Thursday, November 04, 2010

This morning's meeting at Memorial Garden was rather a damp affair, typical of November I suppose.  The path is complete, the ground has been reseeded, the benches positioned nicely on their new paved areas.  We agreed to have some further planting between the memorial and the new path, filling in that triangle.  We also agreed that the litter bin would be cleaned and painted to remove the mossy greenery from its sides.  Once that's done the only thing we're waiting for is the new lamp column.  I hope it's done before Remembrance Day but it's looking less and less likely now.
The snapshots give some idea of the improvements that have been made.  People walking past commented on what an improvement it is but also pointed out that we need to maintain it in good condition.  That's going to be part of the Parish Council's responsibility and will be done.  This garden is intended to be a place of peace and reflection, and a fitting addition to the war memorial.
This evening I was delighted to be at the first all-member meeting of the Protect Preston Park group.  This group grew out of the public meetings and protests over the idea of building a replacement for Egglescliffe school in the Park and on the allotments.  The battle to stop the school has been won, but the battle to have the Park protected for the future is not over.  The council has not acknowledged that the status of the Park is a factor in rejecting the idea of building - their whole argument was around technicalities like whether a bridge could be provided.  The group will continue to fight that battle, but now it's working alongside the staff who manage and care for the Park and Museum all the year round. 
I was asked to say a few words tonight, along with James Wharton MP who worked with us on the campaign, Doug Nicholson of the Friends of Tees Heritage Park whose inspiration and success encouraged campaigners and Nick Smith, Preston Park manager.  As I said tonight, I have long cherished a hope that there would be a group of people who would work for the park, nurture it and care for it and now I dare to hope that there is.  It's not going to be easy to maintain momentum because people think that the battle is over, but I hope that lots of people will support the Heritage Lottery bid for the Kitchen Garden and Orchard, and when that's successful we'll see lots of interesting events around that.
Meanwhile, if you're in the area, do visit the museum in the next fortnight before it closes for major refurbishment on from Nov 23rd.  Then you'll have to wait till next Autumn to see it revealed in all its new glory.

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