Anger at ongoing delay with park’s re-opening

Northumberland Park, North Shields.'REF 2309142544
Northumberland Park, North Shields.'REF 2309142544

Questions have been raised about the delays behind refurbishing a borough park.

Last week North Tyneside Council revealed that Northumberland Park, in North Shields, would re-open next month following a £2.2m regeneration.

But angry residents have criticised the further delay after an initial re-opening in September came and went while a lack of workmen on site has also raised concerns.

Michael Coates, of the Friends of Northumberland Park, said the delays had been frustrating and questioned why the council had blamed the archaeological dig for the delay when it had no impact.

He said: “It’s so frustrating, we feel they have made so many mistakes, especially in the planning.

“We’ve been asking for weeks for the council to give us a re-opening date.

“I was heavily involved in the archaeological dig and it didn’t not impact on any of the work in the park.

“Blaming the delay on the dig is out of order.

“The regeneration was supposed to be a 12-month contract and open in September.

“In the last few weeks before Richardson Dees Park re-opened there was hundreds of workmen on site, you are lucky if you see more than six at Northumberland Park.

“So many people are interested in the park but are being left frustrated by these delays.”

A council spokesperson said: “We fully understand that people are really keen for the park to be re-opened, but as a council we want to ensure that when we do so it is a safe area for the public to enjoy.

“This is an extensive £2.2m scheme to restore historical features, improve access, to carry out landscaping and to also improve the children’s play park and install a BMX track.

“A few minor issues, beyond anyone’s control, have arisen that has resulted in us now aiming to open the gates to the public again at the end of November.

“The extension of the archaeological dig, enabling extra artefacts to be revealed, has delayed the work on the site by a number of weeks.

“In addition as part of the construction work, minor traces of asbestos were found in an underground boiler, which had previously been buried.

“The area was immediately secured off and the boiler was removed by a specialist contractor.

“The Friends of Northumberland Park have been kept fully informed throughout the process and are working with us to ensure we deliver a scheme that everyone can be proud of.”