The park, located on Aylestone Hill to the north east of the city, was purchased by the council in 2000. Plans to transform the land into a recreation and leisure facility consisting of a conservation area, canal walk, footpaths, viewpoints, children’s play area and sports pitches are well underway.
Work to date has involved creating an entrance from Aylestone Hill, relaying electrical cables under ground, providing fencing, seating, footpaths and excellent view points to the south of the site.
The next phase of the project is to clean the 315 metre section of the derelict Hereford and Gloucester canal, north of the site, which is contaminated with hydrocarbons and heavy metals.
Negotiations about managing the disposal of the waste have delayed the project, but the Environment Agency has finally agreed to plans to use the treated silt as a foundation for a new entrance road off Aylestone Hill along the northern edge of the site.
Once the canal has been cleaned, a drainage system will be installed to carry rainwater from the park into the canal. A driveway and car park will also be built. The Hereford and Gloucester Canal Trust will move in to complete the canal’s restoration and towpath which will eventually link up with the canal basin in the centre of Hereford.
Cabinet member for economic development and community services, Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, said: “With over a kilometre of footpaths completed, local people have already begun to enjoy the park, but once the canal has been restored and the car park built, the park will attract a greater range of people, including families from the wider community.
“The Aylestone Park Association are helping us fundraise to keep the project going. We are extremely grateful to the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust and Community Payback who, between them, have undertaken all of the footpath construction and fencing work.”
“Cleaning and opening up the canal is particularly exciting and will provide the catalyst for further developments at Holmer Industrial Park and the Edgar Street Grid in years to come.”
The next phase of the project will see the development of sports facilities, including football and cricket pitches, a bowling green, a changing pavilion/club room and a play area for children and young people.