World’s first ‘public park’ set for £4m revamp

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Birkenhead Park during the summertime. Pic © Wikimedia Commons

A £4m masterplan has been unveiled as a project that will transform Birkenhead Park.

Wirral Council and its Friends Group have curated a wishlist of improvements with the intention of securing the future of the beauty spot.

The site, which was the first publicly funded civic park in the world when it opened in 1847, last underwent a revamp back in 2002, with repairs to the Grand Entrance, Swiss Bridge and boathouse.

Further restoration plans include re-opening the bandstand; creating a red squirrel reserve; installing a CCTV system as well as modernising the children’s play area and upgrading the sports pitches.

A spokesman for Wirral Council said: “The Birkenhead Park team has developed an ambitious plan which aims to enhance and secure the park for the future.

“We need to understand which projects will best meet the needs our local communities and visitors from further afield.

“For that reason we are looking for views on the projects that are proposed in the draft ‘Birkenhead Master Plan’.”

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Both the council and the friends group are calling upon the people of the Wirral to help formulate the blueprint for the multi-million pound scheme, to which the council hopes will be funded by the Heritage Lottery.

Denise Toomin, a volunteer for the Friends of Birkenhead Park, told JMU Journalism: “The reason that the plans are open for public consultation is because, at the end of the day, Birkenhead Park is the people’s park.

“The Wirral has some really quite creative people and some will have lots of ideas about what we should be spending the budget on.”

Ms Toomin expressed the importance of volunteering and why the Friends Group needs additional volunteers now more than ever.

She said: “We’re a good group that’s been going strong for some years now but the majority of us are getting older and the bigger jobs are becoming a burden.

“To take on a project as big as this we’d need a few more younger volunteers to take on the heftier handy-work.

“People underestimate the rewards you reap when helping out in the community. If these plans go through, Birkenhead will have a park that, if not already, they can be proud of.”