Work has started on restoring Thompson Park gardens to their former glory as part of the £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Funded project.
The work on the gardens includes repairing and conservation of the shelters and walling, and replanting the flower beds with colourful herbaceous perennials.
The pergolas and Doric columns, which were blown down in 2011 and have been kept in storage, will also be restored and installed in the garden.
In addition, a disabled access ramp will be built to improve accessibility in the park for wheelchair users.
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.
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.
There has been a close consultation with the Friends of Thompson and Queen’s Park and with more than 4,000 new plants to be put in during the spring, the council is hoping to involve volunteers to help with the planting and learn about herbaceous perennials.
Coun. 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 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.
The historic Art Deco gates and railings around Thompson Park will 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.
Council officers are looking into a possible digital car parking display system that would be installed at the park’s Colne Road entrance.
Anyone interested in helping out plant flowers can email Parks Development Officer Sean Kerr SKerr@burnley.gov.uk .