Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Priory Park = No thinking allowed (yet)

I have had a thing about Priory Park for nearly a year now. I first blogged about it at the end of September 2007 after the empty pigeon loft which occupied a corner of the park was burnt down. It took Nottingham City Council an age to do anything about the aftermath of the fire, as some of the pictures I posted at the time showed.
This picture was taken in late-October 2007 after they had finally cleared away 'all' the rubble. In the far corner of the wall is an empty doorway into the adjoining disused churchyard. For months the gates to Priory park were locked, but it was easy to get in (and it still is) because of low surrounding walls.

In early-November the City Council came back and cut back the vegetation, but the gates remained locked and there were some really serious holes in the ground which were a threat to life and limb. Since April 2008 the gates to Priory Park have, in my experience, been closed as often as they have been open.

Fast forward to last Saturday after another tidy-up. Now, what remained of the bushes have gone and a padlocked wrought-iron gate, with boarding behind it, has been put in place. In the foreground, to the left, there is still an 'ankle-breaker' in place, but it appears much better than it was. Anyone who knows Priory Park will know that the park is no more secure than it was before the latest work was carried out.

For some time now I have been arguing that there needs to be a proper consultation about Priory Park and the adjoining open space in what I call 'The Lenton Priory History Precinct', so when I heard that Martin Harris, the Parks Development Officer now covering Dunkirk and Lenton, is going to carry out a consultation I was delighted. Unfortunately, my optimism may be misplaced, as I understand it is to be about Priory Park only. I just hope I can persuade those involved to take a wider view and look at the disused churchyard as well.

The walls in this picture separate the park from the disused churchyard. The trees and shrubs behind the wall have all grown rapidly in the past year. In the churchyard there are recently broken memorials, probably the result of weathering and age. The park has been listed by English Heritage, so clearly they need to be consulted as well. Perhaps they have been. The madness of it all is that if someone had stopped for just one moment and thought before putting that new wrought-iron gate in the corner, they might just have realised there is a more sensible option — demolish the wall and remove the trees and shrubs from behind it so that you can see right across the park from Abbey Street to Old Church Street. It's that simple. Perhaps it has been discussed and dismissed for some very good reason. If this is the case, then I look forward to writing a future blog apologising for ever doubting the wisdom of that wrought-iron gate.

In truth, Priory Park is just one part of what is happening in this part of Old Lenton, as I will be revealing in my coming weekend blog, so watch this space! Before then I hope to find the time to do a promised blog about Nottingham park entrances. If what I have seen and experienced recently is anything to go, when it comes to gates and entrances, the City Council's policy is 'no thinking allowed' — as this blog seems to demonstrate. On Friday I will share another three examples with you.

More than 150 people were feared dead tonight after a plane departing from Madrid's Barajas airport on a flight to the Canary Islands swerved off the runway and burst into flames. One of its engines was said to have been in flames shortly before the incident.

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