Life is breathed back into Bentley

An artist's impression of the new look Bentley Park and Pavilion.
An artist's impression of the new look Bentley Park and Pavilion.

A TIRED and unloved Doncaster park will soon be getting a major makeover – and residents are being given the chance to have their say on how it should look.

A team of experts tasked with redesigning Bentley Park – which is 90-years-old this year – are hoping for feedback from the people who they want to attract back to the site.

Locals are agreed the Askern Road park is well past its ‘use by’ date and desperately needs the injection of cash promised by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Ward councillor Charlie Hogarth said: “It needs tidying up because it’s a bit of a mess at the moment.

“There will be a lot more trees planted and there’ll be a bandstand again, which I think will be popular.

“The park isn’t used very much at the moment, apart from the children’s rides, and I think when it’s finished it’ll be a lot more organised and a lot more people will want to use it.”

Doncaster Council and its appointed design team leader, Southern Green Limited, are inviting people to a special design workshop at Bentley Pavilion in the park on Wednesday, April 17, between 2pm and 6.30pm.

The design team will use the feedback to help shape final designs for the revamp of Bentley Park and its pavilion.

Work on the £3 million project, which has attracted a £2.5mi Heritage Lottery Fund grant, is expected to start in late autumn of this year and be completed in summer 2014.

The pavilion will benefit from a complete overhaul that offers better access, new catering facilities, a verandah and an area for outdoor events.

The park entrances will be improved, railings and gates renovated, footpaths upgraded and new gardens created, which will include a water fountain.

There will be new seating areas, better lighting across the park and a new bandstand for outdoor performances.

Coun Cynthia Ransome, Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to shape the transformation of Bentley Park into a wonderful setting that the whole community can enjoy and benefit from.

“The plans will see the restoration of some lost historic features and provide a range of new attractions.

“The park is an important green space in the heart of Bentley and has played a key role in the lives of residents for 90 years.

“This project will enable even more people to enjoy the park for celebrations and events or as a place to relax or have a stroll.”

Coun Hogarth added: “It’s very important that people get involved with the consultation to influence the future of Bentley Park. It’s brilliant that progress is being made on this project.”

The park opened in 1923 and the pavilion opened eight years later in 1931.

The development was primarily funded by the Bentley Miners’ Welfare Fund and designed to be a venue for entertainment, sport and play for Bentley residents set within attractive gardens.

In its heyday the park’s facilities included a bandstand, tennis courts, bowling greens, sandpits and a children’s play area.

Parts of the features remain today but in a poor and sometimes unusable condition.