I have made a formal request for Community Infrastructure (CIL) funds be made available for some improvements in Hillfield Local Nature Reserve (aka Monkspath Park). The park serves and is within three municipal wards; Blythe, St Alphege and Shirley South. Letter to Anne B
One of the main improvements I request is planting on or near the bund at the top end of the park (nearer to Highlands Road) in order to screen the view of the large aircraft hangar type building off Highlands Road. Planning conditions a few years ago were not stringent enough to ensure the planting provided would do its job. It is vital that funds are now provided to make the view less ugly (see below):
Funding may now be available through CIL funds that will come into play as a result of local planning applications. One is the proposed Barchester Care Home, which will go on the soon to be vacant Shirley Aquatics site. There may be more to come as well. More about CIL funds can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/community-infrastructure-levy . In short, the fund was established after 2010 to help promote development whilst recognising the local impact and ensure some funds are used to redress environmental impact and betterment for the community.
The areas of Monkspath (Blythe ward), Hillfield (St Alphege) and Widney (Shirley South) are covered by a parish council, who themselves can accrue funds from development in within their own area. It is therefore important that these areas the park serves have some redress and this is where improvements to the park can come in.
As well as the screening (it is my priority) I am canvassing residents via the local Facebook group as to what improvements that are wanted. Its ok myself or one or two having an input but is vital the community is engaged. For instance, in speaking to council officers, and some park users, I have floated the idea of outdoor fitness equipment, a fitness trail, a few more benches and more meaningful play equipment. It is also vital that local resident have a say where such and such goes (if we are successful).
I will feed back to you when I know more. I am soon to meet with officers to discuss things but in the meantime please let me know what you think.