Ambitious plan for Hull's Queens Gardens includes new central avenue and stage for live events
AMBITIOUS plans to transform Queens Gardens are set to be revived in the new year.
The last significant work to upgrade the city centre park took place in the 1950s.
The gardens were identified as a priority area for regeneration in the 2002 City Centre Masterplan.
However, little physical work has happened there since, apart from the construction of a new bandstand.
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Now city councillors are considering fresh ways to bring forward facelift proposals.
• Creating a new-look central avenue by removing existing sunken gardens and relocating the Jimmy Boyle sculpture in the Peace Garden to the city's Museums Quarter.
• Constructing a new main pedestrian entrance from the Rose Bowl garden area off Queens Dock Avenue
• Linking Queens Gardens to the forecourt of Hull College by the closure of Wilberforce Drive to through traffic.
• Replacing the water pond near Wilberforce Drive with a new area designated as a main stage for live events.
In a new report, the council's city neighbourhoods manager Laura Carr says the general appearance of the park remains unsatisfactory.
She said: "Path areas are starting to degenerate with pavers being broken by vehicles accessing all areas of the gardens while past repairs have been carried out using differing materials causing a patchwork effect.
"Street lights have been painted up to head height but it is currently not known the number of lights which are operating and how many light covers are in need of either cleaning or replacing.
"Landscape borders are in need of re-designing and planting as the majority of the existing shrubs do not have a natural shape or do not flower.
"Most of the borders also now have good tree cover which has resulted in many of the shrubs being unable to grow in the shaded conditions."
Initial estimates put the cost of the work at about £5.2m.
A bid for that amount is being considered by Hull City Council's cabinet to be included in the authority's capital spending programme next year.
The bid has been put forward as part of a wider regeneration proposal for the area which includes the Queens Gardens police station and a number of council-owned properties such as the George Street multi-storey car park.
Humberside Police is moving out of its premises overlooking Queens Gardens to new divisional headquarters in Clough Road.
A recent structural survey of the gardens identified no immediate issues requiring remedial works.
With funding tight, Mrs Carr suggests the more ambitious elements of the proposed facelift might not be viewed as a priority when decisions on the council's capital programme are made in February.
But she says a number of potential short-term actions could be achieved through the use of funds generated from developer contributions secured through planning application approvals.
These include refurbishing seating and litter bins to introduce a uniform design across the park, removing cherry trees from the central avenue which are damaging nearby paved and grassed areas and redesigning landscape borders.
Officials are also looking at refurbishing water features at the Rose Bowl end of the gardens as part of the short-term package of measures.
Councillors on the Riverside area committee, which covers the city centre, will hear more details about the scheme next month.