FIVE ARCHES: Project to enhance Berwick green space begins
Work starts this week on some major improvements to Berwick’s Five Arches Park.
A project funded through the Government’s Pocket Parks scheme and Northumberland County Council’s Parks Enhancement Programme will see a new perimeter pathway right around the park, and new seats and picnic tables, in this popular area of green space. The Friends of Five Arches Park group, with the support of the council’s green spaces and countryside team made an application to the Pocket Park programme last year, and were successful in achieving a maximum grant of £25,000.
Northumberland County Council has matched this and provided further funding from its parks enhancement programme, taking the total project cost to £68,000. Councillor Jeff Watson is cabinet member responsible for parks at the county council. He says: “The council has been very pleased to help to fund this project, which has been driven locally, and will make great improvements to this local area of green space.
“The council is committed to supporting local communities as well the visitor economy, but investing in parks and green spaces, for the enjoyment of all.”
The Friends of Five Arches group is an active group which helps to look after the park – and as well as working on this bid and project they have recently carried out other work such as planting new bulbs and some trees which they secured from the Woodland Trust. Denise Shearer, Chair of Friends of Five Arches (FOFA) said: “Friends of Five Arches are absolutely delighted that the work to re-instate the perimeter footpath at the park can finally begin.
We were thrilled back in January 2020 when our application for ‘Pocket Park Funding’ was successful, and then this was match funded by Northumberland County Council. This funding is specifically to re-instate the perimeter footpath and add seating.
“If the pandemic has showed us anything it's how vitally important green spaces are for our mental and physical health. The new path and seating will now open up Five Arches Park to users of all abilities and is only the first step in our ambitions for regenerating the park.”
Five Arches Park sits near the railway arches of the Royal Border Bridge and is a very popular green space providing recreational ground for residents and visitors, and is also home to Tweedmouth Amateurs Football Club. Members of Tweedmouth AFC have supported the project and contributed to it, including by uncovering and digging out an old footpath found around the ground. Ian Turnbull, chairman of Tweedmouth Amateurs FC said: "The club is delighted with the progression of the park as this will benefit the town and local area.
“We are a family-oriented club, and the recent Covid pandemic has shown us how vital open spaces like this are for everyone's wellbeing. Hopefully the new path and benches will attract more people down in the future, as the park has a lot of potential."
The project at Five Arches Park will reinstate and extend a perimeter path around the park, making the area much for accessible for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities. It will also provide seating and picnic benches and additional planting. Cllr Georgina Hill, ward county councillor for the Berwick East Ward added: “I have been extremely pleased to support the work towards this project. It will help to make this popular area of green space even more accessible and able to be enjoyed by many more people. People will be able to walk or take buggies or wheelchairs around, enjoy a rest on the new seats, or even a picnic lunch.” The improvement work is being carried out by Northumberland County Council’s local services team.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Pocket Parks programme provides support through grants to community-led bodies working in partnership with their local authority, with the aim of creating new pocket parks or bringing existing green spaces up to a safe, usable and inviting standard.
Watch the channel on TV