Monday 6th November 2017- By Nic Marko

Work has started on restoring park gardens ‘loved by generations’ to their former glory as part of a £1.2 million project.

The work on Thompson Park Italian gardens in Burnley includes repairing and conservation of the shelters and restoring previously damaged columns. The pergolas and Doric columns were blown down in 2011 and will now be installed again after being kept in storage. Walling and replanting the flower beds with colourful herbaceous perennials will also take place as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project.

llr John Harbour, Burnley Council’s executive member for housing and environment, said:

“Thompson Park has been loved by generations of Burnley people and it’s fantastic to see it being restored to its original splendour.

“The park is an important part of Burnley’s history and I am delighted that our ambitious plans for a full restoration along with improved facilities are right on track for completion summer 2018.

“The council is grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its generous support for the restoration of Thompson Park.”

The Italian Garden is the ‘horticultural highlight’ of Thompson Park and the newly planted herbaceous perennial plants will provide year round colour, attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies and be less expensive to maintain. In addition, a disabled access ramp will be built to improve accessibility in the park for wheelchair users.

This approach fits with Burnley Council’s ‘Rethinking Parks’ policy, which aims to create parks that are more interesting for visitors, attract wildlife, are cheaper to maintain and have reduced CO2 emissions. The council has consulted closely with the Friends of Thompson and Queen’s Park with the project who will help with more than 4,000 new plants to be put in during the spring.

The contract to restore the columns and pergola has been won by a local contractor Groundwork Direct. The civil engineering work to restore Italian Gardens will be completed in January 2018 and the flower beds will be planted up in the early spring.

This comes as work on the Art Deco gates and railings around Thompson Park will also be renovated as part of a wider £1.2 million renovation project that is underway. Tendering for the work is due to go out shortly.

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