The award-winning Victoria Park in Stafford reopened its gates after a £2.5 million restoration.
The Heritage Lottery funded refurbishment includes a new café and training centre, alongside a restored bandstand, listed Mottram Shelter, toilets and enhanced landscaping. The new Alberts Café is run by the local team behind the successful Great British Drive-in cinema at Sandon Hall during the summer.
The gates to the historic section of the park were reopened to the public on Wednesday (28 October) for the first time since work began in July last year. The park is seen as the gateway to Stafford - sitting on the doorstep of the town’s railway station.
Stafford Borough Council was successful in securing over £1.7 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to carry out the restoration. The park has been awarded the ‘Green Flag’ as one of the best parks and open spaces in the country since 2007.
The River Sow runs through the centre of the park which has been an extremely popular destination over the years for residents, town centre workers and visitors since it opened as Victoria Park Pleasure Grounds in 1908. It covers nearly five acres and includes the listed Alderman Mottram shelter and County War Memorial.
Other park facilities include bowling green, aviaries and sensory garden.
The Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Gareth Jones, marked the official completion of the works with a ceremonial unlocking of the gates at the Mill Bank entrance to the park.
Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, Cabinet Member for Leisure at the council, said: “The new and restored facilities look absolutely fantastic. We have ensured the historic landmarks have been preserved for future generations to enjoy. And the new café and training centre are a great addition to the park and their design fits in beautifully with their surrounds.
“Victoria Park is the jewel in the crown for our county town. It is the first thing many visitors will experience when they arrive by train and is a fantastic gateway to our town centre.”
The park has an active voluntary ‘Friends’ group who work to increase the community use of the site. If you would like more information about the Friends of Victoria Park email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01785 619428