The community park that rose from the ashes of allotments

PLANNING AHEAD Phil Sandall from the friends of Leesland Park
PLANNING AHEAD Phil Sandall from the friends of Leesland Park
The fragment from the Union Jack believed to have flown on board HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Credit: Sotheby's

Flag from HMS Victory and Lord Nelson’s love letters up for sale at London auction

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THE friends was formed to act as an interface between the landowner, Gosport Borough Council and the local residents.

Prior to 1998, when we were formed, the park had become very run down. It was supposed to be allotments at that time but had gone wild.

There were two or three active allotments but the rest were really wild.

We had a call-to-arms at a meeting in Thorngate Halls in Bury Road to determine what to do.

The preferred option was a community park and what the council wanted was a group to act as an interface.

Before we were set up there was quite a big fire on the park. It wasn’t arson, but the fire service said it was dangerous and there was a need to do something to this piece of land.

It wasn’t safe for children to play in.

What we have now is what was done as a result.

Year by year, it’s really taken off. We had that initial influx of people who said this was great but as things have developed, like the skate park, the usage has increased.

Last year, we finished the redevelopment of the play area, which we did get a lottery grant for and was covered in The News.

We also had an amount of money pledged by the council, which we didn’t use but are now hoping to use for an activity in the play area for children with disabilities.

Then we’ve got our annual general meeting on March 19 at The Gypsy Queen pub.

We have a volunteer day on the last Sunday of every month and are looking to get more volunteers to help with husbandry, clearing brambles and more.

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