Plymouth's Central Park up for a £11.2million masterplan regeneration
WORK could start in the next year to build a competition cycle track in Central Park.
The project is part of a revised masterplan to transform the park – more than 80 years after the city council first started work on it.
The park is also set to become the home of junior football for the city's 375 teams and their 4,875 active members.
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The first phase will include work to improve the sports plateau for junior football, cricket and rugby.
Plymouth City Council has been working with a new Central Park Community Forum to modify an earlier masterplan.
Members of the city's Cabinet will be asked at their meeting today to approve the £11.2million masterplan.
The cycle track and a range of other projects will be paid for through developer contributions and grants.
If funding bids are successful, work will start over the next year to refurbish changing rooms at Knolly's Lane. The facility will be dedicated for baseball, providing much-needed male and female changing facilities.
The high-profile one-kilometre "closed loop cycle track" is also likely to see the light of day in the next 12 months.
The competition cycling track in the northeastern corner of the park has been designed after talks with British Cycling, the sport's national governing body.
The council is hoping for funding from British Cycling and Sport England.
Meanwhile, the old zoo site behind Home Park will become a community orchard.
Cllr Brian Vincent, the Cabinet member for the environment, said: "This is a green light for a green lung.
"Central Park is very close to the hearts of many people.
"Previous city fathers had the foresight to create this special place for the health and wellbeing of Plymouth residents and we are finishing their work.
"This is not something that will happen overnight, but thanks to the new community forum we now have a clear idea what is the most important and the most do-able."
A report to the Cabinet today outlines where the money will go:
£2.75million for outdoor sports including pitches courts and changing rooms.
£4.63million to improve footpaths, entrances and lighting.
£2.15million for park cafés, playgrounds and the skate park.
£1.21million to strengthen the park's range of wildlife and landscape qualities
£0.5million for improved drainage including an innovative scheme to create a new lake with streams and watercourses.
No council cash has been set aside for projects, but the Cabinet is being asked to agree that any funding – such as section 106 contributions gained as a result of enabling development in the park – is used to support the environmental improvements.
The original ten-year, £12.1million masterplan has been slightly scaled back to £11.24million after work with the community forum.
The sports changing room building has been reduced in scale and integrated with the proposed new café by the golf course and existing children's playground.
Plans to resurface two existing footpaths have been dropped because they are in good order.
A scheme to build an outdoor theatre has been moved from Pounds House gardens to the centre of the park.
Pay and display on-street parking in the planned new housing development at Pennycomequick has been cut in half.
HISTORY OF CENTRAL PARK
MOST of what is now Central Park was farmland and market gardens in 1925 when the city council started buying up the land.
In 1928 the council commissioned leading landscape architects Thomas Mawson and Sons to produce a masterplan.
Mawson envisaged tennis courts, bowling greens, three children's playgrounds, a children's pool, a boating pool, a putting green, a running track and playing fields for cricket, football, hockey and rugby.
Work started in 1929 and Central Park was opened on July 29, 1931, but war halted the work and much of Mawson's masterplan was never realised.
Now the story is being taken up again by the city council.