Major refurbishment of Clare Castle Country Park centre begins
The refurbishment of the park centre in Clare Castle Country Park – part of a £1.5 million improvements project – is now under way.
Park trustees and volunteers were part of a ground-breaking ceremony, as Jamie Cotterell, representing local construction company R G Carter, and Richard Owers, from NRAP Architects, signalled the formal beginning of the building work.
The refurbishment forms a major part of the park trustees’ programme to develop a number of new, sustainable developments that aim to benefit the local community and visitors.
Funding of the refurbishment has been made possible through a £1.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, which was awarded to the trustees last year.
The money will also be used to assist a number of other initiatives in the park, which has been under the ownership of Clare Town Council since March 2015.
Geoffrey Bray, chairman of the trustees, said: “The refurbishment will allow the park to become the venue for a wide range of adult and schools’ education initiatives, as well as cultural and social activities.
“Without changing the peaceful nature of the park, the park centre will allow users to have a base from which to access all that this wonderful park has to offer.”
A former goods shed for the town’s railway station, the park centre will undergo renovations to provide an additional public toilet and kitchen facilities.
There will also be a flexible space that can be hired by the public for a range of educational, social and cultural events and exhibitions.
“The design of the centre had to be sensitively done,” said Mr Bray. “It had to keep the integrity of the original building as a goods shed, with many memories for the local community, yet provide the park with a light, bright and multi-purpose space that could serve the park users for years to come.”
Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: “From community archaeology and restoring industrial heritage gems to transforming access to play, learning, wildlife and history for people of all ages, National Lottery funding is to make a major difference in Clare Castle Country Park.
“We are delighted to support this project and look forward to an exciting and community focused future for the park.”