The first part of the tour focused on the main area of Beacon Park comprising the football pitches, building, Beacon pool, children’s play area and crazy golf. The area is to undergo a significant restructuring.
A most notable change will be the moving of the children’s play area closer to the pool, replacing the corner of grass and the current play equipment. The new play area will incorporate natural play equipment like mock logs and rocks. There will also be an area specifically for under 5s to enjoy. The crazy golf will also be improved and the green refreshments hut and storage unit that accompanies it will be removed altogether.
To replace it a brand new café will be built on the ground between the crazy golf and the stream that runs through to the pool. This will incorporate a veranda and two sides of the building will be glass, giving a view of the pool and the new children’s play area.
Beacon Pool will also be subject to a large amount of work. The pool will be dredged and the banks will be re-inforced with wild flowers. A new footbridge is to be constructed across the pool as well. This will zig-zag across the pool and include a platform with a direct view through the trees to the Cathedral. This new bridge will be closer to the building than the current one, making it more accessible and linking up with the new cafe.
The existing building will also get an extension, including upgrades to changing facilities and new toilets. The communal changing room will be replaced with segregated changing rooms and built to Football Foundation standards to support the grass roots sports teams in the area. There will also be new offices for park staff. New storage areas will be included, too, enabling the removal of the green storage container that currently sits outside the building.
In place of the green container will be a new set of flower beds. The Swinfen Broun memorial that sits to the side of the building will be moved amongst these flower beds to give it more prominence for visitors of the park.
Elsewhere in the park the woodland will undergo important maintenance. The canopy of the trees around the edge of the park is very dense at present and this is stifling the under growth. The canopy will be cut back and native species planted on the woodland floor. This will encourage new flowering and wildlife.
In the recreation grounds area there will be a brand new horticultural training area. A greenhouse will be added with community gardeners taking care of the project which will include a composting toilet.
In the same area a new bowling green will be added to the existing one to replace the green that sits in the Museum Gardens. A new bowls pavillion will be built to support bowls players and this will double up as an education unit.
Walkways will be constructed through the flowers in this area also, and the fence lining this side of the park will be moved to sit just behind the brook that runs to Minster Pool instead of it sitting just in front as it does at the moment.
Moving to the Museum Gardens, this area will also undergo a large transformation. The current bowling green will be removed and extra flower beds added in it’s place. These flower beds, as well as new paths will be added to create a symmetrical design in a nod to the garden’s Victorian roots.
The martyrs plaque will be restored and moved from the ground and onto a plinth to give it much more visibility. The two statues, of Captain Smith and Edward II, will be restored by specialists and should be more prominent with their incorporation into new flower beds.
In this area, the most significant change will be the corner where the toilets currently stand. The always closed gate will be opened and there will be a small cafe with seating area outside. It is hoped this will encourage more people into the park from the city centre. There will also be a large information display board to inform visitors of the many events that are on.
Parking facilities will be changed at the other entrance to the Museum Gardens, by the registry office, to turn the current parking spaces into two disabled spaces. The listed ballastrades around the edge of the gardens will also be repaired and restored. Additionally, the pathway in this area will be given a tar and chip surface.
Across the road, the Garden of Rememberance will get a much-needed clean up. The ballastrades surrounding the garden will be repaired and restored and the edge bordering Minster Pool will also have the missing urn replaced and the existing urn restored. A new disabled slope will be built at the entrance to improve accessibility and the benches re-painted.
The pathway will be replaced with a new Hoggin surface and the Yorkstone paving in the middle will be replaced. The memorial itself will be restored and receive a new black cast iron railing, specifically designed to hang wreaths and flowers from. Yorkstone paving will also surround the memorial.
Minster Pool will also undergo significant changes. The pool itself will be dredged and the banks, which are subsiding, will be re-inforce with natural york stone. The path surrounding the pool will be raised at the same time, making it level and given a new part-Hoggin, part-Yorkstone surface.
The trees on the edge of the pool will have the foliage around the trunks cut back to improve the view of the pool and surrounding area and they’ll be placed in squares of porous paving to allow the roots to breath. Existing poor trees will be replaced and there will also be an extra four trees added.
New lighting will help make the area more user-friendly in the evenings and this will include tree lighting to add a nice touch to night time visitors. There will also be new seating and bins.
All the plans can be seen in great detail on Lichfield District Council’s Historic Parks web site.