Action to breathe new life into corner park

May 31 2019

A STREET corner park in Mangotsfield is set to be transformed into a valuable community space.

Mangotsfield Residents Association at Dame School park

Mangotsfield Residents Association at Dame School park

Volunteers are working with South Gloucestershire Council to make Dame School park a place for people to spend time and find out more about their neighbourhood.
Work has already started to clear weeds and remove the dog mess which had plagued the park, on the corner of St James Street and Richmond Road.
And Mangotsfield Residents Association is calling on people to come and help make the transformation happen by giving as little as an hour of their time to the clear-up.
The association has been working with South Gloucestershire Council officers and Staple Hill & Mangotsfield councillor Michael Bell to drive the plans forward.
A council landscape architect has drawn up plans for planting, extra seating and the restoration of a small garden retaining wall that has remained hidden for years.
There will also be a village noticeboard and a commemorative inlay telling the history of the site on a small rectangular space, which is currently grassed over.
Residents’ association chairman Clive Heath said: “We want to give the community something they can use and enjoy.”
While this work is expected to be carried out over the coming months, ultimately the residents association wants to see the school building itself, which is in need of repair, be put back into use as an occasional pop-up exhibition site. Possible uses include the setting for a nativity scene as part of an improved village Christmas display.
Secretary Chris Amos said: “The residents association will continue to work with the council to bring these plans to fruition and to carry out some much-needed repairs to the fabric of the building, straightening and painting the windows and door bars and some internal stonework repairs.
“We want to return the building and the park to being a usable – and used – green space.”
Money for the restoration of the green space has come from funds given to South Gloucestershire Council by developers as part of legal deals to get planning permission, known as section 106 agreements.
But volunteers have already been hard at work, with cubs and scouts of the 1st Mangotsfield group among those helping to clean it up.
A social media campaign last year highlighted the site’s run-down state, with the cubs counting 34 lots of dog mess in 10 minutes on one visit. But things are now looking up.
The next chance for people to get involved in the project is a session for volunteers to help weeding and clearing an area at the front edge of the park which will eventually be planted with wild flowers.
One of the residents association’s regular Hour A Month sessions to improve the area, was due to take place from 10.30am on Saturday, June 1.
The school’s past has been researched by historian David Blackmore, who has traced its origins to a decision in 1787 to build a school for “pauper children” aged under ten in the village. We will publish more about its history in a future edition of the Voice.

• See Mangotsfield Residents Association column on page 29