Petition to turn the unused land at the Meres into a public park

Petition to turn the unused land at the Meres into a public park

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Kathy marshall started this petition to Cllr Lee Steptoe and Cllr Louise Clack

In 2016, SKDC published plans to build more council housing on areas of land off of Trent Road. One of which was the area currently used as Hornsby Road play area.

Earlier this year, they also published plans to build on the grassed area off of Larch Close.

While it’s hard to argue against the need for more social housing, with the local waiting list currently longer that 2 years and more of our children reaching adulthood and needing affordable housing of their own, It’s soon going to reach a point where our children will have nowhere to play.

However, this isn’t just an issue that affects our younger generations. During lockdown, when we were only allowed to leave our homes for very few reasons, taking daily exercise was a lifeline for so many of us. With us all being charged to stay in our local areas, it soon became apparent that the Earlsfield Estate has a serious lack of safe, green spaces away from traffic fumes. Even when we consider the two recreational spaces mentioned above, one is bordered on two sides by roads and a third side by a well used car park, and the other runs alongside the A1.

Grantham has 3 main parks, and several smaller green spaces, Queen Elizabeth Park and Wyndham Park are both located at the northern end of town serving The Manthorpe estate and town centre north, Dysart Park is located to the southern end of town serving the Spitslgare area. The Barrowby gate area has the land knows as The Lagoons, The Alma Park estate has the recreation grounds off of Harrowby Lane. The eastern side of town has The Hills and Hollows and Gonerby Hill Foot has two grassed parks and play areas, one behind Stevenson Avenue and the other just below the Arnoldfield area. There is nothing comparable in the West Grantham area.

There have been numerous studies that show the positive effects that public parks have on communities. Improved physical and mental health, increased property values, reduced air pollution, reduced crime rates and improved social wellbeing to name just a few.

Given that the estate has a majority of social housing and low income households, it makes no sense that a part of our town most impacted by negative effects of social inequality doesn’t have such a simple resource that is proven to counteract them.

The land known as The Meres has historically been used for recreation for the community. It is currently the site of the local football stadium and leisure centre, and before that it was a play area and sports pitches.

There is currently roughly 21,400m2 that holds nothing more than a grass football pitch. This space is large enough to have a well equipped play area, a splash pad or paddling pool, to retain the current pitch or even upgrade it to a multi sport pitch, to have safe, lit pathways for exercise, picnic tables, and perhaps even some free to access outdoor gym equipment, as well as new planting areas.

There are several grants and funding streams that can be explored to finance the creation of a public park, and the idea fits in well with current government initiatives on both public health and green planning.

Here’s what local residents have to say;

“We have lived on the earlsfield for about 13 years and have always been frustrated that there isn't an appropriate recreation/ play area for families living on the estate... in the past we have walked (as we don't drive) to one of the other parks which can cause great stress and tension in our family..Has a mother of a teenager with autism.. a larger park/recreation area would be perfect on the earlsfield estate as it could help, not only my son with his exercise/physio program, relieve built up stress but also the surrounding community has a place to meet, hold events and encourage support groups. My son attends the KIDS (social group for children with disabilities) located in the Earlsfield youth centre and I'm sure they would definitely access the park for all manner of activities.
Besides caring for my son I am also a care assistant for Grantham and District mencap (supporting adults with learning disabilities) situated on Aire Road. Presently we access Wyndham or Dysart park but this incurs transport cost due to this travelling takes time out of spending it in the park .. if there was an area on the estate so much more time could be spent enjoying the activity- picnics, games and the play equipment. With those with additional needs in mind, I ask you to consider a picnic table area, paddling pool with slope/large steps, wheelchair and additional needs swings, disabled toilets...
Likewise.. a selection of gym equipment similar to those in Wyndham park would also be a great attraction for those unable to access a gym for numerous reasons.” Rebecca Chantry-Parke.

“Most recently, I’ve lived on the estate since 2011 but also spent some of my childhood living up Beeden Park. I’m just about old enough to remember the Meres playing field before the stadium and leisure centre were built. The lack of safe recreational space has been a problem for the area ever since and, while I was always somewhat aware of this as a parent of children with ASD, the pandemic and the lockdowns really highlighted this issue for me. It was difficult finding safe places to take the children where we could maintain social distancing, going jogging as a lone woman down nearly empty streets or along the canal path felt incredibly vulnerable and unsafe, and the lack of access to nature had a real impact on my mental health. Having a park with real green spaces, accessible play equipment, and activities for all ages and needs would be hugely beneficial for the community.”
Kathy Marshall.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!