MULTI-million pound plans to improve part of a popular Stafford park have been welcomed by families.
Victoria Park was opened in June 1908, but now there are plans to invest £2.5m to upgrade the historical area.
More than 500 people saw initial ideas, which include a café and an upgraded aviary, when the borough council unveiled plans this month.
The Newsletter caught up with people today (August 6) to find out their verdict on the plans.
Claire Brindley, who was enjoying the aviary with her five-year-old daughter, Lauren, said: “A lot of people use this park and that would increase with more investment. A café is needed and I think it would encourage people to spend longer here.”
Lydia Hobbins, of Castle Street, said: “I think it’s a great idea but it’s important to keep the Victorian character.
“I used to use the pool when I was little and it is nice to see improvements. I take my little boy here and it would be good to have a covered café.”
Joy Paton, of Crispin Close, said: “The park is the best asset of Stafford. People have travelled from Hanley and Blackpool to visit it. I think it’s important they keep the atmosphere and don’t make it too modern.”
Chris Pogue, of Weeping Cross, said: “It’s great for all ages and generations of families use the park. I used to bring my daughter here.
“It’s affordable entertainment and it needs to stay that way, so if they create a café it needs to be affordable.”
Plans include improvements to the Mill Street entrance, the demolition and replacement of the aviary with larger bird cages and the merging of the small greenhouse and the glass house to become a base for ‘horticultural excellence’.
There will also be a 30 to 40 seat cafécreated within and around the underused thatch building. A river terrace seating area will be accommodate a further 40+ seats and tables during the summer.
The council has set aside over £800,000 for the scheme and aims to apply for another £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) this month.
Cabinet Member for Leisure, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “We are working hard to secure money from the Fund, and the feedback from the public is very important if we are to achieve this.”
The draft designs are available from the borough council’s website HERE.