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Brighton Journal | September 18, 2019

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What is happening to Preston Park?

What is happening to Preston Park?
Hannah Midgley

Flower beds have disappeared, bowling greens have been removed and railings have been ripped out. The Brighton Journal investigates what is happening to Brighton’s biggest park. 

Featured image © Marie Brooks

I’ve lived here for many years and I’ve watched the park slowly be destroyed” (Tony Ward – Facebook)

Members of ‘The Brighton People‘ Facebook page are frustrated by what appears to be a lack of care for Preston Park, which multiple users have described as a ‘dumbing down‘. Historically, the park has been known for its gorgeous flower beds and community atmosphere but recently there seems to have been a serious decline in the parks aesthetic and general spirit.

I grew up in Preston Park Avenue in the 60’s when it was beautiful and well maintained. I was there a couple of weeks ago and it makes me very sad how run down and badly looked after it is now.” (Mike McLean – Facebook)

Tony Ward started the discussion on the Brighton People Page, claiming that there has been a ‘dumbing down’ of the park.
Image © Tony Ward

Residents have complained that there has been a ‘dumbing down’ in order to make money from the park for events such as Pride. Multiple people have also suggested that the decline is due to government cuts, which restrict budgets for community areas and put huge pressure on councils. Some users have even suggested that the park could be being sold to developers.

Andy Jeavons, who looks after the rockery full-time explained that whilst
“It’ll never be like it used to be“, himself and a team of volunteers are working hard to maintain the horticulture. So far he has recruited 17 volunteers to help out, but because all volunteers need to be supervised by a member of staff (and at the moment he is the only one available), he cannot have anyone else for now.

Friends of Preston Park have said that they “hope to find a way to train up some other volunteer leaders in order to increase the numbers of the volunteer gardeners, as we know that many more of you would like to help.

Friends of Preston Park have also explained that they have been ‘settling in’ with a new Chair, Carol Cole and allocating new roles for committee members. They state that the removal of the fences, which ran paralell to the A23, have been taken down in order to “carry out essential tree work”. After this, City Parks realised that the fences were “to old and rusty to repair” and as they were no longer needed to protect the bowling greens from dogs, were removed.

The Brighton Journal is interested to see what will happen to Preston Park as we enter spring-time. We have contacted Green Party councillor Leo Littman and will continue to keep our readers updated. In the meantime, keep us posted by sharing any pictures, stories or noticeable changes that on our Facebook Page: The Brighton Journal.

Preston Park in the 1950’s
© Marie Brooks

This is a local resident saying enough is enough; stop wrecking the park with your misguided attempts at “improvement”. The place didn’t actually need changing.” (Tony Ward – Facebook)

Finally, don’t forget Preston Park’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, which will take place on Sunday the 21st of April, between 10.30 am and 2.30 pm, near to the FitnessHub (the old Bowls Pavilion).

Once famous for its beautiful gardens, pretty lit fountains it’s more famous for its graffiti, litter and overall scruffy appearance.” (Cheryl Tyler – Facebook)

Please contact info@friendsofprestonpark.org if you are interested in volunteering when future spaces become available.

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