The Friends of Sandall Park have achieved their second 5 year business plan in ‘double quick time’. In fact in three years to be exact – exceeding all expectations and building on their first business plan from 2005.
The initial plans concentrated on the area around the main car park and toilets and from nothing appeared a picnic area, paths for the less able and pushchairs, information boards, outdoor classroom, huge new adventure play area for younger children, sensory trail, baby change facilities, public toilets, disabled fishing facilities, new lake edging and much more!
Clearly at the end of such a successful period it is time to develop the park even further – why not when you’re winning! A consultation process has taken place and FoSP feel the following proposal reflects what many feel is appropriate in the park.
That a woodland adventure park be installed complementing the current two play areas. Such an area would enhance the current areas in that it is completely different and also in a different part of the park, thus balancing the footfall. Most would acknowledge that the success of the current play areas has ’tilted’ the park with few using what is regarded by many as the most beautiful area – the old golf course.
Woodland Adventure Park
The old golf course area is special to FoSP. It has been the location of our most successful project in reducing crime not only in this area but in the park as a whole. Any development of the area would have to be sensitive to that particular environment and provide a balance to the park.
Other Elements to the project
The old golf course is nice, in fact very nice, but it is the one area of the park that still harbours an element of anti-social behaviour caused by the high hedge on Barnby Dun Road – commercial dumping of litter, off road motorcycles. There is also the problem of the park becoming ever more popular and the lack of car parking space.
Firstly we feel the hedge on Barnby Dub Road must be removed before the Woodland Adventure Trail can be safely installed. The hedge will be replaced by low level fencing with mesh below and with more official entrances to the park (there is currently only one – the ash car park) Secondly the ash car park should be made into a recognisable car park – it is already a car park but no one knows it!
In essence these proposals will open up the park, make it safer, add parking facilities and ‘balance’ the park in terms of footfall.
Q and A’s
Q: How much will this cost?
A: It depends. If we go for the proposed version about £120k. Depending on the mount of funding available the proposal can be ‘collapsed’. The amount of play equipment can be reduced.
Q: Why the old golf course?
A: It is the only area in the park we can develop. It is the only area that is also under used (except by dog walkers). It is clear that the main lake/car park areas are over subscribed at times. Also we have concerns about he future for an area of green space that is under utilised. We need to ensure that all of the park is used for leisure purposes – and used well.
Q: What is happening to the old council depot site adjacent to the old golf course?
A: Our understanding is that the depot site will be sold – the use of the land will be up to the purchaser.
Q: Where on the golf course will it be located?
A: In the middle, towards Thorne Road on the high point. It will not face onto any houses directly.
Q: Why can’t we have the boats back?
A: You can! You just have to provide a business plan that shows that it would be commercially viable, get the local authority to agree and be prepared to staff the facility on voluntary basis. The angling club may also have a view on removing the fish, dredging the lake and whether boats are compatible with fishing on the lake. Then there is the small matter of finding the funding not only to put boats on the lake but the ongoing revenue costs of staff, insurance and maintenance.
Q: Is this a ‘done deal’?
A: No. This is all part of the consultation process. We’re open to ideas. The project is also subject to funding from external funding providers. The council has no funding for this project and the success of this proposal will be down to the efforts of FoSP, working with some DMBC departments, supported by users of the park.
Q: Can we see this equipment anywhere?
A: Not all together. But you can see the ‘pile of logs’ at the Filey Brigg Country Park and the tree climbing equipment at Clumber Park. There is no other equipment like this in South Yorkshire – except part of it is in Cannon Hall at Barnsley but this, as with Clumber Park is pay to enter – Sandall Park will be free.
Q: What next?
A: This is just part of longer consultation. Almost everyone consulted so far likes the idea of this proposal. FoSP are currently looking for funders for the project. This is a longer term project and by far the biggest we have undertaken – we think 2 years is a realistic objective for this project. The support of park users is paramount. FoSP are normal park users probably like yourselves, who got organised and decided to make a difference. Let us know what you think.