Park report to go online

A photo of this years Stone Festival taken form the air by Paul Moloney
A photo of Westbridge Park at this years Stone Festival taken form the air by Paul Moloney

A report on feedback from proposals to improve Westbridge Park in Stone is to go online.

The consultation took place earlier this year when Stafford Borough Council put forward ideas for a state of the art leisure centre with swimming pool, new play facilities for youngsters, along with an improved area for popular annual events. But the main issues arising from the consultation were proposals for a food store on a small section of the park and fears over loss of open space.

The council said the food store would be necessary to fund the development with all the money raised from the sale reinvested in Stone. Now the report has been published on the council’s website at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/westbridgeparkconsultation

More than 1300 people responded to the official consultation – with around 750 supporting the proposal and 471 against. A further 104 wanted more information before making a decision and 37 did not answer the consultation questions. However the Keep Westbridge Park Green group gave people information as part of their own campaign – and handed in more than 700 forms on the afternoon of the final exhibition. Of those who took part in their campaign, 689 were against the proposals compared with only 11 in favour.

The plans were put on ice following the consultation with Councillor Mike Heenan saying he was not convinced there was “sufficient support for the scheme in its present form.” Council bosses are now looking at a range of options for the park taking in to account the feedback.

As part of the consultation a number of exhibitions were held where residents were shown plans for a new 25m swimming pool, a fitness gym and aerobic studios, new play area and teenage facilities on the park. The guides, scouts and canoe club would remain on the site and the open space and events area retained and improved so that it could still host popular annual events such as the Food and Drink Festival, Stone Festival and Bonfire Night.

The consultation ran throughout February and ended in March.