£380,000 pretty green for Sheffield parks

Sheffield City Council will spend £380,000 on improving at least 11 more parks across the city, in the next financial year, despite nine years of budget cuts.

More than 800 parks and green spaces across the city are maintained by Sheffield City Council, providing important leisure and recreation facilities to people in all areas of Sheffield.

The council is working with local communities to support much-needed improvements at 11 parks and green spaces, to make them safer, cleaner and more accessible, for everyone to use and enjoy. 10 of these locations will also see improved play and recreational facilities with the aim of encouraging children and families to be more active in the great outdoors.

These projects will be funded both with Public Health* and S106* (Planning Gain) funds.

The improvements are part of a programme of work that aims to deliver better quality green spaces across Sheffield that can contribute to getting people more active, and therefore support the health and wellbeing of people in the city.

Parks that are planned for improvement this year include Lydgate Lane Open Space, Osgathorpe Park, Darnall Community Park, Phillimore Park and Broadfield Road Open Space, Wensley Street Playground, Nottingham Cliff Recreation Ground, Denholme Close Playground, The Ponderosa and Philadelphia Gardens.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield has some of the best parks in the country and wherever you live in the city you will not be far away from a park or green space.

“We truly value all of our parks and we know how important they are to people who live here. Many people rely on their local park to get out and enjoy family time outdoors and take part in physical activity, but we recognise that some of our parks are in need of improvement and we are working hard bring them up to standard.

“Over the last two years we’ve already carried out improvement work at many of our parks and people in those areas are enjoying the benefits. I am very pleased that despite extreme pressure on our services we are able to deliver these projects that will see our green spaces flourish and our residents getting the most out of our wonderful parks.”

In the last nine years, the council has had to find savings of £460million, changing how many services are delivered to cover Government cuts and the rising cost of social care pressures. But, the authority understands that investment in outdoor spaces contributes to improvements in health and wellbeing and to the councils objective of addressing health inequality.

Councillor Olivia Blake, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield has borne the brunt of austerity for the last nine years, but we are determined to deliver against our values and support preventative interventions to keep people healthy.

“We have been forced to make many difficult choices, but we recognise the important link between high-quality parks and improved physical and mental health and we know that parks are essential, especially to some of our most vulnerable families. Maintaining our green spaces to a high standard will contribute to improving people’s lives, which will have a positive impact on the increasing social care pressures we have to manage.” 

Projects that will be delivered in 19/20

Play Improvement Project

On completion the Play Improvement Project, now in its third phase, will see £378,000 invested in play facilities in approximately 22 parks across Sheffield over 3 years. The investment will improve the quality of the sites as measured by the Sheffield Standard* and the Play Value** scores.

Parks and multi-use-games areas already improved under the scheme include Norfolk Heritage Park, Brightside Recreation Ground, Cardwell Drive, Hillsborough Park, Springwell Drive, Middlewood Park, Richmond Park, Duchess Road and Philadelphia Gardens.

Under phase three of this project a total of £88,000 is planned to be invested into parks at Lydgate Lane Open Space, Osgathorpe Park, Darnall Community Park, Phillimore Park and Broadfield Road Open Space.

Burngreave Public Health Improvements

Sites have now been agreed under year two of Public Health funding in the Burngreave area, including Wensley Street Playground, Nottingham Cliff Recreation Ground and Denholme Close Playground.

Improvements to Nottingham Cliff and Denholme Close will benefit pupils at the new Astrea Academy which is located nearby.

The council plans to spend £92,000 installing and renewing play and agility equipment, increasing the opportunity for active healthy play.

Ponderosa Active Play Improvements

The Ponderosa, between Netherthorpe and Upperthorpe, has been identified as a site to benefit from investment through the Parks & Countryside’s Public Health funding. The park is currently underused due to issues around poor access, connections, visibility, and facilities. The park is an important central Sheffield green space which serves large diverse communities.

The council will spend around £187,000 carrying out improvements, in phases, to the entrance and access, footpaths and connectivity, play and sports, and woodlands.

The recommendation provides a selection of improvements that will benefit a wide range of ages and abilities, providing opportunities for increasing activity in a number of ways.

Philadelphia Gardens

This project upgraded the Philadelphia Gardens basketball court and created a multi-use games area. The work was completed under budget so the council can spend a further £12,500 on improving the site further. A project for £7,800 has been approved so far and the remaining £4,700 will be available to use on other improvements at Philadelphia Gardens or nearby parks.

The main focus will be to carry out work that will improve safety and reduce anti-social behaviour in the area, so that local people feel safe and confident using the Gardens as a through route.

The council plans to remove equipment that has fallen into disrepair, plus hard landscaping and old fencing to create a more welcoming and green environment that is beneficial to wildlife and local people.

More information about each of these projects will be shared as the work progresses.

This spend on parks improvements is due to be approved at the council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 13 February. The related reports are available to read on the council’s website.

The council will also be seeking approval for further parks improvement projects within the 19/20 financial year and will share more information on these when available.

*The Sheffield Standard is a green space quality standard that was established in 2010 as part of the development of Sheffield’s Green and Open Spaces Strategy (GOSS). The standard supports fairness principles, providing a guide for all sites to become Safe, Clean, Welcoming and Accessible by 2030 (GOSS strategy is a 20-year plan). Over the last 10 years the percentage of sites that attain the Sheffield Standard has risen from around 30% to more than 60%. The Standard is based on the nationally recognised Green Flag award.

**Play Value Score is calculated as part of an annual external assessment of the city’s outdoor public playgrounds. A play value score is assessed based on the range and quality of play opportunities and experiences offered by a play environment.

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