A successful bid for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will see Highfields Park on University Boulevard completely restored.
Nottingham City Council has been awarded £3.2 million from the lottery fund, which it will use to rehabilitate the lake, provide an adventure golf playground and paddling pool, and work on the vegetation in the Grade II listed park.
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s grant of £3.2m will be supported by a further £1.3m in donations from the city council, park trust and UoN.
The University has pledged its support for the project and will donate £350,000 to the project, as well as contributing to site maintenance and an events programme once the park is finished.
“I think improving it is not essential but could be beneficial, to create a more communal atmosphere on campus and help students mingle with families who visit it”
Jessica Wright, a second year Biology student who has lived in Nottingham all her life, commented: “Being from Nottingham I’ve been playing in Highfields Park for a long time – both as a child and as a student! I think improving it is not essential but could be beneficial, to create a more communal atmosphere on campus and help students mingle with families who visit it. I do like the idea of the adventure golf though, saves a trip into town!”
The 121-acre park was opened by Sir Jesse Boot, founder of the chemist chain, who bought an estate in 1923 to site the University of Nottingham.
Amelia Bates, a third year History student, was equally positive about the plans. She said: “As a student I love having a park on campus, and often stop to use the swings. An adventure golf course would be a great addition and I think it would be popular with students and families.”
“This additional funding will allow future generations to rediscover the site as a place for relaxation and recreation within the local community”
Hilary Sylvester, chairman of the Highfields Park Use Group said she too is “absolutely delighted.”
“There’s such a huge number of things to do. There’s a croquet lawn that is widely renowned, the park and the lake where I learnt to row when I was younger,” she continued.
Nottingham City Councillor Dave Trimble, responsible for parks and leisure, said: “Following the successful use of lottery funding to develop Nottingham’s Forest Recreation Ground, I am delighted to see further investment in Nottingham’s open and green spaces.
“Highfields Park has been an asset to Nottingham for nearly 100 years and this additional funding will allow future generations to rediscover the site as a place for relaxation and recreation within the local community.”
“I feel that this university is always being worked on so I hope that renovations won’t disturb campus further”
Seven parks nationally will share £20.6 million, which will regenerate historic spaces, improving the aesthetics and activities on offer for local people and visitors.
Amelia Bates commented that she was worried that the plans might further disrupt university life, especially near the South Entrance of UoN and University Boulevard. She told Impact: “I feel that this university is always being worked on so I hope that renovations won’t disturb campus further. This project is not essential to uni life so I would be annoyed if it was disruptive.”
“This will be a truly transformational project which will make the University an even more attractive place to visit, study and work”
Ms Sylvester added: “We were concerned with the tram proposals at first and the impact they might have on the park but perhaps this might bring more people here to see what’s on offer.”
The restoration work is due to be finished by the end of summer 2016.
Andrew Nolan, Sustainability Director in the Estates Office at UoN, said: “Alongside the development of the tram route along University Boulevard this will be a truly transformational project which will make the University an even more attractive place to visit, study and work.”
Image: University of Nottingham