Portsmouth council agree to consult on Victoria Park revamp

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A COUNCIL has vowed to hold a full consultation before making any changes to a city park.

Councillor Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport at Portsmouth City Council, said any changes or improvements to Victoria Park will not happen without public input.

Nothing will be decided by the council and then enforced.

Councillor Linda Symes

It comes as it was agreed yesterday the council would go ahead with a funding bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund for the £2.5m project.

As previously reported in The News councillors want to create a performance space where a bandstand used to be, restore Grade-II listed monuments, reinstate the central tree-lined avenue, and remove ‘redundant and inappropriate buildings’.

Building works would also develop a children’s play area, sorting out the southern path that floods and tidying up the entrances.

Cllr Symes said: ‘Nothing will be decided by the council and then enforced.

‘There will be a full consultation throughout the whole thing. What residents have to say is important.’

Councillor Stephen Morgan, Labour opposition spokesman for the cabinet, agreed that the public should be involved. He said: ‘The lesson learnt in recent years is its hugely important any improvements to parks and open spaces in our city are developed with the community, not at the community.

‘The proposals for Victoria Park in the heart of Portsmouth should be no exception to that principle.’

Concerns were raised at the meeting by Liberal Democrat opposition spokesman Cllr Steve Pitt about previous consultation results on Victoria Park not being published for the public to see.

He said: ‘I think it is quite important as we go forward and the fact that consultations are meaningful that we publish the results. It would be good for people to understand what the process is and to show what has been said previously.’

Portsmouth City Council will now submit its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund which they hope will pay for the majority of the works with the local authority contributing around £250,000.