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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

More improvements at Preston Park

Friday, October 03, 2014

preston park

Councillors will be asked to approve the investment of £800,000 to improve car parking at Stockton's most popular visitor attraction when they meet next week.

Preston Park has gone from strength to strength since its £7million refurbishment, the packed calendar of events, the recent opening of a new skatepark and the introduction of the new RiverShack boating activities this summer mean that the park now welcomes more than 600,000 people every year.

But its soaring popularity has put a strain on car parking capacity and despite introducing stewarding to coordinate parking within the park, Stockton Council has seen an increase in parking related complaints from nearby residents.

Stockton Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook, said: "Preston Park is booming and we are delighted that it is welcoming more visitors than ever. Unfortunately, the flip side of that is greater pressure on parking. It is clear that improvements are needed.

"On event days, we currently make use of the southern and northern fields for parking but this is weather dependent as both are prone to drainage issues. We are proposing an investment in the southern field, behind Butterfly World, to provide 242 extra spaces.

"This will involve high quality, sympathetic resurfacing work of the type you might associate with National Trust-style car parks."

Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, added: "In addition to providing more formal parking arrangements in the southern field, we are proposing some drainage improvements in the northern overflow car park.

"This would allow us to use it on a more reliable basis and reduce the risk of it becoming unusable in wet weather. We are committed to planning this investment carefully and this would involve further consultation and engagement with local people and interest groups like The Friends of Preston Park.

"Like all current parking at Preston Park, the new parking will remain free of charge."

The parking improvements are among a series of proposed infrastructure investments designed to support growth in the south of the Borough.

The proposals will be considered by members of Stockton Council's Cabinet when they meet on Thursday (October 9).

Plans to improve access to and from the Park by foot and cycle will also be considered next week.

Members will be asked to approve funding to draw up designs for a wooden footbridge across the river.

Improving cycling and pedestrian links will ease traffic congestion on the Borough's roads and the pressure its car parks as will plans to operate a river bus between Preston Park and Yarm.

Councillor Dixon said: "The continued growth of Ingleby Barwick has increased the desire for a more direct route to Preston Park. A new footbridge would benefit both areas and producing a concept and design would enable us to pursue funding sources to deliver one." 

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