SALFORD City Council has put in a multi-million pound bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to revamp the historic Peel Park.

The Parks for People project, which received a £54,000 development grant in January 2014, is now in its second stage.

The council’s £1.6m lottery bid covers around two thirds of the total project value, with estimated costs increased from £2.1m to £2.4m since the project began.

With a £90,000 contribution from Salford University, this will leave the council to find the extra £710,000.

The council say the funding will help the regeneration of Salford’s oldest park so it can provide “a safe and well used park which will strengthen the links with community and make this once again ‘a park for the people’”.

Peel Park is one of the most famous in the world and was one of the first to open to the public in 1846.

But the growth of the university and the road layout along the Crescent has cut off the green space from pedestrians.

Plans include restoring the 1890s layout by providing a second gated entrance from the Crescent, adding public Wi-Fi and traditional signage within the park and re-opening the Irwell Bridge.

But early plans to re-install the statue of founder Sir Robert Peel had to be put on hold due to higher than expected costs.

Assistant Mayor for Strategic Planning, Derek Antrobus, confirmed the council would pump £212,000 into park maintenance over the next five years to make sure it meets the national Green Flag standard.

Rev Andy Salmon, chair of the Friends of Peel Park, told “Peel Park is a major recreational space for people from a wide area and it is not used anything like as much as it should be because it’s not of the quality it should be.

“It can be a fantastic resource for the whole community so I’m really keen to see it massively improved.”

Councillor Steve Coen added: “It is good to see some investment come its way after all these years and we hope it will breathe new life into what is a famous green space.

“We don’t want a park where no-one uses it, we want people to be there to make it vibrant.”

The council will find out if their HLF bid is successful in June this year and, if successful, initial work can begin next year ahead of the prospective completion date of 2023.

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