Hove’s Wish Park deteriorates so much that it’s ‘dangerous for sports’ Brighton News

Wish Park, in west Hove, is now in such a poor condition that the football pitches are closed, the cricket square has all but disappeared and the outdoor gym has been removed.

Such is the concern about the state of the park, which is also known as Aldrington Recreation Ground, that 1,764 people signed a petition calling for action from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Des O’Dell presented the petition to a meeting of the full council at Hove Town Hall on Thursday, December 14. He said that the community was concerned that the council was neglecting the park.

Mr O’Dell said: “Many comments in the petition underscore the council’s neglect, particularly the failure to prepare playing surfaces after an event and their decision to change from a part-time dedicated park-keeper to infrequent drop-ins by operatives unfamiliar with the park who have made the facilities worse.”

A particular area of concern was the state of the grass after a circus event in the park in June.

No inspection or work was carried out after the event which Mr O’Dell said was the result of a breakdown in communication between Cityparks and the events team.

He said that the park was left in a dangerous state for sport, with muddy patches and no grass. The football pitch was left unusable and children’s football clubs had had to play on larger pitches.

The cricket square was damaged last month after a council van was driven across the wet grass leaving a deep rut.

Labour councillor Tim Rowkins, who chairs the council’s City Environment, South Downs and the Sea Committee, apologised for the poor state of the park and the effect that it was having on the community.

Councillor Rowkins was aware of the problems with the football pitches. The circus took place during wet weather, he said, and the soiling and seeding the site was not done “to the standard the council hoped for”.

He said: “We have put in place a new framework for events to ensure that groundworks can be enabled more quickly where possible – and there are no events are planned for the park in summer 2024.

“We are also working on a series of updated, park-specific event packs that will provide better guidance for events to ensure minimal negative impact in the aftermath.”

Work is also under way with the Friends of Wish Park to replace the outdoor gym which was removed in 2021 because it was rotting.

Green councillor Kerry Pickett called for a report into the issues raised in the petition. The Conservatives agreed but the two parties were outnumbered by Labour who said that it was unnecessary because an action plan was already under way.

The petition is due to be presented to the City Environment, South Downs and the Sea Committee on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-20 05:00:00

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