AN ambitious two-year plan has been drawn up to improve Wibsey Park and herald its “renaissance”. 

In May, regeneration specialists Your Back Yard were commissioned by Wibsey ward councillors to carry out research in the park to find out what people liked and didn’t like about it and seek ideas for improving it.

They were also tasked with identifying new people to join the park’s Friends group and to collect evidence to support a short-term action plan, as well as evidence to support the funding of a programme of activities for the park next year. 

Your Back Yard’s report says there are “significant” Section 106 funds – from developers building in the area – earmarked for the park. 
Ward funds are also available and the park’s lodge is for sale, but options for the best use of the building are still being explored. 

Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab, Wibsey), said: “We have been looking at how we can get the community and park working together so we can have a Friends of Wibsey Park that will be able to get a lot more people involved and have an organisation that will be able to apply for other funding.”

He said it was a way to create a platform for what would hopefully be a “renaissance” for the park.

“Through this process of surveying, engagement, asking people to get involved, young people coming forward and great support from the youth service, we have now got a fully staffed volunteer committee for the Friends of Wibsey Park,” he said.

“We want to engage and involve people. It’s a great model of councillors and community working together.

“The park is a gem, it’s steeped in Bradford history. We have seen what’s happened with some of the other parks with Friends groups – they have been an amazing part of getting new people involved.”

He admitted the park could be used more and it could be better looked after, but said the more people who felt they were a part of it, the better protected the park would be. 

Other ‘phase one’ projects outlined in the report include a family fun day, a healthy living programme, a feasibility study into establishing a volunteer-run cafe, dredging the lake, intergenerational activities, the installation of a measured mile in the park and environmental improvements. 

It was also hoped the park could be made dementia-friendly and volunteer days held. 

Possible two-year projects include increasing the use of sports fields, opening a cafe and improving pathways, possibly with the help of the probation service and the community payback team.