your park form a friends group and if you don’t know how to do that contact us through our website www.friendsfriarwoodvalleygardens.btck.co.uk or through Facebook.

Communities need to take action to improve our environment; there’s no point berating the council for inaction when it hasn’t got the money.

Dr Colin White

Chairman of Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens