Friday, 22 August 2008

Some Nottingham park entrances

Susan rarely utters expletives. The last time was a couple of weeks ago when leaving Wollaton Park. We had walked down from the Hall in pouring rain and were soaked through. It was that kind of an afternoon. This is a picture of the Derby Road entrance to Wollaton Park. As you can see, it us ugly and unwelcoming. It is a park lodge and one room deep. When it rains the narrow dark passage behind the black swing door in the middle fills with water and the week before last it was ankle deep. Arriving on the park side of this thing, we were confronted with a passageway of ankle deep water which we had to try and jump across or wade through. The trouble was the swing door opens inward, so you couldn't jump and push. There was no way back for Susan or our friends from London — on the other side of the gate was not only the Derby Road, but a bus stop and a five minute ride to home, dry clothes and a cup of tea. As Susan walked through the water she uttered the expletive '****'.

Wollaton Park is a major Nottingham attraction and its southern boundary is the Derby Road and all visitors to Nottingham see is this ugly building. It's more like a prison entrance. What we need is a new Derby Road entrance that positively welcomes visitors.

This is a new gate in the wall which surrounds two sides of Priory Park in Old Lenton (see my last blog, earlier this week). Just to make sure you can't get into the park this way, Parks have boarded up the gate as well. Any fit person doesn't need the gate — they can just climb over the wall. The crazy think is that this gate and wall do not hide anything dark or nasty. Behind is more open space. All this gate and wall does is separate one open space from another open space! Whoever was responsible for putting in this wrought-iron gate, then boarding it up as well is, as they say, two sandwiches short of a picnic. As park entrances go you would think it cant get much worst…
… This being Nottingham, of course it can. This is the entrance to Plantation Side open space beside the River Leen in Bobbers Mill. It's been like this for an age. Someone laid a new entrance path and just dumped the tarmac into the entrance. The gates have never been closed since — because the tarmac is higher than the bottom of the gates. If the Parks Dept had been doing their job they would have got the contractor back to do the job properly. Now, if these gates are to ever close again, it will cost the City Council £1,000 or more. By any measure it is sloppy and bad management which allows such a stupid thing to happen and then to continue.
This picture shows the steps to what was once the Mansfield Road entrance to Daybrook Recreation Ground. The landowner on the other side put this fence up to secure his property. Perhaps the person was beyond reasoning with, but it is a sorry state of affairs when things come to this. There is now talk of a new entrance, which will require a bridge to be built across the Daybrook stream. Again, this will cost a lot of money. The fact that this money may come from the Lottery or another public purse is no consolation.

I am sure that the four Nottingham park entrances I have shown you are not the only examples. I am a great believer in what I call 'marginal policies'. Deal with the small things and the chances are that the big things will sort themselves out. Ask for millions to do a makeover of Wollaton Park or The Aboretum and it shall be given. Ask for pence in comparison to make small changes to local parks and you will wait a very long time. We need to give the Wollaton and Arboretum money to the small parks and, I promise you, someone will still find the money for Wollaton and The Arboretum.

John McCain, who only days ago said it took an annual income of $5m (£2.5m) to be counted as truly rich, yesterday came under attack for admitting he had lost track of how many homes he owned.

1 comment:

Stuart Frew said...

Hi, thanks for a nice and interesting read regarding park entrances. I'm particularly interested in the exact location of the entrance to Daybrook Park on Mansfield Road. I played football on this park as a kid but can't remember the entrance.

Loved your blog about touring Nottingham's parks too. I will be back to view other articles. Thanks very much.