Eighteenth century Clissold House, as foreseen under the new plans

Eighteenth century Clissold House, as foreseen under the new plans

Work on an £8.9 million project to renovate Clissold Park will begin in January, the council officer in charge of the project told a meeting of park users at their meeting earlier this month.

The restoration project, funded in part by a £4.46 lottery grant, will restore the Grade II listed Clissold House, enlarge the animal enclosures, create a skate park and includes extensive maintenance of the two lakes and New River.

If plans are approved, a kiosk will provide temporary catering when the cafe at Clissold House closes. A marquee with drop- down sides will provide seating and shelter. But park user Barbara McFarlane questioned whether this would be enough to attract visitors during bad weather, suggesting seating should be indoors.

“A temporary structure might put people off’,” she said. “People breathe life into the park, and without people it becomes quite unsafe.”

Clissold Park User Group Vice Chair John Hudson said he thought residents would be happy with the plans.

“I think they’re a good temporary measure. We don’t want to spend thousands of pounds on an elaborate temporary measure when it could be spent on permanent structures.”

The planned skate and wheels park is being redesigned to move it a further 15-20 metres from residents at Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, following a Council-commissioned report on the noise impact the facility would have.

The New River, which was cleared of debris last month, will have no additional work carried out until the restoration project, park manager Michael Dixon said. The river is dried up in parts because of low rain fall this summer, and will be refilled after it is extended in the first quarter of next year.

The meeting also heard that Hackney Council has put in a planning bid to erect flood lighting in the tennis courts, allowing practise until 8 or 9pm.

The restoration project has now reached the procurement stage, project manager Simon Biss said. Preferred contractors for the house and park have been chosen by planning officers, and a cabinet meeting next week (24 November) will confirm their selection, allowing contract negotiations to begin.

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