Park’s £1.5m bid to restore vision

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WICKSTEED Park has unveiled £1.5m plans to clean up its lake and build a beach.

The Kettering amusement park has applied to clean its historic lake and build a beach the size of two swimming pools to encourage children to paddle in its water.

Project manager Trevor McHugh, who said there was a ‘high chance’ the Heritage Lottery Fund would grant more than £1m for the restoration in June, said: “The lake was the focal point when the park was created in the 1920s. It has lost a bit of that focus.

“The thing inspiring a lot of the ideas behind the project is Charles Wicksteed’s vision for the park of healthy, adventurous, imaginative play for kids.”

A beach on the lake’s southwest shore would give visitors a landing spot for new family kayaks to replace the park’s old, hard-to-row boats as well as a place for children to paddle. The largest island would also have a landing spot.

Natural play areas would be created in several areas of the park with rope swings, den building, play logs and climbing trees.

The derelict Round House near the lake would be refurbished as a bandstand for concerts or an education centre.

A new surfaced path around the lake would improve access for people less mobile.

Almost all of the 230 people who answered questionnaires at the Newlands centre last November backed the plans, with 97 per cent supporting a lake clean-up, 93 per cent backing the Round House restoration and more than two-thirds giving the beach a thumbs up.

Mr McHugh, 66, of Kettering, said: “It has potential to be a major tourist attraction as well as an important community facility.”

The Wicksteed Trust will also hear if it has won bids for £250,000 from Defra and £50,000 from Wren, a not-for-profit business awards grants for people who live close to landfill sites, this summer.