The Duke of Westminster said public parks must be “protected at all costs” when reopening the city’s Grosvenor Park following a £3.6m revamp.

The Duke was the perfect dignitary to unveil the park’s new-look given it was his great great grandfather Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, who gifted the park to Chester in the 19th century.

Victorian foresight had left the United Kingdom with a legacy of great parks, the Duke told the hundreds of visitors who had gathered at the new pavilion building for the opening ceremony.

“Whether they be in London, Birmingham, Manchester or elsewhere, our parks are a national treasure and must be protected at all costs,” said the Duke.

His comments come after Cheshire West and Chester Council recently upset some residents of Hoole by selling off the park keeper’s lodge at Alexandra Park.

And the Duke confessed that previous visits to Grosvenor Park – both private and public – had left him feeling ‘marginally depressed‘ by the standard of  upkeep and care.

However, he was delighted to see the result of the time, trouble, effort and commitment, from the local authority, Heritage Lottery Fund and many others, to revitalise Grosvenor Park.

 

HLF  North West Committee Member Aileen McEvoy said that in June the organisation had launched its ground-breaking  State of  the UK Public Parks report which had revealed how much public parks were valued and how essential they  were to physical and emotional well-being.

The one-year project has included remodelling and restoration of the grade 11* listed John Douglas Park Lodge – one of the first designed by the architect for the Grosvenor estate – which will include a café and public meeting rooms. 

A new training and events pavilion, including public toilets and training facilities, has been built in the distinctive Douglas style to replace the parks former toilet block.

And extensive landscape improvements include the creation of a new natural play area near the miniature railway; parkland planting and the restoration of walls, railings, steps and footpaths.