Southampton Central Parks have recently been awarded the prestigious Grade II* listed status on the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest. This upgraded listing recognises the parks' national importance as examples of early municipal parks whose layout and design remains substantially intact, enhanced by notable monuments of social and historic interest associated with significant historical events.
Central Parks are also registered Common Land, which offers them additional protection.
The award winning, Grade II listed Central Parks are a green oasis in the heart of the city and were established between 1854 and 1866.
Central Parks cover an area 21 hectares and are divided into five parks, with their own individual characters:
Central Parks' management plan
Proposals for improvements to central parks
East Park Old Tennis Courts Consultation
A few years ago, a decision was taken to stop using the lawn tennis courts in East Park.
The intensive maintenance of the turf needed for the sports surface was very expensive - more than £10k a year. At the same time, hardly anyone was booking the courts so the expenditure far exceeded the income. But more to the point, it meant that we weren't offering the facilities that park users wanted and needed in the 21st century.
Since closing, the space has been used largely as a safe dog exercise space - highlighting the need for such an area in Central Parks.
It has also occasionally been used for supporting event storage for city centre events. Now we want to tidy this area and make it more useful and more attractive.
We came up with some ideas based on current use, as well as potential future use, in light of the new Nuffield City building right next to the park, and the park’s place in what is now being called the City’s Cultural Quarter. We also wanted to hear from regular park users already using the space on how they would like to see it developed.
The documents below provide information about the various options.
The consultation ran until 30 September 2017 and is now closed.
East Park Tennis Court Survey Results
The survey had a total of 379 respondents.
Overall the majority of respondents disagreed with both options suggested in the survey with over all half of respondents either disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with either option.
Option 1 did gain slightly more agreement with 29% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the idea to improve the enclosure.
To what extent do you agree with the options presented?
The questions about why respondents disagreed with the options given and if they had any further suggestions had a strong response. 314 people gave at least one comment. Overall, a significant number of respondents, 91%, suggested the space should be turned into a skate park or plaza.
There was enormous support for an alternative skatepark option suggested by Southampton Association of Skateboarders, but this is unlikely to get the permission from the Planning Inspectorate which would be required on this site, so we will work with SAOS to come up with plans for how to improve (or even replace, if sufficient funding can be raised) the skatepark on the existing city centre site in Hoglands Park.
We will therefore be moving ahead with Option 1.
Section 38 Application for Multi-Use Games Area in Hoglands Park
Southampton City Council has applied to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for consent under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006/section 23(2) of the National Trust Act 1971/article 12 of the Greater London Parks and Open Spaces Order 1967 to carry out restricted works on Central Parks Common (Hoglands Park). The Planning Inspectorate will decide the application on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
A copy of the application form and accompanying documents can be inspected below.