The refurbishment of Victoria Park has received a major cash injection from the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
The £12 million improvement plans for the park are to be topped up with an additional £235,000, ahead of the 2012 Olympics. The extra funding will go towards the new community sports building in the east of the park, which will provide better sports facilities for Tower Hamlets residents.
The plans for Victoria Park were drawn up in consultation with residents and park users, and include a new skate park, an improved model boating lake and better sports facilities.
When asked about the boost plans for the park, local resident Michael, 21, said: “The Park itself is very nice. It’s like a green spot around the area. I come here twice a week to run but it would be nice to have a proper track around the whole park for joggers. What we have now are small tracks and the grass where people run but that doesn’t count as a running track. I hope they will build one for the joggers.”
Mary, 61, another local resident said: “Many people use the park and it needed a lot of improvement, especially the lighting. They have a lot of gaps without light so I hope they will fix that.”
Victoria, 31, said: “I like the park as it is, so it would be a shame to lose some of the Victorian, old, rustic look of the park. It probably did not need doing-up, plus we are going to have to wait the whole summer for it to open, when it was all right as it was. Hopefully the works would be fantastic but who knows, it might lose its soul.”
David Golton, treasurer for the London Marathon Charitable Trust said: “When making a grant, the trustees consider criteria such as community use, increase in physical activity participation, high standards and good management among others.
“The Victoria park project will benefit all the people from Tower Hamlets in the years to come. With this grant we want to encourage the provision of high-quality facilities to meet the recreational needs of the community.”
The majority of the funding comes from the council, with £4.5 million awarded through the Parks for People programme – a £90 million joint project between the Big Lottery Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.